This is a read-only archive!

History of the Intarwebs, viz. Advertisements

Do you know what's worse than seeing advertisements everywhere you look?

Nothing.

I remember before the intarwebs had any ads. I shall refer to this timeperiod as The Day. Back in The Day, web sites sucked, but they sucked without ads. Many sites were terrible Geocities-hosted animated-gif-chucking embedded-midi-blaring atrocities, but most of them didn't have ads. Many companies didn't even have websites. I recall hearing about pepsi.com one day, and thought "Even Pepsi has a website now! Heh, what'll they think of next. How neat." Oh how foolish I was! Oh the ignorance of youth.

One day the serpent approached the webmaster and said "Behold the forbidden Tree of Punch-The-Monkey. Eat of its fruit and you shall be like unto God!" And so man Fell. You could tell some companies didn't really know what they were doing. First they started putting mandatory FRAME-based ad-things on the top of all their pages that basically broke things horribly. Then sites like Geocities and ilk experimented with floating Javascriptish things the moved around as you scrolled your web page. I think a lot of ads at this time were still prety obvious. "BUY A DIGITAL CAMERA!" sorts of things. Sometimes they put a scantily-clad woman on it, but hey, that's a pretty obivous step. But you still had the weird and (I must admit) clever ones. At this time, stupid things like "Punch the monkey and win a prize" still WORKED. No one had seen them before. An ad banner with Windows98-ish decor that stated "Warning! Click OK" probably fooled 95% of everyone who saw it. There was great innovation here. Alas that such genius was put to evil uses.

What followed can only be called The Dark Ages. Everyone realized that ads make money. Lots of money, apparently, because there sure were lots of ads. And there were at that time no tools to block ads or popups. It was carnage on a massive scale. How fondly I remember popups which spawned more popups as you closed them, causing an endless cycle of popups. If your reflexes were fast enough, you could close one popup, and quickly click to close the next popup before it loaded entirely, thus breaking the cycle. Windows' semi-random window placement policy ensured that this game never got old. How clearly I remember having the proverbial crap scared out of me when I heard my first talking Flash ad. My first thought: "Hey, look, someone made an ad with embedded voice!" My second thought: "...someone made an ad with embedded voice." My third thought is not repeatable in polite company.

I believe we are now in a Post-Apocalypse era. The weak are ravaged by wandering mobs of ad-wielding psycopaths. The strong have a chance of survival, using technical savvy and know-how, but it is a never-ending battle. We defeat pop-ups, they create pop-UNDERS. We block ad GIFs, they create Flash. We block those, they create full-page click-throughs and floating flying Javascript ads that pretend to be popups. We manage to ignore all those, and so they highlight words in the content itself in bright green, making every individual word of human speech into an ad unto itself. And then we have those who do battle ninja-like via concealment and ambush, such as Google, who are only successful because they make their ads look as little like ads as possible.

What does the future hold? I forsee things getting much worse before they get better (if they ever get better). Computers will come with dedicated APU chips. (Ad processing units.) If you think about it, giving people a CHOICE is the weakness of ads. Perhaps when you open a webpage, a robotic arm will shoot out of your computer and grab you by your genitals and refuse to let go until you buy a fake Rolex filled with Viagra from a man claiming to be a dead South African prince's mortage broker. Perhaps we will be implanted with microchips which feed relevant ad data directly into our central nervous system at all time, so we see them even when we close our eyes. And may God have mercy on our souls.

June 13, 2006 @ 4:15 AM PDT
Cateogory: Rants

4 Comments

Hussam
Quoth Hussam on June 15, 2006 @ 3:32 PM PDT

"My first thought: ?Hey, look, someone made an ad with embedded voice!? My second thought: ??someone made an ad with embedded voice.? My third thought is not repeatable in polite company."

Ha! Best thing I heard all day. Seriously, I am amused. You are right.. my first talking ad scared the jeepers out of me. A dark, heavy voice offering me a pleasurable time. That is when I first came into contact with the internet though.

I was wondering if this would be a good idea to try. On Windows, if you install anti Ad-ware software (let's say Webroot) it modifies the Windows hosts file and adds entries to well known Ad-websites that download cookies/mini-programs to your computer and spy on your activities or pop-up windows. What these entries do is when a website pops up you are automagically redirected to a previously chosen website rather than the offending one! I wonder if such a thing would be possible with our hosts.allow/deny files or anything similar.

Pop-up pages that load google everytime I click on an offending link are better than homosexual voices coming out of my computer!

Brian
Quoth Brian on June 16, 2006 @ 2:37 AM PDT

I don't see what's worse about homosexual ads than any others. It is possible to put IP translations in your hosts file however. You can do the same in Linux in /etc/hosts. As an example, http://accs-net.com/hosts/hostsforlinux.html

It would possibly be better to redirect evil IPs to localhost or to some IP that doesn't exist, rather than hammer Google's servers requesting ad banners and pages that don't exist on their servers.

Hussam
Quoth Hussam on June 16, 2006 @ 10:42 AM PDT

That's a great idea. Implements swiftly

Hussam
Quoth Hussam on June 16, 2006 @ 10:45 AM PDT

I'm sorry for wasting posts but to elaborate on my fear of pop-up ads of the kind I mentioned above is in company of others. The first time it happened was when my dad was in my room yelling at me for the mess in my room. Usually we quarrel for quite a bit and he quiets up and leaves.

Guess what brought the conversation to a screeching hault that time?