I don’t like advertising. You may have noticed the lack of ads on my webspace. Most people on the internet hate ads, and I’m one of them. Banner ads are annoying, and many (like the annoying flashing kind) downright suck. Popups are terrible. I use Firefox’s included popup blocker, and before I had one, I closed popup ads before they could even load. I imagine most people on the ‘net did, and do, the same. Of course, now some places have moved on to animated Flash ads with sound, which are more annoying than ever before. And I really hate the attitude…I really think that some ad agencies believe that if you’re annoying enough, you’ll get more sales. On the internet, at least, you couldn’t be more wrong. I don’t have statistics to back that up, but I’m sure I don’t need them. Clicking an annoying ad won’t keep it from showing up next time, so why give business to an asshole?
But you see, my problem with advertising is not just that somebody’s trying to sell something at me. I know that advertising is necessary. My problem is with the methods. Most ads amount to this: BUY OUR PRODUCT!!! And the last thing that does is make me want to buy that product. If I dislike an ad enough, I will even consciously refuse to buy that product. I think the way to advertise is to give the public something they enjoy through the ad itself. This is the essence of viral marketing. Viral marketing is a great idea because it’s both effective and inoffensive. After all, if you can actually enjoy the ad, what’s the problem with it?
Also, consider Google AdSense. While Google AdSense isn’t my favorite form of advertising, it’s by far the best of the more conventional methods of advertising on the web. AdSense is good because it tries to be relevant and contextual, instead of spamming you with crap you don’t care about. Hell, I even clicked a Google ad once.
I do have my reservations about them, however, since they seem all too happy to nail sites for “click fraud”—click fraud that sometimes isn’t even happening. And in such a case, not only are you banned from the program, they will keep the money they owe you. In my eyes, that’s a clear violation of Google’s own “don’t be evil” policy. There are few things a corporation can do that I will hate more than that. So I condemn that aspect of Google AdSense…but I still gotta praise the rest of it.