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Re: AM: Customer Acquisition via the Web- The Fool responds

To:     "" <>
Subject:     Re: AM: Customer Acquisition via the Web- The Fool responds
From:     Jim Harmon <>
Date:     Fri, 22 May 1998 11:14:26 -0400
CC:     "'marketing/advertising discussion group'" <>
Organization:     The Telephone Connection
References:     <>


> In trying to generate subscriptions, there are two things that we 
> know do not work: banners ads and random e-mails to large lists.  

I'd like to comment on this for the group.

This is intended to explain why Banners and "random e-mails" don't work
well, from the perspective of the system administrator.

I'm hoping by offering insight from my professional perspective, the
members of this list will be better able to tune their electronic
advertising and marketting efforts.

First, Banner Ads tend to be "noise" these days, and unless entirely
related to the page where displayed, will be utterly ignored most of the

In an illustration most of us can relate to, I'd like to try to explain
how excellent, tasteful, timely, (otherwise) relevant, and entertaining
banners can be ignored routinely.

For those of us who've ever worked in commercial office spaces: 

  "When was the last time you actually paid attention to the sound of 
   the air conditioning running around you?"  

My money's on the "Almost-Never" box.  Although you notice immediately
if it *isn't* there.

Why?  You've become accustomed to the background noise and ignore it.

Banners are so widely placed now that I'd estimate I see over 1000 a
day, yet 99.999% of the time I follow none of them.  They've become the
Background Noise of the WWW.

In fact, the only example of a banner I *will* concider following to
another site is one that actually looks like a header for the page of
content I'm in.  It becomes a continuation of my primary focus.

Second, there is only *three* perceptions of RANDOM e-mails to "bulk

1- SPAM.	(The recipient)

2- Advertising	(Legitimate advertisers)

3- SPAM.	(List sellers)

You can forget the entire campaign if you use SPAM marketting
techniques.  ESPECIALLY unwittingly.

There's a huge grass-roots movement on the Internet to stop all random
e-mail efforts.  The "sellers of lists" are considered "evil" by this
movement.  They literally don't care what happens to the advertiser, or
the recipient, so long as they get paid for use of the list(s) they

They often collect their lists by electronically "photocopying" every
e-mail "envelope" that they can possibly observe travelling on the
internet.  There is virtually *no* descrimination as to whose addresses
they collect, and in some cases, they claim to have targetted the names,
when infact, all they've done is keyword searches on the "photocopied"
CONTENT of the e-mail messages they collect.

In other words, they read your e-mail to collect assumptions about you.

On the commercial side, the users of such lists can be dismissed
summarily from access to their service providers, with no chance of
appeal after even *one* SPAM complaint.

Even if the complaint is unfounded.

Its a NON-win situation.

The anti-SPAM furor is raging so hot these days that you may actually
LOSE EXISTING business if you use the "random bulk-mailing" method of
approaching prospective customers.

This is why I *strongly* agree with Bernie Dietz's statement:

> We have found success, judged both by increased subscription numbers 
> and no-to-low cost, by giving "teaser" content to other websites with 
> a prominent link to a subscription page (It should be noted that 
> teaser content has to have its own inherent value to be effective).

The empowerment of the prospective client to choose without pressure,
and with full knowledge that you're a reputable and trustworthy provider
is to me the greatest teaser you can offer.

If this has been helpful, or if anyone wishes to discuss my POV
off-list, please feel free to contact me.

Have a Great Memorial Day Weekend!

   Jim Harmon                           The Telephone Connection                          Rockville, Maryland

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