I just fat fingered closing an ad on my tablet…

Web ads are in a worse place than they were in 1998 when we had all the pop up ads that opened new windows.  To be clear, there were actually two flavors: “pop ups” and “pop unders.”  Pop ups blocked the main window.  With pop unders, when you closed your browser you were left with lots of open windows trying to sell you something.

These days sites are popping up ads which obscure what you’re trying to look at. They aren’t technically a pop so they can’t be easily blocked as they just look like any other JavaScript/HTML to the browser.

For a long time, ads were typically served using a technology called Flash so simply disabling the Flash plug-in in your browser (which usually defaulted to “on”) made the ads go away.  Not so anymore.

To exacerbate things, they frequently have this tiny tiny close button that is hard to hit, especially on a tablet.  You miss the tiny x and you’re no longer reading what you wanted to, you’ve clicked through and are going to an advertiser’s site.  Whee!

Now look, I run a bunch of web sites, I know you’ve got to make money doing it, it’s not just a hobby.  But as a publisher you need to strike a balance so folks will continue to use your site.

As such, my solution, and the only solution I know of at this point, is to quit reading.  The instant a site’s ads make the site unusable, close the site and go to another.  Or even before the first ad, the moment I realize I’ve landed on one of those annoying sites that breaks things into multiple pages for no apparent reason so they can show more ads… back button baby, I’m outta there!