Minor Irritations are turning into a Major Force

Today’s NYT has a front page piece on  people rebelling against life’s little irritations — Starbuck’s having the conceit to call a medium-sized cup of coffee a "Grande", annoyed users turning to Bugmenot.com to get user names and passwords for registration-walled websites, people returning postage-paid junk mail envelopes to sender filled with pieces of scrap metal to drive up the postage costs.

In an article I wrote for CMO Magazine last fall on the after-effects of the national Do Not Call registry which effectively ended telemarketing, I quoted Seth Godin on the concept of permission marketing and the growing sense of irritability among consumers over intrusions by clueless marketers. He predicts a future where consumers will be induced to listen to a pitch or receive a spam in return for some reward.

My sense is that consumers are at a boiling point due to unrelenting assaults by spam, phishing, identity theft, pop-ups, page-takeovers, registration-walls, that a vocal minority will begin to fight back in ugly ways. I was unaware that Slashdot once posted the address of a notorious spammer and urged its hordes to overwhelm him with junk mail, bogus subscription offers, etc..

This leads me to postulates Churbuck’s First Rule of Online Media: Don’t piss off your traffic. Every aspect of online operations, design, and commercialization needs to be analyzed in the context of this commandment.  Any violation of the law will surely result in a fast sweve by the traffic to a more friendly alternative.

State of Online News

Online: Introduction

The Center for Excellence in Journalism has released its annual state of journalism report. This is a link to the online section which points out, correctly, that while the trend is the friend for online growth, the lack of a viable economic model with the margins seen historically on the old media side is limiting spending and development despite the ad renaissance. 

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