How to Make Your Advertisement Look Like Spam

I had experienced ZeroTurnaround‘s marketing and sales before, and I thought it was a bit agressive, although their products seem really nice and cool, so I had forgiven them at the time… However, looking at the numerous links to their product JRebel on CodeRanch just looks like quite offending spam to me. Consider an arbitrary question:
http://www.coderanch.com/t/294530/JDBC/databases/NullPointerException-stmt-executeUpdate

The question is about a silly NullPointerException and its answer is straightforward. Now the JRebel link at the bottom:

I agree. Here's the link

I agree. Here’s the link…

“I agree. Here’s the link” – Whatever. Completely off-topic, no? It looks as though CodeRanch had a spam filtering problem which was exploited by a decent company selling decent products. Why would they do that? Well, I understand that being able to put your link on one of the Top 20 Java Websites can be good for search engine optimisation. But making it look like spam will probably start pissing off potential customers, no?

The crazy thing is, it really isn’t spam, it’s a regular advertisement on CodeRanch. Scroll down on this question here:
http://www.coderanch.com/t/376762/java/java/ArrayList-maintain-order

I’m really curious if this advertisement works out for ZeroTurnaround! I’m also curious about your opinion, and whether you also think this is spammy.

14 thoughts on “How to Make Your Advertisement Look Like Spam

  1. I agree! Here is the link…

    Oh no. Just kidding. But only half way as far as there is no link in my comment. But I totally agree. It distracted me so much that I even wrote a mail to code ranch complaining about it. Probably got filtered out by their spam filter as no answer ever came.

    The only effect this had on me was that whenever I saw JRebel advertisement anywhere, even if it looked like a real advertisement and not a spam it became a blank spot in my eyes. I do not really know wat JRebel is. Probably something to do with Java, since it starts with J.

    And still: I still have some bad gut feeling when I read about JRebel.

      • Thank you, Anton, enlightening us on the topic what JRebel is. Me not trying it may be good: saving time. Or it may be bad: loosing the opportunity to get to know it.

        I believe that anybody producing a software should believe that for their software the second case is the relevant. For this very reason they have to do all measures to avoid advertisement types that may distract the people trying their software.

        I think the topic of this blog issue is about this and not the actual product features of JRebel.

      • I agree with Peter here. I found JRebel quite intriguing when I once evaluated it around three years ago. I discarded it for two simple reasons:

        – It didn’t work flawlessly with our rather complicated WLS setup right away
        – It was a bit too expensive for the added value it produced

        But I had a good feeling with JRebel at the time, keeping the product name and the company in the back of my head. This particular ad on CodeRanch, however, slightly challenged my feelings towards this brand…

  2. What is obnoxious about it, is that it is blatantly deceptive. It just so happens that trying to look like a reply to an online discussion is also a tactic commonly used by spammers, but even if it weren’t, it would still be sleazy and obnoxious. It is right up there with ads that have a big download button that are targeted at software download sites to fool you into clicking them when you meant to download the software.

    I’ve actually been considering trying out JRebel. They’ve just guaranteed that I won’t.

  3. Do you really think that someone from ZeroTurnaround would be going through the whole CodeRanch forum and add the comment into each thread? Whatta naiive opinion!

    This is what CodeRunch does and here’s the kvetch thread about the way CodeRanch displays the ads : http://www.coderanch.com/t/600263/Ranch-Office/agree-link-kvetch

    So if you open up a thread, and you see the comment at the bottom. Refresh the page – you will see completely other message in the comment.

    So it is not only ZeroTurnaround with JRebel but also other products displayed in the ads. Doh!

    • I do not think it was about who does it actually. Getting a bullet shot into your head makes you dead no matter who was triggering the gun.

      If this is CodeRanch: too bad for their advertisers. It is the fault of their advertisers to agree and accept that type of placement.

    • Nice to hear an opinion by a ZeroTurnaround representative. And thanks for the link to the relevant kvetch thread. Interesting!

      Whatta naiive opinion!

      Hehe. Consider the fact that I happen to know that those were advertisements and not single comments (as stated in my post). BUT. They awfully look like single comments made by a script kiddie in every single thread. At least to me. But maybe I’m just naive. 😉

      Refresh the page – you will see completely other message in the comment.

      Nope. I get only JRebel (Using Chrome / Windows)

      So it is not only ZeroTurnaround with JRebel but also other products displayed in the ads.

      I don’t mind ads at all. I just thought that deceiving users by choosing this particular wording is counter-productive and will leave a bad aftertaste with developers who might otherwise be interested in your products.

      But anyway, I’m curious about your opinion, since you’re a product manager at ZeroTurnaround. Does this ad convert well for you?

      • Nope. I get only JRebel

        I uses kind of an interesting caching or probability formula to display the ads. If you navigate through CR you’ll notice the comment content changing. Besides, on the left you can see no author for the message, which is kind of impossible to do by simply posting into forum thread.

        Does this ad convert well for you?

        Yes, it has a good conversion rate.

    • Thanks for the feedback. In the meantime, I’ve found out that this is just how CodeRanch displays advertisements, so not really JRebel’s / ZeroTurnaround’s fault. It still looks a lot like spam, though 🙂

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