Zhaba Zhournal
Friday, September 26, 2003 
Test testiness 
Okay, I know Web sites need to make money, especially the ones with popular free features. But sneaking the commercial stuff into the popular free features? That's like sneaking shredded prunes into a kid's hamburger and hoping he doesn't notice.

To wit: Emode.com's "What's Your Cat's Type?" test. Looks like a regular Emode test, a fun way to kill time...although question 4, "I buy different types of food to give my cat lots of variety," seems uncharacteristically dull...and on the next page, question 7, is definitely getting at something: "I purchase brands that provide nutrition to build my cat's system to protect it from illness and injury." And question 12 gets right to it: "It's important to feed my cat the best food I can even if it's more expensive." Ahem. This ain't much of a cat personality test, is it? It's more of a cat-owning consumer personality test.

As you might suspect, when you click the button to finish, you get this:
While Emode calculates Your Cat's Type, take this opportunity to enroll with Friskies and receive special offers designed specifically for your cat.
With a whole heap of questions about how many cats/dogs you have, what you feed them, how often you buy food...yeah, okay, I get it, you're the masterminds behind this test. And the most annoying thing is, it's not even a particularly fun or interesting test. There's four, count 'em, four cat "types," which are so generic as to apply to pretty much nothing. I'm not expecting deep, insightful answers from Emode; still, I expect at least the entertainment level and variety of, say, "What Breed of Dog Are You?"

Look, I know they've got to make money. And I don't mind them have sponsors. But I don't like having the sponsors worked right into the test. Or having a test that's just a thinly-veiled advertising and data-collecting tool.

Okay, I'm probably creating a tempest in a Lenox Swedish LodgeTM Teapot, available at Bed Bath & Beyond for only $89.99 plus $9.95 for standard shipping. And if I'm doing something as silly as taking online tests I guess I can't take too high of a moral high ground. Still: It's annoying. And sneaky. Go hire a focus group or something, willya? And you'd better not be putting any shredded prunes in that cat food, you hear?

[ at 10:55 AM • by Abby • permalink  ]

Yes, that's me.


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