Martin (Marty) Smith
August 11, 2014

Can Subscriptions Smite The SEO Giant?

Can Subscriptions Smite SEO Giant

Invisible Giant BLOWS UP

Last week’s Curatti post The Invisible Giant: Why the New SEO Is So Hard To See blew up on and off Curatti. With over 200 social shares (“flares) on Curatti and support from great friends such as Mark Traphagen, Phil Buckley, Jan Gordon, Andy Capaloff along with a group of great friends from including Brian Yanish, Kelly Hungerford,, Malek and John van den Brink (to name just a few) the GIANT of the “new seo” became visible to thousands.


Sword In the Stone – Subscriptions

Filter Easy Graphic and Link Before you read further, please go to and signup to get your home’s air filters via subscription. I’m going to convince West Village apartments to let me buy filters since the fiberglass ones they use are BAD.

I will ask the great team at to send new filters once a quarter. Life is short, I don’t have to think about when to replace filters again. Letting Filter Easy’s back-end auto-ship once a quarter is a great example of one of the web’s many benefits – taking little stupid stuff off of you and moving it onto the web where “stupid stuff” can be managed easily and well.

I admire what Kevin Barry and the team are doing – making it easy to replace your home’s air filters. Met with Kevin at Filter Easy’s office in Raleigh last week and he helped me see how subscription is a great way to smite the Invisible SEO Giant.

Online Subscriptions Defined

Back in the day I had subscriptions to magazines such as WIRED, Art in America and How Design. Ironic the web is KILLING print in favor of adding subscriptions to almost anything we can imagine.

DIY Subscriptions – ZipCar
Zipcar is making owning a car optional, at least in the college town where I live (Durham, NC). Dookies can easily walk right past my apartment to rent a “Zcar”. Your profile on handles paperwork and billing. Once your profile is built, find out where the nearest car is and as fast as you can say “mobile app” you rent a car WHEN NEEDED.

Zipcar is a hybrid subscription – the car is there when you need it.

Calendar / Use Subscriptions Filter Easy
Filter Easy becomes your “filter calendar”. You indicate what kind of filters you need and frequency. If you have asthma or a cat (as I do) you may replace more frequently. You are in control of how often Filter Easy mails.

“We spent a lot of time making the process of creating a subscription EASY,” Kevin told me last week.

Online Subscription MAGIC

Every business has SOMETHING they could sell via subscription. Here are some subscription ideas team Curagami brainstormed the other day:

  • Pizza (why don’t Papa Johns & Dominos take money monthly and assure the best deal?).
  • Cat food / liter (drives me crazy to have to go to the store to feed or clean up after the cat).
  • Groceries – met a nice lady from today and will give them a try next week.
  • Email Assistant – I would PAY a service to alert me to the 2% of emails I get that need MY attention.
  • Virtual Assistant – Would subscribe to a service to run the FUNCTIONS of my life (appointments, email, vendor management).
  • Editors of Chaos – Would subscribe to a service like Curatti that could throw a large net and filter out the junk showing me the trending and important posts that shape my profession.
  • Car – Why can’t I buy a car for almost NOTHING but promise to 1. always use the dealer for service and 2. promise to use a basket of other “approved” vendors for things like tires, gas and etc… I’m willing to trade loyalty for a good price and that loyalty doesn’t need to be LIMITED to cars (i.e. sell me a commitment to use Barnes & Noble instead of Amazon, Lowes instead of Home Depot or Courtyard by Marriott instead of Hilton, etc…).

Think about that last one for a minute. Car dealers make little profit when you buy a car. They want you to use their services too because services is where they make profits to keep their doors open. Why doesn’t a car dealer GIVE US THE CAR in exchange for what is really valuable – OUR INFORMATION and promise to use their service?

Zipcar is taking a giant step in that direction. If you go to college and only need a car every now and again owning a car 100% of the time is EXPENSIVE. Ownership of a depreciating asset sucks so Zipcar steps in and reduces costs and hassles with their DIY on-demand subscription model.

Filter Easy steps in and says, “We handle your filters. You never have to think about them again”. Here’s the cool part – Filter Easy’s subscription model jumps over many hurdles associated with scaling a business via content marketing and seo.

Filter Easy Dirty Filter UGC image

Jumping The Shark

Filter Easy is such a cool proposition THEIR CUSTOMERS create content for them. My favorite was a picture of the “dirtiest filter ever” received on Twitter (above). Easy to riff a “Is this the dirtiest filter ever?” contest off of Tom’s great share.

It gets better. Kevin showed me a VIDEO a customer made too. When your service helps customers save time and not have to worry about something that is important but easy to forget they LOVE you. Your company gets more than free content.

Your relationships are DIRECT and so fully within your control (i.e you don’t have to pay Google for permission to ship ’em).

Filter Easy used Facebook and Groupon to find their first customers. The service is such a winner they won’t need to spend a fortune on EXTERNAL marketing. Soon Filter Easy be can empower their customers to act as “brand ambassadors”. Many customers are helping already.

Moon Audio Logo

Conversations…The New Links

Filter Easy validates many ideas behind our creation of Curagami, our Startup Factory funded startup. We believe:

  • Friends are more important influences than any content anyone develops.
  • Conversations prove you are “digitally listening” and teach at an accelerated rate.
  • Creating “Ambassadors” may be the most important mission in today’s digital marketing.

See Curagami in action on Look at the top of  Moon’s homepage for the “hello bar” and click on the question. Curagami has only been live since Friday We see 100 things that need improvement, but collaborating with customers creates the same direct engagement as subscriptions.

Moon Audio’s high end audiophile customers love to help. The 1:9:90 rule teaches:

  • 1% of visitors will CONTRIBUTE something of value such as a comment or review.
  • 9% will SUPPORT content created especially when created by the 1% Contributors.
  • 90% READ and so are harder to engage.

Subscriptions immediately focus an online business to those willing to “join”. Conversations, once the Curagami’s engine is tuned and tweaked, create similar laser focus on Contributors and Supporters. Curagami makes brand advocates easy to find and interested in helping. Marketing becomes collaborative and customers teach as they learn as do business owners.

So, if you can add a subscription (and everyone can), DO SO. When you are ready to collaborate and enlist your customers call team Curagami. Subscriptions + Curagami make for a big WIN. Would you rather model your customers based on THEIR data or yours?

Answer to that question is always YOUR DATA. As Filter Easy shows, you need a cannon to start the race. Once everyone is running toward you ask for help. Give your “Ambassadors” a MISSION. Listen more than you talk and you can defeat the Invisible Giant too.



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Passionate cancer survivor, Internet marketer and former Director of Ecommerce who believes in Margaret Mead's quote, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." Glad to be an "Editor of Chaos".

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