Amazon Has Blighted IMDb with Adverts

As we all know, Amazon has owned IMDb since 1998. The retail giant has commercial interests that could benefit from owning a site like IMDb, and one could understand how Amazon might want to monetize the site by placing a few adverts and buy buttons. After all, adverts may not make the world go 'round but they do buy the wheels on which it spins.

Amazon hass long had background adverts on IMDb, and earlier this year Amazon inserted splashy and attention-getting adverts into specific pages, but now they've expanded the advert blight across the entire site.

Earlier today I followed a link to a listing on IMDb for a 25-year-old movie, and much to my dismay I found this:

imdb advert blight

What you're seeing in the screenshot is a background advert (which isn't so annoying), and an auto-play video advert that expands to cover the entire top of the listing.

When Kieth Bradnam slammed Amazon in March of this year for splashing adverts across IMDb, I downplayed the story by pointing out the details he got wrong, including when the adverts started showing up and their prevalence.

Now it looks like I should have held my fingers, because in the long run Bradnam has been proven correct. He was complaining about a background advert and a splashy advert that consumed the entire listing page for the latest Hobbit movies.

That splashy advert could only be found on a few pages at the time, but now similar adverts can be found across the site (and yes, I've seen them on a dozen pages). And as a result, the non-advert page has been reduced to this:


That is simply terrible. IMDb used to be a site that offered its visitors an encyclopedic view of a movie or tv show. Now it is a vessel for displaying adverts, forcing users to scroll down to see any useful information.

Suddenly Bradnam 's parting shot doesn't seem so improbable:

At what point should we become concerned by Amazon influencing the IMDb ratings of movies that they would rather see portrayed in a more positive light in order to sell content from

About Nate Hoffelder (11466 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: "I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

3 Comments on Amazon Has Blighted IMDb with Adverts

  1. Ok, I get the annoying pop up advert that makes it too easy to click on and go to some other site, or that opens multiple tabs, or that, heaven forbids, plays sound automatically. But I don’t get the problem with advertisements in general, as a way to provide u with free content.

    Why do we think this content should be curated and hosted and designed and maintained for free? I’ve never understood that. How do we expect any of this to get paid for?

    • There are donations, subscriptions, affiliate fees, or even sticking with less annoying adverts.

      Amazon has other options and can defray the costs of the site through other means. They don’t have to use such obnoxious adverts.

  2. Although we live in a rigged market economy, there is still a marketplace. If enough people stop visiting the IMDB site, that will be the end of rhe problem (or the end of the site). Crappy adverts are all over the place. Vote against them by closing the window. Sooner or later the pseudo-genius marketeers will get the idea.

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