I’m really looking forward to Terry Pratchett’s The Colour of Magic (obnoxious Flash site here, amusing promotional clips here). Part 1 was shown last night (England time), with Part 2 tonight, so I’m flexing my remote-viewing neurons and getting ready to peer across time and space to see the show tomorrow night.

In the meantime, I was amused to see the difference in promotional styles between those involved.

Actor Karen David is playing the character of Liessa Dragonlady in the movie. Ms David has created a YouTube account, and has put up some a video of her learning to swordfight for the
movie, and another one where she trains to swordfight upside down.

Karen David, you see, actually wants to promote herself. The more people who see her work, the more likely it is she’ll get more acting jobs. This is a Good Thing.

But then there’s anti-promotion, where the anti-promoter wishes to discourage people from buying their product. The Times Online is an example. The Times has put up a video clip of Tim Curry talking about his role in the movie — or at least, they say they have put up this clip, but I doubt it is correct. I can’t get it to play in any of three different web browsers, and at least two people have managed to battle the Times’ useless comment system to say that they too can’t get it to work. (I tried to leave a comment, but it got swallowed by the Rift — twice.) The Times’ webpage is so convoluted and confusing, with so much effort put into preventing viewers from accessing audiovisual files, that it’s hardly a surprise that they’ve broken something and the page simply doesn’t work.

That’s anti-promotion. Knowing what I know about the Times, I’m not inclined to waste my time going to their website — and I tell my friends and colleagues. Advertisers, take notice.

I’d like to link to the page so you can try it yourself, but the Times’s Terms and Conditions
prohibits linking to individual pages, or “Micro sites” as they call them. Possibly because the T&Cs were written by somebody with as much grasp of reality as the Bursar of Unseen University, and as much grace as the Dean. Presumably the aim is to inconvenience their readership as much as possible — heaven forbid that readers point their friends and colleagues at specific articles.

However, the T&C don’t prohibit listing the URL to pages, only linking. It’s allowed to tell people what the URL is, so long as it isn’t a clickable link. As if that makes any sense whatsoever. So here’s a non-clickable non-linked URL that you can copy and paste into your browser, if you care that much, and remember folks, some lawyer probably charged the Times tens of thousands of pounds for those T&Cs.

http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/books/article3582378.ece

And when you’re done, don’t forget to send them an email asking why they want to make it difficult for readers to find the page they’re interested in. But if you really want to make an impact, don’t email the Times, email their advertisers, who I’m sure will just love it that the Times is doing their bit to reduce the number of eyes on each page. Actually, considering the annoying, obnoxious Flash video ads, the advertisers are probably just as crazy.

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