I admit the more it strays away from viral marketing, the harder it relates but it's like the story of every untalented guy who wants to penetrate through knowledge with just an internet connection and a bag of curiosity.
One problem is you can never be sure who
really knows what they're talking about when it comes to the web. Somebody tries something that seems to work (at least at first) and blogs about it, and the next thing you now they're hanging out their shingle as an expert. An overpriced book or DVD "seminar" (often consisting of little more than some badly edited Q&A sessions) is almost always sure to follow. Especially if the author got mentioned, no matter how briefly, in the NYT or WSJ.
I had a client spend well over a grand apiece to send two employees to a seminar that supposedly would show them how to dramatically improve their "web presence and ranking." I looked through the fancy three-ring binder they brought back. Inside were over 100 pages of PowerPoint slides, a dozen (IMHO) useless checklists, and several pages of ads for additional materials and DVDs you could order from the seminar provider. (This might have begged the question of why you'd need to buy anything 'extra' since the seminar was billed as "complete and comprehensive" - but there you go.)
The slides had such 'secret' gems of wisdom on them as:
- It's possible to FOOL search engines. Most site owners don't know this.
- Businesses can no longer afford to ignore their page rankings on Google
- If you want to have a PRESENCE in social media - it's not what you know - it's WHO you know
- Facebook is now positioned to become the new PUBLIC FACE of businesses everywhere
- NEVER, ever, EVER publicly CRITICIZE your competitors on the web
- Just say YES to Twitter.
And yes, they used ransom-note stylization on almost every slide.
The checklists had such things as:
- Secure unique domain name
- Watch out for registered trademarks. Check all trade names before using.
- Research how using AdWords could benefit your web effort
- Secure buy-in from management on budget
- (Daily) Communicate potential issues to your stakeholders as early as possible
- (Daily) Don't ignore security. Check server logs.
In the end, there was nothing of value anywhere in this seminar that you couldn't get by reading a "for dummies" book.
To my mind, it wasn't so much they
took the seminar as it was the other way around. But oddly enough, my client still felt it had been a good investment for them.
Maybe getting out of the office, staying in a fancy hotel, enjoying nice meals, and going out drinking with a bunch of 'cool people' for three days had a little something to do with it?
- Great article find! Parts of it had me laughing out loud.