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Rollover ads: Biting the hand that feeds

? Now that TiVo moves to iPods, how to skip commercials? |


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November 21, 2005

Rollover ads: Biting the hand that feeds

Stephen Baker

Are you familiar with rollover ads? Those are the ones that expand from banners into bigger ads when crossed with the mouse. Many have what I consider to be a serious design glitch. You click the X to close the ad. And then as you move the cursor away from the ad, you unwittingly cross its real estate again, and reopen it. I've had this irksome experience this morning on one of my very favorite blogs.

I'm not against ads. They pay my mortgage. But these ones break a fundamental rule. If users have already signaled that they don't want to see it, their click must be respected. This should not be that hard to fix. A click on the X deactivates the rollover feature for that session. I bet Jeff Jarvis's kid could do it.

08:15 AM


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I couldn't agree more!

Posted by: Donna Tocci at November 21, 2005 11:13 AM

I couldn't agree more. I'm constantly finding rollover ads even on newspaper sites. I wish the click to close meant stay closed!

Posted by: Julie at November 22, 2005 09:52 PM

I would contest this on the basis that some users may wish to expand the ad having first closed it.

I see ads that intrigue me enough to want to interact with them. However, the truth of the matter is that I navigated to the page with a different goal in mind. It seems feasable that a roll-over ad may be discovered by accident. At which point the user would close it until they had finished what they were viewing on the page. They may then wish to re-open the ad to view it fully.

I appreciate the annoyance of unwilling and continually expanding ads. There are other options. The location of the close button should always be considered carefully. If the ad expands left, then the button should be on the left-hand side etc.

An alternative would be to reduce the rollover area after the close button had been clicked. With a clear call-to-action it would be possible for a willing paricipant to reopen the ad but unlikely for this to happen by accident.

I am a strong advocate of polite advertising and believe that while intrusive advertising often brings high response rates, the worth of this response is questionable.

I work for a digital creative agency.

Posted by: Ben Mason at November 23, 2005 09:54 AM

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