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It’s a miracle every day on the web

By Jean-Claude Elias - Mar 02,2017 - Last updated at Mar 02,2017

“Consumers are ditching their $2,000 DSLR camera for this incredible $50 lens”. “Make $4,000 per month, online and without leaving home, quickly, easily”. “The miracle natural food that kills cancerous cells and that drug companies are afraid you may discover”. “Learn a foreign language in three weeks”. “The 8-minute surgery that will give you superhuman vision. Forever”. “Five foods never to eat because they lower your testosterone”. “The ultimate way to get cheap hotel rooms.” In short, nothing but miracles, waiting for you to click a web link to happen.

Such silly claims have become a daily nuisance, whenever you are logged on the Internet, browsing any website. Since for most of us “whenever” is tantamount to “all the time”, this makes the situation all the more annoying. These deceptive, grossly misleading Internet ads used to make me smile for I would just go past them, ignoring them, not clicking on any part of the ad.

Now they don’t make me smile anymore. They have become real nuisances and a pure waste of time. It’s plain Internet pollution. Even if you are not the kind to fall in the trap and click, they distract you from the main topic you are reading or working on; plus the very unpleasant feeling that they shamelessly insult your intelligence.

Because such ads often are browser-dependant and not site-dependant, it is hard to avoid them completely. You may be looking at CNN site or checking your Facebook page — otherwise two “respectable” and clean sites — chances are you will be subjected to these ads anyway. One wonders how many users do actually fall for it and click. There are no available statistics on the subject. However, given the size of the current traffic on the web, the originators of these ads will be happily rewarded if only one person in a thousand goes clicking. They bet on that and it is certainly happening all the time.

These ads constitute a double deception. Firstly what they actually can do or deliver is but a pale, a distorted and a minimal part of the actual product or service they claim. Secondly, some of them will lead you to contents that have absolutely nothing to do with the catchy sentence you are reading or picture you are viewing. They just mean to entice you, to lead you to another type of contents, the kind that you would never go to in the first place if you knew their real nature.

Advertising has always been regulated. Make a false one and you are liable for legal action by the authorities. Alas, this seems to work only in the real world, not in the virtual one. Streets, buildings, printed magazines and newspapers, TV channels, radios and the like, they all can be monitored and controlled in a rather reasonable, acceptable manner. But how do you do that in the web? The process is difficult, complex, and practically impossible.

 

Even if some web browsers are less ad-lenient than others (the excellent Mozilla’s FireFox for instance), even you install ad-filters, there will be no way to completely stop this kind of Internet ads. The best protection against this nuisance is not to be gullible and to ignore any ad that promises you the moon or that pretends it can accomplish miracles. Blocking them completely, however, seems to be out of the question, technically speaking. We just have to live with the pain.

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