As web publishers all scurry around trying to appease investors by turning
their loss-making ventures into profit-making ones we're starting to see some
worrying changes taking place.
How are online publishers going to convince advertisers to part with their
money and buy enough advertising, at a high enough rate, to offset the
cost of content production and (gasp!) maybe even create a small operating
Well it looks as if many websites are now so far up against the wall that they're
prepared to risk tactics which, just 12 months ago, would have been considered
By this I mean:
- The use of pop-up advertising windows
- Interstitial ad pages
- Rich media adverts with streaming media
- Huge areas of the page given to ads
As an example of that last one, just take a look at stories published
on the CNet site.
The regular 468x60 pixel banner at the top of the page has gone -- now replaced
by a hulking great 360x300 pixel block of advertising graphic buried in the
text of the article and weighing in at a hefty 25 Kbytes.
Obviously this, thanks to its positioning and size, offers the advertiser
more exposure -- but is it likely to annoy readers enough to drive them away?
I don't think so -- after all, how many magazines have quarter or half-page
ads in them?
Actually, of all the non-banner web-based advertising tactics, I find these
bigger ad areas to be the least irritating. Unlike pop-up windows I don't
have to close them or move them to read the content and, unlike rich-media
ads, they don't suddenly kick my PC's speakers into gear with unexpected
noises and clock my modem with unwanted crappy-quality video.
What's more -- the bigger ad space allows the advertiser to provide enough
information to make the ad meaningful and (possibly even) interesting! Come
on -- admit it -- once you've ready all the articles, don't you go back through
your old magazines and browse the ads?
One thing's for sure, despite denials by the ad industry, the day of the
468x60 banner are definitely numbered -- it just doesn't perform!
Let's hope that the replacement is something we can all live with.
Let's have your feedback -- what do you think about these "big ads",
pop-ups, rich-media (audio/video), Flash-based ads and interstitial ads?
Send me your comments.
Rest assured that, for the foreseeable future, Aardvark Daily will remain
an advertising-free zone.
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