May 08, 2010

New York Times Joins the Obnoxious "Autoplay Audio" Ad Club

Greetings. Last November in How to Sink a Major Web Site with a Single Ad, I noted how ABC News had begun using an autoplay ad format that starts blasting audio from an accompanying video advertisement as soon as an ordinary page is loaded. I explained there why I considered this to be the most obnoxious, distracting, and unacceptable online ad format. It's one thing to autoplay video and audio when you navigate to a page where you expect a multimedia presentation of some sort -- but when you click on a news link and end up with a lipstick commercial blasting from your speakers, forcing you to quickly hunt for volume or playback controls, it's way beyond the pale.

I'm sorry to report that the venerable New York Times is now engaging in this intrusive behavior, for example currently at this page.

I am a strong supporter of ad-based Internet business models as an alternative to "pay through the nose" models, as I've discussed in Blocking Web Ads -- And Paying the Piper. I am not a fan of "broad spectrum" ad blocking by folks who seem to somehow believe that Web services can simply run on air and love.

But the continuing rise of opportunistic autoplay ads with audio that immediately blares forth without user intervention risks a major ad-blocking backlash that will be difficult to argue against forcefully.

Sites that use these ads in the hopes of perceived short-term gains are taking a very significant longer-term risk that they may come to seriously regret.


Posted by Lauren at May 8, 2010 11:38 AM | Permalink
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