Double Click or Double Talk?
Anybody out there trying to generate direct sales through their web site?
You are? Then no doubt you've heard the about fourteen zillion methods and
madness from everyone and their mother about how their service can generate
more revenue for you than anyone else's. The question is, how many of those
do you believe?
Okay, those of you who know me also know that I don't believe anyone
about anything. At my wedding, when my bride said, "I do", I demanded
quantifiable proof. So you know that when someone comes out with the absolutely
best, guaranted web advertising tool ever devised by mortal man, we'd do
well to take the announcement with a boulder of salt.
Look I could be wrong here, but the minute I read press releases like
the one posted on DoubleClick's home page, I get all itchy. I can't help
it. I'm an ad guy. I write the kind of stuff that makes things sound better
than they really are, so I recognize it when someone else tries to. For
DoubleClick Direct answers the needs of direct
marketers looking to reach Internet users on a cost per action (CPA) pricing
model. Four options are provided --cost-per-click (CPC), cost-per-lead
(CAL), cost-per-sale (CPS), cost-per-download (CPD). Run rates, unaffected
by CPM, are uncapped, limited only by the advertiser's budget for completed
transactions. DoubleClick Direct is thus a no-risk opportunity for advertisers
who pay only on user response.
No risk, eh? Hmmm. Usually when I hear a proposition like that, my mind
conjures up images of smoky boardroom meetings, in which a panicky sales/marketing
team starts blue-skying various dump-schemes for their backlog of inventory.
Of course, this may not be the case with DoubleClick. Business may be fantastic
over there. But if business really were humming, why resort to a pay-as-they-download
gambit? Is business so good that the CEO has decided, "Well, that's
about as much money as I want to make efficiently -- anyone got any ideas
of how we can make less?"
And while we're on the topic of unbelievable stuff, does anyone really
Ronny Yakov, president of ColorBank/ShopFast added,
"We're thrilled to join with DoubleClick in developing this exciting
new industry and to help fulfill the promise of electronic commerce and
Thrilled? THRILLED? Let me tell you this: "thrilled" is when
you wake up in the morning to find Elle MacPherson up on one elbow purring,
"What do you like for breakfast, tiger?" And while Ronny may indeed
be pleased with his association, you've got to ask two questions about the
way in which DoubleClick has allowed this press release to escape from its
pen. First, how can a seemingly professional organization allow such an
amateurish communique to slip out, undermining whatever credibility it previously
worked so hard to achieve? But more importantly, why wouldn't DoubleClick
take a smarter route to promote its new service?
Why wouldn't they launch the program as a beta and then -- with quantifiable
results in hand -- publish the new program's success rate? Seems to me that
more people would want to buy a parachute AFTER they've seen proof that
it actually works.
Oh, and there's other stuff that gives me serious pause before I'd chunk
down my fate on this pay-as-you-go plan. For example, before you even start,
you have to be armed to the teeth with all kinds of extra creative, just
in case the first five to five hundred thousand zillion banners don't work.
And you can bet that DoubleClick will hedge its losses, too, with clauses
that allow them a quick exit if your banners sit there like a lox. Okay,
so that's just good business -- but is that good marketing? Finally, I can't
help but wonder who gets the really tasty site locations -- clients who
pay up front or those who pay when and if their stuff works? I mean, in
your business, who do you treat better, the guys who walk in the door with
cash in their hand or the guys who tell you they'll pay you if your stuff
Hey, this new service of theirs might be the greatest thing since sliced
bread. I hope for their sake it is and DoubleClick makes tons of dough working
it. At least then they could afford to hire a better copywriter.
©1997, Rob Frankel