But while we felt good about our ability to get brands on board, Alexis discovered that entering the Japanese market was going to be much more expensive than we’d imagined. The free marketing strategies we’d used in the United States, which had been essential to our meteoric growth, would not apply in Japan, where word-of-mouth marketing was proscribed by a very different set of customs. In the United States we’d been relentless with our personal invitations (between the two of us, we’d probably invited seventy thousand people to join). It would be an understatement to say that this was not replicable in Japan. While the Japanese love the concept of “invite only” and “private” sales, they don’t really find it acceptable to e-mail friends outside their immediate circles with offers, or especially to profit from friends’ purchases. So much for our social and monetary incentives! We knew we wouldn’t be able to rely on customers to tell as many of their friends about us. The word would trickle out much more slowly. When you consider that the Japanese also have lower member activation rates compared with other countries, it was clear that each member we attracted would be more expensive.