Advertisements are becoming so ludicrous it's almost Evil.

Back in the day, by which I mean 1995, Internet advertising was actually decent. Programs like banner exchange promoted small-scale advertising on websites. It was a way to share ideas and make a profit. All was peaceful... Then, somewhere along the development of the web, some wise guy thought it would be a good idea to use JavaScript to force a window to open. This became known as the pop-up. Still, the web was nice. Pop-ups were a slight inconvenience, but we knew they were inevitable, it was a way to grab attention and someone would think of it eventually. People got used to it. Sure, some websites were managed by assholes who thought it would be really effective to pop-up a thousand boxes at once and annoy the hell out of viewers (and possibly crash their computer too), most websites knew that this was not an attractive feature of a site and would most likely discourage the user from ever coming again. So, again, the web was well. Some pop-ups were even very creative, featuring humourous animations and thought-provoking messages that could lure us. Each ad was carefully constructed to make us pay attention, and not just close the window. Although I could do without Advertising, it was something I recognized, accepted, and (if the ad were really good) I would sometimes honor the site by clicking on the Ad. Not because I was actually interested in the product or site, but just to reward it with an extra hit, no matter how insignificant my visit might be.


Fast Forward to the Present...


Advertisers are getting desperate, as well as websites. I'm not just complaining about pop-ups. Both banners and pop-ups are getting pathetic, and deceptive. I realize that Ads are a necessary part of keeping the Internet alive...but the way many ads are constructed, I feel as if I wanted force the company into bankruptcy. There are now ads disguised as IM windows. It popped up a message window looking EXACTLY like my Instant Messaging Client and showed a user asking me a question. When I clicked the text box to reply, it led me to a site! That's not advertising, that is the blatant deception. Advertising creativity has also gone down the drain for most. Ads are getting more provocative, more disturbing, and harder to close. Some pop-ups position themselves in a way so that you can't click the close button on them, some of them are so advanced they manage to get rid of the close button entirely (well it's not a question of "can they do it" but "will they do it?"). Some ads force you to install things, pop up in corners without letting you close them or drag them to a different spot...some ads even have "Click here to Close" and then lead you to another site. Of course, most browsers and operating systems can allow you to close windows with keystrokes, but to the uninformed user, these types of windows present a great challenge.

Finally, ads are getting offensive. A prime example is the basic minicam ad. Originally, banners and pop-ups had slogans like "Watch your house." or "Watch your kids." or "Watch your baby." Sure, that made sense. "Tiniest Cam to date" also drew my interest. Now, it has evolved into "Watch your neighbor", "Watch the girl next door", "Virtually Undetectable", what is this? I mean...where is this leading to? Celebrity Videos is a decent site, but the way its ads are constructed I'd be afraid to go there. Their basic banner shows an actress in a seductive position with her shirt about to come off. Can we please not hide under the guise of celebrity videos and just come out and say "porno videos?" But wait, apparently celebrity videos contains no porn. The ads are getting dirtier and less relevant to the product they attempt to market. Pretty much, everything will be marketed on either a basis of deception, pornography, snooping, or other things like that. Perhaps it will even decieve you by pretending to allow you to snoop for pornography and advertise some can opener instead!

Many websites are also putting up the trash ads in order to make money. This is the website's fault. A great site, called Utopia (http://games.swirve.com/utopia/) has a game that I like to play, but if you go there, you will instantly get the worst kind of ads imaginable. Newgrounds also has a similar problem...they pop-up the same ad on every single page! I only need to see it once!

Has Internet Advertising Lost its Mind?

What is the web coming to? But there is hope...I am glad that Everything2 is not like most other sites and only uses a small standard sized banner from selected advertisers on their site. Slashdot.org also recognizes the virtue of moderation. Geocities tries to pop-up small boxes only. We can only hope that these sites will continue to shine as an admirable example, and perhaps draw some of the corrupted websites back to the light side.

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