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Viral Marketing Breeding Cynicism 154

Posted by kdawson
from the flogging-it dept.
New Media Blogger writes "First Lonelygirl15, now Bridezilla. Canada's National Post provides an interesting perspective on the newest trend of using viral videos as marketing tools, and how these fake blogs or 'flogs' are having a pernicious effect on our tendency to trust what seems genuine."
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Viral Marketing Breeding Cynicism

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  • by lecithin (745575) on Sunday February 11, 2007 @09:25AM (#17971662)
    How is this a bad thing?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 11, 2007 @09:36AM (#17971716)
      Most people can't be more discerning, especially when they're looking at topics that aren't close to them. If you don't have the insight that enables you to tell marketing from honest opinion, you can only choose a level of general distrust that affects both. Increasing amounts of viral marketing and affiliate advertising will raise that level of distrust and that means people become more cynic, which is not a nice state, if you think about it.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Then ask a friend who knows or even one who's a specialist.

        If you want a new PC, ask someone who knows those things, etc.

        The tendency, of course, should be to educate yourSELF, so you can know more on your own.

        Some people like being stupid, and serves them right.
        • by ultranova (717540) on Sunday February 11, 2007 @10:35AM (#17972064)

          Then ask a friend who knows or even one who's a specialist.

          How does your friend know it ? How can you know his knowledge didn't come from viral marketing ? How do you know the specialist is actually a genuine specialist and not a cleverly placed viral marketeer, and if he is a specialist, that he hasn't been bribed ?

          If you want a new PC, ask someone who knows those things, etc.

          How do you know he isn't getting paid to recommend Dell or some other crappy brand ? And how do you know I'm not getting paid to say bad things about Dell every chance I get ?-)

          The tendency, of course, should be to educate yourSELF, so you can know more on your own.

          How can you educate yourself when you have no way of telling truthful sources from viral marketing ?

          Some people like being stupid, and serves them right.

          Ignorance is not the same as stupidity. Besides that, if you have no way to know which sources to trust, you have no way to get rid of that ignorance. That is the problem with viral marketing.

          • by bit01 (644603) on Sunday February 11, 2007 @12:19PM (#17972922)

            Besides that, if you have no way to know which sources to trust, you have no way to get rid of that ignorance. That is the problem with viral marketing.

            No, the problem is noise. A message can be compromised by too much noise as well as too little message. That is the problem with viral marketing and marketing in general.

            In the real world you do not have the time to all evaluate the messages you receive. You must always trust your sources to greater or lesser extent. Marketing deliberately tries to subvert trusted sources by flooding them out with content free trash. It's no accident that the most successful advertising campaigns tend to be the ones with the most money spent. If the value of messages was inherent that would not be true. An arms race to get mindshare in other words. Everybody loses except the marketing "industry". It's also fraudulent but unfortunately the legal system isn't even close to being able to deal with it.

            ---

            Beware deceptive astroturfers [wikipedia.org]

            • by Elemenope (905108) on Sunday February 11, 2007 @02:19PM (#17973964)

              As Postman pointed out, laws were created to deal with advertisinbg at a time when all advertisments were expected to make factual truth-claims about their product; false advertising was when an advertiser make a false or erroneous factual claim in their advert about their product. When advertising became about image rather than facts, adverts for the most part ceased to make truth-claims at all. Thus, all those laws no longer apply.

              Since many economists have pointed out recently that no economy can function efficiently when the participants have poor knowledge of the transaction and poor knowledge of the product, perhaps capitalism owes it to itself to enourage truth-claims in advertising again, and perhaps sanction or eschew ads that do not. What sort of regulatory mechabnism that might entail I dare not think about, but it might be a start.

              • Well, my personal solution is contempt for all advertising in general, except for the most up-front types (and there aren't enough of those for me to easily think up an example). Sadly, this leaves the marketers to turn, like you said, to attempt to subvert anything we still trust--thus the viral advertisements.

                The only solution I have for that is to hold a severe grudge against their products. Thus, companies like SCO, Sony, HP, Lexmark and Microsoft are ones I will never willingly give money to any long
              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                Just because I like lists, and enjoy playing "ideal world", here's what I think all advertisments should have to adhere to:

                1) All advertisements must:
                a) Clearly and distinctly state the full name of the company selling the product
                b) State if that company is a subsidiary, division, etc. of a larger company and that parent company's name
                c) Clearly identify the product being advertised
                d) Clearly state the function and or purpose of the product
                e) Clearly state any adverse risks associated with the product
                f) Cle
            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by Anonymous Coward
              Hence the reason I take a different approach. Want nothing, define my needs, and culture jam.

              The subconscious mind is continuously looking to satiate the conscious minds needs. Advertising operates on the premise that if you get to a child before they are of age you can destroy that fine line between need and want, and sell more. It becomes easier to convince an adult they need a guitar if you convince them as a child they need McDonalds, in other words.

              First, you need to know what you need. That priori
          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by Farmer Tim (530755)
            And how do you know I'm not getting paid to say bad things about Dell every chance I get ?-)

            No company would waste their money hiring a professional to do it when there are so many willing amateurs.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward
          One word: Tupperware. Marketing is already aiming to exploit existing friendships and peer groups. This is much more problematic online, where people never meet eachother and can start over with hardly a problem if they need to. The circle of people whom you can trust is shrinking because everybody earns a commission these days. The alternative is, as you said: educate yourself. Unfortunately you can't educate yourself to be an expert in every field. There just isn't enough time.
          • While I agree with your generalization, pushy selling to your friends and family in such a fashion is usually counter-productive and not a good long term career move.

            My wife is a fairly successful avon representative. She got there by being honest and never misrepresenting herself. She even manages to sell avon to some of her friends, but she's never pushy. When meeting new people, she just makes her career known as most of us would. If anyone shows an interest she'll pull a book out of her bag and pass it

        • by mgblst (80109)
          This is an idiotic statement. Who do I ask about over the counter medicine? Who do I ask about light bulbs? Or car tyres? Or which oranges are the good ones to buy? Or which speakers to get? I guess I should just spend the rest of my life education myself about every possible thing that I am going to buy.
      • by msobkow (48369)

        It sounds like the same problem that affected the old NEWS feeds that pre-dated the web. As more and more spam and "teaser" marketing were done, people stopped using it as a medium. Eventually all you seemed to find were a few die-hard posters who wouldn't accept the death of that broadcast digital medium, and those who saw nothing wrong with "teaser" content that links advertising info (usually just a website URL) to the content.

        I haven't "surfed" the old "news" feeds in a long time. I wonder if they

        • by Awel (28821)
          Do you mean USENET? Because that still exists, and is still used by quite a lot of people. I sometimes look at a couple of newsgroups on the more obscure end of the spectrum, and there doesn't appear to be a major spam problem there.
    • by rocjoe71 (545053)
      Very true! ...Wag the Dog.
    • by suv4x4 (956391) on Sunday February 11, 2007 @09:46AM (#17971770)
      This forces us to be more discerning. How is this a bad thing?

      Indeed. And not just that. What kind of advertisement do you prefer: the marketoid speak, bland, noisy, blinking commercial spots rotated a hundred times on every channel every day, or more game-like advertising, which is fun on its own, and tries to show some practical usage of the advertised product?

      I personally am sick of the "old school" commercial spots and would trade them for anything any day.

      Of course it's important to differentiate deceptive viral marketing (ex. Sony's PSP "blog") and scams (ex. "Neuronet" virtual reality networks) and the harmless reality-game-like advertising, where the creators would reveal themselves as part of the plan (like the Bridezilla spot).

      I would really rather them post those videos on their official sites as entertainment marketing their products, but truth is that while this generated hype, people will abuse it. The novelty will wear off and they will move on to a newer technique.

      The difference may come as hard to discern in the general case of viral marketing, but quite important.
      • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Sunday February 11, 2007 @11:25AM (#17972490) Journal
        I've recently adopted a new strategy when it comes to shopping. Every time I've complained about irritating adverts that tell me nothing about the product, people have pointed to brand recognition as the answer. Studies have shown that people are more likely to buy a brand they recognise than one they don't.

        Now, when I don't know anything much about a particular product (e.g. toothpaste), I will choose the brand I recognise the least. If it works, I'll keep using it. If not, I'll switch to a slightly more familiar one. The ones that blare irritating advertising at me will be last on the list.

        • by Fred_A (10934)
          Sounds like a good plan to me. You've made a convert.
          • by tilde_e (943106) on Sunday February 11, 2007 @03:47PM (#17974698)
            The problem with this is that there are a lot of rebranded things, or sub-brands if you will. Odwalla is Coca-cola now, etc. So you need to also check who distributes that toothpaste because it might say J&J or Colgate in the fine print! Companies can produce new brands on a whim these days... but luckily they tend to be shelved not too far away from all the things you did recognize from that vendor. I've also seen knock-offs that are actually produced by the company they appear to be competing against.

            For a sub-brand example, Santitas looks nothing like Frito-Lay at first glance on a store shelf: http://www.fritolay.com/fl/flstore/cgi-bin/product s_santitas.htm [fritolay.com]
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by Qzukk (229616)
              Depends on your goals behind such purchase decisions. If you want to put the company out of business, then you'll have to check real hard, especially with the number of companies all shared by the giant conglomerates (like Colgate-Palmolive, or Ralston Purina, or Kraft... the list goes on and on). If you just want them to change their ways, then if enough people are preferring the less-advertised sub-brand over the heavily advertised main brand, then rational companies would decide that the sub-brands are
            • I've also seen knock-offs that are actually produced by the company they appear to be competing against.

              True, but these generics aren't advertised... if they sell more of their less- or unadvertised brand than the one that marketers are constantly bombarding people with, it might send a message.
        • by kabocox (199019)
          Now, when I don't know anything much about a particular product (e.g. toothpaste), I will choose the brand I recognise the least. If it works, I'll keep using it. If not, I'll switch to a slightly more familiar one. The ones that blare irritating advertising at me will be last on the list.

          This is why I try to go for Sam's Choice or Great Value on as many products as possible. I've never seen an ad for either of those brands once other than the label on the store shelves.
      • by Eivind (15695)
        What kind of advertisement do you prefer: the marketoid speak, bland, noisy, blinking commercial spots rotated a hundred times on every channel every day, or more game-like advertising,

        You're creating a false dictohomy. My answer is *neither*.

        I like to get the facts. It's fine with me to get them presented in a fun way -- but I want the facts. I react strongly negatively when I detect that people are trying to bullshit me. There's so much bullshit though, that these days you're pretty much forced to as

    • by Mike1024 (184871) on Sunday February 11, 2007 @09:57AM (#17971832)
      How is this a bad thing?

      If it creates both (a) discerning people and (b) the need for people to be discerning, it seems disingenuous to praise it for making people more discerning.

      By the same logic you could say muggers are good because they force people to be more alert.
      • Having been mugged myself, I should have thanked the dude as he ran off with my 65p.
      • by Zeinfeld (263942) on Sunday February 11, 2007 @11:21AM (#17972458) Homepage
        If it creates both (a) discerning people and (b) the need for people to be discerning, it seems disingenuous to praise it for making people more discerning.

        If you watch any network TV program these days you will see paid product placements inside the shows. The actors dunking their Oreo cookies in their morning coffee are paid to say that they are their favorite.

        People who complain about the blogosphere are almost always doing so because they have a vested interest in keeping people stupid. They don't want people to be questioning the beltway 'reporters' like Tim Russert who last week admitted that he automatically considers high government officials to be on background and clearly treats their statements as unassailable gospel truth rather than as self interested claims which are at best likely to be half truths and are quite likely outright lies.

        Because of overpaid fools like Russert there was no resistance when the Bush Administration blundered into Iraq with a plan that many experts including the army chief of staff considered to be half baked.

        The point of the blogosphere is not to exclude views, it is to include them. You can find every view on the blogosphere including the paid product placements and specious punditry you find in the mainstream media. But you also find the views the mainstream media don't publish.

        The blogosphere is largely a US phenomenon because the US media is by far the worst in the Western world.

        Everyday the mainstream media interviews far right idiots like Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, hatemongers like Bill Donahue, Pat Robertson etc. etc. etc. I have never once seen Chomsky interviewed in the past five years. And the only question the media asks itself is 'are we being too liberal'. There is a huge market for left and centrist pundits such as Paul Krugman but they don't get booked.

        And the idea of having politicians on the talk shows rather than unaccountable pundits simply does not seem to have occurred. Every weekend five or six politicians drawn from the same pool of 15 'A-list' talking heads appear.

        Its not simply a right wing bias though, its an establishment bias. In the early Gingrich years I had several exchanges with his staff. At the time they were the disruptors and the establishment was shutting them out. In another ten years the centrist Democrats will be the establishment and everyone else will be shut out, or rather that is what would happen if there was a mainstream media in ten years time which there probably will not be.

        • by makomk (752139) on Sunday February 11, 2007 @01:41PM (#17973642) Journal
          People who complain about the blogosphere are almost always doing so because they have a vested interest in keeping people stupid. They don't want people to be questioning the beltway 'reporters' like Tim Russert who last week admitted that he automatically considers high government officials to be on background and clearly treats their statements as unassailable gospel truth rather than as self interested claims which are at best likely to be half truths and are quite likely outright lies.

          Whereas in the blogosphere, there are people who are actually secretly being paid to promote a particular view. Sure, the media may be overpaid fools, but at least you know who's signing their paychecks.

          The point of the blogosphere is not to exclude views, it is to include them. You can find every view on the blogosphere including the paid product placements and specious punditry you find in the mainstream media. But you also find the views the mainstream media don't publish.

          With absolutely no way of telling which is which and no consequences if people get caught. I remember when Slashdot and various blogs got taken in by a misleading press release claiming the Government was trying to make bloggers register (actually about large-scale paid astroturfing campaigns). Surprisingly few people noticed that its source was potentially less than reliable, despite the fact that the chairman of the organisation signing it (and the press release did have his real name on it) actually being in charge of a marketing company known for similar techniques in the past.

          Its not simply a right wing bias though, its an establishment bias. In the early Gingrich years I had several exchanges with his staff. At the time they were the disruptors and the establishment was shutting them out. In another ten years the centrist Democrats will be the establishment and everyone else will be shut out, or rather that is what would happen if there was a mainstream media in ten years time which there probably will not be.

          Whereas the blogosphere has an anti-establishment tendency - the mainstream media is all lies, and anything written by an apparently independent blogger or grassroots movement is assumed to be true (at least, until someone less lazy than 99% of the bloggers out there tracks down information on the author and discovers they're on the payroll of some marketing/PR outfit or the other). (I'm exaggerating, but only slightly - fake bloggers need to be able to write well and build up a strong following before they can start misleading people effectively.)

          The real problem is, most people don't have time to find out what's actually going on (or can't be bothered) - in some cases, it's not even possible, for example when it's happening in a warzone far away. So they trust what other people are saying - and whether that's blogs or the media, the issues are still there. (The other problems are that blogs have even less of an incentive to be unbiased than mainstream news - in fact, most of the big-hitters seem to be built around the idea of telling people what they want to hear. Also, proper investigative reporting is expensive and difficult, and I can't seem bloggers doing it any time soon - though the media doesn't do much these days either.)
          • by Zeinfeld (263942) on Sunday February 11, 2007 @02:10PM (#17973884) Homepage
            Whereas in the blogosphere, there are people who are actually secretly being paid to promote a particular view. Sure, the media may be overpaid fools, but at least you know who's signing their paychecks.

            Empirically this is not the case, there have been several Bush administration scandals where journalists turned out to be paid with government (i.e. our) money to propagandize for the GOP.

            Product placements are not reported. And the curious silence of the establishment media on the Cunningham scandal in its early days strongly suggests that it was not only politicians that were visiting the Watergat building for the Poker and Hookers parties that court documents allege Brent Wilkes paid for. The number one and number two at the CIA were dismissed as a direct result of that scandal, Foggo for allegedly attending the parties, Porter-Goss for promoting him into that position.

            Whereas the blogosphere has an anti-establishment tendency - the mainstream media is all lies, and anything written by an apparently independent blogger or grassroots movement is assumed to be true

            Not in the blogs I read. It is routinely assumed that many bloggers are in the direct pay of politicians and campaigns. The same is true on Wikipedia. I have found a few editors there who were very obviously paid shills for a campaign. The Katherine Harris ones being the most amusing, they would be editing in endorsements by politicians who had already made public their refusal to support her. Then they would suddenly disappear and there would be news of a purge by 'Pink Sugar'.

            But there are also paid shills and paid shills, I can pretty much guess who wrote many of the wikipedia articles on several Internet security protocols. In some cases people have told me that they wrote them. But its pretty rare that I read one of them and find something blatantly POV. Most people are sensible enough to know that a good article is going to survive much longer than an obvious puff piece.

            Its about accountability. If you shill in the blogosphere other people soon find out. You can be a paid shill for Faux news and nobody will say anything against you.

    • "If one is always skeptical, then goes to cynicism, you end up feeling pretty negative about the world," Mr. Federman says. "You end up with a very sour disposition. You tend to look at people and interactions as everyone trying to manipulate you, and tend to have a miserable existence, quite frankly. It's not pleasant. You can't enjoy yourself. You always have to be on your guard."

      It is a case of the bad tarring the good and it's intentional. If the people making these things tell you up front, "brought

    • by tverbeek (457094) * on Sunday February 11, 2007 @10:30AM (#17972020) Homepage
      The fact that Anybody At All believed that {LonelyGirl15 was genuine/Taco Bell bought the Liberty Bell/Saddam Hussein had WMDs} demonstrates that people will fall for just about anything.

      Deceptive marketing is only good in the sense that chicken pox is good: by exposing people to it and giving them a chance to develop a resistance to it, their chances are improved of not succumbing whe exposed to even worse stuff (i.e. lying political leaders).
    • by Richard Kirk (535523) on Sunday February 11, 2007 @10:56AM (#17972256)
      We cannot tell whether any particular fact is true. All we can do is to try and see how well anything we are told fits in with everything else we know. Suppose, for instance, we were told on a webpage that water freezes at 0 Celsius. We can get a thermometer and some water, and some ice, and do an experiment. All that tells us is that the people who write the web pages are somehow in collusion with the people who make thermometers. Or, at an even lower level, they are colluding with the people who write the dictionary terms for 'water' and 'thermometer'. Or the rules of grammar that determine that the description has a single, unambiguous distinction.

      Okay, water does not always freeze at 0 celsius. Zero celsius is the triple point of water. When you actually do the experiments, or make your own observations, then you often find you have to refine the terms. I am not really talking about that. What I am trying to do is to make a distinction between what is 'true' and what is 'false'. We can define 'truth' so strictly that nothing we ever say is precisely 'true'. For the pruposes of this argument, I am going to relax a bit, and argue that statements can be 'true'.

      How do we determine whether something is 'true'. Some scientific and mathematical statements are subject to proof or experiment, but we do not usually resort to this. With questions of historical fact, we can sometimes examine the raw evidence (but how 'raw' is that?). Most of the time, what we do is to see whether the new fact is compatible with what we already know. Knowledge has been likened to a boat which never comes into port: but is repaired by the crew using driftwood and materials found at sea. It would be difficult to completely remake the boat becaue it can never come into dock, but it an change over time by gradually expanding or replacing one component at a time. Over time, the whole boat's material may be replaced with new parts, and the whole crew may be replaced by their children, but the sense of their being a boat is preserved.

      We should have some suspicion of everything we see and hear. Nothing is ruled above suspicion. However, you may remember the eposode of 'Kung Fu' where two adepts are guided by a venerable old man down a path where they are then robbed. They were both asked what they had learned from the event. The one who replied "trust no-one" was rejected from the monastery. "Expect the unexpected" was the better answer. Without some sort of discernment, there is no difference between the people who deny the Apollo project, and the people who deny the holocaust.

      So, what is special about the web? Nothing, really, other than its newness and its versatility. We can post images and videos as well as text, but we also know we can manipulate images and fake videos. I can remember how authoratative some documents looked when printed out using variable-width fonts, when this was rare and expensive. Books tend to be trusted, because they are permanent, and therefore could have been criticised or edited as necessary. However, Erich von Daniken wrote books full of easily refutable facts. One of my favourites was how the island of Elephantine could have only been recognized as the exact shape of an elephant from a flying saucer. It isn't the shape of an elephant at all, as Google maps can show you - it got its name from the ivory trade. Going electronic has probably shortened the gap between posting something and posting the refutation, but the basic mechanism is the same.

      Can we make something that gets people wary of clicking on random links, and falling for scams? That is where the scepticism is really needed.

      • From the Wikipedia:

        The single combination of pressure and temperature at which pure water, pure ice, and pure water vapour can coexist in a stable equilibrium occurs at exactly 273.16 kelvins (0.01 C) and a pressure of 611.73 pascals (ca. 6.1173 millibars, 0.0060373057 atm). At that point, it is possible to change all of the substance to ice, water, or vapour by making infinitesimally small changes in pressure and temperature.
    • by Alef (605149) on Sunday February 11, 2007 @10:58AM (#17972282)

      How is this a bad thing?

      I read somewhere that the trust people place in random strangers is a very important property for a well functioning society. It allows transactions to run smoothly. If you always expect to get scammed, getting anything done would be a nightmare. (Game theory is probably applicable here.) Interestingly, the research also indicated that it is more important that people trust each other than that they actually can trust each other -- that is, it is the perceived ability to trust others that matters. That is why this is a bad thing.

      • by speculatrix (678524) on Sunday February 11, 2007 @02:19PM (#17973966)
        indeed. take a look at the countries where corruption is rife such as the Congo, and you'll see some of the poorest countries, despite large quantities of aid being injected very little of it filters down to the people who need it, and very little money is invested in the future because corruption at the highest level means it is impossible to get a return on investment. There's no benefit to working hard if the local gov't officials discover a new tax to take everything you've got. Inflation is also usually a massive problem because people can't even trust their money - I have witnessed people trying to buy a washing machine in Zimbabwe dollars, and needing several large backpacks to carry the cash, and taking hours to count it!

        trust in society is a vital glue, whether stopping to help a stranger in trouble, or running a shop and expecting that the dollars being offered for the goods on sale are both genuine and have a stable value for future trade.
      • by Kelbear (870538)
        Interesting,

        With regards to my job, I can cut my lead time by about a 1/3rd if there is trust. I don't need the 4 pages of legal ass-covering, and I can accept his initial pricing instead of entering the negotiation period for each time I purchase equipment for our factories.

        He can profit a bit by screwing me on a purchase once, but he can profit more by giving me good service at good prices with repeat business.

        So the "trust" isn't really trust, but it's better than that, it's mutually beneficial. Knowing
    • by Fred_A (10934)

      How is this a bad thing?

      Because the level of trust on the network has gone down by yet another notch.

      I'm not glad the virus/worm writers are working as hard as they are because it forces us to be more focused on security. I think they're scum because the typical mail/spam ratio nowadays is roughly 5% thanks to the zombies they create.

      Instead of wasting my mail server's cycles like the spammers are, marketers are wasting my own. Since I can't upgrade myself easily, it's even worse IMO.

      The saturation of ev

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by SurturZ (54334)
      Anything that encourages mistrust of online sources is a great idea in my book. Then again, I sell tinfoil hats.
  • by tomstdenis (446163) <tomstdenis@REDHATgmail.com minus distro> on Sunday February 11, 2007 @09:28AM (#17971676) Homepage
    Don't think of yourself as a victim of viral marketing. Think of yourself as their bitch. :-)

    Sometimes that "really interesting video on youtube" ... isn't really that interesting at all. Go read a book or something...

    • by Legion303 (97901)
      "Sometimes that "really interesting video on youtube" ... isn't really that interesting at all."

      But...but Digg told me it was a cool new commercial! They wouldn't deceive me!
    • Sorry, but it's in books too [bbc.co.uk].

      This is what I hate about modern advertising, you often don't even know it's advertising. So you can no longer trust anything you read.
      Take for example company shills on forums [gizmodo.com] who are paid to give positive opinions. How can you tell?

      At least with tv or video you could mute it, turn it off or fast forward past it. Nowadays you don't even know it's advertising.
  • Marketing (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MemoryDragon (544441) on Sunday February 11, 2007 @09:28AM (#17971678)
    Has ruined every medium so far it has touched... This is the rule not the exception!
    • Re: (Score:1, Redundant)

      by Monoman (8745)
      That is pretty much what I was going to say.

      The way to ruin a good thing is for someone to try and make a buck from it. Just about every time the marketing industry gets wind of a free way to advertise they destroy they system they exploit.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by suv4x4 (956391)
      Has ruined every medium so far it has touched... This is the rule not the exception!

      It has that potential, but come on: I watched the video 10 mins ago after I read this article (i.e. I already knew it's fake). I still enjoyed it a lot and laughed at some moments.

      Not everything should be "real" for it to be enjoyable. And not everything should be void of marketing and product placement to be enjoyable too.

      The devil's in the details as always, and how well all goals the creators had play together to form a c
    • No, greed does. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by JamesTRexx (675890) <m,nystrom&mbitz,nl> on Sunday February 11, 2007 @10:00AM (#17971844) Homepage Journal
      From TFA:
      In the long term, developing this kind of skepticism will benefit all Internet users, Mr. Federman says. But in the short term, he says, online deceptions of the "wig-out" video variety have the potential to erode trust in events or moments that seem to be free of artifice or marketing interests.
      "If one is always skeptical, then goes to cynicism, you end up feeling pretty negative about the world," Mr. Federman says. "You end up with a very sour disposition. You tend to look at people and interactions as everyone trying to manipulate you, and tend to have a miserable existence, quite frankly.
      "It's not pleasant. You can't enjoy yourself. ?You always have to be on your guard."

      The core to it is just greed.
      Wherever there's a new online trend, be it blogging, home made videos, virtual reality worlds, people want to make money out of it. Just look around in the real world, advertisements everywhere. I can't take a five minute walk in town without coming across numerous ads.
      Even worse, I can't take a five minute drive without coming across large ads which to me is inviting danger. I try to ignore them as much as possible, but they do distract from the road where my attention should be. There is legislation about handsfree calling in the car, why's there no legislation against lingerie ads alongside main roads?
      Ads are like roaches and crawl under everything that shows a crack. Radio, tv, and now games as well. I stopped listening to radio and watching tv because I got sick of the bad content stuffed with ads. And no, this was not free content as we all pay a contribution to public radio and tv.
      In a few years one can't hide from reality by spending a few hours on games because they'll be loaded with ads.
      And now reality gets abused by greedy people producing "real" content.

      I really wish people could just let things be what they are and not manipulate it for money. There are more important things in life than making a shitload of money.
      • by fuzzix (700457)

        There are more important things in life than making a shitload of money.

        You seem not to be playing "Who dies with the most toys". You must have some form of schizoid personality disorder or one of those fashionable attention deficit thingies and must be prescribed some behaviour altering pills not entirely unrelated to cocaine. I suggest winemol or ruthlessitin.

        I think you'll find yourself a productive and happy member of our little Monopoly playing family here if you follow my programme and just play along

      • by Arivia (783328)
        Tip: The target audience for lingerie is not the same audience as the one who will be distracted by it.
        • Don't care who the target audience is, it's about the effect of ads like this, no matter what product is being sold.
          Right now they also use pictures from the old Star Trek series for something, but it's impossible to read the text on it without getting a good long look at it. That's something that should not be used at places where only cars come by. Do that at places where you only have pedestrians.
    • by drsquare (530038)
      Well it means there is such a thing as free, over-the-air TV. Newspapers and magazines are much cheaper, and commercial sponsorship helps many small businesses. How is that ruining mediums?
    • To: RANDOM_TO_ADDR
      From: RANDOM_FROM_ADDR

      How dare you insult marketers.

      They aren't clogging the net with spittle and spam.

      Marketers take pages with boring content ... then transform them into an art form by adding large blocks of keywords.

      RANDOM_AD
      START KEYWORD BLOCK
      viagra
      cheap viagra
      v1Agra
      v1agra substitoot
      hair loss
      generic cialis
      ...
  • OT: RSS feed (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by smoker2 (750216)
    http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/8 9 258382/article.pl [slashdot.org]
    This RSS feed directs to the home page, as does
    http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/89 294729/article.pl [slashdot.org]
    All previous RSS links are fine.
    This is on FC4, Firefox 2.0.0.1
    Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv:1.8.1.1) Gecko/20061208 Firefox/2.0.0.1
    I am accessing the RSS feed through the Firefox Live Bookmark
    I am not prepared to create an account at Sourceforge just to tell you of this error.
    • by X0563511 (793323) *
      On that note that slow-ass javascript floating threshold bar is annoying! Especially how i have to close it TWICE!

      Get rid of it or let us turn that damn thing off! (however the realtime collapsing and expanding threads is awesome.
  • A campaign that is said to actually have made young men think more about keeping the speed down.
    Speedbandits [speedbandit.dk]
  • peer pressure (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gravesb (967413) on Sunday February 11, 2007 @09:35AM (#17971710) Homepage
    If you are so easily influenced by this type of video, maybe there are some other issues besides trust that you need to look at.
  • Flogging Flaunters (Score:2, Interesting)

    by romland (192158)
    Well, call me a troll, but...

    Personally I have my doubts as to how many viewers/readers of these blogs actually stop to think whether they are genuine or not, moreover, I wonder how many actually cares. Personally I don't read any personal blogs of people I don't know unless they are of a more technical or "factual" nature (a simple example would be "AmigaOS 15 released, click here to get it!"). Now, these kind of topics are sure prone to be marketing stunts but chances are I don't even know about them then
  • by MarkusQ (450076) on Sunday February 11, 2007 @09:39AM (#17971732) Journal

    ...having a pernicious effect on our tendency to trust what seems genuine."

    If you haven't had this tendency whacked out of you be daily life you need to get out more, or do something other than stare at a blank wall while you're in.

    Seriously. A month of almost any sort of social activity (or twenty minutes in a few bars I know of) should fix it. As should a few year's experience debugging other people's code, working in retail, or even watching nature shows on TV ("Wasps do what?!? That's seriously messed up dude!").

    Heck, just open an e-mail account.

    If you have a tendency to trust things just because they seem genuine you are in deep, deep trouble. And that fact hasn't changed for millions of years.

    --MarkusQ

    • If you have a tendency to trust things just because they seem genuine you are in deep, deep trouble. ... A month of almost any sort of social activity (or twenty minutes in a few bars I know of) should fix it. ... debugging other people's code, working in retail, or even watching nature shows on TV... just open an e-mail account.

      There is a difference between scepticism and cynicism. The cynic never expects to find someone who's honest and helpful, and that's sad. They have given up being that way thems

  • They have no personal honor or responsibility at all. They will use whatever it takes and accept whatever collateral damage happens, just to get their message across. Basically this boils down to personal gain (their success) above any other values.
  • Drop the "viral" (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Guppy06 (410832) on Sunday February 11, 2007 @10:07AM (#17971890)
    and the title is still true.

    When will the nation learn that we cannot abide with marketing in this post-9/11 world?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by BrokenHalo (565198)
      When will the nation learn that we cannot abide with marketing in this post-9/11 world?

      What does 9/11 have to do with the price of fish? For that matter, what was so special about 9/11?

      I know the politicians of our day like to beat up the terrorism issue as if it was something new, despite the fact that it has literally thousands of years of history, but those same politicians are the first to use the most scurrilous tactics the marketroids can devise.
    • How you got modded up to +5 insightful is beyond me. Ask any successful businessman whether or not we can abide with marketing and the answer will be no. The reason why is that our capitalist society DEPENDS on it. The only way for a business to grow is to increase sales and the only way to do that is to get the word out. Guess how you get the word out? Oh right, marketing.

      I always find it interesting to read the comments on /. for stories about advertising and marketing. People love to bash it but do

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Eli Gottlieb (917758)
        I'll summarize a post about this I saw further up the page.

        In the old days, when Truth-In-Advertising laws were made, all kinds of people assumed that advertising would make falsifiable claims of fact about the products in question. That's the "good" kind of marketing -- designed to both inform and persuade. You can fact-check it even when it lies.

        Nowadays, marketing is more about image than anything. You can no longer debunk an advertisement, because after analysis most of the ad boils away as factually
        • You know the funny thing? I don't even know what that stupid ad was for. It could have been for the candy, a truck, some kind of beer....I don't even remember. Talk about wasted money.
      • by Guppy06 (410832)
        "People love to bash it but do not realize how absolutely necessary it is for our economy."

        If the economy of the southern states can manage to do without slavery, I think we could figure out a way for the Republic to survive without marketing. If you're going to try to defend something like this, you need to do it on its own moral terms, rather than the "But it's making us money!" scapegoat.

        "What about all the GOOD viral marketing that you've seen and gone "oh, cool, thats entertaining"."

        Seeing the words "
        • If the economy of the southern states can manage to do without slavery, I think we could figure out a way for the Republic to survive without marketing. If you're going to try to defend something like this, you need to do it on its own moral terms, rather than the "But it's making us money!" scapegoat.

          Why? My point had nothing to do with morals. Our current economy cannot function without marketing/advertising. If you want to bring morals into it, how would you weigh the loss of the millions of jobs tha

          • by Guppy06 (410832)
            "If you want to bring morals into it, how would you weigh the loss of the millions of jobs that would disappear if we took that industry out of the equation?"

            Compared to perpetuating something that has the demonstrable effect of eroding one of the basic pillars of human society? Not much. My friendly neighborhood crack dealer has done less harm (he only sells crack, not my personal information). Despite what others have said in this topic, cynicism is neither good nor desirable. Skepticism, yes, but not
            • by Kelbear (870538)
              Marketing allows for recognition of a product in addition to its competitors. Knowing that there are multiple alternatives gives you a starting point for comparison and letting you figure out your best choice.

              Capital-intensive markets may require a large consumer base in order to exist and suppply that consumer base with a product. If there wasn't marketing to let consumers know it exists, then the consumer base available to sell to may be too small for the company to offer the product, then not even those
      • People love to bash it but do not realize how absolutely necessary it is for our economy. For starters, try doing some research to determine the percentage of our country that is employed in some capacity in marketing/advertising.

        Terrible argument. That's the Broken Window [wikipedia.org] fallacy in action. We have a lot of people hired by defense contractors in America. Does that mean that war is good for the country? We have plenty of people hired to track down drug dealers and to keep them in prison. Is drug dealin
        • Pardon the brevity of my response since I'm short on time but I'd like to address your last comment...

          If it's entertaining, and people readily know that it's marketing, then it's not really viral in my book. I know it's not part of the standard definition, but I don't really consider something viral marketing unless it attempts to deceive the social network its exploiting into spreading word about it. I draw a line between publicity stunts and an attempt to hoodwink people into watching ads by disguising th

          • by Valdrax (32670)
            So while I respect your opinion, you are factually incorrect.

            Oh, you're certainly right on that. I was just trying to explain (in an ineffective way) why a lot of people on Slashdot revile viral marketing but like entertaining examples of it. They, like me, most likely only think of viral marketing as a pejorative instead of the standard definition. They're not hypocrites. They just most likely have attached the term to a different concept in their heads.

            Outside of the ad industry, I don't think everyon
  • maybe where it comes to blatant astroturfing, no. But Hiro Nakamura's blog really drew me into the Heroes thing. NOw with Primatech paper and Hana Gitelman's blog... it's kind of impressive what you can do when you present a product meaningfully to consumers
  • these fake blogs or 'flogs' are having a pernicious effect on our tendency to trust what seems genuine.

    Good.
  • by pizzach (1011925)
    Must....not become....more cynical....about to snap. Maybe drawing mustaches on the advertisements above the urinals with help.
  • You mean people will start to think about what is being said to them and try to understand whether it's true or not? They won't just blindly believe everything they're told without confirming it?

    Wow! What a tragedy. On some minor level, folks are growing up a little and becoming smarter.

    Politicians' jobs just got a tiny bit harder.

    (If you believe this article at all. I don't really know why you should.)
    • by bit01 (644603)

      Wow! What a tragedy. On some minor level, folks are growing up a little and becoming smarter.

      No, folks that are just as smart as they were before will have to waste more of their lives dealing with shills and imposters. What a waste and a less civilized society.

      One example is telemarketers; every hour of their so-called "work" means they are stealing an hour of other people's time, more if you include computer dialing and other tricks. Another example is TV advertising, where people end up paying twic

  • On the other foot (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Joebert (946227) on Sunday February 11, 2007 @10:32AM (#17972046) Homepage

    The company behind the latest You Tube video sensation would like you to know this: It was never the intention to portray anything other than a dramatization.

    In that case, I suppose they'll understand if I create videos that make it appear products like theirs ruined my life, dropping hints to make people think of their products & post them in the same mannor as their videos.

    Afterall, it's only a dramatization.

    Sad thing is, I'm willing to bet I'd have cease and desist or face legal consequences letters sent to me faster than I could imagine by doing so.
  • I know what they're saying, I mean, I ran straight out and bought a $400 Total Blender from Blendtec myself.

    *eyeroll*

    I like viral marketing because it tends to be that I seek it out, on my own schedule, not the other way around. Plus it has to be good.
  • ... because on the Internet nobody knows you're a flog ...

  • Genuine Information (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Jekler (626699) on Sunday February 11, 2007 @10:53AM (#17972228)

    I believe the Viral Marketing and Stealth Marketing trends will eventually lead us down the road to Informed Marketing. We'll reach a point where we no longer wish to be entertained or distracted by commercials, but rather, the commercials which give us the most accurate and detailed information about a product will be the most successful.

    We're not there yet, and I think that has a lot to do with the newness of information technology. The vast majority of the internet world are like 3-year olds. They are testing the boundaries of the virtual world, learning how this works with that, feeling, walking, and speaking for the first time. I think these are going to be short-lived trends. Maybe 20 to 30 years, but in the long run, all of this is nothing more than a novelty of our current generation.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by dzfoo (772245)
      >> I believe the Viral Marketing and Stealth Marketing trends will eventually lead us down the road to Informed Marketing. We'll reach a point where we no longer wish to be entertained or distracted by commercials, but rather, the commercials which give us the most accurate and detailed information about a product will be the most successful.

      And everybody will love each other, and World Peace will be achieved, and starving children will be fed. Oh, and everyone will get a pony too! Yay! Hurrah for ma
  • > ...how these fake blogs or 'flogs' are having a pernicious effect on our
    > tendency to trust what seems genuine."

    Sounds like healthy skepticism to me.
  • by pluther (647209)
    When it comes to believing people you don't know, a healthy cynicism is a good thing.

    I wonder if people will start distrusting all those videos that companies make about their products and give to "news" shows to show for them next...

  • Uncanny valley (Score:3, Insightful)

    by wraithgar (317805) <michael@comr[ ].us ['ade' in gap]> on Sunday February 11, 2007 @03:46PM (#17974688) Homepage Journal
    It has always been my contention that advertising has its own uncanny valley [wikipedia.org], where the best advertising is either not advertising (real, honest, incidental product endorsement ... which is getting very rare) or something that is apparent as advertising. Anything too close to "reality" is going to fall in that valley and breed this kind of cynicism.

    This is a problem for advertisers, as the conclusion or argument of an ad used to simply be "buy me," but in the current digital age it has resorted to simply "watch me." (Listen to the "Commercial Bowl" episode from the Princeton Review LSAT Podcast [princetonreview.com] for a good review of this principle. In order to be seen, the ad must not seem like an ad. Unfortunately, or maybe even ironically, the less it looks like an ad the more it is likely to be viewed with skepticism and cynicism.

    What's the solution? Some might argue product placement or something like it, something inseperable from the content. This solves the "watch me" problem, but not the cynicism problem. Perhaps the solution is simply to go back to "this show brought to you by brand x thingamabobs." Be open about it, get people to want your product based on the art you support. That's one approach.

    I'm interested to see where advertising goes in the next decade or two. It's almost certain to look nothing like what we are used to today.
  • Allow me to be the first to say, "WHAT EVER!"
  • by Nyph2 (916653)
    Capitalism should be about the best product for the price due to compitition. Due to marketing though, it's the best advertised product that actually gets to the most people. Additionally we have products for which there is no real need, but due to marketing, a market has been created(this is not healthy, yes, it increases the GDP, but the reason we're interested in the GDP is because it's supposed to represent the need for goods and services in the economy which are being met, it's not something we want
  • All of this really makes me think of The Laughing Man [wikipedia.org] from Ghost In The Shell...

Theory is gray, but the golden tree of life is green. -- Goethe

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