Annoying Flash Banner Ads

by Stephanie Rewis on June 27, 2006

Good grief. I really don't have a problem with Flash banner ads at all. In fact, many times they're the best way to showcase a product. What I am greatly annoyed by though, and they're starting to pop up everywhere, are the ones that move down over the active part of the page. Sure, they're real sexy and all — but get off my freakin' links!

Last week, I saw one where the guy looked like he was pushing the Flash ad downward and grabbing something from the other advertisment below. Problem is, he has to “traverse” across the top navigation which, when covered by the transparent Flash movie, isn't clickable. You can't activate the buttons or links while he's doing his cute little thing. Well, let me rephrase that — in IE you can (due to the dangers, errr, beauty of Active X), but not in any other browser.

Today, we have a possible tropical depression off my coast. I quickly went to the Yahoo! weather page to find a satellite pic. I didn't find what I wanted, went up to the navigation to click something else and the stupid Flash movie drops down over the buttons. I had to wait while it did it's thing and got off the navigation so I could get off the page. Now, I understand that usability studies have shown that people ignore the top area of the page where banner ads live. And I understand the advertisers wanting to find a creative way to get users to look at their ads. But don't hijack me. If I want to leave, let me go. I think we need to make a fuss or this will end up being like commercials at the movies. You pay to get into the movie, and then have to watch ads for products. Things like this are just wrong. On so many levels.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

JesterXL June 27, 2006 at 11:00 am

This should help.

Jim Arthur June 27, 2006 at 11:59 am

-I too highly dislike the new version of these ads, as you say, the ones that cover up the rest of the page. The trouble is, us geeks like new toys and have to use them. A lot of the time they are impractical, but since it is a way to show off something new in a technical sense, the tech demonstration becomes more important than the user experience. Seems to me we have the process backwards. We need to move the user back into first place and put our skills and new discoveries on the shelf.

Disgruntled Netizen December 7, 2009 at 6:22 am

I found this page Googling for ‘Flash based advertisement annoying’ to see if I could find any plug-ins to disable this garbage (since Macromedia/Adobe never thought to implement a “block content” feature in the context menu). These ads not only use bandwidth that I am paying for, waste my already taxed CPU cycles, and take up space on my hard drive, but commercialize everything on the Internet making it hard to find anything authored by actual talented people rather than no-names paid to read from boring scripts for an easy job. Also, they waste a lot of my time, and for someone who works full time, time is very precious, not something to be wasted viewing info on something that’s not interesting.

I miss the days of the text-based ad, those I could tolerate, and those I would click on if something interested me, but begging for my attention in the equivalent of a TV commercial irritates the hell out of me and I would never purchase anything from the advertiser who irritates me ever.

Studies on to who pays attention to what part of the page are pretentious, and themselves are only made so someone can make money to make the study itself. If something is actually worth selling, a text based add under the menu will suffice. Otherwise it’s just annoying content wasting my resources that needs to be blocked permanently. So long as an ad is visible, it can be seen. It doesn’t need to be obnoxious otherwise steps need to be taken to make sure that it is never seen ever (by anyone, we need a built-in spam database for our browsers supported by the manufacturers of such browsers, we need to bring the net back to it’s past glory where ads were bandwidth conscious and text-based!) Maybe that will never happen, but I for one won’t be putting up with increasingly annoying ads being forced upon me against my will when all I want is useful content.

These days I seem to have to watch 30 seconds of streaming video advertising something every time I click a link, or have a bunch of animated stuff slowing down the page, in a year there will probably be twelve one-minute advertisements per click for five seconds worth of actual content. Unacceptable, we need stronger protection.

I understand that some sites need the money from ads to operate, even if the owners have real jobs, but there has to be a better way than Flash, and I think if Flash based advertisements lost their prominence, text-based ads and static images would once again become valuable.

The only reason I even have Flash installed is because a lot of actual content makes use of it, but that fact seems to be getting exploited more and more to it’s fullest and it’s getting to be unacceptable.

Disgruntled Netizen December 7, 2009 at 6:26 am

I would also like to add (no pun), that the era of the pop-up and pop-under is pretty much over thanks to savvy browser developers. I believe that we could be shielded from nasty Flash-based ads with little work. Maybe Adobe or browser developers could allow ad designers to have an alternate text or image should a viewer decide not to have annoying flashy special effects enabled for advertisements.

When Flash ads play over your actual content, or float over menus, or do something else that could be considered malicious, it’s gone too far.

Tom Muck January 25, 2010 at 7:24 am

I disable Flash in my main browsing app. I had enough several years ago. I disable Acrobat too. I’d rather download a file if it has to open in a plugin.

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