Well, as the resident technology nerd, I thought I would take our current theme of the heavens, and connect it to one of my favorites–computers!
Seems that in the claim stakes of internet domains, astrology.com is a key property. Sadly, horoscopes seem to be the other thing you can sell online and actually make money on. In the words of a CNET report:
The business is largely a matter of writing a program that can churn out scripted horoscopes for any sign, any day of the week. …. purveyors of horoscopes sit back and collect advertising revenue against those daily readings, as well as fees for sending other marketers “leads” in the form of e-mail addresses from interested consumers (which must sign up to get their reading). Horoscope sites like Astrology.com also make money from the sale of astrological reports, which cost about $10 each.
Why is this in the news? Seems the original owner of Astrology.com, Kelli Fox, wants iVillage, the current owner, to stop using Fox’s photo and name on astrology reports. See, having a “reputable” astrologer’s name attached is apparently key to the $5 mill/year business. And gosh, what a resume that gal has! She studied at the College of Humanistic Astrology, received accreditation from the National Center for Geocosmic Research, and has American Federation of Astrologers accreditation. Top that, Mr. Bad Astronomer!
One of Ms. Fox’s complaints is that iVillage has broadened the scope of her original sale of horoscopes for women to horse racing and psychic readings. So, basically, she’s upset that her snake oil has been re-labeled. Read the whole article for the details–it’s alternately appalling and amusing. She is now suing iVillage for cybersquatting, which I mention mainly because I really like the word “cybersquatting.”
Just to prove I’m a tech geek, I looked up “astrology” (red line) and “horoscope” (blue line) on the google trends tool, and compared it to “astronomy” (orange line). The search data…well, it just doesn’t look good. This map is a log scale.
Two happy data points: the news items on astronomy do far outweigh the news items on star signs–except on days when famous astrologers die.