I don’t know when the marketing genius who said “Hey why don’t we take little video ads and insert them into the text that the user is reading?” first proposed that notion. Like everything else, there is probably a story there and it might even be a fairly interesting one. But I have to say it was a terrible idea.

Here’s a real life example. The other day I was reading a digital article on politics in the “New York Review of Books”. In the act of perusing, an oversized Harry and David ad about the same size as the paragraph I was reading was doing its best to get me to stop reading the paragraph and read it instead. Every second or so the ad would slide in another colorized panel to visually tantalize with a presumably delectable treat that, if consumed, could easily wipe out all the cross training I did that particular day. The ad was so visually intrusive and busy that I ended up reading the same paragraph at least three times (or rather trying to).

The question easily arises: Why didn’t I just zap the ad. Impossible. I was not able to click an X or a close button to consign the ad to the particular oblivion it richly deserved. Nor could I manage to lose it by the simple process of scrolling down. Like a friendly little puppy, it followed me wherever I went. Finally I gave up trying to read the article with a distinctly negative take both on the publication and the advertiser involved, deserved or not.

I could list other situations and experiences but my guess is you have a list of your own. Sad to say, embedded video is just one more good example of technological capability trumping common sense. Just because a video ad can be embedded doesn’t mean it should be. And I’m certainly not alone. There are many Internet users who feel the same way. According to the “Wall Street Journal”, polling has shown that consumers have shown a strong dislike for encountering online video ads. Unfortunately too many advertisers haven’t heeded that warning. The barrage continues.

— Tom Valovic

Tom Valovic is an editorial manager with IDC, a high-tech market research firm based in Framingham MA.  He is the author of “Digital Mythologies”(Rutgers University Press). Tom can be reached at tvalovic@gmail.com.

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