Friday, January 1, 2016

The Internet is One Big Ad

Sometimes this stuff just falls in your lap.

In this morning's e-mail, this missive:


I came across your blog while searching for designers. As a design connoisseur, we'd love to get your review on the newest addition to our website, the Nelson clock.

You can see it here: (link)
We'd be happy to send you a complimentary clock if you'd post a review along with a do-follow link on your website.

Please let me know if you are interested and I will get this beautiful clock shipped to you.

Looking forward to hearing from you,

Fascinating stuff.   They want me to review this clock and give me a free clock for doing so.   I wonder how many people they sent this e-mail out to (a lot, apparently) and I wonder how many people are posting, today or in the next few days, what a wonderful clock this is.  A quick search online shows that at least one blogger has taken the bait.

I don't know if their clock is nice or not.   What is apparent, based on some online reviews, is that the company is trying to be the next IKEA, and obviously wants some exposure.

But I have a small problem with advertisements posing as "reviews" when in fact they are paid for.

I have a small problem with it.  Others do not.   And historically, this has been the case.    Automobile magazines gave good reviews to companies that advertised with them.   One famous auto writer endorsed one make of car as the "best in the world" and got a new one every year.

Restaurant reviewers have historically gotten free meals.   And then there are the inexplicable good reviews of bad movies and bad plays - surely money must have changed hands, no?

With the internet, this trend is accelerating.    If you can buy word-of-mouth advertising, you can rule the world.

People are rejecting overt ads these days, and ad blockers are choking them off.   If you can get your product into the text of an article, a posting, or a video, this "product placement" can fly under the radar and sell a lot of product.

It is, to say the least, very scary.