Free insulation, yes pay nothing!

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 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.

[DDET Read more]

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.

This is not an uncommon occurrence  for bloggers. For instance, the Superbowl ad featured a company called Cash4Gold. According to the Economist blog:

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: 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.


4 thoughts on “Free insulation, yes pay nothing!”

  1. Hi Guys

    Program details and installation booking are here

    Also we are starting interviews and short training courses for people who want to be Insulation Installers next week, we expect to employ about 30 people in the next month, as the phones are ringing off the hook.


    Mike Nicholls
    Active Insulation
    0411 222 551


  2. Absolutely amazing!!! How is it possible that you people do an article on “free insulation”, but don’t add a link so that interested people can get first hand information. Quite astonishing. Mind you, the government did the very same thing.


  3. Most details of the Free Insulation Program are due for release this Thursday 26 Feb 2009. My fathers business is Balmoral Heating & Cooling and if anyone is looking to have Insulation Installed for we can help you!
    Keep an eye on this website below if you are Household  or Installer and want to find out more information on free insulation

    or keep an eye on my Business website

    Matt Gaylard
    Balmoral Heating & Cooling
    Ph – 0421 441 481


  4. hi, looking for some information on courses to become an installer in country NSW or corespondance. If anyone can help please.


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