View Full Version : Local News Website Advertising Annoyances



mmonroe
03-24-2014, 05:26 AM
Lately I've been annoyed by the advertising practices and just plain usability of local news websites.

NewsOK now has random video advertising that pops up on articles. I was literally reading an article and the little grey bar that says advertisement pops down and starts playing a video ad for Reynolds Ford and pushing the content I was reading down the page. Then when I clicked on it to pause the video, it opened a new window for the advertisement while the ad was still playing on the other page. I understand print media is on the decline and online ads are a way to make up for lost subscription revenues, but its getting to the point that I would actually go out of my way to avoid the ad sponsors in protest. ( I know it's not the ad sponsors fault for how their advertisement is displayed but they know the ad placement they purchase. )

Fox25 refreshes their pages every 60 seconds or so. So if you're reading a lengthy article and it has taken longer than a minute, the page refreshes on you and brings you back to the top of the page. I'm not sure how their ads are tracked and displayed or if they compensate for ads displayed to the same IP or not but is that fair to the ad sponsors? For instance, Restaurant A advertises on the website for 20k impressions and impressions are tracked by views, so each view equals 1 impression. If an article takes me 3 refreshes to read and i've seen the ad 3 times, is that 1 impression or 3? Are advertisers being duped out of their advertising? Not to mention that their mobile site is basically broken and the video player doesn't work.

Then there are some local sites that are linking to 3rd party national advertisers that don't filter the authenticity of their advertisers and half of them link to questionable / spam / scam sites.

//// rant over ////

SoonerDave
03-24-2014, 07:52 AM
With the advent of HTML5 and its native support for streaming video, I think you'll see more and more of this bandwidth wasting garbage. Facebook has enabled a similar notion where users can make this inane little "movies" that are barely more than montages of photos and they'll just start autoplaying in your timeline. Worse still is that many content provders are putting those video windows at the bottom of the page, knowing people shut them off almost instantly.

As this incredibly annoying practice becomes more commonplace, I think the next wave of browser customization/security features that will hit will be the ability for the user to control video autoplay. Its a bandwidth wasting nuisance of the highest order - especially annoying on mobile devices.

And make no mistake that advertising sites will rail against such suggestions, because they WANT that high annoyance factor video kicking in AND they want it hard if not impossible to stop.

Heaven help us come the first wave of really hard streaming video exploits to hit browsers with less than stellar video implementations. It won't take an ill-advised email link click to compromise a system; just hitting a site with an autoplay video could, theoretically, be all it takes.

MsProudSooner
03-24-2014, 09:54 AM
AutoPlay is one of my pet peeves about reading any site.

Pete
03-24-2014, 10:23 AM
The worst culprits are the sites tied to the more traditional media sources, like newspapers and TV stations.

Their historic revenue streams are drying up fast due to their shrinking market share, so they are cramming ads absolutely everywhere.

In other words, their business model is having to be completely and continually revamped, whereas pure web businesses fully integrated advertising into their designs from the outset.

worthy cook
03-24-2014, 10:44 AM
A) I don't like when NewsOK baits you into an article only to send you to TMZ or Huff Post.

B) I don't like when an article could easily be on one page, but split it up into two for, I assume, more page views.

Pete
03-24-2014, 10:48 AM
^

The classic move by so many magazines now is to have Top 10 list and make you scroll through a separate page for each.


You can tell the sites that are tied to traditional media because in most ways, they really don't understand Internet behavior. Simply put, you annoy people too much with such obvious tactics they will merely go elsewhere for their news and entertainment.

I'm almost ready to write off ESPN; their website is maybe the worst of them all (although newsok isn't far behind).

SoonerDave
03-24-2014, 11:28 AM
^

The classic move by so many magazines now is to have Top 10 list and make you scroll through a separate page for each.


You can tell the sites that are tied to traditional media because in most ways, they really don't understand Internet behavior. Simply put, you annoy people too much with such obvious tactics they will merely go elsewhere for their news and entertainment.

I'm almost ready to write off ESPN; their website is maybe the worst of them all (although newsok isn't far behind).

The one thing that, if memory serves, differentiates ESPN from NewsOK is that ESPN's video is not auto-played by default - at least when I visit, you have to hit the play button. Not so with newsok, which is one reason I don't hit that site NEARLY as much. I don't go there for video. I go there to *read*.

Pete
03-24-2014, 11:31 AM
Unfortunately, ESPN now has auto-play video on almost every page.

woodyrr
03-24-2014, 11:48 AM
I don't mind website ads, especially if they are relevant. I have been known to click on the ones that feature something I would really consider purchasing just to let google analytics or whatever have a better clue as to what ads to serve me. I understand that the price of admission is either ads or a paywall.

Saying that, a week or two ago, an ad for something in which I was absolutely not interested popped up in the center of the text I was trying to read and there was no obvious way to clear it without clicking on it and seeing the full ad. I immediately downloaded ad blocker software and, as a result of their over aggressiveness, all the ads are gone - desired and undesired from all websites that I visit. Unfortunately, the websites with the ads off to the side or at the top of the page suffer as a result of the actions of the others.

MsProudSooner
03-24-2014, 01:39 PM
I just keep my speakers muted all the time. If I see something I want to hear, I turn them back on.

blangtang
03-24-2014, 01:46 PM
NewsOK is terrible - once you pause the stupid autoplay video and head off to the other room for a minute, the page will refresh on its own and the video starts again at full volume.

I pretty much only go to that site anymore if someone posts a link to a story I want to read...

ahlokc
03-24-2014, 04:00 PM
Do you use Adblock Plus or any other ad blocking program/add on for your browser? If not, I would recommend Adblock Plus ("https://adblockplus.org/en/firefox), it is available for Firefox, Internet Explorer, Chrome, Opera, and Safari. Very easy to use and you can whitelist sites so they are allowed to display ads.

mmonroe
03-24-2014, 04:06 PM
Even with Ad Blocker on, these videos and pop under ads are still happening. Some sites will not even allow you to use them if they detect AB and ask that you remove or turn it off before viewing their site.

SoonerDave
03-24-2014, 04:23 PM
Even with Ad Blocker on, these videos and pop under ads are still happening. Some sites will not even allow you to use them if they detect AB and ask that you remove or turn it off before viewing their site.

I think you're going to see a lot of advertising sites recast their content as HTML5 video such that most if not all the current "ad blockers" will be rendered moot. They won't have to use pop-up tricks or other similar techniques that such tools intercept and block in order to display their content.

SoonerDave
03-24-2014, 04:39 PM
Unfortunately, ESPN now has auto-play video on almost every page.

You had me wondering there, Pete, so I took a quick visit over to ESPN.com and while there was video on the landing page, it didn't auto-play. Makes me wonder if there's already a setting somewhere that might control autoplay that I just don't know about :)

woodyrr
03-24-2014, 05:01 PM
Do you use Adblock Plus or any other ad blocking program/add on for your browser? If not, I would recommend Adblock Plus (http://"https://adblockplus.org/en/firefox), it is available for Firefox, Internet Explorer, Chrome, Opera, and Safari. Very easy to use and you can whitelist sites so they are allowed to display ads.

Thanks for the tip! I have disabled the blocker on websites that don't serve me ads that block content such as this site.

Side note to websites: If you are going to send me ads that interfere with my reading the content and then send me a nasty message when I block you, or if you work around the blocker to where I cannot avoid your intrusive advertisements I will abandon your site and search for an alternative.

Nick
03-25-2014, 09:02 AM
I participated in the surveys that NewsOK sent out about redesigning their site awhile back but it seems to have all been for naught. Their website is total **** now. It's frustrating to open a story and have a blurb be split onto two pages just for the page clicks. Also, the design of the site is obnoxious. Even if it meant paying for access, I'd do that if it meant a better

If you haven't visited dallasnews.com, it's pretty nice to use. Laid out well, neatly designed, visually pleasing. Everything NewsOK is not.

SoonerDave
03-25-2014, 10:09 AM
I participated in the surveys that NewsOK sent out about redesigning their site awhile back but it seems to have all been for naught. Their website is total **** now. It's frustrating to open a story and have a blurb be split onto two pages just for the page clicks. Also, the design of the site is obnoxious. Even if it meant paying for access, I'd do that if it meant a better

If you haven't visited dallasnews.com, it's pretty nice to use. Laid out well, neatly designed, visually pleasing. Everything NewsOK is not.

Yeah the recent redesign of their site was the epitome of a solution in search of a problem. It was decently organized before and had a pretty good balance of video/written content, but now it strikes me more like one of these pop culture sites with the "top stories" on the right and a mush of content in the middle. Really disappointing, but then again, I'm not paying for it, so I suppose my latitude to grump is pretty darned small :) Just no incentive to actually subscribe, put it that way :)

Nick
03-25-2014, 12:30 PM
Yeah the recent redesign of their site was the epitome of a solution in search of a problem. It was decently organized before and had a pretty good balance of video/written content, but now it strikes me more like one of these pop culture sites with the "top stories" on the right and a mush of content in the middle. Really disappointing, but then again, I'm not paying for it, so I suppose my latitude to grump is pretty darned small :) Just no incentive to actually subscribe, put it that way :)

Exactly! It's like a facebook feed now with too many ads. I liked it better when it seemed to function more like a news site.

mmonroe
03-25-2014, 05:34 PM
so... would it be 'dirty pool' if i called and informed the advertisers that because of the annoyance of the sites they choose to advertise on, I will no longer or will never, be a customer.

Effectively, thats the only way to get a change made. Contacting the webmasters will yield only apologies and thanking you for your feedback, or just ignored. They're not going to change how they make profit, even if it annoys users knowing that only a few users will actually say something. I believe it's the whole "It's easier to ask for forgiveness than it is to ask permission." Same reason Facebook will never have a dislike button. Facebook doesn't want you disliking one of it's paying advertisers, they have to answer to the shareholders, not the users. Every Facebook redesign isn't for you, its to effectively market more advertising to you to maximize profit for every minute you're on the site. There are entire departments dedicated to monitoring and researching user analytics, just for that purpose.

Prunepicker
03-25-2014, 07:33 PM
Lately I've been annoyed by the advertising practices and just plain usability of
local news websites...
I hear ya! Advertising if very annoying but important. However, I use Adblock
Plus (https://adblockplus.org/en/firefox)on my Firefox browser and see very few ads on any site, including
News OK.

It's wonderful!

Now let's get to work on smart phones.