In these troubled times a barometer comes in handy. And when the troubled times are economic, an economic barometer is the thing to have in your kit bag. I have a gut feeling that the current economic decline is quite different to any we have had before and therefore the usual barometers are of little use. When I tire of playing Spider Solitaire I turn my hand to developing new, more accurate barometers. Perhaps the most advanced - and potentially the most exciting - I have come up with so far is based on the occupancy of the Pennine Business Park (which, conveniently, is just a short dog-walk away), but I am reluctant to discuss this in detail before the article I have submitted to the Journal of Applied Economics is published. However, I was working the other day on an extension to the main theory which attempted to bolt-on a mathematical conceptualisation of advertising spread when I came across an interesting idea which might just make me my fortune.
I had assumed that the largest exponential rise in television advertising by subject would have been debt agencies ("we can consolidate all your debts into just one manageable monthly payment") but what I hadn't recognised is that this category was primarily associated with phase 2 of recession - the MGWHNM (My God We Have No Money) stage - rather than phase 1 - the WMTOB (We Must Tighten Our Belts) stage - which most of us are still in. And the type of advertising most associated with the WMTOB stage is the price comparison site. You may have seen these things - gocompare.com or confused.com : sites which promise to instantly find you the best deal, the cheapest hotels or the lowest cost loans in the entirety of cyberspace. At one time, the promotion of such sites was a minority thing, carefully hidden away on Google sidebars. Now they are main stream and hold the place midway through Coronation Street that used to be reserved for soap powder or drinking chocolate.
I am not suggesting setting up another price comparison site - the market is, I suspect, already flooded. There is however a need for a comparison site of comparison sites. Take a bow Gocomparecompare.com or VeryConfused.com. Within a few days my new site will be ready and will be able to direct potential clients in the direction of one of a dozen or more price comparison sites. All you will need to do is feed in certain items of information - eye colour, birth sign, distance between big toe and small toe in centimetres - and it will scientifically direct you to the best price comparison site for you. It will all be free and will be paid for by a small percentage fee of the small percentage fee taken by the first line price comparison site.
I recognise that there is a danger in announcing this idea on the internet. By the time I launch my site someone might already have stepped forward to fill the gap in the market. But I am prepared : I have just bought exclusive rights of the URL gocomparecomaprecompare.com. See you there.