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Another Web Irritant November 21, 2008

Posted by Chuck Musciano in Technology.
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I understand that advertising helps keep vast swaths of the web free.  I respect a site’s right to sell ads; I just wish they would respect my intelligence.

The latest affront to my self-esteem comes along with interstitial ads, those full-page popups that appear for a fixed period of time before letting you see the real content you were seeking.  I don’t mind the ads; that’s part of life, and that’s why Firefox has all those clever ad-blocking plug-ins.

I do mind the inane message that accompanies the ad, the one that says something to the effect of “Please wait while your page is loading…”  While my page is loading? Come on!

I suppose there are some folks who may think that web pages are handcrafted as you request them, with teams of web artisans standing by to put all that content together in the fifteen seconds that the ad stays on your screen.  For those folks, it may seem like a courtesy to provide something to look at, instead of a blank screen and an hour-glass cursor.

If only they knew the exact opposite: your page starts rendering after the ad goes away, and the twenty-something web designer who put that “Please wait” message on your screen got a snarky chuckle over getting away with such a blatant, insulting lie. It’s as if a full page ad in a print magazine had a tag line at the bottom: “Please wait for fifteen seconds while we print the next page.”

How about a little truth in advertising?  I’d much prefer a message like “Please, please take a moment to look at this ad.  We’re running out of VC funding, and unless we get some positive cash-flow out of our ad-based revenue model, I’ll be looking for my fifth job in three years.”  If I see that message on my screen, I’ll not only read the ad, I’ll click through just for good measure!

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Comments»

1. Heather Hollick - November 21, 2008

I am one of the few crazy souls on the Internet who is willing to pay for online content rather than endure inane and time-wasting ads that are of negative value to me – that is, the deflect me away from their product because I find the ads so annoying.

I had a similar online experience a few months back. I wrote about it here.

2. Chuck Musciano - November 21, 2008

Heather, I agree. I’ve long subscribed to the online Wall Street Journal for the same reason: I get lots of good content with minimal ad intrusions. Your related post is dead on: the whole concept of online video ads is just annoying. Although the video ad that precedes the content usually gives me time to find the mute button, volume control, and other widgets I need to manage the video.


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