Death of the Web Page

The Web page was pronounced dead on October 9, 2006, after a long bought with chronic irrelevance. A large group of marketers attempted CPR and other heroic resuscitation techniques. Witnesses present at the scene told reporters that despite a few minutes of chaos, the Web page’s last moments were largely serene and peaceful.

“She was a quiet and powerful beast, and she died doing what she loved,” states one observer.

“While Web 2.0 technologies and persuasive scenarios were certainly contributing factors, we have determined they were not the cause of death,” said a spokesman for the Web page’s care provider. “She was just too irrelevant, and she never quite recovered. She just couldn’t keep pace or serve the needs of today’s marketers any longer.”

Online businesses and marketers are devastated by the news.

“She meant so much to those of us who work online. None of us could have accomplished what we’ve done without her. She’ll go down as one of the great contributors to our bottom lines and to society as a whole,” said one mourner on the scene.

Typical Web analytics jockeys will likely be hit hardest of all.

“What are we gonna do now? What do we do with all these page hits? What will we track? How will we help our clients be successful?” said Iam Du’um, CEO of How Idiots Track Success Ltd., a small traffic-building and Web analytics consulting firm whose business focuses on helping clients increase their exposure by increasing Web page “hits” and, most recently, page “views.”

Other experts disagree.

“The Web page had its moment in the sun, but a few of us saw this coming about seven or eight years ago and have been developing and executing a contingency plan to great success,” said John Quarto-vonTivadar, CTO of a New York consulting firm and co-inventor of persuasion architecture. “In fact, some of our clients don’t even know what a Web page actually is; they’ve moved on to better ways to model and measure visitor engagement.”

“Web pages are so yesterday”, said Dawn Marchant, a 12-year-old amateur photographer and middle-schooler who lives in Kansas City, MO. “What is a Web page anyway? Do you mean a Facebook page?”

Experts do agree, however, that the Web page changed the world, serving millions of content-starved Web surfers billions of bytes of data and forever changing the mass media landscape. Her effects were felt in every corner of the globe.

But the Internet lives on, and some believe the Web page’s demise will mean better online experiences for end users.

“This is going to wake a few sleepy marketers who’ve been relying on traffic to grow top line. They’re going to have to look at their sites and ask the tough questions, such as, ‘Does my site serve up a persuasive experience for my visitors, or do I just have a series of online HTML corpses?'” said one online marketing consultant, who asked to remain anonymous so her clients could maintain a marketing advantage. She commented that relying on “increasingly expensive online traffic to maintain market growth is a one-way trip to a pine box.

“Traffic-reliant marketers will soon be joining the Web page in Internet paradise along with many of my friends who lost it in the first dot-com bust,” she continued. “Sure, they’re having a good run now, but I have my black outfit dry-cleaned and ready.”

The Web page is survived by her inevitable successor, the persuasion scenario, as well as several other promising online technologies.

Funeral service arrangements have not yet been announced. I’ll deliver a formal eulogy next week at the Emetrics Summit in Washington, D.C.

It’s Official: She’s Gone!

You read it here first.

Many of today’s smarter, more aggressive marketers have simply outgrown the singular Web page. They realize that slick, shiny technologies, even new Web 2.0 technologies, don’t live in a vacuum. They’re only part of the visitor experience. The sum of that experience must be meticulously planned for, then measured.

The greed for eyeballs fueled the first dot-com bust, and the overblown value of page views and traffic is pushing us toward a second. Google’s recent acquisition of YouTube marks a milestone on that path. The first Internet bust was about technology failing to live up to the hype, today’s bust won’t be about failing technology but about missed opportunities.

We now have the technology to create superior customer experiences and get more efficient and accountable about customer acquisition. So why are we still wasting so many resources with traffic acquisition? Why are we settling for horrendous conversion rates and blaming them on some “industry standard”?

Don’t make the dot-dumb mistake again. Get relevant, get persuasive, and get better ROI (define) and conversion rates.

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