One of the downsides of internet surfing is advertising. Some legitimate sites are framed in advertisements and it is easy to click on them accidentally. They crowd around some pages like traps for the unwary.
Over the last couple of years, I have noticed a cunning new phenomenon. You are tempted to click by a small photo with an enticing invitation or question such as "World's Best Beach" or "Which Hollywood star lost fifty pounds in six months?" Then you find yourself having to click again and again in order to get to the information you were promised. There's always a "Next" button.
You might have to plough through twenty build-up pages to reach what you were after, wasting five or ten minutes of your life. As you move through the pages you notice that there are plenty of ads. on view. This method of drawing internet users in and getting them to tarry, moving through the linked pages, is surely just a cunning means of securing advertising revenue.
For innocent visitors, it is very frustrating. We don't want to tarry. We want to get to the world's best beach or that Hollywood star straight away. We don't want to be played like gullible fools.
Another thing we notice is the tracking that occurs through hidden "cookies". For example, a couple of nights ago I was looking at accommodation in Southend-on-Sea. Then when I went into my hotmail account I was confronted with holiday apartment and hotel ads for yes, you guessed it, Southend-on-Sea. Clearly, this was not a coincidence.
The internet is a magical phenomenon. Blogging with people from around the world is part of that magic. But where there is ying there is also yang and increasingly cunning methods of advertising are, in my view, a big downside of internet use. These intrusive ads irritate, annoy and threaten to spoil our experience of the worldwide web showing blatant disrespect for internet users. In an ideal world, methods of internet advertising would be monitored and controlled by independent authorities. Instead, the advertisers seem to have free rein to employ whatever methods they wish.