Tuesday, April 28, 2015

If you think you're hearing unexpected and unwanted sound on Web pages you visit, you may not be nuts, and maybe can fight it


by Ken

Have you had the experience of visiting a website and after a while hearing mysterious, not immediately traceable, er, stuff -- very likely stuff of a commercial nature -- and you can't figure out where it's coming from? Yes, there are Web pages that triggger the opening of other Web pages, but those you can find and close down easily enough. And sure, you can sometimes see that there's an advertising thingie on the page that's yammering on its own, which you can maybe stop (or maybe not, without getting the heck out of the page entirely).

But what I'm thinking of as rambling noise whose origin you can't locate and which you really and truly don't want playing while you're trying to look at whatever caused you to click through to this page in the first place. Well, it's happened to me a couple of times recently, which is what made me especially receptive to this latest, non-radio-related catch by our radio guru Jack, in the form of an alert sent out to his e-correspondents. It definitely rang a bell.

My immediate interest is the confirmation that maybe I'm not imagining things. Jack's concern is more specifically addressed to a single offender.
A warning about AlterNet:

I no longer feel comfortable recommending AlterNet articles except in their "Print" versions because every non-print AlterNet page now includes a pop-up with sound which will begin only after you've started reading the article.

If you think the commercials on broadcast TV are annoying because they're louder than the programs, you'll really hate these commercials (many of which are the same commercials you see on TV) because they're even louder -- louder than the loudest streaming radio stations!

If you're going to use the AlterNet site, I recommend muting your computer (or turning off an external speaker system) before going to the site. But there is an alternative:

You can't go directly to the "Print" version of any AlterNet story, but what you can do is [1] highlight the URL, [2] insert "/print" immediately after "org" and [3] hit enter. This should take you to the print version page before the irritatingly loud commercial begins. (That should work until they realize people can use this technique. When they do, they'll probably eliminate the "Print" versions!)
Well, sure, almost every website you visit these days has belatedly figured out that it doesn't help them much in the grand scheme of things that people are dropping by if they can't figure a way to make some moolah off us, and I can believe that AlterNet is really hard up for cash. But then, who these days isn't? Okay, there's all those rolling-in-dough corporations that squeezing windfall profits out of the economy, but besides them?

In the aforementioned grand scheme of things the scratch that AlterNet grubs from those advertisers may offset the ill will their ads do to site visitors, aka soon-to-be former visitors, but I wouldn't assume so.

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