Thursday, March 21, 2013
Skepchick: Ads Undermine Message
Over at skepchick.org those questionable ads keep popping up.
As I mentioned in a previous post - "Skepchick's Incongruous Ads" - sometimes the automatically generated ads at the site are contrary to the organization's goals. I've been randomly checking; the problem remains.
Skeptics are against unproven medical claims and products. For example, in a recent skepchick.org post entitled "Centrum Silver has Been 'Studied'” the writer, Masala Skeptic, says that the TV commercial for a vitamin supplement was misleading, showing how that while the ad didn't lie, it wasn't exactly being truthful. She links to online sources to back up her point.
OK, that's fine. But what about the ads that appear with the article for Vitamin Advisor Andrew Weil, MD or Opurity Vitamins? Have those companies been checked out?
Most skeptics are atheists. So why do I see ads on skepchick.org for a Christian dating service?
The problem is worse when a Skepchick writer has a post that is completely undermined by stupid ads surrounding it. Contributor Elyse wrote a powerful piece, "Don’t tell me to love my body," a reaction to an ad of a beautiful model in bra and panties with the tagline that all women should love their bodies. She includes a copy of the ad, showing how women are supposed to be held up to the standards set by advertisers. She mentions that she has lost a lot of weight but still has problems with her body image.
But her well-written message ends up with an ad for the weight reduction product Pure Green Coffee - "The Hottest New Way to A Flat Belly." The link to the Pure Green Coffee page at skepchick.org shows a blubbery cartoon woman in bra and panties squeezing her bulging stomach with the caption: "Cut down a bit of your belly everyday with this 1 weird old tip."
So has a Skepchick investigator checked out the claims for Pure Green Coffee?
I don't know the validity of claims for the health supplements promoted at skepchick.org . I doubt the Skepchicks have time to check out every advertiser. But that's not the point.
The advertisers' messages shouldn't undermine the Skepchick messages. For example, Rebecca Watson is upset when she's treated like a sex object but ads for companies like DomicianCupid.com with a line-up of lovely foreign ladies still are seen. In fact the DomicianCupid.com ad ran as part of the "Don't tell me to love my body" post.
Don't get the impression that all ads seen at skepchick.org are incongruous. There are also other ads, for example, for automobiles, furniture, writing courses and stores like Radio Shack. If these were the only kind of ads appearing there wouldn't be a problem.
But apparently most people are unaware of the problem thanks to programs like AdBlock that conceal advertising. I didn't know about the ad situation at skepchick.org until a reader mentioned it in a comment and I deactivated AdBlock.
Is AdBlock going to be the fig leaf excuse for the site?
Posted by Ray Palm (Ray X) at 1:14 AM