Monday, November 22, 2010

THE LAST ORIGINAL IDEA by Alan K’necht and Geri Rockstein

I have found Alan K’necht worth listening to, ever since he introduced me to the arcane world of web analytics, Search Engine Optimization and Internet Marketing. And so it is with The Last Original Idea - A Cynic’s View of Internet Marketing, a new book written by Alan K’necht and Geri Rockstein.

The Last Original Idea is not a “legal book”. It doesn’t talk about misleading advertising, web agreements, jurisdictional issues, intellectual property matters or the multitude of other issues associated with the Internet that consume lawyers’ time. I don’t think there is a single statutory reference in the book and even in talking about Napster, there is not a lot of discussion about copyright infringement.

What it is is an entertaining, highly-readable and insightful look at Internet Marketing. The book examines each of the elements of Internet Marketing, not as a dramatic, late twentieth/early twenty-first century technological innovation, but rather as the latest flavour of issues in commercial communications that stretch back hundreds or thousands of years. The routes of banner ads for example, first used on the Internet by AT & T in 1994 in the online magazine Hot Wired, are traced back to electoral propaganda messages written on homes in Pompeii in 71 A.D.

In the course of this examination, we see how today’s Internet Marketing challenges are similar to prior issues in commercial communication, but also how they differ. This appreciation for the past and the understanding of the similarities and differences are crucial for companies looking to succeed in Internet Marketing. Without them, companies will fail in their Internet Marketing attempts. Organizations that have failed to understood that a corporate website is not just an online brochure, for example, have not been successful in their attempts to entice customers to visit and to return to their websites.

K’necht and Rockstein drive home their point that:

“companies who understood the mistakes of the past were able to be profitable in the present. Others are a mere memory, lost in cyberspace”

in the final chapter of their book. It is a case study of Gun Dog Supply, a small business that applied the historical lessons of what works and what doesn’t in retailing to create a successful and evolving business.

The Last Original Idea is not a long book. But it is fun and thoughtful and worth the read for anyone interested in Internet Marketing.

(The Last Original Idea is available through

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