Friday, August 17, 2012

How To Drive Customers Away

Darren McGavin died on February 25, 2006. What do I remember about him? He was a solid actor who starred in many movies and TV series such as The Natural and Kolchak: The Night Stalker.

And when remembering Darren McGavin, I think about chocolate fudge flowing over cookies on my computer screen.

When I saw the news item about his death, I clicked on the link and there was Darren's obit, complete with a photo. Suddenly a pop down ad appeared, blocking his photo, some animated digital crap of a new cookie being covered in gooey chocolate. I was impressed how the ad showed respect for the dead.

But that was back in 2006. Web-savvy people know better nowadays. Or do they?

Recently I was reading an online news article about a businessman who died in a plane crash when I noticed certain words in the text were highlighted. When the cursor hovered around one of the keywords ad links would pop up as seen in this screencap:

Here we go. Text enhancement. I assumed that the newspaper's Website was trying to make a little extra money. After all, the same site was known for pop under ads: you would close the window for a story and find a full screen ad hiding underneath. Usually these ads were for local car dealer using a bit of sex to sell vehicles to the horny guys out there, the image of a cute blonde smiling and holding car keys out at the viewer as if to say: "Drive me."

But the text enhancement wasn't caused by the Website. I had overreacted, realizing some time later the problem was caused by malware that had slipped through my computer's defenses. It appeared on another news site.

I was able to remove the malware. After all, who wants to read an article about someone who has died and when the word "college" is mentioned in passing, you click on the highlighted word thinking more information pertaining to the story will be provided and ads are shoved in your face?

Does text enhancement malware also work with obits? Not as bad as an animated stream of chocolate fudge coating a cookie, blocking the obit text and photo, but still...

What idiots think text enhancement will attract customers instead of driving them away? Are any of the sponsored entities paying for this service? If they are, they're idiots, too.

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