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Bigger ads: Big profits, big irritation?

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TEXT OF STORY

Kai Ryssdal: You know all that extraneous stuff that shows up on your computer screen when you're reading an article online? We call it annoying. The Web sites call it advertising. And they know most of us just block it out, which isn't so good for paying their bills. Today a trade group that represents sites like the New York Times and ESPN, and a whole mess of others, introduced three new kinds of banner ads that are designed to stay with us for a while. Marketplace's Brendan Newnam reports.


BRENDAN NEWNAM: They sound like the nicknames for a football defensive line. There is the "The Fixed Screen," "the Pushdown," and the "XXL." In fact, they are the new offensive strategy for marketers.

Pam Horan is the President of the Online Publisher's Association, the trade group behind the new ads. The bigger the ad she says the more space an advertiser has to tell you about a product.

PAM Horan: What that does is provide a larger format for that marketer to engage the consumer and have that brand experience right there on the page.

Online publishers are also fighting what they call banner blindness. Emily Riley at Forrester Research says that's when consumers see so many ads they start blocking them out.

EMILY RILEY If you have a big, beautiful ad from a good advertiser right in the middle of a page then you are forced to pay attention.

But Internet surfers don't like being forced to do anything, so advertisers are hoping these ads will capture viewers' attention without annoying them. And if the consumers don't like it?

RILEY: It's a very unique time with the economy being so low. I think all of these sites are looking for ways to entice advertisers to spend more. They might be a little less sensitive to consumer backlash as a result.

In other words, be prepared to be annoyed.

In Los Angeles, I'm Brendan Newnam for Marketplace.

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