Tag Archives: Advertising

Clickbait is Killing the Internet

theattentionmerchants_coverDid that headline get your attention?
Did you click a link to get here? Why? What did you expect to see? Okay, sorry, that title was “clickbait”. I want you to read my blog. I want you to stop whatever you were doing and visit the TechWite site, so I created a sensational title. That was my motivation. What was yours? It’s worth thinking about…


ClickbaitDo we really need to define this? It is what it sounds like: A title, heading, or image designed to DISTRACT the web user from whatever s/he is doing, click a link, and “go” somewhere else.


Clickbait is often about advertising, the end result to get you to BUY something. But it’s also about EYEBALLS, to get you to look at an ad, push up the “readership” of a page, a video, or person, or site. It’s not just in Facebook and gawdawful “news” web sites like nj.com. It’s on LinkedIN.

HINT: If an article has “Steve Jobs” in the title, especially if it’s about “Tim Cook is NOT Steve Jobs” it’s clickbait. If it’s about Apple or some other company being doomed or “beleaguered” it’s clickbait.

Dishonest clickbait is infuriating.
Let’s say just because it sounds interesting, you click on one of those links, “The Five Worst Plastic Surgeries of Playboy Bunnies”. That GRABS your attention. But gosh, now you’re on a page with an article about lawnmowers! Where are the bunnies? Nope, not even the kind with long ears. You’ve been had. And somewhere, somebody gets to claim your click and say their link got you to look at a web page. This is getting so bad that on YouTube you’ll click on a link for one thing, and end up watching a video for something completely different. And before you know it, minutes, maybe hours, have gone by. Where? Can you remember what you watched? Do you know what a “black out” is? I’m inventing a new term today: “the CBO“- Clickbait Black Out. If you’ve experienced this, it’s time to take a look at your digital life.

Think before you click!
Internet people, TechWite—newly committed to spending less time in a browser—is not going to write a long essay about this. Not today. But TechWite will offer you some sage advice: Think before you click. It could save your life, a few minutes at a time. Think before you click. Take a couple of seconds before you take the bait. TRY to remember WHAT you were planning to do today. Be aware. Right here. Right now. And may you go for a walk, outside, in nature.

—TW

Want to know more? These links open in new windows, think before you click!!:

Partly covered as a topic in this book by Tim Wu, “The Attention Merchants“.

Or read or listen about it here:  How Free Web Content Traps People In An Abyss Of Ads And Clickbait : All Tech Considered : NPR

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Followers, Friends, and Likes. Oh My!! Engagement is a Social Lie.

via And Now, I Unfollow Thee – The New York Times

Take it all “with a grain of salt…”

More help for the Nverts. TechWite dashes another social myth!

The brilliant analysts of Wall Street, looking for better ways to blow more air into the bubble of Social media believe that “engagement” is everything. But what is it?


“Engagement*” – Catch word for ‘user involvement’ –  the popularity of your web site, application, social feed, page, etc. “Engagement” supersedes “eyeballs”: the number of people who looked at a page. Engagement sounds more scientific, and is therefore more useful to analysts, stock brokers, and journalists in declaring the success or failure of an online campaign, and especially in applying a monetary value and potential for advertising revenue. But unfortunately, there is no standard “measure” of engagement. Is it: How many members have signed up? “Daily Views” of a page, or video? **  How many times they ‘click’ from one page to an advertisement? How many “likes” they post for your business on Facebook? How many “friends”, how many “followers”, how many? How many? And how many of those are even real???


Wake up world. This is all vapor. Not even the kind of vapor you can inhale.

Today’s lesson is easy: Whatever anyone tells you about the popularity and massive use of a site, page, or “social network” is probably not (I’m being kind here…) exactly what is going on. Review your own experience with social. You are a VALID user. Your experience is probably not much different than anyone else’s. Think about it:

  • Facebook—In spite of the many ads you can now find all over “your” Facebook, how many times have you ever actually used one of those ads to make a purchase? Have you? Tell me!
  • YouTube, Web Pages, and elsewhere—The pop-up ad on the web page, do you want to see it? Or skip it?
  • Twitter—Poor Twitter. I like Twitter. Do you choose to read Tweets that Twitter inserts in your feed? Do you have any idea where they come from? Can you really keep up with the tweets of the 50 Twitter feeds you follow? 150? 500? Do you think those people who claim to follow over a thousand other Twitter feeds ever even LOOK at the tweets?? How do you feel about being followed by all those robots and porn sites?
  • Instagram – More robots and porn sites. More opportunities to buy followers.
  • Followers – That’s right, you want to have a popular Twitter feed or Instagram?? Buy yourself 10,000 followers. Or more. It doesn’t cost that much.*** We are really talking about a hall of mirrors here.

You can read more about it using the links below. I won’t waste more words. I want to get off my computer now because I have a real book I am reading. One made with paper. Seriously. So, because it means nothing:

  • Don’t follow me on Twitter!
  • Don’t like my Facebook page!
  • Don’t follow me on Instagram!

Peace Out,

—TW 


(Links below open in a new window.)

*Engagement (Rate)
Trackmaven – Engagement Rate is a metric that measures the level of engagement that a piece of created content is receiving from an audience. It shows how much people interact with the content. Factors that influence engagement rate include users’ comments, shares, and likes. <http://trackmaven.com/marketing-dictionary/engagement-rate/>

“4 Instagram Analytics Tools for Your Business”, HootSuite, <https://blog.hootsuite.com/instagram-analytics-tools-business/>

**Daily Views
“Snapchat Video Traffic Has Caught Up With Facebook”, Fortune <http://fortune.com/2016/03/01/snapchat-facebook-video-views-2/>

“Facebook Daily Views get New Metrics”, International Business Times <http://www.ibtimes.com/facebook-inc-fb-daily-video-views-get-new-metrics-publishers-2342825>

***Buy Followers:
“Big Business: Buying Fake Instagram Followers”, Huffington Post,<http://www.huffingtonpost.com/shayla-r-price/big-business-buying-fake_b_6322362.html>

Think Twice Before Putting Your Refrigerator in the Cloud

via Connected Device Data an Enterprise Windfall – Deloitte CIO – WSJ.

imageEnterprises can save millions (billions?) by analyzing and responding appropriately to the usage data provided by connected devices—HVAC, power meters, appliances, manufacturing equipment. Yes, we are talking about “IoT”, the Internet of Things, one of the hottest topics in tech news. The savings for large businesses are already being realized.

But is IoT really a big benefit for Jake and LaTeisha Consumer? So far folks, the evidence says otherwise. IoT as a matter of convenience for the consumer—when it runs out, order your detergent immediately from Amazon by pushing a button on your washer; change your thermostat, turn off your lights, shut your drapes from an app or web browser because you are going to be away—yes. Practical and convenient applications of the technology to the life of the consumer sells to the consumer, but analysis of the data? Who is really going to do that? Who benefits?

Once again, the more you give away your privacy, the more you push your life into the cloud, the more the marketing mavens can target sales to you. To your house. To your car. To your power meter. To your refrigerator. Just think, you run out of olives and Samsung sends you a private tweet when you drive by the supermarket. Your refrigerator and auto manufacturer, supermarket, Twitter, and who-knows-who-else get to “help” you.  The technology is here NOW to do that. It’s just a matter of time.

Think twice before putting your Refrigerator in the Cloud.

TW

A Plague of “C” – Colbert, Comcast, Commercials, and Cord Cutting

Can counting Colbert commercials create cord cutters? In my case it could .

Colbert is not the “Report” any more, but he is still Stephen! I couldn’t catch the live broadcast of his first “The Late Show”—so I caught it on Comcast’s convenient “On Demand”. BUT I didn’t discern that Comcast’s On Demand arrangement with CBS is that you get THE WHOLE SHOW—including all the original commercial content. Whether you want it or not.

I’m saying, THERE IS NO FAST FORWARD OPTION.

Which might be okay if it were just Colbert’s funny product placement commercials. But no, nation, there are many, many more advertisements than that.

In fact, the show starts with just a few ads during “breaks”, and then piles them on without mercy later, as you anticipate the main event (this show featured an appearance by Republican presidential contender Jeb Bush).

Remember, FAST FORWARD IS DISABLED.

“On Demand” in this case gives you “Time Shifting”, but you still have to figure out how to deal with all those time-wasting, loud, obnoxious, and sometimes very strange commercials.

Those Commercials: CBS thinks Colbert has a big following of “Snake People” (the generation formerly known as “Millennials”). I guess. Because there are ads for Xbox games, and ads featuring YouTube celebrities, and references that only a YouTube celebrity or YouTube celebrity fan would understand. I don’t know, is that even what they were? Maybe I got it all wrong. But that’s the point. What is the ad selling? I don’t know. Who’s on first? YaHoo. No, YouTube. I don’t so much care if they’re short, or weird, or appeal to millennials, but nineteen-in-a-row? In the pre-Bush break, I counted nineteen different ads in a row—before I crawled out of the room on my hands and knees to get away. Nineteen!! It’s the death of a thousand cuts, or nineteen, and it is torture!.

Cord Cutting “Colbert” – No, Comcast. No, CBS, being forced to watch all the commercials at a later date, is not this customer’s idea of “time shifting”. I demand “On Demand” with Fast Forward. Please. I want my commercial free TV. Or I will seriously time shift myself to some alternative. And thank you for the INTERNET, Al Gore, because I still have some choices. I can watch it on iTunes, right? Hm no. HULU? Well no. NetFlix…not there. Okay, heck!  How about on the CBS.com web site? Sort of. Five Free Episodes! With commercials. And whoops, click on the ad and you end up on the SPONSOR’S web page. That may be innovation, but I don’t call it an improvement. HELP! Thanks Al Gore, that was NOT what I wanted from the Internet.

Cord Cutting “Mr. Robot” – how it should work. The strange, dark, and somewhat popular show, “Mr. Robot” from USA Network is also available on Comcast “On Demand”, also with restrictions on the show. Just like those with CBS. You get The WHOLE SHOW, and all the commercials, and there is NO FAST FORWARD, and the longer you watch the show, the longer and more full of ads are the commercial breaks. Again we say, “Comcast, I demand ‘On Demand’ with Fast Forward!” Again I go to iTunes. And there is “Mr. Robot”! HOORAY. I will now PAY to see “Mr. Robot” when I want, on the device I want, in HD (if I want), with NO COMMERCIALS, and I can even Fast Forward. Thank you Al Gore; thank you Apple.

Oh please @StephenAtHome can I have The Late Show this way? Without the ads?? I’ll pay, I’ll PAY!!

PS: Mr. Robot is on Amazon too.

Happy Birthday Windows 95

I Love Working on a Macintosh.

Does that sound weird? After all these years? To me it doesn’t. But to people who have never worked on Macs—or for some reason that I cannot fathom—have worked on Macs but just not liked it, let’s face it, it sounds weird. Because even in this enlightened new millennium, most computer users use Windows, and sure, they eventually get work done, but honestly, how many Windows users love working on Windows?? Seriously? Even the geekiest of Windows Weenies, the hottest Windows programmers, the most talented of Windows technicians, how many “love” working with Windows? I’d wager, very few. Very, very few. And Mac users? When they switch, when they get their first Mac, what do they say? You’ve probably heard it too: “I love my Mac!”

This is not just hearsay or advertising. I’ve been in this business so long. For years people would tell me their sob stories about their Windows computers, their malware, viruses, their crashes, and slow downs, and on and on. As a consultant I refused work on Windows. There was plenty of work; Windows is a job-creation-machine. But to me, it was always the same nightmare, helping with the same stupid problems. It was no challenge; it was an affront to my creativity. It was “stone knives and bear skins”. Friends, relatives, and potential clients whose business I refused all got the same answer: “Why don’t you get a Mac?”

The price difference was often the reason, and that has diminished over the years, but even deeper, the answer, in the old pri-mac-evil days was pretty basic: “If I get a Mac, who will help me when I have a problem?”

And this was true. With Windows, you could have your brother, father, sister, friend, colleague at work, TOTAL STRANGER, or homeless person on the corner help. The power of ubiquitous monopoly meant that nearly everyone knew someone who could help them reboot their their Pee Cee, format the hard drive, and re-install Windows. (Which was the standard process to fix 95% of the issues with Windows – which, by the way, is why it was called “Windows 95”).

Telling people, “If you get a Mac you won’t have all those problems,” was not enough. Apple support in those days was notoriously hit-or-miss. Apple had a 90 day warranty! (I kid you not! Ninety days!!) There was no Apple Store. There were no “Geniuses”. And Apple had yet to launch a convincing and brilliant Mac vs. PC advertising campaign.

So Microsoft helped. By releasing Windows 95. Ten years after the original Mac, Microsoft embraced the interface so completely, copied the Mac OS so totally, that in the end they won over more users to Apple. “Windows 95” legitamized the Macintosh just as Apple was suffering the “Time of Darkness.”

And here again we have to acknowledge a strategic vision that moved Apple. Maybe it was Steve Jobs—he always gets the credit, for all I know it was Phil Schiller—or someone else at Apple, but they built a comprehensive strategy to address all those objections, one at a time, piece by piece.

Over time, it started happening, they all started to get Macs. For awhile I helped some of my clients move their stuff, but Apple had the tools, and the Apple Store, and the Geniuses available, and soon there wasn’t much work there, and that was okay. It was satisfying to have all these people tell me, “I finally got a Mac! You were so right! It works great!” These days, Macs have become so mainstream, so accepted, so successful, that I don’t even hear that anymore.

Being a Mac user isn’t special or unique. It’s just a good choice. You’d hardly congratulate someone for buying a Mac any more than you would congratulate someone for buying a decent car. And…most people nowadays even understand and accept the emotional attachment that people have for their Macs.

And on this important anniversary, I just want to say, thanks Microsoft. Happy Birthday Windows 95. I love working on a Mac!

Apple Flashback 1996: “Powered by Macintosh”

Email_from_Guy

Once upon a time, a long, long, time ago, Apple was a renegade. Corporate IT departments hated Apple because Macintoshes were different. Steve Jobs had been ousted from his own company, and Apple was floundering under a slow parade of unimaginative leadership. The media, smelling blood as Apple stumbled, piled on like a swarming mass of leeches on a fallen water buffalo, never mentioning Apple without also using the word, “beleaguered”.

“Evangelist” Guy Kawasaki, using a new and powerful marketing weapon called “the Internet”, and assisted by a ragtag band of Mac enthusiasts known as “EvangeListas”,  promoted the Mac and kept the spark of life in Apple until the eventual return of “the Steve” and the introduction of Apple’s premier “Think Different” product—the first iMac. Those of you who have only been using Macs for the last ten years or so may find this hard to believe, because Apple is such a successful consumer electronics company and its products are so awesome, but it nearly died, and that’s the truth.

I was an Evangelista, and now and then one of my ideas appeared on Guy’s Evangelist. We fought the good fight!

MadeOn_lime.jpg

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