Good vs. Bad Online Advertising

I couldn’t resist posting this unintentionally funny screen shot, but I don’t think there’s anything inherently bad about advertising, online or otherwise. Done well, it adds value for advertisers, publishers and readers alike. But it has to be done well if it is not to subtract value for the reader. (If it subtracts value for the advertiser or publisher it never gets published.) A lot of online advertising is still of the intrusive popup type, and pretending that it’s “context sensitive” because it’s linked to unrelated, vaguely related or overly general keywords doesn’t transform it into something valuable for readers. The best context-sensitive ads I’ve seen are in a hobby forum that serves its own ads and makes it easy for advertisers to select keywords that readers will find interesting enough to click on. Those are ads that you want to see if you are interested in the topic of a discussion. By contrast, the typical served-by-third-parties popup, like the one shown above, is nothing more than an irritant unless it happens to deliver a relevant message by chance.

2 thoughts on “Good vs. Bad Online Advertising”

  1. Certain service and content providers drive customers away through excessive advertising. I don’t watch a lot of TV to start with, but I rarely watch commercial TV for that very reason. I won’t sit through 15 minutes of adverts for every 1/2 hour of programming. Ditto for commercial radio. Haven’t listened to it for 20 years or so.

    I also resent the visual assault of billboards. I really despise those things. I always have this feeling that it’s somehow wrong that just because I need to use a certain highway that I’m forced to view someone’s commercial pitch. Someone is making money by virtually forcing me to watch/see an advert. I resent it.

    And as for pop-ups, anyone who creates one should be flogged and then shot, then have their body apportioned for wolves. Other than that I have no problem with ’em.

  2. I don’t mind ads. I just mind ads that make it hard for me to get at the content I’m trying to get at.

    The ad in the screenshot is of my second most hated variety: the “this is a legit link the person writing this put in, oh wait, no, it’s a keyword-based ad that will block your view if you mouse over it” type. My most hated variety of ads are any with sound. (Doesn’t even have to be ads — I hate any WEB PAGES with sound, except of course if the sound is part of the actual useful content.) Most of the time, I’d prefer to hear my music or whatever else I have playing; I don’t want to hear your sound. (I wish I could just set my web browser not to play sound at all.)

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