Whale Season

The web hates channel conflict.

Actually, it’s consumers who hate it.

Channel conflict is what happens when a producer doesn’t want to favor one retailer over another, or gets stuck because the terms at the effective retail channel conflict with the terms at the channel they would like to have succeed.

Too confusing. Let me try again.

I visited a blog this morning. There was a clever ad for a new paperback book called Whale Season. I clicked, intending to buy, partly to support the blog, partly because I needed a trashy book for vacation.

Oh. It’s the Random House site. See, Random House, the publisher, doesn’t want to send me to Amazon, because then all the other bookstores would be angry with them. So they offer to sell me the book at full retail, and I have to pay for shipping and I have to enter all my data. Nope. Bye.

See, it’s the "nope, bye" part that producers have to worry about. I have a million ways to spend my time and my money, and Random House’s channel conflict problems are irrelevant to me. So I leave. The ad is wasted. The author is bitter.

If you are getting in the way of the path between your customers and your products, your customers are just going to go away. Clear the path, don’t clutter it.