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April 20, 2004 12:01 AM

Broken: over-page ad placement

 Mike Hyttinen writes:

An over-page ad is an idea which in itself is broken. This example drives the point home.

The first picture shows the lead photo appearing on the homepage of on Wednesday, August
20th, 2003. It shows the Canal Hotel in Baghdad burning to the ground. The second picture shows the homepage of after the ad has loaded. It is an ad for mortgage solutions from Because it is an over-page ad, you can still see the cars burning in the background.


Well, if you mean that overpage ads are incredibly stupid, a scourge on the Internet, and are quite broken in that they so totally piss net surfers off that we purposefully avoid using the products or services they sell out of spite for having insipid advertising shoved in our face every page load... then I get it. But I don't understand what is _particularly_ broken about the Time example.

Posted by: Ummagumma at April 20, 2004 07:04 AM

Boy, that's amazingly broken! The ad makes it look like the entire scene is an endorsement of arson as a way of solving your mortgage problems.

Posted by: Lynn H. at April 20, 2004 09:49 AM

Related to this is the phenomenon where Google ads end up on pages highly critical of the things they're advertising, just because the keywords match.

Posted by: reed at April 20, 2004 10:37 AM

This is not broken. Annoying and humorous, yes---but NOT broken. Courtesy of

broken - "useless or inoperative"

The ad has a use: promote the product. It also operates correctly, as the poster received the promotion just fine.

Not to be rude, but it seems like this site mostly consists of things that are humorous and annoying, but not strictly broken.

Posted by: Robby Slaughter at April 20, 2004 01:38 PM

Yup, dropping a bomb on my house would be one solution to my bad mortgage alright! ;) Okay, for the previous people who didn't get it: it's not that the ad is broken or the Time site is broken, it's that the news picture in combination with the ad is broken, because it doesn't make the readers think of getting a second mortgage... Although it might make them laugh. :P

Posted by: Bright at April 21, 2004 10:53 AM

Also courtesy of

fig·u·ra·tive,(adj.): Based on or making use of figures of speech; metaphorical: figurative language.

These postings are about things being "tounge in cheek broken" or maybe "lacking in common sense broken" - such as the ad on The fact that someone was asleep at the wheel of the ad server, and placed a TOTALLY inappropriate ad on this page is what make it, fig·u·ra·tively broken.

Jeeze..... didn't have to go all scholarly on us now did ya?

Posted by: jackson at April 23, 2004 01:25 PM

hey Robby Slaughter: cool down! i think the people who run this site KNOW what broken really means, but broken for THIS site means that something doesn't look right or is in one way or another messed up

yeah, that ad over the page there does look kinda funny

Posted by: lane at June 15, 2004 06:09 PM

yeah, jackson there, he's smart... i didn't even read his post before i put mine up. he puts it a good way

Posted by: lane at June 15, 2004 06:11 PM

A similar occurance hapened during the 9-11 incident on CNN's web page. They had on their front page a picture of the airliners crashing into the world trade towers. Directly below the picture was a banner ad for United Airlines for their "special discount rates"

Posted by: Steven W at July 1, 2004 09:34 PM

I can understand why United would lower rates on planes going into the side of the building. One-way tickets are (almost) always cheaper, right. ;-)

Posted by: Brian at January 10, 2005 10:50 PM

Brian, that was offensive to the point of brilliance. I commend you.

Robby Slaughter: This add is broken even by your definition. The ad's job is to promote the product. It fails, because its poor placement undermines its effectiveness, making it look more like the kind of photo manipulation you would find on the Something Awful forums. It effectively says "we're idiots and you shouldn't trust us with your money."

Posted by: Wooble at August 16, 2005 07:48 PM

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