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Seth Godin has written 18 bestsellers that have been translated into 35 languages

The complete list of online retailers

Bonus stuff!

or click on a title below to see the list


All Marketers Tell Stories

Seth's most important book about the art of marketing




Free Prize Inside

The practical sequel to Purple Cow





An instant bestseller, the book that brings all of Seth's ideas together.




Meatball Sundae

Why the internet works (and doesn't) for your business. And vice versa.



Permission Marketing

The classic Named "Best Business Book" by Fortune.



Poke The Box

The latest book, Poke The Box is a call to action about the initiative you're taking - in your job or in your life, and Seth once again breaks the traditional publishing model by releasing it through The Domino Project.




Purple Cow

The worldwide bestseller. Essential reading about remarkable products and services.



Small is the New Big

A long book filled with short pieces from Fast Company and the blog. Guaranteed to make you think.



Survival is Not Enough

Seth's worst seller and personal favorite. Change. How it works (and doesn't).




The Big Moo

All for charity. Includes original work from Malcolm Gladwell, Tom Peters and Promise Phelon.



The Big Red Fez

Top 5 Amazon ebestseller for a year. All about web sites that work.




The Dip

A short book about quitting and being the best in the world. It's about life, not just marketing.




The Icarus Deception

Seth's most personal book, a look at the end of the industrial economy and what happens next.





"Book of the year," a perennial bestseller about leading, connecting and creating movements.




Unleashing the Ideavirus

More than 3,000,000 copies downloaded, perhaps the most important book to read about creating ideas that spread.



V Is For Vulnerable

A short, illustrated, kids-like book that takes the last chapter of Icarus and turns it into something worth sharing.




We Are All Weird

The end of mass and how you can succeed by delighting a niche.



Whatcha Gonna Do With That Duck?

The sequel to Small is the New Big. More than 600 pages of the best of Seth's blog.



THE DIP BLOG by Seth Godin

All Marketers Are Liars Blog

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Member since 08/2003

« July 2008 | Main | September 2008 »

Ads are the new online tip jar

"I never click on ads."

It's almost a badge of honor to say that. The subtext is, "I'm too smart/busy to waste my time doing that," or perhaps, "I don't want someone to sell my attention."

But the real effect is that you're starving great content.

I can say this because there are no ads here but,

If you like what you're reading, click an ad to say thanks.

Pretty simple, but not an accepted online protocol, at least not yet.

If every time you read a blog post or bit of online content you enjoyed you clicked on an ad to say thanks, the economics of the web would change immediately. You don't have to buy anything (though it's fine if you do). You just have to honor the writer by giving them a click.

You still get what you pay for, even if you pay with attention.

Who's telling you the truth about your online personal marketing?

Yes, it's true. People judge you.

They judge you especially harshly online.

They judge you by your teeny picture on Facebook (named, after all, after the original quick judgment document) and they judge you by your email sig file and your domain (Hotmail?!) and by the look of your bio on Squidoo or Linkedin or the number of typos in your instant messages. They even judge you by the typeface and ads on your blog.

So, are you getting good feedback on your brand presentation?

Would it hurt your feelings if I told you that your picture made you look dumpy? Or that it was boring? Or way too outre?

It seems like it's better to hear this from a few trusted people than to continue to stumble without knowing why.

I'm not proposing that you let the crowd dictate, or that you work hard to fit in. Far from it. I'm proposing that you know the impact your choices are having and act accordingly.

Pictures are the easiest. Post three or four and let trusted people vote (and tell you why). Don't pick the winner, but read their reasons. And yes, if connecting online is important to you, go ahead and spend a few dollars and get a good photo.

This isn't about ignorance as much as it involves effort. Once you pay attention to this, it'll get better.

The predictable lifecycle of the skeptic (or even better, cynic)

The Kindle is a lousy idea. No one will read a book that way.

The Kindle is late. Amazon has no clue how to launch a product.

The Kindle is poorly designed. See, we told you.

The Kindle's pricing model hurts book publishers. It will never be adopted by them.

The Kindle is pretty cool. Non-techies like it.

The Kindle is sold out. Amazon doesn't know how to produce a product.

The Kindle is selling far more than anyone ever predicted.

The Kindle will sell millions and we are raising our predictions for Amazon's earnings as a result.

... The Kindle missed our estimates. See?

Creating stories that resonate

Goldwater Every person in the market has a worldview when it comes to what you're selling. It might be, "I don't care about that," or it might be, "all big companies are evil" or it might be, "I love new stuff."

When your story aligns with my worldview, we have something to discuss. When it doesn't, you're likely to be invisible.

A worldview is a lot like the strings on a piano or the cables in a bridge. When it hits something that is of the same frequency, it resonates. The cause and the effect embrace each other and the story sticks, and spreads.

It's essentially impossible to tell a story to an entire population and have it resonate with all of them. The global warming story, for example, has influenced some people a great deal and been dismissed out of hand by others.

While most marketers spend their time telling stories about themselves, politicians spend a lot of time telling (negative) stories about the competition. It's illuminating, because it makes the resonance idea really clear. [The rest of this post is about politics. It's okay with me if you skip it, feel free to do so if you expect to be offended.]

Here are two stories:

Barack Obama is hopelessly liberal. He will raise our taxes, and he's not a real American. You can't trust him.


John McCain is a fake. He will say and do anything to be elected, and he is just four more years of our last mistake.

Choose your story (or the competition's story) wisely, because you have to live with it for a long time, and if it's not authentic, if it doesn't hold up, you're left with nothing. In the case of an election, the effect of your competitor's story on your base is critical. (And vice versa). John Kerry called George Bush dumb, but it didn't matter, because Bush's base didn't care that Kerry thought he was dumb. The people who did care had already decided not to vote for Bush, so the story had no power. Will McCain's base care that he's a fake? Will Obama's base care that he's untested and different?

I think that Obama's base isn't as shaken by that story as McCain's base is by the 'fake' one. The worldview that elected Ronald Reagan is one that admired his authenticity and his ability to stick to his principles. George Bush took advantage of that same worldview in the stories he told about being a strong leader. "Fake" undoes a lot of that.

The reliance on negative stories in politics makes me sick. I think we should be above that. The fact that negative stories have influenced every election of my lifetime, though, means that I'm wrong, we're not above it. If politicians are going to tell negative stories, they might as well pick useful ones.

Start with the truth. Identify the worldview of the people you need to reach. Describe the truth through their worldview. That's your story. When you overreach, you always fail. Not today, but sooner or later, the truth wins out. Negative or positive, the challenge isn't just to tell the truth. It's to tell truth that resonates.

Destroying happiness

A journalist asked me, Most people have a better standard of living today than Louis XIV did in his day. So why are so many people unhappy?

What you have doesn't make you unhappy. What you want does.

And want is created by us, the marketers.

Marketers trying to grow market share will always work to make their non-customers unhappy.

It's interesting to note that marketers trying to maintain market share have a lot of work to do in reminding us that we're happy.

The dead zone of slick


There was a terrific duo playing live music at the farmer's market the other day. They were well-rehearsed, enthusiastic and really good. Being a patron of the arts, I bought a CD.

I hated it.

I've thought a lot about what turned me off, and I think it's the curve above.

Faced with the excitement of making a CD and all the knobs and dials, they overproduced the record. They went from being two real guys playing authentic music, live and for free, and became a multi-tracked quartet in search of a professional sound. And they ended up in the dead zone. Not enough gloss to be slick, too much to be real.

This happens at restaurants all the time. Give me a handmade huarache and it's fine if it's on a paper plate. Or give me something from Thomas Keller. But I have no patience for the stuff in the dead zone, the items that are too slick to be real, but not slick enough to be a marvel. Who, exactly, wants an industrial tuna sandwich wrapped in plastic wrap?

You can send me a hand-written note (but don't write it in crayon with words spelled wrong) and I'll read it. And you can send me a beautifully typeset Fedex package. But if you send me mass-produced junk with a dot matrix printer, out it goes. The dead zone again.

That's why really well done HTML email works, as does unique, hand-typed text email. It's the banal stuff in the middle that people don't read. And yet, 95% of what I see is precisely in the dead spot of the middle zone.

The Blair Witch Project and Pi both felt authentic. The Matrix was perfectly slick. The new Star Wars cartoon is just dumb.

That's why a personalized letter works better than a generic resume. We crave handmade authenticity and we adore perfectly professional slickness.

Like your hair is on fire

In the US, the next two weeks are traditionally the slowest of the year. Plenty of vacations, half-day Fridays, casual Mondays, martini Tuesdays... you get the idea.

What if you and your team went against type? What if you spend the two weeks while your competition (and the forces for the status quo) are snoozing--and turn it into a completed project?

So, here's the challenge: Assemble your team (it might be just you) on Monday and focus like your hair is on fire (I have no direct experience in this area, but I'm told that hair flammability is quite urgent).

Do nothing except finish the project. Hey, you could have been on vacation, so it's okay to neglect everything else, to put your email on vacation autorespond and your phone on voice mail and to beg off on the sleepy weekly all-hands meeting and to avoid the interactions with those that might say no...

And then finish it. Finish the website or the manuscript or business plan or the suite of tools. No, this isn't a great week to do outreach or make a pitch. That's not the goal. It's to finish that project that's been stuck too long. Finish it or cancel it.

Policies, biases and conflicts

I don't take advertising on this site. I never have, I don't intend to.

If there's a link on this site, it's because I thought it was a good idea. I don't get paid to include links. I write about stuff I like, stuff you might like and people that I like.

The only affiliate program I belong to is Amazon. All my proceeds go to charity.

I don't take PR pitches. If you send me a press release, I will go out of my way not to mention you here.

I'm a principal shareholder in, a company I founded. I don't get paid a salary by Squidoo and all my Squidoo royalties go to charity.

I get paid to write books and give speeches. I don't mention them on this blog because I want you to buy them, though, I mention them because I figure people who like the blog will find them interesting. Fine with me if you borrow a copy instead of buying one...

I don't know if you can tell, but I'm trying hard to make this as pure an exercise as I can. I'm very fortunate to have your attention and (possibly) trust, and I'm certainly not going to blow it for a few bucks. But I'm not naive enough to believe that there are no conflicts. There are plenty of them. People and ideas that I have an irrational attachment to, or habits I've got that are hard to break. I'm hoping that won't get in the way of provoking you to think a little differently.

There are plenty of bloggers and online writers who have far more significant conflicts of interest than I do. And that's just fine. I have no issue with people selling ads or links or affiliate programs. I think, though, that it's essential that you make it clear to people what those conflicts are. Most of the great bloggers I read do just that.

Thanks for reading.

Deep dialing

"My computer will call your computer..."

Lisa points us Fonolo, a company in beta that spiders phone trees at big companies and promises to make it easy for you to go straight to the spot you want. Then it calls you when the phone is answered and records the call so you can keep a record.

Bringing symmetry to asymmetrical relationships is a huge opportunity for a technology company. I think there's room for a union of top high school students, for example, to give some leverage in the recruiting process. And of course, stubhub took the power away from ticket scalpers.

Can you bully someone into a sale?

Of course you can.

It's human nature to resist saying yes. Human nature makes us hesitate, sometimes for a week or a month, at the very last minute, at the moment of truth.

One technique to get through this hesitation is to be a sales bully.

Sales bullies describe their approach as ethical, because, after all, it's in the best interest of the prospect to say yes. It's okay to be a sales bully when you're trying to get someone to take their TB medicine, so it must be okay to be a sales bully to get them to sign this contract.

And it works. On some people.

The flaw in thinking is this... the people you most want to sell to won't respond well to this. The people you most need to spread the word, the people who are the best partners, the most loyal customers--they blanch in the face of bullying. They walk out.

So, if bullying is the only tool you've got, it makes sense to focus on an audience that responds to it (and lower your expecations accordingly). Even better, get some new tools.

« July 2008 | Main | September 2008 »