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 luxurygiftsbags.com 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.