Without Spending a Single
Dime in Traditional Marketing
Moving forward with buzz marketing philosophy,
Half.com catapulted to the Top Ten list as one of the most trafficked retail
sites on the Internet in less than a year, with budgets one-tenth the size
of their competitors.
entrepreneurs from half.com managed to
grow their startup firm
from zero to 8 million registered users in less than three years. They
looked for an interesting way to launch their site and
– an amazing idea, something that would make people and the media talk
about their site. They wished to use a buzzmarketing strategy.
Yin-Yang of Entrepreneurial Creativity
At first they hired an ideation company that
suggested the usual wild ideas, such as releasing a large balloon from Mount
Rushmore... These were not really the kind of things that would make people
talk about half.com.
After some time, half.com's team came up with a
really interesting out-of-the-box idea. Find a place that has the word "half" in
it, and convince them to temporarily change their name to half.com. A brief
search in the US list of names of places brought out Halfway, Oregon
In early December 1999, a representative of the
Half.com marketing team paid a visit to Halfway, Oregon to ask Mayor Dick
Crow if the town would consider changing its name to Half.com, Oregon.
Although skeptical at first, Mayor Crow conducted in some preliminary
discussions with Half.com and decided to direct the matter to the City
Council for further consideration.
The council eventually agreed to change the
name, and this is what happened:
On Wednesday, January 19th, NBC's Today Show
was broadcast live from Half.com, Oregon, and Conshohocken, Pennsylvania,
corporate headquarters of Half.com, Inc. as the company launched its web
site. Millions of viewers and Internet users throughout the country and the
world experienced the proclamation of the World's First Dot Com City and the
new person-to-person business model presented by Half.com. It is a day the
town will remember forever.
Before spending a single dime in traditional
marketing, Half. com captured the attention of the media, and the Internet
community. Time magazine called it "one of the greatest publicity
coups" in history.
Twenty days after the launch, e-Bay called.
Within six months Half.com was sold to eBay for US$ 300 million.
Creative Problem Solving