Home Ads and Ad-blocking: both in need of reform


As both a webmaster and user of the Web, I have something to say about the sad state of online advertising.  Ads are an important part of the economy, at best attractive additional offerings enticing and informing potential customers rather than forcing them to pay.  At worst, they are noisy annoyances that interfere with users' ability to read the material that brings them to the page that they are on, and are typically brushed aside by those users, who often skim over them and click to silence the noisy ones as soon as possible.   Those that stop to notice come away with unfavorable impressions of the companies involved, which is probably reinforced by those who click on the ads by accident.  But probably the chance of any one ad getting serious attention in all the clutter that is frequently found on all too many sites that are supposedly reputable is probably remote.

When Mike Bloomberg's ads came bursting into the middle of music or documentary videos on YouTube, how welcome were they?  The Democratic primary results speak volumes.

Because of all this bad behavior, ad-blocking software has become very accessible and is typically free.  But this, too, has its drawbacks: larger, richer businesses have developed software that calls users' attention to their ad-blocking software and either asks them to disable it on their sites or refuses access to them until the blocking is disabled.  Some big companies, in fact, have figured out how to dodge adblocking software altogether.  Smaller outfits, on the other hand, see their ad income dry up without having any recourse.  And there is yet another downside: users are increasingly being forced to pay to see material that once came free, although with ads.

Maybe it's too late to do anything to save the small businesses, since ad-blocking has become nearly universal.  But advertisers could try to follow some advice that will never grow old: You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar!  If you treat prospective customers with courtesy and put a little effort into producing something appealing to look at, without interfering with their reading, they might stop by to listen to your case. 

If you're a webmaster, ask for the side panel if you have a choice; that way, viewers can look at leisure at your ad without losing their places.  Maybe it's not such a great idea to stuff your ads together in a small area or sprinkle them liberally through text.  And those slow-loading videos that bounce what you're reading right off the page are the bomb ... in a bad way.  It's not helping your advertisers, either, if they are each lost in the shuffle.  If you create this kind of clutter on your website, hear this: it screams: Tabloid!

Copyright © 2019-2020 by Dorothy E. Pugh.  All rights reserved.