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Surfing on Mute: February 1st the Internet Gets More Commercials

Advertising is one of those web design quandaries. On the one hand, it helps pay for hosting and may bring in a little money too. On the other, it can be offensive, annoying, etc. Most blog advertising doesn’t bother me. People use Adsense or BlogHer Ads or text link ads–whatever. Sometimes I’ll click on something interesting, but these are tasteful enough not to overwhelm me (on 99% of sites I visit).

Pay Per Play is hoping to change that. Starting February 1st, people can have audio ads on their site–5 second spots that will play every time a person visits. I’m not sure if they also play every time you change pages or if that’s part of their 3-minutes-between-plays rule.

For details on their ads and such, Pay Per Play has a pretty useful FAQ.

The thing that gets me is that this isn’t an opt-in thing. It’s not like you have to click their little ad to play it. It happens once you visit any page that’s using them.

I’m a little bit jumpy when doing my blog reading because I’m not actually expecting the computer to start talking to me. I’m more used to that on the occasional forum or more mainstream site. But blogs were safe enough with only picture ads to worry about.

So after February 1st, the default setting on my computer will be mute. Pay Per Play apparently takes people like me into account when setting the ad payouts. Whether I hear it or not is a moot point to them, they’re hoping for an average and will compensate the blogger accordingly.

The Pay Per Play ads will initially come as 5-second spots. However, people can opt for longer ones, like 30 seconds.

In some ways I know why people would do this–they assume most of their regulars will just mute their computers and they want the extra money. After all, by paying per play it essentially pays per visit.

I thought about it myself for all of two seconds, after all I like to earn money online. I imagined myself checking something on the site and being jolted when I start hearing a random advertisement. As me, I’m annoyed with myself for putting it up. As a visitor, I’m wondering what else lies in store for me on this blog. Popups? More audio?

Do you think automatically playing ads would be right for your blog? Or are you also staying away from Pay Per Play?

{ 3 trackbacks }

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January 24, 2008 at 3:36 pm


Amanda @ Me vs Debt January 16, 2008 at 8:07 am

No way I’d put that on my blog. I can’t stand invasive advertising. I refuse to go to the Chase HSA website because some lady starts talking while I’m trying to read. I don’t want to make readers mute my site. If anything I’d hope that could be playing pleasant music of their choice in the background while reading my blog. You’re right, 99% of bloggers can use Adsense tastefully. The others, I can more or less filter out if the content is good enough. Throw in sound bits and I’m out as a reader.

Minimum Wage January 16, 2008 at 8:34 am

Another thing…they have Frequently Asked Questions, but their website does not have any way to ask them a question. So where did they get the FAQ? Did they make it up?

vh January 16, 2008 at 8:40 am

That really is too bad. One of the reasons I visit the BBC site less and less is that they’ve stuck ads on their videos, so that now you have to waste time and be annoyed before you can watch a news clip. That also is too bad, since BBC is the best single source of news on the web.

For that matter, I hate it when some chucklehead has programmed annoying music into a personal website so it blats at you as soon as the index page loads. I bounce away from those sites instantly.

I think advertisers must realize most people tune out visual ads on websites, and so, like TV advertisers, they have to get louder and more obnoxious to be seen.

CatherineL January 16, 2008 at 9:12 am

Hi Mrs M – I’m staying well away from this one. I absolutely hate any sites that start making a noise when you visit them.

I am often up v early in the morning and if I visit a site like this, it can wake up everyone in the house.

Carrie January 16, 2008 at 9:52 am

UGH UGH…I already keep my puter on mute because I don’t like clicking through things that have music and such playing. I have a ton of stuff on itunes and I can’t play it on my puter because I keep it on mute and if I don’t, man, that just sounds messed up 😉

Hunter Nuttall January 16, 2008 at 11:11 am

I think these ads sound extremely spammy and will scare away any visitor who didn’t happen to be on mute. But if the sound didn’t play until you clicked them, that would be fine.

Aaron Stroud January 16, 2008 at 11:58 am

These ads sound like they’re a couple of levels worse than the ads that masquerade as links in blog posts. I can guarantee I wouldn’t return to a site (or subscribe to the feed) of any site using these types of ads.

I would have to disagree with vh on embedded video ads. I do not mind a quick ad before watching a video. It is a very minor inconvenience for free content and besides, I usually do something else in another video while I wait for the ad to end.

Ryan S. January 16, 2008 at 12:00 pm

By no means do I close a door or burn a bridge, but… I really don’t see these ads happening on my blog.


Minimum Wage January 16, 2008 at 12:23 pm

(should have posted earlier, recovered by Mrs. Micah):

The FAQ said some people have sound turned off and that in time, they will be able to get a good handle on the “loss” attributable to these users. But I don’t have sound turned off, I just don’t have the hardware for it.

If an ad plays on the website, and my PC isn’t equipped to transmit the sound, is the advertiser charged? (Kinda like if a tree falls in the forest…).

Laura January 16, 2008 at 12:48 pm

I’m going to pass on this oppurtunity. I find it annoying. Sometimes I listen to CDs while surfing the web.

If my readers really want it (don’t see that) then I’d accomdate it.

Debt Free Revolution January 16, 2008 at 1:22 pm

There is NO WAY I will ever visit a blog with these ads on them! I like listening to my online radio or my playlist, so mute is just not happening on this computer. It sounds like a highly effective way to chase off your readers IMO.

Becky January 16, 2008 at 1:31 pm

I read a lot of blogs during my downtime at work. There’s no way I’d go to a blog that plays music! If that happened once, I would never go to that blog again.

Becky January 16, 2008 at 1:33 pm

Oops, I meant “advertising”, not “music”. Not that it matters. When I’m at work, I wouldn’t go to a blog that had ANY type of audio automatically start playing.

Kacie January 16, 2008 at 4:04 pm

None for me, either. It sounds like a great way to really annoy a readership. No thanks!

RacerX January 16, 2008 at 8:28 pm

My traffic is more valuable to me then what they could/would pay. Many surf at work, no one here mind you, and they really don’t want some beer-commercial blaring all of a sudden.

From a marketers percpective, they have to since click rates continue to fall.

You have to ask your self if the hit to your traffic is worth it. I personally avoid sites that don’t come muted initially.

Eden January 16, 2008 at 9:36 pm

Unexpected audio or video playing on any site for any reason is ALWAYS a bad idea. The fact that it is unexpected violates users’ expectations- there is never a good reason to do that. I would absolutely NOT visit sites that used this advertising service.

Christine January 16, 2008 at 11:26 pm

Hiss! Hiss!

That would be a deal-breaker for me. I would probably cease visiting any website that put something like that up.

Leaving the computer on mute is not an option. I listen to music while I surf, and I don’t like that to be interrupted by extraneous, unsolicited ads.

fathersez January 17, 2008 at 12:24 pm

Oh, boy.

I hate it when I click on a page and the sound comes on without my permission.

I also see no reason why I should mute my computer to accomodate these fellows.

I’ll certainly stay away from such blogs.

I hope this idea goes away like B & W TV sets.

Money Blue Book January 17, 2008 at 6:46 pm

Is this the same thing as the graphic of some woman that steps out from the bottom right of the web page and starts talking about some product? I hate those type of visual/audio web commercials because they are usually very loud!

mrsmicah January 17, 2008 at 6:52 pm

I think it’s something new, Raymond, just the sound. As annoying, but no floating lady, I think.

Early Retirement Extreme January 17, 2008 at 8:30 pm

There would probably quickly be browsers that support switching the sound off just as pop ups and advertising can be switched off in the preferences.

The Bad Penny January 18, 2008 at 10:06 am

I hope there would, Early Retirement Success. I already avoid websites that have unexpected audio, and I will continue to do so. I agree with others that this strikes of spam – it actually kind of reminds me of opening an email from an unfamiliar email address and discovering a nasty picture of … um…something. It’s rude and unnecessary.

I remember having to get information from a site that restarted the same ad every time I refreshed the page or went to another one. Ish! I never went back. The next time, I got my information elsewhere. I’d never jeopardize my readership if I could help it – and that includes providing a fast website, good information, and no intrusive advertising.

However, if the ad only turned on when clicked, I wouldn’t mind nearly as much.

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