Wanna be an annoying, sleazy marketer? HERE’S HOW!

by Joe Merkel

First off, let me start by saying this is just my own opinion. Despite that, however, I think most people will agree with me here.  On the other hand, if you practice any of these marketing tactics, don’t immediately assume I’m bashing you. As with anything in this grand adventure known as life, there are exceptions to these.

Before I continue with my opinions, I asked Jon Bradshaw, Co-Founder of TinyTorch.com, to give an example of a marketing technique he finds annoying:

“Something that really bothers me is when reputable sites do not filter out these awful ads. Recently, I found myself clicking on an advertisement featuring a list of marketing best practices. Instead of seeing an itemized list, the content was displayed in a carousel. On the page there was only one obvious ‘next’ button which actually turned out to be part of another ad. Not only does it make me angry with the ad, but it also makes me angry with the site it was sponsored on.”

With that said, let’s dive right in.

1. Force conversions down people’s throats.

I find this to be most prevalent with online IQ tests. As someone who’s constantly questioning his intelligence (and who has a relatively low budget), I semi-frequently find myself searching  online for free IQ tests. Oh, by the way, don’t try it! They’re all lies! My scores have ranged from 108 to 140 on the ones that actually give free results. 

But that’s just it. 97% percent of these so-called “free IQ tests” will NOT give you free results. Sure, they’ll let you take the IQ test– all 200 sections of it; but when you finally reach the end, BOOM! “See your results! Enter your card information below!”

This is pretty much what they do.
This is pretty much what they do.

Are you serious!? I just spent ninety minutes on this test, and you’re going to tell me I have to pay for my results!? Gee, I wish I would’ve known that before I wasted the last HOUR AND A HALF OF MY DAY!!! But I can’t be too mad; perhaps my IQ really isn’t all that high. After all, I was dumb enough to fall for this BS (more than once, I’m embarrassed to admit).

2. Use ads that take up the entire screen.

Seriously! Do it! Because that won’t put a bad taste for whatever you’re selling in anyone’s mouth!




Sorry, I’m choking on my own sarcasm.

Remember the late 90′s/early 00′s? Remember what every internet user back then seemed to endlessly complain about? If not, let me refresh your memory:

It's no coincidence that "Annoying" is a related category when you search for pop up ads on Google.

“Annoying” is a related category when you search for pop up ads on Google. I rest my case.

The screen-hogging abominations I’m referring to are the same thing.  I can’t think of a single time where these kinds of ads have gotten me, or anyone I know, to convert. So, advertisers, just… don’t.

3. Spam the masses with geo-targeted, template-based ads.

I’m kind of a meme nerd. As such, one of my go-to websites to get my meme fix is trolino.com. But as much as I love their memes, I equally hate their ads. One reason for this is because of the blatant click bait-esque, spammy load of bogus ads they host– ads that say something like “This new law in Beaverton has lawyers in an uproar!”

Of course, it only says this when you’re in Beaverton. But travel south 1,000+ miles and suddenly that same law goes into effect in San Diego too! Wow! What a coincidence!

Unfortunately, I can’t find images of the specific ads I’m referring to but luckily their campaigns seem to have ended. However, they were replaced by something arguably worse, which leads to my next tip on annoying marketing.

4. Gross your audience out!

You see this? Here’s another one from trolino.

Maybe it's time find a different meme site...

Maybe it’s time to find a different meme site…

Do you know what this is? I sure don’t, but it disgusts me. I never want to see it again. I might just be weird on this one but *barf*. NEXT!

5. Require a credit/debit card BEFORE the “free trial’”.

This one is about as sleazy as it gets and don’t you dare try to tell me otherwise. 100% of the time (real statistic), companies that do this are relying on the forgetfulness of those who sign up in order to profit (*cough* Netflix *cough*).

Somewhere in the fine print of their T&C, there is ALWAYS something guaranteeing the potential customer-to-be will be charged if they don’t cancel by the end of the trial period (*cough* Amazon Prime *cough*). Hell, half the time when they cancel during the trial, they’ll still get charged and presented with a giant fiasco just to get their money back! Automatic credit card charges are Lucifer’s greatest form of entertainment.

What annoying / sleazy practices do you see everywhere, and wish would stop?

Dennis Yu

About the Author

Dennis Yu
Dennis Yu is on a mission to create a million jobs.

He is the host of the CoachYu show, a digital marketing certification program that partners together with industry professionals just like doctors, engineers, and teachers where people can get trained and have a job at the same time.

He has been building brands and teaching marketing for over 13 years.

Specializes in helping young adults to grow into the leaders of tomorrow, by confidently developing their marketing skills through training programs and seminars with enterprise clients like The Golden State Warriors, Nike, and Rosetta Stone.

He developed the Technology Partner for Digital Marketing Agencies and Personal Brands. A RevShare Partnership Program that enables growing companies to stay competitive.

None of this would be possible without the generous support of partners such as DigitalMarketer, Social Media Examiner, Fiverr, GoDaddy, Keap, OmniConvert, Onlinejobs.ph, Tom Ferry, Barry Habib, and others who believe in training up millions of digital marketing professionals.

Dennis has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, LA Times, National Public Radio, TechCrunch, Fox News, CNN, CBS Evening News and co-authored “Facebook Nation” – a textbook taught in over 700 colleges and universities.

Dennis is an internationally acclaimed speaker in Facebook Marketing who has spoken countless times in 17 countries, spanning five continents including keynote events at L2E, PubCon, Digital Agency Expo, Marketo Summit, and B2C Growth & Innovation Virtual Summit.

Besides being a data and ad connoisseur, Dennis enjoys eating spicy buffalo wings or might just spot him playing Ultimate Frisbee under the sun.

You can contact him at dennis@blitzmetrics.com or on one of his social accounts below.