Tuesday, August 26, 2008

TIVO For The Web? Protection Against Weapons Of Distraction

Will The Web Have An Ad-Skipping, Ad-Zapping Technology?

By David Miranda

I was minding my own business (or at least I thought I was) online visiting a number of my bookmarked sites as well as a few others visited for the first time. Then it started. The relentless onslaught of advertising - banners, skycrapers, sponsored links, auto-play audio and videos (with pre and post roll ads), floating ads, pop up and pop under ads, flash ads, expanding ads, etc. etc.

Some of the videos and audio, I could not stop and they even continued to play beneath the page I was viewing. As I scrambled to find the elusive close button or my volume button, I got increasingly irritated at a combination of perceived responsible parties - the advertiser, their agency, the publisher, and the ad network. I was trying to enjoy my time online and was relentless ambushed by weapons of distraction.

Is it any wonder that click through rates for online ads is like .001%. Is the other 99.999% telling us something. The online ad industry talks about engagement and behavioral targeting to provide contextual ads to the right audience. Let's call it what it is - ambush marketing.

Will someone invent a TIVO for the Web? I'd say it's a certainty. Will consumers embrace such a service? Little doubt. What would be the impact of a Web TIVO to the medium? Devastating.

What's the solution to head this off? Online advertisers and publishers need to be an advocate for the online consumer. Eliminate things that irritate, aggravate, and annoy the consumer. Think long and hard about deploying advertising that puts the consumer on the defense trying to find the "leave me alone" or "how do I turn this damn thing off" buttons.

The options are "do the right thing" or say hello to Web TIVO.