Clicking the Internet Explorer or Chrome icon, you may notice several advertisements occupying your screen. It becomes more severe when you try to approach Internet news articles. Flashy and often embarrassing ads fill the screen so that readers quickly scroll down the page. However, they do not disappear at all, incessantly follow our scrolling.
Such experiences are not uncommon for ordinary Internet users. According to research by the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family, the number of Internet news websites posting harmful advertisements in 2012 increased approximately three times from 2011; from 62 to 176. It is often confusing whether we read the articles or the ads. Ads on Internet news articles now overwhelm readers.
Before understanding the cause of the phenomenon, it is important to distinguish Internet news websites from the press in alliance with portal sites. Internet news websites, such as Pressian, do not publish offline newspapers, but only post articles online. The real troublemaker is not them, but portal sites in alliance with the other press. In order for portal sites to provide articles online, they have to deliver and edit existing articles written by daily newspapers such as The Chosun Ilbo and Korea JoongAng Daily. As portal sites earn most of their profits from ads, they try to post as many ads as possible beside the borrowed article. Thus, they cannot help posting whatever advertisers require, resulting in articles out of control both quantitatively and qualitatively.
Problems of excessive Internet news ads can be perceived in terms of articles and readers. As for articles, Internet news ads degrade the quality of articles. Unlike newspapers, whose profit can be acquired by subscription fees and printed ads, Internet news gains profits only from ads. It results in ads occupying the screen more than an article so that readers are starting to disregard Internet news articles. The change in readers’ attitudes influences that of reporters as well. They are discouraged from writing an article well and tend to care less about the quality of online news articles.
From the perspective of readers, there are consumers and young readers. For consumers, they are usually susceptible to being enticed by exaggerated ads. Internet news ads are more visually enticing than newspaper ads because of the moving images. Unlike television ads with only 15 seconds, Internet news ads have more time to appeal to consumers while they are reading the article. As consumers are vulnerable especially to Internet news ads, they are more likely to be misled by deceptive ads.
As Internet news ads are in a blind spot of censoring, the Korea Advertising Review Board cannot interfere with their harmfulness. It causes more nasty and obscene ads. Those negatively affect the education of children. Children are not fully aware of the concept of sex at their age. At such a stage, excessive high quantity and low quality of sexual ads are harmful for their sexual education.
In order to solve the problem, various approaches can be applied. As a measurement after the matter, you can install ad block programs. Evernote Clearly and Ad Block for Chrome make the article page clean and easy to read by clearing away everything but the content. Internet Explorer users can change the settings to get rid of unnecessary ads.
More fundamentally, there are three preventative approaches to ads. Online signatures against superfluous Internet news ads were collected at the online portal site Daum’s debate section Agora. Also, the Fair Trade Commission (FTC) enacted a Screening Guide to Internet Advertisements on September 7. It states that the contents of Internet ads should be true and explicit, preventing consumers from being deceived. Other than these incidental measurements, media themselves have to change fundamentally. Some media have found other sources of profit such as holding exhibitions, or publishing electronic magazines in a tablet version. Such efforts will be the base for the further healthy development of Internet media without adverse advertisements.