Who Invented Internet Marketing? (Hint: It Wasn’t Al Gore)

Al Gore

Al Gore

Who Invented Internet Marketing?

If you’re reading this post then likely you are an Internet Marketer.

Who are your mentors? You do have mentors, right? If you’re just starting out online, you may still be looking for the right leaders to follow.

Today’s Internet Marketers are incredibly blessed, whether they know it or not, to have a virtual Internet Marketing university all around them, 24/7.

Every time I attend a webinar by some of the best (i.e. most successful) marketing minds on the planet, I think back to my early days on the web when people who REALLY knew how to sell online were few and far between (because it was brand new!).

So What DID AL Gore Do?

No, Vice President Al Gore didn’t invent the Internet, and he didn’t invent Internet Marketing either.

However, then Vice-President Al Gore DID sponsor the “Gore Bill,” passed by the US Congress in 1991.

The “High Performance Computing and Communication Act” funded private companies to create the connections or “access points” necessary to gain entry onto the nascent “Information Superhighway.”

The “Internet of Everything” was created to CONNECT us but it plodded through the early days, with few having access.

“The Internet’s adolescence was protracted. From the [Department of Defense managed] ARPANET’s birth at UCLA in 1969 until the mid-1990s, the network of networks crept slowly outward from universities and military bases to computer companies, law firms, and banks, long before it found its way to the rest of us.” –Andrew Blum, author of Tubes – A Journey to the Center of the Internet

Publishing and Marketing Move Tentatively Online

Just as the Internet was “evolved” rather than invented, Internet Marketing (IM) evolved also–from TRADITIONAL MARKETING.

Digital publishing took its initial marketing cues from its physical equivalent, PRINT.

The advertising techniques that had been used effectively before the web were adopted…and then quickly adapted and enhanced, to accommodate this burgeoning new medium.

For many of us older webpreneurs, our awareness of Internet Marketing started with the successful online distribution of a physical (printed) book…about cars.

Corey Rudl and the IMC

Corey RudlIn 1996, 26 year old Canadian Corey Rudl wrote a book, spawned by his life-long love for and fascination with cars, called Car Secrets Revealed.

I’m not sure how many copies of this book were sold, in either the physical version or subsequent digital versions, but it was in the millions.

“Not only did I buy this book. I made notes of each piece of advice and used them to buy two cars – one a Chrysler New Yorker and the other a Mercedes Benz. Both times I saved thousands of dollars!” –Amazon.com reviewer

Where did he learn to sell books? Well, Corey was a student of the advertising guru Ted Nicholas (tednicholas.com) who had written a big seller himself, How To Publish a Book and Sell a Million Copies.

The incredible success of Car Secrets Revealed led Rudl to author a massive printed online marketing course for entrepreneurs, based on the “secrets” he had learned.

In the resulting 600-plus page three-hole punched binder Insider Secrets to Marketing Your Business on the Internet, Corey thoroughly breaks down and dissects his marketing strategies used to sell the book.

The Secret to Car Secrets Revealed

According to the course, Car Secrets Revealed was born from this simple perceived Problem and Solution:

Problem: People are scared of paying too much when buying or repairing their car.

Solution [Car Secrets Revealed]: I reveal all the tips and tricks of the trade for buying cars under dealer cost and avoiding repair rip-offs.”

Corey, as did his mentors, immersed himself in sales psychology, or what is now sometimes called “pyschographics.”

Get Inside Their Heads

Rudl warns, “You may truly have a great product or idea, but it does not earn you a nickel until you convince your prospect they need it, want it, and can afford it.” —Insider Secrets to Marketing Your Business on the Internet

And the course proceeded to teach students how to identify problems, convince, and SELL…specifically online. Sounds familiar and timeless, doesn’t it? It is!

Corey Rudl Founded The Internet Marketing CenterI bought the course in 1996. The huge notebook survived many years and a half dozen or more moves. I just couldn’t part with it. And I learned a lot…not everything I needed personally to succeed, but a LOT.

Here are a few chapter headings from Insider Secrets to Marketing Your Business on the Internet:


Your Website – The Key to Success
The Sales Process – Creating Killer Copy
The Power of Email
The Right Way to use Autoresponders
Newsletters – The Underestimated Marketing Tool
Distributing Free Information and Free Articles

And that’s just in Part 1!

Twenty years later, is any of this stuff still relevant today? You betcha.

Take Advantage of Your Opportunities to Learn

After all these years I’m STILL learning how to market online from the likes of Copyblogger.com, Problogger.net, Guestblogging.com and so many other great web marketing mentors out there. But back in 1995 it was Corey Rudl we were all paying attention to.

Who were your mentors in the early days (oldsters like me!)? Who are you mentors now? It seems like I turn up stunning new thinkers every day…and they lead me to more and more.

Note: Corey Rudl’s offline fascination with cars led him to a fortune online and sadly, also to his premature death.┬áHe was killed in a high speed car accident in a Porsch Carrera GT (the same car that “Fast and Furious” star Paul Walker was more recently killed in) in California in 2005. He was just 34 years old.




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