Last Updated May 12, 2011 12:25 PM EDT
Simple truth: there is no free lunch. In the online world, this means that you, the reader, must pay -- one way or another -- for independent, high-quality content. I am not going to work four or five hours a day writing blog posts about business simply out of the goodness of my heart; I have a family to support and bills to pay, just like you.
The key issue here is "independence." When content is "independent" it means that the writer is not trying to sell you something else. When I write about Sales, I'm not trying to get you to sign up for a sales training seminar. For instance, if I recommend a sales trainer or share a technique they taught me, it's because I think it's a cool technique, not because I got paid on the side to pretend that I liked it.
Most of what's written about Sales on the Web is NOT independent and therefore of limited value. When you read that typical kind of "advertorial" content, it's sometimes difficult to tell what's really going on. For instance, does the writer really believe that the person he's interviewing is brilliant or that this piece of software is useful, or is the article just an advertisement disguised as an article?
Sales Machine is independent. I take the best of what I can find, write it up as clearly as I'm able, and put it into the blog. However, because it's independent of some other business model, you're going to have to pay to read it, one way or another. Is this completely clear?
Now, since there are no hidden agendas in Sales Machine, and I'm not being paid on the side by sales trainers and sales technology firms to say nice things (i.e. lie) about them, there are only two ways that you can pay for the content.
Method #1: You pay directly for access to the content with a credit card (e.g. the New York Times model). This model is highly attractive to publishers and, believe me, is likely to become more common in the future.
Method #2: You pay indirectly by being exposed to (more or less) random advertisements. The right to run those advertisements are sold to third parties, who make money when you patronize them. This is how magazines and newspapers operate, and it's how BNET operates as well.
But wait a second!!! Isn't that the same thing as writing articles that are intended to promote whatever is described in the article? After all, an ad is an ad, right?
Wrong. It's completely different. When I write something, I have no idea who's going to be advertising next to my post. The ads change from day to day, or even from second to second. I simply write what I think will be useful to you. I'm completely unswayed by whatever might be advertised next to the post when you read it.
Is this clear? I hope so, because it's a very important point.
Sales Machine is real journalism. I can't take gifts, much less payments, from the people and companies I write about. If there's any financial relationship whatsoever between myself and somebody mentioned in a post, I ALWAYS point it out, so that you know to take what I've written with a grain of salt.
What's more, because Sales Machine is independent, I can write stuff that is of value to you, the reader, but which might not have any value whatsoever to an advertiser. For instance, I'm frequently critical of brand marketing, even though brand marketers are big spenders on advertising.
My independence gives me the freedom to write the truth as I see it.
So that brings us back, finally, to the issue of the multi-page posts.
In the online world, advertising rates are determined by the number of pageviews that are generated on a site. As a result, I am paid based upon the number of pageviews that my posts generate. A pageview is generated every time you click on a BNET link.
Multi-page posts thus give me a way to set a price for my content. So if I determine that the content is valuable enough to justify, say, 10 or even 20 clicks, I will structure the article so that you have to click on the 10 or 20 times.
I believe that it is -- and should be -- my right in a capitalist system to set the price for my content. I also believe that it is your right -- and should be -- to determine whether the price is too high. That's why, when people complain about the multiple pages, I sometimes suggest that they should go read something else.
When a reader asks to have that content on a single page, for their own convenience (and at my expense), it's exactly like asking for a 90% or 95% discount. My answer is no. I am setting the price that I believe the content justifies.
Might I get even more pageviews if I made the content cheaper (i.e. put into a single page)? Maybe. But that's MY call, not yours. I am setting the price, not you. That's my job. Your job is to decide whether the content is worth it.
So now we get right down to why I'm sometimes a bit "crisp" when people complain about this issue. I happen to believe that the content in Sales Machine is hugely valuable to anybody in Sales. I truly believe that the techniques that I describe can easily increase the average salesperson's lifetime income by several million dollars.
I really believe this.
So, when somebody complains about having to MOVE THEIR INDEX FINGER A FEW TIMES to get that content, I'm frankly a bit contemptuous. The way I see it, that's such an incredibly trivial amount of effort and thus such an unbelievable low price (compared to the potential benefit) that I sometimes question the common sense of anybody who surfaces such an absurd complaint.
Here's the thing: if you truly believe that moving your index finger a few times is too much work to get content that could make you a million dollars, then I'd just as soon you didn't bother reading Sales Machine. If your sense of perspective is that screwed up, you're not going to get any benefit from my content anyway.
READERS: Comments welcome, needless to say.