A report from the nonprofit ChangeAdvertising.org [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]found that 41 of the top 50 news sites — including The Guardian, CNN, Time and Forbes — embed widgets from so-called content-recommendation companies[/inlinetweet]. These “teasers” often have titles like “famous last word of celebrities” and require users to click several pages to get stories thus being exposed to more ads. It’s an insult to readers and a clear indication that they don’t understand users are in control not them.
ChangeAdvertising.org analyzed the content ads on those 41 news websites and found that 61 percent came from advertisers or other prominent publishers. [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]But 26 percent led to “clickbait” sites that were covered in more ads and lower-quality recommendation widgets featuring sexually suggestive or interruptive images[/inlinetweet]. Almost all of those sites, which appear to be paying for placement, then profiting from their own ads once people visit, hid their domain registrations.
Then there are the content providers that are still using pop-ups, especially on mobile devices, frustrating users to no end and they wonder why ad blockers are on the rise?
If there is one thing than anyone should take away from online marketing it’s that users are in control, not publishers. However, they need ways to monetize their websites so they use tactics that drive audiences away and then wonder why their online traffic is declining.
The rule seems to be “build it, attract a large audience and worry about how to make money later”. In the meantime, users are abandoning sites that have intrusive ads or sexually suggestive ads in the content. While online rags like the NY Post might benefit by showing a semi naked couple with the headline “hottest movies on Netflix right now” most people don’t like them.
One website that gets it right is Business Insider which gives users the option of seeing stories via slides or on one page. However, too many other sites still are trying to bother people who just want to read content and go onto their next bookmarked site.
The Internet is still broken for a lot of publishers and users.