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:
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 Amazon.com?