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May 07, 2006: Who's worse, Accenture or the New York Times?

I am really, really unhappy with my experience reading the New York Times right now (using Firefox 1.5.0.3 on a Mac). No matter what I do, this extremely annoying Accenture ad won't go away:

Accenture ad prevents reading the New York Times

I'm left with two questions:

  1. Is the New York Times Online really so hard up for money that they are willing to allow Accenture to alienate their readers?
  2. Does Accenture's very expensive association with a golfer make you want to go out and purchase their consulting services?

I'm still hoping to learn which three Balkan countries Cheney was referring to. Can someone fill me in?

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Comment: Andrew (May 7, 2006)

Have you tried the Adblock plugin for Firefox?

https://addons.mozilla.org/extensions/moreinfo.php?id=10

Comment: Lou (May 7, 2006)

I'll give it a shot, though the comments make it sound less than ideal.

But I'm still peeved about this. I could understand it if the ad was something I could pass on by closing the window or whatever. But forcing it on me *and* blocking their own content? That makes absolutely no sense. Maybe it's not an issue with other browsers, but are they really not testing with Firefox?

Comment: James Bennett (May 7, 2006)

Adblock's good stuff, I've used it off and on for a couple years and can vouch for it. If you keep running into problems, email me and I'll send you a copy of a user stylesheet I've got that does a great job killing off this sort of stuff.

Comment: Lee Bryant (May 8, 2006)

NYT ads like this really suck.

The 3 Balkan states? Easy! The ones with US military bases and pliant governments - Croatia, Albania and Macedonia ;-)

Comment: Jens Meiert (May 8, 2006)

1. Apparently.
2. Unlikely.

From my experience with ad management in large portals (or, more impressive, information spaces), the ad tech guys just "forgot" to add a "close" link/button. (That's a must for GMX, for example. Thankfully.)

Comment: Jane McConnell (May 9, 2006)

I had the same experience and have since stopped reading the NYT.
I also had a weird on the LA Time where the ad was like a page that folded down from top right to bottom left while I was reading an article. Then I could not get rid of it.
I believe (really truly) that this stuff will have to stop if readers protest enough.
I complained to the NYT once when I could not get free access to articles about their own journalist - Jayson Blair - who had made up content for his own articles - and they responded by giving me free access to their archives.
I just went tot he NYT site, and they seem to have a new layout - no longer the big ads in the middle column breaking up the story. Am I dreaming?
Lou - try the BBC site. They are my first stop reading the morning news on the internet.
See you soon in Europe I hope!

Comment: PArora (May 9, 2006)

I prefer CNN over NY Times, looks like they care about user experience.

Comment: Amy (May 9, 2006)

An interesting note, though not directly relevant to this discussion or that inexcusable Accenture situation: Khoi Vinh (http://www.subtraction.com/) recently became design director of the NY Times Online. As the Times noted when the recent redesign launched, much of it was underway before Khoi came on board, so maybe we'll see some improvements in the coming months...including ads that don't obscure the paper's actual freakin' content!

(Apologies if this is old news to everyone else; I only learned about the redesign and Khoi Vinh's hiring a few weeks ago.)

Comment: Marina loves pictures (May 10, 2006)

This annoying ad is driving me crazzy too.
I switch to opera for reading.

Comment: Shiv Singh (May 12, 2006)

I couldn't agree more. That ad is terrible. Last year online contributed to 9% of the NY Times revenue and apparently their stock has been in the doldrums for a number of years. Maybe this is their way of getting more revenue online.

On the positive side for them, their print circulation has remained steady over the last year.

Comment: Rob Fay (May 19, 2006)

Somehow the advertising and tech guys/gals need to have a meeting of the minds. If product/service placement invokes such a strong negative reaction (when does it invoke a positive one?), then you need to think of other methods.

Obviously, advertising has to have some sense of intrusiveness in order to grab the consumer's attention, but from a usability perspective, what would straddle the line amicably?

In addition to advertisements that block one's view, I also hate the ones that take up the whole screen for five seconds when you try to enter a site, then you are redirected to the site itself.

What is the answer to strike this balance?

Comment: Kelly G (May 25, 2006)

I too hate those ads that mimic opening a page from the upper right corner! I have found that most times, if I move my cursor as if I was closing said page -- it closes. I hate more are the ones that move across the middle of the page.

At any rate -- I use AdBlock as well -- be sure to get the newer AdBlock 2. In addition, I use the Nuke Anything which is one of my favorites for items that have found a way to confound AdBlock. Just right click and "remove this item" -- sweet!

Comment: Eric Reiss (Jun 6, 2006)

One wonders what the reporter feels, having his or her work defaced in this manner. Great post, Lou!

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