Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

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Web ads’ final frontier

I have been sitting on today’s topic for almost ten days now, because I have been giving myself time to “cool off”. (Because I cannot post an article here using the language I want to use, and say the things I want to say.) It all started with an article I came across in the business section of our ‘big city’ newspaper. It starts out,

“For years, advertisers have complained about “banner blindness,” Internet surfers’ tendency to browse sites without noticing the rectangular ads on the periphery of most Web pages. And most browsers excel at blocking the pop-up and “pop-under” ads that advertisers have relied on for more than a decade.”

And, like much of what you read in the rags, that’s partly true — advertisers have been complaining about p-ing away their dollars on Internet ads. But it is us, the “consumers”, who go to great lengths to block the [expletive deleted] *crud* from our screens (and buy a TiVo so we can ‘skip over’ broadcast ads). The reason I do not use Internet Explorer 9 is because there is no really effective way for me to block ads with it. (If some folks get their way, ad blocking software will become illegal.)

Banner ads don’t work, annoy (anger, even) the viewer, but, Man, being the freakin’ genius that he is — “For all the difficulties that companies face in reaching consumers on the Web, online advertising keeps growing. U.S. companies spent $26 billion on digital ads in 2010, 15 percent more than they did in 2009, according to a study by PriceWaterhouseCoopers.
Yeah. It doesn’t work, so pour more money on it.
That’ll fix it.

Okay, so, there’s going to be a new kind of ad, ads placed in Web photos, and the hope is, this new type will work, and we’ll buy more stuff (Hey, Rocky, watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat!).

“Now some of the nation’s largest publishers are starting to sell ad space in what may be the final frontier of digital advertising: the trillions of images displayed across the Internet. If startups in Silicon Valley and elsewhere have their way, it will soon be commonplace to mouse over an image and find advertising, e-commerce or other information contained within them.”

Early versions of this exist.

“Mouse over an image of a denim shirt-clad Sean Penn on and a pop-up image will suggest a similar, less expensive shirt. Click the image and you can buy the shirt.”

I simply cannot print my reaction to that sentence; but I will say, I do NOT want that “feature” on my Internet. And I will say that it gives hackers another way to attack your machine. I will further say that if I find a website doing this, I will take pains never to visit it again (MSNBC is now blacklisted). And companies that elect to advertise this way, I will take great pains to ensure I never purchase their product/service. (My rebellion.)

The entire article is here. I do suggest you put on your thinking cap and read it.

Related: Good-bye YouTube. Enjoy Your Ads.

Today’s free download: I don’t actually see all that many ads when I surf the Internet because I use ad-blocking software/tools. (Don’t worry all you businesses running ads, I never buy stuff because you ran an ad anyway. Usually I boycott you because I detest ads so much).
Firefox: I use the plug-ins (“Add ons”) AdBlock Plus, NoScript, OptimizeGoogle, and FlashBlock
Internet Explorer: I download and install SelectView

There are other products available for you to choose from, both free and for-pay.

I hope people wake up soon.. or this vile and ugly scene is our future..

Because some *people* think it works…

Think I’m ‘off base’?

For those of you who actually read down this far.. I will say that “tar and feather and run out of town” was the mildest phrase I chose not to print.
I guess this is a “pet peeve”..

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.

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June 22, 2011 - Posted by | Internet, News | , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Paul,

    Like you, I use tools to block/avoid ads. In one of those “great minds think alike” moments, I’ve been thinking about the fact that I don’t “see” ads. Some might get through but, I still don’t “see” them.

    So, I have been curious as to how advertisers were going to deal with people like me who are effectively, “ad blind”. I’ll wonder no more – you’ve just answered that question. Not that I’m happy with the answer, of course. Looks like they’re going to squeeze me until I start paying attention. Ouch!

    Great article.



    Comment by Bill Mullins | June 22, 2011 | Reply

    • Bill Mullins,
      I generally don’t like to predict the future, but I suspect this “new method” will prove as effective as banner ads … after *marketing specialists* bilk billions out of businesses. (Hey, business. Here’s an idea. Just.. stop. Use the money for something else. Like.. oh, say, philanthropy. Word of your good deeds will spread..)

      Call me a weirdo, or misfit, if you like, but I am SO (yes, shouting) sick of television advertisements (not just their quantity, but their extremely poor taste) that when broadcasts went digital, I simply unplugged my sets. I signed up for Netflix because, not only is the programming available on demand, but it is commercial free.
      If someone were to create a secure, ad-free, subscription-based Internet 2 as an “alternative”? I’d sign up in a heartbeat.

      But, there’s only one reason they let the “unwashed masses” on the Web in the first place… and it wasn’t to make them more informed/better educated. ($26 Billion/yr. is one heck of a cash cow!)

      Try as you might to show me ads for wrinkle cream – I ain’t gonna click. It’s that simple. I wonder how many others are as fed up as I…?


      Comment by techpaul | June 22, 2011 | Reply

  2. Ads…ads…ads…yes Paul I bet I hate them more than you…ha . Thanks for giving me the opportunity to rant!

    I hardly ever watch T V , never have because I can’t stand the ads. If I am that interested in what I am watching, I usually get up to do something or channel hop. The ads irritate me, “like someone is pinching me”…they are over the top in every way.

    Then I listen to only to radio stations that are “ad free,” radio station ads are worse. I lost interest in the news paper, basically because of the ads. There’s advertisements everywhere, in the stores, on the buses…I think it is getting worse.

    As for the internet, I tend to click into docs. ..those ads are related to the subject, which are not as bad… but yes, I have been annoyed by all the junky ads … I would not buy anything that is advertised anyway, nor would i take it for nothing. Further thinking about this… I think I have ad blockers set up.



    Comment by Anonymous | June 22, 2011 | Reply

    • Gaia,
      I knew I was not the only one for whom advertisement so “turned me off” that I turned it off.

      I thought I might miss TV.

      But, I am far happier w/o it.


      Comment by techpaul | June 22, 2011 | Reply

  3. Count me in with the “fed up” crowd. It’s an insane mess, and most of the ads on TV are… you guessed it, vanity related. Have Americans become so egotistical and proud that they actually spend money on this crap? It’s a trap, and sadly it must be a good one or there wouldn’t be so many of these ads on display.

    I too use the Firefox add-ons you listed. It’s truly a pleasure to visit websites without the barrage of banners, pop-ups and the like everywhere you turn. I also use Chrome occasionally, and the ads are a constant annoyance. I have never clicked on any. However, I know people that just can’t help themselves when they find something, anything to click on. And, those are the folks that the advertisers (and hackers) are counting on.

    Of course I have you to thank for recommending these add-ons here on T4E!

    Good article Paul. Thanks


    Comment by KsTinMan | June 22, 2011 | Reply

    • KsTinMan,
      A very good point — hackers (more accurately, cybercriminals) and advertisers use the same strategies (and tactics).

      And I think that’s not the only way they’re related..


      Comment by techpaul | June 22, 2011 | Reply

  4. BTW folks, I paid $30 for a year’s worth of no ads on this site…


    Comment by techpaul | June 22, 2011 | Reply

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