February 22, 2007

Internet Ads, Political Blogs, and the People Who Read Them

In an attempt to gather information about politics, I followed a link to an article on www.newsmax.com. I know that Newsmax is favored by some conservative readers for its red-meat-rich, right-wing slant on things. The article proved less informative than I had hoped, but I was really taken aback by the many colorful and flashing advertisements splashed all over the screen.

Now, normally, you can tell something about a website, television program, or magazine by looking at its advertisements. Usually, the content and the advertisements have some common theme that binds them together. Here were the ads that I saw on Newsmax:
[On image of man’s silhouette scratching his head] 2007: A Year of Financial Reckoning – Free Report, Click Here

[Embedded within article] SPONSORS: TheDietList® World's Largest Source Of Weight Loss Info; Retire Overseas Live in Paradise.Free Report.; Are Pheromones a Secret Weapon for Dating? ; Free Survival Books -- No Strings Attached!; Live Like a Millionaire without the Price Tag?; Get Natural Energy And Strength Without Exercise?!; Are You Guilty Of Exalting Evil?

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[Over an image of a well-muscled man wearing mirrored sunglasses and wearing a shoulder holster] Good news about looming disaster … It’s easy, inexpensive, fun to get prepared.

[Over an image of a well-muscled man’s chest] Build Muscle Burn Fat FAST! Simple! Step-by-step. Optimum Anabolics.

Sneaky Way to Make Money. It takes 5 minutes – but you get paid for months. Here’s How!

Diabetic? Tired of Medications that don’t work? The best alternative is here. 100% Money Back Guaranteed. Milagro de la Silva [Small logo of a leafy plant]

WARNING: Don’t get your body in shape until you read this. Click here.

Get Fit NOW – [Cartoon picture of bald man with beard and six-pack abs] – Master Your Own Bodyweight.

To be fair, I then decided to take a look at a left-wing site to see what kind of ads are offered there. Here’s what I found at www.DailyKos.com:

[Next to cartoon drawing of eight women talking to each other, some holding babies or playing with children] Mothertalkers: Visit a different kind of mom’s club – passion for politics – hope for social justice – disdain the mommy wars

HBO DOCUMENTARY FILMS PRESENTS “GHOSTS OF ABU GHRAIB” A film by Rory Kennedy "THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A LITTLE BIT OF TORTURE" - Alfred McCoy, Author A Question of Torture. Ghosts of Abu Ghraib. Thursday, February 22. 9:30 p.m. ET/PT. Only on HBO. [Includes sepia-toned photograph of dreary hallway]

OUR PRESIDENT. OUR CHOICE. DRAFTGORE.COM. Sign Our Petition. Visit Draft Gore. Contribute to Our Efforts. Read More… [Includes picture of smiling, bearldess Al Gore superimposed over picture of Earth seen from orbit]

The REAL State of the Union Address. Ever wonder what would happen if Bush wrote his own State of the Union address? WE HAVE THE VIDEO! "Absolutely wonderful!" --Helen Thomas [Includes picture of President Bush with oversized cartoon cowboy hat and thought balloon reading “If only I could write my own “State of Union Address…”]


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PROTEST BUSH! SHOW YOUR OUTRAGE! Protest with a weeping flag tee, mug, magnet or pin. We donate 20% of each sale to an organization you choose. Join the millions of Americans who are outraged by Bush Administration policies. Iraq, the deficit, the lack of accountability – and more – all jeopardize our liberty, our security and our standing in the world. Buy a weeping flag product and join the protest against this administration. We donate 20% PROTEST BUSH! SHOW YOUR OUTRAGE!

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DailyKos Store. Shirts. Stickers. Bags. Etc….

Both sites have similar amounts of advertising; DailyKos has one more, but it is advertising itself, which is not quite the same thing. Both ads include demonization of the other side of the political spectrum (the DailyKos ads a little more so, I think) and both offer mate-finding services. The advertisements on DailyKos are longer in text and are more explicitly political in nature, mainly playing on liberal outrage that conservatives have been running the government for the past six years. The Newsmax advertisements are pretty much apolitical, except for the reference to the liberal media being somehow to blame for the readers’ lack of success with women, and focus mainly on money and physical fitness (which is a proxy for being sexually attractive to women).

Conclusion: Newsmax advertisers sell with greed and lust; DailyKos advertisers sell with flattery and outrage. Newsmax advertisers think that Newsmax readers are a bunch of greedy, overweight, paranoid, socially inept men. DailyKos advertisers think that DailyKos readers are a bunch of angry, self-righteous, and intellectually arrogant women with poor organizational skills, some of whom have trouble finding mates. Note that this is not necessary what the readers of these two sites really are, but it is an indication of what the people with advertising dollars think they are.


Shimmy said...

Walter Reed Army Hospital is filled with lice and bugs. Hooray for our chains.

Burt Likko said...

Interesting that DailyKos has no advertisements for diet or fitness products. Could it be that liberals are simply in better shape than conservatives?

Anonymous said...

Discover the Forbidden Attraction Secrets the Liberal Media does not want you to know

Oh yeah, 'cause the liberal media just hate sex. They're such prudes.

-- Spungen