Startup Blog

Why Seth Godin is Totally Wrong - No Pity Clicks!!!

Posted by Mike Volpe on 10/17/08 10:47 AM

seth godin no pity clicksSeth Godin is a marketing genius, and I normally agree with him on most everything.  I am a giant Seth fanboy, and even have a photo of me with him.  So, don't interpret this as Seth-bashing.  I just think he called this issue wrong.


Seth Godin wrote an article called Ads are the New Online Tip Jar that basically asked blog and website readers to click on ads to support bloggers in what amounts to "Pity Clicks".


This is a short sighted and bad idea that actually does not help anyone.  Here is what would happen if people started to actually go with this "Pity Click" program.


Why Seth Godin's "Pity Clicks" are Bad Idea

  1. Blogs would get a short term boost in revenue from the additional clicks.
  2. Advertisers would see that these useless "pity clicks" did not buy anything or register for anything on their website, making them (the ads and clicks) pretty useless.
  3. Advertisers would see their ROI drop from these ads, causing them to either cancel the ads or negotiate lower prices.
  4. Bloggers would see ad revenue drop because they asked for "pity clicks" on their ads.
  5. We end up back where we started.

A business (like a blog) needs to figure out how to both create value and capture value.  Many blogs create value (for their readers) but have not figured out how to capture it.  The reason why ad revenue on most websites is low is because banner ads don't work Marketers need to use more inbound marketing, and many people are discovering this and using fewer banner ads.

Seth Godin's idea for "Pity Clicks" might be clever, but it is not sustainable in the long term and does not make sense to me.  What do you think?

Mike Volpe

Written by Mike Volpe

Mike Volpe is a startup advisor and angel investor based in Boston.

Topics: strategy, marketing

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