The Cost of Annoying Ads



What constitutes an annoying display ad on the web? Is it the use of garish colors, as in a Halloween theme gone amok? Is it a page seemingly designed to cram in as many blinking, spinning, animated GIFs as possible? Is an ad annoying when clicking it generates a pop-up in response? Dancing-baby ads, anyone?


Certainly the use of any of these tactics probably irritates web users. Just as certainly, anybody with even a modest acquaintance with the web probably can cite at least one such ad-induced headache. The typical response might turn an old cliché on its head: “I don`t know much about annoying ads, but I know them when I see them.”


That, though, isn`t sufficient for Dan Goldstein and Siddharth Suri of Microsoft Research New York City. They want to know exactly what people mean when complaining about ad annoyances—and what cost web publishers incur when displaying such ads.


This paper investigates the problem of annoying ads, noting that web display ads, when done poorly and without the needs of the end consumer in mind, often do more harm than good for publishers and the advertiser`s brand.