I have been using the internet almost since its inception. I remember that the web was relatively young 20 years ago when my wife and I married. We bought our first computer. It sat in the corner of or bedroom and we used it to research and shop for all kinds of stuff.
In time, however, the experience changed. Websites started adding what became known as “popups”. In some cases, you would click a link and multiple windows would pop up without your consent. The page you were shopping on or reading would be covered by all kinds of stuff you did not want to see. You might have to close several windows to get back to your original window…that is unless closing one window unleashed a whole new set of popups. It was maddening!!!
These popups were used for anything from advertising to click bait to simple annoyances. Some malicious websites would use them hoping to get you to click a link that would launch a virus of some kind or a trojan horse. Ironically, these were unleashed in messages telling you your PC was infected with a virus and if you clicked this link you could fix it all.
So some of the greatest developments of that day were extensions or add ons for browsers that blocked these popups. For a period of time, they were very effective and surfing became a much better experience.
Businesses and many non-major news sites have taken on a new strategy, though. Now many websites have built popups into the website that cannot be blocked. So they do not pop up in another tab or window. They get around what triggers the popup blocker. Nothing like clicking a link in Facebook from a friend…starting to read an interesting article…to be interrupted mid-sentence with an ad that appears in front of what you are reading. What do they want? They want you to sign up for their news letter by giving them your email address, which is used to flood your inbox with advertising. They want you to look at a certain item. They want you to know they are running a sale.
The other night I was on a site that popped up an ad for another website. All they wanted was for you to click and go look at their product. So the two buttons on the ad said “Yes, I want to learn more” and “No, I support Hillary”. Really??? First you interrupt my visit to your website…now you want to insult me if I choose to not fall for your click bait!?!
Look!!! I know there is a need to advertise on the web. I know there is a need to get my attention on something you are trying to communicate to me. But popping something up in my surfing experience with you will NEVER get it done. All it does is frustrate the user. And it is so unnecessary. There are ways to accomplish this without hacking off or insulting the potential customer or reader.
I can deal with a banner ad on a site. I should be allowed the option to choose what I click…without being insulted if I choose not to.
I understand the function and purpose of marketing.
But marketers are ruining the internet.