How Not To Sell Me On Using a Web Product

Gaming, Irksome

If you visit any gaming-related sites, you've probably seen advertisements for a browser-based strategy game called "Evony." No, I won't link it, for reasons that will become obvious. The advertisements emphasize three primary themes: (1) boobs, (2) boobs, and (3) the ability to "play discreetly," by which I think they mean at work without getting fired. (Good luck with that. As an employer familiar with computers and loafing, please be informed that you are not as clever as you think you are, and I am not as dumb.)

Browser games are a fun diversion. We've recommended many here. I've played many of them. I like strategy games, and I love the Civilization series on which Evony is apparently heavily based. I'm the target audience for this thing.

But I will never, in a million years, play it, and I will suggest that others avoid it like the plague.

Why? Well it's not, as Jeff Atwood at Coding Horror suggests, because Evony's entirely boob-based advertising treats me like a drooling 14-year-old. I drink beer, after all; it would be hypocritical to complain about that.

No, it's because for the last few weeks Evony has been deluging us with obnoxious comment spam:

I just started playing this new game called evony. It’s pretty sweet I think you guys would like it. Just a simple little flash game, but damn its addicting. You can sign up for an account at [ ].

I just found this cool new game called evony. Check it out at []

And so on. They're automatically posted here in the comments to game-related posts, sometimes as often as dozens of times a day.

Let's get this straight. Online pharmacies and questionable purveyors of herbal remedies advertise by comment spam. Substances and devices allegedly capable of improving my dick advertise by comment spam. Porn sites advertise by comment spam. Nigerian princes advertise by comment spam. Fraudulent financial services advertise by comment spam. Sites designed to cripple your system with malware and viruses advertise by comment spam.

Legitimate business, and legitimate sites, do not advertise by comment spam. I associate comment spam with the underbelly of the web, with fraud and crime and child porn and things that will break my computer in ways I am too dumb to understand. Why would I possibly go to a site that advertises this way? Am I that stupid? Maybe Evony's site won't inflict malware on my computer. But I won't take that chance. Given the company Evony has chosen to keep, you shouldn't either.

Edit: I see that Bruce on Games is annoyed by the same thing.

Last 5 posts by Ken White

19 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Charles  •  Jul 10, 2009 @3:05 pm

    I would never play Evony because of the false advertising. If you are going to sell me a game based on boobs and boobs and suggest that I should risk playing it discreetly at work, it better not look like this.

  2. Grandy  •  Jul 10, 2009 @3:50 pm

    Spammers are the only thing I hate more than people!

  3. Contracts  •  Jul 12, 2009 @9:09 am

    I actually played the game at the end of beta and into release (back when they were running their old "Save the Queen" ads, I might point out). One of the things that annoyed me the most was that it adds a bookmark or favorite to the page whenever you claim a reward in-game. It also was a memory drain sometimes and, most importantly, in fixing an exploit, they made it impossible for anyone to advance levels without the devil's luck (though, presumably, they have fixed that by now). Also: lag.

    Nonetheless, it was an interesting game and, had it not required multiple logins per day to play effectively, I might still be playing it. You're right, however, that the new ads are silly and that comment spam isn't going to help. Unfortunately, they're probably the most prevalent ads for browser-based games right now, which won't help get more people interested in the genre.

  4. Patrick  •  Jul 12, 2009 @9:44 am

    Apparently the web game is a sideline. Their main business is gold-farming mills in China.

    The idea of appropriating Madonna's likeness to sell their gold, even from China, is a spectacularly bad one.

  5. captbasch  •  Jul 14, 2009 @11:13 pm
  6. Bruceongames  •  Jul 16, 2009 @1:51 am

    Is Evony being used to put trojan malware onto your machine? http://www.bruceongames.com/2009/07/16/is-evony-malware/

  7. Anominous  •  Jul 19, 2009 @1:41 am

    I found another new banner, its just plain boobs and says evony on it. not even a face or body, just boobs. like come on if they advertise it like that they might aswell make a porno based game

  8. Anon  •  Aug 5, 2009 @10:01 am

    I mean seriously, this is stupid.
    Maybe if they didn't have such shitty advertising I would give their game a go, but now f*** it.

    I mean look at their latest advertisement:
    http://img171.imageshack.us/img171/3087/shitl.jpg

    If you are wondering why this advertising works, search online for "classical conditioning."

  9. Bruceongames  •  Aug 25, 2009 @8:45 am

    Now the Evony people are trying to use lawyers to remove the truth: http://www.bruceongames.com/2009/08/25/evony-want-to-sue-me-for-telling-the-truth/

  10. Anonymous  •  Jan 16, 2010 @1:26 am

    @Bruceongames

    Large scam companies like that tend to have a reaction like that against people trying to reveal their true nature in such a way.

  11. Bruceongames  •  Feb 18, 2010 @4:01 am

    I have written a couple of articles about how the online evidence about Evony that I need to defend my case is being deleted by someone.
    http://www.bruceongames.com/2010/02/11/evony-and-the-disappearing-evidence-1/
    http://www.bruceongames.com/2010/02/17/evony-and-the-disappearing-evidence-2/

  12. John Armour  •  Mar 12, 2010 @5:20 am

    Lots of people are leaving Evony now. Some were banned for botting, some got fed up with the lack of customer care and others didn't like the interminable farming necessary.
    Mostly they have moved to the many similar browser games. Current favourite is War of Legends, mainly because it is published in the UK and has good customer service and no endless farming.

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