Monday, July 16, 2007

The Way Things Work

Another wild weekend with things that we thought that worked not working and things that we thought would never work working. First off - Second Life is dying. At least in a corporate way. Corporations are leaving in droves because the CPM is just way too expensive. While there is a higher CTR the CPM is not justifiable. Secondly - The TiVo numbers are out. And...Direct response commercials are the least fast forwarded commercials out there. Strange. Thirdly - Why aren't people clicking on those Facebook ads?

So those three points are some interesting issues that are going on in today's tech beat. But I think the more interesting thing is the growth and spread of these networks like Second Life. (or un-growth). Why is Facebook so large and ConnectU the company suing Mark Zuckerberg not? So advertising as we know it is changing. Things aren't spreading the way we think they are. A virtual 2D world like Barbie has more users than a Second Life and will soon rival World of Warcraft.

A new world of thought has emerged that is rivaling Malcolm Gladwell's Tipping Point strategy of Influentials well influencing people. It's from Columbia Professor Duncan Watts who believes that its not the influentials but the easily influenced people that make a difference. BzzAgent utilizes this strategy as well. I think though that when it comes to viral marketing and the way that it works it really depends on what you are trying to market. If you are marketing Coke and Pepsi then sure, you should go with the Watts School of thought. After all, everyone needs to drink a soda every so often. And when you're thirsty do you really care if Paris Hilton is drinking a Coke (although you would care if she was drinking a Vitamin Water, which is arguably, a reason for its great rise)? I think fashionable products and name brands work better through Influentials (like Paris). Products where you can charge a premium because its the celebrity's choice, etc. That works. But I think when you are going after mass merchandising buzz (let's say you have a website that let's you create a profile and all you care about is number of profiles, all right let's just say you have MySpace) its a better deal to go after the lowest common denominator (hence the simple yet poor design of the site).

As we've seen before, we've been wrong, but we'll be keeping our eye out on how things grow in this new viral economy.

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