Well not quite. The stimulus package that includes free insulation, yes free, don’t pay anything ever, has yet to pass. Looking at the share prices of CSR and the like the market isn’t sure it is going to get through quite yet.
But the reason I mention is that a funny thing occurred after Mark Crosby’s post on the issue a couple of days ago. Here is the search page of google.com.au when you look for “free insulation.” If you’re feeling lucky you get a news item but next up is the post. And while I would like to think that the surge in traffic at Core Economics was due to thoughtful and cutting analysis of the stimulus package it seems that many thousands of hits were due to google searches for “free insulation.” This was enough to put us into the Top 50 Economics blogs in the world.
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One first remark is how this demonstrates how powerful the notion of “free” is. Chris Anderson writes about this power today in the Wall Street Journal and it features strongly in my recent paper with Scott Stern. Not having to think about the money really does make things a no-brainer.
The company’s business model is this—they send envelopes to folks who request them. Those folks send back any old gold they have lying around, and Cash4Gold sends them money. How could this business model work? Well, obviously, Cash4Gold is paying less than the market price of gold to their "customers".
Well, it turns out that one blogger, Rob Cockerham, wrote about how much less – two thirds it turns out – they were paying their customers. But google “Cash4Gold” and the blog post comes up second. Think about that. Millions in SuperBowl ad expenses and some blogger warning your customers away comes up second!
Turns out that Cash4Gold thought about it and found a gain from trade.
I work on the Cash4Gold site. We are trying to clean up their first page of results in Google. Your article: http://www.cockeyed.com/citizen/goldkit/cheat.shtml is ranking very well for term “Cash4Gold”. The site looks like you may do well from Adsense.
Is there a financial arrangement we can come to that will offset your Adsense income and make it worth your while to take down or at least “de-optimize” it for that phrase? I would be happy to speak more about this on the phone…
I can attest that adsense revenue is not likely to cover the difference. It just pays for hosting fees. But they have not been successful in doing this deal.
Of course, the other thing that could happen is that they try and reduce the site ranking using Google’s Web 2.0 suggestion links (the up arrow next to the search). I clicked the blogger’s one up and so now it is at the top of my search.
All this brings me back to insulation. Even an academic can realise the commercial opportunity from this. Google is going to be a big way people find out who to buy insulation from in the coming boom there. And I now own the best piece of real estate in that market.
So I am willing to entertain offers as to how to use this should the package pass. There are surely deals to be done here including a page that is separate visually from the main site but that I guess points searchers in the right direction.