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Internet Advertising: A Plague Upon Both Your Houses.
by Gerald Belman on 07/03/12 05:39:00 pm

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.

 

I have NEVER, EVER in my ENTIRE LIFE bought ANYTHING from a stupid pop up ad, a banner ad, a side scrolling ad, a creeping barrage ad, an interstitial ads, or a Google search result ad. I have never EVER noticed that I am buying more Dawn brand dishwasher soap because I saw a commercial for it on TV or saw a banner ad for it on the internet. In fact, when I see an annoying ad for Dawn brand dish soup, I make a mental note to myself to buy less Dawn brand dish soap. TAKE THAT creeping barrage Dawn brand dishwasher soap ad!

How does Facebook make money then? Why do companies value marketing so much. Well obviously because everyone is not like me.

99% of internet companies are dependent on marketing for a large portion of their revenue. I understand that. But my question is: Would the internet, as we know it, exist if everyone was like me?

Here is my method for buying ANYTHING.

1) Determine what it is I want to buy.

2) Do a Google or yahoo search for "user reviews of products". Or do an Alta Vista search if you are stuck in 1997.

3) Find a legitimate ratings website. Amazon, Google shopping, eBay, Rotten Tomatoes etc.

4) search for the thing you want.

5) Sort by rating. Read the reviews. Do your research. Compare prices

6) purchase that thing.

7) Close laptop.

8) Possibly watch Friends or maybe Lord of the Rings.

Unless you're advertising is expertly subliminal like Google's or an actual bargain - I DO NOT CARE ABOUT YOUR STUPID ADVERTISEMENTS.

In conclusion: Sometimes it is useful to contrast other people's behavior with your own. Ask the question - what would the internet be like if everyone was like you?

Ancient Pop Up Ads 

Appendus Rantus:

Now, using my magical powers of ranting, I want to try to tie this all in with free-to-play games, whaling and microtransactions.

So here is my problem with free to play games, microtransactions, Facebook, internet monetization and marketing in general. They are stupid. They are a waste of money. Their existence is a fluke of modern human impulsive behavior. I personally, have never done anything that has EVER provided any direct money to Facebook(unless you count their regular practice of data mining people's accounts for demographic information and selling it to ad companies).

I bought the entire Mount & Blade series for 8 dollars on Steam not because of the stupid pop up add that came up for it but because I spent an hour researching it online(I spend this long when I am buying a game because the time investment is important to me and I don't want to waste my time playing a crappy game - I'm not overly concerned about cost). That is what you have to do. Anytime, ANYONE, tries to sell you something, you should expect that it is very likely not going to be as good quality as something you researched and decided to buy yourself. That is general good advice for your life.

And now to ask the same question, in several different ways:

What are your habits when it comes to dealing with advertisements? How would internet companies like Facebook make money if advertising was a relatively pointless endeavor.

And finally: What would the internet be like if everyone was like you?

 


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Comments


Matthew Downey
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My problem with advertising in general is that it is a zero sum activity (like trading stocks professionally (i.e. day trading)). All it does is collectively wastes our time and puts a few lucky guys ahead.

This eye-tracking study on fb was an interesting article: http://shine.yahoo.com/power-your-future/eye-tracking-study-shows
-people-really-look-facebook-223900573.html

I'm with you on actively buying less advertised products when I see a product advertised. I'm not a material person, I don't worry about updating my cell phone and I hate cars (because of environmental reasons). I also buy no-name brands at grocery stores far more often than name brands (whether food product or hygiene, which is perhaps a bit rarer).

The few customer loyalties I have are with Lenovo, Logitech and Unity (all of which I deeply respect); that's the end of it (although I still search around for cheaper computers than Lenovo, especially promotions).

F.B. still might make money off of me just because I added a ton of information about myself, likes, hobbies that I have since deleted (but they still sadly remember it). The reason I dislike geared-toward-the-consumer advertising is that it actually wastes more of your time. You might think it's in your favor, but in the end you are wasting that much more time since they can use all of the tricks of the trade to avert your eyes (or even subconsciously get people to buy stuff). I avoid this type of advertising, even if Google is offering it.

If the internet was like me, people probably wouldn't use brick-and-mortar stores to buy tech, since that's just another middleman that marks up the price by the standard 1.4-1.5x multiplier on cost. Thus you'd see a lot of businesses like Best Buy or Radio Shack go out of business. The world is nowhere near realizing power cables are mass produced for 10cents a piece in bulk though, and they continue buying it for 10 dollars or worse.

Gerald Belman
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Agreed on all points.

Matthew Downey
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There is an odd irony in that picture too, since it is an advertisement in itself. If I dislike a company or a scandal or a politician, I don't mention the company/the scandal/their name since any exposure is good exposure. Out of sight, out of mind.

This is also the same reason behind only acting positive and optimistic where I can. There's no real point in ruining someone else's day, it only makes your day worse.

Gerald Belman
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My goal was to point out how annoying and wasteful these advertisements are. In a blog disparaging something, I think it is ok to show a picture of that thing.

Most of those ads are from 1997 anyways.

"This is also the same reason behind only acting positive and optimistic where I can. There's no real point in ruining someone else's day, it only makes your day worse."

That is one philosophy. My goal in life is to not have to act at all. Optimistic or pessimistic - I prefer to just be realistic - if that makes me a pessimist or an optimist - I don't really give a crap - that will depend on the other person's viewpoint.

Matthew Downey
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It depends really, there are definitely times for realism (around major failures/shortcomings especially) but for the most part if I see anyone I smile where I can to put them at ease. I never really thought about it til you brought it up, but what I do is *acting* to some degree. I have a personality pretty similar to Salvador Dali, though, so I never really feel depressed. One of the more eccentric quotes I've read about Dali is "I don't do drugs, I am drugs"... a lot of everything with me is genetics, but it's not impossible to change personality either.

A lot of good inventors seem to be optimism/realism hybrids from what I can tell. It makes sense to some degree: you work towards what you want happily, and when you fail you get back up and re-think your game plan.


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