Most people know that Google makes a bit of money off of advertising, but the truth is that these programs bring in a staggering figure of over $20 billion per year and represent about 99% of the company’s income (Wikipedia a and b).
Who would’ve guessed fifteen years ago that little boxes shamelessly touting diet pills, debt consolidation and laser hair removal would come to generate more revenue than the GDP of many countries?
Google is still king in online advertising but in the last few years many companies have jumped on board to clutter web pages and try to trick us into giving them our attention.
These include major vendors such as Yahoo, MSN and Adbrite, contextual linking from companies like Infolinks and affiliate programs including Ebay and Amazon.
No Shortage of Options
Many webmasters must not be able to make up their minds because they choose to display just about every single option available to them and make their banners more prominent than anything else on their pages. Advertising is so powerful that it has changed the very purpose and motive of the majority of the sources of information we find online.
This delicate relationship between content and ads is being debated fiercely on many top blogs and online forums.
It’s not just the number of companies that makes today’s online advertising overwhelming, as many radical new models are being introduced, some solely for the purpose of driving web surfers mad, it seems.
There are floating ads that follow you around the page no matter how hard you try to shake them, expanding ads that become enormous and obscure the rest of the site until you can find the minuscule “close” button and the dreaded interstitial ad that takes you to a full-page ad before you can go to the page you actually wanted to see.
The ads even follow users away from their computer in the form of text message ads sent to their phones.
With all of these frustrations, could it possibly be any worse? Well, according to the below video from The Onion, yes!
(you’ll have to pardon the short video ad you have to watch beforehand…I promise it’s worth the 15 seconds!)
With any luck it won’t come to this, but what do you think will happen with online advertising in the next few years?