Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Horses driving carts

Obviously commercial organisations are aiming to monetize their internet presence. However, it seems to be increasingly the case that they are more concerned with ad revenue than the experience of their users. Some of the stupidities ...

  • Mattel have a Scrabble game that connects to Facebook, and have aggressively chased off other companies that have produced games that are too similar. It is one of the most irritating Facebook apps. They have attached an advertising engine to it. For a long time, every time you played three moves, it would produce a black screen inviting you to buy their ad removal packages to avoid a seven second wait - in other words, it was advertising its own ad removal package.

    This pales into insignificance compared to the apps behaviour on a tablet. Here, particularly when playing against the computer, the same 30 second advert is generated pretty much between every turn, you can't exit from it, and when the advert ends, it shuts down the app.
  • AVG anti-virus have a well-established free antivirus, which aside from the fact that it kills performance of computers, does provide what seems like a pretty good level of protection. In Windows 10 it produces pop-ups, and today, it has started producing the same pop-up advert every few minutes.
  • The "click-bait" slideshows that you get to from social media, which sometimes suggest they have interesting content, now typically spread the text for one slide over three clicks - presumably to serve more ad views.
  • I remember reading a grumbly Guardian article a while ago about ads on the internet - whilst downloading animated adverts on the same page was grinding my browser to a halt.
  • One of the main suppliers of automated ads has this obsession with things that you have looked at or searched for. So you look for, say, Converse shoes on Amazon. Ta-dah! Every web page you look at for the next week has an advert for them. Now, think for a minute, Mr Ad Builder. The likelihood is that either 1) I bought the shoes or 2) I decided I didn't need to. That was a search I did two days ago - am I likely to want to do it again today?
These strategies are self-defeating. The reason Adblock gained traction was because of the increasing intrusiveness of internet advertising. If people find advertising intrusive and can't get round it, they will either block it or use different products - advertising on the internet drives people away more effectively than it promotes things.