Do not move the page while I'm reading

When browsing Hacker News this morning, I clicked on the Forbes article, “Why Does Work Start at 9 A.M.?” Maybe I’m a little bit strange about this, but I like to scroll down until I see the title of the article at the top of my screen with the body of it filling my screen. Strange, I know, that I don’t want navigation and all that other crap blocking my view when I’m trying to do something like read.

While I was scrolling down to my preferred view, the page started scrolling with me. It was then that I realized that they had a horrible banner ad at the top of the page that expanded on mouseover. Not click, but mouseover. And it contracted on mouseout. The result? A page that changed inconsistently with the user’s desires.

I think it’s great that popup ads and popunder ads have largely disappeared from the (respectable) internet, but banner ads that are moving, or playing sound, or do anything on mouseover are not an improvement. They do not represent the brand well.

At this point, there are probably two groups of people who disagree with me: those who think I should simply enable AdBlock+ or use Instapaper (which I do, from time to time), and those who think I’m complaining that I get to read Forbes for free. Advertising is the business model of the internet!

My view lies somewhere between the two. I like to read an article on the author’s website because I understand that that’s the only way to have a sustainable free service (for the end user), but I want the author (or the author’s company) to respect me and respect my wishes. It’s no coincidence that popups and popunders are gone; advertising that respects the end-user is most effective and is the best representation of the brand.