Macbeth! beware the conversions-per-clicksters

"The VC community continually salivates at ways of creating a craigslist... The days are gone when Craigslist was simply a hobby of founder Craig Newmark's... 1.7 million page views per day and nearly 7 million unique visitors per month."
--Tom Foremski, Silicon Valley

Recently I listened (as an observer) while an executive casually threw the statement "we will register 10,000 visitors" into a planning session, as if there was simply no chance it would not happen. Like many executives, who have not found time for the web, the idea that, if you spend bags of money on a site, "they" will come, is a universal misunderstanding of what drives web traffic.

"They recite from business self-help manuals and reduce the hard work of innovation and creativity to comic book parables."
--Matt Marshall and Michael Bazeley,

This basic mis[use]understanding of the web is widespread. Many believe they can build an eBay with smoke and mirrors alone, that users will never notice the vacuum, if they are dazzled by "interactive multimedia." After all the "end-user[buzz]" should bend to the "interactive[buzz]" "deliverables[buzz]" provided for their "at the end of the day[buzz]" enjoyment!

Then again, it might be prudent to understand what people are [actually] doing when they are on the web, before designing a web site. And frankly despite all the "research" being done by ad managers, and the like, many in decision making positions do not seem to have a clue. I worked closely with a CEO who confidently stated "I have never gone on the web, but I know what will work." I nearly slid off my chair!

There is a lot of "conversions per click through" snake oil being sold out there, and very little common sense. But it's common sense that builds a site like CraigsList. Common sense that says, don't be greedy, leave money on the table by refusing to monetize everything in sight. Don't pay too much attention to the conversions-per-clicksters. [More] Etc...

Which brings me to the point of my post...
Everyone should have a web-nerd like me around when wondering about why no one is using their dazzling new $150,000 Flash site (or why they should not build it that way -- in the first place). Perhaps I might shed some light on why a 14 year old kid out in cyberspace is getting 60,000 visitors a month to his web site, running on a $10 a month account at PowWeb?

I get shushed, even kicked under the table, at meetings. Miniscule visitor numbers, on million dollar sites, is a very common, shushed, secret.

1 comment:

The Humanity Critic said...

Just passing through, I'm digging the blog by the way.