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May 2004 Marketing Archives

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Comparison: Natural Search & Loss Leaders

A Loss leader is "A retail item advertised at an invitingly low price in order to attract customers for the purchase of other, more profitable merchandise." Typically loss leaders are used at automotive dealerships, grocery stores, department stores and almost every other major vertical market that has a retail storefront. You know the deal, the local car dealership puts this ad in the Sunday paper that reads "KIA Spectra $7,999 Fully Loaded". You know the deal is too good to be true but you still go because you need a cheap, reliable car and this seems to fit the bill. When you arrive at the lot you're told by the greasy salesman that they've just sold their last $7,999 KIA but they've got the same model with a few more bells and whistles for $14,999. Extremely pissed off, you leave and vow to never don a car lot again. You've been struck by the smooth criminal known as a "Loss Leader". In this day of search engine mayhem it strikes me funny that natural search has become the internet's loss leader. Search engines know that without natural results they'll lose out on the majority of their audience because web searchers are more likely to click on a natural result than a paid result to the tune of 60.5% of them (according to a recent study by iProspect). The irony here is that search engines were originally based on these free results and that's what got them their traffic. Back in the dot com hayday Yahoo began deriving it's revenues from banner ads but then the bubble burst and they began serving contextual ads and revenues were again on the rise. The whole point of the natural results however, is to drive traffic to the pay per click listings. This is where it gets cool though. Even though I believe natural search is a loss leader, it's not akin to the sleezy car salesman. Quite the contrary. In order to have consistent traffic and searches at a major search engine, their natural results must be relevant and reliable. Kind of reminds me of my accounting days. Relevance and reliability are the cornerstones of any accounting system. And relevance and reliability are the "secret sauce" of any good search engine. In the end, we as users win out when the search engines provide us with natural results that meet our needs and we'll go back for more. Even if going back for more means we click on the paid advertisements at the top and side of the natural results. That's today's thought of the day.

Comparison: Natural Search & Loss Leaders By Jason Dowdell at 09:18 AM
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Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Who's Writing for McDonalds?

So last week Shannon (my wife) and I are watching a bit of tv and a McDonalds commercial comes on. Now I really can't stand their new "I'm Lovin It" ads but that's besides the point. The commercial is about a couple that's going on their first date to McDonalds. Like any girl dating a good looking, wealthy (appearing), smooth talking, guy in his mid-20's she asks herself what's wrong with him. I mean, obviously something must be wrong with him since he appears to be such a fine catch and yet he's still single. Then her beau places an order for her without asking what she wants and she says (in her head), "oh he's a control freak'. An thus her question is answered. My wife appropriately pointed out a more elemental flaw with this guy... He took her to McDonalds on their first date! How true, I mean how messed up is that? If this guys' half as sophisticated as he appears there's no way he'd be taking this girl to McDonalds, especially on a first date. Talk about first impressions. I can only imagine who Shannon would've ended up with if I had taken her to McDonalds on our first date. All I know is it wouldn't have been me.

Who's Writing for McDonalds? By Jason Dowdell at 01:47 PM
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Back in The Saddle Again

Well folks, I'm back. I was out of commission since Saturday but I'm at it again. Monday started out with a stuffy head and cold as well as my specs snapping in two right in my hands. Since I have to wear glasses in order to read most things this makes my life as a developer quite hard. Hopefully I can do some sort of electrical tape repair job (as I have in the past) and return to the partially focused world of vision again.

Back in The Saddle Again By Jason Dowdell at 08:39 AM
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May 2004 Week 2 »

  • Week 1 (3 entries) May 1-8
  • Week 2 (7 entries) May 9-15
  • Week 3 (0 entries) May 16-22
  • Week 4 (3 entries) May 23-29
  • Week 5 (0 entries) May 30-31

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