Advertising doesn’t work

Contra the popular business assumptions, all that “online ad revenue” is more akin to money laundering among the cognoscenti and voluntary donations from the ignorati than anything resembling the stimulation of demand in the prospective market:

I’ve often recounted the curious tale of how in the 1980s I worked for a marketing research start-up that created perhaps the all time best real world lab for carrying out Randomized Controlled Trials.

In eight towns, we bought the new laser beam checkout scanners for all the supermarkets and drug stores in town in return for their cooperation. We recruited 3000 households in each town who agreed to identify themselves to the checkout clerk, so we could record all their consumer packaged goods shopping. And we controlled what TV commercials they saw on cable TV. So we could divide our sample into test and control groups that had exactly identical amounts of purchasing of the client’s product over the previous year and then show them more or different ads for a year and measure how much their purchasing increased.

Even today. this sounds like science fiction, but it was all up and running 40 years ago.

Brand managers at CPG firms were initially wildly enthusiastic: finally, they could scientifically prove to the beancounters at headquarters that their advertising is so effective that they should double their ad budgets!

But after a half decade of spectacular growth in our service, it turned out more or new advertising only rarely increased sales. And I don’t mean that doubling the ad budget only increased sales in the test group of thousands of families by, say, 7{cc08d85cfa54367952ab9c6bd910a003a6c2c0c101231e44cdffb103f39b73a6} over sales in the control group of families, and that didn’t quite payout in terms of profitability. No, I mean, the typical result was that the sales in the test cell that saw twice as many ads as the control cell bought 0.1{cc08d85cfa54367952ab9c6bd910a003a6c2c0c101231e44cdffb103f39b73a6} less.

They turned off all their keyword-search ads, then measured actual sales:

TADELIS: And the impact on average was pretty much zero.

What was eBay’s existing belief about paid-search advertising?

TADELIS: The company believed that roughly 5 percent of sales were driven by paid-search advertising, meaning that they believed that if we would pull the plug on advertising, sales would drop by 5 percent. What we found was that sales dropped by about half a percent. So, that’s an order of magnitude less. And it was not statistically different from zero.

But maybe it’s still worth it to gain even that half a percent? Now we have to know what the advertising costs, and measure the return on investment.

TADELIS: When you did the return on investment for every dollar that eBay spends — eBay believed that for every dollar they’re spending, they’re getting roughly a dollar-and-a-half back, meaning 50 cents of net profits. And what we showed is that on average, they’re losing more than 60 cents on every dollar.

So, how did these results go over?

TADELIS: Well, the president of eBay, who later became the C.E.O., he cut the paid-search marketing budget immediately by $100 million a year.

So, what happened next? You might think — what with capitalism being the hyper-competitive, market-optimizing, perfect-information ecosystem it’s supposed to be — you might think that other companies, once they learned about this eBay research, would cut their online ad spending. Or at least commission their own research to test the theories. So, did they?

TADELIS: Excellent question. There was a lot of chatter online after our experiments became public, suggesting that folks at eBay don’t know what they’re doing. And paid-search advertising works wonderfully if you know how to do it. But of course, that was backed with no data and no analysis.

In other words, the digital-ad community did not rush to replicate the results.

In the early 1990s, my father’s company was a leader in high-resolution graphics. They had always sold through a three-level distribution-dealer-end user structure, but saw their market position being eroded by inexpensive Taiwanese manufacturers going direct to the end user. So, they took out some very expensive, very prominent ads in PC Week, hired a number of people to take all the anticipated calls, and eagerly awaited the phone to start ringing.

I was one of the people assigned to the late 5-8 PM shift that covered the West Coast. I took one call on the third day. By the end of the first week, it became clear that the ads wouldn’t even begin to pay for themselves, much less the additional staff.

Not all paid advertising is useless, but I would estimate that 99 percent of it is. Which, of course, is why every owner of a popular Internet site soon learns that no one is willing to pay anything for access to even large and dedicated communities.

Don’t fear to walk away

 Sometimes, the corporations and government offices will even back down:

9 young female employees of a NY court office all oppose C19V (They want kids)They organized & told their supervisor they will ALL walk out on the job if the C19V is mandated. The office cannot run without them. Result: the office is not mandating the shot. 

No job, no career, no travel, is worth submitting to the Vaccine Nazi regime. And this is not the first example of an office backing down from an announced vaccine mandate of which I have heard.

Remember, many corporations are struggling because they can’t find decent employees, so they’re not eager to see their existing ones walk over nonsense like this.

Pfizer lied, people died

The Vaccine Nazis are now running around saying that the vaccines aren’t supposed to prevent infection, just serious illness and death. That is a blatant and easily disproven lie:


Thursday, March 11, 2021 – 06:45am

Dramatically lower COVID-19 disease incidence rates observed in individuals fully vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, based on real-world data gathered by the Israel Ministry of Health  

Data suggest Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine prevents asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection

Latest data analysis finds unvaccinated individuals were 44 times more likely to develop symptomatic COVID-19 and 29 times more likely to die from COVID-19

Findings represent the most comprehensive real-world evidence to date demonstrating the effectiveness of a COVID-19 vaccine

Read it again: “Data suggest Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine prevents asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection”

And now the Vaccine Nazis are not only saying it isn’t preventing infections, they’re falsely claiming it isn’t even supposed to do so.

Vaccine fascism in the UK

While it’s good that the governments have generally shied away from mandating human genetic modification, the corporations are stepping in:

Publisher Bloomsbury has told staff vaccines will be compulsory when its offices reopen next month.

The Harry Potter publisher informed employees of the policy in an email sent before the second May Day bank holiday weekend. Offices are due to reopen from July 19.

It said it had based its decision on ‘medical and scientific advice’.

Pimlico Plumbers previously announced Covid-19 jabs would be compulsory for staff and new employees would not be taken on if they had not been inoculated.

Care home workers have also been told by the government that they should be vaccinated or risk losing their jobs.

Perhaps publisher Castalia should make an announcement that new employees will not be taken on if they have been subjected to the experimental modification of their mRNA. Anyhow, anyone who works for an employer that mandates any aspect of health care should quit their job immediately. Because, one way or another, it’s not going to end well there.

Forget the material adverse affects of playing with spike proteins for the moment, and instead, think about how many workplace shootings are likely to take place when furious people who have lost loved ones know exactly who is to blame for their deaths. Do you really want to be working in those offices?

UPDATE: ESPN has also gone full vaccine fascist. Can Disney be far behind?

ESPN has sent an email to staffers warning they must be fully vaccinated in order to work remote game assignments this season, according to various emails obtained by OutKick.

They should all be fired

Rumors abound that DC is headed for an epic housecleaning of the Augean Stables variety:

One of the first things on David Zaslav’s to-do list as the CEO of newly-formed conglomerate Warner Bros. Discovery will surely be to streamline the entire operation, because as things stand the corporate structure could generously be described as shambolic.

As much as many fans would love for him to kick open the doors, boot out the old guard and restore the SnyderVerse, that’s hardly going to be high on his immediate agenda, but we’ll use the DCEU‘s setup as an example, with a recent Reddit leak as the jumping-off point. We should point out that the veracity of the claim is entirely up for debate, with an “insider” post claiming that Discovery want to fire everyone involved with the shared superhero universe.

Obviously, that’s an incredibly sweeping generalization that only reinforces our point about the jumbled hierarchy. If Discovery were to get rid of everyone with a vested stake in the DCEU, then that extends to DC Films president Walter Hamada, WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar, HBO Max Chief Content Officer Casey Bloys, WarnerMedia Studios CEO Ann Sarnoff and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich.

Heading further down the ladder to join even more of the DCEU dots, DC Comics, Inc. is a subsidiary of DC Entertainment, which is part of Warner Bros. Global Brands and Experiences, itself part of the Studio & Networks umbrella, under the control of the aforementioned Picture Group, so a whole lot of heads would have to roll were Discovery planning to eliminate anyone who’s got even the slightest bit of skin in the game when it comes to crafting one of the DCEU‘s big budget superhero blockbusters from the ground up.

The only thing that would actually be surprising about Warner-Discovery going Hercules on DC is that it would mark the first time in decades that anyone had done anything sensible there. After all, based on past experience, they’ll hire a transvestite in a wheelchair and put Zer in charge of the entire operation. 

Woke for thee, but not for me

After all of its incessant preaching and thought policing about diversity and equality, Google finds itself facing a class action lawsuit for discriminating against women:

A California state judge has ruled that several women, who are accusing Google of violating gender equity laws by underpaying female employees, can do so on behalf of 10,800 alleged victims of the practice. The Thursday ruling by the San Francisco Superior Court Judge Andrew Cheng, certifying a class-action status to the 2017 gender pay gap suit, was celebrated as a major victory by the plaintiffs. “This is HUGE,” Kelly Ellis, one of the women behind Ellis et al v. Google Inc. tweeted.
A lawyer representing the plaintiffs said the decision “shows that it is critical that companies prioritize paying women equitably over spending money fighting them in litigation.” The trial of the case may start as soon as 2022, the lawyer, Kelly Dermody, told Bloomberg.
The lawsuit filed on behalf of all female workers of the tech giant alleges that the Silicon Valley behemoth violated California’s Equal Pay Act by systematically giving preferential treatment to males working in similar positions. The tech giant paid women less than males for doing similar jobs and promoted fewer women at a slower pace, compared to men of a similar qualification, the claims said.

As with the champions of “free speech”, the corpocracy never practices what it preaches.

Warner merges with Discovery

In which Warner Media acknowledges that their attempts at creating a viable streaming platform have failed:

David Zaslav was officially named Monday to lead a new combination of WarnerMedia and Discovery, propelling him to the top ranks of operators in the industry and offering just the latest example of consolidation among media conglomerates as the rise of video streaming continues to upend the entire sector.

Zaslav’s ascension is part of a surprising move by AT&T and Discovery to pool their media resources and make a bid to compete more directly with large rivals like Netflix, Walt Disney and NBCUniversal. Under terms of the deal, AT&T shareholders will control 71{cc08d85cfa54367952ab9c6bd910a003a6c2c0c101231e44cdffb103f39b73a6} of the new company, while Discovery shareholders would own 29{cc08d85cfa54367952ab9c6bd910a003a6c2c0c101231e44cdffb103f39b73a6}. The boards of both companies have approved the pact and the transaction is expected to close in mid-2022, subject to approval by regulators and Discovery shareholders. Two key Discovery backers, the media executive John Malone and the media company Advance, will vote in favor of the transaction.

In remarks made Monday morning, the executive vowed to run the combined entity — a new name could be unveiled later this week — with “one culture, one mission,” though it seemed clear he needed time to determine a new executive team and to answer questions about integrating assets. There was no position designated for WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar, and Zaslav offered no detail on a potential role for Jeff Zucker, the head of WarnerMedia’s CNN and sports operations, who is slated to leave his current job at the end of 2021. “We will be trying to figure out how do we get the best and brightest to stay,” Zaslav said.

It will be interesting to see what impact this will have with regards to the future growth of Unauthorized and Arktoons. But given the new entity’s commitment to one Satanic culture and one Satanic mission, it shouldn’t be too hard to defeat them every time we find ourselves going head-to-head.

Devoured by the Borg

Making a lot of money by selling the farm is the dream for most entrepreneurs. However, it’s usually the beginning of the end of the road for what made the property worth acquiring in the first place. It will be interesting to see how Clay Travis feels about literally selling out in a few years:

Fox Corporation (Nasdaq: FOXA, FOX) today announced an agreement via its subsidiary to acquire OutKick Media, LLC, a digital media platform founded and led by Clay Travis, and related assets. OutKick is an omnichannel leader in sports, opinion politics, and pop culture content across its radio, podcasts, online and social outlets, as well as one of the foremost sources of sports wagering information in the United States. Further, OutKick is in an exclusive marketing agreement with FOX’s partner FanDuel and serves as a significant source of sports wagering referrals.  

Fox Corporation Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Lachlan Murdoch commented: “As FOX further diversifies our growing digital portfolio and broadens our position in the sports wagering ecosystem, there could be no better acquisition than OutKick. Clay and his team have quickly made OutKick a content powerhouse with a very large, loyal and engaged audience. We expect the synergies presented across FOX’s existing portfolio of assets will turbocharge this exciting business.”

Travis added: “OutKick has grown out of my passion for producing bold, well-informed, and entertaining content about sports, current events and, more recently, sports wagering. With the power of FOX behind us, we look forward to maintaining OutKick’s unwavering commitment to that mission, as well as further accelerating the growth of our audience, and continued leadership in the sports wagering affiliate category.”

These acquisitions often look good on paper, but companies like Origin Systems and id Software were never the same after being acquired. Fortunately, fans of Castalia, Arkhaven, and Unauthorized don’t have to worry, as we have even less interest in being acquired than the corpocracy has in acquiring us.

Most organizations pursue growth at any cost. We don’t even use our mailing list very much, or send out press releases, because we’re not satisfied with how we’re managing our existing operations yet.

UPDATE: So, who’s interested in the idea of Unauthorized Sports?

The corpocracy stacks the deck

A lot of California companies are observably paying attention to Patreon’s legal shenanigans and are attempting to avoid being caught in a similar trap of their own device. Unfortunately, instead of taking an honest and legally valid approach, many of the scions of the Silicon Valley corpocracy are attempting to stack the deck even further in their Terms of Use, as can be seen in the example of Square’s newly announced terms that mandate arbitration, but only after attempting to force the claimant to divulge anything and everything that Square can use against him.

Pre-Filing Requirement to Attempt to Resolve Disputes. Before an arbitration is commenced, you or Square agree to attempt to avoid the costs of formal dispute resolution by giving each other a full and fair opportunity to address and resolve a Dispute informally. Both parties recognize that this is an important requirement, and that breach of this requirement would be a material breach of the Terms. To provide this opportunity, before commencing any arbitration or suit, each party agrees to send to the other party a written Notice (“Notice”). Any Notice to Square should be sent by mail to Square, Inc., Attn: Arbitration Provision, PO Box 427069, San Francisco, CA 94142. Any Notice sent to you will be sent to the address on file for your account. The Notice must: (i) include your name and account number; (ii) provide detailed information sufficient to evaluate the merits of the claiming party’s individualized claim and for the other party to determine if an amicable resolution is possible; and (iii) set forth the specific relief sought, including whatever amount of money is demanded and the means by which the demanding party calculated the claimed damages. Both parties agree that they will attempt to resolve a dispute through an informal negotiation within sixty (60) days from the date the Notice is sent. After that sixty (60) day period and not before, either party may commence arbitration. Each party agrees that state courts in the City and County of San Francisco, California, or federal court for the Northern District of California, referenced below, may enter injunctive relief to enforce the pre-filing requirements of this paragraph, including an injunction to stay an arbitration that has been commenced in violation of this paragraph.

The purpose of this is to attempt to build an “extortion” case out of nothing to provide an excuse for playing the victim and establishing a false narrative. The correct thing to do is to tell the company absolutely nothing and to make no settlement demands, because anything you say can and will be folded, spindled, mutilated, and then used against you in front of an arbitrator who is sympathetic to the corporation. Just file the arbitration and do the absolute minimum required by the contract. Notice in particular that Square actually gives themselves the right to go to court in order to stop you from going to mandated arbitration. I doubt this requirement holds up in court.

Scope of Arbitration. If we are not able to resolve the Dispute by informal negotiation or, as provided below, in a small claims court, all Disputes will be resolved finally and exclusively by binding individual arbitration with a single arbitrator (the “Arbitrator”) administered by the American Arbitration Association ( according to this Section and the Commercial Arbitration Rules for that forum, except you and Square will have the right to file early or summary dispositive motions and to request that the AAA’s Expedited Procedures apply regardless of the claim amount. Except as set forth above, the Arbitrator shall be responsible for determining all threshold arbitrability issues, including issues relating to whether the General Terms and/or Additional Terms (or any aspect thereof) are enforceable, unconscionable or illusory and any defense to arbitration, including waiver, delay, laches, or estoppel.

This is flat-out illegal and will not even hold up in arbitration, let alone court. Square is shamelessly attempting to force the consumer to agree to the Commercial rules, instead of the Consumer rules that provide the consumer with some level of protection in order to level the playing field. This is completely illegal, as it directly violates both black-letter and California case law, but the vast majority of consumers won’t know that.

Fortunately, the attempts of the corporations to work their way around the consumer protection laws won’t work at all. The California legislature is very much aware of their shenanigans, as it is already in the process of passing laws to tighten up the terminology and eliminate the ambiguities in the existing laws to which companies like Patreon and Square are appealing in order to attempt to avoid being held accountable to their own contracts.

It’s clear that some Silicon Valley executives are beginning to correctly perceive the legal positions of their organizations vis-a-vis their customers as an existential threat. But it is absolutely idiotic for them to turn to the very same inept lawyers who created the existential threat in the first place in the hopes of somehow escaping it.

Investments are buyouts

 Except they don’t actually give the founder any money.

John Matze, the co-founder and former CEO of free speech platform Parler, is suing the company for wrongful termination and the alleged theft of his 40{3549d4179a0cbfd35266a886b325f66920645bb4445f165578a9e086cbc22d08} ownership of the company. It must be tempting when a big gun comes in, and promises millions in funding, and access to their massive media promotion machine. But that is almost always the first step in taking over your operation, and muscling you out.

If the Mercers come knocking, the answer should always be “no, thank you.” Nine times out of ten, if someone is seeking to invest in something you’re doing, their interests are in no way aligned with your own. Be content with what you have and where you are. And remember that no one genuinely gets to the big leagues through hard work and genuine success.