Unsubtle Ads

Written by Lilith DemHareIs

I'm an old enough Netizen to remember an Internet without the World Wide Web. FTP was the mode of file transfer and access, and Usenet Newsgroups were the place for general information and fun.

Then came the World Wide Web, sweeping all before, and drawing the Common Man into the realm known as Cyberspace.

I remember when the Internet was the Silicon World. I hate the term 'Cyberspace'. It makes me think of bad live-action Japanese kiddie shows.

Usenet News has fallen to the side compared to the World Wide Web. But I, being a relative dinosaur (I was online in the 80's), still read Usenet. I prefer to get my information there.

Despite my home technological advances, I still have only one phone line, and people still need to give me a call once in a while. I cannot dedicate it entirely to the ol' home network. (Give me time, and a steady flow of royalties, and we'll see what happens.) This on-again-off-again connection means that I do practically all my internet work offline. I read my newsgroups offline. I read and reply to email offline. I script my HTML and other programming goodies offline. Then, when I'm online, I upload everything I've done for the day/week, and download my next batch of stuff. This does not leave me much time to do online interactive browsing of the Web. The browsing I can squeeze in consists of structured research of a specific subject, like pregnancy or recipes for the week. I have little time for browsing fleeting interests that catch my eye.

Thus arrayed in life, I mourn the deplorable use of the Usenet for unsubtle advertisements. Nothing disappoints me more than to see a post with a subject I'm interested in, only to read it to find nothing more than: "If you're interested in widgets, check out the following web site at http://www.widgetsRus.com".

It's annoying. That hasn't told me anything. I was looking for information, and have been sorely disappointed. In all but one case, I have never looked up a web site advertised thus. Why should I? For all I know, that site could be absolute crap (or mostly crap).

Two traits that annoy me even more than the ads are the use of all caps in the title, and the use of the words "hot new site". I doubt any site labelled thus is "hot," and the information it contains is guaranteed to not be new.

And don't shout. I may be old, but my eyes are not deaf.

Don't get me wrong. I am not completely against promoting ones WWW site on Usenet. But I would appreciate a bit more description about the site in the post to the newsgroup. I'd like to know what sort of info about widgets is on the page. Pique my interest. Grab my attention. Make me want to visit the page. Write a little bit about what makes the page so special. If I feel it would suit my needs, then I'll add the URL to my list of "sites to surf".

The Internet is a place of information. I would greatly appreciate it if there was a wee bit more of the stuff.