Just in case you missed it... the web has changed.
I think a little history of the Internet is in order to grasp the big picture. I'm not going to give any dates (late eighties and early 90's)... I'll just give a quick run down.
I would say nearly fifteen years ago I had a dial up Internet connection that allowed me to log into various College computers, BBS's (bulletin boards) and Newsgroups.
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The Internet was much different than the Web is today. There were no graphics... it was totally text based and everything was dial up. All you could do was basically post to a newsgroup, post messages on some BBS's and send email. Internet Marketing as we know it today did not exist.
In time though - a few brave souls ventured out of the shadows and began marketing within the newsgroups. This started wars between the "Purists" and new "Marketers" that I still remember to this day.
You see, the Purists considered the Internet to be their own little playground. They viewed anyone selling something as evil. After all... Marketers had the TV, the Radio, Magazines, Newspapers, etc, etc as an avenue in which to sell their crap. "The Internet is ours" was their battle cry.
They viewed the Internet as a way for them to communicate with each other without having to wade through all the BS advertising - and they could control what was being said. When the evil "Marketer" entered the picture, this all changed - and it changed quickly.
Once the evil Marketer had discovered the Internet as a new marketing medium, the "Purity" of the Internet, newsgroups and BBS's was destroyed forever.
The Internet was now becoming just another medium for Marketers to sell their wares. It was inevitable and only a matter of time before this happened. But the Purists fought it tooth and nail.
The Newsgroups and BBS's were now inundated and overrun with advertising. There was so much spam that you could hardly follow a thread or make sense of it. The thread may have started out discussing a subject such as "Microsoft DOS" as it's first post... but it was hard to make sense of it as the evil Marketers would post "off topic" spam ads trying to sell their wares throughout the threads.
As we all know things have changed a lot since those "Caveman" days... the evil Marketers persevered and the Purists lost the War (or did they?)
Jump to present day...
The Purists did not really lose - they just lost a battle ten or fifteen years ago, but they have recently won the War and staked their claim on the Internet as belonging to them with Web 2.0.
Just in case you missed this "coup d' etat" - give some serious thought to the current environment on the Web and Social Networking specifically. The Web no longer belongs to the evil Marketer. It is back in the hands and control of the Purists and they are once again controlling the conversations.
I know... it sounds like a bunch of BS, but for the most part it is true.
The difference is the Purists have discovered a way to once again "control" the conversations they want to have, while at the same time make a profit from these discussions (i.e. social networking communities) .
Welcome to Web 2.0 and Social Networking
I do not consider myself an Internet "Purist"... I'd fall more into the "Evil Marketer" category. This being the case, like you (if you are an Evil Marketer too) I have to adapt and change the way I do things or I will soon fall to the wayside and die a slow death.
Like the saying goes, "When in Rome... do as The Romans Do" was never a truer statement than it is today.
The way you sell things and market has to change - you are now in Rome.
Marketing as we know it today on the Web is dying a slow death - but it is happening fast. Only those who adapt and change will survive.
The Web 2.0 Marketer will survive this "coup d' etat".
Interruption Marketing has lost out to Participation Marketing and the Web 2.0 Marketer will prosper with these changes. It is no longer about forcing our messages down the throats of people - they get enough of that with all the other advertising mediums. It is all about authority, conversations and participating within discussions that other people deem important - not what you feel is important.
Seth Godin has been telling us this very same thing for a few years now - but a lot have not listened.
Why is this? Because it takes work and discipline (and change) to make relationships and participate in meaningful conversations. It is easier to do what I would call "method of the day" or "hit and miss" marketing - at least in the short run. But that is all it is... marketing for the short haul with no regard to the direction the Web is moving.
Like Seth Godin, Jack Humphrey has been telling Marketers they need to adapt and change their marketing methods for years now with Social Power Linking. Jack saw this "coup d' etat" coming before most and began joining in with the "conversations" while most of us were still doing our marketing basically the same way as the "evil Marketers" of past (and current) - cramming and forcing our message down our visitors throats.
I have posted before on Social Bookmarking and Social Networking and the success I have had with these methods. You can view other posts on this blog and see the results I have had by simply joining in and creating "conversations" .
This is not a fad or a "method of the day"... it is here to stay.
With the direction the Web is heading (we are really already there) - Social Bookmarking, Social Networking, Conversation Participation with links from and pointing to those conversations is the key to being successful for the Web 2.0 Marketer.
So don't rebel against the "coup d' etat" - come on in, the water is fine.