Game Design, Programming and running a one-man games business…

Bad online habits from companies…

I’ve encountered some amazingly silly behavior from online advertising companies recently. The first one, which I’ve spent lots of money with over the years  (for anonymity, lets called them ‘schoozle’), lets me place new image adverts, and then sticks them in a queue where they ‘pend approval’. This goes on for 3 days (or more, they are still waiting). That means that I can’t actually spend any money with them, so I am forced in the meantime to spend it with their competitors.
Imagine going to a hi-fi store and selecting an ipod, you take it to the checkout, where they say “with you in a minute”. They then leave you waiting there with your wallet open for 3 days. Do you think such a business will last long?

The second (and this applies to about half a dozen ad agencies) will not actually show me their prices, or what sites they offer ads on. Presumably I get to know this after they force me to ‘register’. During registration, they want to know what site or product I’m advertising, and what my monthly budget is. Presumably, if they think I’m worthy of giving them money, they may email me.
Imagine the hi-fi store has windows but they are blacked out. You have no idea if they even sell ipods. A security guard at the door tells you how great the store is, but demands to see your bank balance and know your home address before you are allowed to come in and look at the products on sale. That won’t be today, but at a time when they decide to review your application to be their customer.
Do you think such a business will last long?

For those of you thinking “‘duh’, it’s to keep out the cheapskates and the riff raff”, you are missing a trick. The simple phrase “Regrettably we currently can only cater to customers with an ad budget of over $10k / month” would keep everyone happy. They don’t get registrations from people they don’t want, they don’t insult potential future clients whose ad budgets may shoot up, and they don’t get a reputation for being assholes.

Smart companies always want to know if and how and why and when they might lose business. If people ever email me to tell me why they did *not* buy or could not buy my games, I may not always reply, but I always read them, and I often act on them. I’m not sure you ever get rich by learning how to turn people away.

18 thoughts on Bad online habits from companies…

  1. They probably want you to register so they can sell your info to other advertisers. Riff-raff? No problem, we’ll still squeeze a little money out of ’em, directly or indirectly.

  2. I’ve told you before by email: I’ll put ads on my site without the middle-man at absurdly low pricing :-)

  3. Yes, I use them quite a bit. They don’t have much reach into hardcore gaming sites, sadly. those are dominated by big arrogant ad agencies who don’t want my money :(

  4. I don’t get it.

    You accuse them of being, well silly, yet you do pretty much the same thing by making them anon? Seriously?

    Why should the name of an ad agency be anonymous? If this were me, I’d publish their name. Whats the worse that could happen? Its not like you’re happy with them because if you were, there would be no need for this blog post.

  5. It’s google. I was assuming everyone would assume that.

    Google are the ones leaving me in ‘pending review’ hell.

    The really grating thing is that you know 100% that the latest Activision ad is not ‘pending review’ for even one second.

    The number of agencies who want to impose a sales person on me before even considering taking my business are sadly too many to list.

  6. Well, no, most of us wouldn’t assume that. :)

    And yes, we’ve run into the same “ad crap” for our two recent games. In the end, I said screw this. And promptly put the money toward something else. tbh, I don’t even think online ads work.

  7. cliffski, I do think that 3 days is far too long to be ‘in review’ but I for one am very glad they are reviewed. I just wish they would DENY more ads. If I ever see another Evony type ad it’ll be too soon. Still though, sucks your ad is ‘stuck’ somewhere.

  8. The evony ads, the fact that the company deliberately setup spoof accounts for them to make them harder to block, and googles total denail to do anything about it, just goes to show that they only care about the size of the ad buy.
    Google used to be excellent to advertise on :(

  9. What’s this about the evony ads? I just assumed that they paid an armored truck full of cash for just about every ad space on the internet and that was that?

  10. Are there really people out there that actually still look at ads and are influenced by them? Are these the sort of people you *want* as customers?

  11. Hello there,
    I am from Brazil and I just got your game (GSB).
    So far it is great and here is the only two issues I had so far:

    – I have a creative X-Fi elite pro sound board and the sound cracks and pops when the zoom is maxed (I will try to mess with the board settings but I thought you would like to know)

    – Another point is that the turrets just jump to the next target instead of rotating towards them. I do not know if it is hard to make it happen but it would be nice to have them rotate towards the next target…that way turret rotating speeds would add another layer of complexity to the game. Rotation speeds could be different for different hulls and purpose of the turret, i.e., big gun type tactical turrets could be slower while point defense and anti fighter turrets could rotate faster. Kinda like Tiger tanks in WWII.

  12. I strongly recommend reading ‘the advertised mind’. You may think you don’t look at ads are not influenced by them, but you are wrong. Even ones you cannot consciously recall, they affect you. It’s actually quite scary
    Those companies don’t spend billion without doing the research :D

  13. i know this doesn’t have to do with companies and whatnot, but it’s your latest post! i just purchased the game with a mac using crossover and it won’t let me go past the screen with the red sky and the empire ship with the title Gratuitous Space Battles. And when i press escape, it asks me if i want to quit the game entirely and that’s the only choice i have. Do you have to press a certain key or something? I WANT TO PLAY THE FUCKING GAME

  14. It’s the little things that count!

    Remove the barriers that make it hard for your customers to give you their money!

    Build trust, let your customer know here they stand, how to get their money back when things go wrong.

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