Cobras & Click-Through Rates

Click-through rates have been the subject of spectacularly short-sighted strategies, which is hindering client trust in agencies.

Cobras and click-through rates have more in common than you think. I'll admit a venomous snake and a media metric aren't easy bedfellows, but they share a single bond. Both have been the subject of spectacularly shortsighted strategies.

The cobra got there first, lending its name to an economic concept with which Robert Chambers may be familiar. Our reptile friend is the star of a (most likely anecdotal) story about a colonial British policy that failed to separate value from numbers. In the 19th century administrators in Delhi placed a bounty on cobra skins to reduce the risk to residents. At first the scheme performed well, then canny customers realised they could farm cobras and exponentially increase their return. Upon discovering this underground cobra economy the administrators promptly ended the bounty. Vendors abandoned their inventory and unleashed a flood of now worthless, but still very venomous, cobras onto the streets.

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