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Ken Magill

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Let's Call it What it is: 'Cyber Non-Event'

By Ken Magill

And for the biggest non-event in online marketing that gets more non-eventy—yet seemingly more written about and discussed—every year, look no further than Cyber Monday, a term that should have been retired several years ago.

“Cyber Monday” was coined in 2005 by the National Retail Federation to refer to the spike in sales online retailers saw on the Monday after Thanksgiving when people returned to work and took advantage of their employers’ broadband Internet connections to shop online.

Back then, most American Internet users didn’t have broadband access at home.

According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, just 30 percent of Americans had home broadband access in March of 2005. A year later, 42 percent of Americans had high-speed Internet access at home, so the term Cyber Monday was becoming obsolete as soon as a year after it was coined.

This year, according to the Pew Internet Project, 66 percent of Americans have home broadband access. Also, 21 percent of Americans don’t use the Internet, period, according to the Pew Internet Project.

As a result, of the Americans who use the Internet, 83.5 percent have home broadband access, according to the Pew Internet Project. They don’t need their employer’s broadband access. They’re not going to wait until the Monday after Thanksgiving to start their online Christmas shopping.

Yet, there is no doubt that many retailers will waste precious subject-line space this week promoting Cyber Monday in their email campaigns. And the term Cyber Monday won’t do a thing to lift sales.

Now if they called it “Free-Shipping Monday,” or “Buy-One-Get-One-Free Monday” they might see a lift. But the word Monday wouldn’t be responsible for the lift. The offer would.

Get it? Cyber Monday is not an offer. It’s a trade-association gimmick that gets more meaningless by the year. Don’t waste precious promotional space or your two-second moment with your customer referring to it.

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