1 Good Reason – Social Marketing

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Delaying the Delivery of Info is not a Sound Business Principle

June 2nd, 2010 · 2 Comments

Today I had a brief Twitter exchange with Guy Kawasaki, it went like this:

Now of course Guy understands that I do get it that he has to pay his bills.  He pays his bills by sending out tweets with pithy little bits of information that are interesting and intriguing to the people who are following him.  These people, and I happen to be one of them, then click on the links in his tweets which lead to Guy’s website Holy Kaw!  Each story has page where they show ads, and the first paragraph of the story, with a link to the full article.  Guy, then makes money from his advertisers for each impression of the ad.  An impression is when a person looks at the page where the ad is.  The hapless follower of Mr. Kawasaki then needs to click again to visit the site of the organization which actually created the content in order to finally read the story.

Let’s make a real world analogy-

Guy Kawasaki and his team find a newspaper lying on the seat in the subway.  They cut it into little pieces and take the parts that different audiences would find interesting and show just the first paragraph of the page to the right groups of people.  When someone is interested in reading the rest of an article, they have to step into a booth where the walls are plastered with ads then come out the other side before they are allowed to read the rest of the article.  The sole purpose of the booth is to expose the reader to the ads.  Guy’s team is then paid by the people who place their ads in the booth for each viewer.  Oh, and the newspaper page you’re finally reading- it has ads too.

So who gets screwed here?

The advertiser- The ads on the Holy Kaw! website (booth) are utterly wasted because the site’s entire purpose is to be a speed bump on the information highway.  The only purpose of visiting Holy Kaw! is to continue on to the final destination where the visitor will find what they are looking for.

The Visitor (you & me)-Our time is valuable, and having to visit Holy Kaw! only to click again in order to visit my final destination is stupid and a waste of my time.  Over time this builds resentment (as evidenced by this blog my second post on this subject.) and distrust.  For unsophisticated readers it can build fear- is this happening because of a virus on my computer?

The Newspaper (or other content creator)- Holy Kaw! is in effect stealing revenue from the people who do the hard work of creating this great content by showing ads on the same content again.  If this isn’t illegal it should be.  He’s reselling the impressions that the newspapers should be getting to different advertisers, and adding zero to the exchange.

Twitter (Facebook, etc.)- Every social network where anyone does what Guy Kawasaki is doing.  He’s far from alone, almost every personality on every social network is doing essentially the same thing.  Hell, I’m doing it because I show ads on my blog, I just don’t make any money at it.  Several months ago social networks became the primary source of traffic for news sites surpassing search engines.  So there are lots of personalities generating significant traffic to the news creators.

What’s the solution?

Newspapers, and other content providers should provide an affiliate model where they share a percentage of ad revenue with those that provide them with streams of traffic.  This will pay Guy Kawasaki for what he is truly providing, which is a steady stream of viewers to the content of the paper.  And allow the advertisers to pay the content creator.  In addition this will reduce the total number of ads shown to site visitors which will increase their value, and reduce viewer fatigue.  Oh yea, and it will provide a model for making social networks profitable as news sites pay Facebook and Twitter for traffic as well.  And the social networks can share their bounty with the personalities that make them successful in the first place.

Affiliate models work by paying a commission to anyone who can generate traffic to a website.  They generally work on sales of products, but a few run on traffic generation only.  News providers could run affiliate like programs for everyone, search engines, and aggregators alike. 

And finally a message to Mr. Kawasaki, delaying the delivery of information is not a sound principle to build your business upon.  At some point someone will figure out how to do what you do without the needless delay.  Why don’t work on making it better?

Give me 1 good reason why this business model isn’t working better?

Posted via email from ckieff’s posterous

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Tags: Reasons For Net Marketing · Truthful Tuesday · Web Wednesday

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