Monday, November 26, 2012

Ads and the web sites that love them

I had a plan to write something concerning ads on sites I frequent. That set of notes has just been eclipsed by an experience so bizarre that is has taken precedence and urgency.

Full Disclosure: I HATE ADS. I hate them with the fire of all that is hated (hate hate hate).

In a digital age, as the world moves toward a different delivery method for a large number of goods and services, I find ads less and less relevant to the way I shop and, especially, how I find the things I am looking for. Certainly I get annoyed when I see ads in the sidebar of a website I am viewing, but I am less annoyed --and more likely to view-- ads in this manner than I am the ones that pop up over what I am trying to see.

Retailers, I get that you think this is still a good way to do things. Let me be clear. YOU ARE WRONG. If you flash your ad in front of me while I am trying to read, I am less likely to buy your product unless it is something I already need. The ad did you no benefit. Also, if your ad is one of these new ones that can't be stopped, moved or closed then I hate you with an unholy fervor. In this last case, I am most likely to add you to a little list I have started of products I will never consider. Read that again. I WILL NEVER CONSIDER THEM.

I'm not sure when advertisers felt it was acceptable to hijack the focus of an individual perusing a website, but it is not OK.

Site owners, if you use these ads on your site, you are being added to a growing list of places I don't frequent and links that I will not open. I hope it was worth it. I truly hope you continue to do business and learn from your mistakes. If not, no big, I'll go on my merry way to a competitor. My money spends.

Now on to the reason I started this post. I have just been subjected to the most baffling advertisement method seen thus far. A video popped up on the page I had just opened to read a news story. It was not close-able other than shutting down my browser and all tabs. There was no way to pause the video, despite there being an obvious pause button. Now, here I will tell you that I am familiar with testing practices. I finally arrived at a point where I could close the page. I did so. Please note that my initial desire was to read something on the site. No more. I went back to the legitimate page I had arrived at this level of hell from.

I clicked the link again. My thinking here was that something on the offending page was malfunctioning. It was not to be. I have saved off the offending page to further examine this willful attack on my time. I have also added the underlying page to a new list of sites that I will not go to and that also disappoint me. Hey, leave me alone, these are my list titles!

All of that aside, I hope the salient point taken from this is that there is a good way to get my attention as well as my money. I don't mind seeing ads when they don't affect my browsing. I don't even mind the ads prior to videos I want to see on video sites. In many of these scenarios, there are ways for me to skip or bypass. While I don't see any benefit to pushing ads in my face at all opportunities, I do understand the insecurity behind a company or a site owner doing it.

Content Creators: Find a better, less-invasive way to do this and people will give you all the money. Do it in such a way where you empower them to look at leisure and they will buy what you are selling. Failure to make it seamless will affect your product campaign. Something to keep in mind.


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