Take a look at this image…
As you can see, a picture is truly worth a thousand words, but unfortunately, it may not be worth the effort it takes to enumerate those thousand words.
Obviously, that was an image of a popup ad, and it’s one that I encounter semi-regularly. Aside from hurting my eyes (for reasons we shall leave unnamed), I think it brings up a legitimate question about ethics in advertising: Is it ethical to present internet ads in such a way that they might appear to be a part of your OS?
This ad is fairly laughable, although I’m sure there are a few folks out there who just recently came into contact with civilization and discovered the internet who may have been confused by it. But there are some more clever ads out there that speak of low system resources, etc., and if you click through, a company tries to bait you into buying their product through scare tactics. Although I wish it weren’t so, there have probably been more than a few dollars made thorough this nefarious approach.
You and I can shake it off — and I suppose the folks who really are confused by it and click through didn’t really lose anything except a little time — but the question remains: Where do advertisers cross the lines when trying to bait people in such ways?
Do you know anyone who honestly thought Bill Gates and the folks out at MS were offering them a free iPod? (Maybe it wasn’t you, but I’m sure you know of someone…)