Social Shopping Shills

Ad arbitrage at its finest. But nothing for the consumer.

Yesterday evening I hit the web searching for a product – something along the lines of the tried and true (and cheap) I already have. One page in, and of course I run into an ad. I click that ad, and I wind up at a site that supposedly is all about “social shopping.” Hmm…maybe I’m about to get a good recommendation.

I look closely and what do I see? A whole bunch more ads, and a bunch of category listings that supposedly contain results for what I’m looking for. Besides the fact that half the categories are completely irrelevant to my inquiry, I click on the closest to.

What do I find this time? A pile of listings that barely represent my need and…a boatload more ads. All of those ads are specifically worded to make me believe they will direct me to what I’m searching for, but by now I’ve shut down. Someone paid for the first ad click, and now they want me to click on more ads. They did nothing for me, and some ad distributor just made fifty cents.

I can’t help but think this is where an unreasonable proportion of the online ad money is really going (literally down the tubes), as I seem to see this same thing all the time. I’m not sure advertisers realize this, and I doubt they ever wonder why when it comes to site-based ad blocking, the onus is entirely on them to manage it.

I’m also glad that cash isn’t coming out of my pocket.

I didn’t link to the site in question, as I’m sure they’re private and see no benefit in hammering them. It’s just the concept that hurts.

UPDATE: All wrong. As it turns out, all that ad money is being put to good use.

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