Editorial: Is It Something We Said?

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Helloooo, X10.com. Is anyone there? We've been calling you, and you don't call us back. By us, I mean the marketing and advertising press.

We want to know if those pop-under ads you've been spreading all over the Internet are working. You know, those ads that spawn a new browser under the Web page we're viewing so that when we close the page, your offer for an X10 camera is sitting there making the uninitiated among us wonder what the hell happened.

Are they paying off? And by paying off, we mean are you getting orders at your allowable cost? I presume you've figured that out, but if you haven't, there are a bunch of direct marketers out there who read this newsletter and know how to do this. If you'd call me, maybe I could introduce you to some.

New York research firm Jupiter Media Metrix last week released a report saying your ads, which have reached 32 percent of the entire Web audience, convert at about 4.2 percent. Jupiter warned that Web marketers negotiating performance-based ad buys with you could be entering a losing proposition because of that conversion rate. Is that true?

Usually, the way to tell whether a direct response ad is working is to see whether the merchant places the same ad multiple times. But reporting on the Internet has been so wacky during the past few years that we know very well that seeing isn't always believing.

For all we know, you could be placing these ads for $2 per thousand impressions, publishers being so desperate and all. Or, as Jupiter pointed out, you could be striking loser performance-based deals.

But there's no way for us to know if you won't return our calls.

Now granted, I only called you once, but that was after I read reports from colleagues that you weren't returning calls.

For example, Internet.com's Christopher Saunders reported that you didn't return his calls. An Advertising Age reporter also said you didn't return multiple calls.

Now why is that?

Are you hiding something? After all, if you're going to get a fair shake from any media, it will be from the marketing and advertising press.

To many of us -- especially direct marketing trades like iMarketing News and sister publication DM News -- these ads look like a pretty cool experiment on a medium that is trying to find its way.

With the permission mantra having taken root so strongly in Internet marketing circles, intrusion is one important ingredient that too much Internet marketing lacks. At least that's the way it has seemed to folks with old-school mentality like the readership of iMarketing News and DM News.

Of course, we understand you have proprietary concerns. After all, only a nut would share what works with competitors. But could you just give us a hint?

Or could you just whisper it to me? I promise I won't tell a soul.

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