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Why There Are So Many Ads on the Internet

Updated on December 28, 2015
The internet is sinking under the weight of advertising - the balance of content versus ads is way out of line.
The internet is sinking under the weight of advertising - the balance of content versus ads is way out of line.

There are far too many adverts and product placements cluttering up the internet.

Since Adsense came along every other person wants to write stuff and earn money from the accompanied advertising.

Some pieces are more adverts than written text, and to be honest, the written text is nothing to write home about.

I wouldn’t write home about a web page, but I expect some people do, if they have nothing else to say in their letter.

Plus, the expression should be mail home - no one writes letters anymore. Although I do receive a lot of snail mail letters addressed to me personally, helpfully offering to improve my life at only a small monthly cost.

Anyway, to stay quite cross for a moment, there are way too many adverts and something needs to be done.

Incidentally, I honestly believe there are far too many adverts on this page. That is the site I write on - it is their decision. I have tried saying "Less might be more" but they don't agree.

So I will just offer genuine apologies and hopefully you will tune them out like we all have to when we go browsing.

This article is a hopefully humorous sideways look at the way the internet is swamped with adverts.


There are now NO adverts on this page apart from one small link to my tee shop.

Just in case you were thinking of going shopping later...

Ads Poll

So are there too many Ads?

See results

Adblock Update

Since writing this some years ago - Adblock and Adblock Plus - have arrived. I have some thoughts on them too at the bottom of this page.

Immoral Affiliate Marketing

This site and others which have closed - thanks to Google's war on them - contains many pages where the content exists to serve the adverts.

One example that annoys me are those recipe pages with adverts for the Kitchen Aid mixer.

The writer has no intention of telling the reader about a nice recipe. Perhaps how to make it cheaply and easily, or add a new twist on an old favorite.

Their whole aim is to put that expensive product in prime position and proceed to tell you how you need one to be the perfect mother, wife or whatever.

It is immoral spam that has no right to be on the internet. Recent downward traffic movements for content like that would seem that Google is working on it.

Affiliate marketing might be coming to an end as Google Panda cracks down on it.
Affiliate marketing might be coming to an end as Google Panda cracks down on it.

When the Content is Available Everywhere...

Consumers will choose the sites with the least aggressive advertising.

Facebook is Sinking Under Adverts

Facebook is an example of the changing of the internet. As the big boy marketers and investors get involved then they need to maximise every possible selling opportunity.

Of course we couldn't all just use Facebook for fun and socialising any more. Not after all those billions of dollars poured in. Now the site resembles one of the more spam-filled corners of the internet.

This will be self-defeating but it may take a long time. Existing users will mainly shrug and carry on. The new young users they want so desperately will be going elsewhere. Until the next stock market flotation tries to grab them.

The worst part of Facebook ads and on Twitter too, are the adverts that appear in your feed. For a moment you think it is a personal message. This deceit will grow, particularly as business looks to find some way of making money from mobile net.

Facebook updates from real friends start to disappear under the number of adverts
Facebook updates from real friends start to disappear under the number of adverts

Why So Many Adverts?

It's a self perpetuating cycle.

  • People write to make money
  • advertisers pay for ad placement
  • consumers buy through the adverts
  • the writer gets paid and writes more stuff
  • repeat from the start

This is easy capitalism at its most basic level.

When the first internet adverts appeared they were a novelty. An experiment to see if consumers could be reached by this new method.

Oh boy - could they!

The web sites and advertisers needed content - lots of it - and quickly. So they opened up the game to amateur contributors and the internet grew exponentially. The trade-off for searchers... consumers... is how many adverts they are prepared to tolerate.

More advertising equals more money.

A lot of the adverts bear no relation to the truth - just as in any other media form - press, TV, billboards.
A lot of the adverts bear no relation to the truth - just as in any other media form - press, TV, billboards.

Too Much Net Advertising

With regards to the amount of adverts that clog up your reading experience on this page I can only apologise.

I am contractually obliged to have a bare minimum in the hope of covering next month's rent.

I wouldn't mind if there were just one or two tasteful ones - perhaps for attractive young ladies or motorbikes. Why anyone thinks bombarding potential consumers, or as we used to call them, readers, with a huge number of adverts is quite beyond me.

Research has shown that viewers are quite capable of tuning out the advertising, and still reading the text. It hasn’t shown quite how irritated they get through this experience, or indeed how anti the product they become.

At least internet page adverts can mostly be skipped or ignored - apart from those irritating hover over ones that start playing a video and music, or even worse, the ones that open a new window.

The ads that come with ‘free’ radio or Youtube are hard to avoid. They actively take up your valuable time and force you to listen to the sales pitch while you hope that this tedious delay will be worthwhile.

The internet which promised so much has become largely about advertising.
The internet which promised so much has become largely about advertising.

Targeted Adverts

One thing that is really quite clever, as well as being an invasion of privacy and an attack on my civil rights of course, is the way some advertising is based on stuff you are interested in.

I don’t mean the simple page about a topic which then shows associated ads, but the adverts that appear based on your previous browsing history.

So if you use Gmail then you will see adverts that are maybe to do with the mail, but also to do with websites you have previously visited, or search terms you have used.

The downside of this, according to a friend of mine, is explaining to the wife why there are so many ads appearing for gay Russian adult movies on their computer.

It has made me think twice about my usual web diet and the potential knock on effect.

If adverts could be truthful - "Buy Soup That Tastes a Bit Like Tomato"
If adverts could be truthful - "Buy Soup That Tastes a Bit Like Tomato"

The Benefit of Adverts

However, to give advertising its due, I wonder how much of the internet that we take for granted is supported by it.

For example if the adverts were not on this page, would I have written it?

And indeed, would the service provider be providing it?

And would you be reading it, given that you presumably use some product to access the page in the first place such as the latest browser, maybe a laptop or iPhone, and so on?

So perhaps we should give a big shout out to the ad men who provide us with the whole thing, and all for free. Well hardly - but if that is what we have to suffer for a free and occasionally, quality web experience - maybe it is bearable.

It is not that hard to avoid purchasing from intrusive adverts and take the free information or entertainment you were looking for. If the balance between fun, info and advertising is wrong - the back arrow is a powerful consumer vote.

If by some chance you do see an item that appeals then I suppose that is coincidence coupled with convenience. Rather than having to go looking it has been brought directly to your screen. Sometimes when you didn’t even know you wanted one.

I still think there are too many ads but at least I have calmed down a bit. It is the world we live in I guess, or to be more accurate, the world we created.

Most People Miss These Spoofs!

Real adverts for real people
Real adverts for real people

Grateful For Advertising

Perhaps we should be grateful to the advertisers, without whom we would never have known about the products that have improved our lives.

After all, the product would not exist unless there was some hope of selling it.

And then where would we be?

Our teeth are whiter, our hair shinier, our prospects are better and our homes filled with necessary consumer items. And we can get the whole lot without even paying for it, thanks to credit cards and their associated advertising.

So the next time you feel like moaning about too many ads on the net - unless you have never purchased anything or are an active Communist – I suggest you just give in and buy something. We need to all get the economy moving again.

But steer clear of those gay Russian sites unless your wife has her own laptop.

The Problem Is...

There is no money on the internet. The big players are desperate to make some. More ads! Bigger ads!

One Example of Over the Top Advertising

I wanted to watch a World Cup football game which was on ITV. I preferred to watch it on my laptop so I could surf at the same time - especially during dull bits or the mid-match commentary.

No problem I thought. I will go to the ITV website and they will make it easy for me to watch the game live.

I found the game and pressed click to view.

The screen started playing video adverts. Just like watching TV. I put up with this for a few minutes and then noticed the length of the video was six minutes. What the heck was it? An advertising video trailer?

There was no indication when I could stop watching ads and start watching the match - which had already started. I had another look round their website, this is one of the major UK TV service providers, and could find no other way to watch the game. Just adverts.

I gave up with it. I will never go to the ITV website again. There is a tipping point for the amount of ads companies force you to watch and they pushed me over the edge.

Just one example where spam advertising can have the opposite effect to what they want.

Style, substance and a very keen price point.  Go on - take a bite.  You know you want to.
Style, substance and a very keen price point. Go on - take a bite. You know you want to.

Adblock and Adblock Plus Update

The internet is swamped with advertising. That is a given. Spam from corner to corner.

So some people created ad blocking software. These browser add-ons enable the lucky user to browse freely without seeing those annoying adverts. They are on a free website with no ads.

So how does the website make its money? The users and makers with adblock don't care - they want it all for free.

So who will provide the content for free in the future if there is no possibility of making money from advertising?

That is the problem I can see with adblockers. They want to grab their Paypal donations and dodgy insider deals with 'clean' advertisers - at the expense of normal small website people like - well like myself as it happens.

So when I am out of business will anyone shed a tear? I guess not.

If someone who uses adblock wants to let me know what the future holds for the internet please drop me a line. That is if this site still exists of course.

There is a certain greedy mentality about people who want to browse without ads and without paying. A short term approach which could cause lasting damage to little things like freedom, choice and individuality.

When there are only big corporations left who are paying slush money to the ad blockers to get their adverts through - there may not be so much of the original internet remaining.








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