Sneaky, or Smart?

Answer this question for yourself: "Is it wrong to promote a product that is high quality, good for consumers, and really does what it promises?" Of course not! Yet, many businesses feel this is some sort of taboo if the business also profits from the promotion of the product.

What am I talking about you may ask? There is a very interesting article today from the New York Times. You should check it out for some pleasure reading. But here's the synopsis.

  • Successful online business, Daily Grommet has a unique model
  • Every weekday, the site posts a new product selection
  • The products are selected by the Daily Grommet team
  • All products are created, manufactured, marketed by another company
  • Professional demonstrations, videos, and information highlight the product's value
  • Customers can then buy the product

Since Daily Grommet doesn't make or produce the products, you may be asking yourself a basic question. "What is so strange about this? Every media and product review company does this."

Yes, but here's the kicker. According to the Daily Grommet's website, "We're independent—no one pays us to select a product. "  That is surely a 100% true statement. Yet, a percentage of the sale of each item made through the Daily Grommet's website goes to... The Daily Grommet.

This post is not to denigrate the website, the work they are doing, or to call anyone out on the carpet. Rather, this is Pure Genius! Many businesses have a lot to learn from their business model. Here's what they're doing that can be a lesson to all of us:

  1. Consumers hunger for unbiased opinions on new products, old products, or anything they can use to improve their satisfaction. By creating this website, they have manufactured a true, unbiased authority who provides consumers guidance.
  2. Social-sharing is built into the model. Every step of the way, readers and consumers on the site can see ways to share their experiences with each other, and to share the recommendations with their network of friends
  3. Affiliate Marketing is a viable business opportunity. Rather than building products to sell consumers, these folks have decided they can make more profit by promoting other people's products.
  4. By establishing trust, consumers return for the latest recommendations.
  5. The schedule of new content is consistent. By posting the new review each day, at the same time, consumers' expectations are met, and I imagine Daily Grommet's business metrics become very easy to predict.

Kudos to the folks at Daily Grommet!

How are you using innovative strategies and making money without selling your own products and services directly?

154 thoughts on “Sneaky, or Smart?

  1. Tim,
    Daily Grommet founder here. You can imagine how I read your headline and held my breath for the first couple of paragraphs of your blog post!

    I was happy to see that you totally nailed our vision and business model. As you know better than most, it is darned near impossible for worthy new products to break through the clutter. For companies with limited budgets (almost every company) it's really important to find new ways of telling their story. That's what we do. And as you point out, there are plenty of people looking to support worthy products and companies if you make it easy and quick for them to do so. That's our role. We work hard to gain and deserve trust in this cluttered consumer environment. Thanks for sharing that vision with your esteemed audience.

  2. admin

    Post author

    Jules, Thanks for the words of support, and for setting such a solid, innovative example. Best of luck!

  3. I think the skepticism you mention comes from the fact that there are far too many sites that will endorse everything, even if they claim to be objective. That makes consumers unwilling to believe a site is legitimate, but also makes any vehicle that gets a good reputation a valuable asset (think New York Times vs National Enquirer).

    Our company is in a similar situation, except we sell our services.

    Much of what our company does is evaluations of programs funded through charitable or government grants. We do get paid by the programs, however, we do a completely objective evaluation, even though if the program loses its funding we lose a client. We can do that because, being in business for many years, we can afford to choose to work with people we expect to be successful so an honest report from us is a good report on them.

    We've never been the least bit tempted to fudge our analyses because our reputation is worth far more than any one contract. Sounds like Jules' business philosophy is similar.

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