I’ve noticed a rather unfortunate trend which seems to getting worse and worse – Internet Advertising is out of control. Years ago, when the World Wide Web was still in it’s infanc,y pop up ads were all the rage. Web browsers however quickly incorporated pop-up blockers and web based advertisers were forced to come up with other methods to get their message across. Advertising is an important element of the internet. I’m a realist. One who recognizes that there is a cost of business associated with doing things over the internet. We have ads here on Run Around Tech. Only a few for now but I can’t promise you we won’t have more in the future. This isn’t my job – I wish it was! It doesn’t pay my bills – I wish it did! Right now it’s nothing more than a hobby for me and whatever costs are associated with running this web site come out of my own pocket.
What’s at issue here is not advertising as a whole but some of the methods by which it’s done. There are tasteful ways of advertising and then there are ways that are, for lack of a better word, obnoxious. I spend a ton of time on the web. While I know there are several ways to block ads (using the Ad-Blocker extension in Firefox for example) I actually like to see some ads. When, for example Google advertising’s formula works I’m usually treated to ads that are for products which actually interest me – and that’s fine.
There are however what I consider good ways to go about placing ads on web sites and then there are bad.
Here’s are some of my least favorite of the bad.
You know this one. You hit the bookmark for your favorite web site, or type the address in your browser’s address bar and launch into the site. But no so fast. As soon as the site’s home page loads and you’re about to start reading or click on a link an ad box starts creeping its way into frame settling itself right smack in the middle of the screen obstructing your view.
We all understand advertising is a key way for web sites to make money. For some it’s to make enough cash to live on. For others it’s simply to cover the costs of hosting a web site. Many blogs are just hobbies for their owners and recovering the costs associated with paying for a hosting company allows these web sites to continue to operate. There’s a tasteful way to have ads on your web site and then there are ads which are just too big for the place they are placed. Ads which require you to actually scroll through the web page they are on just to get through them. Small ads properly placed are fine but when they start to get in the way of reading a web site they become problematic – especially when they’re placed sided by side twice.
The Hurry Up and Wait
YouTube is probably the biggest offender when it comes to the Hurry Up and Wait. You click the link for the latest viral video you’ve been dying to see. Just when it’s about to start streaming up pops a 30-second commercial which you have to wait through before the video you want to see begins. Then when it finally does it doesn’t buffer properly – funny though that the ad played perfectly just seconds earlier. This sort of advertising is appearing on more and more video feeds over the web. Not just YouTube but everywhere popular videos are found.
The Head Scratcher
Sometimes Google’s formula for determining what ads it thinks you’ll want to see doesn’t make much sense. Like when you’re on a web site devoted solely to Android based applications and an advertisement appears at the bottom of the page for an iOS application including a link to the iTunes App Store.
Yep everyone’s favorite – the pop up ad still exists. If you’re not familiar with pop up ads, the occur when you click a link on a web site and without you wanting it – two, three or ten other windows pop open, each containing there own advertisement. Usually web browsers have the ability to block this sort of advertising but every once and a while some still manage to sneak through.
Sell Your Soul
There are not a ton of web sites which do this but the ones that do incorporate entire advertising themes into the overall design of their site. The use wallpaper from the advertiser as their background and mix in banner and pop up ads as well. This is akin to sell the front exterior wall of you home and allowing a company to come in a paint over the entire face with an advertisement. It sort of takes away from the real message the site is trying to express – the content. But I guess that’s the point.
The amount of this sort of internet based advertising isn’t improving. If anything it’s getting worse and worse. It used to be ads were placed on sites tastefully and minimally. If you wanted to read them you could if not you could easily avoid them. Now it seems advertisers have been forced to adopt an in your face attitude as the only means to get their message across. I’m all for free enterprise. I’m all for capitalism. But if this trend continues to escalate my fear is that the internet will become virtually unusable for all of the clutter. Perhaps it’s time to turn on that Ad-Block extension after all.
What’s your least favorite form of internet based advertising? Leave us a comment below letting us know (we’ll be sure we never implement it here at Run Around Tech )
(The images used for this article were not meant in anyway to disparage the web sites they came from. Whenever possible any identifiers have been removed from each site. As mentioned in the opening statement – web advertising is vital way for personal web blogs to survive. The opinions expressed in this article are just those – opinions.)