Monthly Archives: May 2010

A Puzzlement of Advertising

Certain kinds of spam advertising perplex me. I received this one, for instance, from Louis Vuitton himself, but then he was trying to send me to some site that maybe sells his bags, and his name had changed to Tammy:

“Hi, I enjoy Louis Vuitton or anything fashion for that matter! I was browsing the web for some new louis vuitton luxury items and I found this site. This is a cool site and I wanted to post a comment to let you know, good job! Thanks Tammy”

Now, for all I know, if you try to go to the site offered or respond to the email address, it actually allows viruses to enter your computer and try to get information in order to clean out your bank account. But let’s go with the idea that this is legit and that Louis Vuitton’s company or the site selling his purses actually hired a spam advertising firm. First off, it was not, as you might have expected to occur, attached to any of my posts that had to do with fashion and advertising (Aliens in Pretty Dresses.) It was instead attached to my blog entry: “Haruki Murakami Has New Release.” I had been unaware of the deep link between author Haruki Murakami and Louis Vuitton before, but thankfully Tammy let me know that his wild SFF makes her think of high end fashion.

Second, obviously my blog was selected at random as part of a massive software program hitting thousands of blogs. My blog, if you actually look at it,  is clearly not a place where Louis Vuitton customers are going to hang out. And of actual Louis Vuitton customers, Tammy’s missive is written to appeal only to girls aged 12-16. Now, there is a small crowd of girls that age whose parents are rich and they might actually check out the purses, but again, they don’t read my blog. The Gossip Girls blog, sure, but mine, no.

Further, active blog writers check their comments and will delete the thing as spam, usually before it even gets on the blog, thanks to spam catcher programs. Inactive blog writers might not, but inactive blogs don’t have any readers. So basically, the odds of this ad actually inducing anyone to go to the site and buy a Louis Vuitton purse by placing cheery, clearly spam missives in thousands of random blogs attached to random posts are about the same as me being elected queen of Mars. But if these aren’t viral crooks running a scam, then Vuitton or the website paid somebody to do this spam advertising. Sure, it probably costs a lot less than direct mail stuff, since the company does it in bulk for thousands of clients, but direct mail might actually be effective. So are targeted ads, email lists, and many other Web methods. But generating un-targeted spam on the Web, especially for a luxury product? It does nothing. It has no effect certainly worth the cost. Yet this company is running an effective scam with commerce.

Wouldn’t it be nice if the companies that pay for these things actually took the money for it and gave it instead as an additional donation to charity? We’d have less spam, the good works would have more support in these troubled times, and the companies would have even more good will advertising for doing it. I may actually go petition Louis Vuitton on this. On the other hand, Tammy was amusing.

*Update: Apparently is a real site, specializing in Louis Vuitton gear. I just thought I’d throw that in, in case any of you are dying for a Vuitton clutch.


Filed under Humor, Life

People Who Have Left Us

Dennis Hopper was brilliant. He was crazy. And he had a good sense of humor about it. A burst of kinetic energy has left the atmospher with his death:

Gary Coleman was also brilliant. And ill for his whole life. And troubled. I grew up with him and I admired his resiliency and his showmanship. Even in something as wonderfully cheesy as Buck Rogers when he was only a kid:

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Ozzy Osbourne Knows How to Promote an Album

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I’m not going to thank these kids, because they know that they are all awesome

Courtesy of John Scalzi’s Whatever blog, via the journalism of ESPN’s Rick Reilly, a story about truly amazing kids. And yes, I did cry. With what’s going on in the world, it is indeed as Reilly says, apple juice squirted into the eye.

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2010 SFFH Novels to Check Out

1) Sarah Ash – Flight Into Darkness – In an alternate universe of multiple realms, including the land of the dead, a crisis requires the efforts of a spirit, a singer and an impulsive young man to prevent disaster.

2) Mark Teppo – Heartland, Book 2 in Codex of Souls series – A once banished magician has to root out the corruption of his old order in the magic underworld of contemporary Paris.

3) David J. Williams – The Machinery of Light, Autumn Rain trilogy – Near future space opera about World War III and the race off planet.

4) Carrie Ryan – The Forest of Hands and Teeth, The Dead-Tossed Waves – A YA alternate world fantasy series about a young girl who lives in a protected town surrounded by zombies.

5) F. Paul Wilson – Sims – Genetically altered chimpanzees are replacing humans as menial laborers, and the company that made them has secrets it will go to any lengths to protect.

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What Does This Say About My Age?

I like Crotchety Old Fan in general and occassionally read his blog posts. When SFSignal mentioned he had one entitled “I Can Guess Your Age From the Books You Read,” (link below) I went in curiousity to check it out. But then I ran into a problem, because here’s how the test works:

“Ask someone to recommend the ten SF works that ‘ought to be on everyone’s bookshelf'”

My answer to this would be that I don’t think that everybody should have the same ten SF novels on their bookshelf (i.e. have read.) The idea of picking ten ultimate books to be required reading like a school assignment is in fact an anathema to my soul. And for SF in particular, I think this basic idea is behind a lot of the problems one encounters in SF fandom.

I’m guessing, however, that my response to that question, even if it is not workable for Fan’s formula, probably says something about how old I am. But I will tell you this, if I did have to pick out ten — like if it was that or I would be thrown to the sharks or something — as my very favorite examples of storytelling, they wouldn’t be mainly centered around when I was 16, or 12 for that matter. Nonetheless, go check it out and try the experiment. Fan has a graph and everything.

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Filed under book publishing, SFFH

Books are Up

New stats info indicates that book sales are up. Yay! E-book sales are up. Yay! Audio book sales are up. Yay! And university and educational book sales have overall increased. Yay!

But mass market paperback sales specifically dropped a bit. Boo! And retail trade children’s/YA book sales, after being the stars of the recession, have dropped some. Boo!

But overall, the news is definitely better than a kick in the head.

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Movie Trailers for a Thursday

Yeah, sure, I could pontificate, but the trailers are more fun.

First up, Dinner for Schmucks  (a title causing the Yiddish speakers to shake their heads.) A movie in which Steve Carrell tortures Paul Rudd. Sounds good:

Next, a British comedy, Life with Eric. I fear it ends with the guy having a brain tumor, but since I liked A Touch of Pink, with Kyle MacLachlan doing Cary Grant, I like the look of this one too:

And in keeping with the rest, a huge group of comedians get silly in The Other Guys. It’s the end of the trailer that sells it:

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Don’t Try This At Home Kind of Dancing

My cute little WordPress widgets tell me that the odd folks who drift on to this blog really liked the recent music video from OK Go. So here’s the one that went serious viral and won them awards, also for a really great song. But please do not try to do this with your treadmill.

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Filed under Humor, Music

Who You Gonna Call?

Improve Everywhere is the group responsible for the annual pantless events on public transportation, and for a number of great performance art pieces, such as a spontaneous musical in a mall food court, frozen people statues in a Home Depot and lots of other great stunts you can check out here:

Their newest one took place with the cooperation of the New York Public Library to help promote literacy and reading and is a classic, especially for my household:


Filed under Humor, Life, Movies/TV