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the Big Blog Company | Rude marketing deserves a rude response
“Who yer callin' a sparrow, you schmuck?!”
The bird on the back.
August 25 2004
Rude marketing deserves a rude response
Perry de Havilland • Marketing & PR 
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There are many annoying things about computing but one of those things that is most likely to reduce me to screaming at the monitor and firing up Google to hunt down the home addresses of certain programmers is rude software.

Yahoo is a particular offender.  Download and install their Yahoo Instant Messenger (or better yet, do not) and you get, unasked for, an icon in the taskbar and two more in Internet Explorer, all without so much as a ‘by your leave’.  Install the whole suite of Yahoo products and you get even more.  This is ‘interruption marketing’ and contravenes the cardinal rule of ‘do not piss off the customer’.  If I wanted the frigging icons taking up my screen real estate, I would have damn well asked for them.  So if you find that as intolerable as I do, download Trillian and use Yahoo Instant Messenger’s services without actually having to sully your machine with Yahoo Instant Messenger.  Hey Yahoo, my response to you trying to shove your products in front of me? Let’s try “Screw you, I am going to use your more congenial competitor”.  I am willing to pay to be treated more to my liking.

The same ‘interruption’ ethos can be found all over the internet.  The most extreme form is practiced (mostly by porn sites) via complete browser hijacking, persistent pop-up windows and the criminal practice of trying to covertly download diallers and other adware/malware onto your computer. Less extreme but more common are simple intermediate link hijacks.  For example if you are a gamer, you might want to check out the well known site Gamespy for up to date news on the subject.  But every now and again, you will find yourself confronted not with the Gamespy page whose link you just clicked but rather a bright green page with an advertisement that will eventually release you and send you to where you actually want to go on the site.  No doubt Gamespy thinks hijacking some of your valuable eyeball time is a small price to pay for their well informed site.

No, I beg to differ.  In fact not just “no” but “get stuffed” is my real reply.  If you want to subject me to advertisements, bloody well ask me if I mind first.  And my answer will be “No thanks, I mind very much”.  Not an option?  Fine, then I will take my eyeballs to, whose coverage of games is just as good and whose advertisements are far less intrusive.

If popup advertisements and link hijacks do not bother you, all well and good, you see things the way ‘they’ wish we all did.  Speaking for myself, my time is far too valuable to waste on information I was not looking for.  The internet is filled with many choices and that means there is no need to tolerate that sort of ‘push advertising’ approach.  Internet advertising is cheap so the cost of indifference is far lower per pair of eyeballs than, say, a magazine advert.  But that is not true if the advertisement has the opposite effect you want.  If your company tried that on me, the consequences will be negative value for your money.  Not only does interruptive advertising not work on me, it actively makes me your enemy and induces me to spend some of my valuable time to seek out alternative ways to achieve my objectives that will definitely not include you.  And I am far from the only one who feels that way… your competitors are only a few clicks away.

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