Advertising just got a little more "In Your Face"
February 16, 2001 9:46 AM   Subscribe

Advertising just got a little more "In Your Face" Story on a new banner ad that runs around the monitor talking to you.
posted by willnot (17 comments total)
Thanks for that link. I just added "" to my ad kill list in Norton Internet Security.

When advertising gets too obnoxious there's backlash. Companies which use it, especially in a two-way medium, learn really rapidly that this is a good way to make potential customers hate you -- because those potential customers will let you know quite distinctly. That's why big-name companies don't use spam; they've learned the hard way. I predict that this bright idea dies a very early death.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 9:57 AM on February 16, 2001

Hotwired experimented with advertising along those lines a few years ago. They jumped, they sang, they ran around the screen. The ads did everything but make money. Don't bother with any kind of fancy filtering, the ads will do a good enough job destroying themselves.

Also ads like this are MILLION times more expensive to prodcue, schedule, and run than the standard banner ad. There is a reason why the crappy little banner ad has been so long lived. It's because it's cheap as hell to produce, and easy to run on site accross the web.
posted by captaincursor at 10:22 AM on February 16, 2001

cheap, easy to run, and add to that the fact that it doesn't (likely) irritate me enough to stop me from ever coming back...
posted by DiplomaticImmunity at 10:46 AM on February 16, 2001

>> In a claimed first,

> Hotwired experimented with advertising along those
> lines a few years ago.

Word (r.i.p.) also had ads like this, long before some senior VP marketing wanker declared them novel.
posted by jkottke at 10:56 AM on February 16, 2001

I reloaded that lycos page 10 times, so I could check out the ad, and I didn't get it. I haven't figured out if that's good or bad yet. :-)
posted by cCranium at 10:57 AM on February 16, 2001

DHTML ads are a staple on as well, but no-one else has been spineless enough to allow them...until now.

Anyway, the fact that Lycos is even running this ad indicates how much more leverage advertisers have these days. I have a feeling that we'll keep going down this path of more intrusiveness for a while, until it's proven to work one way or the other.

One bit of good news -- in addition to being expensive and complicated to buy, ads like that will lose their effectiveness if used too often. Hopefully marketers will recognize that without having to find out for themselves.

posted by alexfw at 11:01 AM on February 16, 2001

Ads like these have been around forever. The problem is, most sites wont allow them because they wont let ads actually cover up their "content." Lycos must be in such bad shape that they don't really give a crap.
posted by Doug at 11:26 AM on February 16, 2001

MCI ran something similar on on Superbowl Sunday - a blimp that floated across the page. But what is a "shoshkele?"
posted by agaffin at 12:01 PM on February 16, 2001

I find myself avoiding now that they're running their huge flash ads from hell in the middle of the page.
posted by darren at 12:30 PM on February 16, 2001

I'm reminded of the futurama episode where the characters put on virtual reality equipment to get into the internet.... Frye says, in dramatic '2001 A Space Odyssey' fashion, "My god - it's full of ads!!" and then they have to blast their way through the ads to get any further. I'm also reminded of this radio ad that ran a number of years back - the creators put a REALLY annoying high pitched tone throughout the whole commercial just to get your attention - another case of pissing people off instead.... but does the "any attention is good attention" idea still hold true in the minds of marketing execs? And if so, when will they learn? heh heh.
posted by thunder at 12:32 PM on February 16, 2001

Folks, all you need is a decent ad filter and none of those things are a problem. is fine by me because all I see is a big white gap in the page, for instance.

My ad filter rules are already extremely comprehensive already, but when something slips by I can just add another rule and it will go away. (And I feel not the slightest bit of guilt, not a smidgen, not the faintest trace, about doing this.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 1:39 PM on February 16, 2001

I bet you feel pretty bad about missing that close parenthesis though.

I'm actually curious about ad-blocking. Do you know off-hand if it register as a "hit" on the remote servers, so the content provider (and, more importantly, the company paying them for the space) thinks the ad's been viewed?

If that's the case it's kind of neat in the "Screw the big money company's" way, but it's also mildly frustrating.

If it's registering as a hit, then the company paying says "I paid for 1000 hits, and only 30 click-throughs resulted, therefore it's inefficient!" but 200 people filtering ads never saw the ads to click on them.

Okay, it'd probably be like, 20 people that are blocking the ads. All those numbers above are the product of the same magic land from which my perceived studliness comes.

I'm not accusing you, Steven, I'm genuinly curious about what rate of false hits ads get.
posted by cCranium at 2:07 PM on February 16, 2001

The ad blocking capability of Norton Personal Firewall works by hooking the TCP/IP stack on my local computer. (It does a lot more than this, but leave that for another time.)

When my browser makes a request for a certain page, it's compared against a list of rules for ad blocking. If it matches any of them, then the blocker instantly returns an "unreachable" answer to the browser. No request ever emerges from my computer onto the Internet. So no, it doesn't register as a hit with the advertiser; they never see me at all. Which suits me fine; it means that they can't track me on their server because they never knew I was there.

Very occasionally one of my rules blocks something I really wanted to see. But it's trivial to turn ad blocking off and reload that page. (Sometimes I have to flush the browser cache.) Aside from that, I consider it to have no drawbacks. I don't notice any performance hit; indeed, most pages load faster because of it.

Most of my blocking rules are general and apply to every site. But NPF also permits me to set up rules for particular sites. So, for instance, I have ".swf" blocked for "" and I never see flash there. I don't get any error indication on the page; it just leaves the space blank. Whatever NPF is returning to IE 5.5, IE 5.5 decides "OK, I just won't display anything then." Which is great. Most of the time it doesn't even leave whitespace.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 2:20 PM on February 16, 2001

Are those of you that block ads willing to pay for content...?
posted by owillis at 2:24 PM on February 16, 2001

owillis: hell no, and shame on you for thinking the equation is that simple.

I think this new wandering-around-the-browser-window thing is great. It shows that the advertisers are getting more desperate, that 'net advertising still isn't making money, and that maybe - just maybe - there's a light at the end of the tunnel.

posted by Mars Saxman at 3:38 PM on February 16, 2001

owillis, ad-blockers are just the smart minority who know how to avoid ads. You may go to the bathroom when a TV commercial comes on, but the advertiser still pays. ;-)
posted by dhartung at 8:08 PM on February 16, 2001

I really don't mind ads like this.
Better than banners!
posted by online_junkie at 1:09 PM on April 16, 2001

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