Are Sulake taking advertising ‘over the top’?
“Check in and find your perfect match today” – A common phrase found on the majority of adverts advertising Habbo Hotel. An internet user may see this ‘slogan’, visit www.habbo.com and create an account… then suddenly be thrust into a website full of advertising itself! The amount of advertising imprinted all over Habbo Hotel is insane and can be of a great annoyance to many users, so we all must wonder “Have Sulake become advertising addicts?”.
No (supporting advertising)
Advertising is one of the main sources of income for Sulake. Without advertising, you can imagine that the price of credits would soar to ridiculous levels and we could possibly kiss those ‘credit offers’ goodbye. Hundreds of users probably click the adverts each day (I personally don’t, advertising only works on me rarely) and each click provides Sulake with a small margin of money… which they desperately need. You may start thinking “Hold on, how on Earth do Sulake need money?”, well let’s take a look at their profit over the past few years:
2007 – £37,000,000 profit
2008 – £42,000,000 profit
2009 – £41,000,000 profit
2010 – £30,000,000 profit
As we can see, a massive drop in profit for the year 2010 (after a steady rise over the previous years) probably made Sulake rather “worried” about their sources of income & potentially caused them to increase the amount of advertising placed on the site. Of course, let’s not forget that 2010 was a bad financial year globally, so that obviously had an adverse effect on their profits.
Also, let’s note that Sulake don’t use pop-up adverts (excluding the client.) Pop-up adverts are the most annoying thing imaginable and I’m sure many users don’t like the idea of advertising being forced right into their face by surprise. Sulake are giving us a choice whether to keep viewing the advert or not. So we should be thankful that Sulake haven’t introduced these (onto the main pages – not the client)… yet.
Finally, we have to admit that some of the adverts are rather witty and useful. I wouldn’t have discovered Habbo without advertising and I’m sure many other players purchase products/use services after seeing an online advert… so we can’t completely slate advertising if it “inspires” us. As for ‘witty adverts’, the advert which asked “What’s more addictive, weed or Habbo Hotel?” was quite funny! I’d love to see more adverts like that online.
Yes (against advertising)
Even though Sulake don’t have pop-up adverts on the main pages, they still do on the client. A vast majority of “norms” have to deal with room adverts popping up in nearly every room they visit… it’s incredibly repetitive. Let’s face it, if I haven’t clicked the same advert once I’m not going to do it again am I?! VIP users shouldn’t be seeing room adverts but there have been some errors meaning that VIP users did see room adverts for a few days (I unfortunately experienced this.) Hopefully, this error has been removed now.
Also, instead of pop-up adverts on all the main pages, we have advertising imprinted everywhere! Here are all the pages where you find advertising;
- www.habbo.com/me – 1 advert, occasionally 2.
- www.habbo.com/home/ (insert Habbo name here) – 1 advert which blocks the right side of your personal page.
- http://www.habbo.com/community – 1 advert.
- Any group forum page – 1 advert.
- Also, decorated backgrounds (such as the background advertising ‘Journey 2) on www.habbo.com/me occasionally appear sometimes – these are usually hyperlinked to a different webpage.
If we total all these up, a user could potentially see a maximum of 6 adverts on 4 web pages & additional room adverts if they are a ‘norm’ user. Forgive me, but that seems like quite a lot to me – the occasional advert is ok, but the number of adverts outnumbering the number of web pages is ridiculous.
Finally, aren’t some of the adverts we see a little contradictory for Habbo? I’ve seen IMVU and Second Life adverts on web pages belonging to the www.habbo.com domain. These are both virtual worlds and surely have the potential to drive people away from Habbo? Also, some of the adverts I’ve encountered aren’t suitable for the vast majority of users. I’ve seen a car advert before… only 10% of all active players are over 18 (17 is the legal age to drive a car in the UK, it is different in other countries) and Sulake are slowly aiming Habbo Hotel at a younger demographic of the population. When a 10 year old child signs up for Habbo, they aren’t going to see a car advert and think “I want to buy that now”.
As we can see, there is a strong case for each side. Personally, I feel that the amount of advertising should be reduced slightly but not completely removed – we don’t want to leave Sulake “stuck” in terms of gaining income (without raising credit prices.) I would also like to see some more ‘witty’ adverts (created by Sulake), the one about Habbo vs weed did make me chuckle slightly!
What do you think about the amount of advertising Sulake have placed onto Habbo? Share your view by posting it below!
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