Will Plain-Text Ads Continue to Rule?

The April 21 Alertbox combines 2 old thoughts into one:

  1. Advertising in general does not work (September 97)- but Google has a winner with its contextual text ads
  2. People draw conclusions from atypical examples (June 97)- so expect other sites to try their own text ads even though they are nothing like Google

But any short-term gain from text-ads will vanish if they do not provide any value to users.

We saw this first with "banner blindness" - people visually ignoring rectangular images once they figured out most were useless ads.

I continue to see this across the board - not just with banners. If users regularly encounter a design element that is useless to them, then they quickly start to ignore it. Could be banners, or global navigation at the top, or related links on the left, or promotions on the right - does not matter.

I call this "feckless blindness" - as people discover that a part of the page is routinely useless, they become blind to it over time.

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Feckless is feckless

My definition of "feckless blindness" is really tongue-in-cheek.

We do not need to start using more obscure terms like feckless. I just looked it up for comedic effect.

Please, help make feckless a feckless term in our field.


-- Keith Instone

I Prefer Banner Ads Over...

Jakob's method of 'tease advertising.' For instance, Jakob presents a brief article with an interesting idea or finding, just a tickler. But, if you want to read more; want the massive bulk of the information, you will need to pay so many hundreds of dollars for his report.

I'm not saying Jakob's method is bad, I do see the use of such a method, just that I prefer banner ads over the method he personally utilizes.

On another note, it is interesting Jakob considers advertising wrong for the Web when he, himself, essentially utilizes his site (useit) to promote research services of the Nielsen Norman Group.

ok, maybe I am a bit jealous of Jakob..... there is nothing wrong with that... right?