Friday, June 12, 2015

A decoy within a decoy ...

It's not news that more-or-less legitimate news sites like to surround their articles with enticing links to somewhat-less-legitimate news sites: 20 reasons your dog may be considering a new career ... You'll never believe this simple secret for removing egg yolk from pine trees ... Read this before you buy a moose ... you know, those sorts of things.

Click through on one of those and there's a good chance there will be some sort of slide show surrounded by a minefield of garish ads.  Sure, why not?  Putting together pictures of whatever sort of fluff for people to page through is somewhere around neutral on my personal scale of good or bad ways to make a living.

Except, when you lay out the page with a large ad at the top with an arrow icon next to it, and white space between, looking for all the world like it's going to take you to the article you're really interested in (well, at least maybe kinda interested in).  Except that arrow icon takes you to the advertiser's page.  That tilts ever so slightly toward "bad" in my book.  For the reader, it's a straight-up bait and switch.  For the advertiser, it's a steady stream of annoyed readers and, if it's a pay-per-click model, they get to pay for the privilege.  True, there's not supposed to be any such thing as bad publicity, but still.