Running on Empty – Advertising-supported Web cannot last forever.

Posted by: Rea Maor In: Making Money Online - Monday, June 4th, 2007

See the ads on this page? No, of course you don’t. Because there’s ads on *every* page, and after so much time, we become ad-blind.

Kibo, the legendary net.humor personality, has this virtual reality tour set up on his site, and the first section is an extensive photo essay on orange traffic cones. See, these orange cones are *everywhere* and we have learned to ignore them, so it defeats their purpose. But Kibo’s lesson is kind of an epiphany; after you browse through his orange cone tour, you go outside and immediately notice the cones again!

Advertising is only effective for so long. We get numb to it. Studies have actually shown that it’s kind of like a subliminal thing; we only recognize it on one level, but not the fully conscious one. The trouble is, we have to be conscious of advertising in order for it to take effect!

And so, advertisers have little choice but to keep trying to make their ads gain attention. First they animate them, then they make pop-ups, then they make those extra-irritating boxes that fly in front of the page and zig and zag around. And how about the talking ones, for things like animated smilies?

Of course, you see the same thing happening with television commercials. Have you ever had a commercial break in the middle of the show you were watching, and the movie was really hard to hear, and then the commercial came on and IT WAS THIS LOUD? Same deal, different media. What TV and radio also do, though, is put more creative energy into it. They know that you’re going to hit mute or turn down the volume or just ignore it until the show comes on, so they try to reward your attention by being original or entertaining.

Hey, that’s what web site ads aren’t doing! Everywhere you look is the same blah banners, text rows, bouncing boxes, and three-panel animations. Where’s the originality, the creativity, the effectiveness?

Most of us now have ads on our sites, well, just in case. They don’t make any real money – most any web master will agree, here – except for the top ten sites on the web. But we keep hoping more that advertisers will come up with something more effective than either sitting there like part of the wallpaper, or bouncing around irritating us. When the creativity that goes into TV and radio advertising goes into web ads, that’s when we’ll start paying attention again!

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