In an essay for The Atlantic, veteran designer and programmer Ethan Zuckerman went into the creation of the pop-up ad—one of the internet’s first great annoyances. Not only that, but he goes much, much deeper into internet advertising, services, and currency.
As with so many things, the start is typically well meaning. There’s a problem and someone comes up a solution that might be a bit flimsy in nature down the road. Maybe the solution works for one group or potential clients and simply don’t jive for everyone else. This was the case with pop-ups.
In the early days of the internet’s popularity, Tripod.com was popular webhosting entity that Zuckerman worked for. A company got ad space on a sexually themed website and wasn’t particularly thrilled about being associated with the erotic website. This is when Tripod came up with the idea for ads that “pop-up” in a separate window and Zuckerman went about writing the code.
The result initially was a rush of ads. Sometimes only one popped up while other times there were so many ads simple browsing just couldn’t be done. In his essay, Zuckerman acknowledges that the once well meaning tool morphed into a beast that had to be blocked. He also points out that pop-up ads, banner ads, and commercials before videos are allowed to play are all important in harvesting the power of the internet for advertising purposes and allowing most site owners to benefit financially.
Zuckerman closes with saying there is a solution out there: users must be willing to support services they like. With premium versions of the services offered, the user gets the site in its purest form without ads and site owners can survive. He also admits that there will be issues with roughly any solution that is adapted.
What do our readers think of Ethan Zuckerman’s essay about the need for advertising and the internet’s role? Let us know in the comments below.
SOURCE: The Atlantic