Sunday, September 17, 2017

Hurricane Irma – Social Media ad gouging

The public does not need a web page or social media site that looks like a cross between a pinball machine and a carnival poster.

St. Petersburg, Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author: In Search of Robin, So You Want to Blog.

We heard lot about price gouging from Governor Scott and Attorney Pam Bondi, and I haven’t seen much of that.

Local TV Channels curtailed most of their advertising for continuous, at times almost too much, hurricane coverage.

I periodically had enough and dropped off to Amazon Prime for a movie.

Local media social media sites and apps were a different story.

They were beset with flashing ads, scrolling crawls and dysfunctional displays of hurricane information.

Side bars, banners and scrolls displayed often confusing information.

Hurricane maps were surrounded by useless text and even more often useless ads. I was not looking for a car at the moment, and it was a little late for hurricane windows at that point.

Even more annoying were the popups, blinking notices and auto start ads with varying volume levels.

As you might imagine we have a number of computers running here and I was looking for continuous feed of the hurricane track with no banner, side bars, scrolls and no ads, so we could have distraction free real-time tracking information that would stay up for up for hours with no interruption.

I could not find, although there may have been one, a local media web site or social media page that would let you open a hurricane tracking map with no banners, scrolls or ads, text boxes and expand to full screen and stay open indefinitely.


After considerable searching, I found such a site.

The NBC affiliate in Dallas, Texas Channel 5 had a simple page with limited text and no ads with several options one of them a real time Irma tracking map that would clearly expand to full screen with no banners, scrolls, popups or ads. The page would stay up for 5 to 6 hours at a time and when it did drop it went to an NBC logo and all you had to do was scroll down click the link, and it was good to go for another 6 hours or so.

So, here’s the point. Just because your social media whiz kid can cram a crapload of banners, scrolls, widgets, popups, auto start ads, blinking boxes, pictures, hyperlinks and text boxes full of useless or out of date information on to you web site or Facebook page doesn’t mean you need to.

At times like these, the public does not need a web page or social media site that looks like a cross between a pinball machine and a carnival poster.

People are looking for simplicity, clarity, ease of use, and they ARE NOT SHOPPING.

It is a good bet that a lot of first-time users of local social media, and those slick apps were more than a little turned off by what they found.

It is a little difficult to understand why the same thinking that limited ads and provided clarity on the broadcast side did not prevail on the social media side.

Probably a message for management in there somewhere.

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Disclosures: Contributor to Rick Baker for Mayor Campaign 

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