Learn from porn

The Internet started for the general public in about 1994 (it had been around since the 1960’s but only for academics and military personnel).

When I started in 1996 I often compared my first five years on the Internet to the old Wild West of America; the more I think about this claim the more accurate I believe I am.

Since then the Internet has evolved into order with people having wised up to the tricks and pitfalls of being online.

In the old days people believed that running a store was easy and that the old rules of retail didn’t apply.  Most people believed that the store with the lowest price would ‘win’.

They were WRONG!

Stores simply wanted you to send them money and they would send the goods.  If you sent a seller an email to ask if the item had been sent yet then you were considered a nuisance! 

It took about 6 years (from personal experience) before things got better on the Internet and customer service improved.

And where did this ‘revolution’ start?  It started in an online industry that was making a $10 billion yearly profit.

And this industry is?  … Porn.

Love it or hate it Porn is the most profitable industry on the Internet, far outselling anything else.  In fact it makes more profit than Microsoft!

Pornography was profitable from day one, which caused a lot of competitors to appear; and there were a LOT of competitors.

The irony of this is that porn kept making huge profits while the industry experts claimed that nobody would ever make a profit on the Internet (that comment now ranks up there with the head of the US patent office claiming that man would never fly).

So all those that were not in the porn industry were not making money, but some wised up and realised that if porn could make money then why couldn’t they?  They proceeded to look at the porn industry in order to work out how it was making money; and came to the startling realisation that the porn industry was using ‘real world’ tactics to remain profitable.

The main lesson learnt was that ‘customers’ aren’t very profitable – it’s ‘repeat customers’ that make you the money!  You always encourage new customers but the old customers are the ones that are the most profitable.

So how do you turn a ‘customer’ into a ‘repeat customer’?  Simple – Customer service.

Customer service was really missing when the Internet started.

Companies realised that if they had a customer service department it raised the cost of business but it took them a while to realise that the increase in sales was worth it.

Morale to all this – treat your online customers the same way you treat your real customers.

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