Let’s say that I offer a service that gets partygoers to the parties they want to attend. I sometimes just recommend parties, but I also let people who are throwing parties pay me to get people to go to theirs. I do this by letting party hosts advertise their party on my site, and take a cut every time someone inquires about a recommended party through the ad. But even for those that pay to advertise, I still only match them up with party-going people who are interested in the kind of party that the advertiser is advertising.
Then, imagine that I also have a spin-off service that’s designed to allow parties to swap guests. Essentially, I pay a host to get a guest to leave his party and go to someone else’s. I pay him out of what the second host pays me.
The best cases are when someone advertises with me, and then sends the guest somewhere else. Why would anyone want someone to leave their party though? Good question. How does a person get someone to leave their party? Also a good question. I don’t really want people telling their guests to leave directly, really, because it’s a flat out strange thing to do. Partygoers don’t want to feel like they’re being shuffled around. I want them to want to leave.
At first, hosts are concerned about the fact that they would have to make their parties pretty bad if they really wanted guests to leave. Some join my system but still throw awesome parties so no one really leaves, and neither of us make a lot of money. I don’t care much for them.
What I do like are those that purposely paint their walls clashing colours so that people find it ugly enough to want to leave, or speak gibberish until their guests get uncomfortable.
I even tolerate, to some degree, a little trickery. Some hosts do things like put signs on doors that say something like “bathroom” but when you walk through it you’re just at the party next door, and everyone takes their cut. For the most part, I don’t care! As long as the hosts push their guests from one party to another and I get my share, I’m happy.
I couldn’t let all parties work like this, of course, or partygoers wouldn’t like my service. I mix just the right amount of excellent parties with those that are so terrible I’m bound to double dip into profits. It’s a good system!
A friend once asked me if I feel guilty about not just sending people only to good parties, or if I feel bad wasting people’s time, giving money to parties that I know aren’t really offering anything of value. My money helps me pay my guilt to go away.
Sometimes it’s frustrating for my employees that are working on making the best party lineup possible to get stuck with the double dip crap shindigs being encouraged, but the double dip crap shindig employees have quotas to hit, so too bad so sad, there’s room for a little ugly to up my bottom line.
…and that’s what bothers me about AdSense and AdWords.