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An incident happened last week — I tweeted a caustic expletive directed at DoubleClick knowing that only my tribe would read the invective. What realization occurred that would have me throw political correctness out the window? It was the moment when I realized DoubleClick behaved as if their advertising was more important, perhaps more desirable, than the actual published content that I had clicked to experience. Or, maybe the ad platform/producer just isn’t aware of how their technology rubs up against other technologies...

It had been a long day filled with biking, hiking and shopping and I wanted to relax and laugh. My remedy was The Soup with Joel McHale at eonline.com. But, The Soup would not load in a reasonable time (and I was being very reasonable given that I am an action-oriented person). Why the delay? Because the page was loading DoubleClick rich media ads or something of such nature from the platform and production company that was hogging my bandwidth and computer processing power, not to mention heating up my system.

I closed my browser, launched again and experienced the same endless delay as I watched the site location tell me the page was trying to load DoubleClick ads. So, I visited Huffington Post and got the same delayed load information.

Maybe it was the Internet? So I visited The Internet Traffic Report for North America to look at ping times for New York routers and all was great. This was far from being a Michael Jackson news day where one would expect the news media capital of North America — Manhattan — to stuff every pipe with packets.

I was faced with a perplexing situation — to consider upgrading my new Dell 17” screen notebook housing an Intel Core Duo 2GHz, 1GB memory with dual SDRAM and nVidia GeForce graphics card — because the delay in loading the advertising was preventing me from ending my day with a few laughs from the publisher of my choice.

Since it is obvious that most people have never wanted ads on the WWW, but accept the reality that they are here to stay, making the ads more entertaining by wowing us with technological pizzazz is not cool. It is not cool when my Dell can’t handle the ad loading, nor can the infrastructure of Comcast. I do not like hearing the computer fan go into high gear because of an ad or a page of ads. What is most frustrating is that I don’t see this situation getting better for quite some time.

Tina Whitfield

Published 29 July, 2009 by Tina Whitfield

Tina Whitfield is CEO of EquisGlobal and a contributor to Econsultancy.

12 more posts from this author

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selina howells

Agreed, but adds are not coming from Doubleclick, they are coming from 'free' sites with advertising as a revenue model. May be there is a market for great sites with original content with an annual subscription and absoutely no ads that load really fast. Who can name a site with no advertising? Would scriptingnews Dave Winer's site count or does that load preamble stuff too?

about 7 years ago

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Adi @ The Management Blog

As Selina said, sites that don't charge you to access them have to make a living somehow.  If you don't want ads then consider paying to access sites.

about 7 years ago

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Tom Ollerton

I really don't want to come accross as trying to sell something but I think this is of huge relevance to this debate, it just happens to be part of somethingI'm working on.

My agency We Are VI is about to lauch a banner takeover tool which replaces all online display with social media feeds. I don't want to plug it on this forum but it will strip out ad content and replace it with twitter etc.

Look out for Bantr (banner takeover - get it?)

about 7 years ago

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vaughan

In a lot of cases this kind of thing can be down to the creative itself - not the technology being used to deliver it. the ad should always be set up to load politely so that the content comes first then the ad. If the ad itself was not set up correctly on either the agency or the publisher side then things can get a little painful. 

Ads are going to get bigger and more complicated as the bandwidth available increases, hopefully the level of creativity will increase as well so that the ad serves it's purpose rather than being a big file weight and too interactive - just because they can. 

(disclosure - I used to work for DoubleClick Rich Media) 

about 7 years ago

Alec Kinnear

Alec Kinnear, Creative Director at Foliovision

All of these comments are horse manure. It is the technology. The ad technology is rude and abrasive. Due to the slow loading times, I avoid HuffingtonPost. That particular crew have lost their minds and their lead coder/designer should be publicly fired and humilated and then keel hauled.

Of course, as an innocent web user one has no choice at this point in the arms race except to gird up with the best adblocking software (preferred method: block your ads in your hosts file as then they don't even use bandwidth).

It's a pity, but until site owners show some respect for their readers, adblocking is a necessity for people who spend a lot of time on the web. What's worse is that due to the worst offenders, site owners who are putting a reasonable number of CPU friendly ads stand a good chance of not having their ads appear either.

about 7 years ago

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Yosi Salman

It is outrageous that advertisers like DoubleClick don't have respect for genuine content providers.

Intrusive ads and video or audio that autoplays are the work of the advertising devil! :-(

about 7 years ago

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vaughan

the fact is that sites have to sell the space to an advertiser who can then put pretty much what they want in that space as long as it meets the site specs. 

doubleclick works with agencies and publishers to make the ads work and for the vast majority of the time they do. when something goes wrong with an ad they try and fix it. doubleclick is not the advertiser and it probably didn't make the ads that you have issues with. 

adblocking is one of those things that an awful lot of people get excited about, usually people who use them are those that are most vehemently in favour of free content and you can't sit on both sides of the see-saw. 

about 7 years ago

Tina Whitfield

Tina Whitfield, CEO at EquisGlobal

Hi Vaughan,

Please comment on this detail if possible: 

1) enter eonline.com

2) click The Soup (top menu bar)

3) loading begins

4) some content comes across, but I cannot begin to

a) scroll

b) play The Soup videos

5) until the ads load which is ... well, I already went there ; )

If the ads could load without affecting my ability to navigate, scroll, and do my thing with the published content, then all would be fine.

about 7 years ago

Alec Kinnear

Alec Kinnear, Creative Director at Foliovision

What doubleclick will do is annoy their way out of business.

As more people go to all extremes to block these networks, eventually sites will look elsewhere for an advertising broker.

about 7 years ago

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Phil Novara

@Alec

I totally agree, its the technology.  The coding is abrasive and this should be blamed on the programmers.

Bottom Line:  Online Ads are not going anywhere, but writing malicious ad programs like this will put a company out of business.

about 7 years ago

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vaughan

Hello Tina

I am in the UK so not sure if everything will perform the same way but if I go to http://www.eonline.com/uberblog/the_soup/index.html

there are so many video clips on that page that there are bound to be delays in them loading, but in a second or two I can play several of them at the same time, I can't stop any of them once they start playing which seems ot be a bit of a problem. 

If you watch the little bar at the bottom of the browser then you'll see a few other companies sending data than DoubleClick - Brightcove amongst others. Any one of these could be blocking your load but to be honest - I am not getting any ads which means that they are geo-targetting me with no ads.

I am not saying that DoubleClick is blameless but the site design could be responsible for the majority of the problems that you have seen, the internet is not perfect so there are any number of things that could be going wrong.

As for them going out of business Alec and Phil - unless someone comes up with a better way to pay for 'free content' then they are here to stay. In this case - this isn't a malicious ad-program but a site that is desparate to make money from it's content, it is just doing it slightly wrongly.

That's my 5 pence on the subject anyway - happy to carry on the discussion in a different forum.

almost 7 years ago

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