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Ban The Banners

By Matt Sedik

The tarsier is one of the smallest primates around. They are about the size of a squirrel, but their eyes are the largest among mammals (in proportion to their body). Tarsier are found mostly in rain forests around the Philippines and Indonesia (unconfirmed reports also mention something about Michael Jackson's Neverland ranch and swimming pools of Reddi-Wip).

Because of its interesting appearance (talking about the tarsier now), it's in great demand as a house pet. Unfortunately, they rarely live very long in captivity. Tarsiers are so traumatized by their capture that they have been known to commit suicide by banging their heads against the bars.

Why the hell am I talking about these tree rats? I guess it's because their eyes are so huge in relation to their tiny little heads, it reminds me of the new mega-sized ad banners that seem to be cropping up around the web... And ironically enough, having to put up with these new banners is pushing me towards committing suicide by banging my head against my monitor.

These new Godzilla- sized ads were "approved" by the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB). That's like making Jeffery Dahmer a spokesman for Bulls-Eye barbeque sauce. Since when should these guys be deciding the sizes of ads? And in a big surprise advertising industry folks are "overwhelmingly supportive of the new voluntary guidelines".

No shit, Sherlock. I bet if you took a $5 rock of crack and made it the size of a softball, you'd probably get ringing praise from all the addicts out there.

In a study published by the IAB and the American Association of Advertising Agencies (AAAA), 93 percent of respondents see the new banners as more effective. Have you actually seen these ads? They're more effective because they take up so much space on your screen that you can't help but accidentally click on them when going to close your browser window. I mean, is this where we're heading in advertising... ads so big they'd choke a donkey?

In case you haven't noticed, I've included a sample version of one of these new mega ads in this column. It's rotating through a series of snapshots illustrating this new banner size in other walks of life.

Recently web-guru Jakob Nielsen (of the Jakob Nielsen Experience) had the following to say, "...the new ads may well end up destroying those sites that embrace them most eagerly to get the temporary benefits of the increased clickthrough rates during the next few months."

God I hope so. I think the owners of these sites would think twice about implementing these godforsaken ads if they had Pop Tart-sized blights plastered in every document they tried to write.

Oh wait... that would assume these guys actually know how to open Word.