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Internet Marketing: Give Me Clear Directions

Aug 17, 2007
I go onto the computer for information and entertainment. Like a stroll through the library or foraging through the bookstore at the local mall, I am looking for advice to solve my most pressing problems, a good novel that will transport me to a magical land, or something that will help me to grow and feel more positive about myself. I want to lose weight, look younger, and improve my relationships, my career, and my love life. Is that too much to ask?

I start with a search engine, clicking in the words of my primary interest. Today, I'm interested in learning how to fish. Google instantly serves me the first page of five million search results. Five million? How can there be that much information in the universe about one little pastime? How do I know whether what I am seeking is on page one or page fourteen thousand and six? Has anyone ever read page 14006? It would take hours just to get there anyway. So if it is never read, why does it exist? If pages are sorted by relevance, what relevance could page 14006 have to my search? Does it contain one word with a two letter combination used in my query in one of its footnotes?

I skim down the page. To the left are the organic search results - not necessarily the stuff in which I'm most interested but definitely the sites where clever little webmasters have liberally strewn my search keywords. To the right, horrors, are paid ads pleading for my click through that will swell the already bottomless pockets of Mother Google.

Recoiling from the enticements of the classifieds, I quickly read the links thrown out for my pleasure and edification. I click on the third entry that promises the doorway to a new (to me) world. Dodging the interruptions of incessant popups, I gingerly start to wander around the site, distracted by sidebars of links with cryptic titles, wondering what is behind all of them. I speculate about whether there are other visitors sitting on this same page or whether I am the first person to ever explore those beckoning links. Since this site was on page one of the search results, I assume that it is visited pretty frequently - unlike the poor yo-yo on page 14006 who must feel terribly lonely and neglected.

One click leads to another, to another, and yet another. Now I can't remember how I got here. There was something that looked pretty interesting a few clicks ago but I can't find it. I keep pressing back and back and back but I can't get where I want to go. I inadvertently exit out and, exasperated, have to start over.

When I re-enter the world of Google search, I feel disoriented because the entries have changed since my last visit - maybe I typed my question a little differently. Is the site I want to get back to still the third link on the page or has it moved? Cleverly, I check my browser history to see the name of the site; it is now the fifth entry. I'm heading back in.

Three hours later, I still haven't found what I'm looking for. After a lot of effort, a great deal of eyestrain, and a numb index finger, I am no nearer to being a fisherman than I was when I started. I yearn for someone to give me clear navigation, letting me know where I've been and where I'm going.

And why do they want my name and e-mail address? We haven't even been introduced yet. Give me a newsletter or a mini-course so I can decide if I even want to get to know you!

Ah, the wonder of our personal computers that serve up the universe at the click of a mouse. But I don't want the universe, just a friendly introduction to the venerable sport of angling. I think I'll go to the mall in the morning and buy a fishing book.
About the Author
Dr. Bola, a psychologist, sometime marketer, and always enthusiastic consumer offers complimentary copies of her book "Seven Super Simple Tips: I Am Your Customer" from which this article is taken. Enjoy!
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