Stop The Madness! Talking Banner Ads (Beware The Free Nintendo Wii)

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And we thought pop-ups were bad.  Can we call a halt to this?  Talking banner ads. They are THE most annoying banner ads ever.  For example, lately, I’ve run into these disruptive, intrusive abominations of advertising on the Fox News site and AT&T’s Anywho.com  

On Anywho, I just encountered another "congratulations - you’ve won a FREE Nintendo Wii" banner ad, the announcement delivered by a saccharine female voice.  There doesn’t seem to be any obvious way to turn off the sound, other than to hit mute on my computer.

In microscopic font, the ad supplies the caveat - "details apply; participation required."

I clicked through.  Another microscopic link at the bottom of the registration area called T&C (terms and conditions, I guess) takes the user to a page full of terms so Draconian it’s hard to imagine how anyone would qualify for their free gift.  But the only way to know for sure is to fork over a great deal of personal info in order to test the system. 

However, it appears that this Nintento Wii banner ad is (in part) an effort to maneuver users into signing up for a Discover Card or high speed Internet.

An company called Brand City Media is the group pushing the program.  (From the aboutus page: "The BrandCityMedia lead generation and customer acquisition network delivers millions of customers on a pay-for-performance basis to small, medium and large businesses worldwide.")

From the fine print:

Accumulate 750 points on your very first visit to BrandCityMedia. You can always come back and visit BrandCityMedia But ONLY your very first visit or Session Counts Towards the 750 Points necessary to Redeem your Free Gift!

"BrandCityMedia, reserves the right to substitute a check for the reward."

Complete our registration form.

Complete all questions in the optional survey that follows.

Generate a total of 750 points on your very first visit or session

You may complete only one Discover Card application toward qualification for the reward.

For high-speed Internet service offers, you must order and install the high-speed Internet service to complete the offer.

Due to the volume of customer service inquiries, BrandCityMedia, does not offer telephone support. All questions, comments and concerns should be submitted through the Contact us link on the website.

The "contact us" link is this: support at BrandCityMedia.com

In other words: buyer beware.

Enough already.  I’ll never understand WHY the ad industry doesn’t GET that carpet bombing Internet users and television viewers with intrusive, sometimes deceptive ads and clumsy product placement is like the overuse of antibiotics - over time it only serves to create ever resistant strains of annoyed consumers. 

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