Money For Nothing and Chicks For Free

Money for nothing and chicks for free – MTV Song, Dire Straits, 1985. I think this is fitting for the beginning this post. Maybe the ending too.

Cruising the Internet last week, I ended up looking at search hits about subliminal advertising, or subliminal messaging. The things you do when you are bored! There was so much nonsense and half truths. Maybe I am immune to them, and they do not effect me?

I started almost skimming the articles from links I clicked on. One link after another, with some amount of blah, blah and nothing to catch my focus. I had been skimming for too long, and it showed up in the last article I had time to read.

From previous articles, I learned that people respond better when they have responded before in a positive manner. For example, a homeless person walks up to you and asks you for the time. It seems outwardly an innocent request, but it is anything but.

The homeless person is changing your relationship with each other. By asking you the time, they become someone you are having a dialog with. They are asking you to do something for them, “Do you know what time it is?”, or something along those lines. Now you have an exchange of dialog, and you have a loose attachment.

Now the homeless person, being successful with the first request, goes on to their real point of the relationship encounter. They now either ask you something else that doesn’t matter, or they ask you for something, usually money.

Of course now that the homeless person is part of your circle of friends you are more likely to give them money, food, or otherwise fulfill the request. If you walk in the city, you have been well trained to respond to this situation.

This explains why children usually reserve what they really want when in a store for their third or fourth request. They know from previous times, their third or fourth request is more likely to be granted than their first few requests for some toy.

Then I found the article that surprised me. The article was about how our brains filter out information as we watch, listen, or read. Same as when we already know the story before the person talking finishes talking. We know what is going to be said, and simply fade the sound to white noise. I was already to this point, skimming and half reading, looking for the jewel in the ground, so to speak.

…you are in a conversation for someone, a person of the opposite sex, with whom you may want to pursue a romantic relationship with. I was skimming along having mostly ignored a few previous paragraphs as they did not seem important. There were some questions, where I totally missed the whole question. Even after prompting to read it again I misread the question, and had to compare the quoted question to the original.

You ask three or four simple questions that are always likely to be acted upon. Remember the Homeless Person? You ask other questions that are always likely to be answered with ‘yes’.

Do you think diet is important to a happy life? Me too, good food makes for a healthy body. Do you think exercise is important to a happy life? I do too. In fact I try and walk every day. Do you think sleep is important to a happy life? I know I feel better when I get enough sleep..

So you agree with me then that diet, exercise, and sleeping with me are important to living a happy life? If so, what are some of your favorite healthy foods? What do you do for exercise? How many hours a day do you sleep?

Listening to advertisement of products that are trying to break into their niche market operate in a different way. They use little three or four word phrases like, Feel better fast, Power you body, buy now, send money, easy payment, improve your mind.

I was so amused by this idea of being manipulated, I had this conversation with six people, three women and three men. One woman asked me to repeat what I said three times. The men for some reason listened better than the women.

Until last week, I thought I was aware of all these ad bombs, yet I thought I was immune. In general conversation, I now see how often they are being used, and perhaps we are not immune. We are always being training to respond to requests, whether in advertising, or person to person, or general commentary.

Web Based Advertising and Your Values

I use Ad blocking add on my browser. An adblocker protects me from most ads on ad saturated sites. I mean really, who is not insensitive to web based advertising any more? This isn’t a story about adblocker’s though. This is some thought about how and where companies advertise on the web, and what it says to me about those companies.

Recently, I used a computer without adblocker software installed. I was shocked to say the least at what I saw. Ads wanting me to partake of a companies offerings. Wholesome family value companies, who’s ads are inserted randomly in very disturbing stories. I found what I was observing ad and story wise very disconcerting.

Clicking a story with a disturbing headline about a women murdered, there is a picture of the woman, the story of how she was brutally murdered, and an advertisement for a family value company embedded in the upper right and offset to the middle right of the story text.

I could not believe a national chain, advertising on the net, has no interest when or where their ads are placed? As I clicked through article to article, there they are, ads from upstanding red, white, and blue wholesome companies ads right there among all the trash stories.

I thought there must be some oversight on the part of the companies. I emailed one company who had their ad placed in the above mentioned murder story. The company responded they have no control over where their ads are placed. This is a national chain, not some Mom and Pop Shop desperate for any type of online presence.

I am surprised at myself, and I am surprised at you. I am disturbed by these ads and their placement. We have become so immune to web advertising, ads are not noticed when reading the text. I do not know if these ads effect you or not, but at this point in my life, I know who I am, and I know what I want or need. An ad embedded in a story is not going to sway me to utilize them, or make them a part of my life.

The indifference to the placement of these ads however does lead me to question what these companies are really about. Read a sickening murder story, and book a room for your next vacation? Feels a little bi-polar to me.

Go ahead and check this out yourself. Go to a website that collects news of any type, and does advertising. Click on any disturbing story you find, and look at the ads, their placement, and values they want to portray. I think you will be a little awed too, maybe disturbed by companies who want advertising so badly, they do not care where their ads are placed.

In the future, I am going to pay more attention to these ads when I see them. They have started me thinking about the values that are important to these companies, and whether their values align with my own. How about you, will you see web based ads differently in the future?

Subscribe and Apply for a Credit Card Too

Turn off pop ups

Between subscribe and buy something popups, most sites drive away more readers than they gain with poorly thought out advertising choices

I was on a web site a few minutes ago following a clickable link from a very popular website. The article I wanted to read sounded interesting. About a company that is seldom boring to start with, and changes as fast as any giant company is able to change. This article was about change and venture, and change rules the net.

I was barely on the site five seconds when a pop up blocking the article  appeared. The pop up was asking me to subscribe? I had not even read the first sentence of the article, why should I be interested in subscribing?

I clicked the ad closed of course. Shortly a second popup appeared asking me if I was interested in a credit card? By the time I skimmed to the end of the article, guess what? There was a third pop up blocking the rest of the page. I was through reading anything this site had to offer, and did not read the popup.

When is enough enough? When does a site not want new readers on its site? When does a site not want readers to subscribe?

Unless the site contains information not contained any where else, who is going to subscribe within seconds of arriving? Who is going to apply for a credit card from a popup within a seconds of arriving at a new site?

Oh yes! I really need another credit card, I am so happy I found this site….Who is going to be anything except annoyed, with such a poorly executed site? I would like to meet the person who subscribes, applies for credit, and answers the third popup in an affirmative manner.

This instance, and this was a first, I did something I have never done. I put up with more popups clicking my way to the “contact us” section of the website. I sent the website an email summarizing  what I wrote here, finishing with writing I won’t be back to the site in the future.

Let’s be realistic. Named web sites can be as cheap per month as a meal from a fast food place. There is no huge investment to recover. What you are offering is probably not unique. What there is on these sites is greed. The site creator wants to believe  what they are marketing is so valuable they need continuous disrupting advertisements within seconds of a stranger dropping by before they leave the site.

If the information on any website is useful and needed, most people usually kick in a few bucks and become a subscriber. When a visitor is bombarded with advertisements, alarms should be going off in the visitors head. The sites min reason for existence is  for one purpose only. Helping visitors part with their money before they think about what they are doing.

If you own a web site that bombards visitors with blocking ads within seconds of landing on your site, do yourself a favor and stop the ads. Place a side bar or other not so intrusive message asking for readers to subscribe. If they appreciate what your site offers, and there are not hundreds or thousands of similar sites readers will gladly subscribe – if readers really need the information you are providing.

I am an average web user. I can not list the number of sites I go to only to leave within seconds from the site being plastering itself  with advertisements to subscribe or buy a product the site is offering. I am of the opinion that the average adult that can afford internet access,  they also make reasonable decisions about parting with their money after the fact, not before. I could be wrong here, but I doubt it.

Of course with that out of the way, if you feel this information was that on target, riveting, and will increase your subscriber numbers ten fold, feel free to recommend this site to your friends and associates. Of course before doing those steps, send me a few Franklin’s first.  You know the greenish ones with Ben’s picture in the center?