I've noticed over the last few years that the Internet's standard-issue banner ads from shady companies follow trends. I don't know if they're all owned by the same company, or are just playing follow-the-leader, because I'd rather cut off my foot than click on one of them, but they all seem to grab on to whatever the manipulative, attention-grabbing theme of the month is and run it into the ground before trying something new.

A few examples were "{Product} EXPOSED!", "{Product} invented by a {city your ISP is in} Mom!", and "{Perform difficult action} with this one weird trick!". Of course, some of them will never go away, because apparently the public has a never-ending desire for pills that make your penis four inches longer and saving money on car insurance. But professionals hating inventors is big right now.

"Invented by a mom" was likely inspired by Airborne, a pill invented by school teacher Victoria Knight-McDowell intended to "support your immune system" and prevent you from getting sick in enclosed places with lots of people, such as airplanes. The product was popular for a few reasons, it was marketed as "all-natural" and was developed by a regular person instead of a giant scary pharmaceutical company. This despite the fact that it didn't actually work.

"Exposed!" plays on the expectation that a study or investigation has recently dredged up bad news about the product in question, while actually linking to an advertisement saying nothing but positive things about it. "One weird trick" caters to our desire for simple solutions to problems, we just have to do this one thing we might not have thought of on our own to lose weight, or get healthy, or attract a date.

"Professionals HATE him!" is particularly annoying to me, though. It reinforces a number of fallacies that are very insulting to professionals in any industry, ones born from ignorance and perceived helplessness of the consumer. It's widespread, I've seen "Personal trainers HATE him!", "Language Professors HATE him!", "Dermatologists HATE her!", "Power companies HATE this!". They all play on the same stereotype that has plagued car mechanics from time immemorial, the idea that people who have specialized skills and knowledge will use it to take advantage of consumers who don't know any better. Presumably they're all buying yachts after getting people to spend extra money on unnecessary services, and have a vested interest in keeping their customers tied to their business model. "Argh!" you can hear them scream in frustration, "This one, brave company is letting the public in on all of our secrets! And there's nothing we can do about it!"

Of course, any legitimate professional knows that the best way to keep your customers happy is to minimize, or even eliminate, the need for your services. If you don't, they'll eventually move on to one of your competitors, who will. Sure, the old lady who wandered in complaining that her car is broken doesn't know what a catalytic converter is, but trying to take advantage of her ignorance is just going to give your shop a bad reputation. Likewise, personal trainers want people to get in shape and learn how to maintain their fitness without help, not keep customers in perpetual ignorance and need. And power companies do not want people using massive amounts of electricity all day long, our power infrastructure is stressed already, and it's become a bureaucratic and public relations nightmare to try to build the new power plants or high-voltage transmission lines we desperately need in places like California.

What professionals actually hate is having to deal with the same preventable, difficult problems over and over again. A professional plumber doesn't want to waste his time unclogging your disgusting, grease-filled drain again, he wants to do installations and renovations. The power company doesn't gleefully start counting its money when the grid is operating at 100% capacity, it starts worrying about the system overloading and shutting down. And the air conditioning repairman doesn't try to sell you new air filters every year because it's a steady source of revenue for him, it's because it's legitimate maintenance that makes your air conditioner run better and helps prevent expensive, unnecessary breakdowns.

If someone really came along and invented a product that works, a product that really does eliminate the need for these emergency repairs and routine maintenance, professionals would LOVE him.

Log in or registerto write something here or to contact authors.