Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Honey! The ads are creeping again...

You ever notice something, you know, something that's probably been there all along and think to yourself: "When the hell did this new staircase show up at my apartment?" or something similar. That happens to me all the time! The other day, I found a new button on the radio of my car that I swear was not there before. There should be a name for this phenomenon. It should probably be in French, you know, like deja vu. Maybe "Qu'est-ce que c'est!?". Nah, that's too hard to type. How about the Spanish "Que es eso?!"

Nevermind, I digress. Anyways, I got a que es eso moment yesterday when I was doing some Xmas shopping. (This is probably old news in the blogosphere but it's new to me.) Amazon and Buy.com both have ads in their sites. No, not their own ads, other people's ads. When did this happen?! (btw, the links to their sites are affiliate free, how often do you see that? See, I'm not 100% evil!)

So after I got over my initial shock at seeing this, (and my guilt at not noticing earlier) I started thinking. Of course, the more I started thinking, the more I got confused. Why would they want to do this? Ok smarty pants, yes, I know it's to make money. But surely they're losing something as well.

I mean, are they such giants of e-commerce that they can sacrifice the shopping experience for the added ad revenue? Not only that, why would a shopping site, where I would think the main goal is retention and stickiness, want to give people the option to click off to another site?

The only thing I could come up with is that they're using ad revenue to offset sales revenue and thus be able to offer lower prices, negating the lowered user experience (people shop by price anyways). Still, the whole thing doesn't make much sense to me.


Anonymous said...

Well, I don't see ads when I go to Amazon currently. I suspect it was a trial period. Amazon is notorious for using "A vs. B" testing to see what gives them better results. So, I suspect they found that the ads were too detrimental to people buying items.

However, I don't think the ads are as senseless as you claim. I actually go to Amazon to do a lot of research. What's the full title of that book by Jessica Mulligan about online games? A quick visit to Amazon tells me it's Developing Online Games: An Insider's Guide (no referral link because I'm lazy, not because I'm non-evil). I don't need to remember that name if it's always a 30 second Amazon search away. I suspect I'm the type of person that they put ads in for.

BTW, good blog. You've gone into my list of blogs on my blog. Game developers need more insightful commentary on marketing. :)

Have fun.

Ken said...

I still see ads on the lower right, below the fold. They probably just know me better than I thought and I'm part of the "advertise to" group.

You know, you're right, I do research on Amazon too. In that way, they're a content publisher and the ads make sense. I just can't get over why they would want someone to click out. The longer you can keep someone searching, the more likely they'll buy something.

I guess their revenue from browsing impressions is higher than the dropoff they've been getting. I'd kill to see those numbers.

Thanks for the add, I'll return the favor. I've found your blog via Amber and been silently lurking. Topics are not my expertise so I stay quiet but learned quite a bit about developing. Keep up the good work!