At most, only about a tenth of all the “shocking” things the Internet says we can see if we click on a link actually turn out to be even surprising.
Almost all of the see-through garments worn by famous starlets are worn over clothing that covers up other stuff. And no, despite being asked about it often enough, you probably are not being ripped off in some novel way.
What outrageous thing did Taylor Swift do? She went to her high-school girl friend’s baby shower.
Things that are shocking these days rarely, rarely are. Lies and deceptions are important parts of the Internet experience. A large portion of our time and some of our money is spent trying to avoid being scammed or emotionally fooled. I have been approached more by Bank of America phishers than by Bank of America.
Once, way back, ads with phony claims and stories with nothing behind the exclamation points were put in their own place, in inky tabloids at supermarket check-outs. But on the Internet, scurrilous has wider range. The Huffington Post is renowned as a reputable news Web site and much enjoyed for giving a home to “sideboob” photos.
Almost all sports sites feature side trips to advertiser-sponsored features about the hottest sideline reporters and sexiest girlfriends of NBA stars and from there, the subject matter begins sliding down, fast.
No, President Obama hasn’t just changed the mortgage laws and really, clicking on that link won’t let you in on to any secret mortgage refinancing solution. Also there really is no controversy over a new skinny pill. Not in the normal definition of controversy, anyway, despite the special attention it seems to be getting from the Chicago Sun-Times site.
These features often seem to be part of the host site, if only by placement of the videos and the fact that most users aren’t about to spend all day wondering if they’ve been hijacked by a clever ad slight-of-hand.
Both advertiser and publisher are banking on the fact that you won’t care that you’re being lied to or exploited.
Because you’ve come to expect it.
So it is that TubeFilter is noting a new ruse by Beachbody, one of those get-fit-at-home video businesses that now is trying to trick viewers into clicking from its pre-roll on YouTube on to Beachbody’s landing page. They’re trying that by putting a click-on button just above the Skip Ad icon.
The landing page, of course, really pours the pitch on.
In the YouTube way of living, you click on that Skip Ad icon and then you’re on to music video you came for. So all Beachbody is doing is hoping you slip up a little. They give you the opportunity. It’s devilish.
Both banners appear simultaneously so it wouldn’t be hard to make the mistake. But to be sure, it’s not hard to click on the right button, either. It’s not brain surgery.
Still, is it fair? Is it honest? Is it designed to deceive? The answers: No, No and Yes.
TubeFilter takes only gentle exception: “But if the home fitness brand’s campaign can convert even enough of its ad-viewing audience into new customers, it’s well worth the time it took in the edit room to create the button that’s a 'Skip Ad' lookalike. Regardless of the end result, it’s all at least worth a shot.”
That’s online advertising as situation ethics.