Domerama is meant to help understand and educate in how geodesic domes and other shelter types are made, with a strong emphasis on explaining how to build these structures. So as I look at the online advertising of dome manufacturers, one clear point comes across. Lack of information about geodesic domes is profitable to those selling them.
#1 target: the unsuspecting corporate client
Many dome “manufacturers”, and we use that term loosely since many simply sub-contract everything, relying heavily on clients with large budgets and for them to be clueless as to what value they get for their money. In other words, sellers like and seek out corporate suckers. The approach is to sell the prospect in the same way fashion designers sell their clothing: “buy this overpriced item and your expectations will come true! The more you pay, the better you look!”
The Casino strategy
So when a site such as Domerama.com starts demystifying geodesic domes, it’s like someone pointing out that you can get the same, identical item for a fraction of what others sell it for. Event dome suppliers have been operating on the premise that information is scarce and unreliable, then they come out with glossy ads and colorful web sites to lure you away while trying to shut down the side of the brain that affects common sense. The technique is very similar to how casinos operate: lots of flashing lights, sounds, no clocks or anything that could help you keep track of reality.
Sell the dream, not the product!
My current favorite over-the-top event dome supplier is Freedomes. Not only is their main site beautiful to browse, they also have pictures of two beautiful women on their home page slideshow. Absolutely no relation whatsoever to geodesic domes. My theory is that Freedomes may be trying to convince people that somehow overworked single mothers can enter into an event dome and magically transform into a sexy 20 year-old Victoria’s Secret lingerie models. Since I did not see any male models on the same slideshow, I will assume this transformation process only works for women.
How to sell event domes on the Web: use flash, exaggerate!
Freedomes is a clever outfit, though they are loud in how they attempt to reach target audiences. They are all over YouTube, AdSense (Google Ads), search engines and God only knows where else. These guys are smart when it comes to increasing visibility for their product, although it still seems as if there was more money than brains when they planned their advertising campaign.
Frankly, I am surprised they are not using the term “Extreme” in their efforts, because it makes everything sound more cool. And what about images of lightning bolts and flames? Would that not make the domes go faster?! It’s not a wooden floor anymore, it’s a flooring system! Or better yet, an engineered flooring system!
The pitch is simple: “we can make your dreams come true”. The part kept from potential clients is that in order to have your fantasies come to life, your company will pay dearly with additional options at every turn; put beautiful images and pictures on the site, add some attractive women (apparently according to Freedomes, only men are involved in purchasing event domes).
Almost everyone is in on it
Freedomes may have a crass approach with attractive graphics to get visibility, but it seems to work for them.
But what of the other “major” dome suppliers? They are more than happy to follow the same example since they initiated the approach in the dome industry, taking advantage of future clients with little or no information on what they are purchasing.
Ironically, new dome suppliers are using that same approach, and doing a better job than the originals. They both sell like used car salesmen except that Freedomes does a much better job of this.
Meanwhile, back on planet Earth…
The bottom line is that geodesic domes, especially those meant to be used for events, are often presented as more than they actually are. Domes have a way to mesmerize people almost instantly, but this is no reason to throw money at the dome supplier without asking what value you get in return.
If you are considering a geodesic dome for your event, follow this simple rule: the planner should not also be the supplier; you are the best planner for your event and dome suppliers are not objective; they are in business to make money.
If you are a corporation, form a team and do your research. There is little justification to pay more for sound and lighting in a dome. Some projects cost more than a house in the suburbs; taking some time to do your job as the event planners should not be replaced by getting the dome supplier to do it for you.
And if you insist on throwing away piles of cash for no good reason, please send me a big PayPal or a bank transfer. In return I will send you a nicely worded “Thank You” note, along with a drawing of a dome on the back signed by my 3 year-old niece.