[ Back to Kevin's Homepage | Back to Ramblings and Brain Farts ]

Banner Advertizing Just Doesn't Work

Nate Say:
> I counted 30-odd advertisements on the outside of a gas
> station alone -- tops of pumps, on the car wash building, front windows,
> cigarette display visible through the window, newstands out front, etc... 
Message from Greggo:
>Today, it's email.  I hafta see 30 odd ads when I go buy gas but my
>email, for ten years, was sacred space.  Now my digital church of
>personal worship and sermon is full of screaming money changers.
> [ ... revenge ... ]

I think it's because most advertizers just don't get it about web advertizing.

For example: goto any "e-magazine" or anything that has content that you want to *READ*. Animated ads everywhere prevent you from reading the article, because of all the flashing, beeping, and otherwise annoying animated adverts.

What parallels are there? none.

On one side, you have billboards - they may stand out on the landscape, but they often don't jump in front of you as you drive down the road. they're just there, and if you're casually driving down the road, you'll notice, "hey, there's this big thing over there, maybe I'll look at it" relatively passive advertizing.

On another end of the spectrum, you have TV commercials, but they're clearly on/off, i.e. commercials off/show on or commercials on/show off. There is no mixing of the two.

I would put animated web advertizing beyond that - imagine watching a newscast, and that little window they put in the background with some picture? Now imagine that it's a commercial, except that it floats around the screen obscuring parts of the newscast, and about 1 of every 10 seconds it takes over the sound with this horrendously loud announcer "sunday, sunday, sunday!...Mad offroad bigfoot car crunching..." you get the idea.

zdnet is the worst; I've counted upto 35 ads on one page alone.

print advertizing; sure it's in and around the text, but it again is passive like the billboard; it doesn't reach out and try to strangle you.

that's why I use ad filtering web proxy. advertizements get turned into blank images. Animated gifs? I only see the first frame of it. This also signifigantly speeds up my web download performance, because I get to skip most of the advertizing downloads.

Now as for email - I've grown relatively quiet about email spam, since

  1. the corporate email gateway filters most of it out for me already,
  2. I only get one every 2 days on average,
  3. each one is nicely contained in a package,
  4. Most of them can be recognized by their subject, and easily ignored,
  5. They're relative passive, and easily ignored/skipped over, much like TV commercials. just close your eyes for a few seconds...

    and probably most signifigantly,

  6. I get MORE spam from my mom; urban legends, and other stuff that I just don't care about.

Now as whether I think email spam SHOULD be gotten rid of? yes; they're a huge email burden and waste of resources. Am I actively pursing it? not anymore; I just don't have the time/energy to do so.

2000.10.04 update

Since I'm no longer with SGI, I no longer have the corporate email gateway filtering ads out for me. I now get approximately 5-10 spams a week. Not terrible, but it does interrupt me to stop and read the email, then go back to my work. There are several ways I could get rid of the spam:

I suppose the best policy is a combination of all the above. Filters should be applied to incomming email in this order:
  1. Known Mailing lists to their own folders
  2. Generic Spam rules to spam.mbox
  3. From friends@bad.domain to kjw.mbox
  4. From bad.domain to spam.mbox
  5. To: kjw to kjw.mbox
  6. all remaining emails to unknown.mbox
There are several reasons for this setup:

Email to mailing lists generally isn't addressed to you, so those need to be prefiltered. Unfortunately, any spam TO the mailing list will make it through to you. These generally can't be avoided anyways, because the mailing lists usually rewrite and properly construct the headers.

From friends@bad.domain is needed because of the next rule. From bad.domain to spam.mbox will globally remove known common sources of spam such as yahoo.com and aol.com, where people can sign up for email accounts for immediate usage, with no verification of the person's identity, validity, or intent.

The last two rules also work together: To: kjw (also look at the Cc: header) and anything left over was not addressed to you, but might be bcc'ed to you by a friend.

Unfortunately, only about 40% of my spam is filtered into spam.mbox, while 50% goes into unknown.mbox. It's not perfect, but it is a start.

Last updated 2000.10.04 kjw
created 1999.10.14 kjw