Obnoxious Web Ads

Having run advertising-supported websites myself for several years, I’m appreciative of the need to run ads and get reader clickthroughs. And the mass media is struggling to figure out a sustainable business model. But some of the ads are getting to be too much. Take this one at The Hill:


No, not the banner ad on the top.  Or the 300×300 atop the right sidebar.   Or even the 300×300 stuck in the middle of the top content.  No, I’m talking about the pop-over ad that actually covers the article text.

And, no, you can’t simply close it.  No, that would be bad enough. Instead you have to hover over it, find the close button, and chase the close button around.  Oh, and the ad still doesn’t close!

Given that there are millions of sites online that provide news content, I’m guessing that I won’t be going back here.  If they report something interesting, I’m sure someone will pass it on elsewhere.

FILED UNDER: Economics and Business, Media, Science & Technology,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Triumph says:

    Given that there are millions of sites online that provide news content, I’m guessing that I won’t be going back here.

    Dude, just get the AdBlock Plus extension for Firefox. It basically blocks everything–including slow loading scripts (which, unfortunately plague OTB, honestly).

    I haven’t seen a web ad in years!

  2. Matt says:

    That is why I use firefox with the adblock plus, Noscript, and Flashblock add ons. Now the neat thing is if I decide the website is worth supporting I will enable the ads to assist in revenue. I will not on the other hand enable the type of ad that pops up over articles. Naturally this is one of the websites I allow ads on..

  3. Brian J. says:

    Do you use Firefox? I’ve noticed a lot of times in the newer Firefoxes that PointRoll rich text ads display with their panels open instead of waiting for users to mouse over.

    I expect it’s a configuration error or a combination of Firefox+new Flash iterations+PointRoll doing this, not the site you’re looking at trying to be more obnoxious.

  4. James Joyner says:

    Brian: Yes, I’m using FireFox. I just tried in IE and you’re right — it’s not quite as obnoxious there.

    Of course, while IE remains the dominant browser, more than a quarter of all users now browse with FF.

  5. Brett says:

    That’s one of the irritations I have when I go and read Glenn Greenwald’s blog. Usually, whenever you open it, an add for The Economist almost always immediately takes over the entire screen. There’s one like it but not quite that bad over at Kevin Drum’s blog, too.