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The Cluetrain Manifesto

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The Cluetrain Manifesto

The End of Business as Usual

Perseus Books,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

If you are really using the Internet to have an open conversation with your customers, perhaps you have a clue.

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Editorial Rating



  • Innovative
  • Applicable


The Cluetrain Manifesto was one of the seminal books of the bubble era, but reading it now is like waking with a hangover and looking at all of the empty bottles, each of which seemed like a great idea at the time. The Internet changed everything, all right. Those who can bite back the irony long enough to see the big picture and keep reading will find some valuable practical advice on using the now-not-so-new-technology of the Web to do business more effectively. recommends this pivotal book for the sake of your sense of perspective (or to give you a critically necessary background if you are too young to remember when Amazon was just a river.)


Turning Marketing Back into a Conversation

Markets are nothing more or less than conversations among human beings with human voices. Voices come naturally and sound natural. People who hear a voice can recognize that the speaker is a human being. By contrast, mass marketing is not a conversation - it is an address. The Internet restores the element of human conversation to marketing. This fact has several consequences:

  • "Hyperlinks subvert hierarchies," so conversations join people in new ways.
  • People use the Internet to get information from each other instead of from vendors.
  • Companies can and must communicate conversationally with their markets.
  • Positioning means taking a position, reflecting values the market cares about.
  • The Internet allows customers to find new suppliers instantaneously.
  • To develop loyal customers, companies must join the customers’ communities.
  • Employees also use the Internet to communicate.
  • As a result, corporations (and unions) can no longer control information.
  • A healthy Intranet makes it possible for workers to organize in new ways.

Companies that fail to grasp...

About the Authors

Rick Levine is co-founder of and a former web architect for Sun Microsystems’ Java Software group. Christopher Locke publishes Entropy Gradient Reversals and has written for Forbes, Internet World, Information Week and The Industry Standard. Doc Searls is Senior Editor of Linux Journal and co-founder of a Silicon Valley advertising agency. David Weinberger is editor of JOHO (Journal of the Hyperlinked Organization) and has written for Wired, Information Week and The New York Times.

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