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This Headline Is Not for Sale 275

r.jimenezz writes "Adam Penenberg's latest article on Wired News discusses the growing trend of inserting ads more directly into online content, as publishers strive to keep readers clicking and to stretch advertising dollars, most of which go to a few big companies. He mentions the example of Vibrant Media, which links 'certain words in an article' directly to ads, and has been covered before on Slashdot, as have Penenberg's previous articles."
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This Headline Is Not for Sale

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  • by Chran ( 142121 ) on Thursday August 19, 2004 @08:33AM (#10011210) Homepage Journal
    I use Mozilla Firefox and it's a breeze to block those ads using AdBlock [texturizer.net]

    Just create a rule to either block 'vibrantmedia' and 'intellitxt'.

    Easy as pie!
    • The reason links are being incorperated directly into content are because the web advertising model isn't working. There are many reasons for this, but certainly one of them is that people like you block adverts.

      Why do you do it? Do you think that servers and bandwidth pay for themselves? How do you expect sites to put up impartial (read: not sponsored) content without some way for the site owners to make enough money to pay the bills?

      The only thing ad blocking does is push webmasters into new directi
      • by BlackHawk-666 ( 560896 ) <ivan.hawkes@gmail.com> on Thursday August 19, 2004 @08:46AM (#10011312) Homepage
        I never click on the banners, and since most revenue is now derived from click-throughs, I don't see the point in displaying them on my machine. Why should I be *forced* to see some ad when I don't have to. In any case, those greedy bastards would expand advertising into every possible medium, not because they aren't already making money (they are) but because they always want more money. On the very few sites which carry ads I am interested in I let the server display them (Penny Arcade, SlashDot).
        • by dave420 ( 699308 ) on Thursday August 19, 2004 @09:39AM (#10011746)
          You're *forced* to view the ad, because you're viewing their site. If you like the site, click the ad. You don't have to go all the way through to checkout for click-thrus to be noticed. Heck, one impression is enough to get noticed.

          The site most likely pays for itself or its contributors through adverts. If you don't click on the adverts, their revenue stream decreases, and unless they can find new ways to advertise (read: more intrusive), the site will just close up shop.

          So, you either have intrusive ads, or many fewer sites. It really is that simple :)

          • I don't block ads (well, no pop ups)...

            they can find new ways to advertise (read: more intrusive)

            But all those FLaShIng BanNeRS are REALLY starting to annoy the hell out of me, and I think I'll start blocking soon.

            You're *forced* to view the ad, because you're viewing their site. If you like the site, click the ad.

            I won't do it to be a moocher, I'll do it because the ads get in the way of the content.

            Its damn hard to read something when its surrounded by banners that flash in very bright and contra
            • by dave420 ( 699308 ) on Thursday August 19, 2004 @10:39AM (#10012324)
              Banner ads didn't get in the way of content, and people still found an excuse to ban them - "they hurt my eyes" or "my bandwidth! my precious bandwidth!".

              Advertisers were playing fair, years ago. The banner ad was the ubiquitous form of internet advertising, and it always stayed within the little bar at the top of the page, and maybe one at the bottom. That was still too much for people, and so the ad-blockers were created. Soon, those sites couldn't turn a profit, and so their advertising department/provider (in order to save themselves) had to come up with new ways of improving the click-thru on their ads. That led us to pop-ups, flash ads, interstitials, pop-unders, etc. The more people block, the more intrusive the adverts have to become. If people left the banner ads alone, we wouldn't be in this state.

              • my bandwidth! my precious bandwidth!

                More like "buy more bandwidth dammit!" I get "stuck" on some pages where the damn adserver doesn't have the bandwidth to give me my damn ad, causing mozilla to sit there with just the top of the page rendered waiting for that banner to load so it can render the part of the page I actually want to see. This hasn't happened recently though, either everyone else blocking ads means the server has enough bandwidth to give me mine, or mozilla learned to render a whole page
        • Why should I be *forced* to see some ad when I don't have to.

          Umm, because it's paying for the site you're using? Would you prefer to enter your credit card number for every site?

          Whilest I agree with blocking ads that are specifically designed to be annoying, blocking unobtrusive targetted ads such as Google's seems exceptionally shortsighted.
          • I guess people responding to my parent post didn't read the bit where I say that I don't block ads on sites that are relevant, or sites I want to support. The sites that get ads blocked are the ones where they are present on all four sides of the page, and with a dirty great big flashing Flash ad in the middle of the article. I wouldn't have blocked just banner ads, but they started appearing down the sides, and started flashing and it has become really hard to read the content since it's the only thing on
      • No, I don't think bandwidth and whatever pays for itself, but like many others have also said, I simply don't click on ads, so the difference for the advertisers is the same.

        Also, I'd like to decide for myself what I want to display on my computer and what I don't.
      • Don't block, hide (Score:5, Interesting)

        by vadim_t ( 324782 ) on Thursday August 19, 2004 @08:54AM (#10011369) Homepage
        Instead of blocking advertisements, the good strategy is to load them, but just don't display them. I was even thinking here of trying to patch some ad-removing proxy for that, and also making some kind of program that would "click" on ads at night.

        Main point of that is that you get to see the site, and if it's well done, neither the advertiser nor the site have any way of finding what are you doing on your end, so the site still gets paid.

        Of course, that'll probably accelerate the inclusion of links to ads in content, but that can be easily dealt with by the same proxy which already does pattern matching for URLs anyway. It won't take long until ad blockers start appending [ad!] after those links.
        • That would defeat my reason for blocking them--cutting down on my bandwidth. Not everyone has 100mbps connections directly to the backbone, you know....
          On the other hand, until the advertisers caught on, it'd be a great way to help your favorite website make a few extra $$$ every month, since clickthroughs are where the money is. And you're making the ad-hosting server waste money at the same time.
          Still, defrauding these companies might be considered slightly immoral.
          • True, but you have to look at it in the long run.

            Avoiding to load ads really solves nothing on the long run. The advertiser probably doesn't care at all. The site simply doesn't get paid, so who'd be concerned is whoever hosts the ads. I'm sure the advertisers are really happy to let the sites deal with that. And it all ends in an unending race of blockers vs advertisers.

            This on the other hand, directly messes with the advertiser, who will have absolutely no way of finding what part of their statistics ar
            • Avoiding to load ads really solves nothing on the long run. The advertiser probably doesn't care at all. The site simply doesn't get paid, so who'd be concerned is whoever hosts the ads. I'm sure the advertisers are really happy to let the sites deal with that. And it all ends in an unending race of blockers vs advertisers.

              Sorry, I missed the part where ads were inherently a bad thing. The only thing I dislike about ads are the really flashy annoying huge ones that take up too much of my bandwidth and di
      • I see your point, but how would I, by downloading the advertisements and consuming the web site's bandwith, but by ignoring the advertisements on the page, help them? By being number in statistics?

        I can't remember to ever have bought anything as a result of seeing an advertisement on the web. If I want something, I go out and look for it myself. :)

        I might not be the perfect consumer, but blocking such ads gives me a better surfing experience and I don't consume their expensive bandwith unnecessarily.
      • unless you WANT a subscription based Internet

        And here I was paying my internet bill every month like a sucker!
      • I only block certain kinds of advertisements that I consider egregious abuses of the medium. These include popup and popover ads and ads from companies that have abused their ability to track my movements on the Net in the past (like DoubleClick). For 'stealth' ads like these, I will block the ones that I can find a way to block, too. If you use fancy JavaScript ads that dance across the webpage I'm trying to read and I can't find a way to get rid of them, I will just avoid your site.

        Banner ads and even
      • Why do you do it? Do you think that servers and bandwidth pay for themselves? How do you expect sites to put up impartial (read: not sponsored) content without some way for the site owners to make enough money to pay the bills?

        I don't care. I figure there are enough suckers out there who don't block ads. The advertisers can pay for their eyeballs, and I get a free ride. Prisoner's Dilemma.

        Of course if the ratio of blockers to suckers gets too high, the ad revenue dries up and the site goes down. Too bad

      • There are lots of reasons, really. Fundamentally, ads are annoying. They are designed to grab attention and I visit the website to look at something else. I don't want my attention diverted by flashing graphics or popups.

        Having established why I want them blocked, here are some further thoughts:

        - It is a free world. Web sites cannot actually require me to look at the ads, I am free to look at the content in any way I damn well please. If they do not like that they can change their methods (like includin

      • by bobintetley ( 643462 ) on Thursday August 19, 2004 @09:22AM (#10011591)

        Why do you do it? Do you think that servers and bandwidth pay for themselves?

        Exactly! It's my fucking bandwidth and I'm not paying to see their advert!

        • It's also the publisher's bandwidth, and as many others here have already pointed out, server bandwidth costs can be very expensive. If you don't like the conditions of viewing free* online content, then please don't visit those sites.

          *Nothing is truly free.
      • Believe it or not, most web surfers are not anti-advertising. We don't love it, sure; but we get it on TV and radio, in magazines and movies, at ball games, on buses, milk cartons, t-shirts, and bananas, and written on the sky [gotfuturama.com]. We're used to it. But we expect a certain amount of restraint on the part of webmasters. A recognition that we are not simply ad-viewing machines. We don't object to seeing banners, even pretty big ones, or "Sponsored Links," as long as there are only one or two banners (plus a
      • Why do you do it? Do you think that servers and bandwidth pay for themselves? How do you expect sites to put up impartial (read: not sponsored) content without some way for the site owners to make enough money to pay the bills?

        Adverts are images. Images are larger in terms of bytes than text. Many ISPs have a download cap which if you exceed starts costing you money. As such more of my bandwidth is used by viewing adverts than it is viewing the content sponsored by the advert. Or - to put it another w
      • I think the answer is to find some way to get off the traditional ad revenue. Neither I nor anyone I know have purchased products because of web advertising (I'm almost tempted to say have never bought any products advertised on the web, but then again I glaze over them now so I never even know what they are - usually a webcam or something).

        The key is to either have content people are willing to subscribe for with a decent subscription model, or to have "ads" that tie in with the content - a la referral li
      • An advertisement could be said to be an unspoken agreement between the viewer and the advertiser to consider buying a producer.

        If the viewer knows without doubt that there is no chance that he would be interested or even able to buy the product, is he obligated to pretend to consider buying it? Is he obligaed to not view the "advertising supported content" because he will be unable to buy the product? (Think carefully, how many pages do you flip through in the sunday paper that have half-page mercedes deal
      • So I take it you never flip TV channels during commercials, take a leak, make some coffee etc - after all, it's your duty to watch the ads or who'll pay for the shows?

        I think you've forgotten something. The purpose of advertising is not to display as many ads as possible, it's to people to buy stuff. If an advertiser has to make 2 million impressions to make a single sale, then the cost per impression will be very low. If he can make that sale with 10 impressions, he'll pay a lot more. It's not in anyone's
  • Of course! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Compact Dick ( 518888 ) on Thursday August 19, 2004 @08:33AM (#10011213) Homepage
    Not that Slashdot is guilty [slashdot.org] of it ...
    • There was recently an article on Wired [wired.com] saying that Fark [fark.com] is selling some story placement.

      However, I have sympathy for places like Fark that are trying to figure out how to cover costs, and pay a few salaries. According to the logic of many threads here and elsewhere:

      1) they should not sell subscriptions

      2) they should not require a logon

      3) nobody clicks banner ads anyway

      So what's a good guy with a good site to do? (Hint: donations and t-shirts isn't the answer)

  • by HMA2000 ( 728266 ) on Thursday August 19, 2004 @08:33AM (#10011214)
    This is one of the promises of the early web coming true. Hyperlinked text that will take you anywhere you want to go. Considering that it is advertisers (usually) that pay the salaries of online media folk it is not at all surprising that advertisers get what they want.
    • I think it has more to do with the fact that people use ad-blockers. And I'm not trolling, it's simple economics. Remove the revenue stream, and they have to find another. The first path of action is usually to ramp-up what they're doing at the moment, which means more intrusive ads. If we block these ads, then a more intrusive type will come along.

      The only way this escalation will stop is if we either stop using ad-blocking software, or if the sites close down.

  • by Ianoo ( 711633 ) on Thursday August 19, 2004 @08:33AM (#10011217) Journal
    There's been some speculation that articles like this [slashdot.org] are paid-for (NOTE: they always seem to be posted by CmdrTaco).
    • I'd have to agree with this sentiment.

      I can't see the merit of that PSU article at all. It's nothing new, 500w is hardly ground-breaking (ok its a lot of wattage but there have been Enermax 550w out for years).

      Why is it relevant?
    • Not just CmdrTaco (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Compact Dick ( 518888 ) on Thursday August 19, 2004 @08:39AM (#10011253) Homepage
      Here's a more blatant showpiece [slashdot.org] from our all-time favourite, Michael.
      • ...from our all-time favourite, Michael.

        Michael is a pillar of journalistic integrity! He represents the most fair and balanced of all the /. editors and the very thought that he would ever use his power to further any of his own goals is ludicrous.

        * The preceding message was paid for by the Micheal for Micheal foundation.
    • In my opinion the worst offender is the garbage site known as msn.com. Almost every article is either straight off the wire feeds or a disguised advertisement. I guess they figure that since the writers they have on staff write such uninspired mindless garbage for their original "content" that it might as well just be an ad since nobody would consider msn to be a reliable source of information.
  • Toms Hardware (Score:5, Insightful)

    by StevenHenderson ( 806391 ) <stevehenderson@@@gmail...com> on Thursday August 19, 2004 @08:34AM (#10011224)
    I find the trend of inserting ads into article text annoying and distracting. I, for one, would never buy anything off of such a link, but obviously people are, or else this practice would die down. See this is practice with any of the articles at:
    http://www.tomshardware.com/ [tomshardware.com]
    • but obviously people are, or else this practice would die down.

      There's lots of advertising that has zero effectiveness, but is continued due to inertia or protecting your turf, in any large organization.

      This continues because we don't have proper metrics for all forms of advertising - just guestimates. Look at radio's rating system. Listen to a station for 15 seconds, and you're counted in their listen-during-a-15-minute block.

      Or spam. The only ones making money off spam are the tools selling the tools

      • I've always said the main reason that advertising is so effective is because advertising companies have been so effective at selling corporate management on the effectiveness of advertising. Not to mention, it really feeds the egos of the board members to see their company's name in a super bowl commercial. Somehow I think that if it could be accurately quantified as to exactly how much return on investment a company could expect from ads, a lot of people would be very disappointed.
    • Re:Toms Hardware (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Durzel ( 137902 )
      Not to mention that otherwise plain text articles with huge great popup/popover Flash adverts, or even those that are broken up by an animated image/Flash movie of some kind are a nightmare on a PDA.

      I have tried browsing to a site with a useful HOWTO using my phone (P900 over GPRS) when I have no had any other Internet access and ended up using up to 10x as much bandwidth than was actually necessary had the article been true plain text.

      (and GPRS bandwidth is hella expensive in the UK)
    • The main content gets a small amount on space in the middle on the page but on the top, left, right, and bottom your competely surrounded by ads. Its all really too much and as a result the ads are all one big blur. In short they are getting the exact opposite effect of zero eyes when if they just had say one ad in the middle of the content people might actually pay attention. I mean banner ads in 2004? Who TF has looked at one of them since the mid 90's?
      Lastly those "keyword" ads are just horrible. At work
    • Your logic is a bit flawed. You state that people are obviously using these links, as they are on websites. Yet ads need to be on websites before they are used. If your assertion is true, then people were clicking banner ads on websites before people even put banner ads on websites.

      The companies are employing this technique, as we like to use ad-blockers. Sites need advertising revenue to fund them, so if we all go to a site and use ad-blocking, the site gets no money. The advertisers realise their mo

  • by Brento ( 26177 ) * <{brento} {at} {brentozar.com}> on Thursday August 19, 2004 @08:35AM (#10011226) Homepage
    I'm not concerned about media outlets that push banner ads and journalists who sneak in keyword-link ads. Magazines like Car & Driver take ad money from the very companies whose products they review, and they've withstood the test of time. Online media will go through the same ethical quandries. The ones that don't make the right choices will wash themselves out.
  • by kneecarrot ( 646291 ) on Thursday August 19, 2004 @08:36AM (#10011229)
    Advertisers will continue to find new ways to market to the public. These ways will inevitably become more and more invasive. They will rely on the public's apathy and penchant for "free stuff". But if you don't want to watch 10 minutes of commercials before every movie you see or you don't want to have you children's school walls plastered with ads then DO SOMETHING! Speak to the manager of the movie theatre. Call your children's principal. Stop using websites that have blurred the lines between information and advertisements.
  • by The-Bus ( 138060 ) on Thursday August 19, 2004 @08:36AM (#10011231)

    What's the problem with ads being interspersed anyway? I'm sure most of us are used to reading an article and then skipping down

    That's no concept truck you're looking at. Its 18-inch 45-series V-rated radials and alloy wheels are for real. Its 0-to-60 [1] in just over 7 seconds and its 240-horsepower V6 with 275 lb.-ft. of torque are for real. Yes, the X-Runner's(TM)©® one tough street truck. And soon it'll be within your grasp.

    a few lines to get back to the content.

    Well, I guess it get's really really

    TOYOTA(TM)©® X-RUNNER(TM)©®!!!!!

    annoying sometimes.
    • No thanks (Score:4, Funny)

      by BlackHawk-666 ( 560896 ) <ivan.hawkes@gmail.com> on Thursday August 19, 2004 @08:49AM (#10011329) Homepage
      I just bought a Canyonero, and talk about a smooth ride...
    • by julesh ( 229690 ) on Thursday August 19, 2004 @08:57AM (#10011383)
      But that isn't what they're talking about. What is being discussed is a situation where, for example, an article is talking about caffeine containing drinks, and you'll suddenly find a random link... perhaps they'd be talking about coffee [coffee-addict.co.uk] and then when you click on the link you find it isn't more information as you'd expect, but is rather somewhere trying to _sell_ coffee.

      I recommend the Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, by the way. ;)

      • What is being discussed is a situation where, for example, an article is talking about caffeine containing drinks, and you'll suddenly find a random link.

        Those aren't random rich, dark links. They're just bits aroma and pieces of a subliminal advertising virile strategy. Take a coffee drinkers look sometime at subliminal advertising [wikipedia.org]. Ice cubes energizing in liquor ads become fascinating, while powerful if you use your peripheral Yirgacheffe vision you can pick up the S-E-X they airbrush onto Ted Kennedy'

  • by dmayle ( 200765 ) * on Thursday August 19, 2004 @08:38AM (#10011242) Homepage Journal

    This Headline is Not For Sale

    How amusing... I just subsribed, and this is the first headline I paid to see before anyone else...

    In addition, with all the astrotufing at Slashdot lately, I don't think it has to be for sale, because we're eager to see see it for free...

  • by Stevyn ( 691306 ) on Thursday August 19, 2004 @08:39AM (#10011245)
    When the you go from a half dozen news channels and a few dozen large newspapers to thousands of news websites. The content is spread thinly across many sources and readers. Companies who advertise must spend more time than they did 10 years ago to figure out who to buy advertising space and how much. I think this is a great improvement over how things in the past because every news site can be a niche and have a focused audience.

    As long as the advertisements themselves don't interfere with the content, I don't care. If I'm reading an article about an Audi S8 and there is an advertisement on the right of the screen for Audis, I'll take notice and possibly look somewhere else for my car reviews. But if I'm reading an article summary on Slashdot about kernel 2.6.8 being released and there is an ad for Microsoft Windows Server 2003 I won't care so much. Actually I'll laugh knowing Microsoft is funding these hours a day wasted on Slashdot. It all depends on the website and advertisement.
  • Hardly new (Score:3, Interesting)

    by CaptainCheese ( 724779 ) on Thursday August 19, 2004 @08:39AM (#10011247) Journal
    A while back this was heavily rumoured to be a feature in IE6. Microsoft were rumoured to be adding a "feature" where they would add contextual(i.e advertising)hyperlinks to plain text. Thank god they didn't! They must have realised no-one wants to pay or ad-ware...
  • by jstave ( 734089 ) on Thursday August 19, 2004 @08:39AM (#10011249)
    ...because readers are in control; they have the option of running their mouse over the words and clicking on the links.

    Except, now there's apparently no way to tell the difference between an informational link inserted by the author and commercial crap that will just waste your time if you click on it.

    Unless there's some way to turn this off, or filter it out, this just looks like another step in the removal of the internet's informational utility to me.

  • by mopslik ( 688435 ) on Thursday August 19, 2004 @08:40AM (#10011257)

    Marketers can have the sides, top and bottom of a page to peddle products and services, but the body must remain pure.

    You can have your body...

    Click for next page

    Hmmm, that *does* look familiar.

    • That is just about every online "news" site out there. Notice how the article is broken up into 3-10 pages so you have to see the advertising (banner, left side, right side, body copy ads, footer ads) 3-10 times for one article which is often itself a thinly veiled review/ad for the product.

      Here's the future of advertising, inside our FPS games there will be billboards which have a simple web browser built in. They will display ads for shit like the latest Alienware hardware or NVidia cards, and you can cli

      • Here's the future of advertising, inside our FPS games there will be billboards which have a simple web browser built in.

        So when the game calls home and reports that it's been pirated, it redirects all of the billboards to goatse? Oh, the humanity!

  • Money talks (Score:3, Insightful)

    by broothal ( 186066 ) <christian@fabel.dk> on Thursday August 19, 2004 @08:40AM (#10011262) Homepage Journal
    All sites with a sufficient amount of readers will sell out eventually. Even Slashdot. [slashdot.org]
  • by grunt107 ( 739510 ) on Thursday August 19, 2004 @08:41AM (#10011267)
    I love how the article on embedded advertising has embedded advertising - great way to prove your own point.

    There will probably be more of this type of marketing, as pop-ups get deflated and the up-front sign-up gets 'spoofed' (i.e.- false) user data.

    This could spark the return of text-only browsers, or even web text readers that spawn on user-directed sites and remove the graphical content themselves.
  • by Soporific ( 595477 ) on Thursday August 19, 2004 @08:41AM (#10011269)
    They are the most annoying ads in the world. Lots of pages have words with hyperlinks in the paragraph going to other parts of the site or to references. All these do is make it more difficult to weed out real links versus ad links, although they are getting easier for me to notice which are which, by the general words they use, i.e., cpu, motherboard, networking, etc.

  • by Janek Kozicki ( 722688 ) on Thursday August 19, 2004 @08:41AM (#10011272) Journal
    remeber to use a custom hosts [everythingisnt.com] file. It increases browing sanity a LOT. Much more than just using adblock and flashblock (which I use too).

    Sometimes when I have to browse on someone's else computer I'm almost stunned by the number of ads that appear on sites. Yeah it's easy to get accustomed to comfort of browsing without ads.

    So... don't wait any longer! install custom hosts file NOW!

    BTW: I'm curious if it will soon be included into some of linux distros by default, it would be great - self maintaining and updating custom hosts file... (it works with windows too, but I doubt it will be a part of default windows install anytime ;)
    • I remember having such a nice and very long hosts file on a Windows 2000 Pro box a few years back. I ran into problems, the system got unstable, slow and unresponsive while browsing. I removed the hosts file and everyting was back to normal. I couldn't figure it out at the time and now, I don't care anymore with adblock.
  • IntelliText (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JosKarith ( 757063 ) on Thursday August 19, 2004 @08:42AM (#10011274)
    Such a smart and simple idea - it's surprising nobody's thought of it before.
    And yet, it's so wrong. The author's hit the nail on the head - journalistic content must be seen to be as free from outside influences as possible whether it's a personal bias, litigious pressure, or (as in this case) finacial incentives. Otherwise, the message becomes diluted as people begin to wonder what they're not being told.
    In a way this reminds me of the data systems in Starship Troopers. This system could be adapted easily to provide information instead. But not a hope in hell of that, now the Marketing departments have got their teeth into it.
    And yes, I do dislike marketers. Thanks for noticing.
  • by Dark Lord Seth ( 584963 ) on Thursday August 19, 2004 @08:43AM (#10011282) Journal
    Yes [slashdot.org], it [slashdot.org] is [slashdot.org].
  • Uh-oh... (Score:4, Funny)

    by richie2000 ( 159732 ) <rickard.olsson@gmail.com> on Thursday August 19, 2004 @08:44AM (#10011290) Homepage Journal
    I think that IntelliTxt could work well for publications that have no pretense of objectivity or don't draw a strong distinction between advertising and editorial copy.

    Look out Slashdot, here we come!

  • by Lord Grey ( 463613 ) * on Thursday August 19, 2004 @08:44AM (#10011291)
    [IntelliTxt by Vibrant Media] works by underlining certain words in an article so that when a reader runs his cursor over one of them, an ad springs up. For example, in a story on antivirus software, words like "virus," "security" and "worms" might be highlighted. Then readers, if they so choose, could mouse over one or all of them, click on a "sponsored link" and go straight to the advertiser's website.
    This [this.org] would [idea.com] truly [truly.net] suck [suck.com] if [if.com] [it.com] [ever.com] became [became.com] popular [popular.com].
    • Well, I don't know what sucks more: I have "Always show link domains" checked in my preferences, so your post shows as:

      This [this.org] would [idea.com] truly [truly.net] suck [suck.com] if [if.com] _ [it.com] [ever.com]became [became.com] popular [popular.com].

      While it's irritating, I know where the links are and what they point to...

      I was wondering about a Mozilla plugin that does this, as it's nice to have here at /., where people often spoof/make wacky links to stuff. I just don't know how goo
  • by Robotech_Master ( 14247 ) * on Thursday August 19, 2004 @08:46AM (#10011310) Homepage Journal
    I think what we can take from this is that people are becoming "immunized" to ordinary advertisements...they just aren't clicking. So advertisers have to turn to other methods to try to pull in those dollars. One thing you can say for the ad-words thing is that at least it's not intrusive. Who normally runs their mouse over text in a news article anyway? And at least when reading a printed media article you're expecting to be advertised to, unlike with the DejaNews ad-words [slashdot.org] flap of a few years back.

    Something I found interesting in the same vein was another Wired story [wired.com] the other day, about FreeiPods.com [freeipods.com]--an advertising site where, if you complete a trial offer from one of an assortment of merchants and get five other people to complete one too, they send you an advertiser-paid-for iPod (or $250 iTMS gift certificate). I've searched the web for stories about these people and everything I find suggests they're legitimate.

    The whole thing seems to me to suggest that the advertisers participating in that program are finally starting to get the idea that if they want to advertise to us, they need to make it worth our while.

    (Full disclosure: okay, so the FreeiPods [freeipods.com] link is a referral link [freeipods.com] for me. I was going to compare and contrast its advertising model anyway, and given that I was going to mention it anyway, it would be dumb not to include the referral link instead of just a plain-vanilla one, given that they both pull up the website just the same and I might as well benefit from the traffic as not. So don't accuse me of trying to sneak something by you.)
  • I get those dumbass ad words on anandtech. Its always a technical word, and I usually am expecting some relevant information to be revealed. Instead its an uninformative advertisement.

    It might make sense if say, anandtech was reviewing a Pentium VI, and say newegg.com had an advert showing their Pentium VI price. But they are hardly ever so revelant and only distratcing.
  • by Mahdi_AB ( 745741 ) on Thursday August 19, 2004 @08:47AM (#10011321) Homepage
    Will all this article adds (links) effect googles page rankings?
  • by BubbaThePirate ( 805480 ) on Thursday August 19, 2004 @08:51AM (#10011336)
    Just like Adblock: parsing all hyperlinks in a webpage, and weeding out the ones you've previously marked as Ads, blocking them, and possibly even crossing them out (so that you'll know why they aren't working), or another visual notification.

    Adblock works wonderfully (especially the Collapse feature), why shouldn't this?

    Linkblock, anyone?

  • i only really get text ads from any website.

    i use opera so i have built in pop up blocking and i set it to only display cached images. about the only ads i get are the google text ads here [slashdot.org]
  • Future Shock! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by UncleBiggims ( 526644 ) on Thursday August 19, 2004 @08:52AM (#10011349)

    I read an interview [murderhorn.com] with Matt Groening about Futurama, where (as you know) advertising comes out of your pillow and into your dreams. Anyway, I thought this quote was interesting:

    Is there anything you've changed your mind about in the last 20 years?
    I used to be amused by how pervasive advertising was in our society. But seeing ads on the little divider bars on the conveyer belts at grocery store checkouts made me think, That's enough. I read Future Shock in the early '70s and said, Future shock will never happen to me. It has. At least in regard to advertising.

  • by Roblimo ( 357 ) on Thursday August 19, 2004 @08:52AM (#10011351) Homepage Journal
    We said no. We have many editorial links in stories on all our sites, so having paid links mixed in wouldn't be right. Advertising is one thing. Mixing it with the actual news content is another. IMO it's simply wrong.

    Part of Intellitext's pitch was that plenty of "respected" news sites are doing this. My response: "Didn't your mother ever ask, 'If all the other kids were jumping off a cliff, would that mean you'd have to jump, too?'"


    - Robin 'Roblimo' Miller
    Editor in Chief, OSTG
  • by me101 ( 264338 ) on Thursday August 19, 2004 @08:59AM (#10011397) itxt.vibrantmedia.com

    and hey presto, they disappear!

    or you could always install a much larger hosts [everythingisnt.com] file which takes care of quite a few nasties :)
  • by Cryofan ( 194126 ) on Thursday August 19, 2004 @09:01AM (#10011414) Journal
    The media is for sale. Period. Admit it.

    And it is not illegal. But they do it.
  • Unless there's a mechanism that clearly separates the ad links from the links the author inserted to annotate his story, you won't be able to distinguish between the two.
    Or IOW, ads become an editorial influence.
  • AlwaysOn columnist Rafe Needleman called IntelliTxt "pretty bad news" from an ethics standpoint "because it blurs the line between editorial content, which readers should expect to be free of commercial influence, and advertising, which we know is paid-for and biased."

    People are only interested in viewpoints they agree with. They don't care about the credibility of the source. They don't want the truth, they want to believe they are right. Publications are only concerned with readership and the readers
  • by IronChefMorimoto ( 691038 ) on Thursday August 19, 2004 @09:44AM (#10011787)
    I have noticed that both Tomshardware.com and Anandtech.com use these annoying DHTML-based ad links that are highlighted in the words of their articles. Have you seen them?

    You are reading and article, and as you move your mouse around the article maybe following a line or something (I move my lips when I read -- leave me alone), you roll over these damned ad links. Sure enough, the scripting on the links creates a DHTML "pop-up" right where your mouse is, effectively BLOCKING the article you're trying to read.

    Now, this sounds minorly annoying in an of itself -- you have to wait for the timeout before the ad will remove itself. But in addition to blocking text, the ad often has the unintended after effect of causing FireFox to lag. I've seen it on PCs ranging from my shitty 700MHz P3 at work to my 3400+ Athlon64 at home.

    I am pretty certain that other websites have started using these sorts of sponsored links, and I really see it becoming as bad as traditional pop-ups or pop-unders. Even worse, I'm not immediately aware of any way to suppress them without turning off Javascript that supports DHTML. I'd be interested to know if AdBlock for FireFox will be able to adapt to these new advertising methods -- NOT because I don't want to see the ads -- I just don't want them to interrupt reading the articles.

    I really think that these tech-savvy websites, although dependent on the ad revenue more so than their cheap ass readers (hey -- we buy all the shit they review -- we have no money), should reconsider using these sorts of links. Or at least review how they display in the context of trying to read a review or editorial on the latest and greatest hardware/software.

    It's unfortunate, too, because you have to feel for these guys needing money to run their great websites, but at what cost to the integrity of their content?

  • by Beolach ( 518512 ) <beolach@nOSPaM.juno.com> on Thursday August 19, 2004 @09:48AM (#10011821) Homepage Journal
    Ads pay for stuff (especially web content), so that I don't have to. But when the advertisments get in the way of me enjoying the web content, it annoys me, which leads to me *NOT* respond to the ad. On the other hand, I personally make a conscious effort to support inobtrusive advertising. My hope is that enough people would have similar practices that advertising methods that interfer with the media they're placed in would be unprofitable. Google AdWords/AdSense, inobtrusive banner ads, etc. are the type of advertising I support. They are adjacent to, not in the content, and so they don't get in the way. The 'IntelliTxt' that the article talks about would be nice, except that the method it uses to deliver the ads (mouse-over underlined words) can be used for other better things, like definitions for jargon - and I'm betting they don't make it easy to tell the difference between an ad or a definition. It's better to just keep the advertisments seperate from the content.
  • I suspect that the success rate we are seeing at the moment is due to people clicking on these Intellitext links because they expect the link to point to a dictionary definition or something interesting -- and my guess is, many of them are going to be disappointed to discover that the link actually points to an advert.

    In the long run, this could actually do more harm than good. People will end up not clicking underlined words even when they are links to definitions, interesting factoids and so forth. Th
  • by cjmnews ( 672731 ) <cjmnews@yahoo.com> on Thursday August 19, 2004 @10:59AM (#10012602) Homepage
    At least an ad embedded into an article is something you can identify clearly as an ad. Not that I see them thanks to Privoxy [privoxy.org] (you can allow ads at sites you want to support [/.] if you'd like).

    In my opinion, the worst offense are ads that are disguised as articles. The local major news paper is made up of at least 25% ads disguised as articles, which is part of the reason why I refuse to subscribe. This has not been as prevelant online as in print, but I expect that it will get that way as more of us switch to digital news.
  • by Auris ( 799173 ) on Thursday August 19, 2004 @11:45AM (#10013259)
    The tainting of links is very much like Verisign's infamous SiteFinder. It takes a central piece of the medium and tries to bend it to do something else. Yes, links can be used to link to ads, but the very idea of WWW is that the links are meaningful: That they offer something that gives more information in relation to the subject at hand.

    When more links are ads than something meaningful, surfers will learn to beware of them, which in turn is poison to hypertext, rendering it into 'just text'. We should not have to steer clear of links just in case they turn out to be ad-traps that slow down our surfing with pop-ups or pop-intos.

    The infrastructure of Web is common property. Are the advertisers allowed to corrupt and destroy something that belongs to all of us?

  • by dindi ( 78034 ) on Thursday August 19, 2004 @01:08PM (#10014356)
    Popups, pop-(over/under-between-whatever) and 10000k's of flash/java suck balls really!

    But what is wrong with text links and decent size banners ?

    I am not talking about 100 banners on one page, just one on top, one on bottom and maybe some 125x60's inline .....

    If you guys would realise please: the internet is not ruined by those who put ads on their pages; that keeps your content free...

    the problem is SPAM advertisement, and the problem is search engine SPAMMING ...

    As people will block decent website owners' normal ads, more and more people will turn to SPAM and blackhat SEO techniques ....

    Since google denied to put pharmacy ads into adwords my get "X@N@X V|c0d|n cheap" SPAM vent up by about 600%, while my commissions from pharmacy advertisement went down by 50% ...
    before there was decent advertising, now there is killer SE and MAIL SPAMMING .....

    bottom line: KILL/BLOCK all ads and your mailbox will be doomed.....

"If the code and the comments disagree, then both are probably wrong." -- Norm Schryer