Sunday, August 23, 2009

Keeping Eyeballs Around Longer

© Stan Spire 2009

As mentioned in my post, “Acronyms Make Me Acrimonious,” I hate reading a blog post with all sorts of abbreviations that aren’t spelled out. This means I have to leave the page, Google the acronyms and find out what the author is referring to.

No, I don’t mean everyday simple stuff like AP or OMG. If I’m reading a journalistic blog, then most likely AP refers to the Associated Press. If I’m perusing a “scoop” about a vapid celebrity, a story that is trying to get me excited about some semi-talented rectal polyp, then OMG! means that a desperate hack wrote it.

Over at, Ken Doctor gets it right. In a post entitled
“Advance Partnership Signals Greater Microsoft/Newspaper Connection,” (Aug. 16, 2009), he explains that BT means behavioral targeting and SEM refers to Search Engine Marketing. Just a few extra words save me the hassle of clicking away to Google to figure out what he’s talking about.

I tried to politely point this out to another journalistic blogger and he basically said to go away. Fine. I deleted the feed to his blog from my RSS list.

The other way to handle the acronym situation is to link the term within the post to another site that explains what it means. Me, I’m not that much into linking. I want people to stay here at this blog, not go off and get distracted or lost.

Since Ken Doctor does things the right way, I have no problem providing a link to his blog. But I’ll put it below so you can click on it after you finish reading this deathless work of genius. Better yet, just make a note of the URL and keep reading the rest of my blog until your mind is satiated with my vast wisdom and knowledge.

Maybe this Ken Doctor guy ain’t that great, after all.

-- NOTES for the anal-retentive:

RSS: Real Simple Syndication

URL: Uniform Resource Locater

OMG: On My God!

FU: You sucker.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Great Advertising Scam

Advertising is a scam. It’s not as effective as the advertising industry would want you to believe.

Take CPM or clicks per thousand. (Note: Some ad person wanted to be esoteric and he used M – as in the Roman numeral for thousand – for this abbreviation).

In the past a company or store would just throw an ad in the local newspaper and maybe a couple of people would mention seeing it. With the Internet the success of an ad can be tracked by how many people click on it. From what I’ve read, most newspaper websites see low CPM’s.

But what do most newspapers hope will be their salvation on the Internet? Advertising. But if an advertiser can track how many people bother reading his ad by the number of hits and those hits are pitiful, why should be continue advertising with a poor-performing newspaper website?

And thanks to search engines, a company can promote itself with its own site. Why bother with the hard-to-navigate local newspaper website when eyeballs can go directly to you?

I’ve trained myself to ignore online ads. And like any ad, if the pitch is really annoying, I won’t buy that product or service. Advertising has driven me away instead of luring me in. Advertising can be anti-advertising.

Most advertising agencies and newspaper ad departments must be secretly aware how much they suck. Between being ineffective and even driving customers away, who needs them?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Acronyms Make Me Acrimonious

© Stan Spire 2009

API. What’s that?

I’m reading an online article that doesn’t spell out the term. Time to Google. Is it Associated Press International? Nope, not in the context of the article. Academic Performance Index? American Petroleum Institute? Academic Programs International? No, they don’t fit. Auntie Pollyanna’s Indigestion? Wait, here we go: Application Programming Interface. Now I can read up about it.

Another online article. SEO. Has something to do with search engines but what does the O mean? Google reveals it means Search Engine Optimization (or Optimizer).

OK, a minor point. But shouldn’t acronyms be spelled out in every article or post, especially if there a few ways they can be formed? The full name or title doesn’t take up that much room, does it?

Over at Common Sense Journalism Doug Fisher has an article about The SEC's new media (and new-media) rules. So what SEC is he talking about? Obviously not the Securities and Exchange Commission, unless it’s gotten into sports.

At least SEC wasn’t too bad Googling. If I was on the ball, I should’ve clicked on the link to the news article in the post and found out it stood for Southeastern Conference, but I read over the link the first time while searching for SEC to be spelled out. Then again, why should I click to get a bit of info that should be in the post? I’m not familiar with the SEC abbreviation because I’m not into professional sports tribalism.

I’m getting severe strain in my index finger with this plethora of unneeded clicking. And that makes me grumpier.

What does the AP Stylebook say about this? And for that matter, the API Stylebook? (Which API do I mean? You can figure it out…)

Stan Spire, HLMWR

FINAL SHOT: In the same post Doug Fischer writes about a DVD called “The Paper” that deals with a college student getting in trouble for doing a sports story on her own without proper clearance from SID’s office. The Doug mentions something about being in deference to SID.

OK, who’s this SID guy? He deserves deference because he spells in first name all in caps?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Sour? How About Bitter? Depressed? Suicidal?

© Stan Spire 2009

Plattsburgh’s local daily rag, the Jerkwater Journal, has revived what I call “Freak Out,” a feature that allows people to make anonymous comments without the fear of their name being associated with the term “ASSHOLE!”

Take this little intellectual gem entitled “Sour:”

For you people in retail (especially the mall) with the sour faces, do you think we like looking at that? If one person smiled and a couple people saw that, then one would surely smile at someone else and it would catch. If you are not happy with your job, find another one. Leave your problems at home, and enjoy that you are having another day on Earth. Think of the people with cancer, leukemia and other diseases that would give anything to be in your place.

Obviously this idiot has never worked retail, especially at the mall. I give this rectal polyp one month of suffering as a lowly mall clerk before it would realize how fucking stupid this comment is.

Salespeople and clerks are caught between rude customers and rude managers. I speak from experience. You get low pay for stress from both sides. Why smile when you’re in pain?

Not happy with your job, as this ass-hat states? Of course, there are so many good jobs here in NENYland. In fact, the job market has improved due to the recession. Now there are 200, not 100, lined up to get a dream job like dishwashing or cleaning toilets.

Leave your problems at home? Hell, how can you when your job is the problem? Barely making ends meet, bills piling up, while the Elite who own the mall rake in big bucks and live in luxury?

As for people with physical diseases, I would like to see the dickhead commenter behind “Sour” put up with the cancer that eats at the soul, working in an environment of greed and Sell! Sell! Sell! “Sour” wouldn’t last one week during the Xmas rush.

Sure, smile because you’ve lived through another miserable day on Earth making corporate pigs even fatter.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Advertorial Adversity

© Stan Spire 2009

See that full page spread on Monday in Plattsburgh’s daily (news)paper, the Podunk Times, headlined Safety & Crime Prevention? It featured shots of recent arrestees doing the perp walk, young handcuffed losers escorted by law-enforcement officers. Must make their relatives and friends in the trailer parks feel so proud to see them featured in the paper.

To make some profit off this “public service” page, the paper rounded up some advertisers. Check out all the ads. Not one of them is from a doughnut shop. How can this be?

The top local Law Dogs offer all sorts of bold-print advice in the advertorial. While reading it I felt like standing up, saluting, and saying “Yes, sir!”

BE A WITNESS NOT A VICTIM. ALWAYS lock your doors. IMMEDIATELY report any suspicious activity, vehicles or persons to the police.

Back in the old days Dunkin Donuts used to be the gathering place for all branches of the law. A city cop car parked next to a state police car parked next to a sheriff’s department car. You don’t see that anymore. Looked too suspicious. Maybe a concerned citizen called the police about it.

Here’s my favorite piece of advice in the ad:

DO NOT allow any strangers into your home.

I know I don’t – including strangers wearing uniforms or flashing fancy badges.