The commercial online assessment services currently offered by PV installation companies require the input of personal details such as email addresses which hook in clients.

"Hook in" seems like a bit of a colloquialism, is there a better term for this? To me, the noun hook in the context of "marketing hook" seems alright, but as a verb it seems rather casual.

I want to convey the idea that once the consumer uses this service and provides any personal information, they are stuck or trapped in a loop and are forced to have additional contact or dealings with the business.

I looked up in a thesaurus and came up with snared or lured, but does anyone have any better suggestions please?

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    For any downvotes, a comment on why would be appreciated!
    – Kel196
    Aug 29, 2012 at 16:58
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    I think your understanding of "hook in" here isn't really correct. The email addresses don't "lock in" or "trap" the clients - they simply provide a mechanism by which the companies can contact clients in the first place. In market-speak, "hook in" isn't particularly pejorative (it usually just means obtain, as here), but related metaphoric usages (ensnare, lure, entice, etc.) are more overtly judgemental. Aug 29, 2012 at 17:23

2 Answers 2


I think you could take some of the colloquialism/market-speak feel out of this by 'refreshing' the angling dead metaphor, making it more explicit:

PV installation companies offer online assessment services as an attractive bait; inducing the prospect to input personal details such as an email address sets the hook.

  • Hi StoneyB, after a day of thought, I do think your rewrite solution is best. "Hook" has connotations of being strung in and stuck to a certain degree but with a chance of escape!
    – Kel196
    Aug 30, 2012 at 22:06
  • Yah, I thought of adding a clause about "landing" the prospect or "reeling him in" being a necessary third step, but didn't want to crack the wind of the poor phrase! Aug 30, 2012 at 22:23
  • Haha I could make the whole paragraph fishing related with "gutting" "phishing" "netting" "catch" and so forth!
    – Kel196
    Aug 30, 2012 at 22:31

Verb co-opt sometimes is used in such contexts, in sense “To commandeer, appropriate or take over” or in sense “To absorb or assimilate into an established group”.

If you like snare and lure, also consider waylay (“To accost or intercept unexpectedly”) and hijack (“To seize control of some process or resource to achieve a purpose other than its originally intended one”); or a little farther afield, indenture (“To bind a person under such a contract” [a contract which binds a person to work for another]) and press-gang (“To coerce somebody into doing something that they are reluctant to do”).

  • Thanks jwpat, your suggestions are brilliant, but for me still misses that bait and hook analogy feel. I guess avoiding some terms probably ends up sounding more awkward!
    – Kel196
    Aug 30, 2012 at 22:08

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