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That’s what I’m talking about

November 7th, 2006

I found this example of selling via Internet video in the New York Times.

Not in an article about Internet video, but in a paid advertisement. An ad that took up one third of a full page of the newspaper .

I have no idea what a third of a page in the New York Times costs, but I know it ain’t cheap, but this company can afford to run one regularly because they’ve got a winning formula…

First, a little background.

The best businesses are ones where customers make continuous purchases, hopefully over their entire lifetimes.  In contrast, trying to make a living from a series of one-time sales is tough.

For that reason selling wine is a very cool business and that’s the business our case study is in.

People who are into wine are really into wine. They don’t buy one bottle in their lifetime. They more likely buy a couple of bottles a week. Every week.

If they’re big entertainers and/or gift givers, they may buy wine by the case – or cases. And if they’re collectors, then all bets are off. They may have hundreds of bottles stashed away in their climate controlled wine cellar.

Prices can range from a few bucks per bottle to hundreds of dollars.

The only drawback to selling wine is lots of people are in the game, so how do you win?

You win by being the most informed salesperson and by offering great service, selection and prices.

One mail order wine merchant gets this. They’re called WineLibrary.com. They’re based in New Jersey and they’re a mature business. They have a big warehouse retail store and a thriving mail order businesss – and they play the Internet and Internet video like a violin.

Because they can – and we all can now – the company has its own TV show called WineLibraryTV.

(Unfortunately a squatter grabbed the logical domain winelibrarytv.com  – in April of 2006! – so they use an alternate. Guys, make sure you nail down your fillintheblankTV.com domains now. I’ve been warning people to do this since 2005. If you don’t do it, I guarantee a squatter will.)

Anyway, WineLibraryTV  (http://tv.winelibrary.com) does the logical thing:

1. They put a gabby, knowledgeable guy – Gary Vaynerchuk – in front of a camera.
2. He tastes wines and talks about them.
3. There are links to the right of the screen that take you to the online store so you can buy the wines he is talking about.


I never said this was rocket science.

They do a show every  day (more or less.) The shows are very primitive – one take, one shot – and last less than ten minutes each. They work work hard to elicit comments from viewers about each show and they’ve got an active forum.

Warning: If you like wine, going to this site will likely cost you thousands of dollars over your lifetime.


P.S. Do you want to be notified when new articles like this one are posted to the blog?

Ken McCarthy was one of the pioneers of the movement to commercialize
the Internet and was involved in early tests of what have become
Internet promotion mainstays like e-mail marketing, banner ads, and
pay-per-click advertising.  If you go to Google Video and search the
term "marketing,"  a short film about his work is often in the top ten,
if not the number #1.

It’s easy. Just go to this page and we’ll add your name to our bulletin list:


Copyright: Ken McCarthy, 2006

Reprint rights: You may reprint this article in full as long as you print it in it’s entirety including the P.S.


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  1. November 9th, 2006 at 11:07 | #1

    Hi Ken,
    Thanks once again for another informative insight – and reminding me of some things I once knew 😉
    I don’t normally comment on blogs, but your P.S. prompted me to respond because you have a perfect mechanism on your page which I use exhaustively – I get your updates through your RSS feed.
    Sorry if this post is going to conflict with your email sign-ups… just delete / ignore it. I just thought that if you are looking at pushing the envelope on the future then you shouldn’t forget about RSS…
    Thanks once again,

  2. November 9th, 2006 at 11:38 | #2

    Let’s see…
    I’d rate this campaign as a 96 (using the same scale as wine is rated…)
    The content is full, rich and hearty.
    The audience is well defined and mature with a robust appetite for new information.
    The consistent flow of product is high with 124 episodes available and more delivered almost daily.
    They’re doing a good job of leveraging the well-known social networking effects of their market.
    And they provide a clear set of options for subscription without pretense – what you see is what you get, sign up here or here or here and get all you want.
    While I find the folksy “just me talking to you” production style effective for building a brand that’s true to the style of the spokesperson, I look forward to a bit more polish that matches the level of the rest of this company’s marketing. (See episode #124 for an example of where the folksy effect gets a bit worn out by the end of the show.)
    That’s the only thing keeping me from scoring this a perfect 100 and I’m sure this will come as the program becomes more seasoned.

  3. November 11th, 2006 at 23:41 | #3

    Great article. Here’s a new site that gives a simple look at some of the top videos that started this internet revolution. I thought it was a fun, simple approach.

  4. November 21st, 2006 at 09:39 | #4

    Hey Ken,
    Now for somethign totally off topic to this post…well a little off topic… 🙂
    How’s this for a “ghetto video”…
    Just thought you may want to check it out? My very first effort at selling on eBay using video. And by Ghetto I mean Ghetto!
    Mike Stewart has tried this on ebay and says it works. Thought I’d give it a whirl.
    I’ll let you know how it goes or you can check it out yourself here…
    I have 3 others to go up in the next few days too.
    You will notice in them how I’ve cross sold within the videos to the other related items. I thought it was a rough effort to start with but time’ll tell.
    Check it out now…

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