Those Double-Underlined Words on Blogs
Posted on May 22, 2006
Robert Scoble has a post that notes the double-underlined words, a form of web advertising, that are starting to appear on some blogs and websites. Scoble says, "I don't mind this as much as I minded SmartTags when Microsoft was attempting to do them (before I was an employee I argued vociferously against them, along with many other people in the community because we didn't want anyone to be able to use our own words for doing this style of advertising). Choosing to do it on your own blog only gets rid of most of my objection. I still don't like these kinds of ads, though, cause for someone who doesn't know the Web very well you can't tell these are ads at first."
Symphonius doesn't like them either.
I don't notice them much. When I do see them though they really annoy me - they look far too much like hyperlinks and distract far too much from the content.
It's odd as well that they never feel relevant. Just because a post mentions the word apple doesn't mean I want to buy one (the fruit or the computer). What tends to disturb me more though is forums that use this kind of advertising that I've been seeing a lot. That's putting ads in the middle of your users words and I'd consider it outright unethical.
These look similar but they are much different than the invasive Smart Tag idea Microsoft came up with. Microsoft was going to force website owners to have to opt-out of the Smart Tags by adding code to their site. Bloggers and other web publishers are choosing to put these "links" on their blogs for money. However, that doesn't mean they are much better.
They aren't attractive and as some of the comments on Scoble's post explain they could hurt a blog's or site's usability. Vibrant Media is one company providing this type of advertising through a product called IntelliTXT. There are a couple of big tech publishers using them now, O'Reilly and Tom's Hardware Guide, so maybe they help the publishers make money.