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Video Game Marketing

Indie Game Marketing from the author of the Game Marketing book, The Indie Developer's Guide to Selling Games. Video Game Marketing made simple... or at least as simple as I can make it.

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Location: Philomath, Oregon, United States

As you can see on the left: I am a professional juggler. The rest you can learn from this Blog.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Internet Snake Oil

I am a firm believer that mankind has not evolved much in the last 300 years. We’re still as savage as we were in the days of colonialism, but more importantly, mankind is still as gullible. In each era since the dawn of industry there have been charlatans who prey on the ‘weak minded’ or ‘weak spirited’ folk who are really just average Joes and Janes trying to get by in a world that APPEARS to be evolving much too quickly.

Each birth of new industry causes a rebirth in a new form of communication: Newspaper, Radio, Television, The Internet, Live videos of some guy jumping out of a moving car downloaded onto your Ipod… And each time some new way to better ourselves comes along, right on their coat tails are the most nefarious schemers. Today, Joe and Jane America laugh at the ads our parents and grandparents were fooled by. Yes, Joe Namith did television advertising for women’s stockings, because anything Joe said HAD to be true (right?).

A long time ago newspapers would run ads selling miracles, things that could not possibly be true, but people believed and people purchased because they did not realize something in print could be wrong (or dangerous).

Radam's Microbe Killer Lehn & Fink Ad
The following in an ad that was in the Lehn & Fink Drug Catalog of 1906...

Radam’s Microbe Killer
Drink A wineglassful of Radam's Microbe Killer after meals and at bedtime and it will prevent and cure disease by destroying bacteria, the organic life that causes fermentation and decay of the blood, the tissues and the vital organs.

Radam's Microbe Killer is the only known antiseptic principle that will destroy the germs of disease in the blood without injury to the tissues. Pleasant to the taste and agreeable to the most delicate stomach. A purely scientific remedy, recognized as a true specific.
It Cures

I Gallon Jugs, Price $3.00 40 Oz. Bottle, Price $1.99z

Taken from http://www.drugstoremuseum.com/sections/level_info2.php?level_id=40&level=2

Over time each communication form eventually caught on that selling lies was bad for business, and that real businesses were being driven away by such things. It wasn’t that the owners of the media companies cared about selling lies, it was all about money. People began to disbelieve advertising, and the MOST important factor in any advertising is credibility of source.

Now in our modern age we laugh at these pathetic attempts to fool us into believing miracles can happen. We laugh and laugh, and then we go on the internet. Two things happen. The average Joe and Jane America get fooled by internet advertising snake-oil and the un-average ‘technologically inclined’ people get insulted by ridiculous ads that make us ask “Who clicks this crap!?” It messes up the websites we like to go to, it damages their credibility with the masses, and worst of all; nobody seems to care enough to do anything about it.

That’s right, spyware, adware, malware, and spammers are the snake-oil salesman of today, not-so-cleverly disguised behind the mask of an IP address and Terms of Service they know nobody reads.

Gosh, a free screensaver from screensaver.com? Lets read the Terms of Service: “When you download a screensaver or wallpaper from Screensavers.com, you might see a promotion for one of Screensavers's award-winning software products, like our AdZapper pop-up ad killer, our Privacy Manager that helps you surf the web privately, or our Screensavers Toolbar that gives you one-click access to the web's best search engines. You are never under any obligation to try these products.”

Lets take a look at another famed culprit. Claria, previously known as Gator, Operators of GAIN. Their newest “ad” method takes the form of PersonalWeb (see graphic below). You install this program and it creates a homepage for you (Is this homepage jacking? Sort of like giving permission for homepage jacking). It watches and monitors what you do and creates a homepage around your habits, which advertisers then bid on/purchase. It sounds harmless, but in reality you’re downloading something that is watching what you are doing and creating marketing tailored specifically to you. Is that dangerous? Well, it depends on your mentality. This is coming from a company who, according to the Wikipedia, “The Gator software has in the past undercut the fundamental ad-supported nature of many Internet publishers by replacing banner ads on web sites with its own, thereby depriving the content provider of the revenue necessary to continue providing that content.”

The internet is a dangerous place, and it is dangerous because people haven’t been aggressive enough with the ad networks and websites they frequent. Get active, get your websites to BAN dangerous advertisements and get them to tell their ad network “Hell no, we won’t go…along with this crap.” I've taken a stand, with the support of one of my major clients, we have purged all known dangerous and unscrupulus ads from our ad network. We did this and sent a very nice e-mail explaining that we do NOT support these companies. While we know our stance won't change things alone, we hope to be one voice in many that doesn't take this kind of crap.

The bottom of this ad: “If you are afflicted with DEAFNESS” … yeah, oil that cures deafness.

Oh yes, I am once again the 100,000,000th person contacted. Rewards abound. And it cures deafness!*

*Restrictions Apply


Anonymous Anonymous said...

That post might have a problem. Weird comment code is in it at a lot of places.

8:28 PM  
Blogger VGsmart said...

Does anyone else notice this? I've had two people report it but I can not see it :(

Browser? Ideas?

9:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Same here. Viewing the source of the page, you seem to have not closed an "a" tag (linking to http://vgsmart.blogspot.com/atom.xml, thereby the whole site is a link to atom.xml)

12:16 AM  
Anonymous Matt McFarland said...

I have no weird comment code anywhere! Using firefox! I love this post!

5:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks fine in Firefox for me. But problem shows up in IE6. Using Windows XP. But I have no idea why.

8:04 AM  
Blogger VGsmart said...

Ok I fixed it. Weird that IE had errors but FireFox did not... Usually these things work the other way around! :)

Is anyone else seeing the whole site linked to my XML feed? That's just weird!

10:17 AM  
Anonymous Dan Mattia said...

I agree wholeheartedly, Joe. That's why Game Overdrive has specific guidelines in place before placing an ad, and all ads are hand-placed. I will not allow distracting or damaging ads to be placed on my site.

5:24 AM  

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