Most Hated Advertising Techniques

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Advertising is an integral part of the Web user experience: people repeatedly encounter ads as they surf the Web, whether they’re visiting the biggest portals, established newspapers, or tiny personal sites. Most online advertising studies have focused on how successful ads are at driving traffic to the advertiser, using simple metrics such as clickthrough rates.

Unfortunately, most studies sorely neglect the user experience of online ads. As a result, sites that accept ads know little about how the ads affect their users and the degree to which problematic advertising tricks can undermine a site’s credibility. Likewise, advertisers don’t know if their reputations are degraded among the vast majority of users who don’t click their ads, but might well be annoyed by them.

Now, however, we have data to start addressing these questions. At my recent User Experience 2004 conference, John Boyd from Yahoo! and Christian Rohrer from eBay presented a large body of research on how users perceive online advertising. Here, I offer a few highlights from their presentation [ Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox]

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