Inside the Black Box or Outside the Flim Flam

Reading the article today There Are No Black Boxes in Online Marketing, I had to laugh when Tom Hespos laments “To me, it seems ridiculous that anyone in this industry would want to put blind faith in a piece of technology without understanding fully why it works”. Absolutely! It would be wonderful if marketing and sales really wanted to know how things worked inside the “black box”. This would make the bona fide technologist who labored over a real product very happy.

But the reason we have black boxes is simple – the customers don’t want to know anything about how it works – they just want it to give them the results they want when they want them.

This desperate willful ignorance on the part of “don’t tell me about the technology, just tell me how it works” online marketing crowd is fertile ground for the flim-flam product that spews out worthless “results” in pretty charts. Like what you may ask. Gee, like security that isn’t, spam filters that don’t, and software “accelerators” that slow the processor – I could go on for hours, and I haven’t even hit any hardware yet.

Let’s face it – an ordinary sincere technologist doesn’t have a chance next to those magical solutions. If she says they don’t work, she’s told that her competitor has it and it does work. If she argues with her customer, she’s blamed for “losing the sale”.

So until black box results are tied to an online marketer’s performance (and job security), expect more black box solutions and very few honest answers.

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