Post of the Day
March 19, 1998
From our AOL
Subject: Namebrand Recognition
Several authors including Poge have alluded to namebrand recognition, and I think this deserves more discussion.
Once you assume that the internet is here to stay, you have to step back and look at the differences between the 'internet experience' and 'true-life experience'. I believe that the biggest difference is that the internet experience is an ACTIVE role. A person is required, at a bare minimum, to sit down to his computer and run a search engine. There has to be some degree of intent, else you get a blank stare from your screen, unlike your television.
'True-life', on the other hand, is in many ways, a much more PASSIVE experience. This is largely due to the evolution of good marketing combined with a society that is generally lazier, more visually focused, and obsessed with possessions. (This is what 'fads' are all about.) We go to the mall to buy something but end up browsing; we always bring home something we shouldn't have from the grocery store; and I need to say nothing more than 'Your Personal Psychic Hotline' to relate the enormous impact of television, nearly all of which is a PASSIVE activity.
This is where name-brand recognition comes in. When I sit down to my computer, usually I have something specific in mind to do, and I will use whichever means that I have found most useful to me to discover what I'm looking for. If I need a search, I prefer Yahoo. For investment stuff, I like the Fool. If I'm going to buy a book, I use Amazon. I use these things because I have tried a few of the others (no, I can't possibly try them all), and I have found them to work best for me. So I continue to use them, unless I become unhappy with them and start the looking-around process again. Furthermore, the reason I don't spend all my time looking around for this or that is that I have a real life, too. I have a job. I have a life outside of this screen. And I think most true internet users are this way. They're not internet junkies. They're doctors and teachers and students and engineers with busy lives and not a lot of time to spend 'surfing'. Another point worth mentioning is that the very act of 'browsing' or 'surfing' is an activity that requires focus and (at least some) attention and volition. Yeah, I see the blinking advertisements. But if I don't want to see them, I don't have to. Whereas, with other daily activities, we are able to do other things while we PASSIVELY watch television.
I use Amazon because it works well for me. I haven't looked at all 1000 or so of it's competitors because I am happy with their prices, customer service, etc. Sure, I've looked at Borders, B&N, and a few others; but the point is, I don't have time to check umpteen other sites to try and save 13 cents on a paperback. I would rather know that it's coming in a few days and I can expect it. I've got other things I need to do.
Forget the stock price. Name brand recognition is making or breaking the internet companies of today. Clearly, 'e-commerce' is a paradigm in evolution. Nothing is for certain. Maybe one day, using the net will be a much more passive process than it is today. (It's interesting that internet ads on television are cleverly capturing this 'passive' segment to bring them 'actively' to their websites.....anybody seen the clever Ameritrade ads on TV ?)
Just my opinion...I think namebrands matter more on the net.