• http://www.searchwarrant.ca bogrady

    Great column – I couldn’t agree more. The amount of snake oil sloshing around in this market makes it harder for all of us to deliver good service to justifiably jaded and cynical customers. Is your column inspired by Harvard’s Ben Edelman and his proposed advertiser’s bill of rights? It was covered here in SearchEngineLand by Matt McGee, Sept 21, 2009: http://searchengineland.com/harvards-edelman-proposes-a-bill-of-rights-for-online-advertisers-26212
    All the best,

  • http://www.rimmkaufman.com George Michie

    Brian, I don’t remember seeing that piece and if I did see it I certainly would have given credit to prof Edelman for the phrasing though neither of us could claim any terrific novelty in the notion.

    I do have a sense that each discipline within online marketing should have its own list with appropriate specifics. Certainly the SEO community could develop a list centered around understanding methodology and practices employed; the display folks could include notions of testing to measure incremental lists, etc.

    Glad to have you on board, though I suspect you’ve been on board all along. As with many of these rants, it may resonate most with the folks who need to hear it the least!

  • Andrew Goodman

    Fair enough, especially around account transparency and telling the truth. You’re right — it will resonate most with the folks who need to hear it the least…

    On the other hand, isn’t throwing (more) mud at other agencies just a way of getting clients? You’re actually contributing to agencies “being tarred with the same brush”.

    Although we happen to follow 90%+ of your bill of rights, there are plenty of business models out there that diverge from it somewhat — whether that be on price, account ownership, or letting someone I don’t know very well reverse-engineer my business model. In some sense these are individual decisions and the market is free to advocate for different models.

    Much of the list isn’t about “rights” at all. It’s about price. You are essentially negotiating (in reverse, on behalf of other agencies) fair prices and terms for top quality work that often drives the best ROI of any channel going. Yes, there are some bad apples… but once again, I can’t quite see the logic of you standing out here and negotiating for lower prices and a one-way approach to transparency. At the in-house panels at SES, some clients joke that outsourcing to an agency is “out-house-ing”. Ha ha! Might be nice to hear a bit more respect for the concept in general. Solidarity, brother!

  • http://www.rimmkaufman.com George Michie

    Andrew, I’m certainly not claiming that RKG is the only reputable agency out there; there are many, of course. And, it’s true that there is more than one pricing model that can make sense. “Fairness” has different definitions to different people.

    That said, I’m absolutely trying to draw a bright line distinction between Marketing Service firms, and Advertising Brokerages. Perhaps it shouldn’t be framed as the former is good and the latter is bad, as much as: advertisers should know which one they’re hiring.

    The fact that bad actors are prevalent in our space has already tarred us all in the eyes of many, as your SES anecdote shows. I’m hoping to shine a spotlight on those agencies that really do work for their client’s best interests in a competent fashion so advertisers recognize that we aren’t all the same. I would like to see those firms bury the bad actors in the space. Yes, that would help my firm and yours financially, but it would also help advertisers and third party marketing vendors in general rehabilitate their reputations.