Roll up! Roll up! Hands up who wants to be an e-millionaire!
Despite the roller- coaster ride that the internet industry has endured
over the past 18 months, every man and his dog still seems to have an
internet start-up idea.
Yes, it seems that money and fame are still the best incentives to
kick-start people into action, and this week’s Who Wants To Be An
E-Millionaire? on Channel 4 has been rifling through the cream of Joe
Bloggs’ start-up fancies. Despite the fact that, for anyone in the
industry, dotcom start-ups are now somewhat passe, eager e-wannabes have
been pitching their dotcom business ideas in the hope of winning the
Holy Grail of pounds 2 million funding to get their scheme off to a
And it’s not just the business plans that are under the spotlight. Five
ad agencies - Saatchi & Saatchi, TBWA GGT Simons Palmer, Euro RSCG Wnek
Gosper, Grey and HHCL & Partners - have been putting together
hypothetical poster creatives for each of the 15 finalists.
But no matter how sophisticated the marketing, it has to be said that
anyone with more than a scrap of web sense is likely to be decidedly
unimpressed with most of the entries.
Admittedly, online bedtime stories for kids is a cute idea at
bethereatbedtime.com, as is an online kids’ currency at earnies.com, but
it’s all been done before.
A chunk of the ideas seemed to have been spawned from sentimentality
rather than entrepreneurial flair and ambition - no less worthwhile but
hardly money spinners for those wanting to make some serious cash.
There were a few ideas that stood out from the crowd. A
business-to-business portal for hairdressers that is a one-stop supply
shop was one, although Hair2Hair.net is original only in its industry,
not as a concept. Youreable.com - a travel portal that aims to make
travel more accessible to those with physical disabilities - was
probably the most realistic and worthwhile idea and Grey’s poster for
the project was one of the most eye-catching. Saatchis’ creative for
Autofile was also refreshingly straightforward and to the point.
Most noticeable about the majority of the contestants was their
ignorance of the dotcom industry. A number of both the business pitches
and ad creatives mirrored those already in the public space. The lesson?
Look, listen and learn before you jump.