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NYTimes Torments Readers With Advert That Can’t Be Closed

4397800453_0518eb3292_bThe release of iOS 9 and its content-blocking features yesterday has reminded everyone of what they can gain from blocking adverts, including better battery life, a faster machine, and a better web browsing experience devoid of frustrating adverts.

And by some stroke of luck the NYTimes has decided that yesterday was the best time to give us a practical example just how annoying adverts can be. Late last night The New Yorkist Twitter account tweeted the following video of an annoying pop up advert for an NYTimes subscription.

As you can see in the video, the advert is almost impossible to close. As you move the mouse cursor close to the exit button, the button runs away. (I too saw this on the NYTimes website.)

If you can’t see the video in the RSS feed, click through to the post. I saw the video on the blog before I published this post. And if that doesn’t work, you can see the video on Twitter.

When the Washington Post started blocking visitors who used ad blockers last week, I didn’t think it was possible for a major publication to demonstrate a more hostile attitude towards its readers.

It’s not just that we have huge ads taking over the screen so they can play video, or the many trackers slowing down our computers, or the malware that ad networks feed into our computers without asking, now we also have a major news publisher playing a game of keepaway.

It’s almost as if they’re actively inventing new reasons to block adverts, isn’t it?

image by Johan Larsson

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jjj September 17, 2015 um 8:59 am

This seems to be an example of user stupidity and NYT failing to account for it. A normal person would hoover the mouse over it to pop it up and then go close it while the mouse is always over the ad.Can’t reproduce the incident to test if it works as it should but the user in this video seems to not act as expected.

Popup September 17, 2015 um 9:43 am

"Don’t attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by stupidity."

Looks like the result of a clueless developer. (Or rather a developer who hadn’t considered all usecases.)

Gbm September 17, 2015 um 10:29 am

jjj // 17 September, 2015 at 8:59 am //
99.99999999999999999999999999999999…..% of people will do as the person in the video.

Human-factors engineering will tell you that the way you said it should work is not how people will perceived it to work.

Nate Hoffelder September 17, 2015 um 10:40 am

I agree. The video was exaggerated to make sure we saw the effect, but the behavior is normal, common, and expected.

AndyHat September 17, 2015 um 10:53 am

Speaking of the Washington Post, I assume you saw the news yesterday that Amazon Prime now includes 6 months of free digital access, and a 50% discounted price after that? I’d assume the implementation of the strict pay-wall was in preparation for announcing that and making it seem like a real benefit.

Nate Hoffelder September 17, 2015 um 10:57 am

I saw that, yes. I had mentioned Amazon too many times, so I passed on it.

I found it contradictory. Why give away the content in a subscription if you’re going to block free users on the website?

Three ad blocking extensions for the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch: 1Blocker, Blockr and Crystal | TeleRead September 17, 2015 um 11:11 am

[…] NYTimes torments readers with advert that can’t be closed, from Nate, as well as Why the Ad-Blocking war could hurt all of us, from the hardly disinterested […]

Maria (BearMountainBooks) September 17, 2015 um 11:34 am

Microsoft did the same (CURSEWORD) thing with their stupid Windows 10. I downloaded the usual "important" updates and one of those included a popup–every time my machine was booted or came out of sleep mode it offered me Windows 10. I can close it every time, but not get rid of it easily. ANd those updates that were supposedly necessary? They were just Windows 10 ready to install the second I hit the wrong part of the popup. Not that I did that–and I found a way to remove it, but for a non-techie it is not easy. These companies need to get their act together and quit forcing their crap on us. I said NO. Don’t put your crap on my machine. EVER.

Nate Hoffelder September 17, 2015 um 11:41 am

MS is worse. At least with Amazon you get videos you might like, and can disable the feature.

I have an un-asked-for Win10 upgrade cluttering up my hard disk right now, and I’m seriously afraid that it might glitch and install itself without permission.

How do you remove it?

puzzled September 17, 2015 um 5:32 pm

How come I’ve never gotten the annoying Windows 10 popups on my three Windows computers? You guys must be special…

Nate Hoffelder September 17, 2015 um 5:37 pm

I don’t know. I only wish I could make it go away.

Maria (BearMountainBooks) September 17, 2015 um 6:11 pm

Yeah, I was in fear that it would one day claim I had clicked "yes" or maybe it would just install and not even care to lie about it. Husband found this set of instructions and it worked:

They don’t even label the (curseword) things to make them easy to find. And I can’t promise they won’t show up again next update, but I am on guard now. (curseword, curseword).

Nate Hoffelder September 17, 2015 um 6:45 pm

Thanks, Maria!

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