Saturday, 18 May 2013

How advertising is killing the internet

Recently I have become increasingly annoyed at advertising on the internet.

Things that should be banned include:

Video adverts longer than the video you want to watch.
This is very common on Youtube, someone posts a 10 second video of someone falling down some stairs or a cute cat purring, but you've got to sit through a full minute of something else completely unrelated.

Rich media adverts (video, audio) that start automatically.
How many times have you visited a website and had rich content start automatically, even worse when its on one of many tabs you've got open. Not only has it cost me in downloading but now I have to find the culprit page and disable the advert - assuming it lets me stop it. Those which do not allow me to stop them normally force me to leave the page immediately. If you do not protest with your visitor stats then how else can you protest?

Advertising triggered from clicking anywhere on the screen or accidentally hovering over something.
If there's not advertising content where I clicked the page, do not open up a popup or redirect me because I clicked whitespace or tried to highlight some text. This is totally misleading.

Advertising anywhere that accidental triggering can happen, especially mobile devices.
I don't have the fastest of smartphones and often it confuses taps and drags. When I'm scrolling down a webpage I don't want to be redirected to a company because my phone thought I'd tapped an advert.

Advertising which is larger to download than the content you're viewing.
This particularly applies to metered internet usage from mobile devices. Where internet can be as expensive as £5 per megabyte I do NOT want to be downloading a few megabytes of video for a 3 minute long advert I don't even want to see. Save it for when I'm on WiFi if you have to.

Advertising which costs unbelievable amounts of CPU time and power.
Advertisers are not using your CPU to search the heavens for signs of life or for how life began on Earth. So why should their advert cost you any processing time at all? If an advert makes your processor crawl to a halt then its time to complain. Add to this the battery usage on your mobile phone and you can see how you can easily get annoyed!

Misleading advertising.
No, I do not have one new message on Facebook, I'm not even logged in.
Nor am I the 967th winner of anything.

Stop lying! Stop misleading!

Where is the common decency amongst advertisers? And where is the quality control from agencies? I realise many of these systems are fully automated but there should still be quality checks!

How can we fight back?

Clearly things are slowly getting worse out there, advertising is becoming more and more stupid and nobody seems to be keeping it clean, clear, honest and real.

Tell the advertisers and content owners they have done wrong. 
Get in contact through the owner of the site, tell them you were disappointed with the advertising that you were forced to sit through. If the site owners get enough complaints they may consider leaving the advertising agency for a better one.

Use automatic advert blockers.
I'm not against someone making an honest income, but when the adverts just get in the way of the content then I see no wrong in blocking the adverts automatically. There are many good tools for this, including AdBlockPlus. This is especially useful if the content owner isn't listening to your complaints. People shouldn't be able to make money keeping people unhappy.

Again, talk to the content owners before seeking automated measures. They may listen and remove the offending advertising from their content.

Ad-blockers don't work?
Once again, speak to the content owner. If that fails, leave and don't return. There's no bigger protest than loosing your audience.

Conclusion

I'm not against content owners seeking funding, I do this myself...

I am against advertisers acting irresponsibly by introducing massive cost to the user through huge battery usage, expensive mobile internet usage, large CPU processing requirements, distraction, frustrations and the most precious commodity of all: time. I don't want to spend my remaining days being begged for money, you shouldn't want that either.

My message to advertising agencies: 
Please be considerate to the people receiving your adverts. Improvements can be made in terms of technical usage (reduced CPU, bandwidth and battery usage) and quality of service (reducing expectations of what your users have to do for you).

My message to content owners: 
Review your advertising suppliers. All it takes is for an agency to disregard your users and the users will leave you. Treat your users with respect and they will appreciate the effort you make balancing income with user experience.

My message to the public: 
Don't be complacent and don't remain silent. Change the internet for the better by simply recognising what is wrong and telling people how they can improve.

2 comments:

  1. Amen! On Sky News the same advert for a petrol company plays on all their clips and for a long time now. It also repeats itself at the end. You cant turn it off either.

    You couldn't say it better.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Some pages will not open unless ad block plus is disabled. Then the interminable usually sports betting begins.YUGH

    ReplyDelete