Posted October 1, 2010 9:33 am by with 8 comments

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Warning: This is a rant.

Since this blog is read by many Internet marketing influencers I just have to say one thing while I might have your attention for a sentence or two. This is not a new subject matter but it deserves a rant because it is still lurking about and getting worse. Here it goes.

Forcing a 30 second video ad (or 15 seconds for that matter) in between the content I am seeking and myself is bad practice. I know I don’t represent everyone on the planet but what makes your ad, which is slickly produced etc etc, any better than the old pop up ads that used to litter the Internet and render many a good site unusable? Oh and it if you have changed the terminology or the term pop-up no longer applies, that’s just semantics. A pop up, is a pop up, is a pop up. Period.

I have discussed this at my blog before but you may have missed it (What?! You don’t read my blog or even know I had one? Shame on you ;-))

I’ll give you an example. I think that The Business Insider family of sites / blogs or whatever you want to call them are great. That doesn’t stop me from getting completely irritated that I have to find the close button (x marks the spot for freedom from misplaced advertising messages in my estimation) as quickly as possible so I can get to the information I am looking for (which I came to via your RSS feed so advertising to me is even more annoying).

I realize that I can read the content in the feed and avoid all of this but I like going to sites for the original item. Why? Because if there is good information in one spot maybe I can window shop the rest of the site to find something else of value. When I do that put up as many display ads as you want. I may actually look at them. Just don’t use them like a kick returner in football uses a wedge of blockers to get in the way of potential harm.

This annoying trend toward larger, longer and even more intrusive ads is not the way to go marketers. It’s just bad user experience. When you piss off your visitor at your front door don’t you think that might taint the rest of their visit?

Look, I am sure there are statistics somewhere that say that this type of intrusive, in your face and annoying advertising works. I would challenge that research as probably being sponsored by those who produce these things.

So Mr. Big Time Site Owner With Big Brand Advertising, stop doing the online equivalent of sticking your leg out and tripping me to get my attention as I enter your website. It’s annoying. And advertisers, if you really want to get me upset do your best to hide the “close button” so your ad runs a few seconds longer. Oh yea, that’ll make me desire that product! Panhandlers on the streets of New York have more style than that technique. No one likes to be trapped or tricked into watching a message. Where did that idea first get green-lighted and can we put that person up against the wall please?

Anyway, rant is over. If you made it this far what is your feeling about these pop ups?

Have a nice weekend!

  • GREAT rant, er, post, Frank! I. Hate. Pop ups.

    When I find something interesting, via my Reader or Buzz or whatever else, I too like to come to the actual site to read it – not just to see the visuals, etc., which don’t always translate well in Reader, Buzz, etc. – but also to see how the post itself translates visually, which I think is really important for readability. Plus, as you say, it gives me an opportunity to see what else I can learn from the site, so I browse around when I can.

    And those wretched pop ups really turn me off. It’s like the site is saying, “Hey! Nice to meet you and can I jump into bed with you right now even though we don’t know each other?”


    • @Shonali – WOW! I had not put that last scenario together but since I literally laughed out loud when I read it I had to respond.

      I don’t understand how advertisers, presumably media savvy folks, think this is a good technique or what bill of goods they were sold to keep doing this.

      Anyway, thanks for the laugh. I obviously needed it 😉

  • But, how do you really feel? 😛

    I agree that those video pop-ups are the worst. I tend to close the tab and not view the article–my protest for being forced to watch an ad.

    I suspect it ties in somewhat to this:

    Publishers are getting greedy.

  • Hey Frank,

    Ohhhhhh how much do I agree with this post, LOADS!

    I do have a little slide up ad at the bottom of my blog, but I don’t think it’s too intrusive.

    There has been no complaints about it which is always a good sign.

    It certainly does not pop up in the middle of me reading the post content or in the middle of me writing out a reply comment.


    I am not a big fan of the little chat boxes that look like FB chat, on the bottom right either.

    Don’t like much do I haha.

    But I did like Shonali’s quote of “Hey! Nice to meet you and can I jump into bed with you right now even though we don’t know each other?”

    That made me laugh out loud!

    Liked your post too, great to vent out some of my pop up anger!!!

    Sally 🙂

  • I agree the Pop up videos just bombard the user, and pop up in the most inconvenient times, when im in a hurry and searching for information. My natural reaction is to close the window asap!

  • slow moving, scrolling pop ups suck bad.

    Worse though are the ‘in-betweener’ pages for content sites that love to paginate their content. It’s like saying, please sit here and think about how flipping annoying this is for the next 15 seconds and get ready because we’ll do it again to you after you read the next 2 pages.

    The most effective model for in-video advertising is the middle of the video short version ad – you’re already engaged, short commercial break – you’re right back in. Many video podcasts do this excellently, as does ABC’s online videos. They still bug me a little, but I don’t hate the site for doing it.

  • Lanelle

    I’m trying to find a way to get rid of the Publisher’s Clearinghouse pop-up. We have a pop-up blocking program, so how is that one getting through?