Posts Tagged "advertising"

Blocking Me Because I Block Ads

Posted By on Oct 12, 2017

A few times a week I click on a link somewhere and land on an article. A giant overlay comes up telling me no no no no no you are blocking our ads! This is just unfair and wrong! You want to read our site but deny us the precious ad revenue we need? Well then you can’t. We won’t let you on our site. Whitelist us, turn off your ad blocker, or else!

What am I likely to do? What will a user do when she doesn’t want to see ads badly enough to install and run a serious ad blocker?

Step 1: Close the overlay and see if they let me read it anyway. That happens sometimes. They get no ad revenue from me.

Step 2: If that doesn’t work, leave the site and Google for who is writing about the same topic. They get no ad revenue from me.

Either way, they get no ad revenue from me. I rarely whitelist a website. I’ll leave. And I’m not alone. An early 2017 statistic says 74% of users will do the same.

How much money did they miss out on?

Depends what they are charging for ads. Let’s say they are charge $10 CPM and there are 3 ads I might be shown.

When they show me the ads, even if I don’t click, they get 30 cents, 10 cents per ad. These are normally smaller sites that are wrapped up in missing out on ad revenue. Larger sites either don’t care about missing 30 cents or they are making money in other ways like from paid subscriptions or some level above freemium.

Sure, enough people blocking your 30 cents could add up. But let’s look at this another way.

You are trying to change my behaviour. Change YOURS.

You want me to change something I’m doing so you can make money off me. That’s what you’re saying. And I’m not inspired to help you with that effort! I would rather block the ads.

Ad blocking is way up in 2017. People are blocking out of fear of viruses and malware. They are blocking because they won’t want ads. They are blocking because they don’t like interruptions. So it’s really wild when you interrupt those people to try to get them to unblock ads so you can interrupt them more often.

A report I read is saying some publishers are driving away 50-70% of their traffic by using an ad blocker. Sounds bad!

Monetising blogs and some media will have to evolve again. Ad blocking will not go away. It will probably increase on all devices. How will sites make money? Probably not by blocking users, whining to users, interrupting users, etc… I have no prediction on this one yet but I believe it will have to evolve again and soon.

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Have you seen the “Blah Blah Blah” commercial for the HTC One (M8) phone? Gary Oldman says blah a lot. He says it doesn’t matter what he says. He’s right.

And then he says that this phone is designed for people who form their own opinions. Ooooooo Bold. A phone just for critical thinkers!

“Go ahead,” he says. And I assume he’ll next invite you to go try one. After all, the best way to form your own opinion on a product is to try it. Use it yourself. Decide what you think if it.

But the next line of the commercial treks you to form your own opinion by “asking the internet.”

So you want me to form my own opinion NOT by trying the product but by reading other people’s opinions online!?

What happens if I Google “HTC m8 review?”


Looks like HTC is ready for that with a paid Google ad. They’re hoping that your opinion is formed by asking Google, finding their paid ad, and reading the interviews they’ve put together.

This doesn’t sound like true critical thinking and forming my  by independent experience. It sounds very manipulated. opinion

My tip: want to form your own opinion about a product? Try the product. Use it. Compare it to others you’ve tried or are trying. Reading reviews has it’s place, and they can inform an opinion. But truly forming your own opinion and making a judgement after reading other people’s opinions are two different things.

If HTC had confidence in the product, Gary Oldman should invite you to decide what you think of it by going and using it.

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Free Sample!

Posted By on Jan 6, 2014

Categories: Business

Tags: advertising, free, sample, tv

There are two commercials I’ve seen a lot lately. Both offer “free samples” of their products.

One commercial is for catheters. I guess I watch TV targeted at the catheter user. These commercials act like they have a new style catheter you will like much more, so call now for your free sample.

But read the fine print

I try to read the fine print on every commercial and ad. The micro type at the end of these commercials say that your free sample comes with your order for a 90-day supply of catheters. This doesn’t make sense to me for two reasons.

  1. You offered a free sample. Can’t people just get a free sample? I guess this where “no purchase necessary” comes in.
  2. If you are trying to introduce me to a new product I’ve never tried, I might want those new ones you want me to try! Why make me order 90 days of something I either haven’t tried yet or might not like, or are my old style?

Nutrasystem is doing it too.

I’ve been seeing these Dan Marino Nutrasystem commercials too. I guess I watch TV aimed at overweight men who use catheters. The commercial keeps plugging how you can get 5 free days of food. I would THINK that’s to try Nutrasystem for a week or so and make sure you like the food before you subscribe. And I mean subscribe. Nutrasystem puts you on “auto shipping” which is also auto billing where every month, you get what they decide is a month of food.

But the fine print says that the 5 free days of food will come with your first order of 28 days of food when you sign up for the monthly subscription plan. Ummmmm. Maybe I wanted the free sample to make sure I’d like the program before I spend $250+ on that first order.

It’s about company obstacles vs. customer obstacles.

I guess in each scenario, someone at these companies decided that hearing FREE draws people in, which it surely can. And then someone decided not to give free samples ahead of time. Make people put in a full order.

That could be an obstacle to someone becoming a customer. They may want to try you before they buy you. If you have a ship-able product, why not try that route?

The obstacle for the company is customer service time (if it’s phoned in vs. ordered online) and then logistics (packing and shipping a free sample). What does that worker time really cost when you already have a huge logistics operation shipping prepackaged meals or medical supplies? Has anyone measured if people are more likely to become a customer – or stay a customer longer – if they got a free sample first?

Read the fine print. Your free sample may be free, but it may not really be a “try this sample before you buy” plan.

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Categories: Marketing

Tags: advertising, mcdonalds

I never understand why companies do this. Why do they run ads where the main characters are liars or bullshit artists? Is that who they think goes to McDonalds?

One recent commercial has a guy on a park bench eating McDonalds. A nice-looking woman sits down next to him, and comments on the art in the park. She seems to know who the artist is (a French name), and asks the guy if he’s into that artist. The commercial points out that you’re cool and smart because you’re eating McDonalds. So the guy acts like he knows the artist when he doesn’t. BS artist and liar.

The guy didn’t have to do that! A cute chick is making conversation with him. She opened it. He could just as well have said, “I’m not familiar with his work, but it sounds like you are. Tell me more.” Not lying! Honest!

Another current commercial has a guy in McDonalds with some friends. The guy looks like he could be 30-ish years old. His friends are asking him where he lives now. The commercial makes it clear that he’s just moved back in with his Mom and will be living in his old bedroom. But the commercial points out that you’re cool and smart because you’re eating McDonalds. So he tells his friends that he got some cool loft space. They’re impressed!

I assume he’ll never be inviting any of these good friends over. And they’re evidently good enough friends to have lunch with at McDonalds but not good enough friends to tell the truth.

I don’t get it. These ads aren’t funny. They won’t go viral. They say NOTHING about the food other than it’s cheap, and the people eating it are bullshit artists. But what can you say about McDonalds’ “food” that you’d want to say in a commercial.

Clearly the best tactic for a McDonalds commercial: do NOT focus on the product AT ALL.

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Cow Milk Is Bullying Soy Milk

Posted By on Sep 28, 2012

Milk. They’ve turned into psycho bullies. First, they got aggressive. Now they’re just insane.

When I think about how I’d advertise milk, I think I’d not advertise it. If you want milk, you are going to buy it. It’s not like I WANTED milk but I got confused in my grocer’s dairy fridge and accidentally bought Gatorade. I’m not sure it needs ads.

But they must be feeling some sort of heat from soy, almond, and other alternative choices because this feels like year 2 or 3 of them running campaigns trying to make fun of “fake milk.”

I grew up drinking mountains of milk. Insane amounts. And once I realised I had a crappy gall bladder and didn’t digest fats well, I switched to soy. I felt so much better. This means that all the advertising in the world would not make me buy milk. No ads with tycoons pretending they’re getting rich on soymilk would make me buy cow milk. No ads trying to make soy milk sound like a bad chemistry experiment would make me buy cow milk.

But the latest ads want you to think that non-cow milk is a wacky experience with way too many ingredients. They even built a site called It’s Flash of course, and here’s the screen where you can start (where I left). Click to enlarge:

First of all, I was under the impression that a lot of milk is fortified with added vitamins. Even organic milk will have added vitamins. It’s evidently the law! So the cow milk people shouldn’t freak out that soy milk might have added vitamins and minerals.

Second of all, don’t get me STARTED on what is in the cows that produce the milk. I’m not vegan or veg. I do want animals treated humanely. And I don’t want my milk to have any added hormones or antibiotics. If milk wants to point fingers at what’s in other “milks,” they should start by letting everybody know what’s in many of the dairy cows.

Third, even if we “don’t go there,” we should still look at how milk has to be processed in order to be drinkable by most humans. Raw unprocessed milk is evidently full of bacteria that most humans can’t tolerate. People have suffered everything from temporarily gastrointestinal things-you-don’t-want-me-to-write-here to getting diseases to dying. So the milk you drink has at the very least been pasturised, but in today’s modern industrial age, it’s probably been processed way more than that.

I own a machine that makes alternative milks. I can make my own soy milk. What’s in it? Whatever I decide. But that’ll mostly be organic soybeans and water. I don’t have to put in vitamins or zinc or anything else. But I can’t make milk. I’m not a dairy farmer. A machine costing less than $100 lets me make as much soy milk as I want, and it’s good! Just a bit loud and fussy to clean. But if you want to make your own stuff, eat healthier, and save money, it’s a great way to go. I can make other milks other than soy.

Milk really needs to chill. People who love milk will buy it. People who need or want to buy something else will buy that.

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Spammed on Twitter By a Human

Posted By on Sep 8, 2012

I’m used to spambots on Twitter. Ignore. or Ignore and report as a spammer. But a whole new type of spammer got me this past weekend. A human. A real live person.

It started when some guy tweeted my web design company seeming to be interested in us doing a lot of manual work on images. At least that’s how I took it. We’re rarely asked to do that kind of work, and on those rare occasions when we are, we’re just not cost effective due to our hourly rate. So while this guy is asking me about it, I’m gently trying to push him towards using software for batch image work rather than paying us hourly.

And then all of a sudden, he tells me I should outsource that work to him. Whaaaaa? So you weren’t looking to hire ME?

Lesson learned: ask up front if someone is interested in hiring us for that service. Could have saved myself a lot of tweeting if he had revealed in tweet #2 that he was soliciting me.

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Some people seem to think that it’s OK to advertise products (over and over) to your Facebook friends. NOT dropping promotional messages on a business page, where people might expect them. For all we know, this was between a cat picture and a post about politics. This was on a personal page. I’ll post the screen shot and then explain what you’re looking at.

A woman named Lisa tagged a bunch of people in a photo of a sneaker. Someone I’m friends with (blurred) was tagged. Clearly, he’s not in that photo. Lisa evidently tagged lots of other people! She then commented on her own photo once again giving people the URL for where she sells these things.

Her friends had a few things to say about that. They called her a spammer. One said he would unfriend her. Good, I hope he does.

This is a reminder that people on Facebook don’t want to be advertised to by their own friends. That’s because Facebook is a night out at a bar. It’s the water cooler. It’s the hangout. It’s not where people want to be pushed to buy something. That’s not the mood they’re typically in or the usage path they’re often on.

Solution: Well, for now, separate biz and personal. Make sure you are only pushing products and promos to a group who opted in to get that. Anybody who is your Facebook friend has opted into a personal relationship with you. Don’t take advantage of that by spamming.

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Categories: Marketing

Tags: advertising, email, PayPal

PayPal must have recently blasted out a big email campaign. I have different PayPal accounts for each of my businesses, and three of these emails made it through my spam filter. I’d imagine one or two didn’t. But while each email promoted the same feature, each email was different. I thought this was interesting.

The emails came in nearly simultaneously to three different accounts. One was text only somehow, and the other two were HTML, but with slightly different layouts and messages.

Click to enlarge:

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