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malevolent design weblog

This blog is now defunct, but you can find more stuff over at my personal site

AOL Keywords 2.0

I only noticed last night that the latest Vauxhall Corsa TV ads show a Facebook URL at the end rather than a Vauxhall one.

If it works in getting traffic and engagement then great, but it does all feel a bit like a regression to the 1990s. You may or may not remember AOL keywords, which were sometimes used in ads to direct users of the then-popular service, before people abandoned the walled garden and URLs took over.

So not only is Facebook trying to recreate an AOL-like parallel internet where users stay within it for social networking, messaging, micro-blogging, photo sharing, etc. (while leaking as much personal data as possible out of the walled garden to search engines), it’s now also being used in advertising in a similar way. Ugh.

(See also: ads that tell the user to “Search online for…”, which probably works well in some cases but can be risky or expensive)


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