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Janet Roberts

Feedback: Readers Reject Drop-In Box
By Janet Roberts

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The verdict is clear: People don't like anything that interferes with their ability to read a Web page, especially if it subverts their ad-squashing software.

In a previous Ezine-Tip, we asked readers to check out a different kind of attention-getting device, a content box that drops down over page content, which a reader had used instead of a pop-up box as a subscription-driver.

Here's that column again for review.

His results were pretty dismal, and no wonder, if his readers had the same reaction as our Ezine-Tips crew:

Here's a sample:

Joy Knudson:
"I detest them. They interfere with my attention without giving me the easy disposal choice that a pop-up at least provides. Even worse are the MOVING floating ads. I consider them an infringement on my personal rights to control my time and attention and am willing to be quite vociferous about it! They definitely make me think twice about bothering to interact with that site again and would MOST definitely sway me NOT to subscribe to anything from that site because I couldn't trust them not to appear in everything related."

Luis Jimenez:
" I think it's the same waste of time. Everyone knows pop-up ads don't work and neither will drop-down ads. Get off the broken model. I run a pop-up ad buster all the time and if I find a drop-down ad buster I will run that too. Advertising on the Web has to evolve. In-content ads are fine but can get better."

Marc Gunn, publisher of Brobdingnagian Bards:
"I visit a lot, which uses these ads. Personally, I find nothing more annoying. I prefer pop-ups over these things as there's no way that I know of to kill these abuses of HTML. Plus, many ads make it difficult for you to close them and get them off the screen."

Steve Friedman:
"I HATE THEM. Not only do I really hate them, they interfere with the main page. I recently found one, a sign-up form, on a site that I belong to. After signing in the bouncy box stayed on top, I emailed them and I guess I wasn't alone because it's gone and the pop-up is back. ... Those annoying Bouncy Boxes should go under the heading 'Just because you can do a thing, doesn't mean that you have to do that thing.'"

Diane Sommer passed along comments from a columnist for the Sunday Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Atlanta, Ga., USA): "He pointed out that there are handicapped people who must use voice software to navigate the Internet, and pop-up ads are a nightmare to them. They can't just click to close them. If they click, it closes their browser. They can't just drag it out of the way with a mouse. Too bad advertisers don't consider the needs of certain users."

No readers wrote in with success stories from using drop-in content boxes, so either it really doesn't work or you don't want to admit it in public. Really, don't be shy. If you used a box like that, and it drew good results, let us know.

Otherwise, it's pretty clear that you should not rely on a gimmick to promote your newsletter subscriptions. Prominent placement on each page of your site and an uncomplicated sign-up process still seem to be the most effective way to go.

Ezine-Tips for October 11, 2002

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