Gerry McGovern // New Thinking

Are you measuring the right things?

May 17, 2009 -- Gerry McGovern

Having enormous quantities of people visit gargantuan numbers of pages on your website is the only metric that matters. (Santa Claus is a woman who lives in the Bahamas.)

Health websites around the world have been thriving as a result of swine flu. Millions upon millions of new visitors and countless millions of new page views. "It's really wonderful," said a web manager for a major health website. "What we need are more pandemics like this. It really helps the page views."

The manager for a major software company's support website was recently overheard to say to a friend. "I only wish this company would make worse software. That would really help the page views." This is a very clever manager, who came up with a brilliant idea for making money out of a loss-making activity (support). This clever manager sells ads on the support website. What a wonderful new revenue source.

Now, at a senior management level strategies are indeed being discussed for making more inferior software so that more people will have problems. Thus more people will have to visit the website, and of course the more people who visit the website the more this company will make on advertising revenue. It's a win-win business model. Spend less money on software development, thus resulting in worse software, and make more money from the ads on the support website. What genius!

Sheepboy is a new search engine, a "Google killer" with a business model that is making venture capitalists drool. "I got the idea from how supermarkets put the milk at the back, so that you're forced to walk through the aisles so maybe you'll buy other stuff as well," Timothy Lamb, founder of Sheepboy stated. Sheepboy's amazing idea is to put the right results on the second page of the search results. That way they will double page views for every visitor. (And we all know how important page views are!)

Tom Volume is an entrepreneur with an idea. He was developed software that sucks sentences and pages from the Web's most popular websites, randomizes them and then sells this new content for a penny a page. Tom has a wonderful special offer. If you spend 100 dollars you get a bonus of an extra trillion pages thrown in for free absolutely. You will have one of the biggest websites on the Web, full of keyword-rich webpages. This will unquestionably lead to a rise in visitors, and of course, more page views.

James Vague has designed his website in a very clever way. There is a frontpage that says "Hello" with a link that says "Click here to enter website." When you click that, you get to a flash intro that goes on for three minutes, thus increasing visitor time on the page. (James' website has won an advertising industry design award, so it must be good.) However, the cleverest idea of all is the fact that every task on the website involves visiting at least 20 pages (when you should only have to visit 4). But wait, there's more. You're never able to complete the task first time around. You have to come back. Thus James has an exceedingly high repeat visitor rate. Amazing. Truly.