During a quick lunch break this afternoon, I browsed the web, as usual, checking the headlines, markets, baseball news, science fiction news, etc. I ran into three things while browsing that were unusual enough to get me thinking, so I figured I’d write about them here and see what you all think.
Do web ads take into account “speed browsers”?
While checking the headlines on Yahoo!, there was a small ad on the web page for Dish Network. I glanced at the ad and it appeared to read: “There’s never anything on Dish Network” which I thought was odd because it didn’t sound like a positive ad. I checked the logo to see if, perhaps, DirecTV placed the ad, but indeed, the ad was for Dish Network. So I read the tag line again, and realized that I mentally replaced some words. What the tag line actually said was: There is never “nothing on” on Dish Network.
It made me wonder if writers of web ads take into account speed-browsers. While I am not a speed-reader, I am a speed-browsers. I read web-pages, regardless of their content, by gestalt. What happened in this case was I saw the words “There’s never” and “on Dish Network” and I assumed the missing word was “anything” (or “anything good”). I didn’t actually read the whole phrase word for word. I am very consistent about this behavior when I read web pages and I wonder if others are too. And therefore I wondered if the writers of web ads take into account the fact that people don’t read the ads word-for-words, but instead fill in the gaps in their mind, with unusual results from time to time. Perhaps jkashlock can answer this.
23 stocks that doubled
I came across another ad that indicated that “Since they launched Motley Fool Stock Advisor in April 2002, a full 23 of their recommendations have doubled in value or more.” This was one of the more bizaire statements I’d seen in a while. Even at first glance it doesn’t seem impressive. Then as I thought about it, it gradually grew even less impressive. April 22 was nearly 5 years ago. One must ask the question: how many stocks has Motley Fool Stock Advisor actually recommended in 5 years? If the number is 23 then it is very impressive. But I doubt it. In fact, I suspect the number is more like thousands. So in 5 years and thousands of stock recommendations, 23 of those recommendation have doubled in value. I think my heart just skipped a beat.
Customer service doesn’t matter
I was reading an article (by gestalt) about how the CEO of DTE Energy (in which I own some stock) earned $7 million in 2006. It broke down his salary ($1.1 million, non-equity compensation ($1.9 million) and stock ($3.9 million). It went on to say that “DTE Energy’s compensation committee…bases part of its’ executives compensation on performance benchmarks, and the company met most of the objectives for 2006.” Here’s the kicker. It pointed out the one benchmark the company did not meet were performance targets for customer satisfaction “and other items”. So when people say that the customer is king, the customer is always right, you know it’s just a bunch of hooey. Here’s a guy who got $7 million last year for running a company which didn’t meet it’s own customer satisfaction standards.
I was reading this article on Yahoo! News and came across the following paragraph, quoted verbatim:
He added that some Russian scientists who violated this ban have been punished — an apparent reference to Valentin Danilov, a physicist who was convicted of spying for China in 2014. Danilov pleaded innocent to the charges, saying the information on satellites he provided was not classified and that he had published some of it in scientific magazines.
Does the above paragraph contain a typo? Or will the event referred to take place a little more than seven years from now?
They may be just around the corner, according to this item from the BBC. Of course, we always expected dome cities to appear in places like the moon and Mars. I’m not sure we wanted to see them here on Earth.
Okay, I realize that there are many people out there who don’t have access to the Interweb (as “House” likes to refer to it). But I keep coming up with more and more creative ways to make use of it.
Case in poiint: During House last night, there was one of those commercial spots for the evening news that lasts about 10 seconds, where the anchor said something like, “He graduated with a degree in math and physics in one year…at eleven.” I’ve always hated these types of ads. It goes to show the lengths that the news organization will go through to get your attention. Since when did the news become a mystery story? Whatever happened to “Who, what, when, where, how and why?” Even when these late night news broadcasts start, they tend to lead with some tantalizing bit, and then say, “But first…”
Well I don’t watch the late night news. Aside from the fact that it’s terrible, it’s on at 11 PM and that is past my bedtime on a school night. But I was particularly curious about the person who “graudated with a degree in math and physics in one year”. I decided to use the Interweb.
It took me two google searches. The second search (search term = “degree in math and physics in just one year”) took me right to this article from a local news radio station. In ten amount of time it took my local anchor to blurb this story, I had read the entire article. The commercials weren’t even over yet. I had defeated their clever little attempt to suck me into watching a “news” broadcast that would have Edward R. Murrow spinning in his grave!
I felt great!
With the Interweb, who needs the evening news?
In an effort not to be cynical about this, I am trying to look on the bright side: We are becoming a nation of Homer Simpsons!
It occurred to me in a moment of contemplation earlier today that the phrase, “No news is good news” actually has a triple-meaning. I’m sure most people have figured this out and I am once again the last pig at the trough, but discovered it I have:
First meaning: The absence of news which one is expecting to receive (e.g. from a doctor, and interview, etc.) is good news, because you don’t yet know the outcome and can imagine that the outcome is still in your favor.
Second meaning: The absence of news, in general, is good news because the news, and in particular, the TV evening news broadcasts in prime time, have been going steadily downhill ever since Edward R. Murrow graced our TV sets. Thus, turning off the TV and not paying any attention to the news is a good thing. For instance, when you are on vacation and there is no television, then no news is good news!
Third meaning: NO NEWS is good news. Or, to put it conversely, ALL NEWS is bad news. Top stories especially. It’s always something like, “12 year old P.G. county boy kills mother and brother”. You never have a top story like, “12 year old P.G. county boy slays dragon” or “Bush Admits Pact with Devil”. It is all categorically bad.
Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.