The result of the extra pressure placed upon both agencies and publishers in times like these is that certain people stop focussing on long term goals and start thinking only of the quickest way to meet their budgets. This happens primarily at the sales level on the publisher side as their pay is often largely commission driven, however some agency folk are just as guilty of buying into ridiculous, overpriced inventory in order to increase their spends (and in turn their commission).
I have written before about publishers running placements that are clearly bad practice and do nothing but re-enforce the stereotype of the dodgy internet marketing douchebag waiting to flood your browser with popups, your inbox with spam and your computer with malware.
Today Mumbrella reported that new agency The Prosperity Principal is planning to launch its “Trusted Avatar” program. This is in essence a forum/social channel spam system. The topic has caused quite a stir and driven a large amount of conversation with a passionate voice from social media circles discussing the negatives of a lack of transparency within social media. However I view his actions in a different light, this program not only doesn’t work on a social level, but it sets the entire industry back several years.
For an industry that is fighting to have itself recognised as a significant player in the marketing mix there are far too many people out there focussing on short term profits at the peril of exposing themselves as cheats and scam artists. It is only a matter of time before companies come to the realisation that Auto-play sound and pop-unders are not driving quality leads, they are just driving false volume and there is only so many brands that can have their reputation tarnished through spam related activity before marketers will start to grow ever more cautious of the digital realm. It’s time to smarten up people, yes times are hard, but the future will be harder when you have no brand value and no credibility in your industry.