A couple of nights ago, I saw an ad for the website eons.com on TV. The site markets itself as an internet Mecca for the over-50 crowd, and the ad was so utterly terrible that I just had to check it out myself. First off, when you arrive at Eons for the first time, you are required to enter your date of birth, gender, and zip code. If you fail the age test (which seems 32 years too stringent) you don’t qualify. The internet being what it is, I am now 65 years of age and prepared to embark upon my eon-venture.
Okay, what you’ll notice about the front page of this site is something straight out of the Sesame Street game “One of these things is not like the others:” the navigation bar.
Eons.com’s main site navigation bar, promising love, entertainment, and one’s inevitable demise.
That’s right, folks! Alongside movie times and social networking, you can read and write about your friends’ and loved ones’ demises. But enough of the gallows humor. Let’s take a little constitutional through the less morbid parts of the site.
At Eons, you can create your own profile, complete with bio and pictures. At first, one would think the ‘People’ page would take more of a bridge-club socialite approach to interaction, but a quick glance reveals the same myspace-quality photographic sleaze for which parents are constantly reprimanding their children, albeit with a couple of extra wrinkles.
Under the heading of ‘LifeDreams’ we find a rather interesting to-do list wherein you can enter your life’s goals, then have a search engine compare them against other people’s dreams in order to try and pigeon-hole you into a more standardized life dream. For example, when I typed ‘To not die.’ into the form as a search, Eons suggested that my dream might actually be:
# to die happy
# Die peacefully in my sleep
# to live and die a good person.
In its defense, the response does also include a drop-down to list your wish as truly unique, although you must then categorize it under a heading such as ‘Travel and Leisure.’
All right, enough negativity. There are a couple of nice aspects to this site. One, it allows people who were probably afraid of surfing the web to have a site they can visit that is designed and marketed specifically to them, as opposed to the 20-something crowd that constitutes the usual target of internet advertising. Secondly, the site was clearly designed with non-savvy users in mind. Navigation is simple, and each page includes features like an option to increase and decrease text size for the visually impaired. The use of pop-ups and rollovers is limited and classy, providing navigation tips without becoming obtrusive.
I highly recommend everyone check out this site. It’s definitely a unique example of a new trend in the internet. I only wish the TV commercial I had seen hadn’t been one of the worst I’ve ever seen: narrated by a clearly under-50 spokesperson, the commercial drags on for what seems like 3-4 minutes, as the narrator highlights all of the sub-sections headed by the nav bar, pausing from his detached monologue occasionally to scream “Boom! Boom! Boom!” unconvincingly into the camera. The condescension this man feels toward the crowd he is trying to entice onto the internet is palpable, and his lack of acting talent is patently obvious. Oh well, he’s not selling to me, so maybe I just don’t get it. Would any Eons.com members like to chime in on this one?
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