You know, I'm a fan of Internet marketing. It's helped me launch a career for myself, I've seen it work wonders for legitimate businesses, and it's a massive growth industry. But as with most things in life, you have to take the good with the bad. In the case of Internet marketing, "the bad" is comprised partly of shoddy information from self-appointed "gurus," spammers who will sink to any depth if they think they can make a fast buck, and absolutely ridiculous -- albeit, sometimes hilarious -- ads. Case in point is the following ad I keep seeing on Facebook:
I mean, come on now... seriously? "Are you building your SEO Empire?" Uh, no? What the crap is an "SEO Empire," anyway? And why did you capitalize the 'e'? "Click 'Like' below if you've hit $1k/day." Why? What's my incentive? What do I have to "like" about YOU if I'M the one making $1,000 per-day? Did nobody at this company think it might be a bad idea to endorse themselves with a young guy smoking what appears to be a porn star-sized spliff? Was there no better image out there on THE ENTIRE FREAKING INTERNET to sensationalize an ad with than that one?
And for that matter, just what -- and how much -- are you saying about your company when you're paying cash to run an ad that contains such a ridiculous and unrelated image alongside a nonsense caption? Do people with well-built "SEO Empires" celebrate their 1K/day earnings by "liking" ads and smoking ginormous doobies?
I mean, I get it. I really do. If you want eyeballs, use a sensational picture. It doesn't have to be related to your content at all, because as many marketers have learned, people see sensational images and, in most cases, they'll read what accompanies them -- so long as the read starts off interesting and remains as such, or is extremely brief (like the ad above). But people are becoming aware of these tricks, and when I step away from my marketing ties and view ads like these as a regular consumer, it kind of ticks me off to understand the tactics being utilized. Bittersweet, indeed.
What makes this even more ridiculous to me is that, upon visiting the Web site of the company, I see what they're about and it appears to me as if they could have come up with something MUCH better than that garbage above. Some of you might be saying, "Well, you're just giving them attention by writing about them, so their ad must be working!" Wrong.
If you're of the belief that all press is good press, then you've never heard of ORM (Online Reputation Management). And to be clear, it's not the company or their services I'm chastising; it's their ad practices and everyone else out there who utilizes similar ones. I've no idea what they're like as a company; all I have to go by initially is the impression they've chosen to make with what they've chosen to show me. And if I get the wrong impression instead of what they've intended, then is that my fault or theirs? I'm fine with being wrong when it comes to the impression I have of someone based on their ads, but are they fine with that? Is their bottom line okay with that? I only say this to make those of you with ads think about what you're putting out there to represent yourself and your services.
I don't know, though; maybe it's just me. I mean, I'm used to seeing this stuff all over the place, so I'm quite desensitized to it. I think most of us are, for that matter. But when I sit back and take a second to actually process what my brain seems to naturally block out most of the time now, I can't help but wait for the day when these types of ad marketing practices are not only unnecessary, but not tolerated/allowed by those with ad-based revenue models (I'm looking at you, Google and Facebook). Unfortunately, that day is a looooong way away...
- The art of writing copy for people and search engines
- Writing about SEO vs. doing SEO
- Are you placing too big of a bet on social media's direct impact on SEO rankings?
- Real people, real SEO: An interview with Jon Payne, CEO of Ephricon Web Marketing
- Real people, real SEO: An interview with Rand Fishkin, CEO of SEOmoz
- The guru facade: Internet marketing shams, flimflams and other BS