The blight known as Vibrant Media

Sorry publishers, but a sure sign that you suck is when you start running those deceptive double-underlined Vibrant Media/IntelliText ads on your articles. had the wisdom to crush these long ago (after an tribute to slain Moscow bureau chief Paul Klebnikov carried a double underlined link to a life insurance advertiser). I just went to PC Magazine to read a perfectly decently article about PC vendors and crapware/bloatware, and lo, hover over the wrong thing and this black hole sort of appears (like the second coming of the popup from hell) and obscures the text. Do I really need to see the word “laptop” emphasized and see this black chasm until the unit renders?

Want to know why Engadget and Gizmodo and TechCrunch and GigaOm are eating the lunch of the tech press? Because of crappy shenanigans like Vibrant’s. Or rather, lack of. update: and kudos to sites like CNET that also forego the linky-badness.

Geez PC Mag. Maintain your dignity. I have told our teams NOT to run these types of intrusive tactics out of respect to our customers and readers. I may have to do the same with our agency when it comes to running on sites that permit this stuff.

Author: David Churbuck

Cape Codder with an itch to write

0 thoughts on “The blight known as Vibrant Media”

  1. TC does just as back with their stupid Snap previews. Both engadget and gizmodo stick big square ads between their content and the comments. Gizmodo is the least bad, but could be better.

  2. David,
    Thanks for your support on this issue. It’s worth noting that not only are these things bad for users, they are also a clear violation of the ethics guidelines that magazines such as PC Week claim to follow.
    In fact, it’s been nearly a year since PC Week went back on its earlier promise to pull these ads after the American Society of Business Publication Editors and American Business Media ruled against the practice:

  3. David,

    Yes I use in-text ads like Vibrant Media. But I feel that my visitors should respect that because I have a big family and I need that extra revenue to support my family. Now there will be visitors like you that get annoyed, but a lot of my visitors like my website and understand that these ads support me so they don’t mind. Just accept these ads and once you get used to it you will stop clicking it or you will just click when you are interested in the ads..

  4. Have fun with that Family Man. I note you don’t comment with a link to your site. And it’s not my choice to click, but Vibrant is a deliberate attempt to confuse users.

  5. Well, websites, servers, webmasters…. they don’t come cheap so if you happen to have a better solution on how to make a few bucks let me know. You probably have developed a way to make money on the internet that I’m not aware of.

    If my members, customers, guests, don’t like the way Im trying to support the web that they take advantage everyday I guess the door is open because nobody pays for my server and my webmaster pal.

  6. Another issue with Vibrant Media advertising is that you cannot just argue, “Well, don’t click the link!” It doesn’t quite work like that. I noticed each time I open a web site, my mouse remains somewhere on the browser page. Before I catch myself, the mouse pointer inadvertently “trips” over a Vibrant link while I am scrolling down the page. My concentration derails because I now have to deal with removing an unwanted ad obstructing the content I am trying to read.

    If Vibrant instead made it mandatory to voluntarily click its link instead of launching an obtrusive multimedia box on the mouseover state, we would not be having this conversation.

    I think it’s commendable that companies and users are putting usability factors above their personal CPM.

  7. There are a couple of additional nuisances.

    1. I often visit sites which have useful adds. I may actually want to read one or two! ( I would like to avoid enabling my ad blocker for that very reason) As mentioned above, having to steer your cursor past Vibrant’s intrusive technology to get to the link you want is an absurdity. I wonder how other advertisers feel about their adds being blocked by a Vibrant pop-up?

    2. This is the real killer for me – and probably millions of ex-pats living and working all over the world. Vibrant (along with many others) assume that because my request to open web page emanates from an ISP in country “xxxxx”, I MUST be interested in advertising from that country – so all the rubbish that appears is therefore presented to me in the language of that country.

    Oh, and while we’re at it, can we stop those Flash adds that not only continuously move, but even “unwrap” across most of the text that I’m trying to read?

  8. I undestand some frustration with this type of advertising, but in my opinion they are MUCH less invasive and annoying as regular skyscraper / banner adverts – especially the expandable ones which I hate. If a site only used the in text advertising rather than the ugly animated graphics most people plaster over their sites, it would be a much better user experience.

    And as for the comment about them ‘tricking’ users into clickng them, well what about google ads?! They appear as plain text with a blue hyper link to purposely look like real site content?

    Just my opinion

  9. We’ve designed an in-text solution, but a solution to deliver relevant knowledge to the users and not to just show ads. So if you’re reading an article and you come across a difficult word, we show you a definition, related articles and other such information for what word in the in-text popup to make the user experience before.
    We are a semantic knowledge company called Knewco –
    Currently we are only doing this in the health space.
    Here is a link where you can see our solution –

  10. Is there a way to block vibrant pop-up ads?
    This is an annoying pop-up company. They highlight key words in green then if you accidentally move over it a pop-up appears in that page. Vibrant “popups” are not popups in the sense of a new window, so pop-up blockers are worthless. Here is the easiest way to block them: Add them to your Restricted Sites.

    In IE, click on TOOLS , INTERNET OPTIONS, then the SECURITY tab.

    You will see 4 icons, one labeled as “RESTRICTED SITES”. Select that and press “SITES”

    Now you need to add the following

    Click OK and close the options.

    Refresh the page and all these annoying things should vanish. As time goes on, you may find others that will get past this. A quick search in the source code of the page will usually find the culprit. Add them and they will be blocked as well. Good Luck.

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