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The Almighty Buck

The Successor To Popunder Ads? 510

Croaker writes: "So, apparently, boston.com is trying out these new ads called "Shoshkeles" (the marketeer who came up with that name was on crack, no doubt). The result is an incredibly annoying experience of having crap run around the page you are reading, along with sound. And you thought banner ads sucked. The company responsible for the technology, United Virtualities says these are 'browser driven, platform agnostic, sound enabled, free moving forms that marry total creative license to a whole new level of effectiveness.' Effective in annoying, I guess." The site says "the ads only appear when using an Internet Explorer browser," though. Darn.
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The Successor To Popunder Ads?

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  • Wired.. (Score:2, Informative)

    by dj28 ( 212815 )
    I know that wired.com has been using this advertisement scheme for quite some time. If you are using IE, you will usually see a palm pilot going back and forth across the screen and then fade away to the Palm banner at the bottom. It's very annoying.
    • Re:Wired.. (Score:3, Informative)

      by SilentChris ( 452960 )
      Not only Wired, but CNet/ZDNet as well. The difference is that their ads are limited in time (a few seconds) and "fold" back into a banner quickly as not to be intrusive.

      I agree, the Wired one is highly annoying. They will hopefully get the point when people start spending less than 2 seconds on their site.

    • Weather.com has these as well, but they are MUCH more annoying. The one I had filled up the lower half of your screen with water and a broken pipe, and then had someone standing there, and it was an advertisement for insurance.

      We responded by pulling our partnership with Weather.com. As we explained to them, banner ads and pop-up ads are one thing, but anything that literally takes over the users computer will not by tolerated.
  • by _Marvin_ ( 114749 ) on Saturday December 08, 2001 @09:40AM (#2675335)
    "platform agnostic" and runs on IE only... those marketeers never fail to amuse me.
  • by Frothy Walrus ( 534163 ) on Saturday December 08, 2001 @09:42AM (#2675344)
    the Shoshkele is a traditional Polish dance in which the dancers move around the space a lot. interesting it got used, but i wish it were for something less annoying. :)
  • Amazing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by squaretorus ( 459130 ) on Saturday December 08, 2001 @09:42AM (#2675345) Homepage Journal
    It really is amazing the length some sites will go to to get you to stop using them. If you visit Lycos or Yahoo with IE you get Pizza Hut pizzas flying around the screen more often than not.

    At work I don't notice them, but at home on my cruddy 56kbps they cause a significant slow down - the result? Google gets even MORE of my traffic.
  • IE's Flash player (Score:4, Insightful)

    by breon.halling ( 235909 ) on Saturday December 08, 2001 @09:43AM (#2675351)
    The reason these "Shoshkeles" don't work with Navigator is poor feature support in Navigator's Flash player. Alas, it does not support transparent Flash movies.

    While this "new" form of advertising (I put "new" in quotations, as this kind of thing has been around for almost a year -- though now it's got some ridiculous name) may seem very annoying, the ability to create transparent SWFs in both major browsers is something I have always wanted. Oh well, I doubt that'll ever happen.

    So, to be safe, just stick with good ol' Navigator!
  • I just checked it. Click on the Monster.com link on their showcase page.....

    It's very annoying.
  • Wow! I was floored! How'd they get SWF transparency in Nav?!?!

    It turns out that the links just open up stand-alone SWFs. It's not the live site you're looking at!

    Cheap. And somewhat misleading.
  • These have been around for a good while. I seem to remember some sort of car driving around my screen at one point. Might have been a different technology, but were at least as annoying.

    Want to know what else is annoying? The new Microsoft banner ads. Ignoring the fact that they are MS ads, they would still be annoying as hell. They look like one of the large format banners, but if you even accidentally mouse over them for even just a fraction of a second, they blow up into a half page ad, complete with their new Madonna theme song. Can't find a current example (most were for the launch of XP), but they used to be quite heavily on Cnet's download.com and also on, obvoiously, MSNBC.com and MSN.com.

  • I work in the data center for a moderately large company that sells banner ad software (using a hosted model). All this and more is coming to a web page near you, based on the things our esteemed customers are trying out.
    • Nah, you haven't seen anything yet...

      For those who know some Hebrew - you might want to browse inside Israeli web site with IE - a true joy - flash is the default AD format, and they're jumping WAY ALL OVER - phones, cars, everything right in your face and the close mark is so tiny that you hardly can find it..

      OTOH I'm using Konqueror most of the times - so I don't see those stuff anyway ;)
  • I've just gone and had a look at their demos and sat their thinking "hey those images are poor", and then i loaded another demo and said "hey those images are poor too". While I waited for the second demo to load I tried to click a few of the links... only to find that the entire page was a shockwave file.

    Since they claim to be the actual ads I'm more than a little puzzled as to what these things really are...

    My favourite quote from the press release was "rich media ad format" - in other words here's a pretty advert that will take you too long to download but which is trying to see you broadband.

    If i had broadband that ad is unlikely to be of use to me, and if i didn't I would probably be cursing the fact that you have some damned new advert that wastes my meagre modem bandwidth!
  • Cute, but there's no money in something that cant be clicked, is there?
    • Re:Not clickable (Score:5, Insightful)

      by brunes69 ( 86786 ) <[gro.daetsriek] [ta] [todhsals]> on Saturday December 08, 2001 @10:26AM (#2675478) Homepage

      CLickthroughs are a perverse form of measuring an adds effecity, and adopting this is why Internet advertising revenues have dropped so sharply. Ads are about increasing mindshare, getting word of your product out, and convincing people to try it. They're not suppose dto be "Hey look! Ford sells cars! I'm going to go buy one right NOW!". When was the last time you saw an ad on TV, to immediatly hop in your car and drive to the mall to purshase the item? CHances are, next to never. But maybe later, when you want something in that area, you will remember the ad. This is how advertising is supposed to work. All this clickthrough nonsense as a measure of how effective an ad is is retarded.

      • Sure, some banner ads are the internet equivalent of normal TV ads, such as Thinkgeek's banners, for one, and others that just show you something humerous or witty and hope you remember their company in the future. The banner ads that are doing their best to be the most annoying shit on the planet are the internet equivalents of the short informercials trying to get you to buy their stupid compilation CD, or handy-dandy new gadget that is "Only available through this special TV offer! Buy now! Operators are standing by!" If they don't see sales jump immediately, they're going to cancel those TV commercials (or pull their banner ads from an ad network).

        Big companies can afford to run ads that just get you interesting in the brand name, or force you to remember their name whether you like it or not. They plan to be around for years, so they can play the waiting game... aww the waiting game sucks, let's play hungry hungry hippos instead! Smaller companies that rely on selling one little invention or gadget or service can't afford to wait weeks or months for business to start rolling in, they need clicks to their sites now, and if they don't get them, they're going to either start pulling their ads, or finding ways to make their ads more intrusive, so you have no choice but to watch them, and probably will be more likely to click on them (if for no other reason than by mistake cause they're covering up the story you want to read ;)
  • These shoshwhatevers are shockwave flash based, and clicking on the link provided by the /. article, only suceeded in popping up a bunch of more windows requesting me to download the flash player from macromedia.

    Frankly, I have flash turned off in konqueror on FreeBSD, and hitting sites which make extensive use of flash would only guarantee that i never return again. If you can't create an ad which draws my attention and my interest with just the facts, then so long and thanks for all the fish.

    I'm willing to bet that we'd start seeing initiatives within the opensource community to include filters within the opensource browsers (mozilla, konqueror) which automatically blocks 468x60 and 125x125 sized images, replacing them with either an interesting graphic or perhaps a random image from the user's disk. I'd much rather be looking at something I like over something which pops up and hits me right in the face, literally.

    Without advertising, the truth is a lot of the free content we get will just not exist. This is a fact of the matter, and for this I tolerate banner ads over the page. However to take it one step further and thrust it into my nose is a little too much. Sites like these will hear the whooshing sound of my browser giving them the pass.

  • Covering the content (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Therlin ( 126989 )
    What I hate about these ads is that they are actually covering the content that I am trying to read (which is the reason why I came to the site to begin with). So I have started visiting those sites less and less everyday.

    It is as if you were trying to watch TV and a guy with a "Buy M&Ms" sign would step in front of the TV while my show is going on.
    • It is as if you were trying to watch TV and a guy with a "Buy M&Ms" sign would step in front of the TV while my show is going on.

      Just wait. In a couple of years, when the price of PVRs go down enough so that everyone can afford them, TV stations are going to start doing just that. Shoving advertising on top of regular TV content. Probably taking up portions of the screen like the side/top whatever. Maybe shrinking down the image and filling the borders with advertisements.

      Long gone will be the days of bathroom breaks and channel surfing.
  • the ads on this page [unitedvirtualities.com] work in Mozilla 0.9.3 on Windows platform.
  • by LoudMusic ( 199347 ) on Saturday December 08, 2001 @10:04AM (#2675414)
    I work for an advertising and marketing firm in central Arkansas. Let me tell you, it's scary when the account execs (sales people) and creatives get together and start scheming up new ways to bludgen the public with marketing slogans. The worst are when they come to me asking for technical advice. On several occations I've told them the best thing to do is leave 'technology' out, because they'd only screw it up. They don't listen, and they screw up, nearly every time. This Shoshkeles thing is a prefect example. It COULD have been cool, but instead it's annoying and people are going to bitch and moan. Then it's going to go away.

    All we need is a simple link at the bottom of the page that says "Lots of neat stuff". And when you click the link, you _actually_ get a page with lots of neat stuff. That would be freaking amazing! (:

    ~LoudMusic
  • IE 5.1 on Mac OS X doesn't work, and Adsubtract on W2K blocks them, too. (Checked IE on W2K, but I usually use Mozilla)

    I feel so ... marginalized.
  • I tried one of their same pages using O6 (final, winXX), and it appears to work as well.

    These really aren't anything new per se; I swear I saw ads that used DHTML on Yahoo before (the one set I remember had birds flying from a small box ad on the lower part of the page up to the top banner ad shortly after loading. I bet that the yahoo ones didn't use sound, of course.

  • I've seen 'em all over the place, adcritic.com had them, so did mp3.com.

    Microsoft used them to advertise Windows XP a whole lot.
  • by bildstorm ( 129924 ) <peter.buchy@NOSpAm.shh.fi> on Saturday December 08, 2001 @10:10AM (#2675436) Homepage Journal

    As much as I would Microsoft to up and go away, well, these ads are not going to kill IE. IE is just too easy to get, runs all the stuff people want, and it comes on their Windows boxes.


    However, sites that use these features are likely to lose users. Yeah, they'll keep their techy users who use Mozilla, etc., but their joe-average users will disappear. (Why should I read Boston.com when I can read CNN.com and get none of those crappy ads?)


    Case in point is that I almost never visit C|Net or ZDNet anymore. The ads are lousy. The content doesn't justify the annoyance. I use to read Builder.com [builder.com] all the time. Now I just visit Molly.com [molly.com] and see where her latest articles are.


    Reality is that advertising is only tolerated as long as it's justified. I click on the ads on Slashdot because they're well targetted. I read BBC News because there are no ads. I used to watch Sci-Fi because there were fewer ads. If it really comes down to it, eventually I'll only visit government sites and my paid subscriptions because like many a business user, I don't have time to wait the 5 seconds on a page while checking to see if an article is worth reading.

    • by jonbrewer ( 11894 ) on Saturday December 08, 2001 @01:24PM (#2675909) Homepage
      These ads are not targeted at you, nor at consumers who fit your profile. The tech-saavy user who is bothered by intrusive ads does not register on the radar screen of the advertisers and ad firms buying these ads on sites such as boston.com and weather.com.

      I like to think these ads are targeted at my parents. Mom is not going to stop visiting weather.com because an ad for allergy medicine dumped a bunch of colored leaves on her web page for a few seconds. In fact, she likes the ad. (If you haven't seen this ad, get on an XP system with IE 6 and watch. It's actually pretty cool.)

      While it probably annoys dad, he's not going to go back to watching the weather channel on TV, because the web site gets him the weather instantly compared to waiting for the local forecast on TV. And it would take quite an interruption for him to make him seek out another website for his weather.

      Bottom line is that "joe-average users" don't give a shit about ads, and aren't going to alter their media consumption patterns to keep them away from what you may consider "lousy ads." The advertisers know this, and so are keeping up with technology in the name of competition.

      JB

      (IANAA, but I do have a degree in Advertising.)
  • These guys keep trying to think up better ways of advertising on the web. First it was banners, popups, whatever. They could be better spending their time thinking of something to do on the web besides advertise.
    The real problem here is that the web is the number one application on the internet. We need to replace the web with a better internet application. Only, I can't think of anything else. Can you?
    • The real problem here is that the web is the number one application on the internet. We need to replace the web with a better internet application. Only, I can't think of anything else. Can you?

      The unfortunate thing is that we're already kind of stuck in this advertising revenue framework. There are better applications. Consider slashdot and other "news" sites. A much better application would be to have the news and messages in rdf or xml format, and then simply have the client display it however it wants. The number one reason why this is not done is because Slashdot wants to protect its ad revenue.

      I suggest that VA Software reconsider this model. They're making basically nothing off of ad revenue anyway, and they have maybe 12 months of cash left. Even if they do succeed, it's not going to be because of ad revenue, it's going to be because of software licenses.

      So I say to LNUX, as a last ditch effort, offer everything in XML format. The storys, the links, the messages, everything. At the very least you'll go out of business one month earlier. But maybe you won't, and/or maybe you'll be able to start a whole new paradigm in the mean time.

  • I just love this quote from Whats a Shoshkele? [unitedvirtualities.com]
    This technology does not require plug-ins, and there is no discernable download for users.
    Sorry, but these ads use flash. this does require a plugin. The plugin is already present with Internet Explorer.
    Downloading a regular ad is usually slow through my dial-up connection. The size of the ad usually dwarfs the rest of the page. I definitely do not want to be downloading a flash ad before I can see my content.
  • First, let me say that line was the most buzzword-complient I've ever seen.

    Second, how can it be both "platform-agnostic" and yet only show up on IE? It just goes to show that the buzzword list was created in the complete absence of information on the product.

    Third, let me say that I am glad this is IE only, as it won't affect my browsing under Mozilla.

    Fourth, what is it with marketing people - do they STUDY to learn how to alienate their customers, or to they just come into it naturatlly?
  • Well, I went to have a look at the examples, but nothing happened. I guess that's what happens when you turn off scripting by default.

    I did see something similar with my old email provider[another.com] - a picture of a cellphone popped up in front of my email message, and started looping crazily around the screen. I changed email providers and haven't visited them since.

    However, it can get quite annoying to visit a site (mostly big corporations with "professional" web designers) to see nothing but a blank page... The number of times I've thought a website didn't exist, only to look at the source and see a list of JavaScript calls to display the page.

    I'm working on a wrapper for IE5, where you can toggle pictures/popups/javascript/security zone at the touch of a button, so that should sort out most of the problems...
  • by krugdm ( 322700 ) <slashdot@nOsPAM.ikrug.com> on Saturday December 08, 2001 @10:18AM (#2675458) Homepage Journal

    Well, on IE5 for OS X anyway...

    If you control-click (or right click if you have a two-button mouse) the menu that pops up as a bunch of Flash options. Click on "Rewind" (there's no "Stop" option) and the ad goes away and doesn't come back.

    I know the obvious solution would be to disable Flash, but my daughter likes playing online games that require it, so that's not an option...

  • Whats the point? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by t_allardyce ( 48447 )
    All these stupid advert-technologies can be killed with a simple filtering proxy setup right. The only problem is when microsoft decides that webpages should be made of closed source formats and filtering becomes much harder. What we really need, is a program that scans a page and extracts all the good stuff and puts it in your own custom formatting/fonts etc. and basically makes all pages look the same, with one comman interface. That way, designers can get it out of their dumb heads that they can control what happens on my computer, and instead just provide the content.

    Only problem is, if you go to a pop-stars webpage like 'westlife' and the program says "error: no useful content found" :)
  • by JPZ ( 42691 )
    Contrary to the statements made in the article, they work just fine in Mozilla as well! (At least under WinNT).

    Great to see Mozilla catching up to Explorer....
  • by Kozz ( 7764 ) on Saturday December 08, 2001 @10:32AM (#2675493)
    Well, it appears that United Virtualities [unitedvirtualities.com] has trademarked the name "Shoshkele". Maybe if we're lucky, that means they've attempted to patent the advertisement method and will hence enforce it, resulting in fewer companies overall that would use this type of obtrusive advertising? Ha - we could only wish. From their webpage,
    "Please note that the demos showcased on this page are Flash 4 based. This is done for confidentiality reasons. If you need to test the functionality of final release Shoshkeles (TM) please contact us."
    So they're showing us demos in Flash 4 so that people can't "view source" to rip off the code? Meaning that the ads are actually NOT Flash 4 but something else, perhaps, as they say that the ads don't actually require any plugin.

    I'm thinking that sooner or later, people will start ripping off this ad style, and they're not going to call it a "Shoshkele". Unless UV patents this ad method, (and IANAL) I don't see how they can keep others from ripping them off. Besides, I've already seen annoying ads like these on weather.com.

    Now all we need is a filter for this sort of crap in Mozilla and I'll go back to using it.

    • Besides, I've already seen annoying ads like these on weather.com.


      The more recent, more annoying ads are the reason I've stopped using weather.com. I like the site, but the ads are just too annoying.
      I have no objection to advertisments, but I do have an objection to them if they are annoying. I used to use weather.com because they had good local radar graphics. But even their radar graphics aren't worth the annoyance of their advertisments!


      Now I exclusively use ADDS [noaa.gov], a government provided service with no advertisments (which has some nice Java tools, too).

  • by autopr0n ( 534291 ) on Saturday December 08, 2001 @10:36AM (#2675504) Homepage Journal
    Actually, to me these seem a lot less annoying then popups/popunders. At least for the fact they can't spawn all over your desktop resulting in minutes of annoyance. And they disappear on their own, which is a huge bonus.

    The sound part is really obnoxious, though.

    Also, this isn't the first time something like this has been tried, although it may be the first time the crap appeared on top of the content you're trying to get, yahoo used something similar a while back on their main page.

    As for these only working in IE? Well, that's just because the advertising company didn't bother to spend like 5 minutes getting the implementation to work in Moz, having done DHTML in both IE and Moz, I can say that it's can be a pain, and clutter up your code, to get something that will work in both, it's certainly possible. Oh look, boston.com also threw in a pup under, just for fun. Advertising a broken image, apparently.
    • Well, that's just because the advertising company didn't bother to spend like 5 minutes getting the implementation to work in Moz

      Actually, it's a bit more complicated than that. Plugins in Mozilla are based on the Netscape 4 plugin architecture. This means that they don't support transparency or layering as they do in the Flash ActiveX control. So, the marekting company would have to also contract with Macromedia to develop a "window-less" plugin API for Mozilla for all platforms. Basically, all that they could do now in Mozilla is have a box show up on the screen. You currently cannot get the same effect as you do in IE. And because of that, you more than likely will get agencies to start pushing IE becaus eyou can do crap like this. BTW, window-less plugins are not supported on Mac OS either so it doesn't work there either.
  • The other day I was reading salon and this jaguar ad started out like an innocent 160xmumble standard ad banner. Said something about "rip into jaguar" or something equally retarded. Then this paper-tearing effect starts and extends down and to the left, covering about 30% of the page i was reading. super, super annoying...

    You know, really, I don't mind banner ads all that much, as long as they are reasonably circumspect and don't actively try to annoy me. I've even been know to click on some of them if they looked interesting. However, I've pledged to myself that I will not click on the ads for or buy ANYTHING from companies that use hectic, spasm-inducing animated gifs, super-size flash ads, ads with sound, popunder ads, popup ads, or any other species from the menangerie of ads whose theory seems to be "Let's stick our thumb up the user's butt, and he'll be really pissed off now! Somehow, that'll make him wanna buy our cheap crap! Yeahyeahyeah! Hand me the crack pipe again, bob!".

  • by Dog and Pony ( 521538 ) on Saturday December 08, 2001 @10:43AM (#2675520)
    "This ad will disappear if you leave this site."
  • by jqs ( 67745 )
    I'm a web developer and I had to investigate a technology called 'vokens'. This is the same thing as reported in the article but by another company, www.eyereturn.com. (There boast of 'the only company to offer vokens!) These vokens did work outside of IE.
    After research, I found that many of the big compnays are doing this type of advertising but all under different names as if that make the technology proprietary.
    So far, realmedia.com, ad4ever.com, doublclick.com, eyereturn.com are all doing them. You can see an annoying one on www.tsn.ca/nhl.
    The problem with the technology is great. We found that if we let an external company put a 'voken' on our website with a Javascript Source tag, they could hijack the entire site via the DOM.
    A quick presentation to my management with a development box showing how I could, with a voken stored on one of my personal servers, take over our compnay's website and put my own message up stopped our research into the technology.
    Do not, under any circumstances put a tag in your code when the source is nto on a trusted server.
  • Reason being that that on IE 4 and higher on Windows support "window-less" plugins or controls. Meaning that the plugin is not bound to a new window class, but can be instantiated like a another element, such as an image on the page. A window-less control can also support transparency and layering which is why it can float on top of the page.

    This was never implemented on the Mac, and I don't think Netscape ever bothered to get it working on Linux either (hard to tell seeing how very few developers released plugins for Linux or any other UNIX OS). So, IMHO, this is kind like a huge plug for alternative OS's like OS X and Linux simply because these ads can't work. If I recall correctly, there are plans to eventually include window-less controls in Mozilla. This is a good idea for designers and such but we all know that some marketing schmoe is going to abuse it. Much like they are now.
  • I saw this very type of ad on Yahoo! the other day... it was a lemon that bounced around the screen for a bit, then moved off to the side. Its pretty annoying, and I fully expect to see a lot more of that in the coming months.

    These people have to understand how it is going to effect their site! I think it detracts from what the site is really offering, and I'm willing to bet that a lot of viewers won't be inclined to use the site as they had previously. Once this type of advertising demonstrates the damage it can cause to a site's image and readership, then we'll move on the next phase of advertising... how about something that doesn't suck?
  • While this does not really stop the ads from using dhtml to hork around with your page, having most of the ads DNS name pointed to your own server with a light 404 or (nothing at all) goes a long way to making everything right in the world.

    I use to collect my own list, and then I found http://www.smartin-designs.com/ [smartin-designs.com] 's site that covers most everything.

    Now if I could just figure out how to replace all 1px images with my own transparent gif - damn those web bugs....
    • 1px square images can be effectively disabled in Mozilla by adding the following to your userContent.css file:

      IMG[height="1"][width="1"], IMG[height="1px"][width="1px"]
      {display: none !important;}

      This file is in the chrome subdirectory of your person profile. It's a bit of stylesheet that overrides everything else and prevents mozilla from loading any 1x1 image. OK so some pages where webauthors might be using these as spacers might display a bit. Boohoo.
  • This is nothing new! I've been seeing this for several months, now. Also, it's just Macromedia Flash, so it actually can run on Netscape with Macromedia Flash installed. Maybe the advertisers are too dump to know that, but isn't that a good thing? So advertisers are computer stupid, our government is computer stupid, AOL users are computer stupid. Is there no end?
  • by david_g ( 24196 ) on Saturday December 08, 2001 @11:09AM (#2675584)

    Ok, they're really annoying, but at least they're creatively made. And let's face it. Ads are the main driving force of all the media. Why should the net be any different? There is no such thing as a 'free lunch' as everyone knows...


    Not that I like ads, but I understand sites need to have a way to survive. What I would like to see, though is:



    1. An alternative to seeing those ads: some kind of subscription method for people who are regulars to a site and don't mind contributing. In exchange, they get to turn the ads off, and maybe some other goodies.
    2. For people who don't want to subscribe, and since they'll be seeing the ads anyway, at least give them a way to choose what kind of ads they want to see.
    3. For everybody else, tough. The world doesn't revolve around you and people have to eat. If you don't like it, go find other sites to see.


    People really should stop being so selfish. I'm starting to believe that the 'geek' title so many people here are proud to use is nothing more than a certificate of insensitiveness, egocentrism and selfishness...


    How about... growing up?

    • by sapped ( 208174 )
      The point is not that most people want all the ads to go away. Most of us with a brain realize that the ads are required. If the ads are there in a nonintrusive way, then people will be more likely to click on them if they are relevant.

      Take weather.com for example. Massive ads for some or other casino every time I visit. Big waste of bandwidth for me - big waste of resources for them. Big waste all round, because I am not interested in gambling at all.

      Now, after I have not clicked on an ad for the 700th time, the advertiser should slowly start getting a message. "Hmmm, maybe this guy does not like gambling. How about we try some car adverts on him?" As they have a cookie to track me already, how difficult can this be!?
    • Ok, they're really annoying, but at least they're creatively made.

      Yeah, and so were banner ads for the first year (tops). If the history of the web is any indication, it won't take long before the uncreative marketing types drown us all in absolute garbage.

      People really should stop being so selfish. I'm starting to believe that the 'geek' title so many people here are proud to use is nothing more than a certificate of insensitiveness, egocentrism and selfishness...

      Selfish is expecting to be rewarded in any way for putting up some crap site. Because most here are geeks, we do understand what it takes to put a site together and what it is "worth", either in subscription cost or ad annoyance. Far too many sites overvalue their content, and that is why you're never going to see them move to a subscription model, because then reality really comes crashing down on you when you discover that your site is so worthless that people won't pay a bloody buck a month for it.

      How about... growing up?

      How about getting back to the idea that the web was based on (sharing information) instead of trying to turn everything into a profit making venture?

    • What's with all the whitespace...

      Anyhoo. The ads are for the suckers. It's just another stupid tax. For those people too stupid to use mozilla, too stupid to use a proxy, too stupid to change their home page, too stupid to do anything but open their mouths wide so that corporations can shovel shit down their throats.

      I say let the stupid pay the stupid tax. The rest of us can enjoy ourselves at their expense.

      BTW. This kind of thing is exactly why IE invented. IE is not a web browser it's an advertisement delivery device to windows users.
  • The Onion [theonion.com] had this sort of floating ad flying around the screen with that Say It Isn't So movie.(Guy fucks girl, discovers big secret: is she really his sister? Who cares?)

    It lasted for less than a week, and I never saw anything like it since. I believe people bitched so loudly at them that they decided to stop running the ads. Now they're using the "redirect" ads for the AV Club section (click on link, get a full-page ad that redirects you to the content after a pause). Very annoying.

    -Legion

  • I'm so very tired of the "advertising" model of Webvenue (kinda like revenue) that I'm willing to pay to avoid it. This kind of ad is getting in the way of the actual content I'm seeking.

    Of course this means information will be less available, but I can afford a little expense to have a pleasant online experience.

    Where do I sign up for a pre-paid, ad-free Internet?

  • After seeing those demos, I'm about 10 times less likely to consider AT&T broadband, and I'm NEVER going to visit boston.com ever, ever again. It doesn't seem to me that one doesn't want to ANNOY THE HELL out of potential customers, but these ads seem specifically designed to do just that.
  • Since i use mozilla i wanted to see if their ads would work on it. The reason they work, is that the demos are completely done in flash. Just look at the source, its only about ten lines, and only contains the swf file.
    I think it is a bit strange that they arent using the actual html to perform their dog and pony show.
  • unbelievable (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ethereal ( 13958 ) on Saturday December 08, 2001 @11:30AM (#2675649) Journal

    Y'know, reading the comments here, I had no idea what I'd been missing. You people have been stuck with ads that are literally taking over your computers, and not in the old-fashioned millions-of-onexit-porn-windows sense, either. And all you can say is "well, that's pretty annoying, so I don't go to that site anymore"?? Wake up!

    At least now I know that everyone who crows about how IE is such a superior browser have been just blowing smoke for the last few years - using the supposedly "inferior" Netscape browser, all I seem to miss out on are annoying advertisements. Sure, I'll admit that Netscape has problems, but I can honestly say that nothing about using NS 4.7x over the past few years has ever been as annoying as having an ad take over my whole computer screen the way it's described here.

    Face it - for all your IE boosterism, you've been using and applauding a superior marketing platform, nothing more. Considering that Microsoft is basically an advertising business, maybe this shouldn't be as much of a surprise to me...

    ...my god, I'm about to turn into one of those lynx-using elitists. Ack!

  • This "bug" (actually an enhancement suggestion) would mirror Mozilla's image blocking features for Flash objects. Users would be able to block Flash from all sites, selected sites, or enable a pop-up asking whether a site is permitted to run Flash.

    It sounds like a perfect solution for people who want to keep Flash available while avoiding "Shoshkeles" and the like.
  • by Second_Derivative ( 257815 ) on Saturday December 08, 2001 @11:50AM (#2675706)

    OK, I'm an admin at a rather large (5000ish users) messageboard. [ffwa.org] Pray excuse the blatant plug but this is a fairly good case in point. People tend to spend extensive amounts of time on it, and the average users online is somewhere in the region of fifty during busy hours. So, naturally one would expect the company running the banner ads running our site to be thrilled (well, we dont do business with them directly, instead we go via the GSN network). Err, yeah possibly. Now let's examine the demographic for a second here. Check the calendar and some people's profiles and it would appear that most people are around, say, 14-21 years of age, with a lot living in Canada and the united kingdom, as well as the US.

    So why the bloody hell do I see ads for god damn anti-baldness cream?! Saw these a while ago. I dont know many teenagers with a hairloss problem. Only, now we see some long-distance offers for as little as 4 cents per hour! wow! I'm ecstatic! please! tell me where to sign up!!!!

    Oh, hang on

    See, if you resolve my IP, it ends in .uk

    So I'm not eligible for the service.

    Drat.

    Such a pity they wasted an impression on me.

    This shouldnt be happening. Come on, if they stopped using their technical expertise to come up with elaborate systems which send me cookies but don't even sharpen their focus, they might be able to come up with something a bit more clever. Like resolving my IP (I'm gonna view more than one page per site so they can cache it) and serving me an ad based on something that's available in my area. Like an ADSL ISP in the UK with interesting rates - this might actually warrant me to click on it, and considering most people don't suddenly drop everything and tear off to their nearest Volkswagen dealership as soon as they see an ad on TV, that's an impression definately NOT wasted.

    Or during the signup process for our site we could supply some information about us. Like the fact that we're a site based around a computer game series, or that most people here arent actually old enough to take out a credit card account with all those wonderful APR incentives. Serve me an ad for where I can get a PS2 or GeForce3 in the UK on the cheap! I'd click that too!

    No, let's be big, flashy and patronising. That's always worked, hasnt it. Morons.

  • BIG QUESTION (Score:4, Insightful)

    by FFFish ( 7567 ) on Saturday December 08, 2001 @11:52AM (#2675710) Homepage
    Big Question: Do advertisements work, or are companies being duped?

    Do advertisements work? Is there really an increase in sales after a product is advertised? Does everyone run out and buy Vidal Sassoon when the salon advertisement plays? Does GM really sell more "like a rocks" because of their ads?

    I understand that at one level, advertisements must work: people won't buy a product if they aren't aware of it.

    But beyond making people aware (ie. stating "Hey, this product exists, here's what it can do for you" in the simplest possible form), does advertising work?

    Do flashy annoying ads work better than static ads?

    Or are businesses being suckered by the world's best conmen?
  • by weave ( 48069 ) on Saturday December 08, 2001 @01:25PM (#2675912) Journal
    Go into Tools -> Internet Options, click on Security tab, then Custom Level. Scroll a wee bit down and change "Run ActiveX Controls and plug-ins" and "Script ActiveX controls" from enabled to prompt.

    It not only kills this kinda crap, it also protects you from the malicious IE/activeX hole of the week.

    Now, since all plugins are installed as an activeX control of sometype (including java and flash), you need to say Yes when prompted for those. You'll quickly learn when to say yes and no from practice. You can't make a mistake since you're basically always saying yes by default. If you say No and some page functionality you WANT to see is lost, reload and answer Yes.

  • by vscjoe ( 537452 ) on Saturday December 08, 2001 @02:49PM (#2676139)
    Is a mid-size window with a puzzle piece. It seems like they are trying to open up a full-scren Flash window (I am sooo disappointed). It would be really bad for browsers to allow this, not only because it's annoying but also because it allows Trojan horses (pop up a screen that looks like a Windows NT loging screen, for example).
  • by Kasreyn ( 233624 ) on Saturday December 08, 2001 @03:04PM (#2676189) Homepage
    Apparently ever /. weenie sees this as a golden opportunity to crawl out from under their rock and scream about IE sucking. Here's a tip for you clueless wankers:

    Tools | Internet Options

    Security Tab. Click Custom Level. Select everything under "ActiveX" to "prompt" (or "disable").

    Click Ok. Click Apply.

    Enjoy your Shoshkele-less surfing.

    Sheeeeesh.

    -Kasreyn,

    who is tired of /.ers knocking IE for being Evil without acknowledging its strengths.

    P.S. Since Boston.com were so nice about carefully commenting what their HTML does, I should have my "Kill Shoshkeles" rule for the Proxomitron written in about 20 minutes.
    • I don't think anyone should knock IE for being terrible, because it is a worthy effort, especially since Netscape stopped trying (although that really was MS' fault) and Mozilla doesn't have a usable UI yet. But there are much better alternatives out there. In OnmiWeb I can not only turn off scripting, I can leave it on and set "Scripts can only open new windows: in response to being clicked" or "Scripts can only open new windows: never." In addition to a bunch of other great privacy options such as deleting cookies on quit, running applets only when clicked on, built-in browser masquerading, just to name a few. Also noteworthy is the fact that other browsers don't need this feature because no one else in willing to expose thier users to the security exploits inherent in ActiveX. Even the Mac version of IE ships with ActiveX disabled. IE suffers from the mediocrity that plagues all MS products; that doesn't make it bad, but most people want to go for something better.
  • by waldoj ( 8229 ) <waldo@jaquith . o rg> on Saturday December 08, 2001 @03:22PM (#2676221) Homepage Journal
    Guys, this sucks, but we've got to pay our hosting bills. And that's all there is to it. One of my sites (we won our second annual VH1 Music Award for "Coolest Fan Website" just last weekend) is tremendously popular. Bajillions of hits each month, and traffic increases by about 15% each month, every month. In the past 16 months, we went from getting $4 CPM to $0.22 CPM on our ads, and that number is rapidly dropping. With a monthly hosting and bandwidth bill of $450, that's just not cutting it. Now only about 10% of our ads shown are network ads; the rest are for t-shirts and stickers that we sell. So now we have to put a lot of work into printing and shipping shirts, which sucks; we just want to be running a website.

    Y'all can't free-ride forever -- these hosting and bandwidth fees have to be paid somehow. Yes, the ads suck, yes, they're poorly-placed, yes, they don't pertain to you, yes, they're intrusive. But that's not our fault. Most of us are just trying to break even so that we can pursue our hobby sites. So suck it up and deal with terrible ads.

    -Waldo Jaquith
  • by nebby ( 11637 ) on Saturday December 08, 2001 @03:46PM (#2676294) Homepage
    Honestly, I think the major problem with web advertising is the fact that advertisers under-estimate its effectiveness.

    Think about it, if you were watching a television and an ad for a new car came up, and you had a button on your remote to stop watching your show and get more information about the car, how many people would hit the button? Zero. That's exactly what banner ads are doing.

    Impressions are everything, clicking on a banner ad is unsurprisingly a very rare occasion. Just like the ads on TV, when you have a banner ad you're paying for product exposure and awareness, nothing more. Advertisers shouldn't expect a banner ad to turn directly into profit (ie, user clicks on banner ad, goes to site, immediately buys product. See: affiliate programs) since no other ad model expects this (except maybe those Call Now! TV ads.)

    I honestly don't have a problem with these flyover ads. They're in there for the right reason: exposure. Banner ads never really did the job as far as exposure goes, simply because they're very easy to completely avoid glancing over for the trained web user.

    These new ads are probably clickable, but I would expect that the exposure element is what you're paying for. You don't have to read the site, so you have no right to bitch. I think this model will end up being the most successful (though yes, the most annoying for anal Slashdot anti-ad centric users.)

    Too many people here seem to forget that the ads are not target towards Linux running cookie-avoiding anti-Flash/Glitz/graphics geeks. They're targeted towards the people who look at the web like an interactive up to date television, and for those people, this will probably succeed better than the others. You guys are a speck on the radar, and for all the snickering about "haha platform agnostic my ass!" and "I'll just turn off Flash! I am so smart!" they might be the ones laughing all the way to the bank in the end. I guess we'll just have to see.
  • by crucini ( 98210 ) on Saturday December 08, 2001 @06:13PM (#2676676)
    Attention!
    1. The 'demos' are shockwave.
    2. The real shoshkeles are DHTML, not shockwave.

    A lot of the comments have been based on not understanding this. People post "it works in $browser on $OS."
    More fundamentally, this is a persistent problem with Slashdot. Neither the story submitter nor the editor takes the two minutes to dig up and answer the most obvious question or confusion that will arise from the provided links. Therefore instead of an informed discussion we get lots of people blundering around in the dark, powered by misconceptions.

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