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Exit ads are just bad

In the five years I've read Steve Outing's Stop the Presses column, I've rarely disagreed with views. His latest column, though, has made up for lost time.

Outing proposes, as a way for content sites to fatten up red-ink-covered bottom lines, two ways to make money off their users:

The former is essentially the ad-free, subcription-based model Salon announced in March. That model makes sense—it's the Web-exit ad model that really bothers me.

His suggested “exit-referral system” —based heavily on the ideas propsed by ClusterTraffic—could not only be annoying, but is also poorly thought out.

Not only would an ad appear when a user leaves the site, it would be in the form of a popup window.

Sure, the ads be for related sites (leave a financial news site and a broker site opens), but they are still ads appearing in a window the user didn't choose to open.

It's bad enough some reputable sites create pop-ups while inside the site, but punishing users who leave a site is not a good, long-term plan.

Unfortunately the whole concept, thanks to the use of targeted ads, is just sane enough to be adopted by some big-name site, thus opening the flood gates.

Let's hope the same doesn't happen with the other monetizing-scheme-du-jour: the page-invading Shoshkeles™.