Monday, September 21, 2009

Now This Just Ticks Me Off

Yes, they are now embedding tiny, ultra-thin video screens into print magazines. Why, you ask? In order to inflict noisy, flashy advertisements on us when we're trying to read. (Hat tip to Martyn Daniels' Brave New World blog, where I read about this.)

Imagine you are sitting in the breakroom at lunch, or in a library, or in a hospital waiting room, just flipping through a magazine. And you hit a page with one of these video ads. There are no volume controls. You can't turn it off except by turning the page. What if the one article you're actually interested in reading is on the same page? Now imagine five or six people around the hospital waiting room are all flipping through magazines, and different ads are playing loud enough for you to hear. It would drive everyone batty.

When people choose to watch videos in public places, for the most part they are considerate enough to use headphones. (At least in my experience.) With these ads, that's not an option. They'll just go off whether you want them to or not.

I tell you, nothing makes me get off a web page faster than an ad that has sound and annoying animation. If I really need to view the web page, I mute the volume and hold my hand over the offending ad so I don't have to look at it.

And now ads just like that will be appearing in paper magazines.

I am thoroughly disgusted.

I have nothing against the technology itself. What I object to is the increasingly intrusive advertising. (By the way, if you want a humorous vision of the future where such advertising is embedded in the dust and floats in the air, read The Sheriff of Yrnameer, by Michael Rubens.) Now, if someone were to embed videos into books, for example, to make animated children's books, that would be awesome. But using this technology for disposable ads is just plain awful.


M said...

See, this is why it's hard to write science fiction -- reality keeps catching up!
Thanks for the shoutout, BTW.
Mike Rubens

Anj said...

However, it is really cool to see concepts from science fiction showing up in real life. I suspect many inventors get their ideas from favorite novels, thinking, "Hey, I can make that." I'm pretty sure that's why flip-open cell phones resemble the communicators from Star Trek, while PDAs and their CrackBerry/iPhone successors seem inspired by tricorders.

(That just gave me the mental image of Scotty hanging out in the engine room, playing Bejeweled on his tricorder.)

The Sheriff of Yrnameer was awesome, by the way. One of the most fun reads I've had this year. I feel honored that the author commented on my humble blog.