Being a huge fan of the Walking Dead TV series, I was shocked when I saw this on my Facebook news feed:

Prank site uses Opengraph to prank on social sites

Upon a closer look at the mispelling and lack of proper capitalization, I could tell this was a fake.

Do you know how they do it?

Customized Facebook Previews

They use Open Graph tags to serve a customized Facebook-specific preview, so essentially, they could craft their Facebook preview to show anything:

<meta property="og:title" content="Walking dead star found dead in hotel room." />
<meta property="og:image" content="" />
<meta property="og:description" content="Walking dead star andrew linclon found dead in his Hollywood hotel  room. Investigators have no further information." />
<meta property="og:url" content="" />

This got me thinking about false advertising, and how people may use it to bolster their site visitors. While they may get the initial uptick of someone landing on one of their pages, if the user doesn’t find what they’re looking for, they will move on.

Movie Trailers: Setting Expectations

Have you ever watched a movie after seeing the trailer first? The trailer sets certain expectations; if you like the trailer, you’ll like the movie. Today on YouTube, I’ve been shown the Paddington trailer as the commercial that plays before the video you want to watch. At first I was excited: I loved Paddington Bear as a child, and revisiting those memories appealed to me. The trailer, however, wasn’t that great…unless you like it when a bear cleans his ears with toothbrushes, swallows mouthwash, dunks his head into a toilet, and then proceeds to tear the bathroom apart with clumsiness, resulting in a deluge of water flowing into the hall when the bathroom door is opened.

This false advertising idea also reminded me of the movie Branded. Awesome trailer, because I love it when people have psychotic breaks things look sci-fi and edited like the “resistance” is telling us not to believe the media.

Great trailer, but it was a horrible movie. Slow and boring. Yes, the movie itself is about how the advertising industry decides how we think, and the trailer is an example of making a product look good when it actually isn’t. Essentially, the trailer felt like false advertising to me.

Crafting Content to Deliver Your Promise

If you’re writing content for your website or blog and you’re promising something, you better deliver on your promise and provide quality content. Establishing yourself as an authority in your industry will foster your customers’ trust in you, and your customers will come to you for more quality information…as long as you deliver what you promise instead of using false advertising.