Thursday, September 02, 2004

Web advertising misery

Jakob Nielsen, usability guru, writes about web advertising practices that make customers miserable:
    The third prevailing ideology of Web design is oppression, as mainly espoused by certain analysts who wish the Web would turn into television and offer users no real choices at all. Splash pages, pop-ups, and breaking the Back button are typical examples of the misery ideology.

    One of misery design's most insidious recent examples is the idea of embedding links to advertising on the actual words of an article using a service like IntelliTxt. By sullying the very concept of navigation, such ads not only damage the user experience on the host site, they poison the well for all websites. Such links make users even less likely to navigate sites, and more likely to turn to trusted search engines to guide them to the next page.

    Like much Web advertising, embedded ad links rely on interruption marketing, intruding as much as possible on users and preventing them from doing what they want to do. As such, many of these ads have been failures. The most successful Web ads empower -- rather than annoy -- users. Examples include search engine advertising, sites with classified ads, and request marketing.
See also my earlier posts on behavioral targeted advertising and bringing sense to web advertising.

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