Friday, September 20, 2002

George Mindling Column 9-20-2002


Pop-Up Ads on the Net are Moving Targets


Many of today's Internet users are distressed over a new form of Internet advertising that is becoming increasingly thrown at them. The newest type of Internet advertising is called "Interactive advertising." You certainly don't request it, and it is sometimes hard to remove or close when you try to move to another page. The most prominent of the current pop-up ads, although recently toned down, is the overpowering ad for the wireless X-10 video camera. At least now you can shut down the Window it opens in. Prior versions simply popped up on your screen and you had to close the window or the URL you were working in.

Now, the next generation Internet ad is popping up. the animated ad. This was really unique in the film "Moulin Rouge." A worker appeared on your screen, and posted a flyer for the movie. No matter where you scrolled, the ad stayed on your screen. It dissolved after several aggravating minutes, but no action prior to that would remove the ad. You could not see what was on your screen behind the ad unless you scrolled to a screen position the ad didn't cover!

Where is the Internet going in its increasingly difficult advertising market? The banner ads that adorn most sites simply are not pulling the "click-throughs" to increase Web traffic the way Web advertisers claimed, so the forced ads seem to be the answer. Their usefulness has yet to he determined, yet just about everyone on the Internet knows what the X-10 is.

The problem is most Web users see the Internet as a free resource. They paid for their PCs, telephone or cable lines and modems, the software, and learned how to negotiate the Web without your help, thank you! Putting up advertising to view during the trip along the Internet was at first actually enjoyable, but now it looks like Interstate 75 in Georgia. Nobody pays any attention. The banner ads and splash boxes visually overpower many sites. Some sites have become so cluttered with visual garbage that it is difficult to tell the function or even the purpose of the page!

Some of the new Web pages assume that all users have 19-inch monitors with a minimum screen size set at 1280 x 1024 pixels, Unfortunately. those very large monitors are most often found in corporate America, where someone else foots the bill. Most home users arc still set at 640 x 480. or 800 x 600 screen size to fit their 15· or 17 -inch monitors. The result is many of the new pages look terrible to the average surfer, The overcrowding becomes overpowering. and the site is ultimately removed from users "bookmarks" or "favorites" files.

Perhaps the advertisers think if you can't read the Web page, you would like to watch an animation video of a car manufacturer's latest SUV roll across your computer monitor, At least you can see it without a magnifying glass.

George Mindling © 2002

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