A9.com on The O.C.

If you’ve been following my Links page lately, you’ll know that I’ve been somewhat obsessed with the new Block View search for A9 and Amazon Yellow Pages. Amazon photographed virtually every street-level business in Los Angeles, among other cities, and it’s a very fun toy to play around with.

More recently, A9.com was mentioned in a small bit of awkward dialogue on Thursday night’s episode of The O.C. Waxy reader Eric Vaughan went to the trouble of finding and editing the clip. Watch it below, and judge for yourself:

theoc_a9com.avi (3.7MB, Windows Media)

Even though this appeared to be a clear example of paid product placement, A9.com’s CEO denies that it was paid for or that they knew anything about it.

This seems very unlikely, especially considering A9’s somewhat-obscure status in the non-geek world, the timing of the episode with recent publicity, and The O.C.’s use of the full domain name instead of simply “A9.” (Has anybody ever used/heard the term “A9.com’d” before?) I don’t even particularly care about the product placement, but I don’t like attempts at covering it up.

One way to settle the issue would be to contact Allan Heinberg, the writer of that episode, or any of the producers. I’ll try to do some research on Monday, but please e-mail me if you know anyone that might be able to help.

February 21, 2005: I have two reliable sources that confirm that A9 was not even aware of the O.C reference before its broadcast.