Saturday, November 14, 2009

Internet Annoy-vertising on

I have been a long time reader of the Philadelphia Inquirer to keep in touch with Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey news. For a couple of years I read the hard copy of the paper, but gradually grew weary of using all of that paper day in and day out. So I have since become a daily peruser of thenewspaper's online portal,, which is much more environmentally friendly, and free for anybody to read, which is also nice.

It's a widely known fact that newspapers are bleeding subscribers due to the ease and efficiency of the Internet and its virtually infinite number of news sources. And it's also widely known that newspapers are having a difficult time making a profit in this changing world of news production.

So I empathize with the fact that newspapers are looking for new, creative ways to make money. But two of the Inquirer's latest undertakings on, are quite annoying.

First off, when you click on to, you don't realize it, but a pop-under ad often sneaks behind your browser. This in and of itself is annoying, though a fairly common practice across the internet, unfortunately. I frequently get ads from Netflix, for example, in this manner, and promptly ignore them. But the more annoying fact about these pop-unders are that they consist of a list of low rate ads, the likes of which you might see on Facebook's platform. Here's an example of one recent ad (out of six) that popped up:

'See How a Mom Drops 53Lbs!'

See how a mom of 3 drops 53lbs by obeying this 1 old rule... Learn more [link]

[ad accompanied by a cropped photo of a thin woman's belly exposed between tight white shirt and tight jeans]

My suggestion: at least provide some ads of value if you're going to sneak them in there. Perhaps post ads for local houses for sale, sporting event tickets, or other specialized deals, rather than ads trying to appeal to the lowest common denominator of internet surfers.

The other flustering thing that does revolves around their sports articles. Click on a link to an article about, say, the Philadelphia Eagles' next game, and a video automatically starts playing when the page opens up. Most of these videos start with a commercial and then contain generic clips or photos of recent games. The main business page also does something similar when clicking on that page. I think it's a sensible idea to have videos incorporated into the site, but I would prefer them to start only when I click on them, and also make the commercials less intrusive.

I do hope that the Inquirer and are able to find a way to earn a profit off of their news production, I just hope that they can find a more user-friendly way of appealing to loyal readers by avoiding intrusive ads and videos. Just my 2 cents.

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