Sunday, July 27, 2008

You might think twice about those inline ads

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.


FishHawk said...

What? An Arkie who doesn't want to be a hawg about something?? How can this be???

lot 2 learn said...

I do not like the text ads either. I also have ads on my site, but only in the sidebar. And for the record, when I visit blogs that are on my friends list, I always drop a card and click on an ad. I think it's a nice thing to do, and show my support for their effort

isabella mori said...

i've been experimenting with inline ads and the jury is still out. the sites that they link to are, i have to say, usually incredibly stupid. i'll watch it for another month or so and then reconsider.

The Natural State Hawg said...


That's right! No reason to run off visitors, yeah?

Heck, I'm just happy to make the little money I do rambling here on this blog. Don't want to run people off, right?

The Natural State Hawg said...

lot 2 learn:

I tend to do the same thing -- click on ads on blogs I visit frequently. Seems to be a nice thing to do, at least.

I bumped a couple of your ads, by the way. Enjoy!

The Natural State Hawg said...


If there's any question, I'd just drop the things.

I got honestly aggravated when I clicked one and pulled up a list of restaurants in Indianapolis! Those ads might work fine for some bloggers, but I suspect they are just an annoyance.

I mean, take a look at the things that are being pulled up on your site. An ad bragging about a new company called Zrii? Hats and t-shirts linked to the word "recreation" on your site. Nuts!

So, I went and bumped a couple of your regular ads -- love the Google box and I was able to search for Atari 2600 stuff (still and addiction) and find out what's for sale.


goofblogger said...

I just started using that type of ad a few days ago. I am still experimenting with different methods of generating income with my blog. I figure that the only way I can find out if a certain method works for my blog is to give it a test spin.

The Natural State Hawg said...


You've got a point there. Those things just drive me nuts.

I wonder if other folks feel the same way.

Proceed with caution!