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Using A Little Sex Appeal

Vincent Flanders, who authored Web Pages That Suck, came up with a quote years ago that sums up what people will wait around for online: “If you've got a picture of a naked body -- hey, people will wait forever.”  This was especially the case in the days of the dial up Internet.  Today a large number of users have high speed access and they are impatient as ever, but they’ll still wait and give you their attention courtesy of a little sex appeal. Sex appeal can’t be applied to every web site, but some companies have found a way to take advantage of it and still stay classy. 

An Unexpected Fortuitous Disaster
We all know that sex appeal can have a significant impact on getting attention to a web site.  One of the first mass web broadcasts in Internet history came courtesy of Victoria’s Secret.  They attempted to do a live online broadcast of one of their fashion shows.  Superbowl advertising was bought to promote the online broadcast.  Most people who tried to log on to watch the live web cast weren’t able to log on. From a technology perspective it was a massive failure. 

At the same time, the technological fiasco turned out to be a stroke of marketing genius.  The Victoria Secret web site was flooded with traffic after people couldn’t access the event.  The show was later posted online driving even more traffic to the Victoria Secret web site.

A Real World Example
Maria_kermit One web site that makes use of sex appeal tastefully presented is Yahoo’s “THE 9.”  Host Maria Sansone strikes a good balance that appeals to both men and women. The video format and interactivity make it an easy winner with users. Somehow I don't think that Barbara Walters would have as much success as Maria enjoys online.  The appeal needs to be a good match for the audience and the medium.

It isn’t for every site, but the benefit of a little sex appeal can send significant traffic to a web site.  There are a number of tasteful choices.  The hard part is finding a good one.

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