Yahoo’s worst advertising techniques

Jakob Neilsen’s latest alertbox column lists the top most hated advertising techniques on the web.

Unfortunately, Yahoo’s still doing many of them.

Loads slowly: There are horrible ads on Yahoo that load javascript from pointroll.com and questionmarket.com among others. These are being served from third party sites and often they’re ridiculously slow. When javascript is loaded by the browser, all other rendering stops, so you just have to wait. It makes Yahoo look slow even when it’s not techinally Yahoo’s fault.

Tries to trick you into clicking on it: Sponsored links on Yahoo search click through when you click anywhere in the blue area at the top. Example. I often click in pages to set focus and scroll and this always annoys me because it doesn’t look like a link. Even the holy Google does this. If I click in the blue area on the way right of the page, do you really think I was aiming my mouse at an ad for buying a toaster 600 pixels to the left?

Moves content around: The Yahoo! home page occasionally has ads that move around and “takes over” the page. You usually only get them once per session and they’re quick, but still not very friendly.

Automatically plays sound: There’s a nasty ad for the Army that’s been running around for years that says “Alpha, Bravo, Charlie” everytime it runs. At least that one’s obvious. Some are so subtle you can’t even tell which page it comes from.

Occupies most of the page: The sign-out page is one example, but these ads are all over the site.

Thank God Yahoo don’t do popups anymore. Yahoo! Companion even provides a pop-up blocker, even if most modern browsers have this built in now. You also won’t see flashing “You are a winner” ads or jiggling fake dialog boxes about your computer being slow.

Some of the other ones are questionable, but I’m sure you could find an example of most of them somewhere on Yahoo. That’s at least 5 out of 11 on Jakob’s list.

Still, it’s time for Yahoo to clean up their act. A lot of these ads are for trashy sites which can’t be paying much anyway.

12/8 Update: Yahoo is running a Dell ad today that moves around the front page. I also found the annoying army ad.

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