Sunday, July 27, 2008
There was a time -- not too long ago -- when some underlined text in an article on the Internet would send the happy reader off to a source that would either enhance the content at hand or at least provide some time-killing fun.
That's starting to change a bit thanks to a bunch of double underlined keywords that are popping up as a means of tricking people into visiting an ad. Some bloggers have found some success with such inline ads, apparently, as those are popping up all over the place.
I've got absolutely no problem with advertising on blogs. Heck, I've got ads here at this blog that are rarely clicked but could, one day, provide a few bucks here and there. The ads I've selected, however, are pretty obvious -- a visitor probably isn't going to click one unless that individual wants to do so.
These inline ads are a bit different in that the primary reason they exist, seemingly, is to fool the reader into clicking on one and looking at an ad. I'm not out to pick on people over this, but I do believe a bit of caution is in order when one is considering using one and, perhaps, some input from an honest-to-goodness visitor might be helpful. Those inline ads annoy me and I'm sure I'm not alone.
Let me explain what I mean. Since the Internet became widespread in the 1990s, a bit of underlined text meant the reader would find something useful if that link was clicked. If the link didn't take the reader somewhere useful, the chances were good you'd at least find something fun. For example, here's a fun waste of time -- here's another one that is dandy and you can find some more wacky goodness right here.
The good old text link, then, is a useful thing. Well, none of the sites I linked to in the above paragraph are useful, but at least they wasted your time in a fun way.
These double-underlined, inline ads tend to be just obnoxious wastes of time. Just a bit ago, I was reading a blog and noticed a patch of inline ads provided by some snarky little bunch called AdBrite. Out of curiosity, I clicked on the underlined word "numbers" to see what would happen.
I got a big block obscuring my text telling me I could find great restaurants in my neighborhood. So I followed the link and wound up the names and addresses of a bunch of restaurants in Indianapolis. I live in Benton, Ark., so I really don't care where the Blueberry Hill Pancake House is located in Indianapolis.
So, that was a complete waste of time. What in God's name have we done to deserve this kind of thing?
Again, what advertising works is totally up to the individual blogger and that's fine. When it comes to inline ads, though, please think carefully about what you're doing. You might wind up aggravating more visitors than you think.