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The Almighty Buck

Banner Ads Could Soon Be Bigger 330

remy the man writes: "Yahoo has a story about some group [the Internet Advertising Bureau -- t.] basically wanting to have larger banner ads on websites. If they weren't already annoying enough, this group wants to make them bigger." Betcha didn't know there was a group called the "Internet Advertising Bureau. (Which despite its quasi-official sounding name, is an organization of advertisers, not a regulator body.) Look out soon for ads like the Wide Skyscraper (160 x 600 pixels) and -- even more fun -- a standardized pop-up ad (250 x 250). Mmmm.
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Banner Ads Could Soon Be Bigger

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  • []

    Free, you say? It's news to _me_ that online content is free. From where I'm standing, I have to _pay_ for web hosting, and do so without batting an eyelash, because I have content I want to put up, and I want people to be able to see it.

    Are you arguing that I am supposed to be _paid_ for having content on the internet? Gee, that's nice of you, but what planet are you from? I am eternally grateful that I no longer have to pay for the paper and printing of fliers, pay for cassette tapes and duplicate them, etc etc all to just try and get content to a curious onlooker.

    If you are really upset that you're not being paid just to have content available to curious onlookers, I suggest the quick and easy solution of not having content. You should be grateful you got to show me pictures of CK your dog without having to print them up on physical media and somehow get them to me... nice dog btw...

  • I have known about junkbuster filtering software for quite some time, but didnt think it was worth the effort needed to set it up properly and maintain the block lists.

    Go use Guidescope []. It's by the Junkbuster people, but they keep the block list online and the proxy looks there before downloading the ad. Works great. (In case you ask, the time it takes to look up the ad is far shorter than the time it would have taken to download the ad, so there's still a net gain, and you get to see gray boxes where the ads were! I haven't seen a CNet ad yet.)


  • there are ways to properly fight the misuse of advertising, including ignoring advertising-sponsored content. but blocking that advertising is nothing but stealing.

    What exactly is less "immoral" about ignoring the ads once they appear on the page, rather than blocking the ads before the page is rendered?

    If you say that we are morally bound to any sort of action when we view an ad-sponsored site, then by your argument ignoring a visible ad is immoral! Because the intent of the advertising is not simply that you display it on your screen, but that you LOOK at it, and seriously consider buying the product in question.

  • Okay...when you're watching TV, reading a magazine or listening to the radio and an ad comes on, you don't jump up and react to it right away (unless you have your handy CueCat by your side :)

    However, when you go to the store, you may then remember the add when trying to decide between brands.

    So, who is to say that Banner ads don't work the same way? Right now on /. is an add for ThinkGeek. Am I gonna click on it? Nope. For the same reason I don't rush to the store when I see a DiGiornos pizza ad - I'm in the middle of something.

    However, later on when my wife asks what I want for my birthday, I may tell her to go the the ThinkGeek site and get me the WTF? t-shirt.

    So the ad works, it's just no the constant immediate revenue that is possible because I'm online.
  • I meant to have another example in my message: Right now, at the top of the Post Comment page, is the NewStuff@ThinkGeek banner ad. I like the "I Read Your Email" bumper sticker. However, I am posting a message, I don't want to stop what I am doing and I don't want to retype it. I also don't get paid until Thursday. I think I might buy it later this week. But, when I go there, I will go there directly instead of going back to slashdot, finding the correct banner, then going to ThinkGeek from there. Slashdot does not get a click, so basically does not get paid (maybe 0.00000003 cents for the impression), even though ThinkGeek got a sale based on that impression. Not fair at all.

    How do they track how many people make a purchase out of how many banner impressions? I'd bet that MORE people make purchases from banner impressions than from banner clicks, but there's no direct way to track a relationship of Sales per banner display without seriously annoying the customer.

    It's all bullshit, don't ya know?

  • I do think kuro5hin is somewhat like that, though it has gotten a lot bigger and it is harder to build a sense of community in it's diary section since they are gone within an hour of posting

    We'll be adding a "friends list" RSN, that will let you know when people you've marked to watch have posted a new diary. It ought to help with the insta-scroll.

    and the IRC channel is somewhat boring to me, and lacking varied discussion.

    What? You mean sex, computers sex, sex, sex, and computers isn't enough variety for you?

    There is no K5 [] cabal.

  • Oh goody, more "Do you want Flash?" message boxes for Push the Freakin' Button to automatically close. Anyone know a way to tell Internet Explorer that you never want to install any Macromedia plug-in?


  • The whole point of having search engines is to get that dross outta my face. There would be no problem with search engines if manufacturers and content producers would make as much of an effort in indexing their stuff as they do cutting down on their expense.

    The bandwidth we fought so hard to get (like my ADSL conection wasn't a PITA to get from Verison,) is being chewed up by contentless noise.

    The reason TV sucks, the real reason, is that you can't offend the advertisers. So we get lame-ass wrappers as ad delivery vehicles.

    TV's a parc. That crap in reverse because its being used as a suppository. People are packing your fudge trying to get you to remember their name when you buy anti-inflamatory cream.
  • Is ther a browser or 3rd party software which will block webpage requests to make a new window?

    The newer Konqueror versions have a specific switch to "disable" (without completely disabling Javascript as a whole - which you can do instead if you want to). That should pretty much take care of it right there.

    "They have strategic air commands, nuclear submarines, and John Wayne. We have this"
  • One of the big bonuses of The Internet® is supposed to be "interactivity". While I actively avoid banner ads, I'd actively seek out, say, cartoons, downloadable movie clips (I'm still stuck with modem only lines as my only internet option at home for the moment), and so on - in which advertisers could pay the cartoonist/'netmovie producer/whatever for "product placement".

    People going to, say, Joe Cartoon [] might be incredibly annoyed to have, say, a Coca-Cola ad pop up in front of them, but a substantial proportion of them might be quite eager to watch a flash animation of Mean Things Being Done To Gerbils With A Coca Cola Can(tm).

    In short - Hey Advertisers! Put some CONTENT in those ads that we actually want, and maybe we'll pay attention!

    "They have strategic air commands, nuclear submarines, and John Wayne. We have this"
  • Just so people would have to go through 15 or 20 links just to find the news content or whatever they are interested in, making them pay whatever outrageous fees they can scam for minimal content.

    Funny thing is that this was my impression of American (paper) magazines when I first opened one. You have to browse pages and pages and pages of dual-page ads before you finally find the contents page - and there is no way to tell where that contents page is because the number of "pre-content" ads seems to change for every issue.

    I was used to magazines where the content page is basically always on page 6: cover (1), ad (2), editorial (3), double-page ad (4,5), content listing (6 and following). This is somewhat a non-written standard over here and it seems to work well...

  • Tim Berners-Lee created the web, and wrote the first browser/editor on his NeXT at CERN [...] This was in the period of 1989 and 1990

    I stand corrected. Thanks.

    I suspect that non-free online services like Compuserve had similar advertising earlier.

    Yip, but the original poster talked about the ads in internet sites. I think that concept is different enough to good old Compuserve etc.

  • it's been what, almost a decade now since banners in their current form came into use.

    The web didn't even exist a decade ago.

    According to [], the first graphical browser Mosaic was available in 93.

    And [] claims that the first banner ad appeared in 94.

  • There are already standards.. There is a web sie called the IAB or internet advertising board. I think there site is This is the internet advertising bureau.

    The problem with ads now is that 1 most are images and they take up precious bandwidth. Ads on the internet need to be blended with the content more. Take google for instance. They have ads on their site, but they blend them with the search result. Ususally every 100 searches an add is show. The ad apears at teh top of the search results, but it looks like part of the search results. It is even the same topic as the search results. So if you search for computers then an ad may apear that has to do with computers. It may be something like come to and check out the selection of computers. Or it may be from a computer compnay. It is none obtrusive though.

    Ads need to be more like that. Who wants flashy java or flash ads that take up bandwidth and slow page loading? Not I! Even if I did have a broadband connection, I still would not want it. Maybe some text links on a page would be good. They would also be harder to filter out with ad software cause they would apear as just links on a page rather than an iframe, javascript popup, or a standard sized ad, like a 468x60 banner ad.

    I don't want a lot, I just want it all!
    Flame away, I have a hose!

  • Either advertisers pay for it, or you pay for it directly.

    I look at it as: Either the people who use the website pays for the website, or everyone who buys the advertised product pays for the website.

    Looked at that way, one approach is clearly more direct and fair than the other. Cost should always be tied to usage as directly as possible. (Which, BTW, is why I want to get rid of most taxes and privatize as many government services as possible.)

  • The newspaper analogy is not good IMHO. In newspapers sure everyone notices some ads, everyone sees the big full page (intrusive) ads, but who notices each and every small ad that is in a newspaper?

    "When I was a little kid my mother told me not to stare into the sun...
  • Hey, 2.6 billion perverts can't be wrong (or at least they represent a LOT on money).

  • banner ad hell: tag=tp_pr []

    cnet's ads are so big, IE slows to a crawl as it attempts to repaint the huge Flash ad. Try scrolling down the page. ouch.. :-(
  • So I guess when you record a show to watch later on your VCR, YOU'D BETTER NOT SKIP THE COMMERCIALS! You must watch them and then go out and buy the products. our American way of life is at stake. Must. Go. Purchase. Cars. That. Skid. Sideways. On. TV....

    Let's face it, no one forces you to watch TV commercials and you do not owe anyone watching them. COmmercials work because most people do watch them... if they weren't effective companies would stop using them.

    Banner ads are a little different because they are not as effective, but the same still holds. I am under no moral obligation to look at banner ads. Yes, if everyone did what I do, then I might have to start paying for all these sites, which wouldn't be so bad, but they don't. I'm not about to feel any obligation to participate in a form of communication that I find to be poorly done and irrelevant to me. I guess I'm just not a good capitalist.

  • As your screen resolution increases the size of banner ads start approaching zero.

    Just remember to increase the size of your fonts to compensate.

  • I read "Daily Radar' pretty often (don't ask why, I don't even know).

    Until recently, I just left JavaScript on because I didn't encounter popup ads often, and I was OK with most other aspects of leaving JavaScript enabled.

    However, recently Daily Radar started having not just one small popup ad, but two popup ads - with the second ad about the size of my main browser window!

    That did it for me, and now I've disabled JavaScript. So instead of increasing ad revenue, they just halved it for me. And also took away revenue from IGN as I no longer see thier (still acceptle to me) small popup ad.

    As other people have said, the bigger they make the ads the more people will cross over the line into active evasion. If sites and advertisers were smart, they would opt for sponsorship of sites instead.
  • can be found on []. Particularly the "Bell Canada" ads where an image with a transparent background, about 100 X 100, slowly "falls" down the screen over top of the goddamn text. It is even more annoying as it falls about about the same rate that I read, such that I'm always trying to read around it.

    Is it successful? God, no. Now I'll open up a link on Canoe, throw it in the background for 5 - 10 seconds while I read another page so that the ad is gone by the time I read the article.

    Stop pestering us with ads dammit. I change the channels in between commercials (or mute it and read during that time). I close my eyes when I pee in public bathrooms because that damn Zoom media is everywhere. I throw fliers in the garbage. I do not read billboards along the street as I am driving because I'm driving. My attention is on the street. Don't take that to mean that you should buy the damn pavement and stick your logos there, because I'll look up into the sky to spite you. I ignore banner ads, popup ads, junk email, product placements, inserts, fliers, labels, branding, newspaper ads, magazine ads, advertising rags that try to pass themselves off as magazines, "reviews" which are really promotions, and any other forms of advertising I can possibly think of.

    When I need or want your product, I'll research it. Until then, leave me alone.
  • becomes even less useful to me and my modem. Say what you will about /., at least they use frames and text intelligently enough to create a nice interface that loads well over a modem. Most 'news' sites think they are publishing a glossy magazine, repleat with a ton of bandwidth wasting garbage graphics.

  • These "driving" metaphors are getting tiresome. Even Al Gore hasn't used the phrase "information superhighway" in years. The Internet is not a bloody freeway.
  • Why do they expect better feedback from internet ads than they get from TV? From newspapers and magazines? They don't get a single click-through from any traditional media. Also, for some reason they think everyone on the internet enjoys being annoyed. TV commercials and print ads are carefully crafted to either entertain or cram as much usefull information as possible into the given area. Banner ads flash, distract, and annoy the hell out of people. And they wonder why internet advertising isn't working? There are advertising strategies that work well on the internet. Sponsor a sight. I bought over $600 of merchandise (over several months) at because they sponsored the model98 owner's group. If you're doing a banner, take the time to pick a specific site that caters to who you want to sell to and make the ad fit the sight design. Advertising is supposed to engender favorable brand recognition, not make people puke every time they see one of your products.
  • by Rader ( 40041 )
    I was never a scour user, but I did check it out when it came back, "ligit".

    Curious how crippled it was to back legal, I checked it out, and about 200 pop up windows attacked me. For a second I thought I stumbled into a porn site.


  • Unless you have a TIVO. Thank you TIVO!



    120 x 600 IMU Skyscraper 160 x 600 IMU Wide Skyscraper 300 x 250 IMU Medium Rectangle 336 x 280 IMU Large Rectangle 240 x 400 IMU Vertical Rectangle

    From a design standpoint, most designers try to keep the left navigation less than 1/4 the size of the content. Hence, most of my navigation on the sites I design is equal to or less than 150 pixels wide - assuming a 600 pixel screen width. Now, if anyone were to use a skyscraper, and the left nav was 150 pixels wide, that's 270 - 300 pixels, up to half of the screen real-estate available. Not much room for articles. Bigger does not necessarily translate to better.

    All of the sizes I've left in the list are unacceptably large. The reason people don't mind the 468x60 images is because they're not obtrusive. Horizontal ads are much easier to place than big blocks or "skyscrapers." I'd like to see site viewing statistics on sites that use these new banner sizes. Why did they skip a vertical version of the 468x60, and jump straight to an ad that is twice as wide?

    I'm not saying this because it affects me, either. I personally keep an updated ad server list that blocks over 10,000 active servers - transforming any content they provide into a 1x1 pixel transparent gif. These sizes will provoke one of three reactions:

    1. People hate the images, but put up with them, secretly looking for sites that offer similar services with less distracting ads.
    2. More people will turn to using ad blockers such as junkbuster, or the solution I came up with.
    3. The site will be publicly boycotted.

    Even after users become accustomed to the new ad sizes, that doesn't mean they will *like* them.

    I predict that customized proxy servers will start sprouting up, blocking ads the same way netnanny blocks porn. This of course will result in an arms-race between those who provide these services, and those who want ads to appear unmolested.

    Then again, I'm giving apathy a fairly wide berth. Maybe banner blindness will just evolve to a new level.

    Shaun Thomas: INN Programmer
  • "A day without banners is like a day without CowboyNeal"
  • Does Avantgo(my palm's too old to use it) have ad banners jammed into downloaded web sites to your Palm?
  • He was talking about cigarettes, but same idea:

    There's a guy- I don't know if you've heard about this guy, he's been on the news a lot lately. There's a guy- he's English, I don't think we should hold that against him, but apparently this is just his life's dream because he is going from country to country. He has a senate hearing in this country coming up in a couple of weeks. And this is what he wants to do. He wants to make the warnings on the packs bigger. Yeah! He wants the whole front of the pack to be the warning. Like the problem is we just haven't noticed yet. Right? Like he's going to get his way and all of the sudden smokers around the world are going to be going, "Yeah, Bill, I've got some cigarettes.. HOLY SHIT! These things are bad for you! Shit, I thought they were good for you! I thought they had Vitamin C in them and stuff!" You fucking dolt! Doesn't matter how big the warnings are.

    Same idea. (-:

    No matter how big the banners are, they're still going to (eventually) become transparent to most webusers.
  • > The result of this will be successful at first, but after a time people will learn to filter out the new bigger ads too. Then advertisers will call to make them even larger.
    > Where will it all end? It won't.

    Frightening quote of the day:
    An ad exec quoted in an article on Flagging Sales Have Net Advertisers Lowering the Banner []

    "It's [the banner ad's] not big enough [ ... ] It's not targetable enough. It's not intrusive enough."

    Except Junkbuster doesn't really care how big the ad is, as long as the URL is expressible as a regexp. Fsck 'em.

    All the ad agencies' base are belong to us!

  • I don't know exactly why you don't own a TV, but for me it was just because the content to noise ratio went below zero. And when there is a Film worth watching the advertising is placed at the most annoying moment, is annoyingly loud and colourfull, and just plain too long. To summarize: the advertisement is annoying. At the moment advertising on most websites is not too annoying (as in "we own your Browser and pop up windows all over the place, and if you click one away it will spawn two new ones") but tolerable. Nevertheless i switched off javascript because of advertising.
    Sorry, but when the advertisement gets too much of the "in your Face" type and the advertisers obviously don't care about my being annoyed, then i choose to flush their business modell down the toilet, and good riddance. And if the site can only survive by popping screenwide Banners in my face then it better dies fast, because i don't care anyway, i won't look at those ads, if that means i can't look at the site, then so be it. If the content is worth paying i'll pay.
    Apparently web advertising works well enough as it is now, No need to have bigger ads. But no, it's not enough, The ads must become bigger, what next, sounds and happy jingles i'm forced to listen to?
  • Sorry they don't need to give me the right, i already have the right to use any webbrowser i like, including ones that specifically blocks ads or ones that simply don't do fancy images (lynx). Just as i have the right to switch to another channel during a commercial break on TV. Also i didn't enter an agreement with the site owner to read advertisements for reading content. If he has 1.000.000 pagehits, but only 1.000 banners got accessed that is even more of a message than a friendly note. It simply says: the advertising on your site is too aggressive so we cut it out. Following your line of argumentation far enough we'll soon have TV's in every room of our homes we can't turn off. I have the right to ignore advertising. Even if i do that by technical means (filters). Maybe it's about time the advertisers rethink their strategy of "huge, blaring colours and loud" a little. I mean, the current way of advertising seems to be to annoy people into buying the product.
  • Yes, I like Flash ads. At work I use IE5 on NT (works on IE5/Mac too), with all ActiveX controls set to be displayed only if I allow it. I made this setting with some half-formed notion that it would make my computer ever-so-slightly more secure, but it has had the pleasant side effect of allowing me to disable all the annoying Flash sites out there, including ads.

    Now whenever I go to, for example, a news article at c|net (random example []), I get a friendly little warning about accepting activex controls & plugins. I saw no, it goes away, I get a nice sedate page. The ad is still huge, but at least it's calm & easily handled. A better solution would be of course to tinker around with something like Junkbuster, but I haven't had the time.

    Of course the obvious question at this point is "isn't that a pain? Aren't things less interesting without Flash?" to which the answers are "yes, and absolutely not." Examples of Flash files being actually useful are exceedingly rare [], and I don't mind the encumbrance if I can filter them out of all the other pages. For the occasional file that I go to specifically for the Flash content (say, those wacky Mahir, Hatten, & AYBABTU movies...) it's easy enough to just click "yes" ever once in a while.

    We should be encouraging the banner ad makers to be inventive, and use flash and the like, rather than just being more obvious and intruding.

    Yes. Surely some stupid Flash animation couldn't be any more obvious & intruding than an animated gif. Suuuure.....

    Encouraging marketers to take advantage of what the web medium is capable of isn't a bad idea, but what it actually ends up meaning is making the page more obnoxious, which is a bad idea. I showed the c|net example (a Sun ad, as it happened) to our marketing agency (whose background is primarily from print advertising) and they were impressed that it kept everything within the page. That is, there was no page to click through, but rather you were shown more information without leaving the current article. It ended up being less of a distraction than normal banners, which try to get you to abandon whatever you were looking at previously.

    On a semi-related note <really free associating now>, it occurred to me that day that a fundamental difference between marketing on the web and marketing in other media is that the latter force you to have one clearly defined message that can be conveyed in a short space (a sound bite, a slogan, a couple of lines of text, etc), while the web doesn't really have that restriction. Rather than one clearly defined message, it's possible a medley of messages, variations on a theme, such that one customer, drawn to one topic, may go after one part of your site, while other customers can be drawn to other messages etc. That is, traditional media force you to have depth and not breadth, or perhaps vice versa, whereas with the web you aren't forced to make a choice -- you can have either and at best you should have both.

    I am not really sure how this plays into the ideas behind web marketing (I'm not so naive as to think that I'm the first one to have thought of this), but it seems like it opens up a peephole into a much more interesting and dynamic kind of marketing. For example, a "banner" for a weather related site might be not just one image to click on, but an image map of a geographic map -- "don't just tell me about your weather abilities, tell me what the weather is going to be in Boston!" Ditto for news sites, etc. It's kind of a waste to have a banner -- especially the big banners this article is warning about -- to only link to one place. Better by far would be for it to allow many links, and compressed information, that would genuinely interest people, rather than just trying to be shinier than all the competitors. It should be obvious by now that most people see right through that kind of crap...</free associating / thinking aloud>

  • set you 14" to a resolution 5000x5000 your font size to 300 and even 160x600 banners won't be that big :)
  • Banner ads as they exist today are much too small to effectively deliver a message. I think there is a point at which you have enough real estate to be effective.

    I would argue that it's not the purpose of banner ads to deliver much of a message at all. Take the "Shock the monkey" (or whatever it is) ads. There's no message there, the company just wants you to click through to their page.

    I'm beginning to suspect that the gorgeous models used to advertise just about everything under the sun are mostly there to get our attention. Think I'm on to something?
  • There are more efficient ways to link the consumer to the producer. Resources spent on ads is in principle lost resources (both of the advertiser and the consumer): it produces nothing, transmits dishonest and un-objective information (lies), generally it is a waste of time and money.

    Remember that the advertising budget, obviously, is paid for by the buyer of the product: the margin of the product pays for the advertisement budget. Instead of paying for dishonest information I'd rather pay for objective and true information.

    Maybe it is a necessary evil (up to a certain point), but it is better to do without. Instead, there should be objective consumer organisations that test products and publish such test results.

    Producers can send press releases to objective organisations that summarize and organize information on new and existing products, and present that in an honest and efficient way to potential consumers.

    There are numerous countries where (state) television does not or hardly have advertisements. The programs are paid for by tax. Americans may not like tax, but what is the difference between paying a "tax" on products (you know, the advertisements are paid for by the profits on products) or a tax to the state that can finance honest and objective programs from that.

    Then there are organisations (such as the dutch consumer-union) that you can become member of for about $20 a year, you get monthly testreports on all kind of goods (televisions, washpowder, insurances, you name it) that enable you to pick the right product for you.

    For more specific products (like, what UNIX server do I need) there are professional magazines that do (hopefully) objective tests and write about the products. You can be sure that that information is more trustworthy than the information coming directly from the producers.

    No, I really don't see how advertisements can be a good thing, and people believing ads and buying based on that "information" are fools.

  • You don't want ads, and you don't want to do micropayments []. How is online content supposed to work? It costs money/time to make good stuff - and someone needs to be compensated. What about TV-style ads that only occur every n minutes, then go away? Free will only last so long...
    OliverWillis.Com []
  • ummmm.... tivo and banner ads relate exactly how?
  • Back in 1940s or so, a dreadful series of space opera (precursor to Sci-Fi) was written. The Lensman Series by E.E. "Doc" Smith []. It was a seminal work. I will avoid the particulars, but there is a minor sight gag that still rings true. AND BONUS, it's ON TOPIC today!

    Early in the series, a main character is speeding on a motorcycle or car or something, heading for somewhere I forget. We learn of his annoyance and apathy at bigger and worse advertisements just in passing, but it comes back to haunt him many chapters (or is it several books?) later.

    He's now got the mind-expanding powers of the mystic Lens artifact on his wrist, and he's visiting Rigel IV. On Rigel IV, apparently, the natives didn't evolve a sense of sight, since there wasn't much visible light there anyway. Instead, they evolved a sense of "knowing" where objects were spatially. The main character is tapping into a taxi-driver's sense of matter, while the taxi-driver zooms around recklessly.

    The main character notes that there are these very strange areas, domes of opaque-like matter where this matter-sensing ability seems to stop. He asks the driver, and the driver replies, "Oh, those are just advertisements. I guess I just ignore them." The driver pays more attention to them, and inside the domes can now be discerned many mind-catching moving objects, pleading passersby to buy this product, or use that product.

    Undercurrent: we all ignore ads, regardless of what race we are. Okay, long story for such a small anecdote, but did anyone else read this damn series?

  • I'm confused. Let's see if I understand what you're saying:

    ok, i posted that knowing full well i'd get responses (a troll really), but i was hoping for well-formed responses: i'm sorry, but you're just plain stupid.

    no dumbass: ignoring as in not reading the fucking page, or going to the site. i "ignore" television programs by not owning a TV. but even if i meant "ignore," as in "view it anyways" it would mean "don't look at," not "never have it viewed at all."

    i encourage responses, but you're a dipshit.

    - j

  • and if those ads are so bad that we block them, then they deserve to be blocked.

    just because the ads don't sit right with you doesn't give you the right to read the ad-sponsored content while blocking the ads. if you have issues with the size of the advertisements, you should stop reading the content, not just blocking the ads. perhaps send a friendly note to the system administer?

    - j

  • amen! the truth is, i don't completely agree with everything i wrote, but i wanted to troll and see how slashdotters would respond to these aligations. it's quite true that a significant number of people who regularly post on this site are only concerned with getting stuff for free. they don't seem to realize that a lot of the freebies we take for granted are subsidized by corporations, and eventually that gravy train is going to stop. the question is, are you willing to start paying for it?

    the funny thing is, it's not like any of these advertising-sponsored freebies fill any real need: they're not food or water, or even transportation. they're little luxuries that people seem to take for granted, and don't want to give up. they "cheat the system" just because they can. most people here seem to take the stance that these sights shouldn't be advertising-sponsored, but instead of just not reading the goddamned sites they read them anyhow and say "i don't like your business model, so i'm going to try to ruin it."

    is this behaviour unethical? perhaps, but that would entirely depend on your point of view. is this behaviour rediculously childish? absolutely. but then slashdot readers have never been known for their maturity (pass the Nerf gun).

    incidentally, while i found the responses painfully funny, the fact that i was moderated up to 5 is disturbing; further proof that the slashdot moderation system is completely broken. but then that's why is started trolling here ages ago (that is, intelligent trolling, to provoke emotions, entice arguments and to provide an alternate point of view in discussions).

    - j

  • Then maybe I could load in site-by-site lisp modules to remove obnoxious banner ads and javascript from the HTML stream before it's rendered.

    Sure I could do this with a proxy but handling the problem client side is easier.

  • Ignoring the page the ad links to is NOT THE SAME AS IGNORING THE AD. I don't object to selling things, I object to big flashy popup windows that interrupt what I'm doing and TELLING ME HOW GREAT OUTPOST.COM IS!!!! (Or whatever website.)

    Additionally, calling people dumbass trolls isn't likely to make them respect your position any more. Also, if blocking ads is stealing bandwidth... er... exactly whose bandwidth is being stolen? I'm paying for the bandwidth I used to download the ad just as much as they're paying for the bandwidth to send it. I simply choose to waste MY bandwidth by not ever viewing the content that came with it. If the ad appears on the web page I'm looking at, but I didn't want to see it, aren't they stealing my bandwidth by showing me crap I don't want to see?

  • Targetting advertising works well. General untargeted banner ads don't work weel. Does anyone have any real data on whether bigger banner ads are actually more effective than normal sized banner ads?

    Also, I think a factor is how the space is used. The skyscrapper ads on aren't bad. The huge block ads on CNET suck and are annoying. Granted the CENT huge block visually can't be missed, but one purposely looks away from it and does not read it because it is a huge blob. In contrast the skyscrapper is at the side of the page and more often lures people's attention I think. This is probably partly due to the quality of design of banners in the two spaces as well.
  • I agree. Flashier ads won't help. Text ads are the way to go. The only ads I've clicked on in over two years were some 'adwords' on google. However, I will probably not click on those things again. Why? Because although the ads were inoffensive, properly targeted, and logical, the pages they linked to were bloated, content-free crap that took so long to download I gave up in each case. So I think the successful strategy would be google adwords + google-hosted, google-designed pages that actually make a coherent offer.
    Ads continue to suck because they are marketing fluff that would only appeal to an idiot. What would an effective ad be? An offer to sell a well-known product cheaper than it's available anywhere else. An offer of a niche product or service that meets my needs and that I didn't know existed.
    In case that's not crystal clear, an offer is a sequence of words that essentially says, "If you give me X, I'll give you Y." Images might be useful as illustrations, but they don't go to the core of the offer. This is why web ads continue to suck.
    Imagine a salesman who wants to sell mainframe computers to Acme corporation. He finally gets a 15 appointment with Acme's CIO. He shows up in a clown suit, does a little dance, looses his pet monkey who smashes everything in the office, and ends by throwing a cream pie in the CIO's face.
    Has he made a big impression? Yes. Will he sell anything? No.
    This is exactly what web ads do - they throw away a golden opportunity to tell potential customers why they should buy a product, choosing instead to entertain or irritate with distracting gimmicks.
  • Can you image a book that had a paragraph on each page automatically morph into an advertisement?

    I can. Have you patented this idea yet? The 'e-book movement' is all about the IP cartel assuming this level of control over reading. Let's go one step further: Can you imagine someone being locked in prison for helping you shut off the paragraph-morphing feature of your e-book? I can.
  • Get used to it folks. One way or another the bills must be paid. If you don't want to pay for web access and web services in dollarts you need to pay for it in advertising that works.

    Banners are majoritively ignored therefor they are worth almost nothing.

    You have three choices, be it web sites or CDs:
    (1) Pay the artists/creators in money.
    (2) Put up with ads intrusive enough to be worth the advertisers financing your recreation.
    (3) Lose the IP from society altogether as the creators go broke and go into other lines of

    (BTW for those who don't know TANSTAAFL == "There Aint No Such Thing As A Free Lunch")

  • Actually, everyone doing clickthrough/sales commission advertisements now has standard text-based advertisements to include on your site. The advertisers have realized that text with links is FAR more useful than the banner ads, because people looking for information are more likely to read it than filter it out.
  • free sites put up large advertisements
    great, let's block those ads! it's my God-given right to have free Internet content!
    Honestly, banner ads don't bother me much. But the reasons this IAB is citing for increasing the size of banners is completely bogus. To use click-throughs as a measure of the success of an advertising campaign is incorrect. Just about every other form of advertising relies on repetition and making people remember the name of the company/product you're trying to sell. However, internet advertisers seem to expect immediate feedback just because it's possible. Larger ads will not increase people clicking on them, it'll only drive people to use blocking software more often.

    CNet's new ads are noisy and intrusive. Because of them, I've actually started to avoid CNet. For companies that intend to do java, shockwave or pop-up advertising, I will do everything in my power to disable them because they interfere with my ability to use my computer. For banner advertising, I'm perfectly capable of ignoring them if I want, but some of these new advertising methods are too much.

    secure music/content
    rip it! crack it! (but only after it's in the marketplace). we have a right to free music and movies!
    For me, it's not that I want free music and movies -- it's that I want the freedom to decide how, where and when I listen to or watch those movies. I completely oppose SDMI and friends because it would prevent me from burning audio tracks onto a standard CD-R to listen to in my truck , or from making MP3 discs to play on my laptop or DVD player. Or that I'll be able to listen to the music on my desktop computer, but not on my laptop, or vice versa. I'm also very concerned in the potential for this to make entertainment a completely pay-per-use world.

    there are ways to properly fight the misuse of advertising, including ignoring advertising-sponsored content. but blocking that advertising is nothing but stealing. (and yes, it is stealing despite the fact that it's "digital." it's stealing bandwidth).
    That's rather analogous to saying that channel surfing (or fast forwarding on a tape) during commercials on TV is stealing. I have a right to do whatever I please with the content that comes into my system so long as I don't infringe on someone's copyrights. The fact of the matter is that most people don't block and most people don't channel surf between ads, and that should be enough.
  • <p><i>"And I would gladly pay a bit extra for the privilege of being left the hell alone."</i>

    <p>Not me. I would consider accepting payment to allow advertising. I WILL NOT PAY to avoid ads! If they want to advertise to me, let THEM pay up front for it, and pay ME. Otherwise, they can all piss off.

  • The problem ISN'T that we don't notice the ads. The problem is that we just don't care enough to click them.

    We need ads for products that we will actually WANT to buy. This is where targeted ads come in. Then you get offered products that they know you might be interested in. It's a win/win situation. More interest = more clicks. More ads we want to see = more cool gadgets for us.

    Don't bother to scream "privacy invasion" at this. I don't want any replies from the weekly-world-news reading paranoid people.

    -- Dr. Eldarion --
  • Corporations need to motivate people to buy their products. People need to find the companies that make the products that they need. Advertisements are the way for the companies and customers to find each other. Without ads there would be no free market, only big monopolies could survive.

    While I think that this is a piece of parody, I will reply like it's an entirely honest and serious posting.

    It's nice to have tools like Junkbuster and the native blocking features of Mozilla to get rid of that trash. Personally, I don't know a single person that likes pop-ups, even if they accept other kinds of banners. I guess the advertising folks are shooting themselves to their collective foot with the increasing amount of pop-ups, but somehow I can't make myself feel any significant sympathy for that. ;)

    I don't need the manufacturer to force information about their products down my throat. When I want something, I can hunt information about products of interesting category myself with search engines, word-of-mouth and other methods that don't have much to do with that kind of advertising. Maybe there are people that are too clueless to find information themselves and need to have it fed to them with a virtual spoon, but personally I hate force-feeding information about some product and will far more likely react negatively than get interested.

  • jimhill rightly states:
    Reading a web page nowadays is not unlike being in a Vegas casino. The effort required to concentrate on the purpose of your visit ... in the face of things that move and flash and beep quickly makes the entire experience a headache-inducing grind.
    There is a simple hack to stop animation in all version of netscape. It probably also works in MSIE. It involves patching the binary so that the browser believes the animated gif should play only once and then stop. I patched my netscape binary months ago, and it's really nice.

    I'll attach some code you you. Refer to the URL in the comment for info about how it works. I believe there's a windoze version you can download somewhere, if you're stuck with a microsoft system.

    /* patch the netscape binary to overwrite "NETSCAPE2.0"
    * and "ANIMEXTS1.0" with different strings, so that
    * netscape will be tricked into thinking all animated
    * gifs are not to be looped. This is nice, since those
    * annoying ads will play once and then stop.
    * For more info, see this page:
    * []

    #include <stdio.h>
    #include <stdlib.h>
    #include <string.h>
    #include <unistd.h>
    #include <sys/types.h>
    #include <sys/stat.h>
    #include <fcntl.h>
    #include <sys/stat.h>

    #define NETSCAPE "/usr/lib/netscape/netscape-communicator"
    // #define NETSCAPE "/usr/lib/netscape/netscape-navigator"

    #define STR1 "NETSCAPE2.0"
    #define STR2 "ANIMEXTS1.0"

    const unsigned char *memstr(const char *haystack, const char *needle, int size);

    int main(int argc, char **argv)
    int fd, r, pos;
    struct stat nsstat;
    unsigned char *buf, *p;

    r = stat(NETSCAPE, &nsstat);
    if (r != 0) {
    fprintf(stderr, "File %s doesn't exist\n", NETSCAPE);

    buf = (unsigned char *)malloc(nsstat.st_size);
    if (buf == NULL) {
    fprintf(stderr, "Unable to allocate %ld bytes of memory\n",

    fd = open(NETSCAPE, O_RDWR);
    if (fd < 0) {
    fprintf(stderr, "Unable to open %s for read/write access\n",

    r = read(fd, buf, nsstat.st_size);
    if (r != nsstat.st_size) {
    fprintf(stderr, "Unable to read %ld bytes from %s\n",
    (long)nsstat.st_size, NETSCAPE);

    p = (unsigned char *)memstr(buf, STR1, nsstat.st_size);
    if (p == NULL) {
    fprintf(stderr, "Didn't find string \"%s\" within %s\n",
    pos = (int)(p - buf);
    r = lseek(fd, pos, SEEK_SET);
    if (r != pos) {
    fprintf(stderr, "Unable to seek to offset=%d within %s\n",
    pos, NETSCAPE);
    r = write(fd, "NO_ANIM_GIF", strlen(STR1));
    if (r != strlen(STR1)) {
    fprintf(stderr, "Error writing to %s at offset %d\n",
    NETSCAPE, pos);

    p = (unsigned char *)memstr(buf, STR2, nsstat.st_size);
    if (p == NULL) {
    fprintf(stderr, "Didn't find string \"%s\" within %s\n",
    pos = (int)(p - buf);
    r = lseek(fd, pos, SEEK_SET);
    if (r != pos) {
    fprintf(stderr, "Unable to seek to offset=%d within %s\n",
    pos, NETSCAPE);
    r = write(fd, "NO_ANIM_GIF", strlen(STR1));
    if (r != strlen(STR1)) {
    fprintf(stderr, "Error writing to %s at offset %d\n",
    NETSCAPE, pos);


    return 0;

    const unsigned char *memstr(const char *haystack, const char *needle, int size)
    const char *p;
    int len;

    len = strlen(needle);

    while (size > 0) {
    p = memchr(haystack, *needle, size);
    if (p == NULL) return NULL;

    size -= (int)(p - haystack);
    if (size >= len && memcmp(p, needle, len) == 0) {
    return p;
    haystack = p;
    return NULL;

  • would you pay 10 bucks a year if you could walk up to any computer and not get a pop up window, banner ad, or spam email? not that it's feasable. just for fun, would you? how about 50? I think I would pay between 50 and 100 dollars if I could avoid everything like that.
  • Making the ads bigger doesn't mean they're going to get through Mozillas image blocking or a webfilter any easier.
  • So it's time to buy a better monitor and video card. Pump up the resolution and maybe increase the font size in your browser. Problem solved. Unless you're using a text-only browser, in which case there's no problem to begin with.

    Resolutions increase over time anyway. Once we hit 600 dpi, we'll be calling those monster-sized banners "icons".

    I'd take the story more seriously if it hadn't appeared directly underneath a standard-sized banner.

    My mom is not a Karma whore!

  • I can easily block most banner ads with Junkbuster [], however, pop-up windows, web-bugs and applications that have banner ads embedded in them (like Quicken and ICQ) really get on my nerves.

    Of course, it won't be long before every appliance has built in advertising. You'll have a flat LCD screen attached to your fridge that runs ads 24/7...ugh.


  • However, the problem isn't that the banners aren't being seen so much as they're being ignored.

    I disagree. I think up to now banner ads are too small to be able to effectively deliver a message. Clearly the model can work, because newspaper ads are very effective. But you just can't say very much in the "traditional" banner ad size.


  • Actually, I thing these guys would love it if everything was set up like a pr0n site. Just so people would have to go through 15 or 20 links just to find the news content or whatever they are interested in, making them pay whatever outrageous fees they can scam for minimal content.

    Nothing but ads forever without end.

    I can just imagine using one of the adbusting softwares, and having it come up with a blank page.

    [which reminds me, we need to rewrite lyrics for Lennon's song Imagine, to cover internet issues like spam, etc.]

  • Strangely enough, the IBT does have a public contact page [], easily acessible right from their front page.

    As usual, if you feel inclined to contact them directly, please use at least two brain cells and leave the flame gear in storage. (High Voltage might be okay, however.)

  • Well, I for one can't stand them as my eyes have to work triple-time just to read the information that surrounds these monstrosities. For a person that has poor vision in the first place, having a huge red and yellow animated block in the middle of a white page, with the reader making a shabby attempt at reading the black text is a pretty bad move. I may not be a marketing exec, and I may not have a degree in advertising, but I think they will acctually lose revenue. Perhaps these e'zines should consider moving to a subscription service? Heck, I agree with Dennis W. Forbes [] on this one. Micropayments may be the answer to getting rid, or at least lessen the amount of, banner ads.
  • The hobbyist bbs has evolved, and is still alive and kicking though more obscure. The same type of community has moved to the internet in various places. The only difficult part is that it is not as cohesive. You can find local people to chat with in IRC and other chatrooms. You can find small message boards just like in the old BBS's, though sometimes they end up becoming too big, like /. has. You can download files of all types from many sources. I think the real problem is that it is hard to find those places when you have so many alternatives and other distractions. If you and I were alone in a room, you could hear me whisper. However, if we were at a monster truck rally where I could be screaming and standing next to you, you still might not hear me with all the engine noises, loudspeakers playing music and other fans screaming. I think the internet is more like a monster truck rally, so it's no wonder it's hard to find those smaller places. I do think kuro5hin is somewhat like that, though it has gotten a lot bigger and it is harder to build a sense of community in it's diary section since they are gone within an hour of posting, and the IRC channel is somewhat boring to me, and lacking varied discussion.

    Anyways, I hate banner ads too, but with it being cheaper for an everyday person like you or me to have broadband, we'll see a resurgance of hobbyists online yet. The commercial internet has had it's heydey of it's present form, and now we are going to see more people online for fun again, and a refinement of online commerce to not be so annoying. But then again, I could be wrong.

  • I got that too. However, I think the page probably looks fine and doesn't suffer from that with Lynx. A page that is actually readable in Lynx (however it may behave in other browsers) is a rare and delicious treat, though. I'll take his/her word that mojo is among them.
  • Well, CNET's big ads in the middle of columns [] suck ass, but the NY Times' "skyscraper []" ads on the right are okay. My rule of thumb:

    1. Always select "printable []" to ease readability

    2. Always select "single-page format" [] to reduce necessary clicks (and artificial pageviews)

  • ...a benefactor system, like arstechnica [] has.
  • if you don't want to see advertising, don't read sites that have advertising: that's your choice. there's good reason to get pissed off about billboard advertising, as you can't "opt-out," but reading sites with advertising and purposefully blocking out that advertising is extremely immoral.

    Immoral? You're extremely confused.

    I am downloading data that they are making freely available on the internet. To imply that I cannot take that data, and transform it in any manner I wish, is offensive. If I don't wish to view banner ads, I will filter them out, period. It is not immoral, it is called PERSONAL FREEDOM.

    If, in turn, they wish to make it more difficult to block those ads... that is THEIR RIGHT.

    Please do not force your version of morality onto others... that's what's wrong with the world.

  • I've retaliated by buying a bigger screen. Bastards.
  • If they want attention, they should just make all of the ISP's interrupt your connection every 10 minutes and spew out 5 minutes worth of commercials, then continue.

    Hell, it worked for TV.

  • Indeed.

    Since they seem to be citing specific sizes, this could work to our advantage. It's easy to use the The Proxomitron [] to filter anything by custom HTML matching rules, and easy to use KillAd []to bock specific sizes of popups of Windows. And you can block popups from the browser level in Mozilla [] too.

    But what does this tell us about advertisers? They're realizing that people are learning to ignore and block the standard banners. I'm sure that they see this as moving into something that's bigger and better. The 160 x 600 pixel ads should be interesting because they're really tall. People are used to seeing wide banner ads, and we haven't learned to instinctively ignore big tall images.

    And what does this tell us about netizens in general? Most people are slow to react to ads and slow to try to block's been what, almost a decade now since banners in their current form came into use? CNET's been using those humongous ads for a while now and I haven't added a filter to my Proxomitron yet to block them...and I'm a slashdotter! I just press the stop button in mozilla before the ads loads.

    So what do we do know? If you like ads, the fine. Watch them and see them steal your the data you put into website forms and send it to doubleclick. And if you don't, the update your filtering proxys and promote junkbuster. I don't know about you, but I'm not going to let my tiny 31.2k modem connection (nothing else available here) be saturated by my personal info going upstream and their ads going downstream. That's just what I think anyways.

    A side note: My finger got caught in a cheese slicer yesterday and as a result I might have made a few typos. I hope I corrected them all.

    O'Toole's Commentary on Murphy's Law:

  • by Zach Baker ( 5303 ) <> on Monday February 26, 2001 @04:05PM (#400603) Homepage
    They wanted bigger ad sizes to make advertisements that look even more convincingly like Windoze dialog boxes. You and I laugh at these things, but one person I met doesn't visit because when they went there, "a message box said there was a problem with my browser."
  • by jimhill ( 7277 ) on Monday February 26, 2001 @12:51PM (#400604) Homepage
    I would not. Yes, I would rather pay money from my own pocket for an ad-free life. I would like to read magazines that are all content. I would like to watch television that is all content. I would like to read websites that are all content. I would like to carry a cellular telephone past a store without getting a page telling me the store has a sale on Dadjiframmises today only. And I would gladly pay a bit extra for the privilege of being left the hell alone.

    Reading a web page nowadays is not unlike being in a Vegas casino. The effort required to concentrate on the purpose of your visit (a news story, a tutorial, a game of cards) in the face of things that move and flash and beep quickly makes the entire experience a headache-inducing grind. And it's simply not worth it.

    Like many, I browse less and less because of the growing in-your-face nature of advertising. When a site is nice enough to serve their ads from an easily-filtered URL, I do it. When they are not, I decamp, never to return. In an ideal world, the bargain-conscious/cheapskates (choose your term depending on where you stand) would not be able to let their penny-pinching grasp dictate the terms of everyone's experience. Sadly, in the land of the fee and the home of the slave, they do.

  • by sharkey ( 16670 ) on Monday February 26, 2001 @11:30AM (#400605)
    Stonethrow Glasshouse, spokesperson for the Internet Advertising Bureau, clarified their stance on "Pop-Up Ads." Speaking with reports for CBS (Completely Boring Schills), he stated,

    "Due to the vast lead in Internet profits held by pornographic web sites over not-smutty websites, we are suggesting the pop-up ad as the be all, end all of advertising. Visit your run-of-the-mill urine-drinking web site, and you'll be inundated by a glorious procession of advertising bliss, running the gamut from penile enlargment to bestiality. These windows open faster than the eye can follow, providing a fast, subliminal injection of images!"

    By the end of this statement, Mr. Glasshouse was panting, no doubt as a result of his enthusiasm for his chosen profession. Once he regained his composure, he closed with,

    "Just imagine the ramifications for printer toner sales, weight loss drugs and money-making schemes!"

  • by thogard ( 43403 ) on Monday February 26, 2001 @02:18PM (#400606) Homepage
    Thats ok. I'm going to start running ascii art banner ads just for you!
  • by weave ( 48069 ) on Monday February 26, 2001 @02:05PM (#400607) Journal
    That's funny, I went to that story and all I saw there was this large beige box with some distorted/stretched text that seems to say "advertising blocked by squid.redir"
  • by dboyles ( 65512 ) on Monday February 26, 2001 @12:20PM (#400608) Homepage
    Pardon the sweeping generalizations...

    Everybody hates the commercialization of the internet when they have to close popup windows, download banners, and deal with spam. But everybody loves the commercial factor when they need a hard-to-find book and locate it by doing a quick search on Google [] or Ebay []. Personally, I can do most all of my Christmas shopping on Amazon []. And I like being able to put in my wish list and just email relatives about it.

    I can deal with spam and banner ads. I get maybe one piece of spam a week and I use Junkbuster [] to filter most banner ads. But take away all commercial entities from the 'net and I might have to - gasp - go to the mall.
  • I am the business manager of [], and for us, banner ads were a losing proposition.

    We are a website for user-created communities and online journaling. At one point, we tried banner ads on all non-member journal pages. What we discovered was that we had about 25% fewer new users due to banner ads. The amount of money we received from banner ads was a very small proportion of what we received from memberships. It became obvious to us that for every quarter we were making, we were annoying 1000 other people.

    We have since removed banner ads, relying instead on funding from our members. We have also encouraged goodwill by moving towards open sourcing all our software and encouraging users to help support and develop the site.

    The results? We have received about $30,000 in member donations in the past 5 months or so, have over 100 volunteers, and have 65,000 users, doubling in size every three months.

    It's worth pointing out that the sites who really make money on banner ads aren't the tiny "mom & pop" websites. To really make money on banner ads, you need to be big enough that you can offer advertisers very specific, pinpointed demographics. As the demise of so many dotcoms has shown, banner ads in and of themselves do not constitute a stable, scalable business model.

  • They should do whatever it takes that will make them money.

    I think a lot of people -- too many people -- forget that these web sites take money to run. Either advertisers pay for it, or you pay for it directly. Personally, I would rather have advertisers pay for it.

    If it takes bigger ads to make them effective, then make them bigger.


  • The result of this will be successful at first, but after a time people will learn to filter out the new bigger ads too.

    I don't think that's true. Newspaper ads are effective, and there is not an "arms race" to make them bigger and bigger. Clearly bigger is better, however.

    Banner ads as they exist today are much too small to effectively deliver a message. I think there is a point at which you have enough real estate to be effective.


  • by fmaxwell ( 249001 ) on Monday February 26, 2001 @12:38PM (#400612) Homepage Journal
    In a long-anticipated move, many web sites are converting over to the "banner content" model. These web sites consist of full-screen ads with a 468 x 60 pixel banner at the top where all user-requested content is displayed. In order to access these web sites, all that the user needs is Internet Explorer 5.5 (or later), Macromedia Flash and Shockwave, IPIX Viewer, InstallShield's InstallFromTheWeb, Javascript, cookies, RealPlayer, Windows Media Player, Apple Quicktime, Adobe Acrobat, ActiveX, PhotoJam, VivoActive Player, and Liquid MusicPlayer. These web sites will feature a rich, multimedia experience rivalling that found in television commercials. Of course, for maximum enjoyment, a T3 or faster connection is recommended.
  • dammit.

    Oh, whatever. I think that these people need to form a political union and push for this stupid change like so many Lincoln bedrooms sleeping PAC lobbyists, because they realize deep down that they really DON'T have the power.

    Who has the power is the geeks who make the system work, make their stupid ads load, and edit those ads out when they get home, with a little script. The ad companies are at the beck and call of these people, really.

    What costs all the damn money that makes websites need ads? You need expensive business software that a few companies including Microsoft promulgated as standards and then jacked up the price for.

    Labor costs are also high, and those need to be reduced as well.
  • by Salieri ( 308060 ) on Monday February 26, 2001 @11:26AM (#400614)
    This whole idea is based on the notion that the effectiveness of an ad is somehow proportional to its size. I, personally, don't choose to not click on an ad because it is small and goes by unnoticed. I choose to not click on an ad because I'm not interested it what it's selling.

    They say in the article that they want more size to make things more "emotional." If this refers to the content of the ad, make the fonts smaller. If it refers to the impact of the ad on the page, I am decidedly less likely to click on an obnoxious ad, just like when I hang up on telemarketers.

  • by Gelfin ( 313809 ) on Monday February 26, 2001 @02:00PM (#400615)

    The advertisers seem to be under the mistaken impression that end users don't click on their ads because they don't see them. The obvious solution? Make the ads more visible. This is just one of the internet advertising industry's myriad failures to catch a clue.

    Lucky for them I'm here to tell them what's what.

    The internet advertising model is based loosely on the model that has worked successfully for broadcast and print media for decades, and everybody's all confused as to why it doesn't work online.

    Clue #1: It is working online. Or put more cynically, it isn't working any better in traditional channels. In old-school advertising, you don't have any way to tell how many people take immediate action upon seeing your ad. Advertisers spent the GNP of a small country to get their name spoken during the Super Bowl. Suppose they had some way to determine how many people immediately stopped watching football so they could go buy a Pepsi at the corner store, or how many people immediately started trying to find information about a new Volkswagon. If advertisers used that standard, would they be satisfied at the results? Would they feel they'd gotten their money's worth? Doubtful. But the very notion would leave a stupified frown on the faces of most sane people. The idea behind advertising is NOT that people immediately drop what they're doing to find out more about your product. It's about name recognition. It's about the moment when people do decide that they need a new car, or a tasty and refreshing cola beverage. In this respect internet advertising is done completely bass-ackwards. Internet advertising is based on "click-throughs." The higher the number of clicks, the more successful the ad is judged to be. This system is fraught with problems. The highest click generator has GOT to be that stupid "punch the monkey" ad. That's why it was everywhere. But does anybody really know or care what was being advertised? But people clicked, so it was a success. In the meantime, the top of the page I'm looking at now contains a pleasantly understated ad for Penguin Computing. I'm not going to click on it now. I have better things to do, such as composing this comment. But when I start building a new home server in a few months, I will likely check them out -- not by coming back to Slashdot and looking for an ad, but by going directly to the source. In a practical sense, the ad was successful, but because there is no logfile indicating a causal link between the ad and my potential future purchase, the ad will be judged to have failed in my case. Clue the first is, therefore, Do not have unrealistic expectations about customer response to ads. You have the technology to track it. You need the will to ignore it.

    Clue #2: Trying schemes, tricks and gimmicks to get users to click builds up bad karma with customers. Your clickthrough counts may go up, but your sales will likely go way down. I have personally threatened to boycott multiple sites that carried that ad with the animated balloon floating across the browser window. It obstructed the content I was there to look at. The obvious tactic there is that people will click on the balloon to try to get rid of it -- and be taken to the advertiser's site, thus creating a successful ad. Nevermind the fact that hardly anybody actually cares what the balloon links to. This is the most extreme case (I've seen) of a disturbing trend of trying to trick or irritate people into clicking. Blindingly flashing ads, fake forms and "game" ads -- which usually don't even tell you what they're pushing -- all fall into this category. Now ridiculously huge Flash-based page-dominating ads are joining this dubious collection of tactics. At least the big ads have the virtue of a sort of honesty. Their only strength is greater power to distract and annoy. The masses come for the content, not the ads, and the more you try to pull them away from the content, the more you'll push them away altogether. You don't win more customers. You just erode the user base of otherwise good content sites. Thus clue the second is, Thou shalt not annoy thy customer, for he is fickle and will take his money elsewhere in a heartbeat.

    In the "ideal" situation, there's this constant tension, kind of a romantic triangle, among the content provider, the advertiser and the user. The user wants the content. The advertiser wants money from the user. The content provider wants money from the advertiser. In reverse, the affections are more tepid. The advertisers use the content providers only as a way to get to the users. The content providers feel forever forced to choose between the advertisers and the users (they often really like the users, but the advertisers have the money). And the users view the advertisers as a somewhat necessary evil, but really wish they'd just go away altogether. Any one of them can upset the balance here. The users can decide the content isn't worth putting up with the ads. The content providers can decide they really do love their users more after all. The advertisers can decide they aren't getting enough commitment from users to justify the money they pay. This last is what's happening. The fallout in a few cases will be poor but happy relationships between content providers and users, but most will be torn apart, with the content providers left wondering why nobody loves them anymore. It's sad, but inevitable unless people reevaluate their expectations.

  • by powerlord ( 28156 ) on Monday February 26, 2001 @12:02PM (#400616) Journal
    Of course, it won't be long before every appliance has built in advertising. You'll have a flat LCD screen attached to your fridge that runs ads 24/7...ugh.

    When 24/7 banner adds are mandated by law on my fridge, then only outlaws will have spray paint to cover them up.

  • Check out this CNET story [] about how AOL is starting to test putting ADs into ICQ.

    Anyway, look at the story -- it isn't a banner ad, but it's a gigantic ad that is right in the middle of the fscking text. UGGH!

  • by Wolfier ( 94144 ) on Monday February 26, 2001 @01:31PM (#400618)
    >free sites put up large advertisements
    >great, let's block those ads! it's my
    >God-given right to have free Internet

    If you don't want to put up something for all to see for free, ask for money before you let people in, like all the pr0n sites do. We have no problem with it. And, if your contents are good enough, we might even pay to enter your site.

    However, if you put up stuffs together for all to see with advertisements, we have every right to block them, just as we have the right to switch channels on TV during the commercial periods.

    In short: you're asking for it.

    >commercial software (especially MacOS X for
    >some reason) open source it! now now now!
    >and not so that we can add better
    >functionality and improve
    >the product, but so that we can port it to
    >Linux (ie, steal it).

    Nobody forces software authors to open source things. They CHOOSE to do so themselves. And I've never heard "receiving a gift" is equivalent to "stealing".

    >secure music/content
    >rip it! crack it! (but only after it's in
    >the marketplace). we have a right to free
    >music and movies!

    You don't understand. Some of us (at least myself) don't think we have a right to free music and movies. However, anything that increases the power of corporations to rip off consitutional rights (e.g. fair use) of ours HAVE TO BE CRACKED. It has nothing to do with "free right to free music and movies".

    >but i still don't see what's wrong with
    >putting some advertisements, no matter the
    >size, on commercial-provided free content.
    >people: advertising is not inherently evil.

    I don't either. They have every right to put whatever they damn please on their web sites.

    >if you don't want to see advertising, don't
    >read sites that have advertising: that's
    >your choice. there's good reason to get
    >pissed off about billboard advertising, as
    >you can't "opt-out," but reading sites with
    >advertising and purposefully blocking out
    >that advertising is extremely immoral.

    So you're saying they can control how I use my eyes. I must see everything, or nothing. Give me a break. If they don't provide a way to opt-out for me, I'd do it myself. It is NOT IMMORAL. IT IS JUST A WAY I ASSIST MYSELF TO IGNORE THE ADS.

    >there are ways to properly fight the misuse
    >of advertising, including ignoring
    >advertising-sponsored content.

    So you agree I can ignore them. Blocking is just a method I find effective at making myself ignore the ads.

    >but blocking that advertising is nothing but >stealing.
    >(and yes, it is stealing despite the fact
    >that it's "digital." it's stealing

    Even if it were stealing. Hey, it steals my bandwidth as well. So we're even. If they finds a way to send advertisements my way without stealing even 1 bit of my bandwidth, I'd be happy to read them all ;)
  • by PicassoJones ( 315767 ) on Monday February 26, 2001 @11:28AM (#400619)
    The problem with advertising on the web is not the size of the ads.

    With magazines and newspapers, we have print ads... print media - print ads

    With radio we have audio ads... audio media - audio ads.

    With television we have video ads... video media - video ads.

    With the Internet, we have print ads... interactive media - print ads.

    Surely, animated GIFs and Flash animations do make a difference, but for the most part the Internet is filled with print ads. Until advertisors think of some innovative way of advertising on the web, their advertisements will be ignored.

    What could be interesting? Why not advertise WITH the media as opposed to just in it? What's wrong with HTML ads? Nice moderately lenghted texts with links to relevent sites explaining why product X is good.

  • by KlomDark ( 6370 ) on Monday February 26, 2001 @04:38PM (#400620) Homepage Journal
    > While banners are now ubiquitous on the Web,
    > they are widely seen as a failure, garnering
    > response rates of about one in 200, down from
    > one in 50 when they were first launched.

    Why are they counting click rates as the only reference of effective web advertising? No wonder they think it is a failure... Where did these people come up with that? It's not like every time you see a TV ad you click on it, or send any response at at - at that time.

    The way to do it is at least twofold: simply getting your brand out there (Like standard TV - "This program is brought to you by XYZ") - make sure people know you exist when they are ready to make a purchase. The second plan is to make you aware of a product and then you might think about that as you are laying in bed, and might make the decision to purchase it the next day, or next week, or next paycheck, etc.

    Getting the eyeshare out there is the point of reference. Why they expect to pay the web site only if the user drops what they are doing and goes to their site immediately makes to sense to me.

    I know that when I am out on the web, I am already doing something in particular, whether doing research for work, slashdotting, or whatever. No way am I going to drop what I am doing right then to go look at the site. Instead, if I see something interesting I will mentally note it, and I may later go check it out.

    Case in point, about a month ago, I saw a banner ad for saying that they offer free overnight shipping for all orders over $100. I ad nothing right at that time I wanted to buy. Clicking the ad right then would be pointless, I was not ready to make a purchase. Last week, I needed to buy a router and a 100 MB switch. I went to on the recommendation of a friend, was almost ready to buy, then remembered I had seen the outpost banner ad. I went and checked out Outpost's prices on the same items, Outpost's BASE price was higher, but overnight shipping was free, while's was $16.95. So, I bought my products at based on a banner ad that I DID NOT CLICK ON!

    It's the band/product impression. What's made web ads seem a failure is bad expectations. A click on a banner ad means nothing. Instead, look at total online sales after a certain banner ad campaign.

    Plus, the advertiser's have used this bullshit story about how ineffective web ads are to force down their cost per ad. They whine to the web content people, who then have stupidly folded and let themselves be paid only per click instead of per impression (display of the ad on their web page).

    We can go full-on conspiracy mode and look at it this way: Most of the big advertising companies are owned/controlled by big old world publishing companies. The old companies are trying to move their publishing monopolies onto the web. So these big ad companies push this bullshit story on the web people, who cannot make ends meet off the paltry amount paid per click, go out of business, allowing the old companies to fill their niches, one by one, until they have the amount of saturation they are shooting for, once all the other web ad players are irrelevant, and then begin selling ads on these replacement sites, slowly raising the price they are charging for ads to where they begin to make a return on their investment again, after putting the rest out of business with their bullshit story. What they like out of this plan is that in the meantime, while they are moving to put the others out of business, they are pretty much getting free advertising via the per-impression advertising that they know is the real money maker from their decades of TV and magazine advertising. They are just playing a parasitic smoke and mirror game with the existing web, trying to steal it for their own.

  • by Shoeboy ( 16224 ) on Monday February 26, 2001 @11:23AM (#400621) Homepage
    I think slashdot is running this story to give us the impression that this is inevitable. That way we won't complain so much when they implement these ads.
    First doubleclick, then java ads and finally popups.
    You really can't blame them for this though.
    VA Linux has fallen on very hard times. Espescially the OSDN online division.
    The product line manager for the OSDN online division is under tremendous pressure to increase banner add revenue. Normally he wouldn't be able to affect slashdot since their contract gives Taco and Hemos complete control.
    But VA found a loophole.
    You see, the product line manager for OSDN online is Jeff Bates (AKA Hemos). He CAN force slashdot to do what it takes to increase ad revenue.
    Enjoy this interface while it lasts boys, because the slashdot layout is about to become a lot more cluttered.
  • by rw2 ( 17419 ) on Monday February 26, 2001 @11:22AM (#400622) Homepage
    Most of the ads I see on television don't have a number to dial (the analog to a click through). They are about brand identity. If you were to measure their performance by subjecting them to the standard of how many people immediately buy a Ford or run down to the market to get a Bud then you would think ads were a stupid waste of money. But the vast majority of us know that 'Quality is...' for Ford, and, sadly, wazzzzup.

    It's time for webvertisers to recognize the same thing. It isn't the click that counts, it's the mind space. That doesn't change just cause the ad is on a web site.


  • by interiot ( 50685 ) on Monday February 26, 2001 @11:45AM (#400623) Homepage
    Last year, the Poynter Institute did an eyetracking study [] of how people read news on the web. They found that graphics were largely ignored. It probably doesn't matter what size they are, they'll still be ignored.
  • by drin ( 83479 ) on Monday February 26, 2001 @11:30AM (#400624)
    AOL Time Warner announced today that the decision to remove all content except for advertiser banner ads had been implemented on their sites more than 18 months ago and that the IAB was behind the times.

    "We've been pleasantly surprised at how many of our subscribers haven't noticed a single change" said Steve Case, CEO of the merged companies. "We thought there would a huge outcry, but apparently no-one's using our service for anything beyond easy dial-up access".

    Bill Gates was reportedly "livid" at not having thought up the idea of removing all relevant content from Microsoft's sites sooner, but vowed to catch up and dominate another industry "as soon as the DOJ gets off my back".

  • why are most slashdot users so cheap?

    i always wonder this. it seems that the majority of people here want everything for free. it's one thing to dislike corporate America, but most of what i see here is childish "gimmie gimmie gimmie!"


    • free sites put up large advertisements
      great, let's block those ads! it's my God-given right to have free Internet content!
    • commercial software (especially MacOS X for some reason)
      open source it! now now now! and not so that we can add better functionality and improve the product, but so that we can port it to Linux (ie, steal it).
    • secure music/content
      rip it! crack it! (but only after it's in the marketplace). we have a right to free music and movies!

    seriously people, this is getting disturbing. there's a difference between fighting a misuse of technology, but many people here have gone way beyond that into a "me! me! me!" attitude that make middle-age yuppies look like ghandi.

    personally, i'm not keen on advertising, i despise over-consumption, and i don't own a car for purely ethical reasons. heck, i don't even own a television for christ's sake! but i still don't see what's wrong with putting some advertisements, no matter the size, on commercial-provided free content. people: advertising is not inherently evil. if you don't want to see advertising, don't read sites that have advertising: that's your choice. there's good reason to get pissed off about billboard advertising, as you can't "opt-out," but reading sites with advertising and purposefully blocking out that advertising is extremely immoral.

    there are ways to properly fight the misuse of advertising [], including ignoring advertising-sponsored content. but blocking that advertising is nothing but stealing. (and yes, it is stealing despite the fact that it's "digital." it's stealing bandwidth).

    seriously, grow up.

    - j

  • It is well known that everyone ignore banner ads these days, as everyone is inured to them and filters them out of their mental bandwidth.

    Not everyone ignores them. I say this, cause I'm one of the offenders - I buy ad space. Would I buy a 250 x 250 pixel popup? HELL NO. I don't want to annoy people, just little ways of catching thier attention, and get them to check out my product(s). (More on that in a minute.) Do people click-through on banners and button ads? Well, my limited experience so far - yep. But there's more to it than that...

    We should be encouraging the banner ad makers to be inventive, and use flash and the like, rather than just being more obvious and intruding.

    I *SO* disagree with this. First off, one of the reasons why ads are failing for most people is simple - they are missplaced (when is the last time you even noticed an ad on a chat area like /.? You aren't LOOKING for information on, oh, XML, so O'Reilly's ad for XML in a nutshell is mentally filtered.) I program games - so, the places I'm advertising are all game related (two shareware sites, one gaming site.) People are looking for games to download, or information on games - thier eyes are open to this sort of ad suddenly.

    Second, unless it's cross-platform, and works on all browsers, why would you use it to create an advertisement you can't garantee will show up? You are just wasting money then. And for the ones that DO show it, you'll just end up waisting thier time as they download the ad - something else I learned, people don't wait for ads to load, unless the page is structured so that the ad has to be fully loaded before the page displays.

    Whatever you do, it needs to be tight, quick loading, and viewable everywhere. But even more importantly, it needs to be targeted at the right place. Since advertisers are desperite at the moment, well, they will happily sell you space on Breast Cancer Discussion areas, even though your product is a First Person Shooter.

    More focused ads, better advertising, etc. would improve the current problems. However, most advertisers are looking for 'eyeballs' more than anything else, trying to build brand recognition at any cost. Me, I just try and focus on selling the product at hand.

    And, PLEASE, let's not get to the point where not only are there full-motion, sterio sound ads, but, that we have 3 or 4 of them per site battling it out! When it gets to that point, well, I guess I'll start resorting to junk buster :-(

  • by DavidpFitz ( 136265 ) on Monday February 26, 2001 @11:15AM (#400627) Homepage Journal
    The more and more "in your face" that banner advertising gets, the more and more likely it is people will use filtering software.

    I don't use JunkBuster becuase to be honest, banner ads don't bother me. I see them, hell, I even click on them from time to time... but it they got really big, I'd block them.

    It seems counter-productive in the long term to annoy the consumer.
    Think about the ads on the TV that are best... they're funny ones, ones you like. You're not going to be affected so well by an ad that you don't like.

  • by Knunov ( 158076 ) <eat@my.ass> on Monday February 26, 2001 @11:25AM (#400628) Homepage
    They're missing the point. People don't ignore banner ads because they're too small, they do it because they're annoying.

    When I first used the Internet, all the banner ads caught my eye. After a few days, only the really flashy ones did. Now, years later, my eyes/brain ignore them automatically. They don't even register. The ones that force themselves to be obvious just annoy me even more, and at that point I'm ready to NOT buy whatever is on my screen, even if it's something cool.

    Perhaps one out of every thousand banner ads I see contains an ad for something I'm interested in. But they are generally things I've read/heard about already. Television commercials work because they take over your entire screen, are targeted at a specific group of viewers, and are usually semi-entertaining to watch. Banner ads just use bandwidth, slow down the page loading and just basically get in the way.

    Entertainment on the Internet usually comes in the form of reading. Yes, some sites stream video/audio, but for the most part, the viewer is reading something. You watch things on TV, not read them. It's far less annoying to have 'watching' interrupted than reading interrupted. Can you image a book that had a paragraph on each page automatically morph into an advertisement? Ick.

    Go back to the drawing board, folks.
  • by the_other_one ( 178565 ) on Monday February 26, 2001 @11:20AM (#400629) Homepage

    I'm switching to Lynx

  • by Urban Existentialist ( 307726 ) on Monday February 26, 2001 @11:20AM (#400630) Homepage
    It is well known that everyone ignore banner ads these days, as everyone is inured to them and filters them out of their mental bandwidth.

    The way that advertisers get around this in other media is to make the ads more interesting or flashy, but on the web this is not an option. The only option is to make them bigger and more intrusive.

    The result of this will be successful at first, but after a time people will learn to filter out the new bigger ads too. Then advertisers will call to make them even larger.

    Where will it all end? It won't.

    I think until such time as banner ads incude sound and video, and can hence be creative and entertaining, they will just become more and more obnoxious.

    We should be encouraging the banner ad makers to be inventive, and use flash and the like, rather than just being more obvious and intruding.

    It is really the only way forward.

    You know exactly what to do-
    Your kiss, your fingers on my thigh-

Evolution is a million line computer program falling into place by accident.