Interview with Massimo Moruzzi

Published 2015-08-06.
Who are you and what do you do in life?
I am a former blog-star, at least in Italy ( now in English!). I have also worked in Marketing, Biz Dev or Sales positions for Start-ups of different stripes (consumer reviews, online dating, classifieds, blog search engines, viral marketing, E-Commerce, SaaS, you name it!) and from more countries that I can probably remember (Germany, France, Italy, Sweden, Ireland, Denmark, Spain, the UK and now Canada). I am currently launching Montreal-based mobile app Transit App in Italy: we’re live in Milan and Rome!
When and why did you start writing?
I started blogging in the summer of 2001, when the dot-com I was working for was about to do some “right-sizing” and I knew I was the next one in line anyway. It was sad to see a group of friends and talented colleagues go, but I can’t say I was surprised. We were a real dot-com: we had no revenue, and our business model at the time was supposed to be about selling Banner Ads. Actually, letting an Ad Network sell Banner Ads for us. That is, the same Banner Ads that I wouldn’t touch with a stick when I was doing the ad-buying.
What do you know about Online Advertising?
A decade ago, I fully managed the ad-buying for French online dating company Meetic (now part of in Italy. I was one of the three or four largest online spenders in the country, along with eBay, online bank ING Direct and a notorious mobile phone ringtone peddler. I tried to spend as much money as I could on co-brands (we even had one with Yahoo!) and on “editorial” positions (yeah, that would be “native advertising” in today’s parlance, I guess) rather than on Banner Ads which, on average, work poorly for us.

I have since kept a rather unhealthy obsession — to the point of reading the industry’s White Papers as a hobby - with the hard-nosed and sometimes unscrupulous schemes the tech industry has come up with to try to milk more money out of Banner Ads.
What about your Ebooks?
In September, 2014, I found myself “less than fully employed”, and with an itch to do something different. As Stefano, a friend I had done some translations for, owed me 100 bucks, I asked him to buy some books for me. I decided that learning about the great Advertising classics was far more interesting than trying to become an authority in “100 ways to use Pinterest for business”.

Besides, my Klout score, whatever that is, was shit.

I had already read a book from David Ogilvy and a couple from George Lois. I read more from both, and I also started reading about Bill Bernbach and Howard Luck Gossage. When I picked up Steve Harrison’s great “Changing the World Is the Only Fit Work for a Grown Man”, lightning struck: this Gossage guy was able to “interact” with consumers half a century ago much better than any of today’s “Social Media Marketing” practitioners. What followed was my first Ebook, “What Happened To Advertising? What Would Gossage Do?”.

After that, I lightened up a bit and published “15 Questions About Online Advertising”.
Any pointers? Who should your readers read?
Some of the best ideas about advertising, the web and the effect the move from analog to digital is having on society and on democracy can be found in the blogs and books by George Parker, Bob Hoffman, Don Marti, Doc Searls, Eli Pariser and Ethan Zuckerman.
Do you enjoy writing Ebooks? How do you like Smashwords?
No, I’m doing it because I want to get rich. And, yes, I like Smashwords and its sense of community quite a lot.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author or publisher.

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