Thin media extreme: Pirillo serves 47 ‘bustomers’
Wednesday, February 12th, 2003
Publishing ads on nothing but his bare chest, web entrepreneur Chris Pirillo has netted $940 since January 22.
If the formula for postmillennial publishing is low-overhead individually-generated content distributed to millions through the Internet, aka “the medium is me,” Chris takes the trend to an extreme.
Always eager to experience “thin media,” I Paypaled Chris $20 and bought an ad for Blogads. I also mailed Chris some questions:
> If you’ve got 10 minutes free, I’d love to ask you a few
Feel free to ask more. 😉
It was inspired by several ideas, really. Chiefly, by something I did on the show I do every day for TechTV. I lifted up my overshirt and made reference to a video collection called “Girls Gone Wild.” One particular online community (Leoville) was rather upset at the message this might have been sending to young women. So, for my apology, I spelled out their web site on my chest and left it in my webcam for the world to see.
I also did it to prove that I could prove somebody wrong. He used the term “viral marketing” incorrectly, and instead of admonishing him publicly, I thought I’d illustrate my point by creating something that had stronger potential to go “viral.” It’s always a craps shoot, but the more zany an idea is, the more potential it has for spreading.
Beyond that, I’m just a goofy guy who loves to do goofy things. I’ve been doing goofy things for years, but this is the first one that had mass appeal. Although, I’m still not sure why.
> In brief: When did you start?
> How many ads have you sold?
I believe 47 at the time of this interview. That’s approximately US$940, not including PayPal fees. And yes, I do have a handful of repeat bustomers. One guy used it to freak out a close friend (in an innocent way), another guy is using it to promote his personal Web site, and a very close friend (Jodie Gastel) is using it to create awareness for her services at ScoreBrowniePoints.com. She reported record traffic, being the fourth bustomer, and came back for more.
> How many page views does Rentmychest.com get?
I don’t know. 😉 How’s that for a statistic?! I threw up a counter at the bottom of the page, and anybody should be able to click it to get more data. I guess I don’t care; I’m having far too much fun to get too serious about it.
> What is the best / worst advertiser feedback you’ve gotten?
Best? Jodie. She wanted to be the first bustomer, but she missed her opportunity, and then it didn’t matter… until the second and third sale trickled in. I finally convinced her to take the plunge. It paid off.
Worst? I can’t think of one. I’ve had no complaints so far. I’m writing crap on my chest, for chrissake. 😉 People pretty much know what they’re getting into, click-thrus or not.
> How does your wife feel about them?
She tolerates them, as she tolerates most of my stupid ideas. I don’t think she thought it was a “great” idea when I first proposed it, though. “You think people are going to pay for that?!” Yeah, I did. And yeah, they did. Who’s laughing now? Anybody who’s visited.
> Where are the photos taken?
Right here in my living room, where I have “geek central station” set up.
> With what camera?
It’s a Logitech QuickCam Pro 4000. It takes decent pictures for the job (640×480). I open my image editor, use TWAIN to capture the still, wash my chest, and move on to the next one.