What could be better than advertising?
The Economist asks, Will Facebook, MySpace and other social-networking sites transform advertising? Good question, but it's the wrong one.
The right question is, Can we equip customers to become independent of sellers and their controlling intentions Including the unwanted crap that constitutes far too much of the world's advertising? For the good of both sellers and buyers?
This question came up for me when I saw the third paragraph of the Economist piece:
Messrs Lazarsfeld and Katz, of course, assumed that most of these conversations and their implicit marketing messages would remain inaudible. That firms might be able to eavesdrop on this chatter first became conceivable in the 1990s, with the rise of the internet. Thus the main thesis of "The Cluetrain Manifesto", written in 1999, was that "markets are conversations" which the web can make transparent.
I'm not only a co-author of The Cluetrain Manifesto, but guilty of being the guy who foisted the "markets are conversations" line on the world in the first place. For all the good intentions behind that line, it's still woefully misunderstood, and what the Economist says in that paragraph is no exception.
Because we weren't just talking about "transparency". We were talking about turning markets into places where buyers were not just seen by sellers as cattle to be herded into walled gardens, as "targets" for one-way messages, or as tools for other marketing purposes.
To me the most powerful line in Cluetrain came from Chris Locke who wrote,
we are not seats or eyeballs or end users or consumers. we are human beings and our reach exceeds your grasp. deal with it.
"Deal with it" doesn't mean "Make better advertising" or "Target your advertising more effectively" or "Turn your users into marketers" (which is Facebook's latest idea). All that is just just more grasp.
What we need is better reach by customers. Better advertising doesn't do that. We need something else entirely. Something that lives on the customer side. Something that makes customers and users more powerful, more independent, more valuable than just "consumers" (which Jerry Michalski calls "gullets with wallets and eyeballs").
The problem we still have is a conceptual default. We think, talk and design "solutions" that work entirely on the sell side. We have CRM (customer relationship management) systems that are less about helping real customers than about "managing" them. What we need is VRM (vendor relationship management), by which customers get to manage vendors as well. With CRM+VRM, both sides can truly relate on mutually beneficial terms.
Until CRM meets VRM and starts working out real relationships, we'll keep thinking the only answers come from the sell side and keep putting old crap in new wrappers.
Meanwhile it will help to remember what advertising does and does not do.
Advertising is about supply finding and "creating" demand. Nothing wrong with that. At its best it's good and necessary stuff. But think about what will happen when demand can find and create supply. That's the real holy grail here. And it's one that will take fresh development effort on both the supply and demand sides. The difference between those two right now is that the supply side has been working on targeting, creating and controlling demand for the duration, and the demand side is still getting started.
Earliner this week at Apachecon in Atlanta, my opening keynote explored the possibilities here. Because I think there are countless open source development projects, new and old, that can be put to use answering the question I raised in the second paragraph above. If you feel like naming some of those projects, and sharing your ideas about what we can do with them, weigh in through the comments section below.
I'll get that presentation up shortly. Watch this space for that.
Doc Searls is Senior Editor of Linux Journal
Fast/Flexible Linux OS Recovery
On Demand Now
In this live one-hour webinar, learn how to enhance your existing backup strategies for complete disaster recovery preparedness using Storix System Backup Administrator (SBAdmin), a highly flexible full-system recovery solution for UNIX and Linux systems.
Join Linux Journal's Shawn Powers and David Huffman, President/CEO, Storix, Inc.
Free to Linux Journal readers.Register Now!
- Download "Linux Management with Red Hat Satellite: Measuring Business Impact and ROI"
- July 2016 Issue of Linux Journal
- Tibbo Technology's Tibbo Project System
- Client-Side Performance
- Sony Settles in Linux Battle
- Peppermint 7 Released
- Libarchive Security Flaw Discovered
- The Giant Zero, Part 0.x
- Profiles and RC Files
- Snappy Moves to New Platforms
With all the industry talk about the benefits of Linux on Power and all the performance advantages offered by its open architecture, you may be considering a move in that direction. If you are thinking about analytics, big data and cloud computing, you would be right to evaluate Power. The idea of using commodity x86 hardware and replacing it every three years is an outdated cost model. It doesn’t consider the total cost of ownership, and it doesn’t consider the advantage of real processing power, high-availability and multithreading like a demon.
This ebook takes a look at some of the practical applications of the Linux on Power platform and ways you might bring all the performance power of this open architecture to bear for your organization. There are no smoke and mirrors here—just hard, cold, empirical evidence provided by independent sources. I also consider some innovative ways Linux on Power will be used in the future.Get the Guide