Twitter not a huge money maker shock!

Just learned, via twitter ironically (Hugh McLeod specifically),  that twitter isn’t making money.  Neither is Digg or Facebook.  And i think I know why.  Well I’m going to hazard a not too-deeply-researched guess why.  I’m an advertising creative, research is, like, a pain dude.

As long as the Internet (the “i” is capitalized you know) has been around and thriving, the cry of the overfunded startup has been ‘Oh, relax, the money will eventually come from advertising!”.  Really?   And what form will this advertising take?   Google ads or something.   Banner ads!  Yeah.  That’s it.

If only these would-be vendors of advertising had bothered to ask adfolks like us what we thought about the advertising opportunities they proposed to sell to – presumably – adfolks like us.  Because if they did, they might realize that what they’re selling just isn’t that exciting.   Sotto voce text whispers do not an exciting experience make.  And advertising, to be successful, has to get people excited in some manner.  It has to be motivating. It has to be exciting.

I’m not qualified to get into the mathematics of online advertising.  But I really think that the online advertising game has been won.  And Google won it.  If i want to reach (note i say “reach” not “excite”) people i’m giving Google a call.

There will doubtless be great uses of Facebook (whopper sacrifice) and Twitter eventually i’m sure.  But to hear the chatter about these alleged hot advertising properties reminds me of this scenario.

You walk into the foyer of the a grand French hotel.  It looks beautiful.  you’re paying a fortune to stay there.  the manager greets you effusively.  “Welcome to the Hotel Royale!”   He then informs you that you will be sleeping on the window ledge on the fifth floor.   You are understandably underwhelmed. He is perplexed. Is this not the most beautiful hotel in all of France???

10 responses to “Twitter not a huge money maker shock!

  1. I can’t stress this enough:
    there is no digital advertising, just digital marketing.
    And as long as people insist on using brooms for brushing their hair, results will still be way below expectations.

  2. anca, that is brilliant.

  3. drivenbyjealousy

    I’m so glad to hear this.
    and there i was thinking i just wasn’t “getting” where the future of advertising is going.

    i heard a fabulous quote on the radio last night that sums up alot of the digital thing for me.

    “The future seems to consist of a large slice of the past”.

    it puts me at ease and gives me faith in the democracy of ideas.

  4. DBJ,

    I’m not claiming to know the future of advertising. i don’t think it’s a question of “getting” anything really. it’s about being open-minded but not so open-minded that your brain falls out as someone once said. or stridently insisting that any one thing is the answer.

    and that quote is on the money. people are still people.

  5. Vinny,
    I think you nailed it with, (note i say “reach” not “excite”)
    The only creative thing is the media.
    What goes in it is mainly so-oo dull.

  6. Glad you agree Dave. It’s been bothering me a lot lately. I’m not prescribing what constitutes exciting but i do think excitement is still the key. however it’s achieved.

  7. Vinny, Dave et al: I think Anca nailed it: the future will not be digital advertising.

    At least not what we now call advertising.

    It will be digital marketing, for sure, but it will not resemble the ads we see now. Precisely for the reasons you stated, and because “social media” is well, social: Your Brand Is Not My Friend™ and I don’t want to hang out with you online.

    Can’t predict what form it will take, but it will likely be more of a 1:1 thing, with an emphasis on customers service (think Zappos)

    That’s all I’m giving away for now ;)

  8. And i completely agree alan. That’s what it should be like. but for mass brands, it probably won’t be. why? because passionate people are in short supply. always have been.

    my knowledge of people and how they consume media predicts otherwise. you remember my problem with zappos? it was a basic problem. maybe if their ceo spent less time on twitter i wouldn’t have had the problem to begin with. was my takeaway.

    i remember seeing an hilarious BBC documentary from the 1950s where they assembled a panel of “experts” to predict the effects of television on UK society. The panel giddily exulted over the possibilities of the medium. We could finally bring Shakespeare and ballet and opera to the masses!!! A golden age was surely upon us!

    Cut to 50 years later. The biggest TV show in the UK is a grimy working class soap melodrama. and it has been for decades. and there’s nothing wrong with that. i love coronation street too. human need – escapism- trumped idealism. yet again.

    I’m an idealist too. But i’m also a realist (and in my spare time i’m a pragmatist)

  9. re: Zappos – but your problem was solved. And from everything I hear, your problem was a rare one– they really do have a hugely popular reputation based on their service.

    That said, you are correct in that most companies aren’t all that special… very few can pull that off.

    So the rest will be Coronation Street and America’s Funniest Home Videos. Not Shakespeare

  10. my problem was solved. but only after bitching online. and my problem was a very fundamental one. zappos (an online company) refused to ship shoes overseas for me. in other words, they fundamentally did not “get” the worldwideness of the web. and their “service provider” was a completely uncaring and downright antagonistic bitch.

    and their site looked like 1997. and still does. and i kept getting emails from them telling me that ( is now selling…cookware! that was just a dumb idea. my 12 year old daughter would have recognized that.

    but because their ceo is on twitter, they are excellent??? no. they are not. i am still mad about my zappos experience, in case it wasn’t obvious ;-)

    it was spectacularly bad. yet the company is lauded for its great service? that’s just incorrect.

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