the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Marketers, Over Here!


As if I don’t have enough spammers and perverts scanning my website, now I learn that marketing companies are using high-tech methods to scan my Web log for "valuable insights" into the consumer market.  U.S. companies using new blog analysis tools have already figured out that teens fear exceeding their cellphone minutes, consumers want longer-lasting photos, and interest in Atkins diet is dropping.

Umbria, with clients including Sprint Corp. and Electronic Arts Inc., says its natural-language analysis can determine blogger demographics based on language, subject matter and acronyms. OMG ("oh my God!") or POS ("parent over shoulder") are expressions defining Generation Y girls, or those ages 10 to 25; FUBAR ("fouled up beyond all recognition") is often used by male baby boomers.

Such analysis can be important. Umbria says Laker guard Kobe Bryant has lost his cachet with most bloggers, but he is still the No. 2 National Basketball Association personality, behind LeBron James, among the boys of Generation Y, important buyers of videogames, sneakers and basketball jerseys.

David Rabjohns, president of blog watcher MotiveQuest, calls the field "online anthropology" and says he regards his firm as "almost a mouthpiece for the consumer." The Evanston., Ill., firm’s clients include Motorola Inc. and Citigroup Inc.

For a Japanese auto maker, Mr. Rabjohns says MotiveQuest studied online postings about minivans. Soccer moms said their young children love minivans, which they regard as "a playhouse on wheels," but teens regard them as lame and want SUVs. MotiveQuest recommended developing a loyalty program to persuade minivan owners to buy the company’s SUVs, rather than trying to get them to buy another minivan.

As a consumer who wants his opinion heard, I will now be more vocal in using brand names so as to help marketers scanning my blog:

Ragu Tomato Sauce sucks.  It is the worst-tasting stuff on the market.  I find better tomato sauce at the 99 cent store. 

You couldn’t pay me to buy another piece of junk furniture at Ikea.

Sony TVs aren’t as good as they used to be.

The Hyundai Santa Fe comes with a really bad radio.

The Simpsons were better last year.

Pacific Theater‘s popcorn is inferior to AMC’s popcorn.

Starbucks coffee is too bitter.

Krispy Kreme doughnuts are over-rated. 

Vons is the worst supermarket in Los Angeles, with the lousiest selection.

Streit’s Matzoh at Passover is crap compared to Osem Israeli Matzoh.

Paramount Pictures‘ movies have been mediocre lately.

American Idol only has two more years left in it.

Office Max is the least interesting of the office supply stores.

Despite Paris Hilton, Carl’s Jr. is the worst fast-food place in California.

Her mother’s show, I Want to Become a Hilton, is the worst reality show ever.

The phrase "this" as the new "that" is overused.   Los Angeles Times editors should stop using it.

Newsweek and Time both suck as magazines.

The girls in Stuff are prettier than the girls in Maxim.

Brunettes are sexier than Blonds.

No more TV shows set in Las Vegas.  It’s really not that interesting there.

The vegetables in Whole Foods are way overpriced.  Are only the wealthy supposed to eat organic while everyone else poisons themselves with the vegetables at Ralphs?   Why not subsidize healthy vegetables rather than art in a museum?

Crystal Geyser water sometimes smells funny.  Are you sure this isn’t just the local water repackaged?

The equipment at the 24 Hour Fitness on Pico needs repair.

I have never responded once to an online advertisement.  It is a total waste of money.

Rice Krispies is the wimpiest cereal.  I can’t believe I ate these as a kid.

I never really liked the pizza at California Pizza Kitchen.

Cingular‘s advertisements lie.  Their service is awful.   I can’t even use the phone in my own apartment.

Although I use it, I’m not very impressed with the interface of gmail.

I’m a little concerned about drinking Coke with Splenda.  How do I know they aren’t going to find out that Splenda is cancer-causing ten years from now?

Mentadent toothpaste tastes bad and the toothpaste always drips onto the bathroom counter.

Jockey brand underwear never fits as well as Hanes.

I pity you if you have no choice but to use Comcast for cable (like me).

Michael Jackson was probably guilty.

Any other cry-outs to the scanning marketing bots?


  1. Josia

    Friggin’ BRILLIANT!! What do you write for apart from your blog Neil?

  2. Leese

    The “can you hear me now” guy from Verizon was lying too. You can’t get reception in Los Altos Hills.

    And maybe this is news to spammers out there, I have no use for Via-gra or Ci-alis. (And kudos to your spam program, it seems to be working. )

  3. Hilary

    It’s all about the DirecTV. Dump your Comcast crap and get DirecTV. You’ll love it.

  4. estee

    haha. nicely done!

  5. Edgy Mama

    I’m with you on Splenda–I read that the process of making sugar calorie-free includes chlorine. Have some bleach with your Coke?

  6. M

    Great and here I am drinking a Diet Coke with Splenda, thought it would be better than the diet Coke with the aspartame in it.


  7. David Rabjohns

    Funny, made me smile.

  8. Neil

    Thanks for dropping by, Mr. Rabjohns. I’m glad to know I’m being watched by you. Now go tell Ragu to get with the program!

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