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Meghan (she/her)
Meghan (she/her)

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What's the most annoying ad experience you've ever had?

Ads have come a long way over the past few year, but still have a lot of work to do to reach a common ground between advertisers and user experience.

I've had a good amount lately, so what are some of your AX horror stories?

Top comments (12)

dmfay profile image
Dian Fay

I run an adblocker, so the most annoying ad experience I've ever had is on sites which detect adblockers and lock the page down. Fortunately, the next stage of this particular arms race has been reached and it's possible to detect and block adblock detectors.

The other most annoying ad experience is what I get any time I use someone's device or a browser which doesn't have an adblocker. How does anyone even cope?!

peter profile image
Peter Kim Frank

I agree that ads within ("free") mobile games can be especially annoying. The interstitial sometimes deliberately hides the X or Skip button to try and trick you into clicking.

I've always thought that sports streaming websites have some of the most nefarious tricks. Pop-unders, false Play buttons, erroneous countdown timers, etc. I suppose it comes with the territory of running one of those services.

scottishross profile image
Ross Henderson

Running an adblocker, I don't encounter much. But I saw a website that noticed I used an adblocker, and then informed me that they were mining crpytocurrency through my browser to make up for it, which literally crippled Chrome.

That's the worst thing.

I'll disable an adblocker on your site if your ads weren't all over the place and blocking your own content.

jfrankcarr profile image
Frank Carr

I kind of hate having to block everything since I know most sites depend on advertising. However, I feel like I have to in order to defend myself against malware.

The worst are redirect ads where you get sent from the page that you want to see to bogus virus alerts or "you won a gift card" pages. These are even worse if they autoplay audio/video. At least Google has finally gotten around to preventing these ads.

A big part of the problem so far as mobile is concerned is that Google and Apple don't give users enough control to block malware ads on devices. On my PC's I use a regularly updated hosts file to block ad servers. I can't do that on mobile, at least not in a way that would create other problems.

dmerand profile image
Donald Merand

Watching television. My parents pulled the plug on TV when I was around 8, and as an adult I stream everything, so I never really got inoculated for TV. Watching a show with ads every 7 minutes, that feel like they last for 7 minutes, puts me into an instant rage fugue. Nothing on the internet is that bad.

idanarye profile image
Idan Arye

The ads industry had decided that pop-ups and pop-unders were not annoying enough, and came up with a new thing - they open a new tab/window with the current page, and redirect the current tab/window to the ad.

There is this one side that does it, but apparently couldn't be bothered to invest some effort in making sure the newly opened current page has the same state as the one it just forced you out of. Either that - or they just didn't make sure that code works in all major browsers...

So, using this site is like this:

  1. You run a search.
  2. You scroll down until you find an item that interest you.
  3. You click that item to expand it (accordion UI)
  4. The page gets replaced with an ad, and a new tab gets opened with the old page.
  5. You close the ad.
  6. The new tab has you back at the top, with all items collapsed.
  7. You scroll again to find that item...
andrewlucker profile image
Andrew Lucker

I encountered a 25 minute unskippable ad on youtube. It was a full episode of a home improvement show sponsored by Lowes. Youtube has been experimenting with making ads more annoying to force people to buy Red.

akarshsatija profile image
Akarsh Satija • Edited

Ads in form of a popup window that opens up when you click on a CTA button. Then you have to close that ad first and click on CTA again. Those are the worst for me. At times, even add adblockers can't help in that case.

nektro profile image
Meghan (she/her)

The Web get a lot of attention for bad ads because of how accessible it is, but I recently downloaded some native mobile games and the ad experience there is worse than I've ever experienced on the web.

Double fullscreen ads that lag the game, moving the "X" button, and playing one or two every other playthrough of a level. 😬😬

moopet profile image
Ben Sinclair

The other day I was playing some "free" racing game or other with my young nephew and the game was interrupted mid-flow without warning for video ads.

  • These were inappropriate for the audience (things like CNC routers and powerdrills).
  • They were training him to immediately find the "close" button and hit it without looking at what he was doing
  • They meant that you got dumped back into the game without any transition, so - boom - you're in the middle of a high-speed overtaking manoeuvre.
  • During 20 minutes of play we probably saw 20 ads which we were allowed to close after about 5 seconds each. That's absurd.

I've seen him play other games like this and it's way worse than browsing the web without an adblocker. Most of these games you can't even buy to get rid of the ads, afaik.

ben profile image
Ben Halpern

I recently went to a website which literally hit me with 8 popovers all at once. How could that possibly be effective?

moe64 profile image

Video ads that autoplay with SOUND when you visit a site!!!