For some reason, I thought of the phrase "sell your soul on eBay" and ran it through Google. I wasn't sure that I would get any hits at all, but amazingly, there were seventy-eight unique references (wtih a total of 168 with duplicate instances within the same site being counted).  Fortunately, most of the sites deal either with why this should or cannot be done. One person indignantly states "That's basically stealing someone's money." Others are more cynical--one person denies the possibility because "You have to become a politician or a lawyer first. "
One person actually did try to sell his soul, but eBay would not allow this listing. If you want to find out how he did it, check out http://www.theindychannel.com/news/4081533/detail.html?subid=22100444&qs=1;bp=t .
With a slight adjustment, the phrase becomes "sell my soul on eBay." This results in 80 unique hits. Among them: "I'm going to sell my soul on ebay. Well, not quite. I am going to be selling a lot of little goodies there though. I'm not sure what exactly yet, ...." A disappointed individual reports: "I tried to sell my soul on ebay, no bids. Bummer." Then there is the more contemplative: I actually intend to sell my soul on eBay at some point in the near future."
Yes, I admit it--the thought of trying to make a quick buck on a seminar entitled something like "Getting the Most for Your Soul on eBay" did cross my mind--I was thinking of a price somewhere in the neighborhood of $149 (with a possible group discount) for a half day session. (Unfortunately, those of us on academic salaries may need to supplement our salaries in ways that may be a bit distasteful.) While I am at it, "Beyond Online Auctions: Profit Maximizing Venues for Soul Vending" might make a nice title for an academic paper.
As marketers, we have to think of innovative products and services. The idea of selling one's soul is quite worn by now, and many people find the practice rather objectionable. This is where a contrarian staregy might come in handy. Some segments might be more receptive to the idea of saving a soul. These consumers might more willingly pay for a report entitled "Soul Saving: Ways to Maximize Interest Yield." Does $169 for a thirty page report sound reasonable, or would I need to include some kind of bonus with the offer?
 Technical footnote: Since the search was done with the text in quotes, this count does not include other related phrases such as "selling..." in the gerund (resulting in another 26 unique hits and 146 total instances with duplications across sites allowed). If quotes had not been used, there would have been a lot of "false hits" (irrelevant sites using the words in other combinations) and certain intelligent substitutions would be used--e.g., "souls" in the plural would have sufficed.
Friday, June 16, 2006
Monday, June 05, 2006
The other day, in response to an utterance by my nephew, I asked him if there was any real difference between holy and profane excrement. When he drew a blank, I asked him, then, why he explictly [pun intended!] referred to the former, specifically.
Posted by Lars Perner, Ph.D. at 2:58 PM