Slightly bogus advertising… online, all the time

Sitting in the Sacramento airport this morning on the way back from a web review report at UC Merced, I got online to check email. That takes me through a first Yahoo “news” page. This morning, the lead story is a tease to learn about “degrees to get you hired” to help you move forward in life at least until 2016.

Since I’m always in favor of moving forward, I visited followed the link to and scanned the list of growing employment areas. Pretty standard stuff. Along with the story “reporting” the list comes a plethora of advertising opportunities for colleges and universities of every type. Hundreds of them.

You can sort by the level of degree or the area of study. But if you’re interested in a “doctoral” program, don’t expect to have only those advanced fields reported back to you. Whoever programmed this thing really does follow the mantra of “just keep throwing things at people until something sticks.”

I tried sorting the alpha list for on-campus programs by zip code, using one from Michigan. That did sort things out to the point where the first programs reported were indeed in or near the zip code. But the list kept right on going, reporting non-degree occupational programs in locations as far as 2,000 miles away.

Does advertising like this work? It all depends on ROI. Cost of leads returned and percent who convert to enrollments. But it sure isn’t a direct marketer’s idea of how to do things.

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