Talk Talk Talk

Based in part on Calacanis's recent tirades, Scott Karp recently published a great post about SEO from an outsider's perspective. In his post he runs through how and why some people are biases against SEO. I think a couple big reasons that few people talk about are mis-direction and outsourcing faults onto others.

In other news, what is going on with Goog on Google Finance? People are talking about Cramer. Some are talking about how intelligent he is while others are saying his packaging is bad and he is an idiot. Both are probably increasing his brand value though.

I have to agree. I find Cramer a bit of an idiot. I mean, apparently he has done well in stocks, I am not disputing that, but for an investment adviser he is someone I find....well, comical. I've watched his show, and to me he's like the circus; something to see and laugh at when it comes to town, but not something to take too seriously. His biggest fault, and this is ironically the draw of his show, is how he preys on and encourages the emotions of his followers. Now, he may say that its best not to invest with emotion, but watching him run around on tv with his sleeves rolled up, yelling like some motivational speaker selling a new brand of energy drink, sure sends a different message. In fact, the high quality of his marketing skill, and the poor quality of his advice, kind of reminds me of the Motley Fool.....

In every market people who evoke emotional responses win. Even if they are wrong, you will see them refererenced often just because they are good at marketing and preying on human emotions.

Many popular people create far more controversy than value, but links and trust follow conversation. And so do ad dollars. If people are talking about you, you win, even if you are wrong.

Popular and correct are two different things, and the only way to know who you should trust is to test and then aim.

With the advancement of modern technology, people do not even vote on the content, just the headlines, which somewhat feeds into my belief that search personalization + using links as a proxy for value are going to create a polarized biased web full of recycled garbage. Everything is recycled.

Is it unfair to throw any of that blame toward search engines, or is it just default human nature to outsource our own faults and want to split things up to identify with things that are false but look good at a glance? Are our egos so broken that we have to be part of some minority or fighting for one to feel we have purpose? Must we have outspoken leaders to follow? Do the leaders believe their own words, or is it just self-serving marketing?

As more forms of vertical search come about, subscribing and publishing get easier, and more people vote without reading, you can bet that packaging will become more important than information least until people get sick of it.

I saw two popular pieces about saving money that explicitly gave money saving tips opposite of each other, both published by a friend, who recently talked up the value of his content. Some days sites like Motley Fool will tell you why a stock is a must buy and then have another article dissing the stock the same day. I think they even have a column based on biased polarized advice called Dueling Fools.

Big claims are remarkable, and worthy of a link. In a sea of rushed judgements and meaningless votes sounding convincing is more important than being correct. The perception of value and actually being of value are two different things. For the next couple years it will be far cheaper and more profitable to cater biased marketing to the ignorant rather than to create meaning with a bit of touch and originality. Or am I wrong?

Published: February 9, 2007 by Aaron Wall in marketing


February 9, 2007 - 12:06pm

It all depends on the target audience you are targeting at, as always.

If you want to get traffic and links, but not intelligent following, go for the average content, enticing packaging and link bait.

If you want to surround yourself with like-minded people, you'll need to focus on the quality of your content. Palatable packaging can't hurt here, either, but it won't be the cornerstone of your content.

Am I wrong, too? ;)

February 9, 2007 - 3:34pm

" ... search personalization + using links as a proxy for value are going to create a polarized, biased web full of recycled garbage."

Then it will accurately reflect the real world!

Seriously, attention is easily manipulated, and so it will be manipulated. The web will be a medium for manipulation for some, and a repository of value for others.

Those of us less willing to be manipulated will seek out the value.

For example, the semantic web movement is happening in parallel to the personalization/link methodology, and while it likely won't dominate, it provides one form of key for unlocking the value that those of us who care are trying to place on the web.

February 9, 2007 - 6:36pm

Two words: Shock Value. This, and a comedic approach, have always gotten the public's attention more rapidly and effectively than any other method. Whether or not we agree with the message or method, it just plain works. " long as they're saying 'Ford.'"

Get the attention, and have a plan to harness it and direct it to your brand image. But first, you have to get their attention. Wallflowers and conservative approaches, in general, don't get the date with the prom queen. ;-)

February 9, 2007 - 6:39pm

I always enjoy your musings, Aaron. Well written.

I think the root of the problem is the need to market to the mob because because unfortunately mobs have the purchasing power.

Attention - irrespective of how it's attracted - is the only thing that seems to matter these days.

February 9, 2007 - 6:45pm

Regarding Cramer and GOOG, don't get me started:

Analysts are part of the equation to successful trading, whether you agree with them or not is irrelevant, how you react to what happens when they make comments is what moves money in and out of your trading account.

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