Unclear on the concept

24 Nov

Recently I feel like I am encountering quite a few web companies that don’t seem to understand the dynamics of driving revenue online. It’s strange to me because it is 2009, and not 1999. The web and web business models have been around long enough that people should get it. Here are a few bizarre examples:

  1. Rupert Murdoch wants to block Google from indexing stories from his newspapers. He somehow thinks this would be a way to encourage web users to pay for content. Really? Seriously? He thinks removing his sites from a search engine with massive reach sounds like a good idea to him? In this day when every news outlet seems to have the same stories anyway — and there are sites like Huffington Post regurgitating news all day long? Shouldn’t he be figuring out a way to drive more people to his news sites (and away from competitors like Huffington Post), and then monetizing those people once they are at the site? Murdoch even thinks that arguing about fair use online and how search engines should or should not index his articles matters at all. Newspapers are dying. The only way they will survive is to think out of the box and keep up with technology. Trying to convince everyone that the rules of the past should still apply is just silly and not productive at all
  2. A company trying to do a deal with Palo Alto Software is insisting that us sending traffic to them — with  little to no revenue generation opportunities for us — is really good for us. In fact it is so good for us that we should send even more free traffic to them, by placing links to them off our home pages.  They aren’t offering links to our sites off their home pages (which get significantly less traffic than we do) and despite the fact that their content is useful and may be interesting to our customers, it is sending people away from us. I think their company is solid, their web service is solid, and I want to do a deal. But somehow they can’t get away from this idea that their service on their domain, serving traffic on their web site, is really, really good for us.  Any time we choose to drive traffic away from our own sites it is a very calculated move, meant to drive more revenue with a partner, or truly offer something unique at the correct moment. But if you are trying to get me to send you traffic, and telling me that not only is that good for me, and I should send you even more, you better be offering to send just as much back — or pay me to send you that traffic. Period.
  3. Companies are always trying to get us to use their content and link back to them. Frequently their content is competing with ours, and is trying to sell products and or services that we sell. Now tell me please, why would we ever do that deal? No matter what revenue share you give us, we are better off serving our own content and selling our own products and services.
  4. Which brings me to the last and most annoying of the “unclear on the concept” examples. Don’t come to me asking me to sell your product or service on my web site, when it directly or indirectly competes with mine. It’s never going to happen.

I would be curious to hear from others who have come across people in the web world who are still, in 2009, unclear on the concept.


6 Responses to “Unclear on the concept”

  1. Dape November 26, 2009 at 3:18 am #

    I find your examples hilarious and I agree with you entirely I often wonder which planet these people live on – you would think by now that they understand the ‘new order’ and how to progress.

  2. Vic January 19, 2010 at 8:57 pm #

    Really seems to be unclear move by a news icon trying to block Google from indexing his contents, while millions of others are investing millions just to get notice by the giant search engine. But I think the media is just a blue ocean depth world that many of us have not yet explored. We don’t know – there are deeper eplanations behind those bizzare actions.

  3. Aleya Bamdad February 2, 2010 at 7:43 am #

    I loved this article! Of course it’s important to be linked to other sites, but not in a way that will damage your business. Sites that compliment each other. such as a site about children’s issues and one about children’s medical shoes, may bring in more traffic and help both businesses. All I can say about Rupert is “seriously!?!?!”.

  4. Jen March 14, 2010 at 1:33 pm #

    I may not be a multi-million-dollar design agency, but building websites for non-profits and small businesses is still how I pay the bills. It’s amazing how many PR companies approach me with the following “awesome” deal: I will build a free website for their PR client (who will doubtless be paying THEM for this work), in order for me and the PR firm to learn if we work well together professionally.

    Two pointers for such people:

    1. We will not work well together if you are too cheap to pay me.

    2. You cannot learn what someone is like to work with professionally without working with them professionally. If you convince someone to work for free, all you will learn is what they are like to work with for free. You don’t get what you don’t pay for!

  5. April April 29, 2010 at 6:42 pm #

    Hilarious. A huge example of this for me has been each years new web 2.0 then social media next big thing. I look at MySpace and all I can think of is Geocities. Some of them are huge, and many of them were sold for plenty of money by their founders, but have any of these giant community free service without enough targetting to drive up ad revenue actually been profitable? They aren’t in the black until they drastically change their approach to business, and everyone is shocked when they do it.


  1. The Blog Week in Review — 11/24/09 | Business in General - November 25, 2009

    […] Unclear on the concept –  Sabrina Parsons believes web business models have been around long enough that business people should understand them. […]

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