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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The failure of click-marketing

The CEO of Restoration Hardware reaches the same conclusion as the CEO of Proctor & Gamble: online advertising accomplishes nothing. More at Zerohedge.
I'll share a little anecdote with you on this point.

We had our marketing meeting in the company several years ago and the online marketing team was pitching to double their budget, right, and at the time, say, look, nobody in the company is doubling their budget. But tell me why you believe that's the right thing to do. And they said, well, look, our customer acquisition cost and our ad cost is the lowest in the company. And I said, well, tell me about the data, show me how. And they said, well, people who click through the words that we buy on Google, the ad cost was lowest. And I said, how do you know that they're clicking on the word and going to the website because of the word you bought versus they saw a store or they received a source book? They said, oh, we know.

I said, well, how many words do you buy? They said 3,200. 3,200 words. I said, well, what are the top words? How are they ranked, the ranking of the words? Oh, we don't have that, right. And I was getting the look at like, oh, Gary is kind of one these old brick-and-mortar guys. He just doesn't get it.

And I said, well, what are the top 10 words? And they didn’t have the information. I said, why don't we cancel the meeting and come back next week when you have the data? I'm sure that Google sales representatives who are taking you to the expensive lunches and selling you the 3,200 words have that data. So why don't we get the data and then let, review the data?

And they came back the next week and we sat in a meeting and all of a sudden, I can tell you there's a little change in the faces. They had to wear it kind of down. Everybody kind of came in. I said, so what did we find out?

And they said, well, we've found out that 98% of our business was coming from 22 words. So, wait, we're buying 3,200 words and 98% of the business is coming from 22 words. What are the 22 words? And they said, well, it's the word Restoration Hardware and the 21 ways to spell it wrong, okay?

Immediately the next day, we cancelled all the words, including our own name. By the way, we are paying for the little shaded box above our words and said, oh no, we have to hang on to that because Pottery Barn might squat on top of us. I said, excuse me? I said, if someone goes to a mall or a shopping center and they're going to Restoration Hardware and there's a Pottery Bam there, they're already squatting, okay? It doesn't mean they're going to go into their store. If somebody wanted to buy a diamond from Tiffany and just because Zale's is sitting on top of them in a shaded box doesn't mean they're going to go to Zale's and buy a diamond.

I mean, I can't believe how many companies buy their own name and they're paying Google millions of dollars a year for their own name, like maybe if this is webcast, right, a lot of people are going to go, holy crap. They're going to look at their investments. They'd go, maybe we don't need to buy our own name.
I've seen absolutely ZERO benefit to buying Google ads or Facebook ads myself. I've never bothered with Twitter ads or any other social media advertising. I've seen very, very moderate success buying Amazon ads. What has been far more successful is a) the Castalia House email lists, b) blogging about and excerpting books, c) the book carousels on the sidebar, and d) Tweeting about new books.

Of course, I've always been skeptical about digital advertising. Except for the way it can amplify word of mouth, it's always struck me as a dubious proposition. You'll notice that I've never been very prone to permitting anyone else to advertise here either, for just that reason.

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99 Comments:

Anonymous A Most Deplorable Paradigm Is More Than Twenty Deplorable Cents September 12, 2017 10:41 AM  

Click ads "work" because everyone else is doing it so it must be a good idea. This isn't new. Neither is the process by which Goolag will slowly lose ad revenue.

"Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one."
Charles MacKay Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds 1841

"Every age has its peculiar folly: Some scheme, project, or fantasy into which it plunges, spurred on by the love of gain, the necessity of excitement, or the force of imitation."
IBID

Blogger Stg58/Animal Mother September 12, 2017 10:43 AM  

The digital marketing team must have also been down as they saw their jobs disappearing.

Anonymous Raker Tooth September 12, 2017 10:44 AM  

I'm fascinated with marketing, but have no formal education on the subject. There is a small book that I think is self evidently good on the topic. He carefully details big advertising campaigns that were a total failure, he loathes ad agencies who have design awards on their walls. I say self evident because he demands knowledge from each ad. Separate phone numbers and lines, if that's what it takes. Very no-nonsense. Probably pick up a used copy on Amazon for $2.
The title? Get a load of this: "Your Marketing Sucks". (Author Marc Stevens?)

Anonymous VFM #6306 September 12, 2017 10:46 AM  

I hardly ever see digital ads for pay games, but I see a lot for Free-to-Play.

I don't know if that is reflective of reality or not, but if so, it would further indicate that it is a game of mirrors.

It would also explain why Google is seemingly attacking its own core competency: if they know AdWords is an inflated service, they are losing momentum and morale to keep blowing into a balloon that is just going to pop in their face.

Blogger Jemison Thorsby September 12, 2017 10:52 AM  

The tulips of the 21st Century.

Anonymous dh September 12, 2017 10:52 AM  

People buying their own names to protect against other people buying them is a huge chunk of Google's revenue.

If the administration wanted to really hurt Google, they would institute rules around cybersquatting within the FTC.

Blogger David The Good September 12, 2017 10:54 AM  

Targeted Facebook ads have worked very well for a friend of mine. They're the scary tracking type. You really need to know your game, though, and relentlessly cut non-working ad outlays.

Anonymous dh September 12, 2017 10:55 AM  

Incidentally this problem is exactly why the very smart people at Alphabet and Google have been attempting moonshot projects for a decade. They know the thing is built on sand, and it could all collapse at any moment. These types of shifts in marketing happen very quickly. All of the sudden the mindset shifts.

Right now it's a self-fulfilling system, because the money has to go somewhere. But at any moment it could be that CEO's decide it doens't have to go anywhere.

Blogger NO GOOGLES September 12, 2017 10:56 AM  

@4
It makes sense for free to play games to advertise like that. Games that make their money on microtransactions make almost all of their profit off of a tiny percentage of users that are responsible for most of the transactions. IIRC it's something like 2% of users being responsible for 90% of the profit. It's basically just abusing a few people who can't control themselves and got addicted to whatever game they are playing. It makes sense to spam out as many ads as possible - you don't want the vast majority of your users, but if spam online advertising can get you even a handful of heavy users then it's definitely worth it.

The online advertising craze kind of reminds me when companies were sending every job they could to China 15-20 years ago. Slowly they realized that even though on paper it sounds like it saves a lot of money, in a lot of cases the cost of correcting bad manufacturing or having to rush ship stuff air freight from China makes it actually cost more. An industrial lighting company a friend used to work at shipped a factory to China, then 8 years later moved it back to the US because whenever the Chinese factory screwed something up (which they did far more often than the US factories) it cost many times more to fix it because of rush shipping costs. What they saved on labor and the original capital expenditures on the Chinese factories was more than lost on the worse quality, extra lead times, and higher shipping costs.

Yet another case of what is seen vs what is unseen.

Anonymous noxious windy September 12, 2017 10:59 AM  

remember netzero? remember the programs that let you connect and then dealt with the ad bar somehow? businesses whose model was showing you online ads and giving you things for free eventually die off. something like half the internet uses an ad blocker. the next thing to go are youtube 'subscriber counts' because the next generation thinks that "like and subscribe" just mean you enjoy the channel. it's all a useless ouroboros. google has just been well funded with dark money so they have survived a whole lot longer. note also that russia and china both have state-backed versions of google/facebook/linkedin/twitter because of the obvious state apparatus behind all this and the potential for intrusion.

Anonymous Unpaced September 12, 2017 11:05 AM  

I don't entirely agree, and I realize this is anecdotal, but Adsense was responsible for the success of the retail online print division my company started. Turning up and down the pay-per-click was like turning the spigot for on and off. We tried Facebook ads, and those really were useless. Since then we have dialed pay-per-click way back, because other marketing has taken over. But it is still a significant percentage of our conversions.

Blogger Jack Ward September 12, 2017 11:17 AM  

And, Thank You, for not advertising on your blog. Said it before, worth repeating. This blog is great for many reasons least of all it's not 'clunky slow' due to all the ad crap loading and running. Keep up the skeer...

Blogger Orville September 12, 2017 11:18 AM  

David, was your friend a self-publisher? Or was he running an online business?

Anonymous A Deplorable Paradigm Is More Than Twenty Cents September 12, 2017 11:19 AM  

Comment numbers are gone again. Vivaldi browser.
Are they visible on Brave / Pale Moon / etc.?

Anonymous Critically Bent September 12, 2017 11:20 AM  

From my personal experience, it is the excerpting that works best. I love to get a little taste of style, etc., and see if it might be worth the purchase.

(Since I am a Castalia House customer, I think my opinion is actually pertinent here).

And, it works best when it is obviously a clipped out chunk of a bigger whole. I don't like the "Free 1st 10 levels" of a game model because I just see the part where they spent all the time perfecting it, and the rest might stink.

Blogger VD September 12, 2017 11:22 AM  

Comment numbers are gone again.

We removed them because the deletions of the Fake Right trolls messes them up.

Fake Right Clown Nazis are why you can't have nice things.

Blogger Orville September 12, 2017 11:24 AM  

This is a hot topic for me as I'm doing final edits and getting covers for self-publishing my first book. A lot of the self-publishers put an emphasis on Google and Facebook ads when launching a book. I've seen these same articles and wonder if that makes sense. Some self-publishers swear by it for generating sales.

Anonymous Rolf September 12, 2017 11:27 AM  

As with many other things, I suppose "it depends" is a good phrase.
Working with my brother's start-up in the Juneau, Alaska whale-watching space years ago, there were a bunch of small companies to compete with, and a couple of huge ones. Using AdWords to make sure he was on the first search results page to get the brand recognized was helpful. Once it was known, dropping the $$ spent, and eventually eliminating it, was OK to do as word-of-mouth and reputation on TripAdvisor rose. It was helpful to get started when closely monitored and tweaked. YMMV, the plural of anecdote is not data, etc.

Anonymous basementhomebrewer September 12, 2017 11:31 AM  

"I love pop-ups I wish I had more of them. or "I love banner ads that extend into the content on the screen" or "I love it when ads start auto playing sound when I just want to read an article" are all statements no one has ever made. No one likes these tactics so what makes companies think that they will generate revenue. Ad blockers exist because ads have become progressively more annoying.

As for adwords, if I do a search I always avoid the advertised results. Even if the advertised results lead to the same page as the normal search result. The reason is more often than not 15 years ago the advertised results took you you to a shoddy knock off company. That experience trained me to ignore the ad results all together.

Why, when people get into meetings they don't apply their own experiences to the decision making process is beyond me.

Blogger dh September 12, 2017 11:35 AM  

Unpaced - direct sales - i.e. clicks for conversions - is a big opportunity for adwords and adsense and it's probably the thing that works best on the platform.

When you advertise against specific words that are things that potential customers might be interested in searching, yeah, that's a good fit.

But there is a huge amount of money in corporate entities just basically buying their own name or product names, that are in people's awareness through other advertising. That is basically just straight graft/protection money that is paid to Google.

This guy at Restoration Hardware knew the score. It's just a shakedown. His brand has entered the consumer's mind through other advertising or brand building, and he has to pay tribute to preserve that in Google-land.

Blogger DJ | AMDG September 12, 2017 11:42 AM  

Didn't the courts already rule against domain name squatters? I remember back in the late 90s all those domain name investors buying up thousands of names like JuliaRoberts.Com and MichaelClooney.Com. I remember them getting 10s of thousands and more selling the names back to the celebrities and some sellers really gouging. I seem to recall courts getting involved and saying uh uh. Can't squat on known brands like that. Am I remembering that correctly?

Blogger DJ | AMDG September 12, 2017 11:43 AM  

Wasn't there even a guy who bought MikeRowSoft.Com and would do reviews and stuff of various software. I even think his name actually was Mike Row and the courts still forced him off the domain.

Blogger kurt9 September 12, 2017 11:46 AM  

Google faces other issues. One, they face a class action lawsuit over their adwords advertizing for exaggerating the number of click throughs to a given site. Two, they face litigation in Europe over the "right to be forgotten" that applies not only to EU citizens in the EU, but those living anywhere in the world. Third, they are facing additional litigation from the EU over the accusation that they are accepting payment for placement in search results (non-ad notification) in the same way that destroyed Digital AltaVista.

You will note that the two founders of Google, the guys who like to fly around on their swanky 767, have been completely silent for the past 3-4 years. I believe this silence in on advise of legal council due to the many threats of litigation that Google faces.

Blogger wrf3 September 12, 2017 11:54 AM  

I'm re-reading In Search of Stupidity and he writes:

Most sources credit the Coors Brewing Company with placing the first web banner. The ad, a bit larger than the 468 × 60 pixel form factor that would become a Web standard, was one element in a national campaign on behalf of Zima, a new clear malt “beverage” (otherwise known as “beer”) Coors hoped would attract barhopping urban professionals everywhere. The banner was placed in October 1994 on the HotWired site, at the time one of the Web’s most active, and was a hit. Response rates (measured by how many times people clicked the banner) averaged between 5 percent and 10 percent over the life of the campaign. Unfortunately for Coors, its ad campaign was so successful that many people actually ran out and tried Zima, only to find the stuff had about as much taste and charm as a glass of warm bathwater. Worse, the initial response to the banner encouraged e-commerce fans to predict that the Zima campaign would be representative of future Web banner performance. It wasn’t. Once the novelty of banners had worn off, response rates plunged. By 1998, average banner hit rates had dropped from figures of 3 percent to 5 percent to numbers that ranged between one-tenth to to one-quarter of a percent on average.

This particular observation is also too good not to share:

... a herd of lemmings in the act of flinging themselves over a cliff are primed to discuss the importance of teamwork, the need to stay focused on the task at hand, and the necessity of [m]aintaining a positive attitude.

Blogger kurt9 September 12, 2017 11:54 AM  

The bruhaha over that guy being fired for criticizing the cult of diversity makes clear that there is no longer any effective productivity in companies like Facebook and Google. The Zerohedge posting makes clear they have not developed any new revenue streams since on-line advertizing in a good 15 years also makes clear the non-productive corporate cultures of these two places. I suspect they are getting paid in lots of black money from the NSA and somewhat less so from the CIA for information on everybody and everything that comes through these two tech giants. The nature of their corporate cultures, obsessed with diversity and inclusiveness to a lack of productivity, is highly reminiscent of the corporate cultures of the defense contractors and aerospace giants of the 1980's, although the latter was much less focused on diversity.

Of course this has predictable consequences. Top prediction is that Google will not succeed in any of its moonshot endeavors simply because they no longer have either the talent or the work-ethic culture to ensure such success. Another prediction is that they will become much more obsessed with gaining influence in government and politics because that is the only way they can survive. If they get too far out of hand, there will be some "encouragement" from NSA and CIA to "tone down" their SJW tendencies as well as their obsession with politics.

Blogger Rick Caird September 12, 2017 11:54 AM  

I have bought a few things of FB ads, some worked and some didn't.

Anonymous Athor Pel September 12, 2017 11:55 AM  

In the early days of the web I never clicked on an ad.

Then I learned how ads on the web are served and was vindicated in my decision.

Correct me if I get any of this wrong. The ad isn't created by the company being advertised. It might be created by the ad agency designing the ad or it might get created by a contract programmer. You don't know. Then it gets sent to an ad server which injects that ad, that piece of code and graphics, onto web pages by subscription. The ad server is controlled by still another entity. The web pages showing the ads are controlled by still another entity. There are many places in that chain where malicious code could be injected into, tacked onto, that ad.

I must admit to an exception. I have clicked on ads that are native to a webpage. Ads where the company in question contracts directly with the web site proprietor. Ads where the directing URL is clearly seen and isn't obfuscated somehow or hidden entirely.

It was only in the past couple years that I began to use an adblocker. I did this not to avoid seeing ads but to allow the timely loading of web pages and to avoid locking up my browser. Poorly crafted code inside your ads is like a salesman that doesn't have any interpersonal skills.

Anonymous A Deplorable Paradigm Is More Than Twenty Cents September 12, 2017 11:57 AM  

@VD comment numbers
We removed them because the deletions of the Fake Right trolls messes them up.

If that is the price for taking out the poop, I'm fine with it.

Fake Right Clown Nazis are why you can't have nice things.

That's been obvious for over a week.

Anonymous Johnny Mayonnaise September 12, 2017 12:00 PM  

I have trained myself to not look at ads that appear on any screen.

I also tend to avoid any site that is ad-heavy, or that uses ads as a barrier to accessing content. In the case of YouTube ads, I simply watch the countdown clock with the volume muted.

Love Molyneux's site. No ads whatsoever, so I slip him a donation every month.

Blogger wreckage September 12, 2017 12:01 PM  

Moonshot projects are BS. They really need to read Antifragile. Hell, everyone does.

Blogger Ron Winkleheimer September 12, 2017 12:04 PM  

I remember back when the Interwebs started being privatized. There were Utopian thoughts about it being commerce free. Because commerce is dirty. Anyway, now I go to sites using Brave and get chided about how they need advertising to stay afloat and to please turn off my ad blocker. The thing is, if you do lower your shields, the site becomes unusable. Things are popping up left and right and obscuring what you want to see. You have to click on them to get them to go away and sometimes they take you to other sites. And quite a few of the ad serving sites have been subverted. I get diverted to websites serving pages telling me that my device has been compromised by malware and I need to click a link to fix it at least once a month on my phone. And that's using an ad blocker. I don't know how anyone who doesn't use an ad blocker can stand to use the Internet.

Blogger Heian-kyo Dreams September 12, 2017 12:05 PM  

"We removed them because the deletions of the Fake Right trolls messes them up.

"Fake Right Clown Nazis are why you can't have nice things."

Are the Stormpoopers banned, or just spammed?

The new arrows look nice. Good work, whoever put them in.

Blogger Ron Winkleheimer September 12, 2017 12:06 PM  

I also tend to avoid any site that is ad-heavy, or that uses ads as a barrier to accessing content. In the case of YouTube ads, I simply watch the countdown clock with the volume muted.

I plays the solitaire or peruse another site using another tab or browser.

Anonymous Jack Amok September 12, 2017 12:06 PM  

It makes sense for free to play games to advertise like that... you don't want the vast majority of your users,

Oh, yes you do. If your game is well made, you certainly do want that 98% who don't pay you. You want them to play your game a lot and get very good at it...

Anonymous A Deplorable Paradigm Is More Than Twenty Cents September 12, 2017 12:07 PM  

wreckage
Moonshot projects are BS.

Also can be an indicator of "more money than sense". Like a trustifarian buying an expensive car. Only moreso.

Blogger wreckage September 12, 2017 12:09 PM  

VD: libelous fake-right Nazi clowns will wreck any online platform until they are excluded mercilessly.

Nazis: we will teach Vox a lesson. We will wreck his comments section until he excludes us mercilessly!

VD: ah, regret! Would that I had never challenged my intellectual superiors; for I have been taught, and how sharp the lesson! *proceeds to mercilessly exclude Nazis*

Anonymous A Deplorable Paradigm Is More Than Twenty Cents September 12, 2017 12:12 PM  

I also tend to avoid any site that is ad-heavy, or that uses ads as a barrier to accessing content. In the case of YouTube ads, I simply watch the countdown clock with the volume muted.

More news sites are embedding a video that autoplays.

Ron Winkelheimer
I plays the solitaire or peruse another site using another tab or browser.

Some places I pay for my data. Sites that jam video in front of my eyeballs on that data are stealing my money. I want to say to them, dudes, I can burn my own Benjamins on my own time, thanks for not asking.

Blogger wreckage September 12, 2017 12:13 PM  

A Deplorable Paradigm Is More Than Twenty Cents wrote:wreckage

Moonshot projects are BS.

Also can be an indicator of "more money than sense". Like a trustifarian buying an expensive car. Only moreso.


Look, they might be creative people doing creative things, but on the other hand their approach smacks of immaturity and a fish-out-of-water desperation.

Except in the case of grant-harvesting schemes, which speak of moral failing.

Anonymous basementhomebrewer September 12, 2017 12:14 PM  

Ron Winkleheimer wrote:I remember back when the Interwebs started being privatized. There were Utopian thoughts about it being commerce free. Because commerce is dirty. Anyway, now I go to sites using Brave and get chided about how they need advertising to stay afloat and to please turn off my ad blocker. The thing is, if you do lower your shields, the site becomes unusable. Things are popping up left and right and obscuring what you want to see. You have to click on them to get them to go away and sometimes they take you to other sites. And quite a few of the ad serving sites have been subverted. I get diverted to websites serving pages telling me that my device has been compromised by malware and I need to click a link to fix it at least once a month on my phone. And that's using an ad blocker. I don't know how anyone who doesn't use an ad blocker can stand to use the Internet.

Thats the other thing that I think will start to develop. Content providers will need to start being more careful about the types of ads they allow on their site. Ads from borderline scam companies or excessively annoying ads are going to be a detriment to site traffic for all but the most in demand content providers.

Blogger David The Good September 12, 2017 12:16 PM  

Orville wrote:David, was your friend a self-publisher? Or was he running an online business?

Online business. Sells pet-training videos and that sort of thing. Makes very good products, then targets them precisely.

For self-publishing, Nick Cole would know better than I. However, my Florida gardening book is self-published and I never advertised it with ads, other than on my site and in random social media posts. That book sells well, though; well enough to pay the rent every month on royalties. Amazon recommends it to people hunting for Florida gardening and it's gotten a lot of very good reviews, which also seems to push it up higher.

Anonymous A Deplorable Paradigm Is More Than Twenty Cents September 12, 2017 12:17 PM  

wreckage
Look, they might be creative people doing creative things, but on the other hand their approach smacks of immaturity and a fish-out-of-water desperation.

Elon Musk is a major harvester of other people's money, and Tesla might just be an example, but he's also reducing the cost-per-kilo to LEO via SpaceX. A real Moon Shot is possible with the next gen rocket.

Goolag, on the other hand, is not going to the Moon at all. But all our data haz belong to them.

Blogger Starboard September 12, 2017 12:17 PM  

I recently discovered reader view to minimize ad annoyance. I use it on all news links since those sites send my screen into a blinking mess. If an ad really annoys me, I actively avoid that product. I've never bought a product based solely on an ad.

Thanks for cleaning up the comments. The Fake Right Clown Nazis really are why we can't have nice things.

Blogger VD September 12, 2017 12:20 PM  

Are the Stormpoopers banned or just spammed?

Both. This is not, and has never been, a Free Speech zone. If you are a Daily Stormfronter or TDS enthusiast, I suggest you go back to Gab and speak freely there. Your comments are not required for the discourse here.

Blogger Orville September 12, 2017 12:24 PM  

Thanks David! I Hope Irma left your house and gardens alone.

Anonymous Anonymous September 12, 2017 12:24 PM  

The effectiveness of advertising book: "To Catch a Mouse Make a noise like a Cheese 1997" by Lewis Kornfeld, CEO of Radio Shack.

Blogger MajesticDialectic September 12, 2017 12:26 PM  

Is this where all of the alt light secret homos hang out, worshipping their fag prince. Sad.

Blogger Orville September 12, 2017 12:26 PM  

Good on you. GAB has been nearly unreadable lately. I've muted the Stormpoopers but Ricky Vaughn seems to want to repost everything they say. I may need to mute him as well.

Blogger Cail Corishev September 12, 2017 12:28 PM  

It's kind of like the way every town has a big hotel tax to squeeze people from other towns for the benefit of the locals, but since they all do it, the only ones benefiting are the tax men. Google gets every corporation bidding for those top spots, and the only ones that benefit are Google and the SEO companies (who are sometimes pretty cozy with Google).

I'm no fan of the system (obviously), but these people sound especially inept. They should have been fired the instant they couldn't tell him the top 10 search terms from memory, plus their most successful long-tail terms. That's basic stuff I learned when I had to deal with this crap a decade ago. Sounds like their marketing team was putting things on autopilot, buying everything AdWords suggested up to their budget limit, and playing Candy Crush all day.

Blogger David The Good September 12, 2017 12:28 PM  

Orville wrote:Thanks David! I Hope Irma left your house and gardens alone.

No problem - and yes, we sailed through okay. Thank you.

Blogger RobertT September 12, 2017 12:30 PM  

My take ... If you don't have an established brand, nothing works, if you have an established brand everything works. It's not limited to on-line clicks, it's everything. McKinsey, Deloitte, Coca-Cola do absolutely no selling their web site. Why? Because it doesn't work. Instead they tell warm & fuzzy stories to the faithful. The flip side is, if you don't have an established brand, you have to start somewhere. But cold calling is by far a better solution. Despite what everyone wishes, cold calling isn't dead. For $5 bucks an hour on Upwork, you can get cold callers for $5 an hour. Fiverr is probably a better source for cold callers. From Pakistan. Most of the calls I get come from Muslim countries.

Blogger S1AL September 12, 2017 12:35 PM  

Looking back at the book series I've bought in recent years, I have to agree with the position.

Hard Magic on the basis of Larry's gun control rants and the look inside excerpt.

Monster Hunter on the basis of Hard Magic and the opening line.

The Missionaries on the excerpt and your recommendation.

Dresden Files on Larry's recommendation.

Lawdog Files on the excerpt.

Et cetera.

Anonymous peppermint September 12, 2017 12:39 PM  

Formal education in most things is wose than worthless. Read the books on your own or admit to yourself that you don't care.

Blogger RobertT September 12, 2017 12:40 PM  

The best marketing in the world is word of mouth referrals. We get a ton of referrals and we can attest to that. When a referred prospect calls us, they've already made up their mind. You can't beat 'em off with a stick. On the other hand, walkins require heavy selling, and even if you bring them in, they are never as good a client as a referred prospect.

Blogger David The Good September 12, 2017 12:42 PM  

On calling: you can easily talk people into buying what you have, provided you have the personality to do so. Spend a couple of hours once a week promoting your business via calling people that may possibly wish your services and you create your own luck. If you have less work, call more; more work, call less. It helps to be friendly, to be generous, and to remember details about those you call. If one guy is a fan of the Braves, remember that. Next time you call him, mention the latest game. Show legitimate interest. Building friendships brings in sales. You'll absolutely kill the coke-addled posers doing cold-calls for their next hit.

Blogger Desdichado September 12, 2017 12:43 PM  

NO GOOGLES wrote:The online advertising craze kind of reminds me when companies were sending every job they could to China 15-20 years ago. Slowly they realized that even though on paper it sounds like it saves a lot of money, in a lot of cases the cost of correcting bad manufacturing or having to rush ship stuff air freight from China makes it actually cost more. An industrial lighting company a friend used to work at shipped a factory to China, then 8 years later moved it back to the US because whenever the Chinese factory screwed something up (which they did far more often than the US factories) it cost many times more to fix it because of rush shipping costs. What they saved on labor and the original capital expenditures on the Chinese factories was more than lost on the worse quality, extra lead times, and higher shipping costs.

Yet another case of what is seen vs what is unseen.

After the China craze, it seems like a lot of that business moved to Mexico. The shipping costs were reduced alright, but the cultural problems, especially with regards to reliable work, were even worse.

Blogger Noah B The Savage Gardener September 12, 2017 12:45 PM  

As an aside, it looks like those who posited that Google was demonetizing videos to increase revenue rather than as a censorship move were correct. They're demonetizing totally innocuous content now and it signals increasing desperation on the part of Google/Alphabet.

https://twitter.com/h3h3productions/status/847200160560140288

Blogger MajesticDialectic September 12, 2017 12:45 PM  

Fag days have found us, all you followers of VD, may your destiny be equal to your expectations. Here is a video for Fag Days.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tOy6aMJMHfo

Blogger Esmar Tuek September 12, 2017 12:47 PM  

It's always 20% responsible for 80%. Or do it again, 4% responsible for 64%...

Blogger Nate September 12, 2017 12:50 PM  

i have long believed click-marketing was a scam... but I had no idea it was this bad.

Anonymous BBGKB September 12, 2017 12:53 PM  

David The Good No problem - and yes, we sailed through okay. Thank you.

You should do a book on the edible parts of sneakers & big screen TVs, leftists are calling looters survivalists and I don't know how to eat those.

Blogger Cail Corishev September 12, 2017 1:06 PM  

People buying their own names to protect against other people buying them is a huge chunk of Google's revenue.

There's even a sub-industry of trying to make sure the front page of searches for your corporate name(s) is all pages you control, so if there are pages out there with negative info about you, like on review sites, they won't be seen unless people search specifically for that. If you look up a company like "Fishing Lures R Us" and get results at places like fishing-lures-r-us-reviews.com, there's a good chance that is paid for by the company itself, pretending to be a third-party review site. Its only real purpose is to take up one of the top 10 slots for that search, pushing any real critical opinions off the front page.

Blogger B.J. September 12, 2017 1:07 PM  

This is off topic but the CEO of SoFi should have read SJW's Always Lie.

Basically this guy was very gregarious, and when he talked to you he would shake your hand and pat you on the shoulder, in a very friendly way. He did this to everyone.

So some gamma tool at the company saw him doing this with female employees, and complained about sexual harassment on their behalf (the women never complained). They fired him but he got the SJW brigade involved, and they saw blood in the water, and suddenly there's a bunch of female "sexual harassment" victims coming forward. And the CEO who thought the board would have his back is suddenly being pressured to resign. Which he just did.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-sofi-ceo/online-lender-sofi-ceo-cagney-to-step-down-idUSKCN1BN066

Anonymous Looking Glass September 12, 2017 1:19 PM  

Noah B The Savage Gardener wrote:As an aside, it looks like those who posited that Google was demonetizing videos to increase revenue rather than as a censorship move were correct. They're demonetizing totally innocuous content now and it signals increasing desperation on the part of Google/Alphabet.



It's both, but it's almost wholly been about turning YouTube into HGTV + 100million other videos. The distinct problem is that YouTube has lied through obfuscation about it the entire time. Because Goolag is a terribly run company and it let them attack political content with some deniability.

Blogger Quilp September 12, 2017 1:21 PM  

Its entire economy built on wishful thinking.

Blogger seeingsights September 12, 2017 1:36 PM  

The firm I worked for tried Google ads around 3 years ago. We stopped buying Google ads a couple of months later.
However, we have found that positive reviews online are great. They basically cost nothing and are good advertising.
Reflecting on my own purchases, I've been much more influenced by positive online reviews than online ads.

Blogger Chiva September 12, 2017 1:49 PM  

@seeingsights. I agree that positive reviews are important for a business with an online presense. Even more important than positive reviews is the absence (or limited number) of negative reviews.

Anonymous Ominous Cowherd September 12, 2017 1:49 PM  

BBGKB wrote: ... leftists ... looters survivalists ... I don't know how to eat those.

They're all made of meat, big guy. Pig is pig, long or short.

Blogger H8KU com September 12, 2017 1:54 PM  

Here is a benefit for buying ads... testing book / app cover icon art for how well it grabs attention to targeted demographics. Any platform where you can have image ads and target based on age/sex/interests will be useful. Test a few different images with the same text and you can get a better idea of what art to use for pure ability to grab attention from people who are in the group who buy your work.

Blogger Unknown September 12, 2017 2:17 PM  

I make my living ranking my clients videos on YouTube. Works great and the analytics are solid. But we only contract a few search terms per client.

Anonymous 5343 Kinds of Deplorable September 12, 2017 2:38 PM  

Fake Right Clown Nazis are why you can't have nice things.

Like a country that works?

Blogger Jack Ward September 12, 2017 2:45 PM  

From uppage: Reader View; an ad blocker? Any experiences with the best ad blockers. What to get that works best?
Thanks.

Blogger VFM #7634 September 12, 2017 3:04 PM  

At least for me, the biggest reason online ads don't work is... well, let's just say that whoever invented autoplay videos deserves to die a gruesome death.

Blogger Ron Winkleheimer September 12, 2017 3:11 PM  

From uppage: Reader View; an ad blocker? Any experiences with the best ad blockers. What to get that works best?

Before I started using Brave I used adblockplus, now I just use Brave.

Blogger Quadko September 12, 2017 3:15 PM  

dh wrote:because the money has to go somewhere. But at any moment it could be that CEO's decide it doens't have to go anywhere.
So how do we make them decide that our brainstormed new business plan is the place to put it?

Blogger DeploraBard September 12, 2017 3:18 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Shimshon September 12, 2017 3:19 PM  

I use uBlock Origin and Privacy Badger in Chromium. It's a pretty ruthless combination. I use Brave sometimes, particularly for Periscope.

Blogger DeploraBard September 12, 2017 3:23 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger DeploraBard September 12, 2017 3:24 PM  

People hate ads. We record TV to skip commercials, install ad blockers, and skip video ads ASAP. Except for that new car I bought in the Lexus "December to Remember Sales Event." That totally worked. When that black guy gave his mistress a bow wrapped Lexus I had to spend $40,000 to do the same. Couldn't help it. The ad was so convincing, well conceived, and targeted to the perfect demographic: successful upper class black males living in suburbia.

Blogger Stilicho September 12, 2017 3:26 PM  

Has anyone seriously tried old school sponsored content a la "this is the xyz show/blog/news/whatever brought to you by our sponsor ABC corp.". Could work for brand awareness/image type of marketing. Hard to quantify sales increases though.

Blogger Quadko September 12, 2017 3:26 PM  

Ron Winkleheimer wrote:I don't know how anyone who doesn't use an ad blocker can stand to use the Internet.
I started using a different browser with NoScript to browse daily news - browsing without javascript mostly rocks, other than commerce sites like Amazon, Ebay, probably Kickstarter. (Was Firefox, now Pale Moon, waiting for Brave to get up to speed.)

Actually, Townhall.com's ad & popup shenanigans pushed me to do it, then eventually they started whining about "an adblocker", so I dropped them from my rotation. I'm not sure how they won that way, but are easily replaceable. I browse-open for later; even Drudge is better without javascript click-actions.

Blogger Shimshon September 12, 2017 3:33 PM  

I remember once years ago someone looked over my shoulder and couldn't believe the difference between my browser experience (ad-blocked) and his (not). I introduced him to my world. Your first time running an ad-blocker in a browser is like your first high. Or something like that. Given how heavy even ad-blocked pages are today, the effect isn't nearly as profound as it used to be though.

Blogger Ron Winkleheimer September 12, 2017 3:55 PM  

Has anyone seriously tried old school sponsored content a la "this is the xyz show/blog/news/whatever brought to you by our sponsor ABC corp.". Could work for brand awareness/image type of marketing. Hard to quantify sales increases though.

I'm starting to see that more and more on youtube channels.

Blogger Orville September 12, 2017 3:59 PM  

Yeah sometimes I forget just how bad it is until looking at Zerohedge on my Kindle.

Anonymous Avalanche September 12, 2017 4:47 PM  

As for adwords, if I do a search I always avoid the advertised results. Even if the advertised results lead to the same page as the normal search result.

This -- so very much this!

And stupid YouTube has gotten absolutely flooded with (really poor!) 'computers reading articles' for the first page or two of results! Makes it very hard to find ACTUAL new videos!

Blogger roughcoat September 12, 2017 4:55 PM  

Ron Winkleheimer wrote:Has anyone seriously tried old school sponsored content a la "this is the xyz show/blog/news/whatever brought to you by our sponsor ABC corp.". Could work for brand awareness/image type of marketing. Hard to quantify sales increases though.

I'm starting to see that more and more on youtube channels.


A few channels I'm subscribed to do it. LinusTechTips has been doing it for years and so has Jupiter Broadcasting. Those sorts of ads are, at least on me, very effective, because they're directly relevant to the content I'm watching.

There are several services I use regularly that I first heard about in that sort of mid-stream direct ad. Since the plugs are typically < 30 seconds, and there might be all of two or three of them spaced out in an hour of podcast, they also don't bother me at all.

Anonymous Avalanche September 12, 2017 4:55 PM  

a herd of lemmings in the act of flinging themselves over a cliff

Wee bit of historical sperging: the not-fake-story is that lemmings do NOT fling themselves off cliffs! The Walt Disney (!!) filmers actually dumped the poor wee rodents out of trucks, which flung them off the cliff, just for the cameras!
/sperg

http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20141122-the-truth-about-lemmings

Blogger dh September 12, 2017 5:04 PM  

> Has anyone seriously tried old school sponsored content a la "this is the xyz show/blog/news/whatever brought to you by our sponsor ABC corp.". Could work for brand awareness/image type of marketing. Hard to quantify sales increases though.

This is what the vox.com and those people are doing, and it's failing pretty badly. You have to essentially trick users into thinking the content is actually content. Medium, qz, vox, etc are all trying to do this, and it's just not that successful. If it's too clear the contenxt is paid, it's worthless to the advertisers. If it's too confusing, it kills the site.

This type of sponsorship does appear to work very well for podcasts, but probably because the demographic for podcasts overlaps with NPR, and NPR listeners are really used to corporate sponsorship presented in a "sponsored by" type of way (instead of neo-traditional 30/45/60 second adverts like on TV and commercial radio).

Anonymous Avalanche September 12, 2017 5:05 PM  

take up one of the top 10 slots for that search, pushing any real critical opinions off the front page.

Which is why I search for "company name scam" when I want to get the real scoop!

Anonymous Avalanche September 12, 2017 5:09 PM  

hen that black guy gave his mistress a bow wrapped Lexus I had to spend $40,000 to do the same.

S'pose they didn't show the spinners he got for her wheels? Or the trunk-full of speaker?

Anonymous Post Alley Crackpot September 12, 2017 6:45 PM  

Actually, given what's been going on with certain defamatory things, I'd be surprised if you didn't already have most of the reasonable domains (.com, .net, .org, .info, .biz perhaps) for your identity and businesses registered so you can keep various irritants from becoming more irritating ...

This costs me personally several hundred dollars per year and several thousand dollars per year for my businesses, but I don't worry about someone coming up with a Web site that looks plausibly like one I'd have.

That's the only "name squatting" that I actually give a toss about.

Anonymous Mr. Rational September 12, 2017 8:57 PM  

Heian-kyo Dreams wrote:The new arrows look nice. Good work, whoever put them in.
Note, the numbered comment tags are still there and a properly-formatted URL will go to them.  For instance, your comment is (currently) numbered 32.  Maybe I can even link it that way:  @32.

I miss the numbers; they gave me an idea of how much still remained to read.  Much harder now.

Anonymous Raker Tooth September 12, 2017 9:57 PM  

Some things are probably best not admitted; but I often watch ads to see how they're made. Granted, I haven't watched TV in about 30 years, and watch maybe 3 movies a year. But every production had a lot of work put into it. The number of camera shots, the lighting angles, the scenery, the way the message is presented,the computer editing, is all very interesting. And they have to do the whole shebang in X amount of time. It also lets me get an indirect idea of cultural trends.
Next thing you know, I'll be such a hermit that I welcome junk mail. "Oh look, 'Or Current Resident' close enough! They remembered me...sniff"
.
But seriously; as long as we're talking advertising, an experience of my own: I made a website to get work, but it generated zero inquiries. A gal I know on a sign maker's forum made herself a website also. Her work dropped so low at one point that she had to take a job at a hardware store. After making the site, it generated so much work that she said: "It was the best thing I ever did." I went and looked at her site. It was one of those free website deals where you're actually a subdomain. The have premade templates that you choose, and just put pictures and text here and there. On her home page she had no pictures of here work (she's good), just a picture of her sitting on the floor with her Shar-Pei dog, looking up at the camera.
With this, she gets lots of work and I get none? Granted SEO work is a huge factor, but no inquiries? Then I remembered an article I read that said having a picture of yourself, or your staff, is important for a website. So I put my picture on the site, and, then I got calls and emails. Still do. FWIW
Also, the long term, detailed tactic of this post is keen. Way to go VD.

Anonymous 100PctAmerican September 12, 2017 10:27 PM  

Vox, you're smart for focusing on email and your blog. You pretty much own those platforms.

Marketing is my wheelhouse and it's unconscionable how many businesses are getting ripped off. I'm involved in direct response marketing, which is measurable to the degree of a closer relationship between distribution and purchase. It's especially effective with direct mail. If you mail out 100K pieces of mail and get a 5% conversion rate, you've got a winner. It's much more straightforward and has decades of proven principles to back it up.

(It's interesting that Google uses direct mail to sell its AdWords program.)

Now we have more access to online data but who can count on Google to be truthful? And how many of those clicks lead to a sale? If there's nothing on a website to capture a visitor's contact info, they're gone and there's little to show for it.

But if you get someone's email address, that's where the gold is found. I know one guy who sells a subscription to a monthly print magazine for close to $100 per month. He primarily uses email to promote it and makes a mid six-figure yearly revenue.

I wouldn't trust Facebook. Look what they did to businesses after they told them to "build their audience" with followers. Then they yanked the rug out from under them by limiting the reach of their updates to about 1% - 2% of their audience. They told business owners they could pay to promote their update and increase the percentage of their own followers seeing it in their news feed. Marketers complained but Zuckerberg didn't care.

This is why I tell my clients to build their own email list. It's the only sure thing you own (and you can export it into a spreadsheet for safe keeping). As a popular marketing saying goes: Don't build on rented land.

Blogger Chris McCullough September 12, 2017 10:32 PM  

Internet ads are always:
malware
obnoxiously space consuming
a huge time and data sink

What sane company would want their products associated with that?

Anonymous DaveA September 12, 2017 11:42 PM  

Lemmings do not exactly "fling themselves off of cliffs", but they are strong swimmers and will attempt to cross any body of water even if they cannot see the other side. If they were to slow down or deviate from a straight line of travel, they'd quickly find themselves in a wasteland denuded of all edible vegetation by other hungry lemmings.

Lemmings are not conformists running with the crowd but individualists racing to stay ahead of it.

Blogger Harambe September 13, 2017 3:19 AM  

Now, Vox, we all know you secretly enjoyed those celebrity foot picture ads!

Blogger Sillon Bono September 13, 2017 3:52 AM  

Shimshon wrote:I remember once years ago someone looked over my shoulder and couldn't believe the difference between my browser experience (ad-blocked) and his (not). I introduced him to my world. Your first time running an ad-blocker in a browser is like your first high. Or something like that. Given how heavy even ad-blocked pages are today, the effect isn't nearly as profound as it used to be though.

Once you get used to browsing without ads you can't go back to the old way.

Almost invariably the first thing I install is an ad blocker, either uBlock or Adnauseam, when the site blocks users for using ad blockers, I simply stop browsing that site.

Most people I know do the same.

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