One of my many paradoxes is having a blog under my real name, but going to extremes to filter out spam, spyware, virii, cookies, scripts, pop-ups and ad banners. All my efforts have been gradual, and I didn’t realize how much cruft gets filtered until I was surfing in the library the other day. I snapped screenshots of four sample sites. The red blobs are advertisements (you can click for a bigger picture, but you get the idea):
MSN was the least obtrusive. They had ads, but they were incorporated with
useful content. One obvious ad was at the banner, but was small and inconspicuous
enough as to not interfere with reading the site.
Monster.com was pretty obnoxious. Geez, eight advertisements on the front page, and when you login, there are interstitial page offerings for everything from the University of Phoenix to Putnam 401(k) rollovers. So I’m told.
Weather.com has a lot of advertisements, many tie-ins. For example, “This allergy report sponsored by Nasonex, the company who charges $89 for a prescription in the US that’s available for $34 from any online Canadian Pharmacy!”
MLB, which has the most money, has a lot of ads. At one time last year, I couldn’t play the audio because I needed to enable their RealPlayer advertisements, enable all cookies. It was ugly, and I had to toss cookies when it was done.
Google adwords have been popping up on retail and personal hobby sites. They’re not that visually obnoxious, but the results are strange and illustrate the primitive nature of these systems. For example, if you want to count the 1,300,925,111,156,286,160,896 ways spammers spell Viagra, you’ll see ads for Ukrainian Windows keyboards and Timber Toots for Tots. I remember when the Harry Potter books were the top three things on the book seller list, the recommendations were always skewed. “People who bought books on genetic engineering also bought Harry Potter blah blah.” Maybe it’s the same for Viagra?
Even when the keywords do match, the results may not be what’s intended. Consider the book Long Distance Cycling — two ads served are for long distance companies.
In other random marketing silliness, I’m reading Maxx Barry’s book