The New York Times Learns about Information Marketing on eBay
Now – How can your company Benefit from Information Marketing?
The NY Times article by David Gallagher, quoted below is an interesting tale about the sale of a public-domain information product by a information marketing niche eBay seller to a NY Times Journalist. The story is more than “interesting” if your business is looking for ways to gain exposure, boost revenue, find new customers, or retain older customers.
Public-Domain information products are sold worldwide via eBay and on numerous niche websites. Could your business benefit from information marketing, especially if you own the rights to the information? Information has always been a valuable commodity, the NY Times article drives home that point in a way which few may first realize. If a small movie made in the 1950’s about a small town in America, which in itself was an advertising vehicle at the time, is worth something to someone somewhere… What do you have in your files which may be worth someones cold hard cash?
What can you take from your company files and turn into a revenue producing information product? Do you have a technical manual for a widely sold and still in use product which is no longer in production? If you have the rights to that manual you should consider digitizing it and offering it for sale in a eBay store. Do you have a procedures or sales training manual written specifically for your company or by your company which you no longer use? Digitize and sell that information!
These Information products are sold every day by major manufacturers of appliances, electronics, machinery, automobiles etc etc… Look for an owners manual for your any of your electronics or appliances in your home and you will find them for sale, usually directly on the manufacturers website. These manuals are now being delivered electronically and some companies charge a fee for the information. This “service” provides continual revenue for the manufacturer. The income from the sale of digitally delivered owners manuals adds up to a significant number at the end of the year.
The goal is not necessarily to make millions of dollars from old information in your files (although that could be possible, depending upon your information). The goal is to gain exposure for your company through your eBay store and to gain new customers by introducing them to your company via your expert information products. If a consumer believes in the information enough to buy it, that consumer has taken the first step towards buying another product or service from your company.
The information products you can sell are low cost advertising vehicles. They will include more than the specific information the buyer purchases, these information products will also include your present day company message and links to your website. There is so much to be gained by using this unique and original method of advertising and really very little to lose. By selling outdated or public-domain information to consumers your company gains a new customer and an opportunity to sell that customer newer and better products or services. The consumer gains knowledge previously unattainable and a confidence in your company he never had before.
Information products can be sold completely on auto-pilot. Technology is available which will instantly deliver the digital information product to the consumer upon payment. The only significant investment in information products is in the creation of these products. Once they are created and digitized the cost of production for digital information products is zero. Other forms of delivery such as DVD or CD have associated costs, but those costs are minimal when compared with the benefit.
Scott Pooler – iBusinessLogic / All Business Auctions – 727-596-6900
December 28, 2007, 8:40 pm
On eBay, Some Profit by Selling What’s FreeWhile scouring eBay for interesting Christmas presents a while back, I found and bought a DVD of a film made in 1954 about my home town of Doylestown, Pa. After it arrived I went searching for more information about it — and found the entire film, available as a free download from the nonprofit Internet Archive.It turned out that the eBay seller had simply downloaded the movie file, burned it onto a DVD and stuck it in the mail. And he was doing the same with a wide range of other public-domain material: military truck manuals from World War II, PowerPoint presentations on health matters from government doctors, vaudeville shorts from the late 1800’s.The seller’s name is Jeffrey; he wouldn’t give his last name because, he said, strange buyers sometimes want to come by his house to pay for things in person. In an interview, Jeffrey said that he spends 20 to 30 hours a week working on his eBay business at his home near Dayton, Ohio. He wouldn’t say how much money he makes, but indicated that it was worth the time he was putting into it.Jeffrey’s auction listings do say the material is in the public domain, and he acknowledges that it is all out there on the Web for those who know where to find it. But he said some of his customers were people who might not know how to turn a downloaded file into something they could watch on a TV or play on a CD player. Some have dial-up Internet connections that would choke on a 600-megabyte compilation of technical manuals. Others don’t have the time or expertise to search for specific information. “Some people say ‘I could have gotten this on my own,’ but a lot of my stuff is very difficult to find,” he said.Other sellers have gotten into the business since Jeffrey started doing this seriously in 1999, so sales are down somewhat. He estimated that there are 10 to 20 people selling public-domain material on eBay, and he said they watched each others’ auctions for clues as to what buyers might want. PowerPoint presentations from government sites, particularly on medical topics, are his latest niche.Brewster Kahle, the digital librarian of the Internet Archive and a co-founder of the organization, said his group had no problem with people selling material from its online collection in this way. “There’s nobody making a lot of money off of this kind of thing,” he said.Mr. Kahle added that he would, of course, like to see people making more creative use of the material, as in the case of this mashup of old instructional films and new footage that a couple made to show at their wedding.I felt a little cheated when I found out that I had paid Jeffrey for a free movie. But at a time when there is so much focus on copyrighted material being ripped from CDs and DVDs and set loose on the Internet, it’s an interesting twist to find people taking non-copyrighted material in the other direction — and making some money from it.Then there is the simple fact that if the film hadn’t ended up on eBay, I most likely would never have seen it — or given it to my dad, who got a kick out of it.
“I’m performing services much like Lexis-Nexis or any other company that sells data,” Jeffrey said. “Somebody has to do that research.”
[Off-topic: If you watch the film I bought about Doylestown and this film about Levittown, Pa.,you’ll notice that the stilted voiceover is almost exactly the same. The man behind the company that made these was apparently an early innovator in the local content space, charging businesses to be featured in films that were shown before the features at the town theater. Using the same soundtrack for multiple towns helped keep costs down, but it tends to undermine the theme of local specialness: “These civic-minded familiar faces we all know in my home town think our town is something to shout about. Don’t you?”]