How the Internet Can Sell Snow and A Good Story
For anybody not already familiar with this story: Mary Walker is an advertising copywriter from Colorado who recently sold three bags of snow on Ebay to a family in Connecticut for $102. The story has captured the imagination of the world’s media and shown how the Internet has created a global marketplace for products and services.
You are no longer limited to your geographical area and, because of the Longtail, selling niche products can be very profitable. Even the most random products, such as nature’s elements, have an expanded marketplace as there will always be somebody out there who wants to buy.
The Ebay listing received nearly 10,000 hits and Mary was surprised by the global interest, “There were emails from Nigeria, and Germany, from normally snowy places in the US, like Utah, Minnesota and the Upper-Peninsula of Michigan.” She received offers from Africa, New Zealandand Australia, and thousands of messages.
What contributed to the sale was the story created around it. Mary was supposedly a poor woman imprisoned in her own home by relentless snow storms, desperate to raise enough cash to afford a snow blower.
The story appealed to Chris Hansen, the fireman who bought the snow for his three children to give them at least a partially white Christmas. Chris said, “There she was, snowbound and bored, and she turned it around and gave the whole world a laugh. I can get behind something like that.” Chris even increased the price he paid to $200 so that poor Mary could afford her snow blower.
In true marketing tradition, Frontier Airlines leapt onto the story for some cheap publicity by flying the Mary and her husband for free so they could deliver the snow in person.
Being able to sell snow on Ebay shows that thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s no better way of selling than by telling a story and no better way of spreading that story than by broadcasting it over the internet.