The Treadmill Difference


The digital age often requires ‘the treadmill difference’. It requires a way to grab consumers’ attention to help separate one offering from another. The more crowded the marketplace, the harder it is to do that.

By Ken Yarmosh

Two months ago, I never heard of the group OK Go. Now, I’m hanging out in Panera, listening to Here it Goes Again through my Yahoo! Music Jukebox…and it’s all because of some treadmills.

Today’s music consumers have more than their fair share of music outlets. And with destinations like MySpace Music, their choice is not limited to traditional labels or what plays on the radio. Garage bands can now have followings too – from across the globe. The result is a lot more competition than there ever before in the past. But how do bands with good music get noticed? How do they even get the opportunity for potentials fans to hear their stuff?

OK Go decided that one way to grab people’s attention would include dancing on treadmills – to one of their songs no less (“Here it Goes Again” – check it out on YouTube). They were not totally unheard of to that point. But I’m certain their treadmill antics didn’t hurt, especially since they were given the opportunity to re-enact it at the MTV Music Awards.

The digital age often requires ‘the treadmill difference’. It requires a way to grab consumers’ attention to help separate one offering from another. The more crowded the marketplace, the harder it is to do that. Such as web-hosting. It is very difficult to distinguish one provider from the next.

One of the key issues in the shared server world is the resource hog – the one or two websites that continually monopolize the bandwidth, CPU time, and other limited server resources, all to the detriment of the other sites that live on the same server. Signing up for a shared server environment is often a lottery. You might just get lucky enough to land on a server that does not have any resource hogs. Then again, you are just about as likely to see poor response time or frequent outages. It’s a shot in the dark.

Given that all these companies do is provide hosting, that core part of their business should simply work. That is the only job of many of these companies, to provide hosting. Earlier this week, Media Temple offered us a glimmer of hope, thanks to their treadmill difference in the web hosting market – Grid-Server hosting, at an affordable price.

Of course, the treadmills only provided the opportunity for the likes of OK Go to succeed. They needed good music to win over listeners – and that’s exactly what happened. Media Temple has consumers’ attention. Now it’s a matter of time to see if they deliver. I can guarantee you that if their Grid-Server hosting plan does what it promises – offer a robust, scalable hosting environment at $20/month – it truly will be “the last hosting plan you’ll ever need.”

Ken Yarmosh is a web strategy consultant, Duct Tape Marketing contributor, and latest to join the ranks of GigaOM guest columnists.


Ken Yarmosh

Tom, good thing I consider all those things. I’ve been doing this sort of work for close to eight years now (even while in school). It’s not a science of course because it’s still all so new (relative to other professions and industries). I also don’t claim to have the buck stop with me when it comes to the subject. But I do consider myself as qualified as the next guy or gal – and that is based on the results of my work, my background/education, and the readership I have on my own site.

Plus what you noted. As any consulting does, my work depends on clients and what they want. The web, especially today, requires more than cookie cutter solutions.



Didn’t mean to come off as so negative. Sorry for that, Ken.

Doing something different may get you some attention. You are right about that.

Attention isn’t always good though. My point in commenting on his age wasn’t to dismiss his merits but to bring light to the fact that consulting on web strategy is more than having a MSE degree from a top flight university. That is admirable. IMO, web strategy incorporates many facets of marketing. including but not limited to messaging, positioning, knowing who your audience is, adapting to change and a whole slew of other issues that businesses consider when going online. My point is that it would be rather difficult to get all of the knowledge that can’t be taught in a classroom, being a few years out of grad school. To answer your question about who I think should be the PERFECT web strategy consultant…I think it all depends on who the client is and what they want. It is a broad term and obviously means different things to different people.

Brody, you got me on that one :)


It seems as though someone who was so quick to point out “grammer” mistakes on the “interenet” would at least make sure he spelled correctly. Proper punctuation wouldn’t hurt either, just sayin’.


Give me a break people! I guess everyone’s a critic (and overtly negative). So according to Dave, Ken’s too old and has no real grasp on the web. While Tom, calls him a baby at 25 years old. It would seem to me that the PERFECT age for a web strategy consultant is one who grew up with the web as it has progressed over the years. Tom, please tell me who SHOULD be a web strategy consultant if not someone with an M.S.E. in Telecommunications and Networking from on of the premier schools in the US, the University of Pennsylvania and years of real world experience.

Dave, perhaps you should pick up a newspaper sometime. Writing articles with catchy and/or cheesy headlines has been part of journalism since it’s inception. Some catch (i.e. the greatly overused “Long Tail”) and some don’t but why fault the guy for trying? If it catches on he’s an overnight celebrity while if it doesn’t he just has to put up with a few jeers from OM readers (not writers I might add).

All defending aside… the guy’s main point is not a new one but profound nonetheless. DO/OFFER SOMETHING DIFFERNT TO GET PEOPLES ATTENTION THEN DELIVER. Anyway you slice it, that’s a recipe for success!


and most importantly, the concept of a new coin like “the treadmill difference” makes me think of only companies running in place, getting no closer to any goal of any kind and wasting energy on the way…random aside, i’m a media temple grid customer and do love it, really kicks ass (so far)…


Ken, forgot to mention that the entire interenet is a shared resource. Your ISP oversells, your hosting provider oversells, your phone company oversells. This is nothing new.


Dave, I guess I will stick with old farts or 30 somethings instead of 25 yo web strategy consultants. Ken was in diapers when we were using 2400 baud modems. Apparently they stopped teaching proper grammer in grade school too :)

Ken Yarmosh

Haha…old fart difference. Doesn’t apply for a 25-year old or all his friends who only got wind of them (OK Go) with their treadmill stunt…which was sort of the point.

Media Temple really is doing something different here. And while I have heard of them in the past, I’m definitely much more interested in recommending them to clients with this offering. I’m not the only one who is excited about what they are doing. Just do a simple search of the blogosphere.

I’ve been a DreamHost guy to this point – and still am. But Media Temple just seriously shook up the game – at the very least, they generated some nice press for themselves:


I have never read such a blatant article trying to push a catchphrase. Horrible in so many ways.

OK Go has been around for 8 years. You just heard of them? How about the “Old fart difference” in that a “web strategy consultant” trys to look hip by writing about something he has no real grasp of and relates it to another business he apparently has no real grasp of.

I’m simply astounded by the poor premise of this article. I’ve never left a comment on gigaom but feel the need to now.


Uh… so how did an article about how to do things differently on the web end up as an ad for Media Temple? If this were really about how to do things differently, more examples should be cited. Right now it reads as a tacky ad for Media Temple’s hosting service. Frankly, Om, you can do a lot better than paid advertisements in these “guest editorials.”

Joseph Wain

Om — I’m again offering to help edit and proofread GigaOm. I like to read your stuff (and posts by guest columnists) but it needs editing. Badly.

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