There was a time I feared for human civilization because of the rise in cell phone usage. The ubiquitousness of these gadgets - their effect on the manners of ordinary folk who thought nothing of bringing these infernal machines wherever they went, endlessly talking gibberish while impolitely ignoring the rest of the world - caused me a lot of angst until about 5 years ago. It was then I realized that very soon, some sort of nano-phone would eventually be injected into everyone and we would all be permanently plugged into one another, to the internet, and probably to the government agency authorized to regulate communication.
We already see cell phones permanently attached to many people’s ears. How soon before they simply sprout roots and glam on to humans, developing a symbiotic relationship with their host? We give them total control of our lives and in return, they make sure we are made instantly aware of Kayne West’s newest outrage. What could go wrong?
It’s the end of the world, I tell you.
Today, I have made a profound discovery about another threat to humanity; those annoying, cloying, unannounced, unwelcome companions to our internet surfing - the mouse over pop-up ad.
That may not be the geek term used to describe those ads, nor I’m sure is it the descriptive used by the marketing geniuses who employ them. Lacking the computer sophistication of your average three year old chimpanzee, I don’t know what the correct nomenclature might be - all I know is that I hate them.
I hate them like I hate a telephone solicitor calling me while I’m eating dinner, or a neighbor dropping by unannounced to borrow something. If I could slap them across the face as they pop up in the middle of my reading, thus destroying my concentration, I would. If I could destroy the little piece of code that allows these ads - wiping it off the face of the earth and driving it from living memory - I would. And what I would do to the evil genius who invented the damn thing in the first place would get me arrested if I put it to writing here.
You know of what I speak; those butt-ugly little green highlighted underlined bits of text that pepper the web pages of blogs large and small, as well as thousands of other sites. They are as unsightly as they are diabolical in their placement. There is one version of these mouse over pop-ups that is semi-functional; the kind that when you mouse over links, the pop up shows the web page linked to. Even then, if you want to read the damn thing without opening a new tab on your browser, you have to use the magnifying function on your mouse because the text is so small.
Those, I don’t mind so much. But why would I want to stop reading a piece on Obama’s latest headache to click on an ad that bears no relationship whatsoever with the content? Do they expect us to say, “Gee - this fascinating article isn’t half as interesting as an ad for Scottrade. I am going to stop reading, lose my place, and click on that ad right away!”
However, it is the search engine Bing that seems to have cornered the market on face contorting, spittle inducing anger when it comes to these pop-up ads. Throwing totally unconnected search queries in your face is not only annoying, but fantastically inappropriate as well. I really hope Google cleans their clock.
I have been approached three times by a company that promises large amounts of money if I make my site available for this kind of reader abuse. I have refused, not only because the ads are annoying but because it would destroy the aesthetic of my blog - such as it is. For my fellow bloggers who made the deal with the devil and accepted the ads, I understand the need for income but do you understand that your blog posts suffer because of them? There are some sites I won’t visit anymore because of these devilish annoyances. And I’m sure I can’t be the only one.
And how about those mouse overs that pop up on sidebars if you get within a couple of inches of the ad with the cursor? Some of them don’t even have a “close (X)” function you can click to get rid of them. Or if they do, you have to spend several seconds hunting for it because it’s so far distant from the ad itself. What’s with that, internet marketing people? It’s like turning the channel of your TV during a commercial only to have the same ad played on the station to which you’ve just clicked on. Outrageous!
I suppose I shouldn’t begrudge people a few extra dollars for the trouble they go to put content on their websites. But enough is enough. Reading with comprehension requires total concentration. These ads are designed to break your train of thought rudely, and without asking. They also destroy my enjoyment of reading as I am constantly on the lookout for these ad-traps, and can’t devote my complete attention to the matter at hand; reading in the pursuit of knowledge.
So I say, away with them! A pox on the ad houses that sell them. Boils and sores to those who employ them on their sites. May your web pages rot from lack of hits if you use these spawns of Satan in your copy.
Make the internet a happy place once again and join me in condemning these monstrosities. The sanity you save may be your own.