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Latest Online Advertising Annoyance

Ad in PC Magazine ColumnHere’s the latest way to annoy people online — hotlinks to words in articles that go to advertisements.

The pictured item (click on it or here for a full-sized image) is a from a PC Magazine column by John Dvorak. The word “computer” is highlighted in green, and underlined. Put the mouse over the word and up pops the little window touting Microsoft’s new version of Office (with some highly misleading text that only becomes clear if you click through to the actual advertisement on Microsoft’s site).

Oh, and the column itself bemoans newspapers’ foolish unwillingness, until very recently, to put links outside their own sites into their online articles. This is one case where the link absolutely, positively, does not belong in the story.

UPDATE: The Wall Street Journal has a thorough story on this unpleasant trend today.

3 Comments on “Latest Online Advertising Annoyance”

  1. #1 Hugo E. Martin
    on Nov 27th, 2006 at 2:28 am

    Users will learn fast, advertisers sooner and publisher last … almighty god, please send them lices …

  2. #2 Darian
    on Nov 27th, 2006 at 9:32 am

    This kind of advertising has been available on sites for about 10 years (I think it started with a company called back in the late ’90s). I don’t see it as such a bad thing–if you are interested in the word you can mouse over it. If not, simply ignore it. What would also be cool is if you could mouse over and choose either the advertiser associated with it or Wikipedia.

    While pretty basic, at least this is one form of contextual advertising and it doesn’t overwhelm by flashing in your face something you have no interest in. (Full disclosure: I work in online marketing and am more likely to be open to advertising however I have never bought this kind of campaign).

  3. #3 Notes from a Teacher: Mark on Media » Monday squibs
    on Nov 27th, 2006 at 5:57 pm

    […] Is It News…or Is It an Ad? According to the Wall Street Journal, more web sites are using in-text ads, including journalism sites such as the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Fox News. Yikes. Dan Gillmor also has an example, and Paul Conley takes offence at a supposition about B2B publications in the WSJ article. […]