08 May 2006

Getting Noticed on the Net - shameless self promotion

There was once a time when companies would come to me and ask us to put their brochure online as a web page. Yep, those were the days… simple, full of anticipation and very exciting. But the world has certainly changed.

Our first question for clients was typically, “how do you propose that your prospects will find you?” Sure, you could send them but that is not nearly enough. We promoted direct mail and NPR. [it took us forever to get them to stop with the dub, dub, dub thing]

Search engines have been supplanted by blogs, RSS feeds, aggregators and now tagging. All of this is great. It saves time, lets the public (a loose sort of new democracy) choose what is most important or at least most interesting. Plato’s take on democracy (book VIII for those interested) got it right. Democracy is doomed to fail on two counts. First, do you really want to trust the future to the wisdom of the masses? Reducing things to an average is aiming a bit low in my opinion (I know I sound like a snob, I am OK with that). But my biggest concern is that of the loophole.

People are smart and ingenious when it comes to leveraging the details less thought out. We have already read about the legion of blog groupies enlisted to tag stories – so they rise to the top of Digg, TechMeme, and Del.icio.uc (I love these sites by the way and scan them daily.) Granted this is not the norm, but it does happen. What is worst is the cooperative bloggers who form packs, consciously mentioning their buddies on a regular basis with no real topical purpose. But then, finding loopholes and bending the rules is probably what humans do best.

I suppose maybe we should all enlist a small band of self/mutual promoters to enliven our readership. Personally, I use this forum to work out thoughts, write a little, vent some, and document what I was thinking back in 2006. I have no aspirations of fame, book tours and groupies. All I want is to make reasonable living, build teams that produce great work, and ride my bike without being hassled by the man.