Lookin for Love in All the Wrong Places

The Internet’s utility and usefulness have been expounded by every corner of every market: b2b, b2c, c2b and c2c. Increased profits, streamlined procurement, efficient market places, rapid response, etc.

I have a question and I would like an answer:

What was the final consumption expenditure of households on footwear and clothing in France in 1998?

In the days before the Internet, one would go to the library and look up this information. Now, with the information superhighway one needn’t leave the comfort of his home for this information. Or does he?

How would you find this information on the Internet? Possibly at askjeeves.com; or at Microsoft’s Expedia; maybe a quick look at Encyclopedia Britannica? But they don’t provide the information you’re looking for. Maybe the French government? That’s no good either, you don’t read French.

What good has the Internet done you? You could probably spend a good five hours looking for the information and end with nothing. Why? Because, in my experience, this type of information is practically impossible to find on the Internet.

How do you answer the question? Simple. You ask the best search engine in the world: Your local librarian. Within fifteen minutes I assure you that you will be looking at the answer to the question (which, by the way, is 247 billion francs- National Accounts of OECD Countries Vol II 1988-1998).

This is to demonstrate that the Internet is good for Internet things. This applies to what you are looking for as well as to what you are selling. Several companies have picked up on this and are doing a nice job of exploiting this blatantly obvious fact while others have yet to see the light.

Take Zoza.com (http://www.zoza.com) for example. Zoza.com (started by the founders of Banana Republic) sells “internet clothes for the sport of life”. The clothes are available only online. The clothes are designed for people who work in an Internet or New Economy environment by adding pockets for mobile phones, PDAs, etc. It is a self-reinforcing strategy selling clothes online for people online- this is smart business. It is like selling electricity to people who use lights.

This should be obvious. But usually it is not.

Suffice it to say that for a dot.com to make it, now more than ever, there needs to be a strong correlation between who the customer is and what the product is. This may seem remedial, but a quick look at F*%kedCompany.com proves my point- people are still lookin’ for love (in all the wrong places).

Until Next time- Happy Lookin’!

Jason Ball

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