Then things got pretty bad pretty quickly, as publishers became forced to find ways to make up for lost advertising revenues from their print vehicles.
One of the most egregious examples of the explosion in online advertising were pop-up and pop-under ads.
So infamous, in fact, that an entire industry of ad blocking software sprang up, eventually providing the ability to eradicate most of them.
Not all of them, of course, but enough so that for those who use the programs, those ads are no longer quite as pernicious as before.
And yet … the arsenal of publisher’s revenue-generating ad tricks is still quite large — and pretty irritatingly effective, too. Here are the most pervasive ones:
Slideshows – Some publishers use a picture slideshow format at every opportunity as a way of increasing page views and ad impressions. Each click to view the next slide means more opportunities to collect revenue from serving up more display ads. Using this scheme, publishers can end up with ten times the ad volume compared to if they had presented the information and images on a single page.
Pagination – Related to the slideshow scheme is the idea of publishing an online news story on two or three pages, whereas it could easily have been presented on just one. If you ask people, most would be quite happy simply scrolling down the page to read the entire story. On the other hand, publishers love this tactic because it enables them to double or triple their ad impressions.
Autoplay video – Even though most viewers hate autoplay videos, publishers think this tactic is great because they can gain revenue from video serves without having to wait until a user clicks on it to play.
Autopage refreshing – The obnoxious practice of refreshing and reloading a web page every 30 or 60 seconds has little to do with fresh new content being added to the page – unless that “fresh new content” is new advertising impressions. And that’s precisely why it happens – so that publishers can get credit and revenues from significantly more ad impressions than they would otherwise.
Add to these techniques the age-old practice of attracting attention via “cheesecake” or other questionable images – no matter that they have nothing to do with the product or service being promoted – and you have a veritable rogues gallery of obnoxious “tips and tricks” – all designed to serve up as many ads as possible and generate Potemkin Village-like “engagement” along with the heightened ad revenues.
And who’s surprised? After all, it’s only “mere money” we’re talking about …
If you find certain advertising practices particularly detrimental to your online experiences, I’m sure other readers would love to hear about them. Please share your thoughts in the comment section below — and what you’ve done about it in response.