Stop Clicking Banners and Maybe They’ll Go Away

Is it you?  Are you the one who clicks on the banner ads on social media and social networking sites like Digg, MySpace, Reddit, Facebook, Propeller, and everywhere else (except Mixx, where I haven’t really seen them yet)?  I’ve been looking for whoever it is that still thinks they’re the 9,999th visitor or that they really just won a free Xbox 360.  When I find this person, I have one word.


It’s 2008.  Banner advertisements, as wonderful and beautiful as they were before the turn of the millenium, are now worthless.  Or are they?  They still seem to be on just about every website (this one included, though I don’t know why I bother since nobody clicks on them).  I would think that most people, especially the astute, tech-saavy readers of social media and users of social networks, are immune to them and barely register that they’re even there.

Throw in adblocker plug-ins, and one would think that this arcane form of advertising generates pennies per million impressions.  Since smarter people than me run most of these sites, I can assume that someone, somewhere, is still clicking on banner advertisements to get their $9.99 unlimited email (WOOHOO!).  Please, for the love of Al Gore…


Here’s an alternative.  Instead of trying to lure us “unwitting simple folk” into getting a free cell phone, why don’t advertisers and websites just come out and say it.  Here’s what I would love to see on a site:

This Website brought to you Banner-Free by our Sponsors.

We know you probably won’t click on them, but at least read their names for branding purposes.

If you happen to be in the market for a cell phone, new shoes, or cheap airline tickets, remember the websites who happily pay us money so we can deliver this site to you without seizure-inducing banner ads:

Link to Sponsor 1 – Description of sponsor 1

Link to Sponsor 2 – Description of sponsor 2

yadayadayada – yadayadayada

Wasn’t that simple?  Can you picture it?  More importantly, wouldn’t you be more willing to actually see who it is that is making the website free for you to browse, use, and enjoy?  Remove the banners, replace it with a “blogroll” style of advertising, and in the end, we might actually click on something just as a reward.

This can never happen if people continue to reward the banner advertisers with clicks.  If you’re one of them, please…


Now where are banners acceptable?  On websites that are designed to sell stuff such as this Washington DC Nissan dealer. 

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Read more annoyances and general rants (though few they are) at Soshable, or check out one recent post that we liked at Facebook User Data Gathering Goes Viral.  Check out some of our social media recommendations.

Leave a Reply


  1. JD Rucker

    As a quick footnote, we are currently working on getting a couple of advertisers to suppliment the costs of this blog so we can take the banners down forever.

  2. Frank

    Or, since not all sites are in a place to be able to attract sponsors, why don’t people start clicking on ads when they like the content being provided? Instead of getting a ton of votes on Digg, I think a few dozen people saying they appreciated the content with banner click would go a lot further.

    Just my two cents.

  3. chris

    Advertising is here to stay because it’s the simplest revenue stream with the lowest entry barrier for web publishers. And for the advertisers themselves, it works. Even if the click throughs are low, it still builds branding and name recognition which is what advertising was meant for in the first place (see tv and print media). Maybe the advertisers need to find a more efficient way of communicating their message and work with publishers to lessen the burden on us users. If you can figure that out, then I just gave you a million dollar idea.

  4. dotlizard

    @Frank — that’s not really such a good idea, because not every banner is a safe click. just a bad habit to get into, in general. sure, most reputable sites retain control over exactly what ads are displayed, but if they’re using a banner ad network service, there’s a chance that spyware or adware awaits you at after you’ve punched that monkey.

    i love the idea set forth in this post, that text ads could be presented in a helpful and informative (and inoffensive) way – say, small tasteful icons and text describing why i should click through.

  5. Posted this on digg, but it probably should go here!

    I made the mistake of enrolling in a type of spam site.. and I paid big-time for it. I was pissed, I saw the advertisement on Yahoo and I thought it was legit. To a certain extent they are legitimate in that there IS a way for you to get the big prize, but you can’t get there without spending a lot of your own money on their b.s. partners.

    I went and enrolled in Netflix.. no big deal, bought some coffee, picked up a stupid website / auction account and ordered some book on buying government auctioned items. I thought I was clever, ready to cancel it all or just spend “a few bucks” to get something really cool to “test, fill out surveys, and then keep”.. PFFT.

    Next thing I know I’m at the “final round” and have to choose between products (a trip to somewhere cool) and something else that would cost me well over 1500 bucks. Long story short, it’s all bullshit, you will pay someway some how. Don’t fall for it AND if there’s a scummy lawyer who wants to file a class action against those shitheads, I would 100% support the cause.

    BTW, Yahoo should be ashamed of promoting that shit.. I’ve seen those scams prop up the most on Yahoo-based websites (fantasy sports, finance, etc)

  6. Random Person

    Except that if you ignore the existing Google and banner ads, they’ll become more intrusive to try and gain your attention.

    Interstitial ad pages, flash ads popping out in front of you, more ads in between chunks of real content, the highlighted ad words, entire site “themes”, ads at the start of videos — they’re all a response to people ignoring existing ads.

    It just like with TV shows, there are now ads scrolling at the bottom of the shows themselves because people are recording and then skipping traditional ads.

  7. rofl, you have to be careful which “free” program you join. Just b/c they advertise, does not mean it is legit. I joined a number of those “free” programs, who don’t advertise, but are merely virally promoted by it’s members.

    Before joining a “free” site, be sure to read how that particular site works. they’re a whole bunch that are a scam, and yet another bunch that are very legit. Try googling for “free xbox 360” and read the info sites out there. I even mentioned how it works on my sites.

  8. This would be more credible if you removed you own banner ads first.

    Fun fact: Those ads that promise a free iPod/Xbox/HDTV in exchange for your email address? The people who publish those ads are paid around $1.25 for each email address they obtain. I wrote a free eBook about how to milk those for all they’re worth, and I’ve made a couple hundred with virtually no work at all.

    First rule of advertising online = Most people are idiots.

  9. The ultimate irony would be that discussing how no one clicks your banner ads results in more ad clicking. Have you noticed any such increase?

  10. JD Rucker

    @Geoff – Ads removed. They didn’t work anyway.

    @Pace – I just have to doubt it at this point. I would love to test it, but Geoff made a good point. Banners and adsense mostly removed — all will be gone soon, replaced by sponsors in the format listed in the article.

  11. no.not me !! lol


  12. Some Guy

    “I would think that most people, especially the ***astute, tech-saavy*** readers of social media and users of social networks…”

    Wow, I’d like to live in the world you live in. I hope you were being sarcastic.

  13. Drew

    This will never happen.
    CPM networks would be fucked.

  14. prodigal

    Yes, stop clicking on ads on Digg, MySpace, Reddit, Facebook, Propeller, and everywhere else, maybe the ads will go away, But don’t be surprised when Digg, MySpace, Reddit, Facebook, Propeller, and everywhere else go away with them.

  15. You think they will simply ‘disappear’ if people stop clicking them?

    You think DEBT will go away if people stop borrowing?

    It’s an endless, corrupt loop. It cannot be stopped.

    What can we possibly do, for example to combat spam? Filter it? Just because we can distinguish the spam from the real mail, doesn’t mean TRAFFIC on the internet is wasted through the sending of this SPAM mail.

    Don’t you think “clicks” are sometimes faked, which justifies the cheap form of banner advertising? Sometimes that one click will lead you to a million other DISPLAY-2-PAY ads, which generates alot more income for the stupid advert. ( Press the fart button why don’t you. )

    So yes, stop pressing it, because you are an idiot, but sadly they won’t just go away.

    Block them.

  16. If billboards are still around, banner ads are here to stay.

  17. i think there is no websites can live without ads !
    expect site like as : wikipedia.


  18. you should be getting people to click them, not stopping them. 🙁

  19. Or, you could install AdBlock – I’ve not seen a banner ad for years!

  20. so true..and yet there are people who still do,,,
    i suppose i wouldnt mind clicking on an add that is relevant to the content i am reading…but other than that,,what is the point,,,same goes with those e-mail… register 10 of your friends and get a freee ipod,,,yeahy,,erm NO!

  21. This was the most retarded post ever. #1, banner ads can add value to a site, or validate a site by the type of brand being promoted. #2, banner ads are a great way to ad motion or style within your site that compliment the design to the advertiser. #3, reporting, systems, integration and managing banner ads are much more easy then PPC (which you have on your SITE moron!) You tell people to stop clicking banner ads and start clicking PPC? It’s the exact same thing, one looks like children’s spam writing on a site and the other looks like finger paint spam on a site. Get a life, keep clicking. You go away.

    Brought to you by ……….. so dumb, see ya.

    – The Ad Guy

  22. I agree, banners still make good money for people. Maybe not on this site, but others.

    More people will start to block them, but then advertisers will make things even worse. Embed them everywhere, like inside videos (like Google Ads are now doing), or more sites will charge people to be a member. $5-10/month for each site here and there and it could get very costly.

  23. I couldn’t understand some parts of this article icking Banners and Maybe They’ll Go Away | Soshable | Social Media Blog, but I guess I just need to check some more resources regarding this, because it sounds interesting.

  24. Roy

    OMG I love the idea of having one sponsor who “Brught you this website banner ad free…”

    nice one.

  25. I disagree with the idea that not clicking on banner ads is the best way to make them go away. That would only work if everyone banded together and agreed to do so.

    The fact is the banner ads are a good deal for the advertisers since so few people click on them. If you want to ads to go away, start clicking on every one you see. Since the click through rate for ads is far less than 1%, if only a small percentage of people actually started doing it, then the banner ad economy would have to change significantly.

  26. Anomie

    You have advertisements? I never knew, that whole Adblock thing… 😀

  27. I’m drinking the social media juice as much as anyone. I get paid to think about and work on it all day, every day. (I consider myself lucky…)

    But the idea that banner ads should go away is just sort of silly. Around Easter, I want to and expect to see a HoneyBaked Ham ad, and hope it has a $5 off coupon. When I want a new car, I pay attention to the car ads.

    It sounds like you object to bad ads (flashing, rolling out over the content, etc.). That is a fair statement. There’s a lot of crap out there and the perpetrators of it should be smacked…

  28. Looks perfectly straight to me. Of course, I’m also the type of person who allegedly [ahem! allegedly] agree with everything.

  29. yo, great name for site)))
    internet signature:

  30. yo, great name for site)))

  31. I think right now the big thing wrong with ad companies is that we have all come to believe they are pathological liars. You can’t trust a word they tell you and whatever it is they are selling, it’s probably a load of shit.

    Now if this wasn’t what every new internet user was indoctrinated with and the ad companies actually told the truth with their advertising, things might be different.