April 15, 2007
As we’ve learned about attitude change and the nature of communication, marketing is at its most effective when the target is unaware that someone is trying to persuade them. A quick visit to Alexa.com will reveal that Myspace is usually one of the top 5 visited websites on the internet. It is estimated that the site attracts 230,000 new users every single day. The number of visits per day is easily in the tens of millions. It’s therefore to be expected that this website will feature the latest attempts to draw the attention and clicks of the average web user. These techniques seem to change over a period of several months to draw in more unsuspecting users.
The site is geared to young adults and the sites’ marketing reflects this. One of the first advertisement techniques I saw replicated a ‘mini-game’ designed in flash. The user is tricked into thinking one can win a prize by “swatting a fly” with their mouse. When one clicks on the flash game they are directed to a site where a product is offered and the true nature of the game is revealed.
Perhaps an even more social psychologically relevant advertisement is one which masks itself as a video chat with a woman. An attractive young female is dressed in the appearance of the “girl-next-door”. In various videos she flips her hair, plays with a mug, and portrays other flirtatious social cues. If you sign up with myspace as “female” you’ll be show ads featuring buff men. To top the deception off, a chat window is visible under the video which mimics an instant message service with its scrolling lines of chat. The unsuspecting web surfer will believe there is someone on the other side speaking to them. Then all it takes is a single click and the surfer gets directed to a dating site where one has to pay to subscribe.