If you’re new to Echo Base you may not know this but we have a strict policy of NEVER using pop up ads, pop up questions, or auto playing videos. We strongly oppose these processes because we feel they are directly responsible for the decline in quality content on the web, and the use of ad blockers.
We started Echo Base as a direct response to these kind of practices, and although we’re basically broke as a result, we feel it will pay off in the long term because our readers know they can trust us with their time and their information.
Our experience will always favor you over the sponsors, and that’s exactly why Google has been pissing me off so much recently.
This morning our chief editor Doug passed along this article saying “Google Wants to Put an End to Pop-Over Ads You Have to Tap to Dismiss” and I immediately called bullshit. My suspicion was that maybe the author over at Lifehacker just misunderstood or wrote a click-bait title, because this is just too weird…
You see, Google Adsense has been non-stop pestering Echo Base to install and deploy “page-level ads for mobile”. Literally once a week, for a month, we would get emails saying it was the newest and best way to make advertising revenue on Adsense. Every time we log in to our Adsense account it reminds us that we should turn it on, it calls it an “optimization” technique:
So what are “page-level ads for mobile”? They’re mother-effing pop over ads that you have to tap to dismiss that’s what they are!
Here’s google’s own video on how they work:
So back to my original point, the Lifehacker article simply must be mistaken right? Google couldn’t possibly be both promoting these ads AND proposing sites will be dinged for using them right?
Here’s a snippet from the post from the Google’s webmaster blog:
“Pages that show intrusive interstitials provide a poorer experience to users than other pages where content is immediately accessible. This can be problematic on mobile devices where screens are often smaller. To improve the mobile search experience, after January 10, 2017, pages where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile search results may not rank as highly.”
Are you serious Google? Listen this is a GREAT idea, but you need to get your own house in order before you start pointing fingers at the rest of the world and down ranking based on something that you are constantly encouraging us to do.
My suggestion? Immediately remove the page-level mobile ads as an offering. Because look, I get it, Google’s version of the ads clearly allows for an easier “closing” experience. It’s not a tiny “x” button, it’s a huge “close ad” button, and that’s cool. But the point here is that stopping a user from getting to content at all is cheap and interruptive. Instead ads should be infused with the content where appropriate. For example we only use right rail and top/bottom placed ads (traditional places for ads) AND we only embed ads in the article if it’s related to the context. For example if I were to talk about my favorite movie True Romance here, I might link to Amazon for you to buy it and we get a small commission that doesn’t affect your price at all. These are the kinds of experiences that people don’t mind, not rude interruptive pop up ads that must be closed creating a second step to the content you’re here for!
Get it together Google. Because in theory this is a great idea, but if you’re going to continue to push it as an “optimization” technique for your platform only, you’re basically trying to stronghold the web, and that’s no bueno.