Annoying Flash ads in Hotmail

Posted on June 29, 2010


As an SEO company, we pretty much despise Flash in all of its forms. Its inaccessibility for search engines is matched only by its capacity to annoy people when used as an advertising medium.

Recently, I spent a few house using a Hotmail inbox. Don’t ask, it was necessary. Anyway, while I was using this inbox to deal with a seemingly endless stream of emails I was presented with an advert on the right hand side of the screen. This ad showed a police officer running, and looked to be a static image ad.

Oh no, upon rolling over this ad (by mistake) it opened up, covering the screen with its full motion video of a policeman running through the streets. While I was using Hotmail for a few hours, this ad must have opened up over a dozen times as I accidentally touched it with the mouse pointer, while aiming for the scroll bar next to it.

While attempting to close the annoying ad, using the infinitesimally small ‘close’ button, I accidentally (again several times) hit the ‘open your link and annoy me some more’ button, which sent me to a website advertising for special constables in the London Metropolitan Police Force.

Now, reasons why this Flash advert was so annoying:

  1. It kept appearing, no matter how times I refreshed the page
  2. It was irrelevant, I am in Manchester, not London – why show me London centric ads?
  3. It opened every time I went near the damn thing, and the close button was smaller than England’s chances at Euro 2012 – thus forcing me to click on it and open the same mini website, over and over again

You need to be careful with your online advertising that you don’t alienate potential customers. Had I ever been interested in becoming a Special Constable in London, I would now be deterred by their advertising… luckily that was never really a viable option!

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