The Internet is a very powerful business tool…
There is no better illustration of this than the fact that businesses can use the Internet to profit with absolutely no product. There is a whole new generation of what I call “cut” businesses; people or groups who make money simply by taking a cut of a transaction – without adding any value. Or…the incentive programs currently dominating my favorite news sites’ banner ads.
These programs offer a free iPod, laptop, or whatever the hot product of the week is, for what they claim is free. In actuality, the consumer must sign up for several offers which they can then cancel. Sign up for enough offers and they send you the gift they were advertising back when you started (it will surely have changed).
The customer being served here, if any, is the company whose products are being offered, not the end user hoping to get the free gift. The web allows any message to be amplified, even misleading ones. That company must be spending a fortune trying to get the word out though, and that model won’t last long. Compare that to real products that spread like wildfire with little advertising (how many banners for Google have you seen? ).
Strong web business models don’t need 100,000 visitors to convert one customer. Marketing isn’t the act of convincing; it’s communicating a good idea.
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