May 13, 2013

Did you know nerds drive the economics of the Web?

Being a nerd is not a bad thing.  Nerds come in all shapes and sizes.  I’m a nerd -- and chances are that if you’re reading this article, you may be a nerd too (at least as much as I am).  Nerds love to post content on inconsequential topics and these topics are the central driving force of the Web (see Facebook’s news feed for proof).  These are the driving force of what some people call Nerdonomics.  

Nerds swarm the WWDC and post endless comments about Apple.  They spend days creating videos hailing their favorite tech gadgets.  They spend the wee hours of the night reading and watching them (like I did Monday night).  Nerds comment for hours on popular culture. Being a nerd is probably (finally) one of the coolest things in the world. 

The Internet economy thrives because of a core set of buzzwords.  These words feed the collective consciousness of nerds and casual readers alike.  The use of these terms on a page, either in unison or stand-alone, can have a dramatic impact on creating page views, generating audience and delivering revenue to publishers.  In no particular order, the terminology behind Nerdonomics is as follows: “Peter Jackson, JJ Abrams, Hobbits, Star Wars, Steve Jobs, Apple, iPhone, iPad, Avengers, Hello Kitty, Wolverine, Harry Potter, JK Rowling, Stan Lee, Marvel, Superman, Batman, Dark Knight, Spiderman, and Star Trek.” Of late there has also been a movement to include the terms “Game of Thrones” and “Mad Men” in this list, and they are under review.  Without Nerdonomics, the Web would likely be less than 100 sites deep, consisting of nothing more than news reports, cooking shows and recaps of “Days Of Our Lives” (you could argue that is a pretty nerdy thing, too).

Our business is rather nerdy, too – and that’s also OK.  We love to reinvent our own methodologies and create new, faster, more innovative ways to do a simple thing: Deliver a message to an audience at the right place, at the right time.    Our business evolved from 468x60 banners to search, to video, to better banners and rich media, to social, to data-driven targeting.  As technology continues to evolve, so does the complexity by which we deliver marketing messages, all in the name of efficiency and innovation.  In some ways we live to justify our own existence as an industry, but it’s an industry I truly enjoy, and we create jobs like no other industry in America, so who’s to complain.

All that being said, we have our very own set of overused buzzwords and terminology that can rival any of the core Nerdonomics terms mentioned above.  The use of any of these terms can have exponential impact on trade-publisher page views and attention dedicated to columns such as this one (thanks for reading as usual).  In no particular order these are as follows: “next generation, outside-the-box, omnichannel, cross-platform, cloud-based, enterprise, hyperlocal, location-based, geo-fenced, native, performance-based, high engagement, click driving, DSP, #hashtag, botnet, optimization, eco-system, visualization, and game-changing.”

I’m probably just as guilty of overuse of these terms as anyone, but I’m a nerd so I put myself at the mercy of the court.  I can try to cut back, but it won’t be easy, especially since there is an entire economy built around these terms.

Nerdonomics is a beautiful thing.  It has evolved from the fringes to the mainstream.  Comic-Con is one example, and the fact that Mark Zuckerberg is a multibillionaire is another.  Being a nerd is accepted and even revered in today’s society.  The Internet itself owes a debt of gratitude to the men and women who have created Nerdonomics.  Cheers to the pioneers!

By Cory Treffiletti
Cory, senior vice president of marketing, BlueKai, is a founder, author, marketer, and evangelist.
Courtesy of MediaPost

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