Mark Simon, vice president at New York search-engine-marketing firm Didit, offers the "The 10 Most Asinine Trends Online and Why You Should Ignore Them," in a column for Advertising Age that's directed at chief marketing officers (CMO).
(Paraphrased by me. But remember: This is a summary of Mark Simon's list, for your reading enjoyment. Read his whole column to find out more about his reasoning.)
- Business use of virtual reality, such as Second Life. "[W]alking (or flying) through these branded areas is more chilling and depressing than walking through an abandoned amusement park."
- Pay-per-post (paying bloggers to make phony recommendations) and astroturfing (fake grass-roots blogs). Consumers aren't that gullible, and this ruse will burn the brands that are discovered doing it.
- Smart ads (via behavioral targeting) that aren't so smart. "Many users share computers, which means that Spouse A is going to be targeted with ads based on Spouse B's search behavior. What could be more irrelevant?"
- "Searchless" advertising. CMOs' "systematic neglect of search marketing borders on the criminally myopic."
- Audio-reliant video pre-roll advertisements. "[M]ost users turn down or mute the sound to save their fellow workers exposure to the audio."
- Human-powered search engines.
- Knee-jerk algorithmic media buying.
- Behavioral targeting that goes too far (cyber-sneakiness). "Right now, only 30% of users regularly delete their cookies, but that percentage could soar if a widely publicized goof-up (such as last summer's leak of AOL search data, which was detailed enough to identify individual users) starts the regulatory wheels turning in Washington."
- Twitter and its micro-blogging ilk. "[T]his mindless stream of ephemera" -- I'm eating a tangerine! -- isn't interesting enough to be a viable advertising platform.
- Intrusive mobile marketing. "Users of mobile devices ... will never take kindly to advertising that interposes itself between them and a critical task."