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August 3, 2008

WTF Blog Clutter: Unrelated Ads Angst

You know them. Those ads, often text-based, that appear in the sidebars, headers, footers, between posts, in posts, and all over blogs. The ads use an algorithm to evaluate the keyword content and publish ads related to the keywords. We all know how fallible those attempts are, don’t we? When it comes to WTF Blog Design Clutter, the distracting ad that pulls us from the content to the ad with a “WTF is that doing here” thought can ruin your blog reading experience.

A friend of mine shared the story of her husband’s struggle to recover from a stroke on her blog. There were laughter and tears in her stories, but also distractions. Her husband’s nickname is Joe and the ads in the sidebar showed horrible ads for Joe Cool, Joe Blow, Easy Joe, and other obnoxious things including cigarettes and light porn. Totally inappropriate. So many people complained, she took down the ads.

While online advertisers are working overtime to figure out profiling techniques, aiming as much related contextual ads at the blog’s visitors, a lot of the ads are totally unrelated, often insulting or demeaning.
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