How Not to Advertise on the Internet

Games that run in your web browser are all the rage, and understandably so. Why not build your game for the largest audience in the world, using freely available technology, and pay zero licensing fees? One such game is Evony, formerly known as Civony – a browser-based clone of the game Civilization with a buy-in mechanism.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original blog entry at:

I hate that they are on sites that have legitimate games. For example, I like tower defence games but despise the civony ads next to it so I gladly find that same tower defense game on another site that does not have the slutty women.

I disagree, Jeff - this course of advertising is perfectly reasonable - assuming the game has changed from a medieval adventure to a soft core porn soap opera. Has it? That’s certainly the impression it left with me.

Like another person in this thread, I’m getting ridiculous amounts of comment spam about this game. Not playing it.

As someone who works on ads everyday, I can say that this is not some wacky idea that they’re sinking their company with. Ad display frequency is based on their performance, and quite simply, naked girls perform well (on ads, I mean, though probably otherwise as well). It’s unfortunate that such a large segment of the population is certifiably retarded and unable to restrain basic impulses, but such is the world we live (and prosper) in.

I’m with Jen on this. As a woman who enjoys gaming, I was initially a little intrigued when I saw the first ad. By the time the second ad I saw (the third ad on the list here) came around, though, I figured they no longer wanted my business.

It would be utterly shameful if it weren’t so effective.

No. The most utterly shameful aspect is THAT it is so effective - which I’m pretty sure it must be, since they’ve been progressing so extremely into that direction.

Hilarious progression! For the record, I loved Idiocracy.

I agree with the person who said this post is really about how to advertise on the internet successfully.

Tits are appealing. Tits are great. Big ones, small ones, I vote more tits. I vote ending the cultural taboo on bare breasts. I vote open public wanton breastfeeding of babies. Tits everywhere, tits on every screen, tits out in real life!

We are a mammalian species. Mammaries should be no big deal. And maybe if that were the case, advertisers would be forced to get more creative and fun and zany with their stuff.

Plus there’d be world peace. I’m almost sure of it.

I actually thought my PC was infected with some sort of undetectable MMPORG adware because this was virtually the only crappy ad I would see on the net. Thanks for putting my mind at ease.


“I’m with Jen on this. As a woman who enjoys gaming, I was initially a little intrigued when I saw the first ad. By the time the second ad I saw (the third ad on the list here) came around, though, I figured they no longer wanted my business”

Sorry to inform you, they don’t. Granted, this is just a WAG, but I imagine males must make up about 90%+ of the North American market for browser based games. I’m aware that more and more women are getting into console games, but PC games still is the domain of men. So while their ads might offend females, they realize that they are such a small percentage of the PC gaming market, they just don’t care.

I make no judgement about whether it’s right or wrong, but is this any different than cereal companies target marketing children with cartoon characters? You aim to please and attract your target market, sorry that’s Marketing 101.

“but I imagine males must make up about 90%+ of the North American market for browser based games.”

“Casual gaming” is a category with lots of women; it might even be more than half.

Plus, women tend to do more shopping.

There really are markets for games that appeal to women.

I hate it when people excuse stuff like this by saying “sex sells”. 99% of the time, they don’t mean ‘sex’, they mean women’s bodies. Women’s bodies are not “sex”. My body is not “sex”. If you really think this is okay, there should be no reason to euphemise it.


You must be joking. This is 2009, not 1980. Demographically speaking, as of 2005 female Internet-usage trailed behind male usage by 2% - 66% vs. 68%; because there are more women than men in the US, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts, more women actually use the Internet than men do! In fact, according to the same surveys by Pew, young women dramatically outpace their male peers in Internet usage.

Men use the web for more kinds of entertainment and recreation than women do, with just a few exceptions. Women play games as much as men, they listen to audio clips and watch video clips, and they share files. But men pursue a host of other activities with greater enthusiasm." - Pew Internet and American Life Project (pdf)

See page 11 for a full chart of activities - the percentage in 2005 for “play online games” was 36% of online men and 37% of online women.

Those ads got what the consumers crave: they got electrolytes!


Come on now, Internet usage statistics? Pew Internet and American Life Project? This is a Civ clone set in a medival times, that practically screams “young, white males”. Granted, it’s not the same game, but look at WoW, the North American audiance for that game is about 90% male, that’s just the way it is.

Since I can’t see the page 11 chart in that link, I’d be interested to see what they define as “online games”, because any chart that says women play more online games than men is a complete fabrication.

Let’s put it in completely unsceintific terms, I’m 35 and I know literally dozens, if not 100s of men who play video games, but only five women who play. Of the five, two played quite a bit of Tetris in University, the other three played WoW (two of which have quit). That’s it. I’ve also lived in three US cities, Canada, Australia, England and France since I graduated University, so it’s not like I’ve been isolated.

Which brings me back to my point, this company doesn’t care if it turns off women because it represents such a small portion of their potential audience. So if offending women means it gets more men, then they’ll do it. Please note, I’m not saying this is right (morally, or otherwise), but since this company does it and I can only assume their goal is to maximize profits. To me that indicates that this strategy is working, which in a round-a-bout way either 1) confirms that I am correct and women don’t play this sort of game anyways, or 2) enough women don’t get offended by these ads enough to stop them from playing. Either way, the company looks to be doing the “right” thing (from a profits standpoint anyways).

A bit of info on the Chinese company that runs Evony

Queen Obsessed: a rather depressing “submit pictures of yourself to become the queen of Evony” thread run by the Evony owners

Who knows? Maybe it’s what their niche wants. Never know with the internet these days. In any case, it’s Hilarious and gets attention.

[advertisement] Interested in agile?

Maybe you are but I’m not. I would prefer a bust to that…

can’t wait to see the next ad!

I recently saw a new one on the pirate bay.

@Andrew, thats just anecdotal evidence, not a great way to combat you know, statistics. Meanwhile my guild in WoW of 100 or so is mostly female and run by females. And they make up a big chunk of WoW’s demographic: