Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Morally Bankrupt Business Plans, Part III

Two words: Calendar Spam.

(and yes, I know I've not yet posted "Morally Bankrupt Business Plans, Part I" yet) I'm surprised an enterprising person hasn't started sending out meeting notifications for people's online calendars that are essentially advertisements.

For instance, those "free vacations" (after you sit through a three hour hard-sell for time shares in Myrtle Beach, SC). My concept is that it comes from a friend ("Patrick" or "James"), with a subject line of "Vacation Plans?" or something similar. We can do a bit of ethnography to figure out the best subject lines. Ethnography may not even be required. Since our marginal cost per advertisement is zero, we can use Jakob Nielsen's Google Ad Words rapid prototyping approach. The body of the ad would be something appropriate for selling time-shares. We would need to be able to geographically target people, but how hard can that be these days?

Just give me 1% of your profits.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Morally Bankrupt Business Plans, Part II

My morally bankrupt business plan of the day is that the interface for (as it now stands) is an ideal way to start viral advertising for web sites. This is prompted by the observation (no data yet, but that hasn't stopped me before) that people use as a way to find new web sites (I certainly do). And that the number of people who have bookmarked a site is an indicator of popularity.

All that you need to do is to get a group of about 50 people together, and have them over the course of a day all bookmark the same web site into The web site always stays on the front page, and people click through on it. We take as an assumption that only the coolest of the cool (I'll fill in other names later) use, and therefore, we want trend leaders to see the web site we're (they?) are advertising.

Here's the interesting question / follow-on: How does a community like fix the problem? As it currently stands, I don't think there is a good fix for it. And I'm not sure if a community like Metafilter would be any better at fixing it either. I have some thoughts about how it may be possible to fix, but that's probably another post.

In the mean time, it shouldn't be too hard for someone to monetize this.