I hate video games: Why do newspapers and magazines FORCE me to play them?

image If you love video games—fine. But will the Washington Post, New York Times and a good part of the rest of the media please stop forcing me to play them? If I don’t move my cursor just so, I end up seeing an overgrown ad rather than an article. That’s good for a newspaper’s exposure stats for advertisers, but doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll buy the product. In fact, the trickery makes it far less likely.

Especially annoying are full-page ads that I can remove only by waiting or by tracking down and tapping on a little X. I’d heartily recommend Peter Kafka’s All Things Digital column on these issues. He outrageously suggests that what counts isn’t whether people read supersize ads, but whether they buy products. Good luck to the New York Times in its interminable efforts to get me to snap up a Mercedes-Benz. I drive a 1988 Honda.

Far from being anti-ad, I’m rabidly pro-advertising as a way to keep the “mass” in “mass media”; and I may even run some ads here in the future, given the upscale demographics of the Scandals site.

I simply want the Times and other publications to rely more on a targeted approach, based on my reading habits, my location, my everything-else-that-must-be-known-about-me.

While the Times is apparently using some cookie-based data from me, I still see too much of a shotgun philosophy. Woo me and cut out the stupid cursor tricks. Stop making me play games with irrelevant “roadblock ads” and similar obnoxiousness.

One major exception: I can see a place for roadblocks in specialized publications—yes, those with built-in targeting. But even there I’d caution against overuse.

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David Rothman

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