By on August 3, 2012


Update: We are in touch with the ad network. and we were told they are stopping  the auto playing videos. Please report whether the auto playing videos have stopped for you. Please focus only on the auto playing part, i.e. video that begins to play when you bring up the page and you do not click on the video. This has stopped for me. Please comment: Stopped yes or no. And please say where you are, some ads are localized. Thank you.

Please let’s discuss other things, like in picture ads etc. later. Let’s solve this issue now.

We receive A LOT of complaints about the video ads that suddenly pop up.  As someone who made a small fortune in advertising so that he can afford to work for TTAC in his old age, I am the last one to be against ads. But we have to draw the line somewhere.

We are in touch with our very capable technical crew, and they are working very hard on squelching the annoying ads. We changed servers the other day (did you notice that the dreaded “error in establishing database connection” thing does not pop up anymore? Let’s keep our fingers crossed) and it looks like during the server change, excrement happened.

I have been assured that this “should be rectified today or Monday at the latest.”

Bear with us – and please turn the audio off if you read TTAC at work!

Thank you!

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64 Comments on “About Those Annoying Ads: Have They Stopped?...”

  • avatar

    They’re popping up on other Vertical Scope owned sites like Pirate4x4 as well.

  • avatar

    I read TTAC with mozila firefox, with adblock turned on…I never get pop ups!

    • 0 avatar

      FireFox and ADBlockPlus rule. But this site can still be slow and stalls like it’s waiting for room on the server.

      • 0 avatar

        I use Opera (v12.01 now) by choice. It has adblocking, etc built-in as well, and is not as prone to hidden bogus code in ads like Explorer and Firefox.

        In fact on all my client PCs I run only MS Security Essentials and have never been tagged. On my HAN fileserver, commandserver and shadowserver I run Zone Alarm firewall and AVG. Works great. Never any annoyances. I can exclude any IP address I want. My system is old, 2006 XP-Pro.

        I have not experienced any slowness or delays when accessing ttac servers. Maybe someone can enlighten me about what I am missing out on.

        I run 12Mbps-down on a cable line and the node where my area enters the backbone serves ~100,000 subscribers. I would consider my access to be slow but have never experienced any delays with ttac.

    • 0 avatar

      Support TTAC… Click on an ad.

  • avatar

    I specifically leave ads on to try & support ttac. With that being said, viewing TTAC on my netbook, in full color, in /Linux Mint/Firefox on an AMD E240, 8G ram, 160G ssd, still can be painfully slow. I’d love to see a “lighter” version of ttac if possible. Is there a special version for “mobile” users? Maybe I can try that.

    • 0 avatar

      I use NoScript on Firefox to speed up browsing, and it also eliminates a lot of ads. But TTAC is still slow — and it’s really not the display, but rather the server response time.

      If you look at a typical TTAC page, it has not only the article but also …
      – Highlighted stories across the top
      – Related posts at the bottom
      – Latest reviews on the right
      – Recent comments on the right
      – Junkyard finds on the right
      – Latest editorials on the right
      – Piston slap articles on the right
      – Hammer time articles on the right
      – Piston slap articles on the right
      – Vellum venom articles on the right
      – Generation why articles on the right
      – Avoidable contact articles on the right
      – Staff on the right

      Without knowing the internals of TTAC, I expect that each one of these generates a database query, which slows down the building of the page.

      And if that’s actually the case? Solutions are (1) faster hardware, (2) better database optimization or (3) less ancillary content on each page. (I would start with the database optimization, it can make a huge difference. And WordPress isn’t necessarily optimized for how TTAC is set up.)

    • 0 avatar

      I notice the site is painfully slow when I’m logged in, but if I log out, then it zips right along. My solution is kind of a Rube Goldberg approach for browsing, but it works.

      Stay logged out to browse articles that I don’t find any reason to reply to, but login to reply, then log back out and continue on.

      Doing all this logging in and out is still faster than browsing TTAC logged in.

  • avatar

    If something can be done about the ads that pop up from the bottom of the pictures that are posted with the articles, I would certainly appreciate it. I find those the most annoying of the lot.

    • 0 avatar

      Especially since now the ‘Close’ button on the ad that allows you to see the picture completely is almost totally covered by the ‘Play” button for the ad.

      • 0 avatar

        I second that. I find it impossible to close the ad bar at the bottom of the picture. It is interesting that others are finding the site slow. I use Google Chrome, and don’t notice that. But then I began using Chrome when I was working at a mine in Peru where the internet service was spotty, virtually unusable in Explorer. Chrome solved that problem. Haven’t looked back.

        Also, I don’t get any popups at all.

  • avatar

    I don’t mind ads, but ads that autoplay with sound, no way. I’ll only be back once they are gone.

    This sucks

    • 0 avatar

      The first thing on my mind when I saw the video ad that can’t be paused or closed was “Maybe it’s time to stop going to this website.”

      I’m glad they’re aware of it.

  • avatar

    I agree with radimus, those ads at the bottom of the photos are the most annoying. They block part of the photo and the play icon intrudes into the delete icon so it is easy to mistakenly hit play.

    I also use Firefox and don’t get the popups.

    • 0 avatar
      Chicago Dude

      Hey, sometimes they are tragically hilarious, especially in Murilee’s junkyard photos.

      How about an ad for a Honda used car dealership overlayed onto a landscape photo of junked cars stretching as far as the eye can see? I had to take a screenshot of that one. I’ve thought about emailing it to the dealership and asking if that is how they envisioned their advertising dollars being used.

  • avatar

    The only ads that really bother me are the ones that wipe up across the bottom third of every static photo. I usually just close them, but nowadays the little box with the “X” I press to close actually OVERLAPS with another button that links to FAQs about “Vibrant Advertising.” Doesn’t seem Kosher that the “close” button is obscured like that…

  • avatar

    There are ads on here? I don’t see any. I guess Ad Muncher does what I pay it for.

  • avatar

    I understand that TTAC is required to generate revenue – unfortunately, advertising seems to inevitably progress one step too far, prompting readers like myself to resort to tools that remove the innocuous along with the obnoxious. I don’t mind banner ads or box ads along the side. But obscuring the bottom of every picture? Or the annoying Vibrant popups that require you to avoid the green hypertext links as if one were crossing a minefield? That’s why I use Adblock and why NO adverts get through.

  • avatar

    Advertising, advertising. Capitalist pigs all!

    Of course I say that in jest, but as a commenter above said, I too, find it annoying recently how long it takes for the website to load up. What changed?

    The ads really don’t bother me much – that’s how things work, as TTAC needs to earn money somehow, I just wish it loaded up faster, whether at home or work. I do not like nor appreciate the ads that block static photos, though. Videos? I never click on them. Eats too much bandwidth.

  • avatar

    I may not use adblock, but I’ve rarely had auto playing video ads on here. If anything they’re more common on yahoo.

  • avatar

    thank you,thank you,thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • avatar

    Perhaps TTAC need fewer but better targeted adds: Right now I’m seeing a ads for a cheesy auction site, and fancy digital watch, and weight watchers. Nothing, I’d ever buy or click on.

    • 0 avatar

      TTAC takes the glossy car magazines to task for their editorial content or lack thereof and then replicates a similar set of cheesy ads that are in the back of those magazine. I have a hard time seeing how many of the ads are relevant for TTAC participants. Conversely, things that might be of interest to the B&B are not being advertised.

      • 0 avatar

        In all fairness, certain ad space appears to be reserved for the websites and products/services you surf. For example, recently, I was shopping Panama hats on a website ( I wear fedoras every day ) and for a week or so afterwards, an ad from that website featuring Panama hats appeared on the sidebar. I think does that, as it was through Amazon that I searched.

        Also, but not directly related, after purchasing something on Amazon, we began getting the “Forward”, a Jewish newspaper!

        We’re not Jewish, and had to call them to stop the free service.

        I dug a bit deeper and apparently Amazon has close ties to the Jewish community, if not owned by Jews.

        Of course, we weren’t at all offended, but felt it wasn’t relevant to us and a waste of their resources.

  • avatar

    The only thing more annoying than ads is trying to base a business model on them.

    That said, autoplay videos (whether ads or “content”) are one of the most classic signs of short-term internet thinking. Yes, your video’s view count will go up in the short term but no halfway-intelligent reader will ever come back. It’s the kind of logic that will eventually lead to certain companies setting up a script that auto-reloads each page every 30 seconds. Because moar pageviews are good, and is anyone really trying to read that crummy content anyway?

    To tie this angry rant back to cars (however tenuously), it’s like the whole in-car connectivity thing. Sooner or later, automakers are going to wake up and realize that any sales bump attributable to the current gizmo-fest won’t be worth the inevitable decline in the appeal/image of driving when cars are seen as four-wheeled smartphones.

    It’s sad when the goose dinner becomes more popular than collecting all those golden eggs.

    • 0 avatar

      The in-your-face-ness of “infotainment” systems in cars has already gotten to that point. The new Ford Focus. Great car, horrible “infotainment” system. Was torn between the Mazda3 and the Focus and got the Mazda for two reasons: tolerable automatic transmission and no intrusive, finicky touchscreen madness.

    • 0 avatar

      “The only thing more annoying than ads is trying to base a business model on them.”

      Ed, wait until the auto manufacturers or other businesses start figuring out that they can beam ads into vehicles. Either display on the nav screen or dash or play through audio system. It might actually be a way to reduce new vehicle costs and increase revenue for rental companies. Anyway, I can almost guarantee it’s coming.

  • avatar

    I actually have clicked on ads and banners, knowing that doing so helps keep this site alive, but the videos with sound that can’t be turned down or paused, and the stupid little photo banners are very annoying. Annoying enough that I would consider using Mozilla’s Firefox and Adbuster to totally eliminate ads, and then there’s no clicks from me at all. I wonder how many readers have already done that? Short term thinking – it’s like GM is running the internets.

  • avatar

    I don’t use adblock, because I understand that advertising supports the sites I frequent. I do, however, have flash disabled in my browser for *precisely* this situation. Flash ads are almost universally annoying and resource intensive for very little value, and they enable advertisers to do stupid things.

    That said, I think it’s time for this site to have a conversation with its overlords about its use of advertising in general, since the advertising has gotten progressively more intrusive. The pop-up inline text ads are a pet peeve of mine, and the ads that have started showing up on the picture gallery (that partially obscure the picture) are pretty annoying as well. Plaster the sides of the site with ads to your heart’s content, but keep them from being obnoxious and intrusive or they’re going to get blocked, and that defeats the purpose of having advertising in the first place.

    That conversation should perhaps include the possibility of a subscription based model, not to block content for non-subscribers, but a small fee to access the site completely ad-free.

  • avatar

    While you are at it, clicking on a picture that is part of an article is annoying on desktop computers and mobile devices. Could you just make each picture a URL that points to a page that contains all the pictures with nothing else? I can bring that up in another window or tab at my discretion. As it is now, the page black outs (obscuring the article) and a floating window pops over things with a non-native UI. It’s bad UI on desktop and even worse on mobile.

  • avatar

    Stopped – thank you

  • avatar

    Buggers! It’s not on the front page and the ad itself isn’t seen but it plays in a loop on every other page.

    The site is *much* faster today. The last week it’s been so slow as to be painful.

  • avatar

    Stopped for me too. Thank god too, because it basically prevented me from reading TTAC at work! And we wouldn’t want that now….

    EDIT: Never mind, It just started playing again. I guess it’s every few pages.

  • avatar

    I was wondering about what Ott was complaining, until I realized that I had the pop-up blocker blocking the pop-ups (say that three times fast).

    I will complain about the slowness of the server’s responsiveness. The cliché “molasses in winter” applies.

    Also, once in a while, logging-in will direct me to a WordPress admin page, and when I “visit the site” I find that I’m still not logged-in. This happens very rarely.

  • avatar

    stopped, thank you

  • avatar

    Still happening here in BC, Shaw cable if that helps.

  • avatar

    I’m running a MacAir with the latest of OS X (MoLi) and Safari goodness …

    I’m on the site frequently thruout the day, and have never noticed the videos.

    I do not, however like the little ads that obscure the bottom of the pics.

  • avatar

    in danvers, ma – suzy orman started yapping at me the instant i accessed the site

  • avatar
    Austin Greene

    Ottawa Canada and I have an air freshener commercial running repeatedly every few seconds attributed to I don’t know what I did in a past life but I need to know who to pay to stop this insanity.

  • avatar

    Nada. S.F. Bay Area. IPAD 2, 3G, WiFi. Danke.

  • avatar

    much better tonight!
    again many thanks!
    I just hope it doesn’t seriously effect the sites bottom line.

  • avatar
    Eric G. Harrison

    A different issue – but a much worse one. Just visited the site, saw the front page, and before I could do anything the screen whited out and a fake “virus found” popup came up. Killed the browser, but in the meantime it dropped “Rogue.js/FakePAV”. Fortunately my antivirus solution caught it and killed it.

    Someone needs to have their knuckles rapped.

    • 0 avatar
      The Walking Eye

      That’s why I use flashblock and adblock+ in Chrome and Firefox, helps to stop that junk. I’ve found Chrome to be faster and more reliable so I rarely use Firefox anymore.

      For me, TTAC loads lightning quick on Chrome.

      • 0 avatar

        I’m using Chrome, too, AdBlock, DoNotTrackPlus etc.

        Don’t know what the shouting is about. I was using Firefox, until Chrome began to be a better choice. I wouldn’t go back to FireFox, nor to Internet Exploder. Maybe I have some spare cycles, that are getting chewed up and wasted, but the only site I use often that is irritating is Lew

        Same sort of popover stupidity, in the ads. Was considering dropping it, too much like work. (I’m Retired, now.) If I ever see an ad like that one, again, I’ll eradicate it if I have to use an old Teletype terminal with hard copy and a line editor, and TECO, to do so.

      • 0 avatar
        Eric G. Harrison

        Yeah, 99% of the time I use Chrome, but on the machine I was visiting on that time, it was running IE 9. That’ll teach me!

  • avatar

    have not seen pop up videos so far. System Suite, Ad block+ and DNT+ run on my PC to help keep krud away.

  • avatar

    Your ads have not been that bad for me. On the other hand I finally removed from my favorites and replaced it with a different weather site, their latest ads had finally put me over the edge.

  • avatar

    Wow, the site got SO MUCH FASTER when logged on.

    Bertel, I’m afraid IT staff from this ad company you mentioned isn’t really very bright and neither they do their job as high Internet standards would require. I mean it seriously.

  • avatar

    Please put up a donation link so that perhaps can one day use less irritating adds. I can’t stand those picture overlay adds, the green text adds, and the general low quality of adds on this site. (really! A device for infinite free power eh? – yeah right, I’m not clicking on that…)

    I’ve never complained in the past because the content is so good; but, there it is since you asked! Thank You!

  • avatar

    The ads are now gone in my area, southern BC.

  • avatar

    Read this last night (Friday) and didn’t get a chance to comment until now but TTAC is loading MUCH faster now. No waiting to connect, which I’m getting with regularity on most sites whereby the black circle going counterclockwise says it’s trying to connect, once connected (green circle clockwise), it’s waiting for the site to respond, and ONLY THEN the site begins to load.

    Now, it’s lickity split and I use the latest Firefox on Vista via a Core i7 big box computer with DSL connectivity (though to be fair, it’s not a terribly fast DSL connection).

    As to the ads themselves, I never got the actual video ads, nor do I get those much elsewhere either, but DO get the flash animated ads and so many of them are MUCH less distracting than they used to be. I have pop ups blocked, but still get the ads in the photos and the mouse over text ads, both so annoying though.

    But the biggest thing I think is slowing the internet in general down is how much cruft is ON many sites. Take a look at what’s loading and there is a lot of stuff from other sites that have to load, along with the page your trying to access (TTAC in this case) that the load times can get slowed WAY down as other sites bog down with loading the widget etc element that is required for TTAC to run.

    I think a rethink on the site’s structure to reduce some of the elements on each page will help considerably while retaining the relatively clean interface.

  • avatar
    Japanese Buick

    Just wanted drop a note to thank Bertel for frankly and straightforwardly addressing ths issue with the readers.

  • avatar

    They’ve stopped! Thank you!!! FYI Since you ask, I’m in Ottawa, ON Canada. And I now see only the little blue tab at the top right corner of (now blank) space where the ads used to play, but there are no audio land-mines waiting for me when I log onto TTAC anymore… I’m back, baby!

    P.S. –Also special thanks to Derek for letting me know you guys were working on it. Very much appreciated!!!

    • 0 avatar

      Now if we could only stop those annoying ads that run on the browsers themselves (not related to ttac).

      I do a lot of research and merchandise ordering for old people who do not have internet access or care to learn about ordering online.

      So now I’m inundated with browser ads for Depends, Medical-care suppliers, health-food suppliers, COPD oxygen concentrators, AC generators, Canadian pharmacy houses, and the like. I don’t mind the Jeep ads, but I already bought one.

      You get the idea. Basically useless info for me, all because I did some research for someone else who didn’t have a computer.

      It’s a good thing that I can label those IP addresses as undesirable in Zone Alarm and that reduces the onslaught by at least 90%. But it does take a little time.

      I never had any ttac ads that played on their own or had audio landmines in them, and I always have my audio turned on for playing Pandora in the background. I haven’t done anything special to my Opera browser either.

  • avatar

    As of Saturday afternoon it’s been fixed.

    Thanks Bertel!

  • avatar
    old fart

    If I sign in it’s slow , I use firefox , so mostly I browse you site without signing in

  • avatar

    I just had one of those automatic start videos start playing.

  • avatar

    I just had another auto play just now (about 4:30pm EDT). Really annoying, especially since it’s not easy to mute them (the ad “control” buttons seem to be one pixel by one pixel).

    They’re a great way to drive traffic away from the site!

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      Yep, I got one too. This one was (accidentally?) diabolical. The actual “video” part didn’t load, so what I got was a disembodied voice prattling on about Lime-Away. I had to scroll through all my tab and hunt down the blank space where the offending ghost ad was hiding.

      Also got one of those scuzzy virus pages this morning.

  • avatar

    still broken. actually, by this point, I’m guessing it’s not broken. it’s as intended. let me know when you realize how to fix it…or when it’s driven away enough traffic for you to pay serious attention to the issue.

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