Guest blog from BusinessWeek’s Mara Der Hovanesian:
The latest sign that the exuberance has ended: the Web’s dancing cowboys have all but disappeared. In the housing boom’s go-go days, LowerMyBills.com, one of the Internet’s biggest advertisers, plastered the Internet with banner ads that featured animated roof-top dancers and knee-slapping cowboys to grab the attention of consumers comparison-shopping for mortgages.
But who feels like dancing a jig these days? In early October the company, a unit of credit agency Experian, quietly pulled those slightly surreal images for another: a grainy video clip featuring a screaming woman holding a baby. The inspiration for the new ad was “to tap into the Halloween spirit,” according to a company spokeswoman.
Ad spending by LowerMyBills.com ballooned from $79 million in 2006 to $128 million in 2007 before subsiding to $30 million in the first half of 2008, according to TNS Media Intelligence.
The company is a unit of the credit agency Experian
BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.