We are a desensitized society. We don't just live in one, we are one. The way we perceive and react is significantly different than it was 30, 20, and even 10 years ago, and it is not a good thing. Let's look at an example. The movie Jaws came out in 1975; it was the movie of the year. Millions of Americans flocked to the theaters to watch sailors dive headfirst into the waiting jaws of Jaws. Have you watched that movie recently? I bet you were telling your kids how terrified you were the first time you saw it, and I would also bet that your kids laughed and told you that SpongeBob is more intense than Jaws.
This is just one extreme example of our desensitized culture; and it is not the purpose of my writing this article. Allow me to now vent what I have to say. Ahem (throat clearing), please dim the lights.
If you would please, at this very moment, open up a new window in your web browser. Look across your bookmarks toolbar at tell me: how many of those, your favorite sites, have banner advertisements on them? How many claim that you've won 1000 free music downloads or a trip to the Playboy Mansion? 3? 5? All of them? Chances are that you don't have any idea, because when you open that website you don't look at them. For some reason, your eyes glance over the flashing red and green portions right to the black text halfway down the page. This is unnatural in every possible way; as humans we are drawn to bright and flashy things, and tend to 'fear' actual text. Yet, as I said, we all go right to the text.
Maybe you think you know the reason: because you're in a hurry, because you're afraid it might be pornographic, or maybe you think you know the real truth. They're all lies. Nobody is going to give away free music downloads or a beach vacation without some sort of payment. They're trying to fool you because nothing is free. If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is right?
Wrong, absolutely wrong. While some of these cliché ads may be out to get you, many actually have a legitimate product. There is a limited amount of ways to promote things online, and supplying banner ads is by far the easiest. You need to be able to distinguish the legit ads for free music downloads from the phony ones.
You don't want to get scammed, and I don't want you to get scammed, but please! When you load a web page, take a moment to sweep your eyes across the page, letting them drift to money signs and anything colorful. 9 times out of 10, all the ads might be fake, but think of that remaining one that you are going to miss out on. For practice, keep your eyes out for an eMusic ad offering 25 free music downloads. I personally know the Manager of Marketing Divisions at eMusic and I happen to know that they are currently running this promotion simply to get new users! Honestly, it doesn't cost you a dime and you'll get your free music downloads right away. You have nothing to lose, and this time, it's true.