GirlHacker's Random Log

almost daily since 1999


When I’m web surfing, I always close pop-up ads immediately. These days I feel a tiny pang of guilt as I think “oh no, this site is going to go out of business because they can’t get anyone to read their ads”. I’ve wondered why pop-up ads and new larger sized, intrusively placed ads are so annoying. I often watch TV commercials. I look at ads in the newspaper. I even click through on “traditional” banner ads sometimes when the topic is interesting. What I’ve realized is that the placement and intrusion of these ad styles counter the act of surfing.

When I have clicked on a link or button, I have read the words that make up the link or know what I expect to be behind the button and my brain is moving ahead with it, anticipating what will be on the page, getting ready to read it. If a pop-up ad comes up, it blocks my train of thought, and I dismiss it immediately. And when I’m reading along on a web page, a large block ad that reconfigures the text and screws up the movement of my eyes is annoying to my reading task and I try to ignore it as much as I can. The way we surf through the web does not create places for effective advertising.

TV shows, however, are designed around commercials. Shows are designed to have “acts” that leave you with a natural stopping point for an interruption. When they splice up movies for network TV they are careful with the commercial pauses. And newspapers never (rarely?) stick ads in the middle of articles. When something is continued on a different page, they can’t throw a pop-up ad at you, thank goodness. Magazines often do stick ad pages within articles, but it’s usually easy to follow along to the continuation. So what advertising will work in a linked, web model? At what points are we interruptible and receptive to a pitch? And don’t the powers that be realize the the more annoying and intrusive the ads are, the less we’re going to want to look at them?

You may have figured out one answer to this. The content itself can change to make the ads work. The writers will love that.

Written by ltao

April 13th, 2001 at 1:35 am

Posted in Uncategorized