Advertising Fatigue on the Web

I am suffering from a case of auction advertising fatigue on the Web. Every morning I see 15 or 20 ads for auctions on various sites. I used to open most of them looking for a nugget of useful information. Now I just feel overwhelmed, and maybe open a couple. Machine tools are my business and even I won’t open the undifferentiated commoditized email barrage, so I doubt most people care anymore.

The Internet auctioneers have diminished the quality of their offerings by both showing the reserves and hiding the reserves. I think eBay has actually become more transparent because it has become more an advertising vehicle than a selling medium, at least on the industrial side.

I am highly cynical about most auctions today unless I am looking for items like shelving or office equipment. Many auctions are extensions of the dealer process without the opportunity to negotiate directly with the seller. Because auctions are supposed to imply unfettered, unimpeded competitive bidding but do not deliver it, they are becoming more and more ignored events by sincere buyers.


This should be a period of aggressive buying of machinery. Business has been strong for at least two years and tax breaks are available now but could vanish next year. IMTS just whet a lot of appetites, but I see a lot of tentativeness. I think it will subside after the election, but the Caterpillar and Cummins profit warning will add to the sense of caution.


Wall Street is extremely gloomy. Small business hates Obama, but is just “mild” about Romney. Teachers are striking and winning raises from weak governments. Nevertheless, the stock market has had a big year. Retail is doing rather well with a very nice “back to school” period. Restaurants that have tweaked their menus toward value are thriving. And Silicon Valley is red hot.


I just spent several days in Palo Alto, toured the Google campus (lunch was delicious and FREE) and observed the crazy housing market firsthand. Prices for homes are rising rapidly now, and that is from stratospheric levels that never tanked. My 3,000 square foot house in Chicago worth $150,000 on a good day would be worth $2.5 million in Palo Alto. And 1,200 square foot, 50-year-old houses rent for $4,000 a month. It’s a different world in the land of Google, Apple and Stanford.


The Web is certainly working for some people. I read an interesting article in Bloomberg’s Businessweek (excellent publication now, 10 times better than the old rag and far superior to Forbes and Fortune). The piece told about a site for teachers called “Teachers Pay Teachers” (TPT), which is a marketplace for lesson plans. One teacher has made $1 million for the last year or so churning out extremely clever and thoughtful lesson plans and units for kindergarten. Teachers buy the lessons because they are really good and save them enormous amounts of time. The site takes a 15 percent cut. Business is brisk and expanding rapidly.

I also learned in Bloomberg Businessweek that my dead cell phone has value. An outfit called EcoATM has installed 150 automated kiosks where people can stick their old phones into a machine and it will spit out a cash offer. If accepted, the seller just leaves the phone and takes the cash. A slightly damaged iPhone 4 or 4S is worth $175, a beat up Samsung Galaxy S is $60. Nifty idea that fills a need. The used phones are then refurbished and many end up being exported.

Question: Do you wish you were living in another time?

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8 thoughts on “Advertising Fatigue on the Web

  1. Josh Weaver

    “Our youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for their elders and love chatter in place of exercise; they no longer rise when elders enter the room; they contradict their parents, chatter before company; gobble up their food and tyrannize their teachers.”


  2. Derek

    I wish I grew up when my parents did – post WW2 when small towns were safe and kids stayed out till dark playing. I grew up in the 80s, and feel it was still a slower time then kids have it now.


    Lloyd: It has become a divisive world. The old axiom about repeating history no longer applies. There was a good 70 years between deep recessions and the same time for expanded credit which caused them. History would inflict two inept economists on us who would use the same futile effort of trying to spend our way out of the mess. FDR and BHO are two of a kind in failed leadership and socialist orientation. History repeated itself in creating two strong economic leaders for Germany. They should not be included in the same sentence, but Hitler and Merkle are a pair as far as the economy is concerned. Fortunately the warrior culture of Germany has waned, but the weak kneed dabblers of the weak economies will continue to use past history as excuses for their performance today. History continues to compress. When Carter failed as a leader he blamed it no a national malaise. Obama went one step further; he created a malaise and then blamed it on Bush. Would that I prefer to living at another time, not on your life. We are treated to daily comedy with millions of bloggers expressing opinions and believing that somebody is paying attention. We have a world of constanted connected people who have lost their hearing. In fact future generations will morph into a system similar to the process of eating. We will have a flapper that shuts down our hearing everytime we open our mouth just as the esophagus closes as we swallow. It might be that we are going through a harmless period of worldly narcissism which will pass. I am offended by the degradation of women who have experienced the sexual revolution to a particular act sponsored by President Clintion. My generation characterized that act as a low class social slur and when practiced out side the concept of love for one another it remains a slur. Yes Lloyd, I also am tired of auctions. The ones I remember are a distant memory, but the lifes accumulation of machinery to till the land and make it grow along with those beautiful fields dotted with productive cows are as real to me at those times in the middle of the night that send me back to deep contented slumber. Goodnight all, God Bless!

  4. Jeff Scott

    Yes, one when our Government and Politicians stayed within the bounds of the Constitution and their enumerated powers and when the Supreme Court wasn’t making law and legislatiing from the bench and instead stuck to their enumerated power of interpreting the greatest document ever written by man!
    However this is reality Mr. Graff and “We the People” have allowed our Consitutionally Limited Republic to be prostituted into a mob rule Democracy and with that have given up our individual rights and self determination in favor of Big Brother and it’s creeping Socialist, Euro-Comma sickness that now engulfs Europe and is destroying it right before our open eyes.
    Have we learned from that? Hell NO….we elected Obama who is a great proponent and believer (and wants more of it) in the very Political beliefs and programs that have been eating Europe to death from inside out and 4 more years of his idiocy will only accelerate America’s descent into this financial armageddon!
    Would I love to have Mr. Peabodies “Way Back Machine” and go back to before Woodrow Wilson started his supposed progressive governance? Hell yes….but like I said this is reality and we are stuck in a time when those who vote based on their “wants and desires” control everything through their elected power brokers in Washington and just as the Caesars gave the Roman Mob whatever they desired to keep them in control Liberals have built their base the same way….and the outcome unless the country changes direction soon…will be the same as Rome!
    I don’t want to be here for that but I really don’t have a choice because America is the last country where freedom and capitalism exist although in small amounts. I don’t envy our children and the task that lay before them but it wasn’t me who voted in those who have done this…I can only teach them what my father and mother taught me and hope they can survive the approaching storm with what I leave them.

  5. Tim Daro

    When I look back on my 37 years in the ad agency biz, every one of which has involved the machine tool world in some fashion, I cannot recall a more exciting time, if only for the potential. I mean that in two ways. Our clients have the potential for greater than ever worldwide sales. This silly notion of reshoring is being propagated by folks who don’t have the ingenuity and good old American know-how to build the better mousetrap. Our clients who lead the world in their technology have found that world expanding exponentially of late. Or, genius copywriter that I yam, shall I say ex-potentially!
    The other potential is on our agency side. Our marcom activity has never been more vibrant…blast emails, videos (our agency’s roving reporter had a ball covering our eight clients at IMTS recently), webinars etc. have breathed new life in the creative department and allowed the time-to-sale to greatly compress. At 60, I still have a love for print and reading trade magazines, but it’s a new day in industrial marcom, for sure.
    Keep up the good work, Lloyd…and learn from Noah, as he does from you!
    Tim Daro
    Bernard & Company
    Adman to the stars of industry

  6. Josh Weaver

    So I guess most of the comments completely missed the point of my statement. The past will always look brighter than the present. There will always be some mythical time in history that is some supposed golden age but it’s a false memory. There is less war and negative humanity on this planet than at any point in the history of mankind. It’s a fact, look it up. There is literally less violence in the world today than ever before. It only seems worse because we remember the best parts of the past and even our bad memories we tend to add a rose colored filter to. America might not seem as prosperous as it once was but by and large the world is doing fine and humanity is moving ever forward. A man just skydived from outer space people, 50 years ago we could barely get objects into space! We’re fine, the kids are fine and the government is just as messed up as IT ALWAYS HAS BEEN. I leave you again with a quote from aeons past.

    “Our youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for their elders and love chatter in place of exercise; they no longer rise when elders enter the room; they contradict their parents, chatter before company; gobble up their food and tyrannize their teachers.”



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