TSC Weekender's Survey Results Are Mixed for E-Tailers

And just what is it about the fifth question that makes you feel you can't go on?
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TheStreet.com thanks all our readers who participated in last week's survey about online retailing. Particular thanks to the 59% of you who picked TheStreet.com as your favorite Web site, though the controversial enslavingthebrownpeople.org did finish a strong second.

However, we are a little disappointed with your short attention spans. The first four questions were answered by several hundred people; the last six, by no more than 70 apiece. We realize people are busy, but, darn it, we're trying to perform a scientific study here! Here's what we found, mostly without your help:

  • Abstract concepts sell.
    Our survey results indicate that e-tailers need to peddle dreams, not things. For instance, 41% of respondents believed in magic in a young girl's heart, and 35% believed in God, while only 6% believed in Crystal Light.
  • Most people aren't crazy.
    Be fanciful in your e-marketing, but be practical as well. People like abstract concepts but comfortable chairs. We found that people are 16 times more likely to pay $1.49 for a Klondike bar than to "have sex with the president of the company that manufactures Klondike bars." Also -- somewhat surprisingly -- they are 2 1/2 times more likely to want to go home than to France, and 10 times more likely to want to go home than to Israel.
  • Ford (F) - Get Reportis in trouble.
    Some 41% of respondents hadn't driven a Ford lately, and 38% were unsure about the meaning of "Ford." We smell a shakeup in the marketing department.

Overall, our survey results seem to point to one conclusion: This Internet thing is not going to last. No one can make any money on the Web. Get out while you can.

Neal Pollack lives in Chicago, where he works as a staff writer for the Chicago Reader. He has also written for Salon.com and The New York Times Magazine, and is a regular contributor to McSweeneys, both the online and print editions.