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Your Vicious Competitors



original photo by: glynnish


In the world of online dating, the sea of website options are endless, all promising the perfect love connection.  EHarmony has a massive following and a very expensive ad campaign- we are all educated about their philosophy that you are matched on multiple levels after taking what equates to a psych evaluation test.  The theory is that instead of lust matching, the site matches you with your soulmate.  The founder of eHarmony has publicly asserted that he believes that premarital sex clouds your judgment.


After putting all of these pieces together, a rival company called has launched a print marketing and television campaign encouraging people who were rejected from eHarmony to come join their site, for people who don’t agree that premarital sex clouds your judgment to come hang out and swap photos.  Their theory is that you can take all the tests in the world, but if you show up and the date is an ugo, you’re not going to stay.

Smart Business

What appears from a non-insider to be a mud slinging contest is actually really smart business on both parts.  One company wears a halo and matches you with your future spouse while the other wears devil horns by appealing to the primal urges of non-commital dating.  Both succeed because they aren’t actually pandering to the same crowd, rather providing alternatives to each other.

Who Are You?

That said, it’s important to think about this- who are you in this scenario?  No, I’m not asking if you believe premarital sex clouds judgment or not, rather if you are the company founded on traditional grounds, or are you providing an alternative to your competitor?  Better yet, are you the company that’s neither, rather the company whining that you’re being attacked by the alternative to your business instead of taking advantage of their bashing? 

Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The American Genius - she has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

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  1. Toby & Saide

    March 12, 2008 at 10:16 pm

    I’m sorry my judgement is clouded, I’ll have to read this again.

    Ahh, yes.

    I’m neither. I’m happy to compete with anyone, but there is no reason to get personal with it.

  2. Rocky VanBrimmer

    March 12, 2008 at 10:32 pm

    Seeing that Toby and Saide are in my direct market, and my judgement is not clouded…

    And for some reason, I would still enjoy meeting Toby for a cup of coffee or lucnh even. The date may be a dud, however I think Sadie could pay!

  3. Rocky VanBrimmer

    March 12, 2008 at 10:36 pm

    By the way, its after midnight. EyE kaNt TyPe oAr sEpLL.

  4. Ines

    March 12, 2008 at 10:39 pm

    It’s funny because when I was reading this, I wasn’t thinking who I was as the “type of company”, I was thinking of who my clients are and how to market to them. Whichever way you look at it, it goes back to who your audience is and who we are writing for as bloggers, and who we are marketing to whether the new and exiting web2.0 way or with traditional methods.

    I’m so enjoying the marketing aspect of our business- and thinking that every move we make will determine how you attract business. —–sorry to switch it around on you…..maybe my judgement is clouded as well.

  5. Ginger Wilcox

    March 12, 2008 at 10:42 pm

    I think I wear a halo and devil’s horns at the same time (and no I am not a whiner! 😮 )
    I think you can embrace change and provide a different alternative while still retaining some traditional elements. I don’t believe it is all or nothing.

  6. From Seth Godin, “One of the hardest things to do is invent a brand with no opposite. You don’t have an anchor to play against.”

  7. Lani Anglin-Rosales

    March 13, 2008 at 9:20 am

    Do you guys think would be even a recognizable name if they weren’t the ANTI-eHarmony? I agree with Jeff that there’s nothing wrong with being the ANTI because with every product, there’s a segment that won’t want or like it, so why the heck not capitalize on that?

    I believe the company I work for is the Anti-1.0 model. 🙂 No Trillionaire Realtor book subscriptions, no “tell me buddyman, what would you do if I told you I could sell your home for 20% above your neighbors’?” cold calling, or smarmy tricks.

  8. Shailesh Ghimire

    March 13, 2008 at 3:12 pm

    I’m eHarmony – its the orgy promoted by Chemistry that got us into the credit mess…

  9. Lani Anglin-Rosales

    March 21, 2008 at 11:42 am

    @Shailesh- OMG that is tooooo funny!

    @Dawn- I had no idea, that’s insane! I think you’ve got a revolutionary idea, that “going to the park” thingy- wow, you should market that and make a billion dollars! 🙂 Thanks for coming over to Agent Genius, this world is WAY too small!!!

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Business Marketing

Amazon attracts advertisers from Facebook after Apple privacy alterations

(MARKETING) After Apple’s privacy features unveil, Amazon adapts by taking a unique approach to targeting, disrupting revenue for the ad giant Facebook.



Two African American women work at their desks, one viewing Amazon's advertising landing page.

As a de facto search engine of its own persuasion, Amazon has been poaching ad revenue from Google for some time. However, disrupting the revenue stream from their most recent victim – Facebook – is going to turn some heads.

According to Bloomberg, Apple’s recent privacy additions to products such as iPhones are largely responsible for the shift in ad spending. While platforms like Facebook and Instagram were originally goldmines for advertisers, these privacy features prevent tracking for targeting – a crucial aspect in any marketing campaign.

Internet privacy has been featured heavily in tech conversations for the last several years, and with Chrome phasing out third-party cookies, along with Safari and Firefox introducing roughly analogous policies, social media advertising is bound to become less useful as tracking strategies struggle to keep up with the aforementioned changes.

However, Amazon’s wide user base and separate categorization from social media companies makes it a clear alternative to the Facebook family, which is perhaps why Facebook advertisers are starting to jump ship in an effort to preserve their profits.

This is the premise behind the decision to reduce the Facebook ad spending of Vanity Planet by 22%, a home spa vendor, while facilitating a transition to Amazon. “We have inventory…and the biggest place we are growing is Amazon,” says Alex Dastmalchi, the entrepreneur who runs Vanity Planet.

That gap will only widen with Apple’s new privacy features. Bloomberg reports that when asked in June if they would consent to having their internet activity tracked, only one in four iPhone users did so; this makes it substantially harder for the ad campaigns unique to Facebook to target prospective buyers.

It also means that Amazon, having demonstrated a profound effectiveness in targeting individuals both pre- and post-purchase, stands to gain more than its fair share of sellers flocking to promote their products.

Jens Nicolaysen, co-founder of Shinesty (an eccentric underwear company), affirms the value that Amazon holds for sellers while acknowledging that it isn’t a perfect substitute for social media. While Nicolaysen laments the loss of the somewhat random introduction charm inherent on Instagram, he also believes in the power of brand loyalty, especially on a platform as high-profile as Amazon. “The bigger you are, the more you lose by not having any presence on Amazon,” he explains.

As privacy restrictions continue to ramp up in the coming months, it will be interesting to see how social media advertising evolves to keep up with this trend; it seems naive to assume that Amazon will replace Facebook’s ads entirely, tracking or no tracking.

Apple's privacy landing page showing iPhone users ability to shut off location services and a desktop image of a user's ability to control how their data is managed.

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Business Marketing

How many hours of the work week are actually efficient?

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Working more for that paycheck, more hours each week, on the weekends, on holidays can actually hurt productivity. So don’t do that, stay efficient.



Clock pointed to 5:50 on a plain white wall, well tracked during the week.

Social media is always flooded with promises to get in shape, eat healthier and… hustle?

In hustle culture, it seems as though there’s no such thing as too much work. Nights, weekends and holidays are really just more time to be pushing towards your dreams and hobbies are just side hustles waiting to be monetized. Plus, with freelancing on the rise, there really is nothing stopping someone from making the most out of their 24 hours.

Hustle culture will have you believe that a full-time job isn’t enough. Is that true?

Although it’s a bit outdated, Gallup’s 2014 report on full-time US workers gives us an alarming glimpse into the effects of the hustle. For starters, 50% of full-time workers reported working over 40 hours a week – in fact, the average weekly hours for salaried employees was up to 49 hours.

So, what’s the deal with 40 hours anyway? The 40 hour work-week actually started with labor rights activists in the 1800s pushing for an 8 hour workday. In 1817, Robert Owen, a Welsh activist, reasoned this workday provided: “eight hours labor, eight hours recreation, eight hours rest.”

If you do the math, that’s a whopping 66% of the day devoted to personal needs, rather than labor!

Of course, it’s only natural to be skeptical of logic from two centuries ago coloring the way we do business in the 21st century. For starters, there’s plenty of labor to be done outside of the labor you’re paid to do. Meal prep, house cleaning, child care… that’s all work that needs to be done. It’s also all work that some of your favorite influencers are paying to get done while they pursue the “hustle.” For the average human, that would all be additional work to fall in the ‘recreation’ category.

But I digress. Is 40 hours a week really enough in the modern age? After all, average hours in the United States have increased.

Well… probably not. In fact, when hours are reduced (France, for instance, limited maximum hours to 35 hours a week, instead of 40), workers are not only more likely to be healthier and happier, but more efficient and less likely to miss work!

So, instead of following through with the goal to work more this year, maybe consider slowing the hustle. It might actually be more effective in the long run!

This story was first published in January 2020.

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Business Marketing

Jack of all trades vs. specialized expert – which are you?

(BUSINESS MARKETING) It may feel tough to decide if you want to be a jack of all trades or have an area of expertise at work. There are reasons to decide either route.



jack of all trades learning

When mulling over your career trajectory, you might ask yourself if you should be a jack of all trades or a specific expert. Well, it’s important to think about where you started. When you were eight years old, what did you want to be when you grew up? Teacher? Doctor? Lawyer? Video Game Developer? Those are common answers when you are eight years old as they are based on professionals that you probably interact with regularly (ok, maybe not lawyers but you may have watched LA Law, Law & Order or Suits and maybe played some video games – nod to Atari, Nintendo and Sega).

We eventually chose what areas of work to gain skills in and/or what major to pursue in college. To shed some light on what has changed in the last couple of decades:

Business, Engineering, Healthcare and Technology job titles have grown immensely in the last 20 years. For example, here are 9 job titles that didn’t exist 20 years ago in Business:

  1. Online Community Manager
  2. Virtual Assistant
  3. Digital Marketing Expert
  4. SEO Specialist
  5. App Developer
  6. Web Analyst
  7. Blogger
  8. Social Media Manager
  9. UX Designer

We know that job opportunities have grown to include new technologies, Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality, consumer-generated content, instant gratification, gig economy and freelance, as well as many super-secret products and services that may be focused on the B2B market, government and/or military that we average consumers may not know about.

According to the 2019 Bureau of Labor Statistics after doing a survey of baby boomers, the average number of jobs in a lifetime is 12. That number is likely on the rise with generations after the Baby Boomers. Many people are moving away from hometowns and cousins they have grown up with.

The Balance Careers suggests that our careers and number of jobs we hold also vary throughout our lifetimes and our race is even a factor. “A worker’s age impacted the number of jobs that they held in any period. Workers held an average of 5.7 jobs during the six-year period when they were 18 to 24 years old. However, the number of jobs held declined with age. Workers had an average of 4.5 jobs when they were 25 to 34 years old, and 2.9 jobs when they were 35 to 44 years old. During the most established phase of many workers’ careers, ages 45 to 52, they held only an average of 1.9 jobs.”

In order to decide what you want to be, may we suggest asking yourself these questions:

  • Should you work to be an expert or a jack of all trades?
  • Where are you are at in your career and how have your skills progressed?
  • Are you happy focusing in on one area or do you find yourself bored easily?
  • What are your largest priorities today (Work? Family? Health? Caring for an aging parent or young children?)

If you take the Gallup CliftonStrengths test and are able to read the details about your top five strengths, Gallup suggests that it’s better to double down and grown your strengths versus trying to overcompensate on your weaknesses.

The thing is, usually if you work at a startup, small business or new division, you are often wearing many hats and it can force you to be a jack of all trades. If you are at a larger organization which equals more resources, there may be clearer lines of your job roles and responsibilities versus “the other departments”. This is where it seems there are skills that none of us can avoid. According to LinkedIn Learning, the top five soft skills in demand from 2020 are:

  1. Creativity
  2. Persuasion
  3. Collaboration
  4. Adaptability
  5. Emotional Intelligence

The top 10 hard skills are:

  1. Blockchain
  2. Cloud Computing
  3. Analytical Reasoning
  4. Artificial Intelligence
  5. UX Design
  6. Business Analysis
  7. Affiliate Marketing
  8. Sales
  9. Scientific Computing
  10. Video Production

There will be some folks that dive deep into certain areas that are super fascinating to them and they want to know everything about – as well as the excitement of becoming an “expert”. There are some folks that like to constantly evolve and try new things but not dig too deep and have a brief awareness of more areas. It looks safe to say that we all need to be flexible and adaptable.

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