Everybody’s on the internet.  Facebook, Twitter, Google, Myspace, Ebay, Netflix, Vimeo, Hulu, etc. etc. etc. timewastersall.

Everybody’s trying to figure out how to make money on what is basically a free medium. But the internet is full of creeps, Zuckerberg, Sean Parker. Zuckerberg is fighting the Federal Government because he is illegally allowing underage kids on FACEBOOK. Instead of obeying the law, he’s lobbying to change the law.  All you have to know about Sean Parker’s being a creep is to look at the photos in Forbes magazine. My older daughter met him at a Yoko Ono event. He hit on her and when rejected asked her if she knew who he was. She answered ‘no’ ad asked him if he knew who she was. 

The big question that nobody seems to have an answer for is the effectiveness of the internet. Last year Jeff Goodby showed some of  his agency’s work as an example of effectiveness. He showed a cheesy horror film for Doritos (pun intended)  Cheesy, get it?  He said that the film cost under a million (so it was probably close to a million although it looked like it cost fifty cents). It was shot in Sweden (why?)  maybe because it is always dark and gloomy in Sweden and they wanted it to look dark and gloomy but probably because it was cheaper to shoot there. The film cost a million and it sold two million bags of Doritos or so they claim. I’m sure many people bought Doritos without seeing the film but the economics still don’t make much sense. It cost a half a buck a bag for this promotion.  Doesn’t seem too cost effective to me. Where were the cost accountants on this one? I’m not picking on Jeff. I like Jeff (I think) and I like his stumbling, boyish manner of presentation. He’s watched a lot of Jimmy Stewart films with a bit of Gary Cooper thrown in. He learned that from Jerry Andelin who was Riney’s wrist for decades. What I’m sayin’ is if Jeff doesn’t have it figured out who does?

The infamous BMW films are said to have reached 100,000,000 people (hits). Some may have seen them more than once. I know I watched Tony Scott’s a number of times. I love Tony’s filmmaking. I also watched Madonna’s a couple of times because I like her but she looked like shit and then I saw that it was shot by her husband. How did he get so much alimony after that? Anyway the whole thing cost twenty five million and change so a spot on the Super Bowl would have been cheaper and reached as many people (more?). I don’t get it. The cars didn’t look that good either. I don’t think they do them anymore besides BMW drivers are the world’s biggest assholes.

As far as the internet goes the ‘skip this ad’ button on my computer is worn out. Ads on the internet are unwelcome pests. By the way, didn’t Zuckerberg say that there wouldn’t be any advertising on FACEBOOK or was that just the movie? 

I discussed this with a  friend of mine, an expert and here’s the gist of what he said.

‘My feeling is that the Internet is much more analogous to a Yellow Pages on Steroids than it is to the next generation of entertainment media. If you KNOW what you want – the Internet is a fabulous tool. Where’s the nearest car dealership? Where can I get my shoes repaired? How do I get chocolate out of my tablecloth?

The problem with SEARCH – and it is the dark secret of the Internet – is that the audience is relatively limited. They come to SEARCH with an interest in brands.  “Where can I find Martin Guitars in Chicago?” “Where’s the nearest Hertz office?” “Who has a nice Leica M5 for sale?” And so on. The brand decision has often been made or at least narrowed down.

In other words, Search is narrow and effective. But MASS is where you shape attitudes. What brands matter? What products are new?

The best possible example of the power of MASS, even in this digital age, is APPLE. The iMac, the iPhone, the iPod, the iPad – all were introduced and made successful with MASS media: TV, targeted outdoor, PR, and print.  Not digital.  (Although digital was used to turbocharge the interest generated by mass – which is what it’s really good for.)

The number of YouTube marketing videos that have been seen by more than a handful of viewers is tiny.  In one NFL game, you beat the six-month viewership of almost all popular YouTube films.  So if you want to sell something to somebody TOMORROW, you better be where the eyeballs are. 

This will piss a lot of you off.

Digital people as a whole do not know how to sell anything.  To sell something, you have to understand human beings and how they perceive value.  That is the fundamental motivation of the entire capitalist system.

Value can be real (a car that gets me from point A to point B) or it can be emotional (a Porsche that makes me look like a successful stud and gets me dates with cute girls.)  But either way, people perceive value such that they are willing to pay for it.

Digital people are obsessed with technology and ignore the perception of value entirely.

Look at the New York Times.

For decades, highly educated people were willing to pay a buck or two a day to read it. Nobody every complained “The New York Times costs too damn much!”

They had millions of subscribers that paid gladly,  and advertisers who paid for the premium eyeballs that came with it. 

Fifteen years ago, some bright light decided that instead of charging a buck or two a day for New York Times, they would give it away. Free. Gratis.

At the time, there weren’t that many people online and nobody paid attention and left the decision to some digital guy.

But of course what happened is that over time more and more people started to read it online. They stopped paying for it at the newsstand and began to read it for free, and what happened was that, over time, the perception of the value of the New York Times dropped from a buck or two a day to “free.” Customers didn’t demand this. It was just a boneheaded decision by some digital dork at the New York Times.

Now, when you say something like this the digital crowd turns around and calls you a dinosaur and says things like “information wants to be free?” And that’s why newspapers are dying.

But, in fact, the thing people wanted from a newspaper was never the paper. It was the news. That’s where the value was. And they were willing to pay for it.

Over a decade and a half, under the influence of a bunch of technicians who don’t know how to sell anything, the perception of value of the New York Times plummeted. They’re now charging for it – but does it work? Who knows? They undid a century of perceived value through sheer digital idiocy.

Digital or vegetable, selling things is about engaging the attention of a human being and converting it to action. How you do it doesn’t matter – but if you don’t do it, you don’t sell anything.

By the way, a recent survey showed that 79% of internet users refuse to pay for news.

A good friend of mine got an job at a major studio to explore profitability on the internet. After a year or so they eliminated his job as there was no way that they determined that direct profits could not be made.

In  recent New York Times survey, it was estimated that there was over six million dollars a year in ad money wasted on fake ad clicks. That’s a lotta dough.

Apple, the most valuable company in the world, has recently introduced and supported ad-blocking.

Go figure.