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23 July 2010 @ 04:03 pm
Is anyone buying these things?  
I frequent a lot of tech sites, and I get these more and more annoying Flash pop-ups that circumvent the ad blocker extensions and such. There are ways around these things, to be sure, like blocking all Flash, but some times embed flash into the menu system itself. This also makes them useless on the iPhone, but so many designers are not tech oriented, so they go, "whut?"

I know that the only reason spammers sent out a bajillion e-mails is that it costs the same to send out one million ads as it is to send out ten. So if they get only a dozen sales from a million pieces of spam, it's still profitable. It also means there are 12 idiots out there with e-mail access.

Are there the same amount of idiots with popups? One site I frequent but wish I had an alternative is phoronix.com. It's an "Internet media company devoted to enriching the Linux hardware experience and catering its content to Linux gamers and computer enthusiasts." Right now they have a flash pop-up that not only maximizes over the page, but plays music. I'd tell you which company was advertising, but I am protesting giving them any attention. In fact, my years of web browsing have made a knee-jerk reaction of closing any popup my brain thinks is spam. I don't even think; I close it. It's an unconscious as brushing aside a strand of hair that has fallen across my face. I have no idea what it sells or why. In fact, on the rare occasion I have found an ad interesting, I go directly to the site and NOT via the ad.

The media world gets more and more desperate, driven by some greed that has no plan or vision. They just want to shove the product in your face. Some places are 90% ads on the screen, and have more ad space than bridal magazines. Some try and get you to see more ads by splitting articles in multiple pages, use a smaller font than the ads, or have ad splash pages that you have to click to get past. There's one site that posts a link to Twitter. You click on the link, it takes you via a URL redirect to a URL shortener page with ads, and you have to find the link to the article, which is another ad-filled page with half a paragraph and a "Read more..." link that will take you to the REAL page... which is 90% ads.

They have become a noise, and I know I am not the only one who can see past them pretty quickly. So the advertisers get more and more desperate, like a small kid trying to get you to give them a cookie while you are busy on the phone. "Mom. Mom. Mom? Mom. Mom. Mummy? MOM!!!"

I see some sites that boo-hoo how ad blockers hurt their revenue. And I don't mind a few sites that have unobtrusive ads, although I will be honest, I blur right past them like I have in newspapers and comic books since I was little. Even "Boys Life," a "scouting magazine," was mostly ads, which is why I stopped subscribing to it. They still sent me issues for two more years until my mother called them. How can they afford to send magazines to people who don't want it? Ads. TV runs on ad revenue, but they had convenient bumpers between parts of the series people avoided, and now DVRs conveniently fast forward through them. So they are trying more and more stuff, like in-place ads or product placement during the show.

But the crux of this problem is that a majority of these ad people don't know that brute-force quantity is not the way to go. I know some of them want to use focused sound waves to point directly at your head in public (link). This is also used as a weapon against pirates (link). So they just vomit ads in huge quantities, in a variety of ways, hoping one will stick. I mean, think about it: does Coca Cola really need all that advertising? How about Exxon? Could your local supermarket keep you from going to another supermarket closer and cheaper by ads? Why do they flood my airwaves and pixel space with ads, forcing me NOT to see them as pointless noise?

Then it hit me: pop-ups are weapons against our inattention. And the only cure is hyper-focused attention. Which may be part of why ADHD is on the rise: kids who watch TV are scouting for the real show amid all the ads like how I search for the article amid all the ads. In fact, have seen entire sites and mailing lists die out because they became swamped with ads, like AOL, Hotmail, and Computerworld.

I have always felt like advertisers were all smoke and mirrors guesswork, anyway. There are so many brands which flood you with ads that I don't think are necessary. I mean, most people shop at local places that are clean and not very expensive. The incentives to get them to go elsewhere are low price and new features, which yes, is information can be distributed by ads. But so many of them lie anyway, that "discount," "sale," and "specials" are meaningless words like different names for the shade of white (beige, ecru, bone, ivory, etc...). Once in a while an ad grabs you as "OMG THAT IS SO COOL I WANT THAT" but for every ad like that, there's about 50 that are the same old crap. I mean, who cares if their shampoo has green tea extract, anyway?
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pianodanpianodan on July 23rd, 2010 10:09 pm (UTC)
You know, I have a long and thoughtful response to this. When you consider the history of... OOOH! SHINY!
Bureinatobureinato on July 26th, 2010 05:39 am (UTC)
I view advertising as applied psychology. It manipulates people into thinking they need the x, y, or z in order to be happy. It's both blatant and sophisticated and I hate it. The only way to counter it is to block and avoid it. Which is almost impossible and not be Amish.

I have read that watching a lot of TV has several crummy effects on kids, but ADD is not one of them. But a lot of our current society is indistinguishable from having ADD.