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The Media

Salon Goes For Annoying Jump-Through Ads 464

macsforever2001 writes: "It looks like Salon is going to try to ram ads down our throat in a very offensive manner according to this Yahoo article. Now they won't directly link to articles, but instead link to a Web Ad which then links to the article you want. I think Slashdot needs a new category just for Web Advertising." Not as if web ads weren't already becoming more annoying, but the companies that run Web ads are probably as interested in ads that people don't hate as you are in not seeing the awful ones. What can we tell them?
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Salon Goes For Annoying Jump-Through Ads

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  • publicity will be interupted by information.
    • Re:Soon (Score:2, Insightful)

      It already is.

      Here's the information. We love advertising.

      When we don't respond to it, it'll go away.

      Or, rather, when we who hate advertising can teach those who respond to advertising not to respond to it, then advertisers will become defunct, like the folks who used to bring big blocks of ice to your house throughout the summer, having carved them out of the local lake all winter...

      The ad-man goeth...
    • On the bright side, content providers will need to upgrade the quality of their content as they increae the level of annoyance experienced by users in accessing it. This means less content will be subscrption only. Users will demand more and higher quality content from providers who insist on iritating their users with this garbage.

      Sites who adopt this advertising strategy, who have previously been confident in their levels of content quality and associated user loyalty might be in for a shock as their viewership plummets through the floor - or at least I hope users will be able to voice their discontent this way.


      • or at least I hope users will be able to voice their discontent this way.

        Reminds me of some XML information site that I found once. It had loads of useful information that I really wanted to see, but some of the most annoying pop-ups I had seen.

        So, despite wanting to see the content, I found the advertising assault too high a price to pay, and do not frequent the site specifically for that reason.

        So, I would say that repeat visitor traffic will be what suffers most. Whether first-time, one-time traffic is enough for their advertisers depends on whether they think such exposure is still to their advantage. This is not necessarily a given, however. Despite cussing at X10 camera pop-ups, I still know they exist as a vendor of such things.

        But, does the ill-will their advertising generates counterbalance the value of the basic message that they want to implant, namely

        "A sells B"?
        Perhaps not :-(
  • This is good (Score:2, Insightful)

    by darnellmc ( 524699 )
    As a web site owner, I love this. You get it for free so accept the ad.
    • This is bad (Score:3, Insightful)

      by artemis67 ( 93453 )
      As a web site owner, I love this. You get it for free so accept the ad.

      But will their readership tolerate it? Probably not, as most people are already feeling harassed by popups. I predict this will only hasten their demise.

      Harassing customers != good business practice
      • Re:This is bad (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Imperial Tacohead ( 216035 ) on Thursday September 27, 2001 @04:11PM (#2360473)
        No, that's the thing. The portion of Salon's readership that gets these ads is not made up of "customers," those being the people that actually subscribe to the premium service. What they are are people who load up on free news and commentary on Salon and never pay a dime. (I'm not bashing these people, I'm one of them.) The two seconds that it takes to click "Continue to story" is a small price to pay for all the stuff Salon provides.
      • I will tolerate it. I like their free content, and I'll continue to read it. To me, it's much less annoying that popup ads, and I don't think an extra 2 seconds of my time is too much to ask to keep good free content on the web.
    • As a web site owner, I love this. You get it for free so accept the ad.

      As a typical netizen, I hate this. It does not matter if the content is free, if you annoy me too much, I simply will no longer go to your site.

      This annoys me to no end. If advertising on the net was not so offensive, there would be no need for ad-blocking software.

      The choice is simple though, Salon is free to implement this if they think it is a good idea, and I am perfectly free never to browse their site again...
  • jump through (Score:2, Insightful)

    by novakane007 ( 154885 )
    Ya the ads are annoying, but jump throughs beat popups anyday! with these you can either wait for a breif pause or you can click a link to skip ahead to the article. Either way it's better than having to shuffle windows in order to close an ad that the page opens behind itself, like those X10 pop-ups. THOSE are annoying!
    • Re:jump through (Score:2, Informative)

      by basilfawlty ( 154213 )
      Jump throughs do //not// beat pop-ups. I can turn off pop-ups in Mozilla using a user-pref. I can turn it off in less intelligent browsers by disabling JavaScript.

      Jump-throughs are trying to force people to look at the ad, but they will only end up getting ignored just like every other form of advertisement on the net. Likely, by Salon getting ignored.
  • Been done... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by NetJunkie ( 56134 ) <jason DOT nash AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday September 27, 2001 @03:40PM (#2360243)
    MSNBC does this to some of their sections. Not a big deal to me. If you don't want to see them subscribe to Salon.

    Some way or another, content has to be paid for.
    • If you don't want to see them subscribe to Salon.

      Hear, hear! It's one thing for a site to just have obnoxious ads, but it's wholly another for that site to have a combination of ads and ad-free subscription. I've taken advantage of this already on a couple of sites that I want to support. E.g. Sluggy Freelance [] (one of my fave webcomics) and The Weather Underground [] both have ad-free subscription services that I've chosen to use.</Shameless Plug>

      In fact, this is even better for my personal web usage style than ads, because I virtually NEVER click through, except to occasionlly support a site by clicking through! It's ironic that the 'net is my primary source of pre-purchase information, yet web ads rarely if ever play a part in that process.

  • by svallarian ( 43156 ) <svallarian&hotmail,com> on Thursday September 27, 2001 @03:40PM (#2360246)
    Just start using lynx as your default browser.

    Steven V>
    • The new ads haven't appeared on Salon yet, but it's very well possible that lynx won't help. Click through means that there is no direct link from the homepage to the story - there homepage links to the ad and the ad links to the story.

      Lynx will only protect you from seeing the ad (provided that it's a picture without an ALT tag), but it won't protect you from the hassle of selecting the link twice.

  • I actually welcome this type of advertising. If advertising keeps web sites free, this is the best way to go. This way, when you actually get to the site, you just have the content on the site, no more annoying advertisements. It would be nice, though, if you could register with advertising agencies so advertising would be taylored to the things you enjoy.

    For example, I do not like the outdoors or games. Why show me camping information or video cards? I do like gambling in Vegas -- show me some banners for deals offered by casinos.

    • It would be nice, though, if you could register with advertising agencies so advertising would be taylored to the things you enjoy.

      Why would I want to register with an ad agency? Why would I give them any information about myself? I hate ads, so why make their job any easier?

      Screw them! Let them pay big bucks for the results of the data mining someone else has already done.
  • by peter hoffman ( 2017 ) on Thursday September 27, 2001 @03:41PM (#2360251) Homepage

    This bothers me less than popups. They have to do something for revenue. I can live with it.

    • They have to do something for revenue. It's so true. To all of you who used to go out and buy a newspaper every day: you shouldn't gripe that the news is now available for "free" (obviously not counting your ISP bill) but features ads. No ads = no content. Ugly but true. And Salon's content is among the best.
  • by tinrobot ( 314936 ) on Thursday September 27, 2001 @03:41PM (#2360252)
    Salon is in financial trouble. They started a premium service to get more money, but still offer a lot of content for free. I guess if more people subscribed as premium members, this would not be an issue. If they need to do this to stay afloat, then that's their business. Salon is a great site, and I'm personally willing to put up with a few ads. I just hope they keep going.
  • Choice is good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kvigor ( 66615 ) on Thursday September 27, 2001 @03:41PM (#2360253)
    ``It's less intrusive than the pop-unders. It's not creating a new window and it gives the consumer a choice. They can click it and go to the story,'' said Jupiter Media Metrix analyst Marissa Gluck.

    And the other choice, presumably, is to utter a hearty "fuck you" and never go back to again?
  • So what? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Logic Bomb ( 122875 ) on Thursday September 27, 2001 @03:41PM (#2360257)
    Look... here's what web ads come down to: if it's something like a pop-up ad that keeps moving when you try to close it, that's simply not ok. But if nothing sneaky is going on -- and it's not here, because you're just detoured through an extra page on Salon's site -- we may not like it but there's no reason to say that the company is doing something wrong. Salon started a subscription service as a way to allow people to pay for the otherwise-free content they were getting before. Obviously not enough people are contributing their fair share and more drastic measures had to be taken. If you don't like it, don't use Salon's bandwidth or read the stories that they pay people to write.
  • Give 'em a Break (Score:5, Insightful)

    by xonker ( 29382 ) on Thursday September 27, 2001 @03:41PM (#2360261) Homepage Journal
    Salon has been trying to find new ways to make money, the jump-through ads are much less annoying than the pop-ups, IMHO. Not much different than commercials on TV. You have the option to subscribe to Salon if you want to avoid them, just as you have the option to subscribe to HBO if you'd like commercial-free programs (though HBO does not offer a commercial channel, so you either pay up or do without the Sopranos...)

    Everything can't be free. I'd rather have the click-through ads than pop-ups. Actually, I like Salon enough that I bucked up the yearly subscription fee, though it really doesn't offer so much more than the regular Salon.

    Deal with the ads, stop bitching or don't be surprised when Salon goes under like so many other Webzines.
  • by JWhitlock ( 201845 ) <> on Thursday September 27, 2001 @03:42PM (#2360266)
    Subscribe to Salon Premium. []

    It's worth it, gets you access to additional features, and you aren't annoyed by ads. As a side benefit, you support one of the best sources of online journalism.

    If you only read the occasional article, then don't bother, but don't complain about the ads. If you read all the time, then why haven't you signed up yet?

    • by cancrman ( 24472 ) on Thursday September 27, 2001 @03:49PM (#2360320) Homepage
      Word. As one who reads it 'cover to cover' every day I can say that it is the best $50 (Two year sub) I ever spent. Their coverage of the 9/11/01 stuff has been fantastic.

      Salon is one of the last independant journalism sites out there. They have no relationship with AOL/TIME, Viacom, Microsoft, or errr...Anybody that would make them even halfway biased (Aside from the occasional liberal slant). If you want it to survive I highly recommend subscribing. I know lots of you kids are poor college students and whatnot, but I know there are lots of people here that read Salon on a regular basis (cause it gets linked to a lot). Pony up people! It is probably the most worth media cause out there (besides PBS/NPR). Uhh...if there could be such a thing.

      You know what I mean.

    • There's another way to avoid the ads...

      Stop reading

      Paying them to become a premium member to make the annoyances go away is rewarding them for bad behavior.

      Don't get me wrong, I liked's reporting, it was quite good. But when they shifted to being essentially a pay service, that's when I stopped reading them.

      There's a distinctive difference between "it's no longer free, but we'll let you sample some of the articles" and "we're going to irritate the heck out of you until you pay up and make us stop." Unlike most sites, they didn't distinguish between which articles required premium access and which didn't (although I just looked and sometime recently they started doing that). They had many irritating editorials basically accusing their readers of being deadbeats. And all along the attitude was increasing belligerent, "start subscribing or we'll make the ads more annoying."

      There are other good news web sites, with better advertising/funding models, like They'll get my money if they ask nicely. started trying to extort it, so I left.

      • by cancrman ( 24472 ) on Thursday September 27, 2001 @05:00PM (#2360722) Homepage
        Do you subscribe to magazines?

        Got ads there. Even have to pay for the privledge to see them. Ok, so you obviouly don't do that.


        See magazines above.

        Do you have cable?

        Ads there too. Ad free channels (HBO, etc.) cost even more on top of the regular cable fees. Ok, so no cable for you.

        Watch regular TV?

        Commercials. But it's free. Unless you are one of those people who only watch PBS but never contribuite. In which case you're (not 'you' specifically, anyone who does this) just a cheap bastard.

        (I know, work with me here). Commercials, but it's free and you don't have access to all the content. Or no commercials and access to all the content. Is anyone else seeing the TV analogy here too? Yes? Good.

        Bills have to be paid. There are four options for this:
        a) Charge for content
        b) Ads
        d) donations
        c) A&B

        IANATroll, but I like Salon and you just bashed it. I feel like I need to stick up for it or something. I also think your rational is baseless.

      • Paying them to become a premium member to make the annoyances go away is rewarding them for bad behavior.

        I fail to understand how is a legitimate revenue model bad behavior? And claiming that "they're annoying" doesn't count. Essentially, viewing the ad is the cost of viewing the content. If the price is too high, don't buy it.
      • That's nice and all, but they've actually got a staff and people who are paid to produce content. Unlike software, reporting/commentary isn't exactly something around which one can build a service/support revenue model. The other web site you mention is just a part of a huge publishing conglameration -- Salon is independent, and the banner-ad thing wasn't working for them. You're certainly well within your rights to stop reading them, but don't complain later when MSNBCDisneyAOLTimeWarnerGE is the only source of news in the world.
      • by VValdo ( 10446 ) on Thursday September 27, 2001 @05:16PM (#2360825)
        Salon is NOT "extorting" money by running ads-- they're trying to find a model that will support themselves and their *outstanding* journalism. I've seen many, many stories on Salon that I didn't see anywhere else until Salon reported it...many of which have been linked to on /. over the years.

        Contrary to your expectations, Salon Magazine is not a God-given right, and the heady days of free shit on the Internet are over. The majority of businesses who followed that model are long gone, and I dont' see how you can blame Salon for being so "belligerent" as to want to be able to sustain their business.

        As for "They'll get my money if they ask nicely." -- they've been asking nicely for six months, and apparently it didn't work for you, since you never subscribed. You know what though? I've been meaning to sign up for that whole period, and now I'm going to-- because Salon is awesome, and you've made me realize that it's worth paying money for.

        So Jesus Christ, grow up and quit being a goddamn crybaby who wants everything for nothing.


    • I agree. I also think that this might be the way of the future as far as online content goes -- not popup ads, but subscription.

      As web advertising returns in slowly diminish, we just might have to start paying for the really good stuff, just as you pay for cable TV or magazines. I know that if I had to pay for Salon or New York Times, I'd probably do it for less than $50 a year -- and I'll wager that in less than 25 years, we will think nothing unusual of paying for online content.

    • by Augusto ( 12068 ) on Thursday September 27, 2001 @06:28PM (#2361056) Homepage
      Yesterday most of their stories were subscriber only, "premium" content.

      However, many of these stories are available for free at the author's main sites (which usually are not

      For example, there was an article by Arianna Huffinton which was marked "premium" , but it's freely available at her site.

      Same goes for Horowitz articles.

      I think if salon is going to charge for premium content, they should at least bother to pay for some type of exclusivity. It doesn't make any sense to pay for something that is legally free elsewhere.
  • Simple (Score:2, Informative)

    Naked Chicks!

    Really though... I think this is just the first step towards full-scale Comercials popping up every 13 min. Yikes, hope M$ doesn't think of that...
  • by Bonker ( 243350 ) on Thursday September 27, 2001 @03:43PM (#2360274)
    As evidenced by their 'Salon Premium' and in-page ads. It's a shame, too, because all the other good editorial sites are almost all virulently conservative.

    While I hate to see it go, I think we're going to see Salon go the same way IGN did.
  • This isn't a new thing at all -- all of the websites do this. (DVD.IGN [], PS2.IGN [], etc) However, the IGN method is closer to television advertising -- you have to look at the advertisement for something like 5 seconds before the "continue to the article" link becomes active.
  • They've had this on MSNBC [] for awhile. If you click on the news categories on the lefT nav bar instead of mousing over and choosing a story, you get a big ad blocking your screen, and you have t go up to the top nav to actually get to that category. There's no free lunch anywhere. I guess if I didn't want to be annoyed, I could just read a book.
  • Unreal... (Score:4, Funny)

    by ( 450073 ) <xanadu@[ ] ['ino' in gap]> on Thursday September 27, 2001 @03:43PM (#2360280) Homepage Journal
    I follow the like to the Yahoo! page talking about bad advertising tactics, what happens? One of them damn X-10 camera adds pops-up. Geesh...
  • by FatRatBastard ( 7583 ) on Thursday September 27, 2001 @03:44PM (#2360284) Homepage
    but if you reject cookies (as I do from Mozilla) then you get stuck in a loop at the advert. The "continue on" link just spits the ad back up. Not nice at all.
    • You don't need to reject cookies to get caught in a loop, I accept cookies in Mac Netscape 4.78 and the ads just loop, although they do run OK in Mozilla.

      I note with disgust that Excite has also begun using these ads on their portal. Soon people will be disabling Flash just like they disabled pop-ups. Macromedia should really have a word with these advertisers, they're going to kill Flash if they keep this up.
  • We're sorry! We promise to click on those banner ads! We were being bad little surfers. Just don't torture us anymore!
  • I run squid at home and block banner ads and counters via adzap and squid_redirect. So I don't even see ads at home, which not only make the internet look better (IMO), but helps speed it up through my modem. Anyway, I wonder if I'll be able to even get to articles now ... (without bypassing the proxy, of course).

    Has anyone tried this yet?

    • Looks like they're playing cookie games -- first time you hit it, it sets a cookie; if the cookie i set, it lets you see the page. So depending on the cookie source, you should still be able to browse.

      Now if someone can figure out how to predictively generate those cookies...
  • Ad wars (Score:5, Insightful)

    by perdida ( 251676 ) <thethreatproject ... inus threevowels> on Thursday September 27, 2001 @03:47PM (#2360308) Homepage Journal
    There were ads.

    Then there were filters. []

    Then there were pop up ads, pop-under ads, and ads that pop up when you close the browser.

    Then new filters were devised for these as well.

    Now we have jumpthrough ads.

    What we have is a continuing battle, geek against geek, for control of the eyes of the content-hungry Netizen.

    Of course, all arms races are a bad thing. Eventually, this one will lead to more and more intrusive advertising and more and more destructive anti-advertising.

    The solution is to de-escalate the arms race.

    How do you do that?

    Well, stop filtering the ads. Read them and click the ones that you are interested in as compared to the other ads.

    Even if you are not interested in any of them, click the least offensive.

    This will, eventually, lower the overall offensiveness level of advertising while helping to provide ad revenue to some of your computer-industry brethren out there.

    Remember, advertising is a legitimate industry. Let's minimize the amount of social control it has over our lives by treating it as such.

    • I'd have no problem with keeping ads on a site *IF* they didn't try to track me at the same time. Most of these ads are coming from third party servers and have sufficently ability to at least track your IP, and can possibly be used to identify surfing patterns. The main reason that I block ads is not to see them, but to protect my privacy.
    • What % of users even bother with ad blocking or are even capable of installing junkbuster? I'd say this group is a very computer literate and thus small group. Ads are being served, people see them, some click on them, and yet its not enough. Even if it was enough, Salon's job is to maximize profits. So every evil ad plan you can imagine will be tested somewhere.

      Blame the business plan not the relatively few ad blockers.
    • If companies had half a brain they'd figure out that ad banners don't work very well because nobody wants to see their stupid product and we're annoyed at their ads. I dunno about everyone else but I know how to find things when I want them and I don't have to keep hitting reload to find the right ad to get me there. If they must show ad banners then I think making them as tightly targeted as possible is the real key. I do click ad banners on Slashdot more than any other site just because they often lead places I know I like such as ThinkGeek and AnimeFu. The ThinkGeek banners that show off their new products are probably the most effective ads for me because that is exactly the sort of things I'm interested in buying. If a company like Amazon could target ad banners for book/music/movie types I usually like that'd be effective on me too. Ads for things I don't want to see and I don't buy annoy me and cost the company placing them money. Googles very targeted itty bitty side ads are probably among my favorite types of ads. They are non-offensive and they tell me things I want to know. However I think they need to charge per-click rather than per-view because a lot of people just don't click ads. I'd be willing to pay a lot more to place my ads per click than per view because I know that person is actually going to my site. That is what I want.
    • But *Salon*? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by hawk ( 1151 ) <> on Thursday September 27, 2001 @04:27PM (#2360578) Journal
      Who really cares? The easy solution here is to continue not reading it.

      No, I don't want Salon to go away--*something* has to remeain to make slashdot look like serious journalism.

      Then again, maybe I shouldn't be so harsh--I've never heard any other editor admit that they used a single source, knowing of a prior perjury conviction and an axe to grind against the target of the story, and explain it away on the basis "it's ok because republicans are evil." . . .

      [yes, I really did see this in an interview on one of the cable news channels after they ran one of their lap-dog pieces trying to refocus attention during the impeachment.]

      So they make you read advertising on the way--the content of an ad is less biased and more truthful, anyway . . .


    • Your view is heavily skewed by being a Slashdot regular. 99% of web users don't do any ad blocking. 98% accept all cookies. People who use Junkbuster or Webwasher or a Hosts file are in the deep deep minority.

      Nevertheless, I do try to be reasonable with my ad blocking []. I don't block most 2nd party banners [], or ordinary 3rd party gifs on the sites that I use regularly.

      Just don't throw 3rd party cookies or javascripts at me and I'll look at what you have to say. If you slow down my page loading to wait for your 17 different web bugs, I'll route the requests to nowhere.
    • Remember, advertising is a legitimate industry. Let's minimize the amount of social control it has over our lives by treating it as such.

      This will probably get modded down for being OT, but might I suggest that you read the book No Logo [] by Naomi Klein? It could change your outlook on this "legitimate" industry and all of the kind-hearted saints who run it...
    • I've got a better idea. Don't patronize anymore? Sure, they have great articles, and I enjoy reading them, but if they are going to do the equivelant of screaming in my face when I go up to them for a conversation (not an unreasonable analogy IMHO) I'm not going to talk to them. Sucks to be me I guess, and it's too bad, because I enjoy them, but unless they start getting less and less visitors because of this sort of activity, they're going to see this as a plus.

      For example, assuming that ad companies pay more for the more annoying ads:
      Normal ads = 10000 visitors @ 0.01/view
      Annoying ads=10000 visitors @ 0.02/view

      Why the heck not? But if the # of visitors suddenly dropped by 7000 with the annoying ads, well, suddenly it doesn't sound like that good an idea. I don't really care about all this BS about how the economy is coming down, or how they "have" to use new ad technologies because of the current market. Bending over backwards and letting them "give it to you straight" so to speak, is not something I personally do.

      It's been said before, but I think it would work. "Vote with your feet." Don't visit the site, and send (polite) letters to the highest up people that you can telling them that you are doing just that. A few hundred thousand "I'm sorry, I enjoy your site but I will not visit it anymore if you are going to be embracing this very annoying ad style."
    • A web ad is the price of viewing the content on that site. If the price is too high (read: annoying popup superflash ad), don't view the content (because it's not worth it). Cirvumventing the payment system (the ads) is no different then hacking a$10/month "premium content" account of an online e-mag. It's stealing.
  • by bryan1945 ( 301828 ) on Thursday September 27, 2001 @03:48PM (#2360312) Journal
    Online is a different medium than TV or radio- the same rules don't necessarily apply. Especially when most of these ads seem to be for things like dry cleaning a cat, or other nonsense. I don't see Pepsi or Coke popping up all over, but even Yahoo pops up that damn X10 camera ad. I feeling is that eventually online content will split into 2 groups once a good micropayment system is worked out, the free and spam-filled side, and the pay but no ads side. Don't get me wrong, I love free content, but I can only see advertising get worse until large groups of people are willing to fork over some cash to _not_ see more ads.
  • Avoiding Ads (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nano-second ( 54714 ) on Thursday September 27, 2001 @03:48PM (#2360314)
    If I find the ads on a site truly annoying (popups are bad, but so are ads that I can't filter when I turn on junkbuster) I will stop going to that site. The less intrusive/annoying the ads on a site are, the more likely I am to click on one when it interests me. Some days though, I just don't feel like seeing ads at all and I want to be able to turn on junkbuster and have an ad-free experience. Since these ads at involve an extra page, that doesn't sound like it would be possible.

    For me, the most effective ads are those that are entertaining/interesting regardless of the product and/or about something I want more info on... this applies to billboards, televison and the web.

  • I did see one add that actually got me to see it without being so intrusive that it just pissed me off too badly. It was on (the Weather Channel's web page), and it was an add for HBO's "Band of Brothers" series. Basically when I first went to the web page, it loaded as normal, then ran a little animation of a series of c47s dropping paratroops across the page, with accompanying sound, then some bit of text appeared saying something like, 'See Band of Brothers on HBO at some time or other.' which then retreated to a standard banner add and sat there. The whole thing lasted maybe 3-5 seconds.

    I was on a broadband connection, so I have no idea if it would make the page take longer to load, but their web page has so much graphics that it probably would take forever anyway.

    The one thing they could have done to cut the annoying factor would be to put a cookie that tells the page not to run it everytime you go 'BACK' to the main page from a sub page.

    And it didn't even crash Netscape :P
  • by melquiades ( 314628 ) on Thursday September 27, 2001 @03:51PM (#2360328) Homepage
    Salon's spokesperson says in the article: "We are going to continue to be fluid until ad units are developed that are deemed effective by advertisers and acceptable by readers." Remember, they are not on a plot to upset readers -- they don't want you to hate the ads, because their revenue depends on it! Remember also that you vote with your actions; if people don't click on the ads and they aren't effective, away they go.

    What really puzzles me is that these intrustive ads clearly do anger readers, and don't seem to work very well...yet this arms race of distracting ads continues unabated. There is at least one example of really effective web advertising, however, and that's Google's. Heck, they're even considering an IPO. Here's why it works:
    • Their ads are entirely textual and unobstrusive, so I don't have to hotwire my brain to tune them out. They're easy to ignore, so I can pay attention to them when I want.
    • They are right next to the content I care about (search results), but don't interfere with it by creating a visual distraction or a longer download time for the page. So I don't mind them being there at all.
    • Above all, the ads are sometimes for things I actually care about. Google matches ads with searches, and so I actually have some incentive to pay attention to them.
    The lesson, I think, is that ads have to be inobstrusive and useful. Why aren't more companies picking up on this?
    • What really puzzles me is that these intrustive ads clearly do anger readers, and don't seem to work very well...yet this arms race of distracting ads continues unabated.

      The reason for this fact should be obvious. The only feedback available from an ad is positive feedback: if you click the link, the advertiser knows it. They don't know why you clicked it-- maybe it was for a product you liked, or maybe it was an accident on your part. But the advertiser knows you clicked it, so another tick mark is added to that ad's score column.

      If you don't click on the ad... nothing happens. The advertiser has no way of knowing whether you didn't click because you're behind a filtering proxy, or because you were offended by the ad, or because your browser crashed. There's no negative feedback mechanism here at all.

      Maybe if web ads were focus-grouped like TV commercials are, advertising companies might have a better idea of how the public at large is reacting to their ads.

      On the other hand, if somebody could somehow demonstrate that pop-under (or whatever) ads actually have a measurable negative impact on company revenues, that'd be another story.
      • The solution may have to be blacklisting.

        I know that I don't buy anything from any firm or vote for any candidate that has ever spammed or telemarketed me. I'm sure others here do the same. That's negative feedback, although it's small and unorganized.

        A community blacklist would provide a way to make that sort of negative feedback more effective.

        Perhaps in my spare time... alas, is already taken...
      • A browser plugin. Have it put a little button beside every banner ad that says 'this ad sucks' and when clicked, it automatically sends emails to the ad agency and advertiser telling them just that. This is negative feedback. A 'this ad doesn't suck' button would be the opposite, something that can be clicked instead of or as well as, clicking the ad. It should be ad specific as well... thinkgeek has some really good, unobtrusive and polite ads, and some of the standard 'if we flash it fast enough they'll click!' ads.

        So who wants to start writing it? Maybe even a little app you just drag an ad link to from your browser...
      • by Skapare ( 16644 ) on Thursday September 27, 2001 @05:23PM (#2360894) Homepage

        I don't have to click on TV ads. If the ad tells me about 99 cent pizzas down at Bubba's Pizzeria, I might well remember that and may go down there ... tomorrow. And that would be the same on TV, radio, newspaper, or the web. It's called an impression ad. Of course the problem is that there's no simple way to track which ad you saw. The advertiser may have many ad campaigns, notice an increase in customers, but can't tell which one is effective. The web was supposed to provide this. But that only works for ads for which click through is effective. If the ad says "99 cent pizzas at Bubba's" I'll remember that if it's important, but if it says "Click here to find out where to get 99 cent pizzas" I won't, because I'm busy right now. What advertisers thought they could get out of the web (perfect tracking) is not the reality it seems to be. I sure as hell am not going to click on an ad that says "find out what softdrink is better than Pepsi" just to find out the opinion of the Coke marketing department, or visa-versa. Most conventional consumer products aren't the kinds of things you click on, and for those few that are, many people won't anyway.

        Click through ads pay premium. Impression-only ads pay far less. Maybe web content providers will just have to end up accepting advertising TV style and deal with impression-only.

  • I sympathize with their need to make ad revenue, but I find these ads the most annoying thing on the Internet. If this is the future of web advertising, I'll be getting my news elsewhere. It is incredibly annoying and distracting.
  • Porn Tactics (Score:3, Informative)

    by shpoffo ( 114124 ) <> on Thursday September 27, 2001 @03:53PM (#2360341) Homepage
    this is what porn sites do all the time - it's nothing new - it's just interesting to see a mainstream site do it. (but wil a mojority of web-traffic being porn i guess porn is the majority, isn't it? ).

    either way - if you read salon that much you probably ought to caough in a few dollars as it is.

  • by xeno ( 2667 ) on Thursday September 27, 2001 @03:57PM (#2360359)
    Dumdeedum... downloaded Mozilla 0.9.4....
    Added "user_pref("dom.disable_open_during_load", true);" to prefs.js.... restart...

    Ooo. The web without any onload pop-ups or pop-under adverts. X-10? Who? Surfing actually seems pleasant again.

    But my solution for click-thru advertising is simply to get my content elsewhere, and wait for this upsurge in irritating adverts to die down. And it will. Advertising drives money to content providers, but if the adverts drive the readership down, the money stops coming into the advert companies from their clients. There's a point of equilibrium that most print magazines have found, and it's just a matter of time before that balance settles down in the online-content world.
    • Dumdeedum... downloaded Mozilla 0.9.4.... Added "user_pref("dom.disable_open_during_load", true);" to prefs.js.... restart...

      Better yet, check out this prefs toolbar []. It rocks! It lets you disable/enable pop-ups and many other things from a nice little toolbar rather than hand editing a file and (more importantly, in my opinion) without having to restart Mozilla any time you want to temporarily enable pop-ups. It does disable all calls which blocks pop-ups good and bad alike, but this is because it was written before the disable_open_during_load feature that you mentioned was added to Mozilla and it's pretty easy to change it to use the newer disable_open_during_load feature anyway (I actually submitted a patch to do this a few minutes ago). It's nice to be able to temporarily enable pop-ups when you come across a site where they are used for more than just ads.

  • by foobar104 ( 206452 ) on Thursday September 27, 2001 @03:58PM (#2360365) Journal
    (Copied shamelessly from here [] in the hopes that some of you might read it before forming an opinion. Emphasis, where used, is mine.)

    About our new ads
    A note to readers

    Sept. 24, 2001 | Today Salon introduces a new kind of advertisement -- a full-screen message that will show up in your browser when you click on a link, and will play briefly before moving you on to the page you requested. (The ad should only show up once per day per user, unless you have turned "cookies" off in your browser.)

    As most of you know, this has been a difficult year for advertising-supported publications, online and off. Like many other companies we've responded by trying to innovate for our advertisers -- so we can remain financially healthy and continue to serve you. As with any innovation, we expect to learn from our experience over time, to keep what works and drop what doesn't.

    We know that some Web users find this sort of ad intrusive. But before you send in that irate e-mail, we ask you to consider that the content you come to Salon for -- independent-minded, thought-provoking, unavailable elsewhere -- does not come free.

    Today we have two ways to support our writers, editors and the rest of the staff that keeps Salon coming to you every day -- through advertising and through subscriptions. If sitting through one five-second ad before you can read an article is simply too much of a delay for you, we offer a Salon Premium subscription as a different way to support Salon -- you get access to exclusive content and the option to turn off most ads on the site. (For more information, click here [].)

    Our intention, as always, is to bring you the most intelligent, provocative, fearless coverage of news and culture available anywhere.

    Scott Rosenberg
    Managing editor

  • seems to me /. is fishing to see what impact changing there ad 'style' from banner to something else. :)

    I realy don't understand how a paper can make money by placing ads next to story, but can't make money doing the same thing on the web.

    I have come to the conclusion that media companies are doing there web content wrong, so maybe thats it.

    I wish I had the ear of a newspaper exec. because I see several ways to improve the overall revinue of a newspaper company, using the web.

  • This is obviously part of a two-phase approach.

    Salon has already made it clear that they intend to slowly move content behind the subscription only wall. This is one way to entice people to subscribe... the carrot if you will (though since it was once freely available content, it has a stick aspect as well).

    Increasing the amount, variety, and annoyance level of the ads is the true stick in their strategy. If you're not sufficiently motivated by the subscription-only content (of which you get a tantalized 2 paragraph preview if you aren't subscribed), then perhaps you'll be sufficiently annoyed by the advertising that you'll buy the o|4/\/\N3o| subscription.

    Given their financial situation and the relatively low revenue that advertising generates nowadays, they really don't even want non-paying viewers. So they slowly advance the border between free and paid content and increase the advertising until they have everyone they can get.

    I really like Salon's coverage and there have been several times I'd really liked to have read one of their subscription-only articles, but I'm just not motivated enough to pay. Too short an attention span. I hope one of these days they snag me, because I'd love to see them survive.

  • on bandwidth-intensive stuff like news slideshows. it's no big deal to me.
  • I know of at least one site that already does this. Sony Station [], an online gaming site, pops up ads when you start games. It's easy enough to close the window before they finish loading. I'm sure the advertisers don't like this, but oh well.
  • I also hate how TV shows are interrupted to show commercials too. Oh, that's right, TV networks are *profitable*.

    It's about time these web people tried to actually make money. Annoying, yes--and necessary.
  • Actually, "soon" means since late yesterday, as near as I can tell. I actually like this method of advertising. If sites like slashdot dumped their banner adds for these (rather than using both Ug!), I think the web would be a lot cooler place. Pluses are:
    • The ad can be more informative (and thus perhaps even a useful source of info if I'm interested) since it has more real-estate to work with.
    • The Ad goes away.
    • The ads Doesn't distract me, get in the way, or otherwise take up valuable interface real-estate while I'm reading the actual article.
    • Similarly, the ad doesn't take up ink, paper, and printing time when I print a page out.
    • If I don't want to waste time looking at it, I can switch to another window for a while. Ignoring that damn flashing dwarf in the ThinkGeek ad on slashdot is next to impossible.
    • Slows down reading when I'm not reading multiple sites at once.
    • Nothing's stopping sites from doing this and banner adds and popups. Even worse, some could go to multiple ads taking several minutes...
  • I think Salon is risking their reader base by using this sort of ad system. News and article meta-indexes, like World Net Daily and the Drudge Report and (yes) Slashdot will hesitate to put up links that are so annoying to their users. And that will ruin what revenue Salon was getting with their banner ads.
  • by scott1853 ( 194884 ) on Thursday September 27, 2001 @04:08PM (#2360447)
    The whole premise of these intrusive ads is wrong.

    Intrusive ads in TV is acceptable because we are just sitting there like bumps on a log and it give us a break to go do something. We know the commercials are going to last a couple minutes and we expect it. Digging deeper we all understand that those commericals paid for the content.

    Web surfing is entirely different. We are interacting with the computer to find information. Basically we are in control and are most likely actively searching, or discussing and not just trying to be passively entertained. We want to find our information, or post our comment and be done with it.

    Advertisers are having a tough time on coming up with a creative way to advertise on the net since their previous method (banners) had limited success, they are falling back on what they know. But what they know is a method designed for a passive medium and not an interactive one.

    The one thing they have going for them, is that like TV, web advertising for the most part is targetted at groups and not so much individuals. Slashdot is going to run tech related ads. TechTV (the TV channel) is going to run tech related commericals. Generally, the specific group you are looking for will see your ad. They need to expand on that without taking it to the extreme.

    One option: large ads that are not intrusive. I wouldn't mind if an ad takes the top portion of my screen. I do mind if though some fancy javascript, it follows me as I scroll, or randomly appears or is in a fixed frame. Just give me the ability to decide whether or not your products are right for me and let me continue on with the content. If you're watching TV and you don't want to see the commercial, you see what else is on or you go to the fridge or bathroom. Basically you can decide what's relevant. Advertisers are trying to take the position that they know what's relevant and you just need to spend as much time as possible looking at their ad and eventually you will buy.

    With the economy the way it is, consumers are being smarter, and web-users are getting smarter about the products they purchase. I guess I'd say that the advertising isn't failing, it's the products being offered.
  • by M_Talon ( 135587 ) on Thursday September 27, 2001 @04:09PM (#2360460) Homepage
    I'd rather deal with them then some other popular types of advertising. Several people already mentioned the flash animations that are becoming popular. I find those horrid, for it's like trying to read a book and having the words obscured. I want to know where the ads are and choose whether to look at them or not, not have them crammed down my throat. Any ad that obscures text automatically gets my negative attention.

    Rant mode off for a second, I think jumpthroughs are actually good in that it gives a solid measurement of who's looking at an ad. You can use jumpthrough instead of click-thru metrics to set ad rates, much like in TV or radio or print. I would rather see online advertising go that route rather than getting more annoying in the hopes of a clickthru that won't happen (like those darn flash anims).
  • Workaround (Score:2, Offtopic)

    by lpp ( 115405 )
    Apparently, if you take any of their story links and tack on "?x" it takes you straight to the story, skipping the ad.

    Perhaps someone could make an add-on like junkbuster that would modify any URL at a given domain via a rule (s/.*salon\.com/$1?x/) or somesuch?
  • while watching TV, there is about a 3:1
    entertainment time to advertising time... and even the commercials are entertaining sometimes...

    but for a web page you spend more time closing/avoiding ads than you do on actual content... I am at a HIGH volume destination (18 web servers, each producing around 1 gig worth of log files a day) average time spent here is 6-7 minutes...

    I have yet to see many banner ads/pop up ads that were remotly interesting or entertaining..
  • by Galvatron ( 115029 ) on Thursday September 27, 2001 @04:15PM (#2360504)
    People will click on things that look interesting and legitimate. "Hit the monkey to win $50" is obviously going to be some kind of a scam, and people will aviod it. OTOH, the AMD ad that ran on Slashdot a while back for a webcast of the kernel summit was BRILLIANT! The ad stated what it was, demonstrated that it contained content of interest to Slashdot's readership, and got their brand a positive image.

    Even for less well targeted readerships, look at newspaper ads for ideas of things that work. Announce a sale for your online store, mention a new product, or give people some other reason to follow the link! Make pretty, flashy ads, and people will tune them out. Make informative, intriguing ads, and people will follow.

    Also, one more suggestion: make an advertiser index, like magazines do. Sometimes an ad will look appealing, but you don't have time to follow up on it just then. Later on, you can't find the ad again, so the site doesn't get the hit it deserves.

  • i wouldn't mind this either, as long as the web designer made it clear that i was reading an ad page.. that way you can just click right through imediately. of course it's going to really suck when they realize they can use javascript to delay the display of the 'continue to the content' link by x amount of seconds..
  • Lets see... add banners on top or bottom of a page are tolerable. Popups are annoying, but these new "force you to view to see the next page" ones are not tolerable.

    If a company doesn't value me as anything but a mindless consumer, I'm not going to buy anything from them. If I wanted to be forced to watch ads, I'd watch live television.

  • Skip them! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by pdqlamb ( 10952 )
    Either put up with the ads, or skip the site. I don't read NYTimes articles more than once every month or two. I haven't seen anything worth reading from them that doesn't show up on another, less annoying site, sooner or later. The exceptions (for me at NYT) are the articles I really want to read now.

    Pity; Salon did have some good stuff on occasion.
  • Although I have been reading Salon fairly regularly lately, I was unaware of the new ads until I happened to read an notice about them on the Salon site. The reason being that I make heavy use of the "Open in background" feature in K-Meleon (also available in Opera - why can't all browsers have this very useful feature?). I tend to go through the main page and open all the articles I am interested in in the background then close out the main page. By the time I open the window with the article, the ad has already played itself out and loaded the article.

    Trickster Coyote
  • "Not as if web ads weren't already becoming more annoying, but the companies that run Web ads are probably as interested in ads that people don't hate as you are in not seeing the awful ones. What can we tell them?"

    Why don't you stop whining like a little girl and thank them? These people are busting their butts trying make the business model of ad supported content work so you can read the stuff for free! If you don't like it, send them money!

    Commercial internet sites cannot make money with nonintrusive advertising. This is why thousands of web sites are disappearing every month, and eventually there won't be any free content sites left that are not provided by the people trying to sell you more of the same content. It will hit everyone, even sites like Slashdot.
  • Don't go there. Then it won't bother you, and if enough people don't go there, they'll stop it. I do think that's pretty low of them, to change course in midstream like that. Seems like a lot of people enjoyed the site until this... well, stop going.
  • It's fun to find a new, innovative ad campaign. But it's far more fun to discover that my ad-filtering proxy already filters it without any modification. MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHA!!!!!

    FilterProxy []


  • I'm not sure what the current situation is, but as of a few months ago Salon was teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. If you enjoy reading the news and articles that they post, then you have two options:
    1) Buy a subcription to their premium service. You won't have to click through the annoying ads.
    2) Don't buy a subscription, but continue to feel that you have a right to read the news stories that they provide. Spend 0.5 seconds a day clicking through an ad which I'm sure they're able to charge more money for.

    I guess there is a third option, and that is to do neither of the above, and then moan that quality internet journalism has disappeared once they and many other online magazines go bankrupt in a year or two. I really hate invasive pop-up ads, but they do need to make money. If you value the service they provide, quit whining and click through the bloody ad, or subcribe! If you DON'T value the service they provide, well then, don't visit the site anymore. If I sit down to watch the evening news on TV, I have to put up with 5 minutes of ads for every half hour of actual programming. I don't have a problem clicking through an ad for a second if it will allow me to read quality news stories online.
  • Saw it this morning, but I was just unable to reproduce it. Went to AdCritic [] and all of a sudden, everything on the page faded to a transparent state (javascript), and then an ad came up selling something (don't remember the product). To get back to AdCritic, I had to click on the "Close Ad" button. Pretty cool, but it'd get real annoying after the first couple. Has anyone else seen this type of ad?

    - [grunby]
  • If advertisers would have just stuck to those. They didn't really annoy anyone. Well, there is always the "principle" guys. Those that invented the (unnecessary imo) filters.

    Anyway, I am prepared to pay for services, at reasonable prices. One of the ways to pay is by viewing (and possibly clicking) on ads online. I say that is a fair price as long as the ads are not thrown in my face.

    I have full understanding that it costs money to be online - and I am prepared to support good content online.

    Furthermore, I think that if advertisers hadn't done what they have done, which is going to stupid extents to try and draw our attention, they would still be able to live on advertising.

    I mean, if an ad interests me, I actually click on it. Such as those that appear here on slashdot for instance - they get my interest now and then. A popup ad however... it gets killed before it can show me anything. Not to mention those that popup 5 and try to set themselves as my start page and so on...

    And no. I will not get any filters or similar. For the first thing, I should not need it. For the second, see above: I actually support online advertisments that are targetted, discreet and "good" (whatever that means).

    If ads is a way to pay for, and encourage good online content, by all means bring them on. But keep to banners. Those that are interested WILL click on your ad!!! Those that are not will not because you give them 200 popups.

    Thank you.

  • by Durindana ( 442090 ) on Thursday September 27, 2001 @05:07PM (#2360766)

    What's most important about this is only obvious if you're a regular Salon reader - it's overall the best news site on the Web. Especially for politics and consumer/corporate issues, Salon is simply indispensable. I paid for a "subscription" the day it was offered, and I'd pay again, and pay more, for the kind of kickass independent journalism only a site like Salon can provide.

    Ads? I don't see them with the "premium" service, but who cares? I don't understand why /. readers, so steeped in Internet culture and spending hours a day on their computers don't realize that content-for-free isn't a workable business model.

    There's other places to get news - but they don't make money! There is no Internet-only news site that makes money - period. Salon is a very high-profile experiment that will, one way or the other, guide many decisions made by corporate managers about whether online is a viable market.

    News organizations pay a LOT of attention to Salon and how it's doing, because they know it's a bellwether. Take it from a media professional - if Salon goes down you will feel the repercussions. Even the most insular geek sitting in the dark will feel the absence of useful journalism on the Web. And it will be because you, the Slashdot reader, didn't care enough to make it happen.

    Pay! It's only thirty bucks, you know you can spare it. You'll be doing yourself more of a favor than you know. And if you can't be bothered to shell it out or deal with ONE ad a day for a few seconds, fuck you - no free lunch for you, asshole. Thanks for ruining it for everyone else.
  • If you are running Windows the solution is quite elegant. Go to and download PROXOMITRON. It's totally configurable proxy which already contains filters for many existing ad systems. If it doesn't contain the filter for this kind of ads, you can definitely create it yourself if you are familiar with regular expressions. Just create the filter that identifies the ad page and replaces it with simple page that immediately loads the article page (whose URL will be extracted from the ad page). It's really one of the simplest things that you can do with Proxomitron...
  • An interesting thing I noticed that was quoted of Marissa Gluck was that they were trying to "emulate television" by having a short spot before a news broadcast (or similar anaology).

    Had to break it to you, but this is the net, not television! Why are you trying to shoe-horn advertising methods invented 30+ years ago into the new technology of today? Why try to continue on with the same old shit of "barrage the customers with flashing graphics and maybe they'll buy something." Actually, the stupidity is multi-tiered. The Companies using the advertising agency are convinced that if enough people see their ads they'll get more sales (sadly the argument is that this is true) and the advertising company wants to do everything it can to stick the ad in front of your face so it can tell the companies that they are advertising for that they got X click throughs or Y impressions.

    Last time I clicked on a banner ad it was an accident, even on sites that I like. Even the thinkgeek ad above offends me, and I will type '' in the url bar instead of clicking on it. It's not that I don't like /. and want to support it, but I'm not going to support /. by supporting something that I find offensive and 'rude'.

    If companies would come out of the fucking stone age they (like the RIAA) would realize that the technology is there to do some amazing things that, wow bring their services to the people who want them, and make peoples lives easier, instead of just annoying them.
  • It should be interesting to see how this makes search results change for webcrawling spiders and such. When I search for Frito Lay, is it going to list a (possibly defunct) web page advertisement on Salon?
  • by Gumber ( 17306 ) on Thursday September 27, 2001 @05:43PM (#2361013) Homepage
    You can always pay up, mooch. Or you can just read the 95% drivel other places in the hopes that you will find the gem amongst the gravel.

    I don't know about you, but I value my time enough to see that it is worth paying for some things.

God helps them that themselves. -- Benjamin Franklin, "Poor Richard's Almanac"