Saturday, February 16, 2008

Online Advertising Is Still Full of Evildoers

Just when you thought Google tamed the savage banner ad into something usable and possibly helpful, comes...Evildoer advertising!

They knowingly use visual cues that news organizations use to make it seem like you are reading content from the website you trust. Doesn't this break your trust with the news organization that let's these people advertise? Shouldn't news orgs have some sort of guidelines to what their advertisers can put on their web pages that bans this type of deceiving ad?

  1. "Breaking News" header
    Red "Breaking News" background color with the actual words, "Breaking News" as the header. As if you will read some really important news here!
  2. Misleading Story Title
    They use fake content that seems real – The Fed cut the rate a half point 2 weeks prior and might again in a few weeks, but this is NOT today's news. This makes it seem like yet another story on the page to read. They even use the same larger font and color most news orgs use.
  3. Video Icon
    The advertiser uses the same video icon that news orgs use to make it seem like you are getting special video content here. They even use viral video content to catch your eye. Feh.
  4. In-Context Links
    This is the most evil part of the ad. If you are winnowing through the website looking for interesting articles, you might just click here thinking you will get a real news article. It's the most evil because you are trusting the news website and could possibly give up personal info on subsequent links. They are absolutely tracking you and who knows what else. Evil!

I've seen this done in magazines, but this is much, much worse done online. With my magazine, I can't go from being misled to giving away financial information within a couple clicks. I'd much rather see a House committee hearing on this than one on who is injecting 'roids in their rear. Deceiving online advertising obviously isn't as attractive as that and Truck Nutz to capture the attentions of our government.

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