My Dog Ate My Website


I am really fascinated by the world of on-line marketing. I spend more and more of my time on the net, make more of my purchases from on-line suppliers, but I seem to find out about new about new products on TV, radio, or even mail.

You probably have me pegged... I am an information junkie. I can't seem to get enough.

I started exploring the world of on-line marketing at the beginning of the year to help some of my clients grow their business. Over the past few months I have been drinking out of a fire hose. Event though internet marketing is much smaller that the other media channels it is a really interesting, sophisticated and serious business.

I suppose my experience with Fortune 1000 eCommerce consulting and participation in several DOTCOM era start-ups made a little arrogant. I felt like I knew what was going on the internet. Yeah, right.

My foray into internet marketing now reminds me of the last time I decided to buy a dog.

My quest for the perfect dog led me to a library and the internet to research dog breeds. Then I had a couple of discussions with my wife and kids to figure out what size, personality, etc. that we were looking for.

While we were thinking of making a purchase, we noticed a sign for a dog show. Have you ever been to a dog show? Do you have any idea about the time and money that this country spends on keeping dog genes sorted, categorized, primped, poofed, and pimped. It's huge! And world of dog breeding is a lot like the world of termites. If you don't go looking for it, you don't know it's there.

At the dog show we saw lots of great breed, met breeders and made appointments to check out puppies. By the time we were done we were experts and we picked a great dog, a Brittany Spaniel and named him McKenna. We knew he was going to be perfect and he was.

He was a perfect nightmare; tons of energy and an amazing athlete. He drove us nuts and destroyed our place. We found that we really should have had a demo before we bought. But we hung in there and eventually we found a solution.

Internet marketing is not hiding but you really have to look hard to find out how it works and who is making money. It's responsible for $10 to $25 billion annually, but nobody is really measuring.

This young industry is made up of a wild mix of players: Marketing Guru's, Affiliate Marketers, Product Sourcing Directories, Drop Shippers, SEO Experts, Link Managers, and on-and-on. The whole thing is still very much in the hands of cowboys, and not controlled by big corporations. I really like that.

So I recently inked my first agreement to market a product. I launched a modest web site, waited, and watched. To my surprise, nothing happened. Nobody came - no search engines crawled - hmmm?.

Is it time to take the dog back? I don't think so.

I find most things I need on the internet without too much trouble. If marketers are winning my attention then I'm sure that "mercenary" marketers are willing to share their secrets.

I just need to get the right mix of tools and information to take care of my current challenge. The great thing about the net is that you can often demo and test before you commit to a lifelong relationship.

John Thomas is a business consultant who works exclusively with entrepreneurs and owners of small and mid-size businesses. Track his foray into online marketing at http://trafficisthekey.com and soon at http://inet-marketing-101.com

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