The Bigfoot press conference and the art of selling a website
The alleged Bigfoot finders proved themselves masters of selling their website at their Palo Alto press conference.
Updated to include more specific details of the two Bigfoot sites. And for all of you who don't like the way I spell the word 'unphased', please understand that I am allowed one Anglo spelling per month as part of my dual nationality. Here is a link to my hometown newspaper, the Birmingham Post. Hope this helps to ease the pain. And here's another link to ZDnet, which proves this freaky Anglicism has crept onto US shores. It is truly not my intention to analize (sic) the English language.
What was most revealing about today's exhilarating and highly truthful Bigfoot press conference was not what was said.
It was the headgear.
Emblazoned with the URL bigfoottracker.com, a site devoted to their own Bigfoot tracking enterprise, (a site, incidentally, that declares that Bigfoot's DNA has been taken away for 'analization'), the baseball caps worn by Matthew Whitton (aka Gary Parker) and Rick Dyer said so very much.
Their words on MSNBC's Countdown With Keith Olberman said it with a cleanliness only rivaled by Bigfoot's teeth. When asked by the lucky stand-in presenter, Rachel Maddow, whether they were out to make as much money as they could, Mr. Dyer, who had not uttered a word through the entire interview, firmly stated that this was the case. (Please take note, Mr. Zuckerberg and Ms. Sandberg)
These are businessmen who put most Web 1.0 enterprises to shame. Most of Web 2.0 too. They have a geneticist's rigorous grasp of detail. And they have a clearly articulated business plan.
Messrs Whitton and Dyer are afraid of nothing, certainly not of the world's press. After all, they have faced and sniffed the body of Bigfoot. They have dragged his five hundred pounds back to their pickup truck. They have resisted the urge of calling the police, or Animal Rescue. These are men smart and courageous enough to have run Webvan.
In their interview with Ms. Maddow, they were amusedly unphased. They stated their case. They insisted that, despite previous reports (that might well have been true), they weren't hunters at all, merely hikers who happened to come across an incredible find and even braved the circling of other Bigfeet who were perturbed to see the body of their blood brother being dragged away, like a large, hairy Lindsay Lohan, to a career in Hollywood.
But they have learned one thing about life- and specifically about the internet business. They don't just talk monetization. They do it wherever they are online. Their own site is surprisingly sophisticated, with products galore. And on another site, one owned by a Bigfoot tracker called Tom Biscardi, where their find and their faces are both heavily featured and, where one supposes, they might just be getting a cut, the merchandising just goes on.
If you hotfoot it to searchingforbigfoot.com, you can pick up an authentic SearchingForBigfoot cap, in black or white, for $24.99. (a BigfootTracker.com hat at Whitton and Dyer's own site goes for just $19.99) You can hitch up your trousers with a commemorative Bigfoot Lives pewter belt buckle, its price inexplicably reduced from $34.99 to $29.99. And for a mere $35 (reduced from $40) you can adorn your front porch with a Bigfoot Welcome Mat.
Were they hunters, which they avowedly are not, they might describe this as a great way to make a killing.
Of course, these products are merely loss leaders, because when the venerable scientists from Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan or Georgiastan confirm that Matt (aka Gary) and Rick are, indeed, in possession of a Bigfoot cadaver, searchingforbigfoot.com and bigfoottracker.com will rival Amazon and Fifth Avenue for traffic and profit. And they will rival Facebook on the engagement scale.
The possibilities are taller than some would accuse their story. Bigfoot perfume, Bigfoot dogfood, a Bigfoot steakhouse chain, perhaps even a Bigfoot blog from beyond the grave.
You see, it's not enough just to have a good idea, you have to have your business plan jingling with readiness.
I understand that the real reason today's press conference was held in Palo Alto is that the two intrepid businessmen had another meeting in the vicinity.
The Stanford Business School has already offered Messrs. Whitton and Dyer professorships. The two hikers from Georgia said they would think about it.
You see how clever they are?