Al Neuharth, founder of USA Today, told a page one meeting shortly after the launch of the national newspaper that if the editors ran a photograph of a pretty girl on the front page to, well, make sure her chest was visible above the fold so it would be visible on a stack or inside a vending machine. Using T&A to sell stuff is Advertising 101. After years of wondering why pretty women want to be my friend, I’ve had enough.
LinkedIn is becoming a cesspool of strange spam, endorsements, clickbait and general vanity. I get three or four requests a day to add a stranger to my network, sometimes really, really weird crap like a upholstery service in Newport Beach, California (who I am as likely to do business with as a cement factory in Malaysia. But what really gets on my nerves is the use of “pretty girl” pictures and cleavage shots for fictitious individuals such as the cute “Sophie Middleton” in the hopes I will accept their invitation to join my “network.” Am I really that predictable? I guess I must be. I notice it enough to blog about it.
I remember reading Yachting magazine in the 70s and 80s and realizing every single motorboat ad had a babe-in-a-bikini in it, so many that I began to wonder if motorboats came equipped with scantily dressed women as standard equipment along with boat hooks and bilge pumps.
Back to Ms. Middleton who is an “ambitious and driven individual who is passionate about Online Advertising solutions…” (who isn’t?)
This young lady was educated at the University of Manchester — where she earned a “1st” in Economics — hence her veddy British name. She works for ZingGaming, a London company, and she is looking for “Publishers CPI-CPL.” I don’t know what CPI means but I infer “CPL” is “cost per lead” or some other digital advertising acronym.
She is doing very well with her networking efforts and has over 500 connections. She is also already friends with a colleague and former colleague (both men) of mine.
Now she wants to join my network.
Ordinarily I trash these requests, but feeling grumpy this morning I grabbed her photograph and ran a reverse image search through Tineye.com.
There I found twenty-one examples of the cute “Ms. Sophie.” She can be found on a Walgreens Photo site, on “FunnyPix” on a page titled “You’ll Get Tongue-Tied Over These Spicy Pics Of Nickelodeon Girls” where she was given the caption: “Cute, Huh? Her Before/After Makeup Pics Will Make You Scream…”
“Sophie” can be found on sites such as The Naughty.com, Polydore, Speed Date, WattPad, Cavemancircus, and so on and so forth. Sophie gets around….
I’m tempted to fill out the contact form on ZingGaming‘s website and ask to talk to Ms. Middleton. But, knowing full well the world of affiliate marketing, CPL scammers, and the rest of the sordid swamp known as the digital advertising world where content is just so much cheese in the rat trap, I rather hit delete and move on.
I know everyone gets a ton of this crap — this is like writing about spam — so what? But I am intrigued by the spammer mindset that use bogus accounts on social networks to weave a web of inbound links and followers around fictitious people (with cleavage) to improve the siterank and visibility of their services. I realize it is a well known phenomenon to steal a another person’s photos to create a bogus identity. The imaginary girlfriend of the football player a year or so ago is a classic example. And I know behavioral psychologists have quantified the attributes of the human face that people find attractive — the facial characteristics and rations that make people ooh and ahh over cute puppies and babies.
I see this all the time on Soundcloud, Google+, and other networks … enough to the point where if the “will you be my friend” invitation shows any decolletage or winsome characteristics I ship it right to the spam folder. I wonder if beefcake photos of men are used to trick women into accepting friends requests, or is this just a male phenomenon as old and primal as cave paintings? There needs to be a name for these artificial humans, fake people with names and college degrees and jobs and pretty faces that belong to somebody else.
Anyway, just another digression into the seamy underside of digital marketing where manipulators know that a headline with an odd-number in it, the promise of some sex, and a pretty face will deliver another click to their pile of pageviews and SEO.
Sophie, meet “David”