Friday, September 26, 2008

New and Improved

The advertising industry is really getting to me, and that's surprising since in the past I've been very tolerant of ad intrusiveness.

My current bugaboo is the advertising activity on many websites, but especially that of USA Today. It seems that every time I change a web page, I'm stuck with a pop-up advertisement covering most of the page with no 'x' at the top to close it. Add to that the ads popping up when my cursor happens to cross a smaller ad, and you get a frustration high.

But, by far, the biggest pain is having to listen to and see the video ad before I can work the crossword puzzle. This is going too far. Can't we do anything on the web without having an ad popping up and annoying us? And, for that matter, why don't our pop-up blockers prevent these?

To some extent I can understand the need for more ads on newspaper websites. The sales of newspapers is dropping precipitously, and the ad revenue is going with it. So it only seems natural that the lost ad supply will wend it's way to the websites.

But, let's not forget television. The station logo in bottom right hand corner is annoying enough, but the pop-up ads at the bottom are over the top. I don't need people walking all around the bottom of the screen, especially when they interfere with the tv program. I'm distressed at the tires and pit crew or racing car appearing in action at the bottom of the screen during a race. Isn't it bad enough, notably on ESPN, that the top and often the bottom of the screen are filled with non-essential information? Do I need a huge wall set in order to see the actual program?

But, to more specific ads.

Do you really think that someone finding your wallet and wanting to return it will act like the man in the tv ad? Standing on the street and calling the man in an apartment twenty floors up is rather strange, but waving a wallet while asking the man to look out the window is absurd. The man in the apartment needs to turn his tv on in order to see what the man in the street is holding.

Despite the occasional news about a grandmother giving birth [usually in the tabloid rags], I wonder why birth control pill advertisers are targeting older people? They list [quickly] a number of risks associated with the medication 'especially if you're over 55. How many of us over 55 are going to be concerned about taking birth control pill in the first place?

I tried to find a free American flag to post on my Vista gadget section. I had a terrible time trying to find one, but I succeeded in the end. Where, might you ask, did I find it? On a website based in Romania.

I contacted J G Wentworth recently and applauded their opera commercial. You've probably seen and heard it. It's a Wagnerian style short opera based on the phone number for the annuity and structured-settlement firm. The music is terrific. The structured settlement buyout doesn't apply to me. But if it did, I might consider the company.

Anyway, I did send a congratulatory email. And, surprise, I go a rather quick reply, asking for my address. Did I expect a visit from a hitman? Certainly, not. Did I expect Michael Anthony with his $million check? Sadly, no. A job offer? A free trip to Hawaii?

No, what I did receive was a bobble-head doll of the company president. While I'm appreciative of the gift, I was hoping the company would send me something non-commercial and without further advertising. And to add insult to injury, the bobble-head was made in China!

When you fork over $20 for a 9/11 commemorative, non-circulation $20 Liberian coin, what are you getting? At the recent exchange rate of $.1562, your 'silver leaf' [only a silver veneer over another type of base], costing about $3-4 US to create [including the silver], is worth about 31 cents US. And remember, it's non-circulating Liberian currency. I wouldn't try to cash it in, especially if 31 cents isn't going to do much for you.

Am I finished? Well, yes---at least for this time. This was another in a series of articles on 'Better Living' for the American media viewer and taxpayer.

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