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EGR: Stupid White Webheads  Christopher Locke
 Mar 28, 2002 09:52 PST 
            Gonzo Marketing: Winning through Worst Practices


Valued Readers:

...and I deliver that line with an extra-special sneer today...

It's impossible for me to read the article below without noting a
certain, shall we say, high irony. Which is: I get mail all the time
from you guys telling me you can't live without EGR -- words to that
general effect -- and even hassling me when I don't write one for a
while. Now look, don't get me wrong, I appreciate such sentiments. I
really do. But I also make my living as a writer. Gee, what's the
connection, you may ask. The connection is that EGR has remained free
while many other zines have turned to advertising or started charging
for subscriptions. I'm not interested in either course. But to keep
writing this rag for you fuckers, I've got to sell books to pay the
rent (and yes, it's really rent, not a mortgage; I'm a committed
nomad). Given that, if you can make the big intellectual leap, here's
how many copies of my work the {{{5,000+}}} readers of this zine have
bought so far this year:

   Gonzo Marketing            16
   The Bombast Transcripts    18
And here are the resulting sales rankings on Amazon as of right now:

   Gonzo Marketing            10,322
   The Bombast Transcripts    87,503

To help you interpret the sales data: Michael Moore's book is at #1,
which is good. In contrast, The Bombast Transcripts -- taken from the
very zine you are reading here, which you have been reading all these
years because it's oh so cool and keeps you ever so entertained -- is
at 87,503, which TOTALLY SUCKS!!!

Get the picture? Good. I hope you fucking burn in hell. I keep meaning
to ask Mike how he managed to pull together a list that wasn't just
deadbeats with a handful of gimme and a mouth full of much obliged.
Maybe it's because he's nice to his. You think? Well, don't hold your
breath. If it's one thing I am, it's consistent. Valued readers my

And, insult to injury, irony of ironies, notice that this piece from
the Seattle Times mentions THE CLUETRAIN MANIFESTO as having called
the "net effect" on which the success of Stupid White Men depended --
in Moore ways than one, I might add. Read it and weep, you fucking


Katie Couric Not Needed If You've Got Net
   By Paul Andrews
   Special to The Seattle Times

   Whether or not you agree with the acid punditry of Michael Moore,
   his "Stupid White Men" experience is a telling case study in the
   marketing power of the Internet.

   Moore is the "Roger and Me" filmmaker and "Awful Truth" TV producer
   whose latest book about the Bush administration and American
   politics has become the publishing phenomenon of 2002.

   In three months, "Stupid White Men and Other Sorry Excuses for the
   State of the Nation" has gone from a potential date with the
   shredder to 15 printings and the top of The New York Times'
   bestseller listings.

   What makes "Stupid's" ascension remarkable is that it was
   accomplished almost entirely outside the publicity mill of
   mainstream media. Moore's book may be the first Internet-enabled
   No. 1 bestseller -- a work whose author and audience connected
   directly via the Net and forged an online publicity campaign that
   carried the book to the top.

   Hardly anyone had even heard of "Stupid White Men" before last
   month. Apart from a few brief stories in Publisher's Weekly, there
   had been little print mention of Moore's months-long battle to get
   HarperCollins to release the book.

   On Feb. 2, Moore posted a message detailing the entire saga on his
   MichaelMoore.com Web site, which at the time averaged 70,000 visits
   a month. The message also was distributed by an e-mail list to
   about 100,000 Moore fans.

   Moore wrote in his message: "I was told that, unless I rewrote
   large sections of my book, plus changed the title and the cover,
   then the powers that be might actually destroy the entire run of
   50,000 copies that had already been printed" before Sept. 11.

   The publisher was concerned the book's message might not sit well
   with the postattack reading public, Moore said. But he thought,
   with the Enron scandal and other events, " 'Stupid White Men'
   seemed even more relevant than before."

   By mid-December, the publisher (Regan Books, a HarperCollins
   imprint) decided to go ahead as Moore had written it. The book was
   set for a Feb. 19 release.

   Normally a book with No. 1 potential will get a big marketing boost
   from publishers, including tours of major cities, full-page
   newspaper ads, reviews in major newspapers and magazines and
   appearances on TV talk shows.

   By contrast, Moore had no "Today Show" appearance or New York Times
   book review. CNN anchor Aaron Brown and Fox's "O'Reilly Factor"
   were as marquee as he got.

   But Moore did have the Net. His Web message got re-circulated
   through private e-mails and mail lists, as well as on personal Web
   sites and Web logs. The links created an Internet "buzz" that
   vaulted "Stupid White Men" to No. 1 on Amazon.com just three days
   after its official release. It remains at or near the top of Amazon

   Books have become bestsellers before without traditional
   advertising or publicity, and word of mouth long has been
   recognized as a primary factor for success.

   Moore may have capitalized on a new modus: Word of Web. Since the
   mid-1990s, the Web's force as a marketing tool has been touted by
   public-relations types and celebrated in books like "The Cluetrain

   Still, the Web always has been assumed second fiddle, an adjunct to
   traditional publicity mechanisms. Moore's campaign may be the most
   dramatic evidence so far that the Web in and of itself can spawn a
   No. 1 bestseller.

   "Moore's success really demonstrates the power of the Web for
   tapping into demand, if it's there," said Deborah Branscum, who
   runs an annual conference on "Buzz" marketing.

   In a way, Moore's success might have been even more revolutionary
   had HarperCollins suppressed the book. Publication rights would
   have reverted to him, and he might have been able to post the book
   on the Internet with various Web-enabled payment options.

   It would have been interesting to see what numbers followed.
   Instead, Moore has reminded traditional publishing of the follies
   of censorship while proving a new path to marketing success.

   Paul Andrews is a free-lance technology writer and co-author of
   "Gates," a biography of the Microsoft chairman. He can be reached
   at pand-@seattletimes.com.

Thanking You For Your Support*

The Management

*PS: As usual, I lied about being consistent. But, truth be told, by
lying, I *am* being consistent. As René Magritte once said, this is
not a pipedream.

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