One of my many paradoxes is having a blog under my real name, but going to extremes to filter out spam, spyware, virii, cookies, scripts, pop-ups and ad banners. All my efforts have been gradual, and I didn’t realize how much cruft gets filtered until I was surfing in the library the other day. I snapped screenshots of four sample sites. The red blobs are advertisements (you can click for a bigger picture, but you get the idea):

MSN was the least obtrusive. They had ads, but they were incorporated with
useful content. One obvious ad was at the banner, but was small and inconspicuous
enough as to not interfere with reading the site. was pretty obnoxious. Geez, eight advertisements on the front page, and when you login, there are interstitial page offerings for everything from the University of Phoenix to Putnam 401(k) rollovers. So I’m told. has a lot of advertisements, many tie-ins. For example, “This allergy report sponsored by Nasonex, the company who charges $89 for a prescription in the US that’s available for $34 from any online Canadian Pharmacy!”

MLB, which has the most money, has a lot of ads. At one time last year, I couldn’t play the audio because I needed to enable their RealPlayer advertisements, enable all cookies. It was ugly, and I had to toss cookies when it was done.

Google adwords have been popping up on retail and personal hobby sites. They’re not that visually obnoxious, but the results are strange and illustrate the primitive nature of these systems. For example, if you want to count the 1,300,925,111,156,286,160,896 ways spammers spell Viagra, you’ll see ads for Ukrainian Windows keyboards and Timber Toots for Tots. I remember when the Harry Potter books were the top three things on the book seller list, the recommendations were always skewed. “People who bought books on genetic engineering also bought Harry Potter blah blah.” Maybe it’s the same for Viagra?
Even when the keywords do match, the results may not be what’s intended. Consider the book Long Distance Cycling — two ads served are for long distance companies.

In other random marketing silliness, I’m reading Maxx Barry’s book

3 thoughts on “Advertisements”

  1. Just finished Syrup in time to pick up my 11 holds at the library. Quick read, and funny if you are or have worked extensively with marketing people because you can identify with the image-conscious personality types. Next book: The Jennifer Government. I’m #83 of #85 for Paco Underhill’s “The Call of the Mall” …

  2. I enjoy Maxx (or Max – depending on the book) Barry’s stuff. I’d be interestd in hearing your take on Jennifer G.

    And you are so right about A. Rhodes. I was, however, while confused, very glad he was not pitching for us.

  3. Other recent good books- some are from your recommendation, Jim.

    Books I have read recently:
    Punished By Rewards
    Why We Buy
    Guns, Germs and Steel
    The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces
    No Logo
    Reefer Madness
    Mormon America
    Jupiter’s Travels
    River Town
    Bringing Down the House
    Desert Exile

    Books I am reading, or about to begin:
    Fast Food Nation
    Work To Live
    The Geography of Thought
    The Yard : Building a Destroyer at the Bath Iron Works

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