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Readers Unload on Advertisers -

Shooting Themselves In the Foot

(Updated 10/10/2016)

If the words, "jaw-dropping," "taken by storm," or "speechless" appear in a headline you can be pretty sure it's an ad.  

Recent selections from email.

" Let's grab all this new [Internet] technology in our teeth once again and turn it into a bonanza for advertising. "
-Procter & Gamble CEO.

     From Our Email    

Clickbait Trickery

In the effort to get more Internet "clicks" (and therefore money) formerly respectable news websites are resorting to misleading headlines designed to simply dupe people into clicking on links.

A few minutes ago I came across a truly alarming story headline. The story was true, but it wasn't until the third or fourth paragraph that I found out that the event happened more than 30 years ago.  

Blaring Ads

When I take my computer to the library I often find that the moment I click on some news sites the first thing that happens is some unwanted ad comes blaring through. That gets me a lot of dirty looks.  

More Misleading Links

"I've noticed that many links on so-called news sites are intentionally misleading and just designed to get you to click on them for what turns out to be an ad. After being fooled several times I now avoid those sites."

...some sites have links designed to deliberately fool you. If you go to a multi-part story or set of photos, there are many arrows, most of which go to something you are not interested in...."

Editor's note: Advertisers pay a fee for each click and don't seem to care if users feel duped with misleading links that are designed as "click bait."   

Editor's response to original letters on using the Internet for news: 

Some sites have what appear to be interesting news stories, but when you click on some of the headlines you find that they are actually ads. Sometimes the fine print at the very end says something like "sponsored."

Since you are never quite sure if what you're reading is real news or a disguised ad, it's probably best to avoid these sites.

Fortunately, there are good news sites with few ads.

The sites by the major networks generally have ad-free news stories and videos (among the other elements). Others, such as Yahoo News are full of links to ads.

Other options are, which has good U.S. news coverage, and many audio stories and limited commercial content. 

A well presented and balanced Internet source of news tailored toward U.S. and Canadian readers is the international red dot BBC news, which also has a limited number of ads.

Another good example is Canada's CBC World News.

RT America, which has excellent documentaries and in-depth news stories, used to be relatively unburdened by intrusive advertising, but it seems that now the lure of ad money has intruded on this government sponsored site.

Ad Blocking Software

Several companies make ad blocking software such as AdBlock Plus that will block most advertising on web pages. 

A study out of the Simon Fraser University in British Columbia found that using AdBlock Plus can save between 25% and 40% of network bandwidth when used across an internal enterprise network. 

This is a problem with cell phone accounts where you end up having to pay for ads that you don't want.

To download a copy of AdBlock Plus make sure you go to the main site and that you are not fooled into going to a site with a "loaded" version designed specifically to put unwanted ad software on your computer.

However, some sites, such as HuLu, which have  multiple ads during movies -- well over 40 by some counts -- will let you know that adblock software must be deactivated before content can be viewed. This is one of the reasons that Netflix, which is ad-free, has done so well (although they are now rumored to be experimenting with ads in some markets). 

#1: (More email.) Advertisers Hijacking Computers.

Are advertisers now hijacking our computers to force us to watch their ads?

...It wouldn't even let me stop it, lower the volume, or kill the browser. I had to reboot the computer [to keep the ad from coming back]. I guess they are counting on us learning that we are better off just letting the commercials run.

...It reminds me of that very disturbing scene in [the movie] The Clockwork Orange where the man is forced to look at something he doesn't want to see....

The file, Parasite Ads, covers how advertisers take control of your computer to present unwelcome ads.

The latest ad/hijack is particularly insidious -- it disables your antivirus software and leaves your computer open to virus and ad infestation. This external link discusses this and tells you how to fix an infested computer.  

#2: Irksome Interruptions

Since I'm old enough to remember when the Internet was free of commercial content -- how great was that! -- having ads and offers constantly pop up is more than a little irksome. 

I don't mind the ads around the edges of the page sort of like newspapers  -- I understand they have to pay their bills -- but when ads are designed blot out what I'm trying to read, or come up before every video I want to see and then refuse to go away until I'm subjected to them I immediately click away.

#3: Commercial Muting Game

"When my boyfriend and I watch TV we make a game out of seeing which of us can mute the sound before we hear the first word of a commercial ...[Thus] we have welcome silence or conversation breaks in programs....'

#4: Just Click Away From the Site

"As soon as an uninvited ad comes up obliterating what I want to see and often slowing down or even stalling my computer, I click away from the site. Fortunately, there are other options."

#5: Just When You Thought It Couldn't Get Any Worse

A London-based video distribution company internal memo suggested that the recent beheading of a Brazilian soccer referee would be a great AD REVENUE generating opportunity. (Caps in the original written suggestion.) 

Once the memo became public the company apologized.

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