Dear Web Advertisers: Stop Lying

Stop lying. Just stop.

When I click on a web page, and you show me this instead:

You know what I think when I see that?

I know enough about the web to know that this is a bald-face lie. The page I requested is not "loading". You have decided to show me this page instead because it has advertising on it, and after some period of time you intend to pass me along to the page I've actually asked for. You do this because it gates access to the page I want, and I'm more likely to read, process, and retain this advertising information because I'm actively scanning it for the information I'm expecting to find instead of the ad. This is valuable mental real estate, and you're gonna monetize it. But then you dress it up with this lie, usually in very small print, along with an option for me to click through directly to the content I want -- permitting me to opt out of seeing the ad in the first place -- to try to excuse the fact that I asked for something and you are now delivering something totally unrelated to it.

I think that whatever message you might want to show me, whatever impression you want to make for your client, is going to be tainted by the fact that the first words I read on the page I interpret as a lie.

I think that maybe I've been too even-handed about this whole advertising thing. The only active counter-advertising act I've taken is to enable pop-up/pop-under protection. I leave javascript, flash, shockwave, and cookies all enabled. I don't use adblocker software. I think that my idea that this is a fair exchange -- you give me the information I ask for, and as a side-effect I permit you the opportunity to influence my thinking with messages from your advertisers -- is nothing but naive thinking on my part, and I should join the ranks who take a more active approach to stopping the pollution of my internet experience.

When I keep seeing these blatant lies prefixing your message, it turns me off advertising completely.

If you keep doing this, advertising won't pay the bills, and we'll all be poorer. And it will be your fault for chasing me away, not mine for running.

Stop trying to steal my attention.

Stop interrupting me.

Stop dressing it up with lies and negative-options.

Just stop.