Beware Screen Spam

By | January 14, 2004

The new horror: screen spam.

These screen spam advertisements take over your screen and appear as large animations that play across the web page you’re trying to read, or as large letters and lines that appear to be scrawled across the page, obscuring the website content underneath. They look like this:

They’re a bit like pop-ups, and to me they don’t look that new, but according to Mike Adams, “a permission email marketing pioneer who holds strong beliefs about spam vs. permission marketing”, it’s “the most aggressive, obnoxious form of interruption advertising yet conceived on the web”. He also says the most surprising kind of folk do it, including Microsoft. And he reckons it’s not going away soon. “Screen spam devalues the Internet,” he says, “by obscuring useful content with poorly-targeted commercial hype.”

I haven’t come across this yet, at least knowingly. It does sound pretty offensive. But will the new IE, which is supposed to block pop-ups, end up blocking Microsoft’s own ads?

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