How ‘One Weird Trick’ Conquered the Internet: What Happens When You Click on Those Omnipresent Ads.
It’s doubtful, though, that Lon has much in the way of insider info. He’s an actor hired by Barton Publishing, a firm based in South Dakota that puts out a wide variety of crankish health literature—there’s nary a foodstuff that isn’t the cure to some ailment in one of Barton’s booklets. Most “one weird trick” ads are hard to trace back to a specific marketing firm with flesh-and-blood employees, but Barton is open about the kind of publishing it does, with pictures and bios of their contributors on its website. (Notably, the first person listed is not a homeopath but a “split tester.”)
The Barton brain trust seemed surprisingly sincere, which I kept in mind as I turned to my next ad. I clicked to learn “the REAL reason why Obama is trying to take your guns away.” You’d think health quackery and gun paranoia would have little in common, but soon I was brought to a page with a self-playing, pauseless video and a male voice urging me to watch to the end. Apparently Obama has signed an executive order authorizing him to institute martial law and “steal your food supply,” but “Matt” has developed “a weird but incredibly effective system” to survive the coming storm.
In the interests of journalism, I also checked out the “1 Weird Secret That Pornstars Use to Get BIG DICKS.” Sure enough, this involved a dude talking at me while words flashed on the screen: “Stay until the end of this video… it will shock you.” But before he spilled the beans on “what’s holding you back from the big penis you deserve,” he needed to regale me with tales of his buddy Kyle, who added 2 inches and improved his confidence with the ladies.