I got a Groupon-like deal from Startups.com offering me “98% off” marketing consulting from a company called Clever Zebo (I like the name by the way). For just $39, I get “a 45 minute phone call with a specialist who will get all the information needed to revolutionize your company’s marketing strategy.”

Now I wasn’t a math major in college (and actually, I typically got a lot of C’s in math in high school), but if 45 minutes for $39 is 98%, that means the actual cost would normally be around $2700/hr. Assuming a 200 day work year, that works out to an annual rate of $5.4M. I’m pretty sure you could combine the annual salaries of the CMOs of Amazon, Google, eBay, and Microsoft and their salaries wouldn’t exceed $5.4M. So either Clever Zebo is an elite cadre of Fortune 50 CMOs (and they are all simultaneously talking to me for 45 minutes, which might actually be too many cooks in the kitchen anyways), or this deal is more than a wee-bit overpriced.

I checked out Clever Zebo’s team, and I’m going with the latter. Indeed, I actually know one of their team members, and while I can vouch for him as a very smart, talented guy, I’ll stop short of saying his advice is worth $5.4M a year.

Given some of the blowback Groupon has received from offering discounts on inflated pricing, I would think that other daily deal sites would be a little gun-shy about such tactics. Apparently not. In the meantime, I am offering a few daily deals of my own. Loyal readers, I’m pleased to announce Blogation’s “Sucker Born Every Minute” Deal Site! Today’s deals:

  • Snickers Bar: Regularly $1000, now just $1.50 (98% off)
  • Startups.com Membership: Regularly $500, now just $1 (98% off)
  • PPC Associates Consulting: Regularly $1M, now just $100K a month (90% off)
Limited supply so act now!

1 Comment

  1. Josh Krafchin July 19th, 2011


    Awesome post! Damn the price-testing, deal-site whoring, marketing tricksters of the world.

    Oh wait, your post mentioned my company.

    So let’s get a few things straight. First, what we actually promised: “This Deal includes a 45 minute phone call with a specialist who will get all the information needed to revolutionize your company’s marketing strategy. You’ll also get a Strategy Document to detail the specific steps you need to follow to implement the changes.”

    The 45-minute consult is phone-time only. There’s a preliminary call to set the appointment where we often get into some details, time spent reviewing the website/analytics/literature, time spent discussing, the call which almost always goes over on time, and a written strategy document as well as some follow-up communication to close the loop. For example, I just spent 70 minutes on the phone with an app developer who bought the deal only after spending 30 minutes on the phone trying to figure out if I could be of help. In between calls, I spent about 3 hours doing research so that I could actually speak intelligently and specifically to what he needed, as opposed to sticking to a pre-written script. Adding in some feedback/research from time from my partner as well shower-thinking AND the written strategy document, and we’re looking at 6 hours of work. Admittedly, $333 dollars/hour is on the high side but by at most a factor of 2, not 900. Yes, all this work is not profitable in the short-term for a $39 deal that we’ll get 50% of, but we’re a scrappy startup who wants to make a difference for as many great companies as possible.

    We can debate the true fair price of a marketing consultant’s time all day long (http://www.cleverzebo.com/the-true-fair-price-of-a-marketing-consultant%E2%80%99s-time.html), but that doesn’t negate the value of this service. In fact, I think a Clever Zebo consult could be of tremendous value to PPC Associates (sorry, but the Startups.com deal expired); why not do it and then let your readers know if we’re delivering a fair deal or not?

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David Rodnitzky
David Rodnitzky is founder and CEO of 3Q Digital (formerly PPC Associates), a position he has held since the Company's inception in 2008. Prior to 3Q Digital, he held senior marketing roles at several Internet companies, including Rentals.com (2000-2001), FindLaw (2001-2004), Adteractive (2004-2006), and Mercantila (2007-2008). David currently serves on advisory boards for several companies, including Marin Software, MediaBoost, Mediacause, and a stealth travel start-up. David is a regular speaker at major digital marketing conferences and has contributed to numerous influential publications, including Venture Capital Journal, CNN Radio, Newsweek, Advertising Age, and NPR's Marketplace. David has a B.A. with honors from the University of Chicago and a J.D. with honors from the University of Iowa. In his spare time, David enjoys salmon fishing, hiking, spending time with his family, and watching the Iowa Hawkeyes, not necessarily in that order.