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Sunday, February 04, 2007

False dichotomies and spurious logic

Our industry is full of these.

When we were at university we had to make a hypothesis, test it, and if it was 'true', test for statistical signifance. Now we make up something that would be nice (however implausible), reject any stats that don't back it up for one that does - and if it's not signifcant, well, we quote it as a percentage instead.

I think some media owner arguments are even more spurious. How can every site have the most uniques/largest reach/biggest active audience? And if perchance the media owner doesn't say say this, then I get to hear why the longtail is the future again.

One media owner tried to get me to pay more for targetting which can probably be done at the click of a button. When I commented that the big portals don't do this, "well they don't realise the potential of this infant industry". Yeah, that answered my question, and no, you can't have my money.

Another common argument: this is a really good deal because it's cheaper than what we've done for you before/what we'd normally do, never mind how much more expensive and generally rubbish it is compared to the rest of the market.

And don't get me started on some qualitative research. That's like saying "I must be cool because my mum said so".

In these sorts of cases I like to refer to Simpsons Mafia boss Fat Tony's justification-of-anything argument:

1. Is it wrong to steal a loaf of bread to feed your starving family?
2. Well, suppose you got a large starving family. Is it wrong to steal a truckload of bread to feed them?
3. And, what if your family don't like bread? What if they like cigarettes?
4. Now, what if instead of giving them away, you sold them at a price that was practically giving them away?


  • Never be afraid to poke at stats. There's nothing more fun than making a media owner shift about.
    If anyone has to go back and 'check on something' you know you've succeeded.
    Perversely, they respect you more if you do this and are marginally more likely to take you out to lunch.

    By Blogger Media Monkey, at 9:13 pm  

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