Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Outing advertising vermin ("advermin")

Dictionary definition of Vermin:
  1. Various small animals or insects, such as rats or cockroaches, that are destructive, annoying, or injurious to health.
    1. A person considered loathsome or highly offensive.
    2. Such people considered as a group.
My definition of "Advertising Vermin" -- aka advermin: Various small ad servers and cockroach like advertisers who circumvent pop-up blockers to offensively interfere with a Internet user's experience thereby demeaning the Internet as a legitimate advertising medium in the eyes of consumers. Ex: tribalfusion, classmates.com

I have always detested companies that use pop-ups/unders and vowed to never do business with them but it's gotten worse. Vermin like TribalFusion and Zedo not only serve pop-ups, they have found a way to circumvent pop-up blockers running on both Firefox and IE from a variety of companies such as Google and Microsoft. I believe in the "New Media Deal" ideas put forth by Matt Blumberg. By no means am I anti-advertising. Quite the contrary as I've been a big supporter.

I hope others can help my little battle to make the vermin who serve and pay for these ads suffer in the market. I've created a del.icio.us tag "advermin" where I'm tagging any company that serves or runs ads. Sexual predators have been thwarted by various registries that let people know about them. Perhaps this tag/registry will thwart the Internet Advertising Predators who are damaging the landscape for legitimate advertisers. If you have the experience I've had, tag the perpetrator with the advermin tag. I've started the registry with the following:
  • Pop-up Servers: TribalFusion, Zedo, Casalemedia, Fastclick
  • Advertisers: Classmates, yourgiftcards.com (promoting Chilis Restaurant, Ruby Tuesday & Red Lobster coupons and a Visa Gift Card -- if I was a brand steward for any of those, I'd get them to stop as the ads look like they are coming from those companies), screensavers.com, everyfreegift.com
As fate would have it, I've been a paying customer of the first advertisers I've listed so it's not an idle threat to take my business elsewhere. While the readership of my blog is modest, I know plenty of thought/opinion-leaders like Joseph Jaffe, Fred Wilson, Brad Feld, Jeff Clavier, Seth Godin, Michael Arrington, Matt McAlister, Matt Heinz, Jeff Jarvis, Steve Rubel and others desire to have a healthy Internet-based advertising market and don't want to waters polluted by vermin. They can certainly amplify the message. I also wonder where Bob Liodice of the Association of National Advertisers feels about this trend.

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