How Google Is Ruining Corporate Entertainment and Why You’re Paying More

I can still remember the days when google was useful. When their mission was to provide you the best and most accurate response to your search query.

Back when it was free.

Wait a minute. Isn’t google still free now?  You might well ask.

In practical terms, no it is not free, and perhaps it never was, but now the costs, always well hidden, have skyrocketed; and that is damaging corporate entertainment in ways that really do affect you even though they are harder to see.

Let me explain.

The Rise of The Lists, The Brokers and The Directories

A decade ago if you were to search for “corporate variety entertainers Sydney”, google would show you a page with many options, most of which were actual entertainers, and perhaps an article on corporate entertainment in general and maybe a review or two.

You asked, and your answer was a list of what you want.

Try it now. Use the search phrase “corporate variety entertainers Sydney”

Every single result on page one points you to an agent, an entertainment broker or a directory site. Every single one of them will need to get money from either you (as a margin on the entertainer) or will charge the entertainer simply to be listed. (One site will email the artist with a demand for $20 -$30 just to forward your request to them each time you make a request.)

You searched, and what you got was a list of people who make money by providing you with the list of results that google used to give you for free, back when it was useful. Before the rise of the intermediaries.

Your next click comes with a substantial and well hidden price tag. Someone is going to be paying and ultimately it is you. Not for the entertainment, but for that click. And not just a few bucks, but literally hundreds.

You’ll not see a single comedy stage hypnotist or balloon animal maker unless you scroll long way down.

Why is this a problem for you?

As an entertainment purchaser you’re probably thinking that this is no big deal, you go to those sites, they connect you to an entertainer, and everyone is a winner.

Here’s the problem:

Those sites are not cheap – and you’ll likely be paying 20 – 40% more for that act versus booking directly (you can actually just search for the act once you know their name). They go to great lengths to give you the impression that you are getting a free service. But they simply are not free.

Most of those listing sites have a very limited range of artists. Not every artist is listed everywhere. Maybe there are enough cover bands for it not to matter that you only see 10% of the options But what about variety artists like trapeze acts, shadow puppeteers, etc.?

As soon as you are considering anything remotely unusual, true variety performers, you’ll be faced with a very limited choice, artificially constrained by those directory sites, and served at an inflated price. You might just end up with another variation on what you had last year and the year before.

Why Doesn’t Every Artist List Everywhere?

This is easy to answer. Not every agency can be bothered to list everyone, and many sites require payment or a commission to be listed. In return for literally nothing. Or worse, when you inquire for artist A they simply refer one of their mates and tell you your choice is not available. This happens. It has happened to me. It is simply not worth it.

One agency I approached a few years ago responded with “we already have a stage hypnotist”, I asked them if they already had a band (yes I can be sarcastic). Just for the record, we are not all the same. That’s the point of “variety”.

Even if creating such listings were free to the artist, there’s a considerable overhead in setting them up and maintaining them, after which you mostly will hear crickets. And they are not free.

Well, Okay, So What Can You Do?

If you are really looking for something different, when the usual won’t do, you’ll need to up your searching game. Or try different search engines (Duck Duck Go or even Bing (gasp)).

If you see an act you might like – search them out and contact them directly.

If the act really does have a true agent, they’ll refer you to them for the booking anyway, but in most cases they’ll happily deal with you directly.

It’ll be faster, and a better deal for everyone.

And you’ll get some really fun, unique and engaging entertainment for your next corporate event.


Exit mobile version