The Naming of Things

Sitting in a restaurant last night watching the world go by, I was not really paying too much attention and thoughts were just floating across the brain. Everytime a car came by, it got classified as ‘car’, with exceptions for ‘policecar’, ‘taxi’ and ‘mini’. I’d probably put a name to the VW Beetle as well. In contrast, when dogs came past, the name of the breed normally floated past – French Bulldog, Pharoah Hound, small white fluffy thing stuffed in silly girl’s bag ;-).

The same non-conscious classification takes place in my brain when I scan Craig’s list. I’m looking at accommodation in New York, assessing costs and locations. So i scan down the list looking for interesting ones to read. And I find that I automatically classify certain one lines as spam. They have capital letters, asterisks, exclamation marks: “NO ***OPEN HOUSE*** Tue June 27th *** see details!!*** OPEN HOUSE”. These fall into the do not open mark, at least on first scan, as they are far too alike to the subject lines in spam emails. If you go into the ad, you usually find they have been placed by a broker/agent of some sort. If you are lucky, they have dropped the capitals but not always…sometimes the whole post remains in the SCREAMING mode.

If the people placing these ads do not know any netiquette, are they going to be any better in real life? Picking up things from Craigslist does depend on a certain amount of trust and these types of ads drop the trust measure before I get past the first hurdle. But I may not be the most typical of web user, even if research shows that people are getting more advertising savvy,, so these loud obnoxious liners may work. Is there research around that..comparing types of headlines for the ads?

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