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Digital Insight internet & money

Published on May 22nd, 2012 | by Saurabh Pandey

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The Promise of Internet!

Internet was conceptualized with a dream.

The dream of equalizing everyone and democratizing all content.

A student could drink the potion called ‘Internet’ and serve at the same platform as an MNC, perhaps better!

The promise of internet was so strong that many young men left comfortable jobs and followed their dreams. Many succeeded!

It happened with Google, Facebook, Flipkart, Craigslist, Slideshare, Dropbox ….the list goes on.

Internet as a medium also very clearly pushed a fact that you can’t spend money and buy consumers-that was a very powerful phenomenon! The leading internet companies in the world grew users and traffic organically and naturally over a few years. Hence the users that they acquired were not ephemeral. That, money can buy users, but cannot sustain and retain was truly imbibed in the thought-process.

If that was not true, Yahoo, Microsoft, ebay, MySpace etc. would have ruled the world always by virtue of the power of money.

None of the world’s largest and most admired internet companies started with huge advertising investment to buy consumers. It simply doesn’t work!

Did anyone ever see a TV ad of Google or facebook or Amazon in their first 5 years? Did Google, facebook, craigslist win the customers by buying insane volume of time on TV?

These companies did invest in consumer acquisition and brand building after a certain duration; but very clearly never started with it. They invested most of the money in product development, user experience, logistics, payments, infrastructure and achieving consistency in everything.

Then why do we see almost insane pumping of a large proportion of VC money in advertising & marketing initiatives, in ventures where the product still needs strengthening, where organic traffic still needs to be relevant & consistent, where traction is still definitely not recorded in its entirety and perhaps is far from where it should be.

Who is hijacking the promise of internet? Who believes that one can win the game by splurging money on buying consumers faster than the other? Who is fooling the VCs? And Why the hell VCs don’t see this? Where and when will the race to spend more stop?

It’s becoming a game of ‘teen patti’; where if you have a poker face, you can show confidence and you have enough money to outlast your competition-you win!

I hope people who spend this insane amount of money on advertising (especially TV) for their fledgling online portal have their logic in place, because else it’s like a crime against internet, which the users may forget but not forgive.

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