For a while last year I liked to complain about the really big Apple ads the NYT.com had taken to running on their homepage, particularly the ones in with John Hodgman would walk around and talk. Now, I take all it back.
Frequent visitors to the NYT.com could not have helped but noticed yesterday that the website is apparently scraping the bottom of the advertising barrel. Well, perhaps not the very bottom — there’s no dancing chickens quite yet — but close! Smack in the middle of the page, right beside a lot of important news was a very hard-to-miss ad for…shingles (thankfully, today it appears to have been replaced by an in-house ad). The ad was one of those animated affair making it almost entirely impossible to miss the raw, red, blistering shingled skin it pictures. It is disgusting, and yesterday it was making me not want to go to the NYT.com homepage, at all. Something I happen to do quite frequently.
Gawker says the NYT.com ads “appear to be going further and further down the villain chain.” But I have developed my own theory: Arthur Sulzberger plans to use ads like this to make visiting the NYT.com such an unpleasant experience that we will be begging to pay him just to get rid of them. If this is indeed the plan, it’s working. I will pay to not have to look at this ad every hour!
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