Category Archives: Advertising

CeBIT Australia – Where is it?!

CeBITOoh cool, a promo for CeBIT Australia, offering a special code to get free entry… at least, to the exhibition. Email doesn’t say where it is, but links to promo web site.

Sounds cool. I wonder where it is? Might I be able to take a look without paying for air fares plus accommodation?

Promo web site says when it is (May 20th to 22nd), and tells you how to get free entry. But doesn’t say where it is. Points to is the registration site. FAQ page lists a bunch of FAQs about the site, not the event. Registration page doesn’t talk about price or location (at least on the first page). Prices page has no location info.

WhyTF won’t they tell me where this thing is?

There’s also a link to The first page has links to conference info, sponsors, a big Register Now! link. But no location info. All I want is one word: the city it’s in. There’s a CeBIT graphic in the top-right… I can see the Sydney Opera House in it. But it also has buildings from all around the world, so that’s no real help.

I finally found it hidden in the text three-quarters down the page. I also found it buried in the visitor information. It’s in Sydney. Now, why couldn’t they have said that half-a-dozen clicks ago?

(Confession: I went back to the original email and eventually found the venue info in there too. But I do like to rant.)

Does Second Life have a limited lifespan?

While some are suggesting Linden Labs is suffocating Second Life, and holding a meeting (in Second Life, of course) to discuss it, others are wondering (and I’m among them) why companies are marketing in Second Life given the tiny population and small numbers of sales for those who’ve tried it:

The virtual branded locations that sounded so impressive in the pages of BusinessWeek are basic and devoid of visitors. … American Apparel has all but given up on its virtual store, citing the criticism it has received and “insignificant” sales.

Is it like a Gold Rush, and they have to stake their claim before someone else gets it? Maybe, maybe not… but shouldn’t the priority of marketing people be to push their product where there’s an actual audience?

If SL is really becoming so deserted, I wonder if it has virtual tumbleweeds?

Web tipping

Over on the Freakonomics blog, they’re asking: Are you a web tipper?

I hadn’t thought about it before, but apparently some people randomly click on online ads (even if they’re not interested and won’t read the resultant page) just to get a little money going to the content provider, to help keep the content free.

Interesting idea, though I wonder if advertisers would eventually shy away from paying for ads that get seen and clicked-on, but don’t have a return through sales.

Wrath of the geeks

Joel Spolsky is outraged over an IT security advert with the slogan “To catch a geek, you have to think like a geek”, featuring a picture of a man in illfitting trousers, red socks and plain black shoes:

What is this, high school? With the bullies who fail all their classes have such an inferiority complex they have to make fun of the geeks?

You know, I’m a professional geek. And I’ve worked with a lot of other professional geeks. Dozens. Maybe even hundreds.

Most of them are smart, and many of them brilliant. The vast majority are well-dressed. Only a tiny minority have fitted into the geek stereotype of unfashionable nerdy incomprehensible uncommunicative brainiacs.

Most of them a very well dressed, friendly, outgoing people. Some (gasp) are even women.

Okay, so it’s only advertising. But it’s obviously got a few noses out-of-joint. And from Joel’s reaction, some of those noses are decision-maker noses.

Advertising in web addresses

Got a well-known brand? Why bother with consistency? Instead, change its name and/or web address for advertising purposes!

It’s not Yahoo Australia … it’s Yahoo!7

Just when you thought you’d got used to, it’s changed back to

It’s not, it’s

It’s not, it’s (just in case you forget what the G stands for)

Within domains it can be a mess too. Microsoft’s site always makes sure the default pages don’t end in / but instead in whatever their latest web server technology is. It used to be /default.asp, then /default.aspx, now it’s /default.mspx. It must be a nightmare of forwarding, to make sure anybody who has bookmarked in the past still gets to where they want. Go to now, and it flickers past about 4 old addresses to get where it’s going.

Once upon a time, was the IE page. That one just produces an error now. Idiots.

Paper popup ads

Since the Fairfax dudes (The Age, Sydney Morning Herald, Financial Review, etc) have probably noticed how their web sites’ popup ads don’t appear anymore because almost everybody’s got a popup blocker via Firefox, XP SP2 or the Google toolbar, would you believe they’ve started putting popup ads as stickers onto their newspapers.

Here’s one from last week, with an advert for Microsoft Office:

The Age - sticky paper popup ad for Microsoft Office

(They’re a bit like a Post-It note; they peel off quite easily.) – what kind of domain name is that?

I found this ad for an amazing site when doing a google search:

      Sponsored Links
Photos Of Australia
Find out everything you need to
about this amazing destination!

Someone has just paid money so that I’d click on that link, and see that site. Look at the photos along the bottom. First, there’s a left-hand-drive vehicle, then a naff sunshade and beachchairs at sunset, followed by a grey road with a yellow centreline driving through a conifer forrest, and finally some people skiing past a maple or something. Search the entire continent, you’re not going to find any of that stuff.

I don’t know if it’s covered in ads, perhaps it is (my ad blocking works really well, and there’s no way in hell I’m going to some dodgy site with IE).

Somebody: Please explain what the hell is going on here? I’d especially love an economist to explain what the heck that site is about – rational decision making my shiny metal butt.

Update: This is a Made For Adsense site. Still doesn’t make sense, but whatever. They too shall pass.

Where are the aliens?

Coffee drinkers are easier to persuade.

Fermi’s Paradox is explained by aliens getting adicited to computer gaming.

Strom reckons he knows how to make money with a website: ads! Plus a little other stuff.

An Irishman has a rather good summery of how to negotiate an intial salary.

Cross-platform rounded corners without images, extra markup nor CSS. The holy grail of web-design dweebs.

Distributed computing, capitalist style

Here’s an idea: rather than sending advertisements to user’s computers, why not send scripting code to calculate [the valuable thing, like, I dunno, pi or hacking the encryption on HDDVD or something] and send the results back to your central computer?

Come on, you know you want to. And it’s free!

Piracy Is Good?

Mark Pesce delivered a presentation, “Piracy Is Good?“, on May 6th, 2005 at the Australian Film Television and Radio School in Sydney. In it, he asserted that bittorrents exhibit demand-driven bandwidth supply, and are thus a better utilization of bandwidth than terrestial television broadcasting. Which is an apples and oranges comparison. But that’s where the title came from.

He then goes on to note that viewers are shunning broadcast television in preference for web-acquired content. He attributes this to the advertising, as I have done in the past. He asserts that Watermarks – or bugs – in visual entertainment are going to become more ubiquitous, inserted as advertising at production time (so, instead of the Channel9 logo in the righthand bottom corner, you’ll see… Nike). I predict someone will become annoyed enough to invent a watermark remover. Oh look, they already have.

So Mark Pesce is wrong. The advertising is going to have to be more subtle and harder to remove. But initially it’s going to be less subtle – animated, say – to annoy the simple-minded watermark removal programs.

Technology will march on, and auto-adapting watermark removers will be developed, and then you’re looking at product placement. I wonder how that will work with sci-fi programs? “Worf, take us to warp factor nine. We have to get to Chase Manhatten Bank to do a funds transfer; I prefer their friendly service and forward-looking technology.” Perhaps we’re looking at the death of sci fi? And historical dramas? And documentaries aren’t looking too hot either. Neighbours should be fine. Perhaps merchandising will be how shows make their production budget.

An observer has noted that the order of release of content is becoming arranged by profitability – so you’ll see more TV shows released on DVD, then broadcast when sales drop off. The world’s gone all topsy-turvy.