Worship Google, banish those broke business blues?
Journalism prof embraces imaginary perfect company
Book Review Perplexingly, not one of the ecstatic dustjacket blurbs reads 'I could barely start writing for laughing.' It is, on the contrary, an "exceptional book", a "divining rod" and "the work of a genuine visionary". Goddam - and there was me thinking it was a wholly absurd conceit built atop a fundamental - and willful - misconception of the nature of Google.
But it is, anyway. Jeff Jarvis' What Would Google Do? categorises Google as an entirely new kind of company operating to entirely new, revolutionary rules that can be used to reshape the world because, as the publisher's blurb says, "everyone and everything - from corporations to governments, nations to individuals - must evolve in the Google era". Having deemed this wild generalisation to be self-evident truth, Jarvis then sets out to apply Google rules for life and business to anyone and everything.
Or to be more precise, to publishing mainly, and then extremely superficially to a fairly random collection of industries and things that Jarvis has personal gripes with. He doesn't actually get on to these until halfway through the book, and the individual sections serve largely to indicate that Jeff Jarvis doesn't know a whole lot about a whole lot of things, but there are several corkers in there.
"Jeff Cola", for example. "What if Coke retooled a bottler to make special-order batches... if I committed to buying so many cases a year?" (Jarvis is as oblivious to FDA regulations as he is to auto industry safety approvals in the "Googlemobile" section.) "If I sold Jeff Cola to others on my blog... perhaps my price could drop because I'd be bringing in more sales and volume. I'd create a cola club. It's no different from Gary Vaynerchuk's Vayniaks making and promoting their own wine."
Actually Jeff, it's entirely different. Vayniak, one of the smarter ideas covered in What Would Google Do?, is an internet wine club/store that combines branding, destination and community. And on the first two points it arguably undermines some of what Jeff's pitching elsewhere. Vaynerchuk extends the social aspects of the wine trade to the internet, and while he does offer a 'design your own wine' system, I'll betcha that's shop window, not the bit he makes the money from. This is not the wisdom of crowds in action, this is one shrewd cookie playing the star/brand system with the aid of the new megaphone.
Jeff Cola, on the contrary, is an entirely unbaked notion from a lone wingnut who thinks Coke would make money out of letting him screw with its brand, and who thinks he can make money out of low-run sugared water, from a low-run blog.
Am I to understand
you didn't like the book?
I was interested in the bit about Amazon; one of the real turn offs (for me) is when you find something on amazon and then find that, actually, you aren't doing a deal with amazon but with some eBay type operation of which we know little. I'm happy to get stuff from Amazon _if_ the price is massively better than it is in meatspace but I'm damned if I'm playing chase the lady with a ginormous organisation that probably (don't know, never had to use it) doesn't do the smallest iota of customer service.
Being a cynical old git, I don't use eBay or PayPal at all and use long spoons when dining with the likes of google and amazon. My kids think the internets is great; my feeling is that, once they've been on the end of some non existent customer service, their opinion will change.
OK, I'm confuzled ...
"Bottom line, Google ads are low revenue because they're not tightly targeted enough to command high revenues, and they don't cost the advertiser much because the advertiser is only paying for clickthroughs. This doesn't matter much to Google because its volumes are so vast that it can still make vast amounts of money, but it does matter to anybody who thinks they can make a living out of displaying Google ads, because almost certainly they can't."
Google runs ads? News to me. Not that I use Google directly ... metacrawler it. It just works.
How to make money
I have not, and never will, read the book, as I never drank the Google Kool-Aid. I have no problem saying that Google is evil or that Google wants to take over the world. With that in mind, this book sounds more like a comedy to me, but I have no doubt that the author is being sincere is his words. What scares me is the fact that many people agree with it.
Regardless of what you think of the book, the author is doing exactly what he should in order to make money -- tell people what they want to hear. Books like these are not meant to explain anything, and they're not meant to offer data or a convincing opinion. The types of people who read these kinds of books already have an opinion, and they're looking for someone else to validate their opinion, to tell them that they're right and everyone else is wrong. Things like truth and facts merely get in the way, so we can easily disregard those in the quest for the almighty dollar. Hell, I might do the same thing if I was ethically bankrupt. Sadly, I've been saddled with ethics and morals, and am thus kept down here with the rest of you.