E-Commerce Is Doomed

Well, it pretty much seems that I've gotten all the responses I'm going to get to my free-money giveaway. And, you may ask, what has the level of response been? Uh, low. As I learned in my compilers class, the prime number few. Exactly six people have taken me up on my free-money offer. That's six quarters, totalling $1.50, and all of them came to me directly, so no referrer fees. This is a pretty far cry from the hundred reader bonuses I was ready to pay.

What's more, one of those folks was a new Paypal user, so I got a $5.00 bribe from Paypal for that transaction, so I've actually turned a net profit of $3.50 on this whole giveaway. Let me repeat that. I tried to give away money, but I wound up making it instead.

It seems to me that this is a disturbing indicator for the dotcoms of this world. First off, it shows that yes, the market is actually willing to validate pretty much any business plan, no matter how manifestly unprofitable. Second, it shows that in this jaded internet age, it's not so easy to attract customers, that pretty much even if you're giving away money you still may not be able to pull in the eyeballs. And third, it shows that there are useful services out there, like Paypal, that are still getting royally screwed by their user base. I am discouraged.

Given the altruistic principles this whole enterpriese has been based upon, I'm going to stick to my vow to to give away the full hundred quarters worth. I'm raising the bounty to a buck. No referrer fees, in case that detail was complicating things beyond the complexity suitable for Internet attention spans. Just a buck for reading the site. Is it really only two and a half times harder to find a bug in the source code to TeX than it is to fire off an email? Let's find out.