New Domain Names Could Hurt Marketing Efforts

March 16, 2009 at 12:10 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) recently announced they wish to expand the list of top-level domains available for companies to choose from. In other words, the end of a web address could be .candy, .plants, or .clothing instead of .com, .net or .org.

Tidbit of knowledge: there are currently 21 generic top-level domains

Sorry Mike & Ikes, Laffy Taffy's Shaking Its Stuff At .candy

Sorry Mike & Ikes, Laffy Taffy's Shaking Its Stuff At .candy

Companies would be able to choose their new domain as it relates to their company or product. Laffy Taffy could choose to purchase the .candy domain, making their website http://www.laffytaffy.candy instead of http://www.laffytaffy.com. Here’s the catch- only one company can use each new domain. This means that if Laffy Taffy gets .candy, Mike & Ikes are outta luck. We could potentially see multi-million dollar bidding wars for a most-wanted domain, and there is no guarantee it would even be profitable.

See, here’s the problem. They tried this in 2005 when they introduced the .travel domain. Ever heard of it? Nope, didn’t think so. That’s because we are preconditioned to type .com at the end of a web address. Even if we know that the address should end with .net, we can’t help but think “if I type .com it will redirect me.” And that’s the problem that would occur if ICANN announces fair game on new domains. Big companies would feel obligated to purchase the domain names that relate to their company, for fear of cybersquatting. Once those domains were purchased, 1 of 2 things would happen: 1) those companies would have to shell out extra money to market those domain names; or 2) they would redirect their new domains to their main .com address. Either way, a lot of money is being spent on a completely unnecessary move.

Spend millions on a new domain name, or save someone's job? Seems like an obvious choice to me.

Spend millions on a new domain name, or save someone's job? Seems like an obvious choice to me.

How much money? It would cost a company $185,000 just to register the domain, and then their annual fees could be between $25,000 and$75,000. Not much of a bargain. Plus, factor in the bidding wars between competing brands and you’ve got millions upon millions of dollars essentially being wasted.

With today’s economy, don’t you think we should be spending our money on more useful things? Like, oh I don’t know, avoiding layoffs? Just a thought.

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Lose 15 lbs., Grow 4 Inches, and Learn Mandarin…Overnight!*

March 13, 2009 at 12:02 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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*Results Not Typical

We’ve all seen them: commercials that “guarantee you’ll lose 15 lbs. in 2 weeks,” yet the fine print on the bottom of the screen says “results not typical.”

With all of the deception, how can consumers decide which products actually work? I think it’s about time that someone step in and set some rules about all of this false advertising.

Yesterday, the FTC announced they want to toughen the rules on testimonials so what is presented in the commercial actually represents typical results. These changes would mean a dramatic overhaul of the diet pill commercials which show 15 lb. weight loss in a week’s time; now the commercials would have to show the success consumers are likely to have.

The proposed changes have gotten some negative attention from marketers, including the Direct Marketing Association who claims these changes would place a “substantial burden on advertisers.” Some claim that guaranteeing results for certain products would be near impossible, and with these new rules in place, marketing for these products would also be near impossible.

To be honest, I think these companies have been getting away with unethical practices for too long. Advertising results that are not even close to the results an average consumer can expect to achieve is outrageous. Granted, most people realize that these products will never give them those results, but I think it’s pathetic that it’s gotten to that point. These companies shouldn’t have been able to advertise this way for so long.

What I don’t understand is if everyone knows that the results are bogus, why did these companies continue to advertise like this? Were they hoping to find an unsuspecting person who was dazzled by the hopes of dropping the equivalent of a toddler in 2 weeks time? Whatever the reason, I think these companies have been acting in an unethical manner for way too long and it’s about time someone stepped in.

You go, FTC!

If SpongeBob Told You to Jump Off a Bridge…

March 6, 2009 at 4:56 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Chances are today’s youth would do it. And their parents would sue SpongeBob.

There are some staggering facts and figures floating around about the ethics of marketing to children. An article by Miriam Zoll tells us that “recent studies have shown that by the time they are 36 months old, American children recognize an average of 100 brand logos.” Another study published in 1991 found that “by age six, Old Joe (who was the face of Camel Cigarettes) is as well recognized as Mickey Mouse.” A study released in 2005 by the Institute of Medicine states that “advertising influences what children under 12 eat” and that spokes-characters are “being used to manipulate vulnerable children to make unhealthy choices.”

I mean, seriously. Way to go Old Joe. This is obviously your fault.

I mean, seriously. Way to go Old Joe. This is obviously your fault.

Companies have advertised to children for decades. In the 1990’s kids knew who Old Joe the Camel was, they knew what he was selling, but we didn’t have an onslaught of seven-year-old smokers. Why? Because our parents taught us that smoking was a bad decision, and it was a bad decision we weren’t allowed to make until we were grown-ups.

To be honest, I don’t know that many people my age who are smokers. We were exposed to cigarette ads, we watched people smoke in restaurants and bars, we knew who Old Joe was by the time we hit kindergarten… but for the most part, we turned out ok.

Now, here’s where it gets interesting. Parents of young children have formed coalitions against marketing junk food to children because it’s directly causing the children to become obese. The scary part is that there actually is an epidemic of childhood obesity in this country. Is it because food companies came up with a few jingles and hired a guy in a furry costume to dance around during their commercials?

No way.

It’s the parents’ fault their kids are obese. Even if kids are exposed to messages from junk food companies on a daily basis- they should be exposed to messages from their parents on daily basis about healthy eating, getting some exercise, not doing drugs, not drinking….you know, the things we all heard from our parents when we were growing up.

I think it’s about time that parents take a more proactive approach when raising their children, and stop blaming

But Daddy, I want it now!

But Daddy, I want it now!

every problem they encounter on advertising and big corporations. Parents need to realize that they can actually say no to their children (but seriously, tell your 8-year-old he’s NOT getting the $200 iPhone). Parents today seem to be under pressure to constantly please their children, but that’s not their role. Their role is to raise responsible, well-balanced people. Doing so takes discipline and perseverance, and telling your child “no” when need be.

Here’s one other staggering fact about today’s children, as reported by the Kaiser family Foundation: the majority of young people say their parents don’t impose any rules on them regarding their use of TV, video games, music, or computers.

Maybe that’s the problem?

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