Why New Insights About Money And Happiness Combined With The New Clues Could Turn Internet Marketing Upside Down

Written by Ljupcho Gjavochanov



This is the second part of a post, where I talk about the new insights about money and happiness and how they hold great opportunities for marketers to turn internet marketing upside down. In the first part, I presented the status quo of research, how we can spend our money to actually fill our life with more happiness and extended that with some thoughts about how to purchase online.

Now I want to come up with some ideas, how marketers could and should implement these knowledge to use the free market to let free consumers grow.

“Free markets require free customers. Over the coming years, customers will be emancipated from the system built to control them” as David “Doc” Searls, co-author of the Cluetrain Manifesto and The New Clues, writes in his book The Intention Economy.

The Cluetrain Manifesto From 1999 - Or The Primer For Internet Marketing

In 1999, Doc Searls and David Weinberger decided, together with two other authors, to come up with some statements regarding the raising field of the internet as market place, from consumers or users perspective. Weinberger, co-author and American technologist, currently working at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School and Searls started their 95 clues with the statement: “We are not seats or eyeballs or end users or consumers. We are human beings - and our reach exceeds your grasp. Deal with it.” Maybe this was too much for companies decision makers all over the world? 

Still, marketing departments all over the world conducting research over research, trying to figure out this stranger “consumer” and getting him under control. 

Many of the things, Weinberger and Searls predicted, had happened, but in a slightly different way. The forecast was a bit too optimistic, as it turned out. Reason enough for both, to work out an update for the (old) Cluetrain Manifesto. 

The New Clues - Why Marketers Should Consider Them

„Every time you call us "consumers" we feel like cows looking up the word "meat." is one of the new clues, which have been published on the 8th of January 2015, full of criticism for the way internet is used today, both from businesses and us. The authors state that markets are conversations and these conversations are done by human beings, though us, which recognizes each other as such from the sound of their voices. As long as marketers doesn´t sound human, we will not listen. And “they will only sound human when they empower real human beings to speak on their behalf.” Searls and Weinberger stated 1999. 

Today, they are formulating in a more direct way what they´re thinking about internet marketing: “How about calling "native ads" by any of their real names: "product placement," "advertorial," or "fake fucking news"?“

They are claiming, not to treat us like stupid sheeps, but we should also not behave as such. 

I say Marketers have not been listening for a long time, but it is time to start listening now.

Combining The Clues With Insights How Spending Money Increases Happiness

By putting the knowledge about how we can increase happiness through spending money together with the criticism for the current use of the internet, we can get to the point that marketers and companies should change their behaviour of addressing the people. 

Here I provide you with some ideas how marketers should act in the future.

  • Offer a product or service which contributes to the world
  • Do not try only to sell a product or service to increase revenue
  • Provide the persons with something they really need and want and help them
  • Do not offer a product which can be bought around the corner, do not cannibalize other retail forms
  • Offer a Plus, an additional service which is really needed, not something which means extra money for the company
  • Be honest and transparent, people will recognize sooner or later if you don´t tell the truth
  • According to Searls and Weinberger, let the humans in your company create the talk in the internet. Your employees are great and will be accepted by the community.

„and being human, try as we might, is the only fate from which we can never escape.“ written by Thomas Petzinger Jr. (The Wall Street Journal) in the foreword to the book of the Cluetrain Manifesto.

Marketers Around The World, Start Listening - And People, Don´t Be Sheeps

So, if you are a marketer out there, think about what you like and dislike, what you would like to do and to change and speak with your fellows. Never forget that you are a human being yourself and also a consumer. 

People who are not marketers, but users off the internet, do not follow attractions blind. Think about what opportunities the internet gives to you, to us and let us defend ourselves against total observation and guidance.

Thought to Go

Concluding, I want to finish with the last ones of Searls and Weinberger´s New Clues. 

„The Internet has liberated an ancient force — the gravity drawing us together.The gravity of connection is love.Long live the open Internet.Long may we have our Internet to love.“







Reference List


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Novotney, A. (2012). Money can't buy happiness. Questionnaire. American Psychological Association. [e-journal] vol.43, no. 2, page 24. Available Online: http://www.apa.org/monitor/2012/07-08/money.aspx [accessed 13 January 2015]


Dunn, E.W., Gilbert, D.T. & Wilson, T.D. (2010). If money doesn't make you happy, then you probably aren't spending it right. Journal of Consumer Psychology. Vol. 21, Issue 2(2011), page 115–125. Available Online http://www.sciencedirect.com.ludwig.lub.lu.se/science/article/pii/S1057740811000209 [accessed 13 January 2015]


Knight, K. (2014). Billionaire who's proof that money CAN'T buy happiness: He's a mobile phone tycoon with money to burn - and a lifestyle to make your jaw drop. But what's that worth when your family's in turmoil? 2 October 2014 for the Daily Mail. Available under Mail Online. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2778696/Billionaire-s-proof-money-CAN-T-buy-happiness-He-s-mobile-phone-tycoon-money-burn-lifestyle-make-jaw-drop-But-s-worth-fmaily-s-turmoil.html [accessed 13 January 2015]


Norton, M. (2011). How to buy Happiness. TEDxCambridge. Available Online http://www.ted.com/talks/michael_norton_how_to_buy_happiness?language=en [accessed 13 January 2015]


Dunn. E.W. (2014). What is your time really worth?. TEDxColoradoSprings. Available Online https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ItwFMv-u2YE [accessed 13 January 2015]


Levine, Locke, Searls & Weinberger (1999). The Cluetrain Manifesto. Available online http://www.cluetrain.com [accessed 13 January 2015]


Searls, D. & Weinberger, D. (2015). The New Clues. Available Online http://cluetrain.com/newclues/ [accessed 17 January 2015]


Searls, D. (2012). The Intention Economy. When Customers take Charge. Harvard Business Review Press. Google Book. Available Online https://www.google.se/books?hl=en&lr=&id=jbK7wSwqOFgC&oi=fnd&pg=PR11&dq=the+intention+economy&ots=ZtxpbT9FWp&sig=jxqR-tNqtXguOXrJ20fqI5-z09c&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=the%20intention%20economy&f=false [accessed 17 January 2015]