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Fuck Twofo (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17971654)

Twofo [twofo.co.uk] Is Dying

DC++ [dcpp.net] hub.twofo.co.uk:4144

It is official; Netcraft confirms: Twofo is dying

One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleagured University of Warwick [warwick.ac.uk] filesharing community when ITS confirmed that Twofo total share has dropped yet again, now down to less than a fraction of 1 percent of all file sharing. Coming hot on the heels of a recent Netcraft survey which plainly states that Twofo has lost more share, this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. Twofo is collapsing in complete disarray, as fittingly exemplified by failing dead last in the recent Student comprehensive leeching test.

You don't need to be one of the Hub Operators to predict Twofo's future. The hand writing is on the toilet wall: Twofo faces a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all for Twofo because Twofo is dying. Things are looking very bad for Twofo. As many of us are already aware, Twofo continues to lose users. Fines and disconnections flow like a river of feces [tubgirl.com] .

N00b Campus users are the most endangered of them all, having lost 93% of their total share. The sudden and unpleasant departures of long time Twofo sharers fool_on_the_hill and Twinklefeet only serves to underscore the point more clearly. There can no longer be any doubt: Twofo is dying.

Let's keep to the facts and look at the numbers.

Sources indicate that there are at most 150 users in the hub. How many filelists have been downloaded? Let's see. 719. But 1621 IP addresses have been logged, and 1727 nicks have been sighted connecting to one user over the last term. How many searches are there? 600 searches in 3 hours. The highest sharer on campus, known as "firstchoice", or Andrew.Maddison@warwick.ac.uk in real life, was sharing over 1 TiB, despite working in ITS [warwick.ac.uk] and not being on the resnet. He's only there so people off campus who think they're too good for bittorrent can continue to abuse the University's internet connection.

Due to troubles at the University of Warwick, lack of internet bandwidth, enforcements of Acceptable Usage Policies, abysmal sharing, retarded leechers, clueless n00bs, and ITS fining and disconnecting users, Twofo has no future. All major student surveys show that Twofo has steadily declined in file share. Twofo is very sick and its long term survival prospects are very dim. If Twofo is to survive at all it will be among hardcore peer to peer fuckwits, desperate to grab stuff for free off the internet. Nothing short of a miracle could save Twofo from its fate at this point in time. For all practical purposes, Twofo is dead.

Fact: Twofo is dying

Microsoft shills (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17971658)

It's hard to lose credibility you never had. Pays well too.

This forces us to be more discerning (5, Interesting)

lecithin (745575) | more than 7 years ago | (#17971662)

How is this a bad thing?

Re:This forces us to be more discerning (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17971716)

Most people can't be more discerning, especially when they're looking at topics that aren't close to them. If you don't have the insight that enables you to tell marketing from honest opinion, you can only choose a level of general distrust that affects both. Increasing amounts of viral marketing and affiliate advertising will raise that level of distrust and that means people become more cynic, which is not a nice state, if you think about it.

Re:This forces us to be more discerning (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17971886)

Then ask a friend who knows or even one who's a specialist.

If you want a new PC, ask someone who knows those things, etc.

The tendency, of course, should be to educate yourSELF, so you can know more on your own.

Some people like being stupid, and serves them right.

Re:This forces us to be more discerning (4, Insightful)

ultranova (717540) | more than 7 years ago | (#17972064)

Then ask a friend who knows or even one who's a specialist.

How does your friend know it ? How can you know his knowledge didn't come from viral marketing ? How do you know the specialist is actually a genuine specialist and not a cleverly placed viral marketeer, and if he is a specialist, that he hasn't been bribed ?

If you want a new PC, ask someone who knows those things, etc.

How do you know he isn't getting paid to recommend Dell or some other crappy brand ? And how do you know I'm not getting paid to say bad things about Dell every chance I get ?-)

The tendency, of course, should be to educate yourSELF, so you can know more on your own.

How can you educate yourself when you have no way of telling truthful sources from viral marketing ?

Some people like being stupid, and serves them right.

Ignorance is not the same as stupidity. Besides that, if you have no way to know which sources to trust, you have no way to get rid of that ignorance. That is the problem with viral marketing.

Re:This forces us to be more discerning (4, Insightful)

bit01 (644603) | more than 7 years ago | (#17972922)

Besides that, if you have no way to know which sources to trust, you have no way to get rid of that ignorance. That is the problem with viral marketing.

No, the problem is noise. A message can be compromised by too much noise as well as too little message. That is the problem with viral marketing and marketing in general.

In the real world you do not have the time to all evaluate the messages you receive. You must always trust your sources to greater or lesser extent. Marketing deliberately tries to subvert trusted sources by flooding them out with content free trash. It's no accident that the most successful advertising campaigns tend to be the ones with the most money spent. If the value of messages was inherent that would not be true. An arms race to get mindshare in other words. Everybody loses except the marketing "industry". It's also fraudulent but unfortunately the legal system isn't even close to being able to deal with it.

---

Beware deceptive astroturfers [wikipedia.org]

Re:This forces us to be more discerning (3, Interesting)

Elemenope (905108) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973964)

As Postman pointed out, laws were created to deal with advertisinbg at a time when all advertisments were expected to make factual truth-claims about their product; false advertising was when an advertiser make a false or erroneous factual claim in their advert about their product. When advertising became about image rather than facts, adverts for the most part ceased to make truth-claims at all. Thus, all those laws no longer apply.

Since many economists have pointed out recently that no economy can function efficiently when the participants have poor knowledge of the transaction and poor knowledge of the product, perhaps capitalism owes it to itself to enourage truth-claims in advertising again, and perhaps sanction or eschew ads that do not. What sort of regulatory mechabnism that might entail I dare not think about, but it might be a start.

Re:This forces us to be more discerning (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17975020)

Hence the reason I take a different approach. Want nothing, define my needs, and culture jam.

The subconscious mind is continuously looking to satiate the conscious minds needs. Advertising operates on the premise that if you get to a child before they are of age you can destroy that fine line between need and want, and sell more. It becomes easier to convince an adult they need a guitar if you convince them as a child they need McDonalds, in other words.

First, you need to know what you need. That prioritizes above all else. Once you know what you need, then you move onto what you want. Wants fall into two categories; things you've always wanted, and things you didn't know you wanted. For example, I'v always wanted to upgrade my box for the last 2 years. I could've, but I decided I needed a car more so I invested money in a car instead. When I get cash left over, I usually save it until I feel financially safe enough I can go out and satiate my wants. Once those long-term wants are satiated, then I can go out and begin satiating things I'v had a curiosuity about or didn't know I wanted.

Culturjamming basically is walling yourself off. If all I want, right now, is a pair of inserts and some foot powder for my boots, then that's all I want. I'll walk into wally world and buy just that, while listening to radio and wearing yellow tinted glasses. Nothing gets to me then and I'm free to have control over my mindshare while in the store.

Re:This forces us to be more discerning (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17972222)

One word: Tupperware. Marketing is already aiming to exploit existing friendships and peer groups. This is much more problematic online, where people never meet eachother and can start over with hardly a problem if they need to. The circle of people whom you can trust is shrinking because everybody earns a commission these days. The alternative is, as you said: educate yourself. Unfortunately you can't educate yourself to be an expert in every field. There just isn't enough time.

Re:This forces us to be more discerning (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17973154)

Well, even if there was something more guyish, I don't think I'd ever go to something like a Tupper party. If you know your friend is only in there to peddle stuff, I'd simply say no.

If you want to be sure to get a good deal on anything, be sure to combine a product with service: if someone sells you PC, ask for service to be included. That'll make sure you either get a good brand product, or that you get a well-built product, because service wouldn't be worthwhile.

Ok, in part that might actually apply to Tupper stuff; it's said to be expensive but robust. Nonetheless, if a friend tried to sell things to me, I'd be just as careful as if I bought those things from a stranger. Because. There's money involved.

Re:This forces us to be more discerning (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17973328)

You might not even notice that you're at the online equivalent of a "Tupper party". Some referral links are pretty sneaky. It isn't always obvious what is just a product or subsection id and what is an affiliate id. Even if you can tell, would you deny your friend a referral bonus? Sometimes the bonus is split among the referrer and the referred, making it even harder to say no to affiliate marketing.

Re:This forces us to be more discerning (1)

msobkow (48369) | more than 7 years ago | (#17972326)

It sounds like the same problem that affected the old NEWS feeds that pre-dated the web. As more and more spam and "teaser" marketing were done, people stopped using it as a medium. Eventually all you seemed to find were a few die-hard posters who wouldn't accept the death of that broadcast digital medium, and those who saw nothing wrong with "teaser" content that links advertising info (usually just a website URL) to the content.

I haven't "surfed" the old "news" feeds in a long time. I wonder if they're even still carried by anyone?

Re:This forces us to be more discerning (1)

rocjoe71 (545053) | more than 7 years ago | (#17971738)

Very true! ...Wag the Dog.

Re:This forces us to be more discerning (3, Insightful)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#17971770)

This forces us to be more discerning. How is this a bad thing?

Indeed. And not just that. What kind of advertisement do you prefer: the marketoid speak, bland, noisy, blinking commercial spots rotated a hundred times on every channel every day, or more game-like advertising, which is fun on its own, and tries to show some practical usage of the advertised product?

I personally am sick of the "old school" commercial spots and would trade them for anything any day.

Of course it's important to differentiate deceptive viral marketing (ex. Sony's PSP "blog") and scams (ex. "Neuronet" virtual reality networks) and the harmless reality-game-like advertising, where the creators would reveal themselves as part of the plan (like the Bridezilla spot).

I would really rather them post those videos on their official sites as entertainment marketing their products, but truth is that while this generated hype, people will abuse it. The novelty will wear off and they will move on to a newer technique.

The difference may come as hard to discern in the general case of viral marketing, but quite important.

Re:This forces us to be more discerning (4, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#17972490)

I've recently adopted a new strategy when it comes to shopping. Every time I've complained about irritating adverts that tell me nothing about the product, people have pointed to brand recognition as the answer. Studies have shown that people are more likely to buy a brand they recognise than one they don't.

Now, when I don't know anything much about a particular product (e.g. toothpaste), I will choose the brand I recognise the least. If it works, I'll keep using it. If not, I'll switch to a slightly more familiar one. The ones that blare irritating advertising at me will be last on the list.

Re:This forces us to be more discerning (1)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973608)

Sounds like a good plan to me. You've made a convert.

Re:This forces us to be more discerning (4, Interesting)

tilde_e (943106) | more than 7 years ago | (#17974698)

The problem with this is that there are a lot of rebranded things, or sub-brands if you will. Odwalla is Coca-cola now, etc. So you need to also check who distributes that toothpaste because it might say J&J or Colgate in the fine print! Companies can produce new brands on a whim these days... but luckily they tend to be shelved not too far away from all the things you did recognize from that vendor. I've also seen knock-offs that are actually produced by the company they appear to be competing against.

For a sub-brand example, Santitas looks nothing like Frito-Lay at first glance on a store shelf: http://www.fritolay.com/fl/flstore/cgi-bin/product s_santitas.htm [fritolay.com]

Re:This forces us to be more discerning (2, Interesting)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 7 years ago | (#17975092)

Depends on your goals behind such purchase decisions. If you want to put the company out of business, then you'll have to check real hard, especially with the number of companies all shared by the giant conglomerates (like Colgate-Palmolive, or Ralston Purina, or Kraft... the list goes on and on). If you just want them to change their ways, then if enough people are preferring the less-advertised sub-brand over the heavily advertised main brand, then rational companies would decide that the sub-brands are doing something right and try to do that more often. Which would hopefully mean less advertising, and not heavy advertisement of their popular new brand (formerly the sub-brand).

Re:This forces us to be more discerning (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17972562)

What kind of advertisement do you prefer: the marketoid speak

That kind. I can turn it off if it bothers me.

Re:This forces us to be more discerning (1)

Eternauta3k (680157) | more than 7 years ago | (#17972924)

I personally am sick of the "old school" commercial spots and would trade them for anything any day.
Give them to me! I'll gladly give you all those stupid commercials where they sing or use celebrities. Hell, my favorite commercial is an olive oil (Marolio) commercial. It's a picture of the bottle with a voice saying "Marolio..." and the company's motto. Lasts 10 seconds, burns the brand into your memory, and doesn't make you hate it.

Re:This forces us to be more discerning (5, Insightful)

Mike1024 (184871) | more than 7 years ago | (#17971832)

How is this a bad thing?

If it creates both (a) discerning people and (b) the need for people to be discerning, it seems disingenuous to praise it for making people more discerning.

By the same logic you could say muggers are good because they force people to be more alert.

Re:This forces us to be more discerning (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17971892)

caffeine makes people more alert, does that mean caffeine is bad?

Re:This forces us to be more discerning (1)

ichigo 2.0 (900288) | more than 7 years ago | (#17972042)

Caffeine is bad.

Re:This forces us to be more discerning (1)

Mike1024 (184871) | more than 7 years ago | (#17972138)

caffeine makes people more alert, does that mean caffeine is bad?

Caffeine (a) makes people more alert, but does not (b) create the need for people to be more alert.

Therefore my argument doesn't apply.

Re:This forces us to be more discerning (1)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 7 years ago | (#17971970)

Having been mugged myself, I should have thanked the dude as he ran off with my 65p.

Re:This forces us to be more discerning (4, Interesting)

Zeinfeld (263942) | more than 7 years ago | (#17972458)

If it creates both (a) discerning people and (b) the need for people to be discerning, it seems disingenuous to praise it for making people more discerning.

If you watch any network TV program these days you will see paid product placements inside the shows. The actors dunking their Oreo cookies in their morning coffee are paid to say that they are their favorite.

People who complain about the blogosphere are almost always doing so because they have a vested interest in keeping people stupid. They don't want people to be questioning the beltway 'reporters' like Tim Russert who last week admitted that he automatically considers high government officials to be on background and clearly treats their statements as unassailable gospel truth rather than as self interested claims which are at best likely to be half truths and are quite likely outright lies.

Because of overpaid fools like Russert there was no resistance when the Bush Administration blundered into Iraq with a plan that many experts including the army chief of staff considered to be half baked.

The point of the blogosphere is not to exclude views, it is to include them. You can find every view on the blogosphere including the paid product placements and specious punditry you find in the mainstream media. But you also find the views the mainstream media don't publish.

The blogosphere is largely a US phenomenon because the US media is by far the worst in the Western world.

Everyday the mainstream media interviews far right idiots like Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, hatemongers like Bill Donahue, Pat Robertson etc. etc. etc. I have never once seen Chomsky interviewed in the past five years. And the only question the media asks itself is 'are we being too liberal'. There is a huge market for left and centrist pundits such as Paul Krugman but they don't get booked.

And the idea of having politicians on the talk shows rather than unaccountable pundits simply does not seem to have occurred. Every weekend five or six politicians drawn from the same pool of 15 'A-list' talking heads appear.

Its not simply a right wing bias though, its an establishment bias. In the early Gingrich years I had several exchanges with his staff. At the time they were the disruptors and the establishment was shutting them out. In another ten years the centrist Democrats will be the establishment and everyone else will be shut out, or rather that is what would happen if there was a mainstream media in ten years time which there probably will not be.

Re:This forces us to be more discerning (3, Insightful)

makomk (752139) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973642)

People who complain about the blogosphere are almost always doing so because they have a vested interest in keeping people stupid. They don't want people to be questioning the beltway 'reporters' like Tim Russert who last week admitted that he automatically considers high government officials to be on background and clearly treats their statements as unassailable gospel truth rather than as self interested claims which are at best likely to be half truths and are quite likely outright lies.

Whereas in the blogosphere, there are people who are actually secretly being paid to promote a particular view. Sure, the media may be overpaid fools, but at least you know who's signing their paychecks.

The point of the blogosphere is not to exclude views, it is to include them. You can find every view on the blogosphere including the paid product placements and specious punditry you find in the mainstream media. But you also find the views the mainstream media don't publish.

With absolutely no way of telling which is which and no consequences if people get caught. I remember when Slashdot and various blogs got taken in by a misleading press release claiming the Government was trying to make bloggers register (actually about large-scale paid astroturfing campaigns). Surprisingly few people noticed that its source was potentially less than reliable, despite the fact that the chairman of the organisation signing it (and the press release did have his real name on it) actually being in charge of a marketing company known for similar techniques in the past.

Its not simply a right wing bias though, its an establishment bias. In the early Gingrich years I had several exchanges with his staff. At the time they were the disruptors and the establishment was shutting them out. In another ten years the centrist Democrats will be the establishment and everyone else will be shut out, or rather that is what would happen if there was a mainstream media in ten years time which there probably will not be.

Whereas the blogosphere has an anti-establishment tendency - the mainstream media is all lies, and anything written by an apparently independent blogger or grassroots movement is assumed to be true (at least, until someone less lazy than 99% of the bloggers out there tracks down information on the author and discovers they're on the payroll of some marketing/PR outfit or the other). (I'm exaggerating, but only slightly - fake bloggers need to be able to write well and build up a strong following before they can start misleading people effectively.)

The real problem is, most people don't have time to find out what's actually going on (or can't be bothered) - in some cases, it's not even possible, for example when it's happening in a warzone far away. So they trust what other people are saying - and whether that's blogs or the media, the issues are still there. (The other problems are that blogs have even less of an incentive to be unbiased than mainstream news - in fact, most of the big-hitters seem to be built around the idea of telling people what they want to hear. Also, proper investigative reporting is expensive and difficult, and I can't seem bloggers doing it any time soon - though the media doesn't do much these days either.)

Re:This forces us to be more discerning (3, Insightful)

Zeinfeld (263942) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973884)

Whereas in the blogosphere, there are people who are actually secretly being paid to promote a particular view. Sure, the media may be overpaid fools, but at least you know who's signing their paychecks.

Empirically this is not the case, there have been several Bush administration scandals where journalists turned out to be paid with government (i.e. our) money to propagandize for the GOP.

Product placements are not reported. And the curious silence of the establishment media on the Cunningham scandal in its early days strongly suggests that it was not only politicians that were visiting the Watergat building for the Poker and Hookers parties that court documents allege Brent Wilkes paid for. The number one and number two at the CIA were dismissed as a direct result of that scandal, Foggo for allegedly attending the parties, Porter-Goss for promoting him into that position.

Whereas the blogosphere has an anti-establishment tendency - the mainstream media is all lies, and anything written by an apparently independent blogger or grassroots movement is assumed to be true

Not in the blogs I read. It is routinely assumed that many bloggers are in the direct pay of politicians and campaigns. The same is true on Wikipedia. I have found a few editors there who were very obviously paid shills for a campaign. The Katherine Harris ones being the most amusing, they would be editing in endorsements by politicians who had already made public their refusal to support her. Then they would suddenly disappear and there would be news of a purge by 'Pink Sugar'.

But there are also paid shills and paid shills, I can pretty much guess who wrote many of the wikipedia articles on several Internet security protocols. In some cases people have told me that they wrote them. But its pretty rare that I read one of them and find something blatantly POV. Most people are sensible enough to know that a good article is going to survive much longer than an obvious puff piece.

Its about accountability. If you shill in the blogosphere other people soon find out. You can be a paid shill for Faux news and nobody will say anything against you.

Re:This forces us to be more discerning (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17974306)

If it creates both (a) discerning people and (b) the need for people to be discerning, it seems disingenuous to praise it for making people more discerning..

I totally disagree.

The success of viral marketing schemes is a constant reminder that we are not yet discerning enough to properly protect ourselves from marketing BS.

This is, indeed, a good thing to know; and we should be thanking the viral marketers for teaching us this unfortunate fact about ourselves.

Because of our weak analytical skills, we will always an easy mark. It is inevitable that we will be prayed upon, so it is useless to criticize those who pray on us. The fault is entirely in ourselves.

A good analogy would be computer security. Our computers are not nearly secure enough, but, fortunately, we have an army of crackers constantly reminding us of that fact. Learning that our computers have weak security is, indeed, a good thing. We owe a debt of gratitude to those crackers who are constantly telling us that we have built a wholly inadequate computer security infrastructure.

From the fine article, why this is bad. (1)

Erris (531066) | more than 7 years ago | (#17972014)

"If one is always skeptical, then goes to cynicism, you end up feeling pretty negative about the world," Mr. Federman says. "You end up with a very sour disposition. You tend to look at people and interactions as everyone trying to manipulate you, and tend to have a miserable existence, quite frankly. It's not pleasant. You can't enjoy yourself. You always have to be on your guard."

It is a case of the bad tarring the good and it's intentional. If the people making these things tell you up front, "brought to you by Sony," no one would care. The problem is that people in marketing don't want us to trust each other. This goes double for companies like M$, whose primary competition is free software. They understand the value of honest endorsement by disinterested third parties and seek to both use and destroy it.

Re:This forces us to be more discerning (4, Insightful)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 7 years ago | (#17972020)

The fact that Anybody At All believed that {LonelyGirl15 was genuine/Taco Bell bought the Liberty Bell/Saddam Hussein had WMDs} demonstrates that people will fall for just about anything.

Deceptive marketing is only good in the sense that chicken pox is good: by exposing people to it and giving them a chance to develop a resistance to it, their chances are improved of not succumbing whe exposed to even worse stuff (i.e. lying political leaders).

Welcome to Plato's cave (4, Interesting)

Richard Kirk (535523) | more than 7 years ago | (#17972256)

We cannot tell whether any particular fact is true. All we can do is to try and see how well anything we are told fits in with everything else we know. Suppose, for instance, we were told on a webpage that water freezes at 0 Celsius. We can get a thermometer and some water, and some ice, and do an experiment. All that tells us is that the people who write the web pages are somehow in collusion with the people who make thermometers. Or, at an even lower level, they are colluding with the people who write the dictionary terms for 'water' and 'thermometer'. Or the rules of grammar that determine that the description has a single, unambiguous distinction.

Okay, water does not always freeze at 0 celsius. Zero celsius is the triple point of water. When you actually do the experiments, or make your own observations, then you often find you have to refine the terms. I am not really talking about that. What I am trying to do is to make a distinction between what is 'true' and what is 'false'. We can define 'truth' so strictly that nothing we ever say is precisely 'true'. For the pruposes of this argument, I am going to relax a bit, and argue that statements can be 'true'.

How do we determine whether something is 'true'. Some scientific and mathematical statements are subject to proof or experiment, but we do not usually resort to this. With questions of historical fact, we can sometimes examine the raw evidence (but how 'raw' is that?). Most of the time, what we do is to see whether the new fact is compatible with what we already know. Knowledge has been likened to a boat which never comes into port: but is repaired by the crew using driftwood and materials found at sea. It would be difficult to completely remake the boat becaue it can never come into dock, but it an change over time by gradually expanding or replacing one component at a time. Over time, the whole boat's material may be replaced with new parts, and the whole crew may be replaced by their children, but the sense of their being a boat is preserved.

We should have some suspicion of everything we see and hear. Nothing is ruled above suspicion. However, you may remember the eposode of 'Kung Fu' where two adepts are guided by a venerable old man down a path where they are then robbed. They were both asked what they had learned from the event. The one who replied "trust no-one" was rejected from the monastery. "Expect the unexpected" was the better answer. Without some sort of discernment, there is no difference between the people who deny the Apollo project, and the people who deny the holocaust.

So, what is special about the web? Nothing, really, other than its newness and its versatility. We can post images and videos as well as text, but we also know we can manipulate images and fake videos. I can remember how authoratative some documents looked when printed out using variable-width fonts, when this was rare and expensive. Books tend to be trusted, because they are permanent, and therefore could have been criticised or edited as necessary. However, Erich von Daniken wrote books full of easily refutable facts. One of my favourites was how the island of Elephantine could have only been recognized as the exact shape of an elephant from a flying saucer. It isn't the shape of an elephant at all, as Google maps can show you - it got its name from the ivory trade. Going electronic has probably shortened the gap between posting something and posting the refutation, but the basic mechanism is the same.

Can we make something that gets people wary of clicking on random links, and falling for scams? That is where the scepticism is really needed.

Re:Welcome to Plato's cave (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973146)

The venerable old man would look a lot less like a self serving asshole if he told the 'trust no one' guy he had a lot to learn and invited him in and told the 'Expect the unexpected guy' very good, move along, nothing for you here.

(What's the difference between your deniers by the way? Some are evil and all are stupid?)

Re:This forces us to be more discerning (3, Interesting)

Alef (605149) | more than 7 years ago | (#17972282)

How is this a bad thing?

I read somewhere that the trust people place in random strangers is a very important property for a well functioning society. It allows transactions to run smoothly. If you always expect to get scammed, getting anything done would be a nightmare. (Game theory is probably applicable here.) Interestingly, the research also indicated that it is more important that people trust each other than that they actually can trust each other -- that is, it is the perceived ability to trust others that matters. That is why this is a bad thing.

Re:This forces us to be more discerning (3, Interesting)

speculatrix (678524) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973966)

indeed. take a look at the countries where corruption is rife such as the Congo, and you'll see some of the poorest countries, despite large quantities of aid being injected very little of it filters down to the people who need it, and very little money is invested in the future because corruption at the highest level means it is impossible to get a return on investment. There's no benefit to working hard if the local gov't officials discover a new tax to take everything you've got. Inflation is also usually a massive problem because people can't even trust their money - I have witnessed people trying to buy a washing machine in Zimbabwe dollars, and needing several large backpacks to carry the cash, and taking hours to count it!

trust in society is a vital glue, whether stopping to help a stranger in trouble, or running a shop and expecting that the dollars being offered for the goods on sale are both genuine and have a stable value for future trade.

Can we trust any anonymous sources of information? (1)

catchblue22 (1004569) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973284)

What about posts to Slashdot? Or callers to talk show radio shows? Or letters to the editor of a newspaper? Or any other public forum where citizens are supposed to speak as citizens, and not as shills for some hidden organization? I have long suspected that shills from hidden interests/corporations game such forums to their own benefit. After all, what do they have to lose (such posts are anonymous and inexpensive), and what do they have to gain (the subtle manipulation of public opinion in their favor)? I think this behavior is exactly what one would expect from a corporation, since such organizations are institutionally programed act in their own self interest above all else.

If this teaches us anything, it is that we should not form our opinions based on the opinions of some "trusted source". We should instead base what we think about the world on objective facts (as best we can determine), and rational argument based upon those facts. This is perhaps becoming more difficult these days, as sources of facts and rational argument seem to be rare, while sources of opinion seem to be multiplying. But if we as citizens of a democracy wish that our society continue to stay democratic, then it is our duty to diligently seek out the objective truth.

Re:This forces us to be more discerning (1)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973768)

How is this a bad thing?
Because the level of trust on the network has gone down by yet another notch.

I'm not glad the virus/worm writers are working as hard as they are because it forces us to be more focused on security. I think they're scum because the typical mail/spam ratio nowadays is roughly 5% thanks to the zombies they create.

Instead of wasting my mail server's cycles like the spammers are, marketers are wasting my own. Since I can't upgrade myself easily, it's even worse IMO.

The saturation of everything with endless useless advertising is becoming a never ending aggression.

Who's the bitch now? (2, Insightful)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#17971676)

Don't think of yourself as a victim of viral marketing. Think of yourself as their bitch. :-)

Sometimes that "really interesting video on youtube" ... isn't really that interesting at all. Go read a book or something...

Re:Who's the bitch now? (1)

Legion303 (97901) | more than 7 years ago | (#17972124)

"Sometimes that "really interesting video on youtube" ... isn't really that interesting at all."

But...but Digg told me it was a cool new commercial! They wouldn't deceive me!

Re:Who's the bitch now? (1)

EvilMonkeySlayer (826044) | more than 7 years ago | (#17972252)

Sorry, but it's in books too [bbc.co.uk] .

This is what I hate about modern advertising, you often don't even know it's advertising. So you can no longer trust anything you read.
Take for example company shills on forums [gizmodo.com] who are paid to give positive opinions. How can you tell?

At least with tv or video you could mute it, turn it off or fast forward past it. Nowadays you don't even know it's advertising.

Marketing (3, Insightful)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 7 years ago | (#17971678)

Has ruined every medium so far it has touched... This is the rule not the exception!

Re:Marketing (0, Redundant)

Monoman (8745) | more than 7 years ago | (#17971764)

That is pretty much what I was going to say.

The way to ruin a good thing is for someone to try and make a buck from it. Just about every time the marketing industry gets wind of a free way to advertise they destroy they system they exploit.

Re:Marketing (2, Insightful)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#17971792)

Has ruined every medium so far it has touched... This is the rule not the exception!

It has that potential, but come on: I watched the video 10 mins ago after I read this article (i.e. I already knew it's fake). I still enjoyed it a lot and laughed at some moments.

Not everything should be "real" for it to be enjoyable. And not everything should be void of marketing and product placement to be enjoyable too.

The devil's in the details as always, and how well all goals the creators had play together to form a coherent and fun final product.

Re:Marketing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17971954)

I already knew it's fake. I still enjoyed it a lot

So then, what is the problem with being upfront about it? Why do they have to pretend they're not marketers?

Re:Marketing (1)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#17972206)

So then, what is the problem with being upfront about it? Why do they have to pretend they're not marketers?

Simple: hype. It's just easier to hype it up this way.

This is a temporary effect though. We know if this formula gets users often enough, people will stop reacting to it, as with anything else.

Re:Marketing (0)

bit01 (644603) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973230)

Simple: hype. It's just easier to hype it up this way.

Of course marketers never ask themselves why it's easier to hype it up that way.

They are fraudulently misrepresenting themselves as a more trusted information source. There's a reason why reputable publications have a "Advertisement" on anything that might otherwise reasonably be construed as third party information.

I live in hope that the law will eventually catch up and put some of these people in jail for false advertising. We'll see.

---

New game: Spot the lying astroturfer [wikipedia.org] on /.!

No, greed does. (3, Insightful)

JamesTRexx (675890) | more than 7 years ago | (#17971844)

From TFA:
In the long term, developing this kind of skepticism will benefit all Internet users, Mr. Federman says. But in the short term, he says, online deceptions of the "wig-out" video variety have the potential to erode trust in events or moments that seem to be free of artifice or marketing interests.
"If one is always skeptical, then goes to cynicism, you end up feeling pretty negative about the world," Mr. Federman says. "You end up with a very sour disposition. You tend to look at people and interactions as everyone trying to manipulate you, and tend to have a miserable existence, quite frankly.
"It's not pleasant. You can't enjoy yourself. ?You always have to be on your guard."

The core to it is just greed.
Wherever there's a new online trend, be it blogging, home made videos, virtual reality worlds, people want to make money out of it. Just look around in the real world, advertisements everywhere. I can't take a five minute walk in town without coming across numerous ads.
Even worse, I can't take a five minute drive without coming across large ads which to me is inviting danger. I try to ignore them as much as possible, but they do distract from the road where my attention should be. There is legislation about handsfree calling in the car, why's there no legislation against lingerie ads alongside main roads?
Ads are like roaches and crawl under everything that shows a crack. Radio, tv, and now games as well. I stopped listening to radio and watching tv because I got sick of the bad content stuffed with ads. And no, this was not free content as we all pay a contribution to public radio and tv.
In a few years one can't hide from reality by spending a few hours on games because they'll be loaded with ads.
And now reality gets abused by greedy people producing "real" content.

I really wish people could just let things be what they are and not manipulate it for money. There are more important things in life than making a shitload of money.

Re:No, greed does. (1)

fuzzix (700457) | more than 7 years ago | (#17972084)

There are more important things in life than making a shitload of money.

You seem not to be playing "Who dies with the most toys". You must have some form of schizoid personality disorder or one of those fashionable attention deficit thingies and must be prescribed some behaviour altering pills not entirely unrelated to cocaine. I suggest winemol or ruthlessitin.

I think you'll find yourself a productive and happy member of our little Monopoly playing family here if you follow my programme and just play along.

Re:No, greed does. (1)

JamesTRexx (675890) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973278)

just play along

That's the problem, I always sucked at any game. :-(

:-P

Re:No, greed does. (1)

Arivia (783328) | more than 7 years ago | (#17972696)

Tip: The target audience for lingerie is not the same audience as the one who will be distracted by it.

Re:No, greed does. (1)

JamesTRexx (675890) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973318)

Don't care who the target audience is, it's about the effect of ads like this, no matter what product is being sold.
Right now they also use pictures from the old Star Trek series for something, but it's impossible to read the text on it without getting a good long look at it. That's something that should not be used at places where only cars come by. Do that at places where you only have pedestrians.

Re:No, greed does. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17973664)

The core to it is just greed.

I seriously don't mean this facetiously, but dude ... that's the fundamental principle of capitalism.

There are more important things in life than making a shitload of money.

Don't you listen to the news, or read the Libertarian blogs? Everything that costs money and doesn't return a profit is a waste of money. Why can't you see this? Spending money and/or time on things that do not have a sufficient ROI is never worthwhile. Get with the capitalist program dude!

Re:No, greed does. (2, Insightful)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973810)

I personally think, capitalism in the sense of the strongest will survive, is destined to destroy itself, just as communism was. It just will take longer, but the signes of its destruction are all over the place. This will not be the end of capitalism but the end of capitalism without borders.

Re:No, greed does. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17973928)

No problem with greed - everyone's greedy and selfish, and we all know to expect that much. The deception I have problem with, and the modern "marketing" discipline is so often an euphemism for deception. One, it takes up too much brain bandwidth to process - this is a huge waste for those of us in sci/eng which impose more than its share on brain bandwidth on its own, and two, the consequential increase in cynicism (i.e., worthy subjects/projects get derided/suspected by default due to the instincts built-up).

I have no problem with ruthless traders in markets (Wall St. or commodity exchange, flea markets, whatever). The damage due to the marketing discipline, both commercial and political, at the society levels are so much more insidious and destructive.

For what it's worth, I studied at Wharton, and had worked for marketing companies.

Re:Marketing (1)

drsquare (530038) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973814)

Well it means there is such a thing as free, over-the-air TV. Newspapers and magazines are much cheaper, and commercial sponsorship helps many small businesses. How is that ruining mediums?

OT: RSS feed (0, Offtopic)

smoker2 (750216) | more than 7 years ago | (#17971696)

http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/89 258382/article.pl [slashdot.org]
This RSS feed directs to the home page, as does
http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/89 294729/article.pl [slashdot.org]
All previous RSS links are fine.
This is on FC4, Firefox 2.0.0.1
Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv:1.8.1.1) Gecko/20061208 Firefox/2.0.0.1
I am accessing the RSS feed through the Firefox Live Bookmark
I am not prepared to create an account at Sourceforge just to tell you of this error.

We some of this in Denmark too (1)

Reverse Gear (891207) | more than 7 years ago | (#17971706)

A campaign that is said to actually have made young men think more about keeping the speed down.
Speedbandits [speedbandit.dk]

Re:We some of this in Denmark too (1)

Sneakernets (1026296) | more than 7 years ago | (#17972954)

Oh my god, that's BRILLIANT!

Re:We some of this in Denmark too (1)

Molochi (555357) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973510)

NSFW.

peer pressure (4, Insightful)

gravesb (967413) | more than 7 years ago | (#17971710)

If you are so easily influenced by this type of video, maybe there are some other issues besides trust that you need to look at.

Re:peer pressure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17971862)

Perhaps it is in order to look at a more drastic real world example: I don't give to charities. I've learned from numerous scandals where charities used most of the money for their internal operations and only a small percentage ended up helping the alleged cause of the charity. I've learned from police reports about fraudulent collectors who pretend to be collecting for a charity but are really just collecting for themselves. I'm sure there are worthwhile causes and I know there are people out there who want to do good and can't get the money, but I have no way of telling one from the other, so I don't give to charities. Fakers ruin it for everybody, offline and online.

Flogging Flaunters (3, Interesting)

romland (192158) | more than 7 years ago | (#17971712)

Well, call me a troll, but...

Personally I have my doubts as to how many viewers/readers of these blogs actually stop to think whether they are genuine or not, moreover, I wonder how many actually cares. Personally I don't read any personal blogs of people I don't know unless they are of a more technical or "factual" nature (a simple example would be "AmigaOS 15 released, click here to get it!"). Now, these kind of topics are sure prone to be marketing stunts but chances are I don't even know about them then. Much less read them.

An exception is of course when I KNOW that it's a marketing stunt, then I might start reading it just for giggles.

And as always a lot of people will say something along the lines of "If there's money involved, look at it with a critical eye" now. Well, that kind of bollocks sure is true, but I think most of us actually DO look at it critically, without even knowing it.

To get to the point, I really have to ask the people who get upset at these kind of blogs to reevaluate their lives.

Not so simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17971888)

Folk naturally promote what they're doing, the problem is that Marketing vermin are now targeting "word of mouth". Consider an honest guy blogging about his startup who choses to upload a video or podcast. If it's good, people tell their friends and it will receive limited publicity.

Now consider that same startup eighteen months later. The company is successful and has recently secured VC and opened a marketing department. The new marketing department decide to continue the founders successful strategy and provide both copy for his new corporate blog and a professionally produced video. Marketing has always been denigrating to their demographic, and now "viral marketing" is reducing everything to the scrutiny of a cynical sales pitch.

Bill Hicks said it best.

If you work in marketing or advertising, kill yourselves now.
(Nervous audience laughter)
No, that isn't a joke.

Re:Not so simple (1)

romland (192158) | more than 7 years ago | (#17971976)

Fair point.

But what you are describing has always been the case. Somehow we're doing just fine, and we're drowning in "corporate messages". There are non-obvious sponsorships in practically everything we see, read, hear. Is our world more cynical than it was before, say, the TV? No idea. But certainly not to the point where it is bothering me.

I'm almost inclined to say that the reason we think the world is more cynical is because the world is shrinking and more people gets to voice their opinion more easily. And we all know that a bland statement is going to go unnoticed if posted next to your faultfinding captious critic. So it's a selection we make to ourselves. The only difference now is that we select what is going to be seen (by digging, referring to other blogs etc), not the editor selecting the messages sent in to "letters to the editor".

Then again, I merely skimmed TFA.

Trust is not the problem... (0, Troll)

haakondahl (893488) | more than 7 years ago | (#17971728)

The problem is that a generation of Americans (speaking for my own country) has been pumped so full of non-judgmentalism, relativism, and revisionism by public schools that a majority of us can no longer discern it from shine-ola.


If every point of view is equally valid, and all persons equally deserving of respect, then why should we bother learning how to think (as an older education would have it), or even what to think (as a modern education would have it)? Why should we bother learning the difference between lies and mistakes, between manifest and latent properties, or between good guys and bad guys? That's right--a long time ago, students troubled themselves to elucidate the natures of Truth, Beauty, and Justice. Now we get classes on S&M.


This viral marketing "crisis" may be interesting, but it is the least engaging symptom of a very real problem.

Re:Trust is not the problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17972000)

The issue is not relativism or non-judgementalism. The issue is that rhetoric has replaced reason in our (American) society, and this is true regardless of one's political persuasion.

The consequence is that complex, abstract notions such as 'Truth, Beauty, and Justice' are reduced to sound-bites, serving some corporate and/or political purpose. Thoughtful exploration of events and issues is discouraged in favor of simplistic 'truths'. The common phrases that "The war in Iraq is with 'evildoers who hate us for our freedoms'", and "the planet is warming due entirely to those evil oil-burners" come to mind as examples of this.

Now, raise a couple of generations in an environment like this, and you'll wind up with what you describe - a generation of folks who aren't critical thinkers, but *are* avid consumers, mindlessly absorbing whatver media they run into. Kinda what you want, if you're a good (unregulated) capitalist.

Viral marketing is just another form of rhetoric, and as usual, those with a louder megaphone (ie. corps and their ad budgets) gets to both frame the debate and contribute most of the conversation.

No, it Is worse than that! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17972672)

AC said: The issue is that rhetoric has replaced reason in our (American) society ... Thoughtful exploration of events and issues is discouraged in favor of simplistic 'truths'.

How right you are, although the words you use to describe the problem are poor choices. Oh how I wish that rhetoric had become so commonplace! Rhetoric is the art of persuasion and is one of the three original liberal arts: rhetoric, dialectic, and grammer. Of the three, only the last remains in our public school system and only in a watered-down form. Take a look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhetoric [wikipedia.org] for a bit more detail regarding rhetoric.

To persuade effectively, one must first exercise critical thinking, discriminating judgment, and insightful analysis with regard to the subject at hand. Instead, we suffer through platitudes and slogans. Today's political analysis is uncomfortably close to the dystopian visions of Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four.


If you need someone to do that for you... (3, Insightful)

MarkusQ (450076) | more than 7 years ago | (#17971732)

...having a pernicious effect on our tendency to trust what seems genuine."

If you haven't had this tendency whacked out of you be daily life you need to get out more, or do something other than stare at a blank wall while you're in.

Seriously. A month of almost any sort of social activity (or twenty minutes in a few bars I know of) should fix it. As should a few year's experience debugging other people's code, working in retail, or even watching nature shows on TV ("Wasps do what?!? That's seriously messed up dude!").

Heck, just open an e-mail account.

If you have a tendency to trust things just because they seem genuine you are in deep, deep trouble. And that fact hasn't changed for millions of years.

--MarkusQ

but there are honest people. (1)

Erris (531066) | more than 7 years ago | (#17972110)

If you have a tendency to trust things just because they seem genuine you are in deep, deep trouble. ... A month of almost any sort of social activity (or twenty minutes in a few bars I know of) should fix it. ... debugging other people's code, working in retail, or even watching nature shows on TV... just open an e-mail account.

There is a difference between scepticism and cynicism. The cynic never expects to find someone who's honest and helpful, and that's sad. They have given up being that way themselves. The problem raised by flogs and their promotion is that exposure to manipulation tends to make cynics. Lying is wrong and fraud is violence.

Companies that do this kind of thing should know that distrust will stick to them, not others.

Problem is many marketeers are scum.... (1)

gweihir (88907) | more than 7 years ago | (#17971880)

They have no personal honor or responsibility at all. They will use whatever it takes and accept whatever collateral damage happens, just to get their message across. Basically this boils down to personal gain (their success) above any other values.

Re:Problem is many marketeers are scum.... (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973766)

The collateral damage is largely limited to people lowering their 'provisional' trust.

An example: Given low initial trust, if a filmmaker gains a reputation for maintaining non/low/reasonable commercialism in his films, people will 'trust' him not to in future projects. New filmmakers will only have that early provisional trust and will have to rely on people who are so interested in finding new work that they 'risk' seeing ad ridden crap, and other people will rely on those people as guides. Those trust relationships aren't that expensive to maintain for the consumers, but the 'trust' may be worth quite a lot to a filmmaker, so he would eventually become quite hesitant to destroy his reputation. People can rely on the trust they have built up, mitigating the actual damage caused by cynical marketing.

Drop the "viral" (4, Interesting)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 7 years ago | (#17971890)

and the title is still true.

When will the nation learn that we cannot abide with marketing in this post-9/11 world?

Re:Drop the "viral" (3, Insightful)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 7 years ago | (#17972034)

When will the nation learn that we cannot abide with marketing in this post-9/11 world?

What does 9/11 have to do with the price of fish? For that matter, what was so special about 9/11?

I know the politicians of our day like to beat up the terrorism issue as if it was something new, despite the fact that it has literally thousands of years of history, but those same politicians are the first to use the most scurrilous tactics the marketroids can devise.

Re:Drop the "viral" (1)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 7 years ago | (#17972276)

woosh

Re:Drop the "viral" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17973160)

"post-9/11 world"?

Ugh... Carry on good little consumer.

Re:Drop the "viral" (1)

Lord_Dweomer (648696) | more than 7 years ago | (#17975054)

How you got modded up to +5 insightful is beyond me. Ask any successful businessman whether or not we can abide with marketing and the answer will be no. The reason why is that our capitalist society DEPENDS on it. The only way for a business to grow is to increase sales and the only way to do that is to get the word out. Guess how you get the word out? Oh right, marketing.

I always find it interesting to read the comments on /. for stories about advertising and marketing. People love to bash it but do not realize how absolutely necessary it is for our economy. For starters, try doing some research to determine the percentage of our country that is employed in some capacity in marketing/advertising. That's a LOT of jobs we're talking about there. The other thing I'd like to point out is that everybody loves to bash negative things and those are the one that tend to form our impressions about other related things. What about all the GOOD viral marketing that you've seen and gone "oh, cool, thats entertaining". Case in point, I wonder how many slashdotters read about this Aqua Teen Hunger Force campaign and thought it was awesome, not necessarily the whole hoopla that it caused, but the actual LED moonenite thing. Yeah, that's what I thought.

Slashdot loves its hypocracy.

it depends really.... (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 7 years ago | (#17971916)

maybe where it comes to blatant astroturfing, no. But Hiro Nakamura's blog really drew me into the Heroes thing. NOw with Primatech paper and Hana Gitelman's blog... it's kind of impressive what you can do when you present a product meaningfully to consumers

Having a pernicious effect? (1)

Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) | more than 7 years ago | (#17971926)

these fake blogs or 'flogs' are having a pernicious effect on our tendency to trust what seems genuine.

Good.

and how! (0, Troll)

DragonTHC (208439) | more than 7 years ago | (#17971930)

yet they still seem to trust bush.

Meh. (1)

pizzach (1011925) | more than 7 years ago | (#17971940)

Must....not become....more cynical....about to snap. Maybe drawing mustaches on the advertisements above the urinals with help.

Re:Meh. (1)

Joebert (946227) | more than 7 years ago | (#17972194)

Japanese Proverb:
he wo hitte shiri tsubome
There is no use squeezing your butt once you've farted

You've obviously never shit your pants before.

Re:Meh. (1)

amyhughes (569088) | more than 7 years ago | (#17974804)

Maybe apoxying something over top of the ad would help even more?

Less trusting and more discerning? Tragic. (1)

Kohath (38547) | more than 7 years ago | (#17971972)

You mean people will start to think about what is being said to them and try to understand whether it's true or not? They won't just blindly believe everything they're told without confirming it?

Wow! What a tragedy. On some minor level, folks are growing up a little and becoming smarter.

Politicians' jobs just got a tiny bit harder.

(If you believe this article at all. I don't really know why you should.)

Re:Less trusting and more discerning? Tragic. (1)

bit01 (644603) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973342)

Wow! What a tragedy. On some minor level, folks are growing up a little and becoming smarter.

No, folks that are just as smart as they were before will have to waste more of their lives dealing with shills and imposters. What a waste and a less civilized society.

One example is telemarketers; every hour of their so-called "work" means they are stealing an hour of other people's time, more if you include computer dialing and other tricks. Another example is TV advertising, where people end up paying twice over, once to watch/avoid the ad and secondly the increased price of the product to pay for the ad. The net value of broadcast television for the vast majority of the population is now approaching zero because of advertising.

The time of our life and what we spend it on is the most important thing we have.

Marketing frauds like to pretend that they add value and that it doesn't matter. They've lying.

---

The majority of modern marketing is nothing more than an arms race to get mind share. Everybody loses except the parasitic marketing "industry".

Intel ads on Slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17971994)

Heh, Slashdot serves ads pointing to the Intel Opinion Centre which has (all?) stories removed because it seems the Opinion Centre thing with its "news" backfired... I'd say this story is spot on. :P

On the other foot (5, Insightful)

Joebert (946227) | more than 7 years ago | (#17972046)

The company behind the latest You Tube video sensation would like you to know this: It was never the intention to portray anything other than a dramatization.

In that case, I suppose they'll understand if I create videos that make it appear products like theirs ruined my life, dropping hints to make people think of their products & post them in the same mannor as their videos.

Afterall, it's only a dramatization.

Sad thing is, I'm willing to bet I'd have cease and desist or face legal consequences letters sent to me faster than I could imagine by doing so.

Will it Blend? (1)

Leebert (1694) | more than 7 years ago | (#17972054)

I know what they're saying, I mean, I ran straight out and bought a $400 Total Blender from Blendtec myself.

*eyeroll*

I like viral marketing because it tends to be that I seek it out, on my own schedule, not the other way around. Plus it has to be good.

fake blogs or 'flogs' (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 7 years ago | (#17972126)

... because on the Internet nobody knows you're a flog ...

Genuine Information (2, Interesting)

Jekler (626699) | more than 7 years ago | (#17972228)

I believe the Viral Marketing and Stealth Marketing trends will eventually lead us down the road to Informed Marketing. We'll reach a point where we no longer wish to be entertained or distracted by commercials, but rather, the commercials which give us the most accurate and detailed information about a product will be the most successful.

We're not there yet, and I think that has a lot to do with the newness of information technology. The vast majority of the internet world are like 3-year olds. They are testing the boundaries of the virtual world, learning how this works with that, feeling, walking, and speaking for the first time. I think these are going to be short-lived trends. Maybe 20 to 30 years, but in the long run, all of this is nothing more than a novelty of our current generation.

Re:Genuine Information (2, Funny)

dzfoo (772245) | more than 7 years ago | (#17972536)

>> I believe the Viral Marketing and Stealth Marketing trends will eventually lead us down the road to Informed Marketing. We'll reach a point where we no longer wish to be entertained or distracted by commercials, but rather, the commercials which give us the most accurate and detailed information about a product will be the most successful.

And everybody will love each other, and World Peace will be achieved, and starving children will be fed. Oh, and everyone will get a pony too! Yay! Hurrah for marketing!

            -dZ.

Fake! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17972346)

Obviously fake.

Trust on the internet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17972386)

are you fucking stupid?

Viruses are spread by people (1)

JasonNolan (628882) | more than 7 years ago | (#17972602)

Why believe things you have no context for? If I'm going to read someone's blog, and the blog has only been up for 15 seconds, why would I believe it. IF someone's been blogging for 5 years, and is linked into a network, some of whom I know or know of, the believability will go up. The more viral marketting we get, the better, so the troggs feel stupid about being conned, and they either grow a critical awareness or just head back to the mall. Viruses are spread by people.

A good way to tell... (1)

moosehooey (953907) | more than 7 years ago | (#17972952)

One good way to tell whether a video is really made by an individual, or by an ad agency, is to notice how good the sound is.

A company typically won't release a video where the sound is hard to hear, and even if the picture is lousy, it'll make the video "feel" too well made. Sound is almost more important than picture.

One area where I think viral marketing would work is for companies to release commercials that are actually entertaining. There have been a number of "real" commercials released, which are too racy/violent/etc. for real television, but they're represented as a commercial. I'd be more likely to watch those because they're not being dishonest.

Asymptomatic Viral Herpes Breeds Cynicism, too. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17972976)

Maybe LonelyGirl and BrideZilla should use protection, even if it looks like it's not needed?

What's Pernicious About That? (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973660)

> ...how these fake blogs or 'flogs' are having a pernicious effect on our
> tendency to trust what seems genuine."

Sounds like healthy skepticism to me.

Good! (1)

pluther (647209) | more than 7 years ago | (#17974534)

When it comes to believing people you don't know, a healthy cynicism is a good thing.

I wonder if people will start distrusting all those videos that companies make about their products and give to "news" shows to show for them next...

Uncanny valley (2, Insightful)

wraithgar (317805) | more than 7 years ago | (#17974688)

It has always been my contention that advertising has its own uncanny valley [wikipedia.org] , where the best advertising is either not advertising (real, honest, incidental product endorsement ... which is getting very rare) or something that is apparent as advertising. Anything too close to "reality" is going to fall in that valley and breed this kind of cynicism.

This is a problem for advertisers, as the conclusion or argument of an ad used to simply be "buy me," but in the current digital age it has resorted to simply "watch me." (Listen to the "Commercial Bowl" episode from the Princeton Review LSAT Podcast [princetonreview.com] for a good review of this principle. In order to be seen, the ad must not seem like an ad. Unfortunately, or maybe even ironically, the less it looks like an ad the more it is likely to be viewed with skepticism and cynicism.

What's the solution? Some might argue product placement or something like it, something inseperable from the content. This solves the "watch me" problem, but not the cynicism problem. Perhaps the solution is simply to go back to "this show brought to you by brand x thingamabobs." Be open about it, get people to want your product based on the art you support. That's one approach.

I'm interested to see where advertising goes in the next decade or two. It's almost certain to look nothing like what we are used to today.
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