Search Engine Optimization/Search Engine Marketing
Back in the ‘90s, when I was editor of Target Marketing, this strange thing called the Internet turned up on my radar screen. I did not understand it. In fact, nobody understood it.
For one thing, with the dial-up modem, downloading was s-l-o-w.
Investors fell in love with it and pumped billions of dollars into startup companies that promised to capture millions of “eyeballs,” and a large percentage of those eyeballs would turn into paying customers or cause advertisers to spend money.
“The only bank that takes eyeballs,” Bill Bonner, brilliant founder and proprietor of the sprawling Agora Publishing empire, told me, “is the eye bank.”
I will never forget a surreal client meeting I once had.
Two Days of Cockamamy Ideas
A direct marketing client summoned me to its office for a brainstorming session on how to cash in on the huge money being poured into Internet startups by investors.
The two days of sessions were free-flowing and a lot of fun. We came up with a host of screwball business models that would capture eyeballs, which in turn would capture the interest of investors. But being schooled in direct marketing—which is accountable down to a gnat’s eyebrow in terms of revenue, costs and return on investment—I kept dumping ice water on the proceedings. “How will we get paid?” I kept asking.
“Do not think about revenue,” said the CEO. “Think about eyeballs! That’s what investors are interested in.”
The meeting broke up, and shortly thereafter the dot-com bubble burst. The dot-commers had burned through billions of dollars while the market went up, up, up. Then one day we all woke up and trillions of dollars vanished.
As a consultant, I felt good that I had helped keep these nice folks out of investing in an Internet business when none of us understood it.