al berrios & co. CONSUMER STRATEGIES REPORT 09.30.03: The Apocalypse Has Come, And Thy Name Is Pop-up

[1] UPDATES: Studies, Event
[2] MARKETING: The Apocalypse Has Come, And Thy Name Is Pop-up

"Being annoying does not necessarily translate into bad advertising. Door-to-door salespeople are pretty intrusive. Just because it's intrusive doesn't mean it can't be effective." David Croson, visiting professor of digital strategy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a researcher at MIT's Center for eBusiness speaking about Pop-ups

Good morning execs,

You spend thousands on making sure your kids have the best supplies to learn with. You spend what seem like millions of hours with the PTA. And you make every effort to talk to your kids about what they're doing in school. And yet, many of our kids turn out to be incompetent morons, leaching off society, however we can't ever admit it because they're our kids. Did you fail them? Or did our public educational system? You blame them, but the education is free. They blame you for poor parenting, but never notice when you do get involved. In upcoming months, al berrios & co. will undertake a couple of studies on this matter from the viewpoints of students currently involved in it to add to the pretty-much conclusive evidence that our system sucks. Be on the look-out.

On November 6th, 2003, yours truly will be hosting a small interview of senior marketers at Baruch College in New York. The goal, to figure out to how to spend $100,000,000 reaching consumers and other stuff you just can't learn in marketing textbooks. It's free to go, just let me know.

Enjoy your REPORT!


The Apocalypse Has Come, And Thy Name Is Pop-up

I consider myself a marketer's customer - a person who knows he's being targeted with offers from every angle and is tolerant. I may not use every media, but marketers still find a way to reach me. That's ok. I play the game, too, and know how to deal with it. But this spam situation has gotten way out of hand.

This weekend, I decided to "techie" up and work on one of my machines. This particular machine was notorious among my associates for the sheer amount of pop-ups it got - 10 to 15 each time a new browser window was open. These pop-ups weren't your typical pops either: they crashed the browser, they assaulted your desktop, and they made it practically impossible to have an uninterrupted surfing experience on the sites you actually wanted to visit. I figured it'd take me about 5 minutes to figure out what's going on and fix it (after all, years of avoiding marketer's efforts from infiltrating my personal machine made me somewhat of a pro at finding and eliminating this sort of software.)

But nothing prepared me for the sheer evil I discovered on this machine (think Exorcist). This machine had 61(!!!!) demonic spyware and ad-delivery programs embedded into my system so deep, that they weren't in the typical locations, but rather, hidden in the machine's system files (the equivalent of the machine's soul). Although I encourage my associates to download one or two of these sort of programs to explore the experience, this appeared to be programs that self-downloaded into my system without permission - otherwise, why hide them so thoroughly? No, this was no longer a mere marketing effort, this was the work of Beelzebub himself!

As I attempted to "remove programs", they seemed to migrate further into my machine, hiding themselves even more. Then, as I started deleting "processes" (an option in newer XP operating systems), they started fighting back. Finally, I started to just delete files. But all this did was make them angrier.

What did their rage look like? How about a Google search with non-Google listings? That's right, they actually created a mirror page over any search you do via any search site so that the first things you see is what they want you to see and you'd never know it. In fact, the only reason I knew it was an entire rape of Google's site was because I had been studying the site for a client campaign. They embed themselves in your system files and are near impossible to find. They camouflage themselves as Microsoft files and folders. They even encrypt themselves so they can't be deleted. They're not like software that are installed, so you can't uninstall them. And they slip onto your system via the software you do want to download, sometimes functioning as a critical component of your favorite software, so if you attempt to unclick the option to install this particular piece of software, the software you want won't work.

The argument is that if consumers didn't keep responding to these ads, then they would stop. And you can't blame companies like Fleet, Nokia, and AT&T for using this sort of technology since they just want to do what works. Actually blame falls on the following companies for allowing marketers to think their technology is opted into:

> 1st Blaze
> AdDynamix
> Ad-Flow
> Adserver
> AJRotator
> Bargain Buddy
> Bluestreak
> Bonzi Buddy
> Bravenet
> Brilliant Digital
> BroadcastPC
> Centrport Net
> Clickagents
> ClientMan
> CommissionJunction
> CommonName
> CoreMetrics
> Cydoor
> DomainSponsor
> eAcceleration
> Engage
> EzSearchBar
> eZula Hot Text/iLookUp
> FastClick
> FileFreedom
> FlashTrack
> Gator
> Goclick
> HitBox
> Humanclick
> iGetNet
> InternetFuel
> IPinsight
> LinkExchange
> LinkSponsor
> LinkSynergy
> MediaPlex
> Mindset Interactive - Favoriteman
> MySearch
> nCase
> Paypopup Adware
> Pokerroom
> PopupSponsor
> QuestionMarket
> SaveNow
> Servedby Valuead
> Specificpop
> TargetNet
> TargetWords
> Teenxxx Tinybar
> Tradedoubler
> Trafficmp
> TribalFusion
> ValueAd
> ValueClick
> vx2
> WebTrendsLive
> WhenU
> Xupiter

And since marketers are busy planning and buying, it becomes almost impossible to keep tabs on every single cent spent, regardless of how many people are on the case.

If you or any of your agencies are currently using any of these companies to serve your campaign, insist that their technology be explained to you in detail. They all claim that they have captive audiences, opt-in programs, or other desktop applications that serve your ads in an unobtrusive manner. But the fact of the matter remains consumers don't know that their machines have been hijacked and even if they did allow this disgusting invasion to occur, what you don't hear is that your vendor isn't the only company hijacking consumers' machines - meaning your ad gets lost in the clutter anyway. Folks, I'm a marketers' customer - I even look for ads - and even I didn't know the extent to which my computers have been mugged. On my machines, your ads are clicked off. They get no love. And you shouldn't give any love to these vendors either. Thanks to your support, the internet has become a trip through Hades. Is this the sort of experience you want to give consumers?



Disclaimer: The recommendations, commentary and opinions published herein are based on public information sometimes referenced via hyperlinks. Any similarities or likeness to any ideas or commentary from any other sources not referenced is purely coincidental. al berrios & co. cannot control any results occurring from advice obtained from this publication nor any opinion(s) conveyed by any reader of this publication.

(c) 2001-2005. All Rights Reserved. al berrios & company, inc. Published by al berrios & co. This Report may not be reproduced or redistributed in any form without written permission from al berrios & co., subject to penalty.


Back to Menu
Contact us