Net ad watchdog calls for ban on ‘trap’ sites

The world’s leading online advertising body is heading a campaign to ban “trap-door” Websites and banner ads, which disable “back” buttons in browsers and effectively trap surfers within a site.

The US-based Internet Advertising Bureau, which operates sister bodies worldwide, including the UK, is calling for all member publishers and ad agencies to ban the use of so-called “trap-door URLs” and “back button disablers”.

IAB chairman Rich LeFurgy says: “These applications prevent the user from using the back button to return to the site they were initially on, in effect forcing them to navigate back through other, more cumbersome techniques, or quit altogether.

“We believe that trap-door URLs are an inappropriate use of the medium, since they deceive and frustrate consumers,” he adds.

Major sites, including Excite, Lycos, Yahoo!, and the New York Times, has already acted to explicitly ban ads which feature trap-doors, notes LeFurgy.

The call for the ban coincides with the release of second-quarter ad revenue data by the group. Online revenue for North American-operated sites rose to $934.4m (&£569.7m), double the value achieved in the same period the previous year, according to IAB’s Internet Ad Revenue Report, compiled by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The categories which led online spending during the second quarter were: consumer related (29 per cent), computing (22 per cent), financial services (20 per cent), business services (9 per cent), and telecom (6 per cent).

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