See the ad,
February 13, 2001 3:57 PM   Subscribe

See the ad, pay, or go away. Is the free ride finally over? Will it really work this time?
posted by owillis (21 comments total)
It won't be over for me until MetaFilter starts showing advertisments...
posted by Neb at 4:30 PM on February 13, 2001

It's over for me when sites start using this:


Perhaps I'm opening a Pandora's box by linking this, but I hope not. Or maybe this is old news, I've just never seen it done before.

When I run into a site using this, I'll stop visiting.
posted by pnevares at 4:59 PM on February 13, 2001

Yeah - I'd say that's particularly obnoxious.
posted by Hankins at 5:21 PM on February 13, 2001

It could be made a good deal less obnoxious and still be the same basic trick, though.
posted by kindall at 5:31 PM on February 13, 2001

Remeber that week that Hotwired ran that java ad on the front door where the little girl knocked on the screen and said "HEY!!! Let me in!!!" and the add company ran a big press release about how they were revolutionizing advertising on the web, and soon everyone would be doing big splashy multimedia ads with sound and interaction just like they did?

I don't think this trend will work either.
posted by captaincursor at 5:43 PM on February 13, 2001

Maybe it's the capitalist in me, but I would much prefer that ad come up with a 5 second animated gif 1 out of 10 times when I accessed a site than banners...
posted by owillis at 6:15 PM on February 13, 2001

DHTML has already snuck into ads. Check out the GM ad at the top of this page (IE Win only).
posted by dithered at 6:23 PM on February 13, 2001

Oh Wow!

I like the "without leaving this page" bit on the banner. Oh now you'd like to be nice to me.
posted by fullerine at 7:20 PM on February 13, 2001

For the Mac OS you can get WebFree, and old but useful shareware control panel that filters out nearly all banner ads before they are even downloaded.
It looks for a long list of things in tags like "clickthrough.cgi," "redir.asp" "" "/ad-banners/" "cgi-bin/ad.*http://" or whatever else you add, and simply ignores them.

I know similar things exist for Windows and probably Linux, just not their names.

All advertising schemes can be defeated in similar ways if they are obnoxious enough to inspire a programmer to come up with the right hack.
What this means is you can't force anyone to watch ads if they don't want to- but "the masses" aren't even educated or motivated enough to change their default start page, so most people won't go to the trouble of hacking around advertising, and the companies still get their publicity out to most.
posted by emt at 9:46 PM on February 13, 2001

There's also the use of Flash interactivity in the CNet/ZDnet redesign.
posted by dhartung at 10:02 PM on February 13, 2001

Background on the HotWired front door ad experiment: It was AT&T and they were using a Java applet from Enliven.

Here's AT&T's big press release from September 4, 1997 trumpeting their "global branding campaign on the Web."
posted by tomalak at 11:19 PM on February 13, 2001

It better not work. Because if it does I'm smashing my computer.
posted by howa2396 at 11:24 PM on February 13, 2001

That wasn't that bad, as web ads go. Well, except for the part where the car drives all over the page. That's up there with the DHTML ad box, which is evil.

If it would just stay up in the banner (and that's a SMALL banner, not those ones), "click without leaving the page"* could work. Can you track that kind of usage?

It's late, and I must be delirious--I liked an ad.

*I noticed that if you click the "get a brochure" link, you do in fact leave the page. They lied!
posted by smeat at 1:17 AM on February 14, 2001

the simple fact is, something has to be found that works. the free ride may not be over quite yet, but it'll have to end pretty damn soon. money has to be made out of websites, or they're gonna keep blipping out of existence.

i'm actually most taken by the big flash ads that cnet and others are slipping into their articles. most people seem to be making a fuss over them, but they load reasonably quickly, the text flows around them and is still readable, whilst putting the ad more under the eyes of the reader, as compared to banner ads that people switch off to.

of course now that i go looking for an example, i can't find a single cnet article that has one of them. oh wait, here's one. the article loaded as quickly as ever, and the ad is dynamic, interactive, and entertaining. i'm giving it a thumbs up, until it starts crashing my browser or slowing load times considerably.
posted by titboy at 3:24 AM on February 14, 2001

WebWasher (Mac & Windows) blocks ads, suppresses pop-ups, etc. and is free for home and education users.

"Web Ad Blocking under Linux/Unix, BeOS, MacOS, and Windows" has a hosts file which blocks a good number of banner servers.

Occasionally you'll come across a page that won't load correctly. WebWasher makes it fairly easy to toggle its features on the fly. In some cases (usually for items blocked by the hosts file) turning off javascript when loading the page is necessary.
posted by D.C. at 6:44 AM on February 14, 2001

the pc ad filtering software i use is adsubtract. it's free and pretty awesome. it does occasionally cause page-rendering problems (particularly at slate, for some reason), but i am 95% satisfied.
posted by acridrabbit at 6:50 AM on February 14, 2001

Why would you use anything else?
posted by sonofsamiam at 7:06 AM on February 14, 2001

heh. a page on ad filtering software that has a tripod member popup. amusingly ironic.
posted by Vetinari at 7:28 AM on February 14, 2001

This thread - while interesting - has gotten sidetracked a little. Certainly, there are alot of potential ad schemes for websites as well as methods for defeating them. But the original article specifically mentioned being "forced" to receive email messages as a price for continued subscription to the mailing list. Personally, I get so much junk email - 90% of which is filtered out pretty effectively - I probably wouldn't mind if the content of the list were important to me. What about you all - would you accept the subscription on those terms?
posted by m.polo at 8:55 AM on February 14, 2001

the simple fact is, something has to be found that works. the free ride may not be over quite yet, but it'll have to end pretty damn soon. money has to be made out of websites, or they're gonna keep blipping out of existence.

No, actually, it doesn't have to end, and websites don't have to make money. The 'net worked just fine before everyone was trying to use it to make money, and it will work fine when the gold rush ends, even if most of the "e-commerce" outfits fold.

Which is the greater benefit to the human race: the fact that the 'net allows catalog shopping companies to print their catalogs electronically, or the fact that the 'net makes it easier to find and connect with like-minded human beings? We've had systems for making money since the dawn of civilisation, and we will have them until the human race goes extinct. It's systems for connection that we were lacking, and that's what the 'net does best.

If the only way to make money running a website is to turn that website into a television channel, what on earth is the point? Screw 'em. They missed the point.

posted by Mars Saxman at 11:23 AM on February 14, 2001

Thank you, Mars.
posted by hijinx at 12:26 PM on February 14, 2001

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