Ghost Sites of the Web

Web 1.0 history, forgotten web celebrities, old web sites, commentary, and news by Steve Baldwin. Published erratically since 1996.

August 22, 2008

All I Can Say About Jerry Seinfeld and Microsoft Is...

All I Can Say About Jerry Seinfeld and Microsoft Is...Nobody's asked for my comments on Jerry Seinfeld now shilling for Microsoft, but here they are anyway:

1. It's a better choice than made when it hired Whoopie Goldberg to represent it back in the 1990s.

2. It's a great short-term deal for Jerry, who's career has proven increasingly irrelevant in recent years, but it may wipe out whatever affection people still have for him.

3. It uncomfortably suggests that Vista -- despite the hundreds of millions of marketing dollars spent to promote it -- is "an operating system about nothing."

Labels: , ,

July 29, 2008

Why Are Advertising Agency Sites So Awful?

Why Are Advertising Agency Sites So Awful?Ad agencies are an endangered species in a cost-conscious, metrics-driven world ruled by Google. Today's ad men are in a profound state of denial about how much their comfortable world has changed, and there's no better evidence of this than by examining their web pages. Here you'll find cluelessness across the board. Here's a quick and sickening report on the search engine readiness of some major agency sites. Read it and weep.
Frames deprive content pages of unique URLs, the home page has practically no content at all, and the only indexed content seems to be in uploaded PDFs. These sins are typical of Flash-heavy, search-engine ignorant sites. Perhaps no serious agency types care whether folks come in through search engines. If so, they're making a big mistake.
Usability/Searchability Grade: D

Draft FCB
Better than the other sites in terms of having SOME text content on the home page; worse but commits sin of making text content images. (Are they worried that somebody will steal the big idea? Or just paranoid about the fonts? Hint: Stylesheets can work wonders.) What's ironic is that DraftFCB is actually buying the keyword "advertising agency" from Google. But the back button doesn't work, which means you're trapped.
Usability/Searchability Grade: D-
Home page text content? Nope. Consistent navigation? Nope. Search-engine unfriendly fames, over-reliance on Flash and PDFs? Triple yes. SIte must be doing something right, because it ranks very well organically on Google for the search term "advertising agency," so it's not a total wash. If only these guys had made proper use of their Meta tags, the listing would be much less cryptic. Usability/Searchability Grade: C
The late David Ogilvy would have kniptions if he could see his company's current site. The home page has a text count of zero, clicking on links results in annoying pop-up pages, the URL structure is a mess (although it could be worse), and content is duplicated on several Ogilvy-owned sites (which will cause Google's Duplicate Content Filter to have kniptions!). May not inspire confidence that Ogilvy is digital-ready.
Usability/Searchability Grade: D

Young and Rubicam
No surprise here. Texts live only as images, without ALT tags. No worse than the other sites, but no better. I suppose this bad situation is due to the consensual wisdeom of the ad men, and other B2B types, who reason that it's unlikely that any real client is searching for their services. WRONG!
Usability/Searchability Grade: F

Labels: , , ,

December 04, 2007

Would You Buy An Ad Campaign From This Man?

Sometimes I really wonder about the sanity of people in the online ad business. Take, for example, this skyscraper ad for an outfit called AdGooroo. The concept isn't bad -- I actually like the fact that this guy's massive hand is reaching out to me in a friendly handshake. But the execution is ridiculous: first of all, the poor guy's suit is at least 3 sizes too big (as revealed by the massive fold of fabric by his right shoulder). His collar isn't tucked under his lapel, which probably means his shirt is too big as well. Lastly, his necktie looks like it had been balled up in a closet for months.

Lastly, for Pete's sake, if you want to be my New Campaign Manager, will you comb your hair?

Labels: ,

November 26, 2007

Facebook Snoopers Outed By Facebook Group

Facebook Snoopers Outed By Facebook GroupFacebook's now infamous "Beacon" system, which turns its unwitting members into unwitting "fan-sumers," took a major hit today when a renegade Facebook group published a list of commercial participants in its nefarious scheme. They include some small fish and plenty of big brands. Latest talk is of a consumer boycott of these services this Holiday Season: this is a good example of what can happen when a big brand lies down with privacy-stealing fleas. Let the blowback begin!

The list (so far):

Busted Tees
CBS Interactive ( & Dotspotter)
Live Nation
National Basketball Association
Sony Online Entertainment LLC
Sony Pictures
STA Travel
The Knot
Travel Ticker

Labels: ,

November 21, 2007

BrightSpot.TV Sleeps With the Fishes

BrightSpot.TV Sleeps With the Fishes
When the history of our era is written by future historians, the story of will be cited as an extreme example of the grasping-at-straws desperation into which the advertising industry had fallen by the first decade of the 21st Century.'s idea was simple: to pay people to watch ads, a compensation scheme that had never been necessary before in the good old analog media days, when advertising was hard to avoid. Aimed at low-income teenage males, the thinking seems to have been that such people would flock to, gorge on ads, and be happy with the crumbs thrown at them in exchange.

Nobody seems to have asked the obvious question: why would advertisers be interested in foisting their brands to such low-income losers? Unfortunately, with so few advertisers willing to come forward with big bucks,'s viewers never earned enough money to justify the annoyance of watching the ads, so the site's already shaky value proposition quickly became openly risible.

Interestingly, wasn't hatched in a typical Silicon Valley marijuana den, but in the heartland of jocks. Its backers included Jerry Coangelo, of the Pheonix Suns, Jerry Reinsdorf of the Chicago White Sox, and other midwesterners, who ponied up millions to fund this clunker.

Labels: , , ,

November 08, 2007

Facebook Ads May Be Illegal

Facebook Ads May Be IllegalFascinating article in the New York Times discussing how Facebook's plan for "social ads" (which appropriate the likeness of a Facebook user) may be completely illegal, at least in New York State).

The skinny: it's OK to use images taken "on the street" for news or non-commercial purposes but definitely wrong when these images are part of a commercial transaction and the subject does not give written consent. Facebook's "Social Ads" scheme may be in violation of these basic principles.

Labels: , ,

November 07, 2007

Facebook Advertising System: Not Ready for Prime Time

Forget the hype about Facebook's new advertising system. How well does it work? Can advertisers even buy its new-fangled "social ads?"

Well, I tried to buy an ad this morning and I was stopped dead in my tracks by an "Unknown HTTP Error #302."

You'd think that Facebook's 20-something engineering geniuses would have worked out the bugs BEFORE making this thing public, but I guess that kind of thinking is too "old school" for them.

What a frickin' $15 Billion joke.

Labels: ,

October 26, 2007 Makes Its Last Offer Makes Its Last Offer
MediaPost's Wendy Davis reports that "infamous adware purveyer" Direct Revenue, which ran the site, is now out of business. As Davis notes, Direct Revenue would never have made millions by infiltrating its ad-serving/user tracking software onto hundreds of thousands of clients without the willingness of big clients to underwrite its nefarious business model. These clients included Cingular Wireless, Travelocity and Priceline (it is not clear from the article whether they were unwilling participants or knew in advance about what Direct Revenue actually did).

Only the active intervention of the Federal Trade Commission was able to stop Direct Revenue, but as Davis correctly observes, the people behind it are still at large and more than likely to pop up again soon on a computer near you.

Wikipedia has a good page on Direct Revenue with a timeline of legal actions against the company, plus a list of programs created to exploit computer users for profit.

Labels: ,

July 27, 2007

HBO's To Close launched in late 2006 and was a collaberative project of AOL and HBO. The site featured original streaming video content, plus material repurposed from HBO's various comedy properties. The site ran advertising placed by, and AOL subsidiary.

What went wrong? Well, without access to any inside information I'll offer the following:
  1.'s content was funny, but humor is a commodity on the Web. If you're looking for funny, this is the place. In fact, it's almost impossible to find anything that's not funny on the Web. The whole frickin' place is a funhouse. Why add to the surplus?

  2. JustInTime spent a lot of money hiring talent, including Amanda Congdon, Dane Cook, and others. Comedians demand to be paid up-front, in cash, and aren't going to settle for rev share agreements or "viral exposure" as payment. This meant that JustInTime had to spent thousands of dollars -- maybe six or even seven figures -- before it even launched.

  3. Was this site heavily promoted via offline channels? I don't own a television so I can't tell you. But only consistent promotion can drive eyeballs to the Web. I'd bet that there were many opportunities for promotion which weren't fully exploited.

  4. Standard-rate CPM or CPC advertising will never be able to earn enough to dig a site out of the hole dug by high talent upfront payments. had advertising pasted into every available spot on its pages, but whatever it made was less than what it needed to survive. This advertising doesn't appear to be targeted toward the content of the video. It looks like low CPM, RON junk to me, in fact a lot of slots appear to run house-ads for other HBO properties. This is no way to run an ad-supported Web site.

  5. The site never caught on with users. To its credit, it did allow users to embed and forward its video content, but it seems that few did. Its Blog format was the right choice, because it provided for frequent rotation of content, but it seems that nobody cared. According to Alexa, JustInTime's current traffic rank is 50,503. In comparison, the traffic rank for (the site you're reading) is 122,763. You can't run a niche web site and pay talent at the same time and expect it to survive for long without a lot of traffic.
I'd like to think that Old Media will wake up one of these days and finally launch something that will endure, grow, and genuinely take advantage of the full potential of the Internet. But the more I view their failed efforts, the less confident I am that this will ever happen., it seems, is just another nail in the many now embedded in its coffin.

Labels: , ,

July 25, 2007

Wired Magazine Officially Declares Second Life a "Ghost Site"

Wired Magazine Officially Declares Second Life a Ghost Site
Wired's Frank Rose wrote an excellent article on how Second Life, Linden Labs' 3-D, avatar-driven world, became a black hole for Madison Avenue, gobbling up millions while providing nothing more than an empty stage for America's foremost brands. Rose writes correctly that the lemming-like march toward Second Life has its roots in desperation: Madison Avenue continually underestimates the skill required to conduct successful targeted advertising campaigns, remaining fixated on easy to fathom models such as that offered by Second Life, which replicates the billboard/trade show environment. The problem is that nobody's there: all those millions of dollars created a vast ghost world inhabited by nobody: the only thing missing are tumbleweeds spiraling past the Coca-Cola display.

Now all we need is someone to investigate MySpace and its Web 2.0 ilk and prove, using hard data, that it's a platform unsuitable for effective advertising.

Labels: , ,

July 23, 2007

Working Families for Wal-Mart May Be Dying

Working Families for Wal-Mart May Be Dying
Wal-Mart has a lamentable record when it comes to running Web sites; its phony Walmarting Across America site, launched after consulting with PR giant Edelman, was shut down last October after its sponsorship became public, creating a huge PR scandal. And while everybody knows that Wal-Mart pays the bills at Working Families for Wal-Mart, at the domain, the site doesn't even mention this in its About section, leading to an obviously inevitable question: "What is Wal-Mart trying to hide?"

Oddly, the Working Families for Walmart site looks as if it's been languishing for the past few months. Its News Center section was last updated in February: that's five months ago. Its Featured Stories section is also showing its age, no stories have been uploaded since February of 2007. Interestingly, another Wal-Mart-funded site, ("Exposing the Paid Critics of Wal-Mart") was last updated in March. That's a lot of bitrot for any multi-billion dollar retailing giant to tolerate.

Could it be that Wal-Mart has abandoned its habitual Sock Puppeting/AstroTurfing strategy of launching phony sites to influence public perceptions? Let's hope so: this kind of thing represents the worst kind of corporate behavior in cyberspace, and undermines whatever trust users might otherwise have in the company.

If Wal-Mart wants to rebuild its online reputation, it needs to take steps in the direction of transparency and accountability, pledge that it will not engage in deceptive practices online, and relegate sites such as Working Families for Walmart to the dustbin. (Note: I am neither a paid critic of Wal-Mart nor in the pay of Wal-Mart.)

Labels: , , ,

July 17, 2007 is Dead is DeadAdvertising is a funny business and sought to provide a place for ad people to laugh at their profession. Unfortunately, the laugh track seems to have come to a halt back in 2000, and has been in a state of suspended animation ever since. Currently, the site contains a notice advising visitors that the site is no longer being updated, and directs them to an active online discussion group. I tried to subscribe into this group but was greeted with the following message:

"Your form submission has been rejected as it appears to be an abuse of our server."

I hate it when sites accuse me of server abuse. I love servers and treat them very gently. But this is proof positive that the whole project now sleeps with the fishes.

Labels: , ,

July 11, 2007

Attack of the Zombies: The Industry Standard Refuses to Die

The Industry Standard Refuses to DieThe Industry Standard was once the technology's biggest trade magazine, and by the late 1990's was a fat, profitable venture some termed "The Bible of the Tech Industry." If you wanted to be a New Economy player, you advertised in it, got your company covered in it, and schmoozed with its staff. At its peak in 2000, 400 employees worked for the magazine, churning out content supporting a yearly total of 7,500 ad pages, a U.S. publishing industry record.

In 2000, the dotcom meltdown began, advertising tanked, and the magazine folded with a loud bang in August of 2001, going into bankruptcy like many of New Economy startups it covered. Its assets were sold at auction and even its Web site became a ghost.

In 2004, an effort was made to revive the franchise, and a Blog section with 21 contributors was launched in August 2004. By January, 2005, these Bloggers had run out of steam, and the site has lain fallow for more than three years; only one article has been posted since that time, in January of 2007.

It's curious that the Standard even remains online. Perhaps whoever owns it hopes that the dotcom market becomes exuberantly irrational again. This may well happen in a few months, if decides to follow through with its crazy plan to do an IPO.

Labels: ,

July 08, 2007

From the Netslaves Archives: The Agony of Pre-Google Web Publishing

It seems that few remember how difficult it was for small Web publishers to survive a few years ago. Unless you had enormous traffic, and by this I mean on the order of 250,000 monthly page views, big ad networks such as DoubleClick wouldn't touch you. Many web publishers were forced to deal with affiliate ad brokers such as EFront, which treated them badly.

Google's AdSense program, which launched in June 2003, provided a virtual lifeline for publishers, and is an important factor in terms of creating today's content renaissance. It's also been a tremendous success for Google, which relies on this contextual network to provide about 40 percent of its online advertising revenues. Without AdSense, Web 2.0 would have been unthinkable, and while Adsense isn't perfect (look around this page and you'll probably see lots of ads which could be targeted much better than they are), it's really the only way for small publishers to keep on publishing. Few of these publishers will ever get rich, but at least Adsense pays for the hosting bills, a couple of gallons of gas, and perhaps a weekly pizza or two, which is more than enough to keep many niche publishers going.

People love to bitch about Adsense (both publishers and marketers who believe that Google's contextual network is subject to higher levels of click fraud than on its own properties). Again, it's not perfect and may never will be. But it's vastly improved the lot of publishers, created more opportunities for diversity in the idea-stream, and in the long run may be judged to be Google's most important contribution to the general health of the World Wide Web.

But one can only see how healthy today's Web is by looking back at how desparately bad things were a few years ago. Content sites were dropping like flies, crooked ad broker companies were cheating publishers, and everybody was broke. No document better illustrates this dire situation than Webzines, eFront, and the Death of Dreams, an article written in March of 2001 by Netslaves contributor Emily K. Dresner-Thornber. Things weren't just bad in 2001, they were rotten to the core; she writes:

This is the crux of the death of the dream: people trying hard to make their passions a reality in a new medium with no editorial control, no old boy's club, no Ivy League mind-games, and no limits. While they work on their passions, other people openly and shamelessly take advantage of them. Sites are being co-opted and shut down for the minor sin of saying something bad about the advertising provider. It is a return to the same old American dream, full of shysters, scum, liars, and people ready to use other people for a quick buck. The Internet has become just like any other business in the world.

Thank God Google Adsense saved us from these awful people, saving a small but vital part of the American Dream for all of us.

Labels: , , , ,

July 06, 2007

The Fabulous (and Mildly Licentious) X10 Pop-Up Ad Museum

Remember Pop-Up (and Pop-Under) ads? Those infuriating little mothers that would distract you from whatever it was that you were doing and (occasionally) install some truly evil malware on your hard drive?

Well, Pop-Up ads are not exactly extinct, in fact you'd be amazed at the number of mainstream sites which still employ them. Why do they do this? Because Pop-Up's work: people click on them, and this is why marketers continue to use them. I frankly think that any marketer still using a Pop-Up should be popped upside the chin, but Pop-Ups bring in the bucks, so don't expect them to disappear anytime soon.

Pop-Up ads have definitely declined in the past four or five years, thanks to the triumph of text ads and Pop-Up blockers. Future generations of Web users will have little knowledge of the Pop-Up Hell we all had to endure between roughly 2001 and 2004. Fortunately, a fellow by the name of Kenny Law has archived a bunch of the mildly licentious Pop-Ups served up by the X10 home surveillance company on his small corner of the servers.

Enjoy this peculiarly twisted shrine to Orwellian voyeurism and joyously intrusive browser-hijacking (and thank your lucky stars that these ads, now trapped in a museum, are forced to stand still)!

Labels: , ,

Red Herring 2007 = 2001?

In an eerie throwback to 2001, ValleyWag reports that technology magazine Red Herring may have stopped paying its staff, including former Ziff-Davis heavyweight Joel Dreyfuss, its current editor. Red Herring, it should be remembered, was a magazine formed in the late 1990's to channel dotcom ad dollars to its pages. It survived the Web 1.0 shakeout, cut costs by reverting to a 'zine, but this latest news suggests that it may not be faring well, even with a skeleton crew. The whole affair is an eerie reminder of the time that, a celebrated Web 1.0 startup, did the same thing back in 2001, and's Steve Gilliard called them to account for it.

I guess everything that's old is new again in the tech industry boom/bust cycle.

Labels: , ,

July 03, 2007

Yahoo SmartAds or Yahoo SmartAsses?

Google SmartAds SERP, July 3, 2007

I was working on an article today on Yahoo SmartAds, which is the name given to Yahoo's latest attempt to make graphical display advertising (otherwise known as junky, irrelevant, low-rent banner ads) as smart as text-based search advertising. So naturally, I went to Google and typed in "SmartAds" and Google wisely served up the page you see above with the suggestion that I was looking for Smartass, not SmartAds.

I'm not cynical enough to believe that somebody at Google saw all that traffic coming to Google after Yahoo announced SmartAds last Sunday and manually added this snarky suggestion. I can only conclude that the Google algorithm is developing a wicked sense of humor!

I thought that Yahoo would dispense with any Google-style "smartass" SERP humor and give me the straight dope on SmartAds, so I went there and typed in "SmartAds." But the Yahoo SERP yielded no trace of Yahoo's SmartAds (although it included results for a Canadian design company called "SmartAds," a site called "," and a site called "" (see screenshot below).

It turns out that the Smartasses at Yahoo had buried the SmartAds press release deep within the "About" area of Yahoo, a section that's evidently never been visited by Yahoo's search spider.

If this is cutting-edge technology, I'm a pretzel. (A tip for Yahoo - why not run an iddy biddy paid search ad for "SmartAds" on this SERP? It wouldn't cost you a dime to do so!)

Yahoo SmartAds SERP, July 3, 2007

Labels: , , ,

June 19, 2007

Yahoo Could Have Been a Contender

Everybody in tech is talking about the fact that Yahoo's Terry Semel is stepping down, what it means for Yahoo, what it means for Google, yadayadayada.

Let's get to the point. Yahoo tried to be all things to all people. It pimped its pages to whoever would pay the most for cluttering them up. In its prime, it collected almost a half a million dollars a day from anybody who wanted to rent its big billboard of a home page. Instead of devoting themselves to their users, they sold out to the big brand guys with boxcars full of cash. The result was a confused, tacked together melange of services, some good, others not. You can see this content bloat graphically in a direct comparison of Yahoo's home pages with Google's.

Yahoo is the Pathfinder of the new millenium. Terry Semel came from Time-Warner, and like the people who ran Pathfinder, completely misinterpreted the nature of the Web revolution, where documents, not navigational eddies such as portals or other artificial structures, rule, and people have the freedom to "unstick" themselves from even the stickiest portal at the drop of a hat.

Yahoo has 12,000 employees and at least 100 Vice Presidents. I don't know what these people do all day but they're certainly not working on Yahoo's technology. Its management spent tons of money on elaborate offline marketing, including movie ads, big billboards, and other foolishness. It kept its traffic pumped up through acquisitions, but never really gave anybody a compelling reason to use Yahoo.

This is all sad because Yahoo used to be a damned good site. It was the first site to have a kick-ass news area, a great financial area, and a directory which, back when search engines were really crappy, was really useful. But like many dotcom failures, Yahoo overinvested in marketing, bean counters, and sales people, and let both its directory and its technology moulder away. This is classic Web 1.0 cluelessness, and while I don't think Yahoo will die tomorrow, it's day is past.

I can't imagine Yahoo pulling itself out of its mess without a major restructuring, which is a nice way of saying mass layoffs. You don't need 12,000 people to run a website.

Labels: , ,

June 01, 2007

Can Bud.TV Be Saved?

Bud.TV Has a Big ProblemBud TV could have been a contender. Backed by $30 million in development funds, it launched with great fanfare at the 2007 SuperBowl, and then immediately started to sink. Traffic dropped in April; in May, traffic is no longer even measurable by ComScore. Now we hear that Anheuser-Busch has hired a new agency to fix the thing, which means a few more millions of dollars dropped in the sudsy sewer.

Hey, A-B. I'll tell you how to fix your site, and it'll cost you a fraction of what your new agency will charge. Here goes:

1. Make your content accessible to search engines.

2. Ditch the crazy startup program that delays display of the home page for 30-seconds (on a frickin' T1 line)!

3. Yes, you've improved your registration, at least to the point that it understands that I'm a drinking-age male. Now can it entirely. If State AGs go after you, relocate the site to the Antilles Islands. Everybody else does!

4. Make it possible for people to embed your ever-so-groovy content on their humble web pages.

5. Fix your internal search engine (which yielded the depressing error message above when I searched for one of your cute spots: the one featuring the African Grey Parrot).

6. All the content I see on this site pertains to male bonding, bikinis, and ecosystem-wrecking muscle cars. True, a lot of beer drinkers are idiots but you don't have to insult those that aren't. (Hint: more parrots!)

7. There's no way to know which of the videos are new, which are old, or which are popular. Do you really think that people have unlimited time separating the good stuff from the dross?

8. Don't even bother to fix this thing. Everything about it is wrong (including the color scheme, which reminds me of a brothel). Build a new one from scratch: I guarantee that nobody will miss the old one.

9. I'm glad that you're thinking of making your content more "edgy." So open your content gateways to outside producers. There are plenty of hard-drinking young people on the planet, and I'm sure they'd appreciate the chance to add to your video inventory. Let's have some short clips on drinking games, hazing rituals, etc. (Note to your agency: don't be afraid of telling A-B to do any of this: whatever you tell them to do, face the fact that you're going to get fired -- I mean, this is the ad business: everybody gets fired, at least in the long run. So don't be afraid to go out with a bang!)

That is all. Please send $325,000 directly to my PayPal account.

Only kidding - I'm sure you can find a better use for this money.

Labels: ,

February 07, 2007

Ghosts of a Disastrous Ad Campaign

After the Mars Candy Company realized that its ill-considered "After the Kiss" Superbowl commercial wasn't exactly making the world love Snickers, all traces of the campaign were stricken from the Web, including the campaign's website, which resided at the domain

I was able to dig up some screenshots of this self-censored Web site, which wasn't up long enough to be indexed by the Internet archive. Good riddance, Why is it that the people responsible for this kind of idiocy never seem to get fired?

Labels: , , ,

December 14, 2006

Another Fake Blog Shuts Down

Following on the heels of the Wal-Mart fake blog scandal, another Fake Blog ("or Flog"), this time run by a Sony PR contractor called Zapatoni, has shut down. The deceptive blog resided at the domain

What the hell are these people thinking? It's definitely time for the Federal Trade Commission to start busting practitioners of this kind of deceptive advertising.

Labels: , ,

October 13, 2006

PR Scandal Closes

Wal-Marting Across America, a site launched and paid for by Working Families for Wal-Mart, was forced to cease updates last week, when news reports disclosed that Wal-Mart had hired Washington Post reporter James Thresher to produce photos for it.

According to news reports, "Wal-Mart outfitted the RV and turned it over to Thresher and his partner, Laura St. Claire, who drove it cross-country, staying overnight in Wal-Mart parking lots. Along the way, they posted favorable photographs and interviews of Wal-Mart shoppers and employees."

Thresher was disciplined by his boss, and agreed to stop taking money from Wal-Mart (the Washington Post's editorial policy forbids freelancing for interest groups). The whole crazy idea of launching this fake property was hatched, I'm told, by the big brains at Edelmen, which should have anticipated that their ruse would have been uncovered. The result is considerable tarnishing of the Wal-mart and Edelmen brands. was launched too recently to be archived at the Internet Archive. If you want to save this one for your Top 10 PR Disaster files, grab your screen shots now before Wal-mart, Edelmen, or Working Families for Walmart pulls the plug on this stinker.

Labels: , , ,

October 05, 2006

Wal-Mart Shuts Down "The Hub"

Wal-Mart closes its social networking site The HubThe Hub, whose domain was, was Wal-Mart's effort to gain some traction in the uber-hot but largely vaporous social networking space, and it shut down last week.

The Hub was excoriated by Ad Age commentator Bob Garfield as "a bomb" and "excruciatingly bad shortly after it launched in July.

Grab your screenshots now: this is one that many people will have a very hard time remembering in a year or so.

Labels: , , ,

June 05, 2005

Workplace Violence For Fun and Profit

Workplace shootings are a singularly ghastly aspect of corporate life in America, and I know few people who think they are amusing or entertaining enough to be turned into games. Toshiba - a gigantic Japanese company that manufacturers many of the personal computers now used by Americans, may believe otherwise. Examine the banner ad above (click on it to see a larger version), which entices users to "splat the co-worker and get a free Toshiba Satellite (notebook computer)." I screen-captured this Flash-animated ad when I first saw it begin to rotate onto the Web on Friday.

Have our hypermediated memories grown so short that the name Michael McDermott means nothing? In light of this ad, the only credible answer to this question is "yes." What's next? Columbine - the action game - from Activision?

Toshiba's official corporate motto is "Committed to People Committed to the Future." It's a shame this company knows so little about our recent, bloody past that it would have approved this ad for widespread circulation.

Labels: ,

Click Here to Return to the Ghost Sites Home Page