Why in-text ads suck and what to do about it

Have you ever visited a web site with contextual advertisements associated with certain words within the text of the page? It looks like this:

Kontera links

Moving your cursor over one of the links produces a pop-up advertisement that blocks the text you were reading. Here’s the ad I saw when I inadvertently moved my mouse over the “business” link:

Pop-up advertisement

Can anyone explain to me what Bloomberg Businessweek has to do with Dell knowingly selling defective products? So much for the contextual aspect of the contextual ads. All that’s left are the annoying aspects!

The company behind this little “innovation” is called Kontera. The way it works is like this:

  • Advertisers publish ads to be displayed with certain keywords.
  • Publishers sign up to host ads.
  • Publishers place a reference to a Javascript file hosted at kontera.com on their web page.
  • The Javascript file inserts the links into the text, as the page is rendered.

Frankly, I find this sort of thing highly irritating. Here I am, trying to learn about why Dell knowingly shipped faulty computers, and all the sudden the text of the article I’m reading is covered by an animated ad. Now, I have to stop, click the little X to close the darn thing, and find my place all over again.

What this says to me is that neither Kontera, nor the publisher (in this case Gnomelocker.com) have any concern about my experience reading their content. Their only concern is using their content as a means to deliver advertisements, in pursuit of a buck. It makes me not want to read Gnomelocker.com or any other publisher that used Kontera.

At home, I’ve found a solution that works like a champ. I added the following entry into my hosts file: te.kontera.com

Now, whenever my browser requests the Javascript file from te.kontera.com, it is redirected to my localhost and fails to load the file. Problem solved.

Unfortunately, when you use a proxy server – like most corporations – the browser defaults to resolving host names via the proxy server rather than using the hosts file. So, my solution only works at home.

Hmmm… I wonder what it would take to get te.kontera.com added to our corporate black-list? Hmmm…