I'm not sure what's scarier about the advertisements I see over at MySpace on a daily basis... the insanity and sheer spam value of their messages, or the fact that they work.
According to Alexa.com, 6% of internet users reach MySpace on average. That doesn't sound like much at face value, but consider that there are roughly 1.1 billion users on the internet, this 6% is nothing to shake a stick at. That means tens of millions of people are looking at these gloriously spammy ads that grace the pages of MySpace. And they're on every page!
People actually click on these ads... enough to make a profit for those marketers that are using MySpace as a platform to advertise their goods, services, or events. It boggles my mind, because I can't surf through myself without laughing.
This is one of my favorites... shock value. What do you think this is an ad for? I have to say, I figured it was an ad for some kind of horror movie. Instead, it's an online horoscope subscription website. Can we say bait & switch?
There's another great one with the scariest clown EVER, but it's a flash banner so I can't snag it to show you. It doesn't link to the exact same website, but it's the same concept.
This one annoys me on a personal level. I WANT ONE! But of course, they don't mention that yes, it's free, but you also have to download the spy ware laden Smiley Central software. It's things like this that seem harmless to your novice internet user that lead to all sorts of security problems. It's a freebie that you can show to your friends, which people love.
My favorite ads, I can't post the true ad in all it's splendor because it's a flash banner... so pardon my screen shot. There are many out there... hit a home run, take a picture of the babe, catch the police car, to mention a few of the ones I've seen today. It's engaging for someone to click because it's like a little game... but then they get sucked into having to participate in some market research phishing exercise just to get the promised prize (in this case, 10 ring tones). This isn't even a clear advertisement, just a clever ploy to farm data that is inevitably being sold.
But, there is hope:
Not because I love Motorola (my phone's an LG anyway), but because there are an increasing amount of ACTUAL ADVERTISEMENTS coming around lately. This one seems to be a good example to me because it's weening out of the "Click me for something free!" mentality that MySpace ads have become and into the "Seriously you need this phone" mentality. It's on it's way to actually trying to sell you something.
This is an even better example because it's not offering you anything for free... really the only incentive is that it's a limited time offer and a great deal. And really, isn't that what all internet advertising should be?