Wednesday, December 28, 2005

With or without ads

The other day I came across a nifty little extension for Firefox called Adblock. It basically filters out all presumed elements on the page that are ads by matching some patterns. So far nothing too exciting. Soon I noticed that my web pages started to look different, some better and some worst.

I usually read the New York Times in the morning and it used to look like this:

but now it looks like this:

I then decided to look at hotmail and the differences are staggering,

and after:

I almost feel that now I could use hotmail again, no more flashing banners and annoying ads. The site now looks very clean, almost usable. Btw when are they going to put a nice rich interface on it? it's about time for a redesign...

Then I went to a site that I thought had some more ads:

When I looked at it with Adblock enabled the site looked pretty bad, I guess I didn't realize how many ads were "hiding" in it!

My point is not to demonize ads, but I soon started thinking about Tivo. Before Tivo came out nobody thought you could see a show like Desperate Housewives without ads, now we can. Interestingly the advertisement industry has already tried to work around Tivo pushing products to consumers in movies: product placements.

Another parallel was the advent of popup blockers. It almost feels like we have forgotten that there was a time (18 months ago maybe) where we didn't have popup blockers. Every other web site was trying to push some annoying ads (and some sites are still doing that) on top of the page that we were reading, now that's annoying! So it went that some sites abused them so much that everybody wanted to have a popup blocker on their browser. So we started a new life on the web, looking at sites without annoying popup ads.

I personally like the idea of being able to look at web sites ads whenever I want (probably not most of the time), but choices are good. Here are some other thoughts:
  • if you are a web developer/information architect: think of how your site will look without ads. Does it "degrade" well?
  • if you work for a media company and want to use the web channel to push ads: think about how this technologies will prevent you from doing certain things


Post a Comment

<< Home