Online Advertising After The Bust

from the popups-and-patents dept

Here are two articles about online advertising that shed some light on where the industry (unfortunately) might be headed. The first is a column by Jimmy Guterman suggesting that, for the most part, online advertising doesn’t work. Despite recent success stories from some content sites, he’s not convinced. He says that it can only work for a very small number of sites, and that most users get “banner blindness” to any form of ads that show up. He even suggests that the newly popular “text ads” will face the same problem. The one area he thinks will do okay are ads where people are specifically searching for something – so, Google’s search ads make sense, but not their recently launched contextual content site ads. His prediction is that advertisers are just going to get more and more intrusive in order to get some attention. He ends with a good question: “Are ads getting more in-your-face because that tactic works — or because advertisers can’t come up with anything better?” If he’s right, and ads are just going to get increasingly intrusive (something I’ve said many times over is a terrible idea: pissing off your users is not a business model that’s designed to last – it’s a business model designed to attract competitors who won’t piss off your users, but will offer them what they want, instead), then it sounds like the guy who owns the patent on pop-up ads is poised to do quite well for himself. He came up with the concept while running a porn site, but now is focusing his efforts on yet another business that is entirely focused on squeezing money out of a pointless internet patent. Of course, it’s tempting to think that by enforcing this patent we may get fewer pop up ads – but such patents are a terrible idea. He’s basically looking to sue everyone who has any kind of pop-up – including non-advertising, useful pop-ups. And, of course, he has a bunch more patents pending for ever-more intrusive forms of advertising.

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