Caution: web browsing ahead!

During a quick lunch break this afternoon, I browsed the web, as usual, checking the headlines, markets, baseball news, science fiction news, etc. I ran into three things while browsing that were unusual enough to get me thinking, so I figured I’d write about them here and see what you all think.

Do web ads take into account “speed browsers”?

While checking the headlines on Yahoo!, there was a small ad on the web page for Dish Network. I glanced at the ad and it appeared to read: “There’s never anything on Dish Network” which I thought was odd because it didn’t sound like a positive ad. I checked the logo to see if, perhaps, DirecTV placed the ad, but indeed, the ad was for Dish Network. So I read the tag line again, and realized that I mentally replaced some words. What the tag line actually said was: There is never “nothing on” on Dish Network.

It made me wonder if writers of web ads take into account speed-browsers. While I am not a speed-reader, I am a speed-browsers. I read web-pages, regardless of their content, by gestalt. What happened in this case was I saw the words “There’s never” and “on Dish Network” and I assumed the missing word was “anything” (or “anything good”). I didn’t actually read the whole phrase word for word. I am very consistent about this behavior when I read web pages and I wonder if others are too. And therefore I wondered if the writers of web ads take into account the fact that people don’t read the ads word-for-words, but instead fill in the gaps in their mind, with unusual results from time to time. Perhaps jkashlock can answer this.

23 stocks that doubled

I came across another ad that indicated that “Since they launched Motley Fool Stock Advisor in April 2002, a full 23 of their recommendations have doubled in value or more.” This was one of the more bizaire statements I’d seen in a while. Even at first glance it doesn’t seem impressive. Then as I thought about it, it gradually grew even less impressive. April 22 was nearly 5 years ago. One must ask the question: how many stocks has Motley Fool Stock Advisor actually recommended in 5 years? If the number is 23 then it is very impressive. But I doubt it. In fact, I suspect the number is more like thousands. So in 5 years and thousands of stock recommendations, 23 of those recommendation have doubled in value. I think my heart just skipped a beat.

Customer service doesn’t matter

I was reading an article (by gestalt) about how the CEO of DTE Energy (in which I own some stock) earned $7 million in 2006. It broke down his salary ($1.1 million, non-equity compensation ($1.9 million) and stock ($3.9 million). It went on to say that “DTE Energy’s compensation committee…bases part of its’ executives compensation on performance benchmarks, and the company met most of the objectives for 2006.” Here’s the kicker. It pointed out the one benchmark the company did not meet were performance targets for customer satisfaction “and other items”. So when people say that the customer is king, the customer is always right, you know it’s just a bunch of hooey. Here’s a guy who got $7 million last year for running a company which didn’t meet it’s own customer satisfaction standards.