Thursday, November 27, 2003
At at website called WebmasterWorld, people mostly exchange tips on how to market their websites, with the majority of interesting being on how to get your website to show up at the top of the Google search results.
A regular poster with the moniker of GoogleGuy, who claims to be an employee of Google, recently recommended that people stop worrying about the search results and just focus on creating quality websites. Time wasted trying to game Google would be better spent improving the website.
I've been thinking about this advice for the last few days, and I've come to the conclusion that it's incredibly bad advice. I don't know if GoogleGuy is intentionally trying to deceive people (for the benefit of his employer), or if he actually believes that all you have to do is come up with a great website and then it will automatically get found.
In the non-internet world, there are many types of companies that spend most of their money on marketing. People often point out that drug companies spend more money on sales and marketing than they do on R&D. And that's an especially interesting example, because their customers are doctors, who are highly educated and have a professional obligation to figure out what the best drugs are. Yet drug companies seem to think that sales and markeing deserve more resources than R&D.
Coca Cola spends practically zero on R&D and billions on marketing. Consulting companies bill out their employees at more than twice what the employees get paid. The client is paying mostly for the marketing effort. They could go directly to an employee and hire him at a signficant discount.
The classic example of marketing failure is the Sony Betamax video recording format. Betamax is allegedly a superior technology to VHS, but you don't see any Betamax VCRs around any more. Sony failed in marketing.
The unfortunate lesson of all these examples is that advertising, sales, and other marketing often require a greater share of business resources than R&D and actual manufacturing costs. This applies to both online as well as offline businesses. A mediocre product can far outsell a much higher quality product if the marketing is superior. I'm sure that some webmasters are getting worthwhile results from devoting more resources to marketing their website (with search engine traffic being the only source of marketing for many webmasters) than to improving the quality of their website.
Tuesday, November 25, 2003
The latest buzzword making its way across both cyberspace and regular space is "metrosexual". What's the definition of metrosexual? Some define metrosexual as "a straight man in touch with his feminine side". Others define it with more specificity, such as "a straight man, who lives in an urban environment, who is into designer clothes, art museums, musicals, and other non-macho pursuits." And one internet jokester defined a metrosexual as a person who is sexually attracted to Geo Metros.
Sunday, November 23, 2003
Kevin at Truck and Barter (a very excellent economics blog) posted a few days ago about anti price gouging laws, and that Viriginia is considering joing the roll of states that have one.
The Governor [of Virginia] is reviewing model legislation from other states. Legislation he could support would make it unlawful to sell merchandise or services which are consumed or used as a direct result of an emergency, or which are consumed or used to preserve or protect or sustain life, health, safety, or comfort of people or their property with the knowledge or intent to charge a price that is unreasonably excessive under the circumstances."
Although such a law might be good in some circumstance, the way it's described is sort of vague, and vague laws are dangerous to our freedoms.
I wonder if such laws could be used to prevent hospitals from charging such outrageous fees for emergency room services? Those fees are pretty expensive!
In a related issue, I have a complete lack of comprehension as to why some states outlaw ticket scalping. A ticket to a concert or a sporting event is in no way any kind of necessity, but in some states it's illegal to buy a ticket and then sell it at a higher price. There's a law that makes absolutely no sense.