Do commercial forces drive the development of the web?

Seth Priebatsch claims the social graph is built and I think he’s right. We’re connected online to people we should be connected to and they are likewise. It’s all set up – but now what? I feel a bit like I did at one of my old school exams once I had filled in all the details on the front cover. Details like name, date and candidate number but then drawing a bit of a blank on the opening question requiring an explanation on the relationship between Lady Macbeth and her husband. What does one do next?

Communication channels between friends and work colleagues are well established (via Facebook and LinkedIn to name the largest) and embedded tools for better search and increased variety are increasing. The communication that still hasn’t found a natural home is that from the mass of people and companies who want to sell us something, the sales-force. From selling cars to a credit checks, anyone with anything to sell are considering the web. Are sellers and groups (those who have a sales target) destined to be an integral part of all of these technologies where their importance imparts a significant influence in the development of the web?

Once there was an established postal system, junk mail began, later as the telephone became ubiquitous then machines were made to make automatic selling calls, similarly with emails and now the new mediums. Sellers don’t seem to provide the innovative platforms and instead seem to react to them as they appear. There are many examples within Facebook from games to dating to Maketplace.

New communication methods don’t seem to be created to satisfy the original needs of sustaining a sales force, but it seems that these sales forces have become interwoven into the internet.

Although there are commercials and banner-ads in almost every page you see, I suspect our networks will move on without them and that intrusion and disruption will eventually decrease. Whether sales forces in their quest to obtain return on investment will ever actually become a force for good is a little harder to foresee, but I hope so.

4 thoughts on “Do commercial forces drive the development of the web?

  1. I quite like this observation, Sir Davies! I guess the frenzy of advertisements on the internet has become the bane of the average surfer.

    However, the more I think about it, I’m not so sure that the sales force will eventually be left behind as communication media become more innovative. Afterall, the most successful is not always the most brilliant inventor. Sometimes, it’s more pragmantic just to remain aware of the environment and be nimble enough, not only to adapt but to take advantage of innovation.

    I’m not sure it’s fair to target just the marketing execs for taking a “free ride” on the internet – hasn’t almost everyone else adapted life as usual to take advatage of this new way of communicating?

    Besides, marketing analyts have indeed thought up their unique way of “communicating” with the buyer. Better still, this communication is actually very effective because for the most part, it is unsuspected by the targetted buyer. Even for those who do suspect, it seems harmless and unobtrusive AND it even pays rewards. Just the thing we all crave, isn’t it? Result? Wallets jam-packed with loyalty bonus cards…

    • It is noteworthy that you agree that adverts are likely to be an annoyance to the majority of viewers. It wasn’t a certain conclusion.

      In terms of sales forces being left behind, then I am of the same mind as you that the need to achieve targets will demand their use of the most up to date technologies and communication pathways. If an advantage is possible, then it should and shall be taken. This is naturally so. In terms of who actually produces the innovation then again history shows us that inventors rarely dominate the new industry they have given birth to. An excellent example of this is how the original inventors of the telephone did not make the next step of building a business around the innovation. A classic example was that of Alexander Bell inventing the telephone (by beating Elisha Gray by one day to the patent office) but Theodore Vail had the vision to build the Bell System (AT&T) which became one of the greatest information empires ever seen.

      I hope that my tone wasn’t critical towards sales forces for not being able to lead the way in innovative new technologies. This wasn’t my purpose since I recognise that it is not even a peripheral duty of sales force to create new communication technologies.

      As events in the Middle East and the conversation we’re having now demonstrate, there are far more important things in the world than sales. I think it is these forces that are leading the way in new communications. Maybe this is as it should be. New communications and networks will be built for the important things but will also available to sales forces.

      Your bonus card examples and psychoanalysis are great. You might be spending a lot of money in the shops, in fact I suspect you do, but if there’s a way to make people feel they’re getting something back and they are in fact doing good work worthy of reward then even better. You walked into my shop, the process works like this: Me giving you some goods, you then returning the favour by giving me some money, but why stop there? If I want your custom again I should give you something back yet again shouldn’t I? Why stop here, you have received some points but have given me some data to put onto your card and then next time you come in I’ll have some tailored made suggestions, ready to give back to you.

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