Friday, May 04, 2007

Online ads evolve

I'm used to sidebar ads. Advertisers don't want to hear this, but I don't notice them at all. They just blend into the background. The only ones I notice are the actively irritating ones with sound; I notice them exactly enough to make a mental note to never, ever purchase a product advertised in such an annoying way. There's a particularly heinous ad that looks like a side-scrolling shockwave minigame in which you control a little car with engine problems (to judge by the revving sounds it makes constantly), sponsored by an auto insurance company. Every time I see this ad, I think to myself: "Hunh. State Farm might have its problems, but at least they don't run annoying, noisy shockwave ads!"

So, given that I generally don't notice ads at all, I was genuinely surprised when an ad jumped out at me on Wired this morning. I don't even remember what the ad was for; it might have been a video-based ad for Blu-Ray. What was surprising was that the ad stayed with me as I surfed around Wired's site. The little movie played (with the sound defaulted to OFF, thankfully!), and as I navigated to a different page the ad didn't even lose its place in the movie. It's not too complicated, from a web-design perspective, to build a site that facilitates this. But I had never seen it before. It was a nice design touch, and it made me notice the ad.

Of course, it's good that it wasn't an evil ad with sound. Aside from the personal annoyingness of loud sidebar or popup ads, they also render a page less work-safe. Nobody's coworkers want to hear that annoying mosquito drone or the car engine revving.

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