I went ahead and "hid" the comments on my last post. It was the quickest solution I could think of to rid my blog of that stupid spam post. I certainly wish you could choose to delete individual comments, but I guess Blogger didn't think of that.
What I want to know is this. What are these *BLEEP*ing spammers thinking? Neither myself, nor anyone who reads my blog is going to seriously consider running out and buying some penny stock based on some random tip in a blog comments section. Now, I suppose if I ran some sort of investment blog and that spam showed up, someone might be fooled, but I doubt it. Besides, anyone stupid enough to fall for that spam is also too stupid to actually go out and buy stock, and most likely too stupid to have any money to invest in it if they did know how. I do make allowances, however, for the semi-sentient celebrity or lottery winner.
I also feel a profound sense of being violated by this. I mean, I open up my blog to friends and strangers to offer me feedback, positive or negative, on my world view so that I might gain a better understanding of the world around me. By having this spam show up on my blog, I'm reminded of a recent commercial campaign for some sort of internet service that featured a guy getting ready for work. There was a poster advertisement on his bathroom mirror, more in his kitchen, and then when he goes to leave the house, a giant poster depicted a bald man with the phrase "Grow hair with magnets!" The guy just busts through the giant poster and leaves for work.
Having majored in journalism, I've always had an interest in advertising and its practical application. There are effective ways of advertising that don't feel invasive, and that I actually approve of:
1: Standard commercials. Well, sure, I FF3 through these now on my DVR, but I do take note of who's paying the bills to keep my favorite shows on the air.
2: Product placement. In movies or TV shows, it seems much more real to me if the characters are using real products, and not some generic or made-up brand. If Monk were obsessed with Aquafina instead of Sierra Springs, I would be more apt to buy it. I've been interested in buying a "Smart" car ever since I saw them on "The Amazing Race". And who didn't want Taco Bell after "Demolition Man", eh?
3: Infommercials/Home Shopping channels. Sure, they are the bane of every night shift worker and insomniac in America without a decent cable system, and I'm not hooked on these or anything. But if I see a product or category of products I'm interested in, these offer so much more information than a 30 second commercial. Of course, you must temper this with the knowledge that they are trying to sell you something, and not blindly believe the claims but instead get independent information as well.
4: Magazine reviews. Ads in the back of magazines or slick one and two page ads within it really do nothing for me. But if a magazine I trust (IE: Popular Mechanics, Consumer Reports) actually reviews and rates a product, I am far more interested in buying it. If I were a company and proud of my product, I would ensure that every publication related to my product or target demographic had a free sample in their office before launch date. Magazine ads reach more people than just the subscriber or newstand purchaser as well. I know I tend to share my magazines with others, and even if I don't, if I read a good review of a product, I share it with friends and family.
5: Internet sites. No, not pop-ups, pop-unders, e-mail spam, blog spam, worms, viruses, etc. All of this nonsense is USELESS to me, and will only serve to enrage me and swear not only to never buy the advertised product again, but actively seek to inflict financial damage upon the company by way of boycott, etc. BUT. If you use one of the four conventional methods above to get me interested in your product, and you either provide a website address, or at least ensure that I'll find it on Yahoo search or Google, I'm going to your site, people. And remember, things to have on your site are: A) Online ordering; B) e-mail sign up; and C)complete product information, such as nutrition information, warranty, MPG, what have you.
This now concludes Professor Nixon's advanced advertising seminar, thank you!