Marketing Through Fear

from the scary-stuff dept

We've mentioned in the past how being in an "anti-" business is very tricky -- because your own success should wipe out the need for your product. Security firms epitomize this problem. If they're successful in making security no longer a problem, then the need for their products goes away. Even trickier is that they need to both scare people into believing they're not safe (often by overhyping threats) while convincing them that one single product will make them safe -- but not so safe that they won't need to eventually upgrade. It seems that this is the tricky balance security firms face, with many tending to overhype the threat aspect. The reality, as discussed in the article, is that it is an ongoing battle back and forth -- but people are getting jaded by security firms crying wolf all the time. It's ending up having the reverse effect. People are giving up -- figuring that many of these firms are making threats out to be much worse, and very few people know who to trust any more. While it may have seemed like good business in the short term, the long term results are causing people to ignore the messaging from security firms.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    dorpus, Feb 15th, 2006 @ 12:24pm

    Fire Departments and Poisson Distributions

    When the scale becomes big enough, the rare events will create a steady demand. Nobody is saying we should abolish fire departments because fires don't happen very often.


     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 15th, 2006 @ 12:28pm

    No Subject Given

    Computer guys do it all the time, its easy and people will spend $$ to get a product installed to protect the computer out of fear! Its like taking candy from a baby.. Try it, it works!

    hehehehhehehhe

    It may be wrong, but I dont see any good computer jobs out there, unless you want to make McDonald wages.. and work 70 hours a week with no overtime.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 15th, 2006 @ 12:30pm

    Computer Guys do it!

    Computer guys do it all the time, its easy and people will spend $$ to get a product installed to protect the computer out of fear! Its like taking candy from a baby.. Try it, it works!

    hehehehhehehhe

    It may be wrong, but I dont see any good computer jobs out there, unless you want to make McDonald wages.. and work 70 hours a week with no overtime.

    When your a starving computer guy, you do anything it takes to make some change ..

     

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  4.  
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    Mikester, Feb 15th, 2006 @ 12:38pm

    Re: Fire Departments and Poisson Distributions

    Nobody is saying we should abolish fire departments because fires don't happen very often.



    There is some truth here. The anti- products are really analogous to insurance policies. You buy it hoping you never really need it.



    they're successful in making security no longer a problem, then the need for their products goes away.



    Even if a security product is successful, it doesn't mean the need for it goes away. There are always going to be people out there with too much time on their hands (or organized criminals, take your pick) who come up new threats every day. So yes, maybe you wouldn't need to upgrade your actual anti- product, but you will still need to pay for the subscription to keep that product up to date.

     

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  5.  
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    Ivan Sick, Feb 15th, 2006 @ 12:43pm

    Re: Computer Guys do it!

    Mike is correct in his analysis of the general population. I fixed a friend's computer and installed a virus scanner. The next day, I was with him and a virus warning appeared. He closed it immediately.
    And yes, there are no good computer jobs. I have six years of experience building and repairing, and consider myself highly qualified. My last boss thought so too. He moved me from the tech bench to a manager position...and paid me a whopping $12 an hour. Now I make better money loading trucks in a warehouse. You can make good money in computers, but only if you own the business, or have a dozen certifications.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 15th, 2006 @ 12:59pm

    Re: Fire Departments and Poisson Distributions

    If you want a free antivirus that has no subscription fee, try "AVG Free" google it, its really good and really free.
    Oh ya, I am a computer guy too and I Haul garbage for $160 a day cash usually takes 3-4 hours when I do get a load to do. Pays better then computers, when there is no garbage, I get computer calls .. its a ballance on a thin wire..
    Looking in to a different career tho .. I can't do this for ever..
    Too many companies are gready bastards, outsourcing jobs. Thanks to the Bush Administration.
    Hey if Bush thinks its ok to spread democrasy and OK to help other countries to change their government, maybe we should ask Europe and Canada to help change ours and remove the Bush administration. .. Its OK right?
    I mean we did it to Afghanastan, Iraq and Palestine, Now we need help to get rid of our regime.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 15th, 2006 @ 1:10pm

    linux

    *hugs* linux install ;)
    free anti-malware (if you need it, which i havent)

     

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  8.  
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    nano40, Feb 15th, 2006 @ 1:21pm

    Yes and no



    Being a Security Engineer in a VAR for InfoSec, FUD (Fear, Uncertainaty, Doubt) has fallen to the side. Now we have several Federal Regulations that companies need be aware of and to become compliant with.

    Now it's about spending $50K for a security appliance to protect >$1M worth of assets and stay in compliance and preventing $250K worth of fines.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 15th, 2006 @ 1:34pm

    Re: Fire Departments and Poisson Distributions

    if you don't like it change it.... or shut the fuck up.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 15th, 2006 @ 1:38pm

    Re: Fire Departments and Poisson Distributions

    No good computer jobs? Naah - no good comptuer jobs for those who want to stick with basic PC break fix stuff. Get more advanced, into the enterprise space, and there is plenty of work out there. You just need to make the leap from the home PC to the business, and accept working for someone else. Check out Dice.com (or any of the others, Dice is just the most technocentric) and look for IT administrator jobs as a good place to start.

    And by the way, outsourcing is good economic policy (take Econ 101 at any university and you will see, free markets and specalization is good for everyone), and has nothing at all to do with the Bush administration. We were outsourcing here under Clinton, too - the president has no control over corporate decisions to outsource, except to implement protectionist policies. Now that gets me back to the fact that protectionist policies (anti-free markets) hurt everyone involved and ensure that the GNP of all countries do not grow at the same rate they would with free markets.

    (and I'm a computer guy, who while in college worked at a computer shop for $11/hr fixing PCs... I can do it, so can you)

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 15th, 2006 @ 1:44pm

    Re: Fire Departments and Poisson Distributions

    Thank god this guy said it because I was thinking it. Your a idiot if you think there is no computer jobs.

    How can you say there is no computer jobs out there?!?!?! There not paying outragous salaries like they did in the 90's but with minimal certifcations and some experience you can get a job in any city in America..... Take the leap and get some certs an A+ and a Net+ go a long way. But yes they don't cut it not even close if you want to make a 6 figure salary. I think the problem is is that half of the "computer guys" out there aren't staying up to date in there field because they've spent the last 20 years learning new OS's and hardware. Wake up if your going to be in this field you better be willing to learn something new every day and realize you're never going to be a expert unless you specialize in one area and that area will be outdated in 3 years tops! and it took a year to be a expert in it so you have 2 years of being a pimp then your slapped back down into reality.

     

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  12.  
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    ThoughtCancer, Feb 15th, 2006 @ 1:47pm

    This is new?

    Look, there's only a few ways to effectively sell anything, particularly non-essentials:

    1) Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt
    2) Impart Inadequacy
    3) Appeal To Greed
    4) Sex
    5) Government Mandate

    Every single computer part, technical service, and consulting agreement is sold in one of these five ways (sometimes a mixture). To single out Anti-Virus companies and not, say, Accenture, is cherrypicking the easy targets. Especially security companies (one if which I work for) thrive on 1, 2, and 5.

    If we're to condemn AV companies, we should the whole security industry, because they're just as guilty.

     

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  13.  
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    monkey, Feb 15th, 2006 @ 2:08pm

    Re: Fire Departments and Poisson Distributions

    Wake up if your going to be in this field you better be willing to learn something new every day and realize you're never going to be a expert unless you specialize in one area and that area will be outdated in 3 years tops! and it took a year to be a expert in it so you have 2 years of being a pimp then your slapped back down into reality.
    agreed.
    That's why I techdirt during os installs.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 15th, 2006 @ 2:42pm

    Re: Fire Departments and Poisson Distributions

    Apply for a computer job, there is 1000 resumes to 1 job, I am MCSE Cert , A+ Cert, Expert in Linux and Mac as well, Can't get a job for 5 years now in the computer field. I stay on top of everything working from home, but $0-$1000 a month is tough on my own .. Just barely pays rent, my Credit card dept is well over $10,000 I am going to school for trucking to get a CDL.

    Too many computer layoffs in 2001 - 2006, Nowdays you can get a job as a Sys Admin in a corperation for a measly $12 an hour with Medical insurance for crap.

    My friend drives a truck hauling dirt from city to city makes $800 a DAY with his own truck and $2500 Clean after expences each week. I say the hell with computer jobs and all the office politics and the stupid games. It seams that the Fater and unhealthier you are, the bigger geek and more knowledgeable.. that is sad.. lazy fat ass..

    I say Fuck the computer jobs. Its time to be a man and do a man's job.

     

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  15.  
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    Devin, Feb 15th, 2006 @ 5:30pm

    Re: Fire Departments and Poisson Distributions

    I worked as an INTERN at $17 an hour writing SQL code. Sure they don't have to pay us health benefits so that keeps the costs down, but they also hired a good deal of us afterwards. There is not a shortage of computer jobs out there. Most people who can't get a computer job usually aren't looking hard, or have a poor attitude which keeps them from getting hired.

    Truck drivers certainly can make good money, but they don't get much of a family life. (Unless they're one of the few people who find a good paying close driving only trucking job) Also I would like to point out a good deal of the truck drivers that I know aren't the most healthy nor the smallest people I know.

     

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  16.  
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    Cober, Feb 15th, 2006 @ 6:05pm

    Selling through fear

    I think that the whole Fear as a marketing tool is great! For example, the Post Office should have the slogan "We know where you live!"

     

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  17.  
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    thecaptain, Feb 16th, 2006 @ 5:31am

    Re: Fire Departments and Poisson Distributions

    Whenever I hear this in person, its always from the guys who have all this paper (an MCSE? Gimme a break!) and tout their expertise but can't think their way out of a paper bag.

    You sound like you've got all the certs...and I'll give you the benefit of the doubt because yes, they aren't handing out huge salaries like candy anymore...but man!

    Anyone who knows his stuff...(forget all the certs..whenever someone hands me a resume loaded with em, I know they likely won't survivwe the interview) can easily find and hold a decent position.

    At my company, we have quite a few senior network architects, systems analysts and programmers, all making six-figures...while at the bottom end we get a LOT of turn over. Interestingly enough, our top guys have no certs beyond a degree while the chaff that rotates on out of here because they can't get the job done list em, just like you did above.

    Before you go calling geeks fat asses and whine about office politics, why don't you take a close look at your skills? I'm thinking if they were as good as you say, you wouldn't NEED to tout the certs that much to say it.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 16th, 2006 @ 9:41am

    Re: Fire Departments and Poisson Distributions

    Ok, I try not to post off topic too often, but to people who say there are no good paying jobs in computers need to look into government contractor positions. I know a guy over here (Iraq) who is straight out of college no certs, was surprised when I showed him how to change a MAC address on a LAN card, and makes $120,000+ plus health care (and if you spend a whole year the first $80,000 is TAX FREE). Sure there is risk involved, but it's lower than the Clinton News Network (CNN) would have you believe. Some of these companies are begging for workers.

     

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  19.  
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    dfsgsdf, Apr 27th, 2006 @ 5:31am

    sadfsadf

    u all fucking suck

     

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  20.  
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    James Peckham, Aug 23rd, 2007 @ 10:08am

    Re: No Subject Given

    maybe it's just your region. I know i was looking at New Orleans and there's maybe 10 IT jobs advertised... but in Kansas City theres hundreds posted.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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