Archive for the ‘Failed banner ads’ Category

You Can Refinance When Your Daddy’s In Short Pants

Friday, November 23rd, 2012 by The Director

Book coverA failed bit of boundary analysis in the banner ad here. It looks as though you can select an age, but of course, you cannot; it’s a simple image link that will lead you to the Web site of some sort of financing Web site.

However, they managed to let a little typo slip through that somehow implies that you can refinance when you are -20 years old. Now, I don’t know about you, but when I was -20, I was not even a gleam in my father’s eye.

Still, maybe there’s a Back to the Future plot in there somewhere. We take the DeLorean back into history and refinance 20 years before we’re born, which means we’re almost paid off by now. Assuming someone’s been paying those bills for 20 years.

I dunno. I got less than nothing. I’ve got -20 on the actual humor scale here. But I need to post something something.

Details, Schmetails

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012 by The Director

At the bottom of the Yahoo! IM client, the ad misses on critical detail:

Chat with, uh, men?

Solve for x

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012 by The Director

One of the local daily deals sites is offering a discount at the local gun range. How much? Bring your own algebra.

Something's missing here

Actually, it’s not a good algebra problem at all, since it gives no information as to how to solve for x.

So it’s a lot like pretty much what QA does every day.

An Ad Targeted Specifically To Neo

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010 by The Director

Since he’s the only one who can just read the Matrix, I guess he’s the one this ad is targeted to:

Might as well be 0s and 1s
Click for full size

As you all know, if I were in charge, those little ad insertion routines would check to see if it had something valid to return before it dumped its garbage or broken image icon on the screen. But do you know why they don’t? The same reason every other mid to small software company puts out junk: there’s no retribution from the users. Newspaper and other Web sites throw up a bunch of crap that leaks memory and occasionally delivers a touch of malware, and their hands are clean, since it’s a case of their ad rotators having problem. The blame is thus diffused so as to not be painful or otherwise actionable.

(Thanks to reader “Kip Steele.” That sounds like a testing name to me. At the top of my resume, I put the pseudonym “Mal V. Zance” myself.)

Square Pegs and Round Holes

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010 by The Director

Don’t you hate it when your ad delivery service throws your ads into places too small to accommodate them?

That ad is going to adsplode!
Click for full size

If you don’t, you’re all right with the company serving ads up for the, where this happens all the time.

1 Typo in 94 Characters Is Acceptable .0106 Error Rate

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010 by The Director

Back in my interactive agency days, you’d better believe that we proofread everything, including the text ads going out to Google or Yahoo!

To prevent things like this:

Largesr is short for largester, which is larger than largest.

You know, quality isn’t just making sure that things don’t blow up with certain click-and-key combinations.  And people can and will screw up the simplest of things.

Good Enough For Government Work

Friday, November 13th, 2009 by The Director

Apparently, the United States government’s mortgaging arm is advertising on Facebook.  Badly:

Two home steps forward, one home step back.

Keep that in mind, I suppose, when you’re participating in the program.  A couple stray unrecognized characters cut-and-pasted here and there could probably blow your whole credit rating.

Putting Six Gallons in a Five Gallon Bucket

Friday, October 23rd, 2009 by The Director

At, a Midas ad looks like an obese woman in spandex:

Busting the paradigms--and the ad size
Click for full size

This one falls on the ad syndicator, but that’s one reason you need to find and check your ads in the ad syndicator’s environment or in the wild.

QA Knows About Sharpening Spoons and Bedsprings

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009 by The Director

Let me tell something to whoever put together this ad:

That's not a shank.

That is not a shank.

Of course, even when QA points this out, the designers are in love with their own design genius and with the clean lines of a semi-automatic pistol, so they use the image that does not match the headline anyway.  Twits.

It Sounded Good In The Meeting

Thursday, August 20th, 2009 by The Director

Joe Strazzere spots this rich banner ad on CBS Sports, where he spends all of his mornings arranging his fantasy football teams which bear as close of a resemblance to the New England Patriots starting lineup as possible:

There should have been a tweet there.

Oh, yes, I can see the account executives and the creative director telling them that they had to hook the banner ad up to the Twitter API so the banner ads could run the latest tweets.  Because using Twitter is cool!

Interactive agencies often do things, and sell the clients things, that the interactive agency personnel think are cool.  See also those annoying 3-d Flash immersion landscapes.  These things often really don’t add anything for the user, and as this ad shows, sometimes outstrip the actual technical ability of the interactive agencies.

But we have to put a Twitter feed into a banner ad because we can.  Then we will tell our other clients we’re experts at it.  Then we’ll sell ourselves as experts at it, and we’ll do it over and over even though putting a RT @bonnie YEAH! in your banner ad does nothing but use a social media technology just to use it.  And it will go on until they find a nice, new shiny object.


Everybody’s Got A Problem With Banner Ads

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009 by The Director

g33klady spots a couple of banner ads with issues in one session.

This Target ad must have some dynamic generation behind it that’s actually less than dynamic:

I think I saw a better price on W00t!

A LasikPlus ad had a number of problems:

I can see clearly now, the pain is here.
Click for full size

To whit:

  • The word Sight is misspelled in the name of the promotion at the bottom.
  • The ad remained in rotation after the expiration of the promotion.
  • The nearest location address is dummy data.

Maybe they’re hoping you’ll think your eyes are deceiving you and you should ACT NOW!

Thanks, g33klady.  I was afraid this sorts of banner ads only happened to me.

Banner Ad Failing and Failing and Failing

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009 by The Director

The Washington Examiner provides a healthy dose of lessons in hosting Web banner ads.  Let’s enumerate them.


Ad Compression: You’re Doing It Wrong

Sunday, June 21st, 2009 by The Director

I spotted this jpg banner ad in the wild:

That's an interesting effect filter.
Click for full size

Either the interactive agency just phoned it in on creating a jpg equivalent for a Flash ad (although Flash enabled ads successfully rotated into the spot), or:

The ad rotating company helped out.

The interactive agency probably shared the image files with the client, and no client would have accepted that.  Or should have.  But if they sent it to the ad company, and the file was 10k too big, so someone decided to rush it and just compress it a little more….

I have seen this or similar things happen.  When you deal with a third party delivery system, be it e-mail or banner ads, you need to review the final product of those companies’ tinkering to ensure they’re not screwing it up.  Because they certainly can, and their QA processes are probably more lax than the interactive agency QA.

By the way, allow me to say it again: interactive agency QA.  Because on the Google search for the term, QAHY comes in behind expired job postings for the term, and I think anyone looking for interactive agency QA could learn more by reading this blog than the Craigslist expired page.  Hey, and if someone wanted to engage some experienced help, it’s TheDirector at this domain.

An Ad Whose Time Has Come. And Gone.

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009 by The Director

This week, a banner ad asked which candidate I would vote for:

Which candidate would I vote for in the past?
Click for full size

For an election that took place 5 months ago.

No doubt a part of a plan to get me to click through so I could snicker at the buffoons who were running the ad so late.  No dice, fellows.  I can effectively mock from here.

Playing Hide The Close Button

Friday, March 6th, 2009 by The Director

A rollout panel from a US Airways banner ad:

Can you tell how to close it before the video starts?
Click for full size

That’s the sort of panel that rolls out when you’re moving the mouse from the tab bar to the content of the story for scrolling purposes.  Some clever interactive marketing drone knows that if you make the mechanism for closing the panel require user action instead of a mere mouse out and then you hide the way to close the freaking panel, you’re engaging the user and making the ad interactive.

What this design genius fails to understand, or doesn’t care about, is that this ad is not interactive; it’s intervective, and this ad is not building positive brand affinity or whatever fluffy words they used to talk up their simplistic job of making a user look twice.

Test All Banner Ad Sizes, Please

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009 by The Director

There’s a banner ad for the DVD release of Disaster Movie that caught my eye:

The banner ad.
Click for full size

Why did it catch my eye?  Because I like stupid-funny films?  No, because I had to mouse over it to get to the text in the Web site beneath it, and a panel rolled out that didn’t make sense.


Subtle Sign You’re Doing PointRoll Ads Wrong

Monday, January 12th, 2009 by The Director

Here’s a little indicator that you’re doing PointRoll ads wrong.  No, I won’t mention that this Sprint ad seems to roll out before the Hotmail inbox finishes loading:

The Sprint ad in question.
Click for full size

No, that’s now what really cheesed me off.


PointRoll Calls It A Creative Showcase; I Call It A Shooting Gallery

Thursday, December 4th, 2008 by The Director

PointRoll, a rich banner ad technology provider, offers a creative showcase page that lists some of its customers and what they’ve done with PointRoll’s technologies.  Since so many of you readers come from Internet searches for banner ad and banner ad testing, I’d like to use this bit as a bit of a jumping off point for some things you need to look for when testing banner ads.

For starters, all of the technologies that designers use to make banner ads come without the failsafes you find in IDEs and established development languages that prevent inattentive developers (I’m sorry, that’s redundant) from making basic interface, such as not accounting for standardish interface behaviors (Control+click to multiselect from a list, double-clicking, click and drag, and so on).  Flash and whatnot do not provide those sorts of built-in bumpers, so you have to try to click and drag elements of the ads to see if you can make a mockery of your client’s crafted image.

I wanted to throw that out there to start with before getting into specific uh-ohs I found in the PointRoll showcase.


On The Other Hand, At Least They’re Testing

Wednesday, February 20th, 2008 by The Director

Charles Hill finds an encouraging banner “ad.”

Charles Hill, he has the eye for QA if not the lack of heart.

Contending Flash Ads

Thursday, December 13th, 2007 by The Director

Kudos to ComputerWorld for the ability to lay banner ads over the top of other banner ads:

Contending Banner Ads
Click for full size

You’ll note that I have rolled over the expensive PointRollish IBM banner; however, the Postini sub banner ad continues to scroll over it.


I’d tell you what the Postini thing is all about, but the link in the little Flash doohickey doesn’t seem to resolve.

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