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Ads is evil. I was watching ABC's HD movie "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl" the other night. The HD picture is breathtaking, the movie drama is intriguing and I enjoyed it very much, well for not too long, for about 15 minutes. Then the storms of ads get thrown out on my face, car sales, burgers, cell phone, holiday sales, everything... the volume is so high pitched in the ads that I have to mute the sound. Apparently annoyed and thanks to my custom built HD DVR PC system, I quickly skip all the commercial and get back to the movie. After another 10 minutes, the ads come again, I muted the sound, skipped through again.
I always have this vengeance against TV ads. Before I had the Tivo and now the HD DVR PC system, they waste me about 20 minutes out of 60 minutes program. Think about this, the advertiser did not get any value from me on 20 minutes ads bombardment. and waste my time. The end result is they increase the cost of selling product and move the cost on the merchandise so now customer has to pay more. It just does not make sense.
My wife jumped in after I start the "Ads is Evil" theory. "Honey, they need a way for people to watch free TV". That is correct, they are majority of people that can't afford the Tivo or the $2,000 custom built HD DVR system that need to watch TV, for free. Ads is the only way to achieve that. Or maybe most people are just so used to ads that they LIKE them actually, they want to watch Ads. I am no moral pledge, but think about what Ads have affect the American culture? "Material girl", the infamous Madonna song is simply understatement, it is "Material population". Everyone is thinking getting the latest cell phone model after just use the last one for 3 months. Relentless ads campaign keep everyone buying appetite strong, proactively thinking what to throw out of the house and get something new. Should people be more frugal and modest instead of material vanity?
What about web Ads? It is supposed to be less intruding but not anymore. You see "Ads by Google" in your face all the times. How many time you give you some value? less than 5%? That means the other 95% of times Google is raking up profit. And someone has to pay for it. It is the advertiser. Well advertiser will mark up their merchandise the cover the marketing cost so the end consumer has to pay more.
So what is the solution, you must be asking. The problem with Ads is that it is broadcasting to everyone who may or may not have the slightest interest in goods or services the ads want to sell. The reverse would be a much more natural way to buying and marketing.
Consider for someone to buy a car. Instead of getting bombard by hundreds of car sell ads, the buyer should be able to express such interest. The dealer should be able to see such interest and see if there is a match. i.e., the buyer is in the market for a family viechle for minimum of 6 passengers, under $35,000, at least 20 miles/gallon on highway. The matching dealer should save their marketing budget and work on this individual interest by providing competitive price quote and product information. The buyer then sip through all available option and start the negotiation, or simply demands a final bid for a particular car model from interested dealers.
Well you might say such services do exist. e.g., Costco car buying program, or Edmund car price quote program. Well they suck. The buyer was never in the driver seat after requesting a price. Instead you have to endure harassing negotiation process. These services do not respect that in a typical car buying process(we are not talking about buying a Ferrari), the buyer should be the one in control. Therefore the buyer should determine whether the car dealer can call him/her or a real competitive price is sufficient at the stage of car buying. To make an analogy, it should be like what is on elance.com. You post a request and receive offering, then you narrow down to a few providers for further consideration. The sample process applies to - buying a car - selling a house - doing a home improvement project
Notice the above are big item purchase and projects. This does not mean smaller purchase such as furniture does not apply. Anything more that $100 should be driven by who spends the money. Who spends the money should dictate how the process goes and not the other way around.
So what does this lead to? The Internet makes such process possible. What is missing is a aggregated site when consumer comes in to post their purchase interest, and the providers provide competitive bidding. It is a marketplace, a chick and egg problems when sufficient providers have to be enroll to attract consumer to post such request. But it can be done.
The benefit of such request/provide over ads bombardment is that the marketing cost is efficiently spent on the real customers who are interested in the products. The overall marketing cost is a lot less since it is highly targeted. The consumer get more service than the product itself and have a more satisfactory overall buying experience.
In a nutshell: If I am going to spend more than $100, you need to win my business.