Playing Whack-a-Mole with Online Ads

This whole pop-under thing is getting ridiculous.

I just went the New York Times site and watched as this pop-under loaded:

Here we have the Grey Lady, the newspaper of record for the entire planet, resorting to sneaky ads that look like Windows systems messages. This can’t be good for the image of the NYT or for the concept of online advertising as something that people might actually want to look at. More and more online advertising is looking adversarial to consumers. This pop-under actually goes to the effort of trying to hide the window title by adding lots of spaces and dots so that it shows as a blank box on your toolbar rather than revealing itself as a browser window!

I can’t believe this is going to do anything but harm in the long term.

My suggestion is that all publishers immediately stop accepting anything that is designed to trick visitors into clicking. That includes fake error messages or non-functional interactivity that just causes you to go to the advertiser’s site.

Now I’m off to play “whack a mole” with more pop-up ads.