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Love in the 21st Century: On the Internet, Everyone's a Marketer

July 16, 2010
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Online Marketing Blog Roundup

The worlds of Internet marketing and romance don't usually have much overlap, but two articles on 21st century dating caught my eye this week—I guess love is in the air (the stifling, sticky summer air).

First up, via Mashable: An enterprising young romantic named Brian has decided to crowdsource his love life. Having recently gotten out of an LTR (long-term relationship) and moved to singles-crazy New York, he plans to go on 30 dates in 30 days, taking advice via Twitter and Facebook on how he should proceed all the while. On the "Dating Brian" site, you can fill out a form if you want to date Brian yourself or "play matchmaker" and set him up with someone you know.

Will this work? Well, first of all, it's as much a marketing scheme as it is a genuine attempt to find love—Brian is an intern at advertising agency BBH. So media coverage may be a big part of the goal (I'm actually a little surprised he doesn't have more followers or YouTube views by now). But as a dating plan, I see a couple of obvious problems:

  • What if he meets someone he likes on Day 2? He won't be able to see her again for 28 days. If it were me, I don't think I'd wait around—modern science hasn't quite overcome jealousy yet. Or is he allowed to see the same girl more than once, as long as he goes out on a date every night?
  • Is he literally going to be checking his phone throughout the date for advice? Isn't that bad form? Or do kids these days have no moral qualms with texting on dates?

That said … the kid will probably meet someone. He's reasonably cute and articulate, and "getting out there" is half the battle, right? The crowdsourcing idea itself is a dumb approach to dating, but as a gimmick, it will get him some attention—it will put butts in the seats, as it were. Hopefully he doesn't screw up any nice, natural moments with an inappropriate Facebook check. Everyone knows that asking a woman if it's OK to kiss her is a MAJOR no-no. Asking a bunch of strangers if it's OK to kiss her doesn't seem much smoother.

The Demographics of the Online Dating Pool

Even more fun: OkTrends, the OkCupid blog, has posted a bunch of statistics about the lies people tell in online dating. As blogger Christian Rudder puts it:

In many online situations, self-misrepresentation is totally harmless. Like, who cares if your Halo 3 avatar is taller than you are in real life? Or if flickr thinks you're single when you're really married? But in online dating, where the whole goal is to eventually meet other people in person, creating a false impression is a whole different deal.

None of these lies, of course, are very surprising, but it's nice to see the hard data and pretty graphs to back up exactly what you always suspected:

  • Both men and women claim to be taller than they are. The closer men get to 6', the more likely they are to stretch the truth.
  • People claim to make 20% more than they do. OkCupid put together a cool sliding graph that indicates people are more likely to inflate their income as they get older, which surprised me.
  • They're not that hot (anymore). Apparently, the more attractive a photo (not sure who is doing the judging), the more like it is to be out of date.

So what do I take away from all this? Basically, on the Internet, everyone's a marketer. It's probably not a good idea to try to distinguish yourself by acting talleOn the Internet...r, richer, or hotter than you are, since everyone else is doing that too. It's much better if you actually are tall, hot, and rich! In the corporate world, of course, this translates into having a kick-ass product or service. Just as guys over six feet tall get more messages, companies with unique offerings and great customer service get more leads. And if you've got the goods to back up your marketing, you won't have to apologize sheepishly on your "first date."

Web Marketing Highlights This Week

On Search Engine Watch, Eric Enge is talking about the death of natural linking (which we were also talking about this week, thanks to a guest post from Dave Harry).

If you do think Facebook is the future, check out SEOmoz's Ultimate Guide to Facebook Marketing for lots of good "power tips."

(Recommended Reading: 7 Ways to use Facebook for Marketing)

In a piece called "Attention Economics in Online Advertising," Matt Shanahan of Scout Analytics points out that if TV advertising were like online advertising, "25% of the screen would be dedicated to concurrently running ads plus a few you couldn’t see. If there were commercial breaks, there would be 10 ads on at once." He argues that attention is a scarce commodity and doesn't scale, but current display advertising methods don't accommodate this.

Righteous Marketing notes that Google is now offering to set up your first ad campaign for you. Is this bad news for PPC consultants and agencies?

Have a good weekend!

Comments

Love your article! I can believe the fact that people lie about their income but was surprised about the fact that women also lie about their height. Why would most women want to be taller?

Elisa Gabbert
Jul 16, 2010

Probably women want to be closer to the model ideal -- tall and thin. Though the data shows women can be too tall -- as they approach six feet they get less messages. I'm sure this is a case of men being intimidated. (And I doubt women over 5'10" are lying about their height!)

Andy Sly (not verified)
Aug 04, 2010

Hey Elisa, interesting twist: the "Todayter" project (http://www.todayter.com) is expanding the Dating Brian concept into a full-fledged dating site by featuring only one user profile each day.

Elisa Gabbert
Aug 04, 2010

Hi Andy,

Interesting concept! Kind of an ego-boost for that day I guess!

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