The wild west was wild! When gun slinging bank robbers weren’t holding up the bank on Main Street, they were slamming whiskey shots at the Pharao table, and harassing the lady folk in between rounds. Or not. It turns out that the proverbial outlaw was not as common as Hollywood would have us to believe. In fact, much of the mystique commonly associated with Wild West is actually myth. Society was generally peaceful, perhaps even more so than many of our cities today. Women were treated with respect. Heck, cowboys did not even wear cowboy hats! But one genuine stereotype of wild west lore is the ubiquitous the con-man. The term con-man itself was literally invented here. And literal snake oil was invented in the wild West as well, by one Clark Stanley. Our Clark Stanley rose from humble beginnings as a cowboy into a clever marketing magnate, selling his dubious snake oil at carnivals and medicine shows touring the countryside. He built up quite an outfit around his snake oil product, expanding into two production facilities at his peak. Sales remained brisk and steady until the federal government finally stepped in. The Pure Food and Drug act introduced in 1906 put a cramp in his style. Mr. Stanley was fined $20 (almost $500 in today’s money), and his operations thereafter are rather unknown. A more sinister yet successful fake elixir was radium infused water, peddled as Radithor by William J.A. Bailey. This radioactive tonic was claimed to have cured all sorts of ills, but in reality caused more harm than good, killing one man that we know of for sure. Amazingly, not only did Mr. Bailey not receive any punishment, he died a fairly wealthy man from the sales of his poisonous products; albeit at the relatively young age of 64 as a victim of his own radiation poisoning. These con-men were able to take advantage of the rapidly expanding nation which presented an opportunity to move around from town to town without raising too much suspicion within these disconnected communities. And con-men are still with us to this day. Every common medical ailment presents an opportunity for these snake oil salesman to pedal questionable cures. It is quite sad to see that this current pandemic is no different, with the snake oil du jour this time around being fake N95 masks.
The internet started out quite a lot like the Wild West. Just like an 1800’s land rush, thousands of small time merchants recognized the new opportunity and struck out looking to claim their stake. Like frontier settlements that popped up, as the internet evolved emergent communities formed as well. Over time these communities matured, forming into social media that we have today. Even though these social networks became quite well structured, lack of transparency in advertising and product promotions persisted, perpetuating opportunities for fraud. And like the Pure Food and Drug Act, the Government has taken certain measures in modern times to protect consumers on the internet. But while the FTC and similar agencies do enforce their regulations with fines and other reactive measures that halt fraudulent activity, these measures have not proactively fostered transparency.
In the meantime, communities on the internet have become the defining structure for all major online activities. Media, gaming, and the corresponding advertising that funds it all are centered around socially networked communities. These communities are now demanding transparency in advertising and data collection. And the internet platforms hosting these communities have responded accordingly. Google, one of the biggest advertising platforms on the web, is rolling out a required advertiser verification for all advertisers. As a startup platform in the influencer arena, Opera Event has recognized that the influencer community has grown too huge for potential marketers to easily find and partner with individual influencers effectively. Opera Event has also recognized that transparency is a pillar requirement for such a marketplace to honestly engage with community fans. This community driven proactive transparency increases trust from consumers thereby fostering an even greater sense of community.
Online gaming is perhaps the biggest community of all. Shanti Bergel of Transcend Fund says:
“Games were once dismissed as a nerdy subculture, but they have gone mainstream and are now the driving force in the overall entertainment landscape.”Shanti Bergel
We have also written in the past about the impact of online gaming going mainstream. Social engagement is key here and community is King. With business models based on advertising and in-game micro-transactions, transparency is paramount to maintaining the positive reputation necessary for a steady business in this space. These gaming communities are tight knit and last for years if not decades. It is tough to build a brand reputation in these online worlds, but easy to destroy your reputation in an instant with a campaign perceived by the community to be disingenuous.
We here at MX-Fusion are all about community and collaboration, the Fusion of Art and Music is literally what we are all about. Partnerships are key, we could not deliver this beautiful experience without partnerships such as Spotify, Unsplash, or Google Photo. We are keen to deliver over a meaningful business model as well, at the same time ever vigilant for a pristine user experience without overly polluted advertising. Spotify premium is one example, delivering audio over Spotify premium ensures pure listening enjoyment without disruption of ads. There are trade-offs of course, our audience is potentially limited by this direct payment model. And we are constantly evolving as well, looking towards future business models with potentially greater reach and even higher levels of engagement with our genuinely artistic experience.
Now let’s enjoy a Fusion for LOCASH | One Big Country Song: