The Marketing Machine

With the wild success of the recently released design patterns cards I have found that traffic inevitably draws “piggy backers”. Until this point I had never considered this kind of marketing, favoring a more direct approach. As I browsed some of the sites that linked to my post I found the same thing on all of them. A site had traced down through all the links originating from my post and had promoted their own goods there.

So I visited – a couple times. The site is actually pretty good, at first glance. I have not taken the time to delve into the real meat of the material yet and have since decided not to. Mark Turansky evidently followed this chain deeper than I and found that the site is simply an attempt at pushing an e-book outlining all the design patterns information. This, in itself, is fine. Linking to my site is fine. Linking to links off my site is fine. The message they are pushing, while doing all of the above is not.

As Mark’s post points out there are a number of ludicrous claims being made by the “publishers” of this book, most of which revolve around the book having supernatural powers. The book is touted as being able to do things like, “get your tasks done twice faster, write bugless code and create an efficient and reliable software architecture”. There are a couple problems with this. First, the use of design patterns generally does not speed up the engineering process. It instead shifts the focus of the work from initial coding, bug fixed, and maintenance to the initial design work. The basic premise of a good design is that it is easy to implement and maintain – not necessarily easy to write or create. Second, bugs are a function of developers. People are prone to error and are thus unlikely to ever write bugless code. So unless this book will make you superhuman, write code for you, or will provide a mechanism to automatically fix bugs I seriously doubt it will ever provide you with less bugs. Mark covered this in pretty good detail so I will leave you to read his post – he also includes “testimonials” that are very obviously fictional.

I applaud the marketing effort. It is effective (at least it appears to be) and it will likely drive some business to the site. However, I loathe pushy marketing practices that attempt to dupe consumers into buying a fictional uber-product. If this site simply had good information, real testimonials, and realistic claims I might even be inclined to buy their product. As it is, this won’t be happening.

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Jason McDonald

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