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[P]
Internet Advertising : the SSP Protocol

By Wah in Internet
Tue Feb 20, 2001 at 09:10:27 PM EST
Tags: Internet (all tags)
Internet

Advertsing on the Internet has gone through a number of changes in recent years. Considering how the entire visible life of the Internet has taken place in recent years, this is not surprising. One of the most recent changes to Internet advertising has been the rampant proliferation of the SSP protocol, and I think it will be around for the duration. [Note: it's not this]


I'll spare you the history lesson, almost. This is a link to a paper I wrote about Internet advertising in college, around Feb. '98. It's pretty bad, but it'll give you some history if you really want it. This topic has also been discussed here on K5 before, try here and here and here.

The SSP protocol is based on one of the fundamental properties of the Internet, the hyperlink. Unlike banner ads, pop-ups, and intersitials, SSP is both inconspicuous and bandwidth friendly. Ultimately the purpose is the same as any advertising, to grab your attention and move you to action. SSP is what originally brought me to this site, and has contributed mightily to the 40,000 unique vistors who have visited my homepage over the last year. It is both economically efficient and socially acceptable. In short, it is the future of advertising on the Internet.

SSP allows for pinpoint demographic and psychographic targeting using intelligent agents to maximize advertising potential. SSP also allows for the repetition much advertising need to be effective, again whle staying economical and socially sound.

In case you haven't guessed it yet, SSP stands for Shameless Self Promotion. You see it in .sigs, it exists in user profiles, sometimes it even gets submitted here as stories. In all senses, it is advertising, but because it becomes part of the conversation, it gains immediate street cred. The previous link to Cluetrain illustrates the protocol in one of its derivative forms, promotion for concepts, movements or products that the individual linking believes in. SSP is also compatible with the Cluetrain itself, as the manifesto mentions the immense potential of a linked workforce promoting the company in person, as a representative employee, while using the Internet at work.

As discussion sites gain popularity and more surfers are exposed to them, it might very well become the reality that careful use of SSP will be much more efficient from a resource management and overall effectiveness perspective. However, the downsides are obvious. The lowering of signal to noise ratios, fear and mistrust of fellow users, and of course, goatsex, are all immediately apparent. The general feeling of being manipulated is also one most humans find distasteful. But these objections and shortcomings are quite minor when compared with most alternatives. How much bandwidth have you wasted on banners you never see(none, eh?), how many pop-ups have you quickly clicked close, how many times have your actions and surfing habits been tracked?

In closing, I've seen and been using this protocol for a number of years, and wanted to give it a name. Promotion and advertising on the Internet are a simple battle for your attention. There is 1M times more "content" on the Net than any one person could ever consume. Getting someone to pay attention for your own will become an increasingly difficult battle, but it is a battle you can fight effectively as an army of one. Thanks to the SSP.

[final author's note: as per, I wasn't sure about the section, if your vote relies on such things, wait for it to be settled before clicking. This was also composed on the fly, so if it needs fleshing out for your +1, feel free to post why and where.]

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Poll
SSP is
o the future of advertising 6%
o a waste of my time 21%
o curious, but not earth-shattering 22%
o how I found K5 22%
o SSP 26%

Votes: 79
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o this
o This is a link to a paper I wrote about Internet advertising
o here
o here [2]
o here [3]
o demographi c
o psychograp hic
o conversati on
o wanted to give it a name
o Also by Wah


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Internet Advertising : the SSP Protocol | 30 comments (24 topical, 6 editorial, 0 hidden)
Huh? (1.85 / 20) (#2)
by Signal 11 on Sun Feb 18, 2001 at 05:08:27 PM EST

Let me get this straight.. you wrote several paragraphs to describe shameless self promotion as both a problem, and that it has to stop? And you did this by using words and phrases designed to mislead people? Promoting oneself is one of the central ideas in an individualistic culture, and there's nothing wrong with it, in moderation, within the context of such a culture. In the US, we also have capitalism, which goes as far as to provide economic incentives for self promotion - making yourself known to the boss gets you a raise, advertising the virtues of carbinated black goo makes Coca Cola billions of dollars each year, and politicians frequently point at themselves as examples of outstanding citizens to get elected. Shocking! Stunning! Oh My God, People Are Saying Good Things About Themselves!

wrt manipulation, it is nothing more than persuading others (by various means, some more ethical than others) to do something you want done. Is this bad? Not necessarily! A politician wants to manipulate the press to win an election. Oh, wait, that's BAD! But who did you vote for? And you voted for them without listening to their self promotions, too, I suppose. If you think manipulation doesn't/shouldn't exist, you're living in a dream world.

This article is senationalistic, misleading, and flat out wrong. Drag that piece of #$@! out into the street and have it shot.

-1, with prejudice


--
Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.

Hyp... hyp... (3.33 / 6) (#4)
by flieghund on Sun Feb 18, 2001 at 05:21:21 PM EST

This article is senationalistic, misleading, and flat out wrong.

Really, Siggy, didn't you ever hear the story about the pot and the kettle?

Hyp... hyp... hyp... popotomus



Using a Macintosh is like picking your nose: everyone likes to do it, but no one will admit to it.
[ Parent ]
You didn't get it straight (3.66 / 3) (#5)
by Wah on Sun Feb 18, 2001 at 05:30:24 PM EST

you wrote several paragraphs to describe shameless self promotion as both a problem, and that it has to stop?

No, I don't think it should stop. It think it's less of a problem than other advertising. I think it's a good thing, not sure you you could read otherwise. My point was that it is a distinct brand of advertising, and one gaining in popularity. I didn't say that manipulation was bad, but that poeple dislike being manipulated.

Your reading of the article is sensationalistic, misleading, and flat out wrong. At least you got the prejudice part right. This article isn't whining about how something out of my control needs to stop, it's an obersvation about an ongoing phenomenon.
--
Fail to Obey?
[ Parent ]

Ahem. (2.00 / 6) (#8)
by Signal 11 on Sun Feb 18, 2001 at 06:16:15 PM EST

This article isn't whining about how something out of my control needs to stop, it's an obersvation about an ongoing phenomenon.

That's not how I read it.


--
Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.
[ Parent ]

key word here -- ISN'T (3.00 / 2) (#11)
by radar bunny on Sun Feb 18, 2001 at 07:31:46 PM EST

as the quote you use says, he's NOT whining about how it needs to stop.

[ Parent ]
Here ya go (3.00 / 1) (#18)
by retinaburn on Mon Feb 19, 2001 at 10:26:15 AM EST

The SSP protocol is based on one of the fundamental properties of the Internet, the hyperlink. Unlike banner ads, pop-ups, and intersitials, SSP is both inconspicuous and bandwidth friendly. Ultimately the purpose is the same as any advertising, to grab your attention and move you to action. SSP is what originally brought me to this site, and has contributed mightily to the 40,000 unique vistors who have visited my homepage over the last year. It is both economically efficient and socially acceptable. In short, it is the future of advertising on the Internet.

Here ya go Sig all nice and boiled down for you.

I think that we are a young species that often fucks with things we don't know how to unfuck. -- Tycho


[ Parent ]
What are you smoking, Signal 11? (3.66 / 6) (#9)
by Mr. Piccolo on Sun Feb 18, 2001 at 07:03:20 PM EST

What the hell are you talking about? The author is clearly saying that SSP, which happens to stand for "Shameless Self-Promotion", is in fact better than the forms of Internet advertising we have now. Sure, it's not perfect, but it doesn't rely on ugly flashing graphics or tons of bandwidth.

Infact right after mentioning the downsides (reduced S/N, perceived manipulation), he goes on to say: "But these objections and shortcomings are quite minor when compared with most alternatives." Does that really sound like someone who thinks Shameless Self-Promotion is a "problem", and "has to stop"? I don't think so.

Really, this troll is so obvious to anyone who even glanced over the writeup I don't know why I'm bothering to reply.

The BBC would like to apologise for the following comment.


[ Parent ]
ugh (2.50 / 2) (#16)
by twl on Mon Feb 19, 2001 at 06:32:17 AM EST

You really should

* learn to read
* get over yourself

thank you.

[ Parent ]
Isnt it time for you to.. (none / 0) (#28)
by Mubturtle on Wed Feb 21, 2001 at 03:08:31 PM EST

do this?:

Claim the author is a $NOUN-nazi.
Examples:
- Microsoft Nazi
- Ethics Nazi
- Grammar Nazi


[ Parent ]

It does have name (3.50 / 8) (#3)
by Phage on Sun Feb 18, 2001 at 05:14:36 PM EST

It is called Viral Marketing, and like all marketing it is sometimes bad, but when well done is extremely effective.

The most famous example would be the little Hotmail sigs that appended each email.


I don't find Heathens to be sexy, as a general rule.
Canthros

Yes it is similar (3.00 / 1) (#6)
by Wah on Sun Feb 18, 2001 at 05:40:42 PM EST

to the practices described here. But I was thinking of a more personal focus, hence the second S.
--
Fail to Obey?
[ Parent ]
Yebbut... (2.50 / 4) (#7)
by Phage on Sun Feb 18, 2001 at 05:58:57 PM EST

Wouldn't the "Self" be a subset of the Viral Marketing concept ?

Ugh...you start a conversation about marketing, and before you know it, you are using words like "concept"...<shudder>...


I don't find Heathens to be sexy, as a general rule.
Canthros
[ Parent ]

perhaps (3.00 / 1) (#10)
by Wah on Sun Feb 18, 2001 at 07:12:07 PM EST

I think it is definitely part of the same general area of marketing, although I'd say the Hotmail example would be Shameless Systematic Promotion. The main difference being the existense of an individual practicing the promotion, rather than the system. If that follows. A personal, well-thought out comment gives much more credence to the link attached to it, than a random "click here for free stuff", appended to an email service provided by a multi-national. It is a small distinction (a different source), but I think there is a big enough difference to be notable.
--
Fail to Obey?
[ Parent ]
Viral Marketing (5.00 / 1) (#27)
by Mr Tom on Wed Feb 21, 2001 at 09:18:25 AM EST

> It is called Viral Marketing, and like all marketing it

> The most famous example would be the little Hotmail
> sigs that appended each email.

Actually, I'd have thought that the most famous example of viral marketing was:

"Viral marketing doesn't work. Tell your friends."

:-)


-- Mr_Tom<at>gmx.co.uk

I am a consultant. My job is to make your job redundant.
[ Parent ]

Great for small projects (4.50 / 2) (#14)
by Elmin on Mon Feb 19, 2001 at 02:40:47 AM EST

I doubt, though, that corporations of any reasonable size would, or even could, adopt a protocol like this. I guess they could have all the employees go out and promote the product they work on, but it still has a limited scope and poses other logistics problems. A nice idea, but I think banner ads are going to be around a little longer.

Note: I'm still not sure exactly how this is different from word-of-mouth.

Size and scope (4.00 / 1) (#20)
by Wah on Mon Feb 19, 2001 at 02:22:27 PM EST

I agree that it is much more applicable to the small business or project trying to gain a foothold, i.e. someone with a very restrained advertising budget. It would be difficult for the current corporate landscape to embrace it on a company-wide scale mainly because they want to very carefully control their corporate "voice".

However, if the problem is attacked in a systematic way, i.e. paying 30 people $30/k to personally promote your solution rather than buying 30 seconds of Superbowl airtime, I think it could be productive. Mainly because you get the personal selling advantage (long considered the most effective sales technique) and can target your advertising more effectively. Now whether or not that would be more effective than $1M worth of spam is questionable, unfortunately spam still works, but for someone who wants to build a respected business, spam is pretty much out.

Yea, it is basically world-of-mouth, but the growth of popular discussion boards (which I think will continue) has made individuals' mouths quite loud. The same thing happens when, say, someone with a business writes a letter to the editor of thier newspaper and gets their business names and location printed with the letter. The Internet just makes the concept more powerful and much more far reaching, and you can't click on a newspaper.

Banner ads will still be around, but I think they are much less effective. We've gotten upwards of 1500-2000 pageviews from a few simple links with thoughtful comments. To get that from straight click-throughs on a banner ad, it would cost $3,750. (And that's with 1% click-through at $25/M impressions)
--
Fail to Obey?
[ Parent ]

Salespeople (3.50 / 2) (#21)
by Elmin on Mon Feb 19, 2001 at 02:35:02 PM EST

I certainly hope that doesn't happen! Think what would happen if a company, say Microsoft, decided to hire people to go on online discussion boards and spread FUD like crazy. Maybe not even FUD, just posting stories promoting Microsoft products all the time. It would be infinitely more annoying than banner ads, and would also make Microsoft advertising strategies look even more despicable than they do now. That's a loss for everyone involved.

In my experience, SSP only works when the product is good, the context is appropriate, and the promoter is honest. In short, it only works in a very limited scope, and can only be done by people who are not being paid to do it.

[ Parent ]
I agree (3.00 / 1) (#23)
by Wah on Mon Feb 19, 2001 at 03:01:34 PM EST

That (S/N ratio) was one of the downsides I mentioned. And I seriously wouldn't be surprised if it was already being done by some companies. Microsoft has gone on record with such tactics before, although at this point they can buy whatever they need.

I'll agree with everything else, but I think that soon (if not now) there will be people paid to do it. The same thing is done with beer, music, etc. someone is paid as a promoter to like the product and push it personally. Some examples have come out where the music industry uses these tactics to create social situations where a "regular" person become a paid promoter, although only in a social environment. Also done with stuff like cigarettes, where a rep would give someone like a bartender (who has lots of interaction with their target) new smokes to use. People see another using it, and want to try it out. It is mostly used in limited situations with new products, however.
--
Fail to Obey?
[ Parent ]

Oh the irony... (4.00 / 2) (#24)
by /dev/niall on Mon Feb 19, 2001 at 03:45:03 PM EST

I certainly hope that doesn't happen! Think what would happen if a company, say Microsoft, decided to hire people to go on online discussion boards and spread FUD like crazy.

As a former OS/2 user all I can say is...

... this has already happened.


--
"compared to the other apes, my genitals are gigantic" -- TheophileEscargot
[ Parent ]

Ads just suck... (4.25 / 4) (#15)
by SwampGas on Mon Feb 19, 2001 at 03:37:46 AM EST

When I get an ad in snail mail.....it either gets thrown away unopened, or if it looks like it may contain a pre-paid postage envelope, I'll rip it all up and mail it back in it. When I see a popup, it gets closed the second it begins to load. When I get spam, it gets deleted the second I don't recognize the sender or the subject.

I don't want to "check this out". I don't want to "win $1,000,000" (the gimmick is that in VERY fine print on a remote section of the homepage it says "in total prizes"...meaning that 2,000,000 people may get $0.50). I don't want to "see what you have to offer".

When I want to buy something, I go to the store or I visit my best friend Google.com and search for it. When I want $1,000,000, I'll put more money into my Vanguard account or play the lottery. When I want to beat up a monkey, I'll watch a porno.

I'm *SO* incredibly sick of internet advertising...the only exception would be the OSDN ads on here and Slashdot. I've never clicked on any of them, but they occasionally make me chuckle. Stop trying to sell me stuff....I don't care.

But thats why SSP is 'good' (none / 0) (#17)
by retinaburn on Mon Feb 19, 2001 at 10:23:04 AM EST

SSP can be simply a link in someones signature, or a link within another document. Its non-intrusive, non-annoying and does not detract from your concentration.

I think that we are a young species that often fucks with things we don't know how to unfuck. -- Tycho


[ Parent ]
lost opportunity (3.66 / 3) (#19)
by Anonymous 242 on Mon Feb 19, 2001 at 12:14:12 PM EST

  1. Find a very large box.
  2. Dump the contents of your garbage in the box.
  3. Find a some bricks.
  4. Put them in the box.
  5. Find some road kill.
  6. Put them in the box.
  7. Shut box.
  8. Tape well.
  9. Open mail marked "pre-sort bulk-rate postage paid."
  10. Use clear tape to tape "postage paid by addressee" reply envelope to top of box.
  11. Take it down to the post office and mail it.
  12. Sit back as the spam mailler pays for postage for mailing fifty pounds of rubbish, bricks and dead animals to his/her PO box.


[ Parent ]
Information as old as the internet (1.50 / 2) (#29)
by rinkjustice on Fri Feb 23, 2001 at 08:47:25 AM EST

This form of advertising is common knowledge to everyone with a frontal lobe. I'll bet every website promotion book in print has described this method, and usually in the first few chapters. I'm puzzled as to why and how this submission got promoted when other submissions light years more informative or interesting than this one have been shat on and dismissed in 10 minutes. Un-fucking-believable. And SSP protocol? As if we need another useless acronym!

The mind boggles...

Warning: Sheild your eyes! Advertising below!



Secrets of getting stronger, faster, leaner - ZerotoSuperhero

"Guerilla Marketing" (3.50 / 2) (#30)
by Keslin on Fri Feb 23, 2001 at 10:02:51 PM EST

SSP is a concept that has already been formally defined and termed by professional marketers. It is called "guerilla marketing", after a 1983 book by Jay Levinson of the same name. The concept has been around for centuries, but Levinson was one of the first to spend his life talking about it.

One of the most notable aspects of guerilla marketing from a marketer's perspective is that it is far more appropriate for a small business where saving money is extremely important, but saving time is not.

As a concrete example, I run a personal adult web site. Compare my options for marketing my site. I can either cruise over to an online banner agency and purchase a few zillion ad impressions, or I can wander around in online message boards, posting comments that might possibly lead people to my site. The first option costs me some money, the second option costs me an enormous amount of time. If I am a small business, then the choice is obvious. The same is not true for a larger business, which would have a difficult time justifying devoting an entire employee's salary toward subtle company promotion. Marketing departments with tight budgets prefer campaigns with more tangible and measurable results and predictable budgets.

I, on the other hand, would much rather spend 20 minutes of my own time contemplating an article on Kuro5in and posting a comment that might possibly get noticed and eventually lead people to my site. The result is more valuable for the target audience and cheaper for me, not to mention just more fun. It all comes down to how valuable your time is, and how much of a passion you have for what you do.


-Keslin, the naked nerd girl.

Internet Advertising : the SSP Protocol | 30 comments (24 topical, 6 editorial, 0 hidden)
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