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Subliminal advertising on Yahoo! Home page?

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posted on Oct, 23 2008 @ 02:11 AM
My computer was loading a bit slow this morning when I started it up, so when it began to bring up "Yahoo!" as my home page, it took several seconds to "fill in". As you know, Yahoo! runs small "feature stories" on this page, and this time, before the image loaded, I saw the blank box where it would appear and in that box was a line of text:

Mercedes Benz E Class (

So I was waiting to see what the feature story would be and assumed it had something to do with either luxury cars or or both. But no -- the image that appeared was of a young woman looking at an alarm clock. Very odd. Curious, I right-clicked that image and up came the "properties" box, and in it there was the image link and title ("sleep"), but down in the alternate text info it said Mercedes Benz E Class (

So what gives? That image was given that alternate title for a reason, and I am suspicious of what that reason may be. Like I said, my computer was loading slowly. Normally, the page loads so fast that I'd have trouble consciously picking up on what text might appear in any image box before the image itself loads up.

Is this an example of subliminal advertising? Has anyone else noticed stuff like this,either lately or in the past? I don't mean just third-party anectdotal evidence (though I'd welcome any that's credible), but especially where you have seen things like this yourself and perhaps even captured screen shots.

Oh, here's the cropped screen shot of that page, taken at 7:59 a.m. Central European Time today, Oct 23. (0:59 a.m. US Eastern, 6:59 a.m. UK):

If you want the full-page screen shot then you can find it on my photobucket site here.

I'd appreciate any thoughts or comments.

Many thanks,


Edited to clean up the text a little.

[edit on 23/10/08 by JustMike]

Mod Edit: All Caps – Please Review This Link.

[edit on 23-10-2008 by Gemwolf]

posted on Oct, 23 2008 @ 02:55 AM
It seems like it more than likely that the Alt text tag was filled in wrong for whatever reason.

Why would people need to use subliminal advertising on the Net in such a low tech way when they can blatantly advertise whatever they want whenever they want OR use some crazy subliminal viral marketing ad on hundreds of sites.

posted on Oct, 23 2008 @ 08:26 AM
reply to post by Dermo

Hi Dermo and thanks for your comments.

I agree that there are multitudes of ways to place advertising or run marketing campaigns; it just seemed very odd to me that anyone would make a mistake of this type, which is why I asked for opinions and/or the experiences of other members. It's also why I entitled the thread as I did -- as a query rather than a bald statement. Granted, it could be just a simple error, albeit a strange one. On the other hand, as you pointed out yourself, other subliminal techniques are being used, so this could be yet another example.



Edit to add: thanks to Gemwolf for the info about (not) using all caps in a thread title. Partly because I start very few threads I was unaware of this.


[edit on 23/10/08 by JustMike]

posted on Oct, 23 2008 @ 08:37 AM
look like Mercedes Benz is pre-loading alt tags to the file but hiding it in the file themselves, Google will dump that add from indexing and blacklist it.

BMW did this a few years back and were dumped from indexing in Google for 9 months.

Did the article have anything to do with a Merc or Forbes at all?


[edit on 23-10-2008 by Valorian]

posted on Oct, 23 2008 @ 09:40 AM
Yahoo gets those news articles off of feeds. It could be any number of logical errors. I work with feeds and I get weird stuff that happens from time to time for a number of reasons.

It could be a user error in the entry, or error in the coding pulling the wrong data for the alt tags(if it's happening multiple times).

But I'm going to guess it's a JavaScript screw up off of an ad somewhere. Especially if you page is slow loading, as possible things hadn't fully loaded etc. Where the _javascript in an ad defines the alt tag, and it's being applied to the wrong image. I say that because car ads are very popular on Yahoo.

Refresh the page and the same article is there, see if it does the same thing please. That would be a big clue.

Valorian, can you explain what you mean there please? I do SEO and things of that nature, and I am unsure what you mean. When I do images off of things like this, I always define the alt tags of the image with something off the article.

[edit on 23-10-2008 by badmedia]

posted on Oct, 23 2008 @ 10:26 AM
I'd have to agree with everyone else that it is just the Alt text. Which is used for the visual impaired surfers, low tech computers (i.e. cell phones), and corrupted downloads.

posted on Oct, 23 2008 @ 01:44 PM
Thanks for the replies! Sorry I've been slow to post replies but have just got home from work. (It's now 8:30 pm here.) So, to respond to a couple of things that have been stated or asked:

-- the article was about sleep and getting enough of it. The "properties" box I show is the one for the image of the young woman in bed looking at her alarm clock. This is why I thought it odd that it had an alternative text related to Mercedes Cars and

-- reloading the article. Thanks for the advice. My knowledge of the finer points of computing is minimal so I appreciate it. I'd like to try reloading the article but I've just done a search of Yahoo's articles for the past seven days and this one is not even on the list. Note that the date assigned to that image is Oct 21 2008, but the article appeared this morning (my time), i.e. on Oct 23. Ergo, it should be in the list of articles for the past 7 days (inclusive) but it's not. Makes me wonder if they pulled it.

Interesting to know about what BMW apparently did and what Google's response was. I just tried a Google advanced search to exactly match the opening phase in that article and it didn't show up at all. Again, this makes me wonder if Yahoo pulled it.

If anyone can find the article on Yahoo by some occult means (
) and either confirm the alt. text is still there -- or it isn't -- then that would be great.

It seems quite reasonable that it was either some kind of mistake or a loading problem. I'm all for "denying ignorance" and if there are no repeat episodes in the near future I'd be happy to go along with the idea that nothing sinister is involved. However, this is a conspiracy site so I thought it worthwhile getting some opinions and reactions.

I'm sure we'd all welcome any other theories, opinions or even other example of similarly odd cases. All in the interests of improving our knowledge, of course!

[edit on 23/10/08 by JustMike]

posted on Oct, 23 2008 @ 01:50 PM
I would agree its just a typo in the code that caused this. It happens all the time.

Thing to remember is this...people can make mistakes..even top notch coders inputting code into a computer which at that point..the computer makes mistakes...hence your rss feed or home page will have that code error.


Tho a 1 is a 1 and a 0 is a 0...the two can be subject to error.


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