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.

Ultimate irony in consumption and condos

From the LA Times (reg required – or clean out your cookies) – Condos for Those Who Live to Shop?:

It seems like some people live at the mall. Now, they can. Shopping center owner Westfield Group announced plans Tuesday to add 260 luxury condominiums at its Century City mall by razing two office buildings to create more space for the condos and new stores. The $500-million project reflects a trend in which malls are being transformed into self-contained villages. From California to Massachusetts, the largest mall operators are looking for ways to stack housing within their shopping centers.

Keeping it close, eh? They are going to have kiosks spread throughout the mall too, peddling home equity lines of credit tied directly to department store charge cards.

One More Reason To Hire Your Own Script Kiddie

As if competing on the ecommerce front wasn’t hard enough, just think how tough it gets when your customers get spammed by your competitors, with your expressed written consent!

Building a shopping cart is as easy as buying a book on PHP/MySQL, or hiring a needy computer science major off of Craigslist for a couple of hundred bucks. But if you still need a reason to do it yourself, here is a story out of Reuters that will kick you where it counts: Online Payment Company Settles Privacy Charges.
[Read more...]