Two of my most frequently visited websites, timesofindia.com and cricinfo.com, both have started to annoy me. There are those full page advertisements that start cropping up a second or two after I have hit these URLs and just moments after they have teased me with their headlines. A few times, I have left timesofindia.com in rage, vowing to never come back again. Maybe there are better and more serious sources of news that I do not know of yet but invariably, I hit timesofindia.com (and rediff too!) for my first feeds of the day.
In the end I ask myself if these advertisements are worth it, anyway. I doubt if these are asked my the marketing heads of the products who choose to fill you screen with their advertisements on websites that have loyal readers like me. Because when I am out shopping, no matter how much adidas advertises on cricinfo, I will not buy their shoes because I saw that advertisement there. I might buy their shoes if they are priced less than most and because they are a good fit. As a consumer, that is all that goes into my mind. period.
Nor will I get an airtel connection because I see it all the time on timesofindia.com. Trust me, I am almost bored to death of their new tune and I just loathe their new logo. I think they would be much better off by doing something to stop my number being spammed by numerous advertisements DESPITE being in the national DND registry or they could invest a fraction of the advertisement money in hiring customer care executives who know how to be courteous and talk sense. If any mobile company offers me that, I’ll take it. I will never buy a mobile phone connection just because it takes 70% of the screen space on a website I am loyal to. Sorry.
Which brings me to the point I started with, what happens to cricinfo and toi websites without full screen advertisements. My response to an argument like that would have something to do with another two websites that I frequent very often (if not everyday): Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald (www.smh.com.au) and NYT’s www.nytimes.com. Both respected publications and if you visit those websites you’ll see how much importance is given to advertisements vis-a-vis the news. For a respected publication, it’s website should be it’s extension and not a money making marketing strategy. Advertisements on websites of reputed media houses should be used to break-even the cost of hosting them and maintaining their online presence. Sadly, for cricinfo and timesofindia.com specifically, this seems to be a revenue thing at the cost of their loyal readers.