Genuine Marketing

An honest 🖕🏼 to display ads and retargeting.

Henri West, our ’72 VW Type 2

So, I bought a Westfalia — yup, a ’72 VW Type 2 bus.

My girlfriend and I have been mulling the idea of letting go of our sedentary live to take it on the road and give a shot at living out of a tin can. While we initially considered purchasing a cargo van to convert it into a campervan, we completely fell in love with the Westies — a bunch of cool Instagram pictures was all it took. I mean, aren’t they gorgeous!?

They are! However, it’s no secret that they are also extremely unreliable by today’s standard — Westfalians will shake their heads and tell you that they simply need a healthy dose of love and care. Either way, I’m setting myself up for a lot of mechanical issues to fix, which should be fun since — being the millennial that I am — I have absolutely zero manual skills… but — being the millennial that I am — I’ve got the firm belief that enough googling seems to fix almost every problem. So I opened a new tab and got started.

Which brings us to the heart of this prose.

Genuine marketing

I was surfing some VW bus parts website with a glass of Douro in hand when I had an epiphany: I had become a subject of what I like to call genuine marketing — providing an unobstructed shopping experience where the purchase decision happened naturally.

You see, prior to buying the Westfalia I had no intention of getting myself an ignition lock cylinder let alone shopping for one — a rather daunting task considering that getting it wrong and I might very well end up trying to jumpstart the Westie somewhere lost in the Prairies.

Yet there I was getting my credit card out, buying this thing based on nothing but a hunch that it was my best choice.

It was a fun exercise as we don’t often get to take a leap in true unchartered territories as I had absolutely no prior knowledge, bias or preconceived ideas of what makes a great reseller of Westfalia parts.

Much like domains and DNS for most people, I have — for the most part — no idea of what I’m doing with this. So like pretty much everybody nowadays, I browsed countless websites looking for some sort of social proof that I should trust this company.

I reached a point where I found an online shop that seemed trustworthy and I made my choice. The fun part is, no matter how much money that website could have dumped in ads would not have changed a thing. I mean, had I seen an ignition lock cylinder for a 1972 Volkswagen Type 2… chances are I would have not given a shit.

In this case, the trust was built organically: the more I browsed the site, read reviews and cross-checked their claims on other websites, the more I felt comfortable doing business with them.

Being the domain peddler that I am, it didn’t take long before this question came to mind: if I had been looking for a reliable DNS provider to “make my domains work”, would I have picked DNSimple?

Which led me to delve deeper into the foundation of my whole approach to marketing at DNSimple when you’re in the business of providing value to a bunch of passionate people for whom your product solves a specific need.

Whether they are a developer hacking something overnight or a clueless millennial trying to get his Westfalia to work, there’s only so much bullshit one is willing to take on their journey to find the missing piece.

Incidentally, it’s for this exact reason that you won’t likely see me embark in paid ads crusades or retargeting bonanza.

Instead, this whole experience brought me back to focus on creating this pure experience of “finding and choosing the right product without any pressure” for our own customers… instead of paying our way there.

Just to be clear, this is nothing more than an anecdote. Ads are not going away anytime soon. Quite frankly some of them are hilarious and will get me to by a product. However, still today, most of them are plain boring and annoying — getting bombarded by unsolicited ads sucks… especially when their timing is off.

… Speaking of bombarding, what about this marvellous invention that creeps pretty much everybody out called retargeting: will I be clicking on the link to buy a cheaper ignition lock cylinder when I get retargeted in 3 days?

Fuck me if I do but I sure as hell hope not!

Originally published at