Recently Ars Technica did an experiment regarding web ads. The results were that ads are what keep web sites alive, and blocking the ads will destroy the sites.

Soon after, several Mozilla developers did posts on why they block ads. The universal reason is that the ads suck. The purpose of an ad is to make you want what they’re selling. Most ads on the web fail at that.

Near the front of every National Geographic Magazine is a full page ad for Canon cameras. I look for it every month. Not just look at it, actively hunt it down and READ it. It’s called Life As Canon Sees It, and it’s a photo of an animal, and it lists nerdy trivia about the animal and where it lives. I also know that Canon is cool, and I’m tell you about it. That ad works.

What if web ads were the same way? What if the ads were really cool? Stuff I wanted to see and read. I’m not sure what that stuff is, but someday someone’s going to find it, and become rich.

I was thinking just now about it, and I’d be interested in reading well done infomercials, or paid reviews. For example, if there were a restaurant I didn’t know much about, but wanted to, I’d read a full page review about it, even if that review started out with “this is a paid advertisement”. If the article doesn’t suck, I’m in.

Ars says ads are the only way for the web to survive. I’m saying that ads as they exist today are killing the web. Better ads are the only way for ads to survive.

One thought on “On web site ads

  1. As someone who has spent decades making ads for both print and web, I heartily agree. I recently turned down a sizable amount of money because I refuse to place poorly done spot ads on my site. (My soul is not for sale.)

    Heat maps teach us that most web visitors have developed banner blindness, and I just naturally tune out ads, no matter how well they may be rendered.

    And let’s talk about TV ads. What are some of these marketing execs thinking? Once in a great while when a really great ad spot comes along, I just want to stand up and applaud, but it doesn’t happen often. Come on, people, lets put a little work into it or just skip ads altogether. They just aren’t trying.

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