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January 28, 2011

Gmail Tests Image Ads

Greg Sterling spotted image ads in Gmail and this seems to be a controversial Gmail experiment. A Google spokesperson said that Google "recently started experimenting with image ads on messages with heavy image content." Greg confirmed that the image ads aren't displayed next text-only messages and they sometimes appear next to HTML messages that include a lot of images, especially newsletters.



Gmail's image ads are contextually targeted, but it's unlikely that users will tolerate them well. After all, one of Gmail's selling points was that it only used relevant text ads. Here's Google's answer from 2005 to the question "What makes Gmail different?": "There are other differences in the way Gmail provides access to your email. For example, Gmail automatically groups an email and the replies to it as a conversation. That means you always see a message in its proper context. And there are no pop-ups or banner ads in Gmail, just relevant text ads and links to related pages". Google's explanation continues: "[Gmail ads] are small and unobtrusive. They don't fill half your screen and we don't make you read them just to get to your inbox. Ads are never inserted into the body text of either incoming or outgoing Gmail messages and you won't see any pop-ups or untargeted banner ads in Gmail."

It's interesting to see that a Gmail page about privacy explains that "showing relevant advertising offers more value to users than displaying random pop-ups or untargeted banner ads". The key words are "random" and "untargeted".

{ Thanks, Greg. }

23 comments:

  1. Google Doesn't Have Enough Money So Its Tried For Ads For Personal Session Also Which Might Reflect On Privacy

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  2. I've tended to agree that 'relevant' advertising is good for me as a user: if I have to see ads they might as well be suited to me.

    However, this new system where they focus a particular ad on me for a period - with that ads seemingly following me around - crosses the line. It is spooky and annoying. I'm going to have to find some way to stop it even if it means no longer using Google.

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  3. The fact Facebook addicts put up with pict. ads does not translate to Gmail users tolerating it.

    Google - Although tempting, do not go this route. It's going to push far too many users to consider/adopt other email options (myself included... and I am a Google freak!).

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  4. one of the reason i like gmail is they do not display annoying image adv like hotmail / yahoo.

    I'm ok with text adv but not image adv, please.

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  5. Wonderful. Gmail is great but this is a step in the wrong direction.

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  6. Being a paid Google Apps user you can turn off ALL ads with just one click....

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  7. Ahem, you seem to forget that in 2005, web services that served images were kind of ... non-existing/just getting started.

    They're keeping up with the time. If they weren't you'd be saying: Google's stuck in the past, unwilling to evolve.

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  8. OH NOOO. PLEASE DO NOT

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  9. The whole point that everyone praised about google ads was that it was TEXT ads and NOT annoying image ads. This is BS.

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  10. I have already seen one
    http://www.google.com/buzz/igstef/3x7L3Sab5Sp/O%C5%A1kliv%C3%A1-reklama-pronikla-do-m%C3%A9ho-Gmailu-%C5%BEe

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  11. image ads sucks... please keep with the text-only!!!!

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  12. image ads pay more than text ads looks like lol. Google is just responding to the times.

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  13. Just a few weeks ago they added ads at bottom of messages..

    and now this....

    It's time for me to start using some addons to remove every ads...

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  14. Doesn't bother me. As long as I have Adblock Plus who cares if its an image ad or just a text ad?

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  15. Everyone, I think Mushaf hits the nail on the head.

    If the images bother you, get AdBlock or ABP to block banner ads all together.

    I personally prefer AdBlock, on Chrome, because I feel like I have an easier time writing specific blocks than I did on ABP.

    Heck, I feel like I'm eating nails when I use my Cr-48's guest mode, thanks to the sea of display ads out there!

    So, by all means, make a stink; I think I agree. In the meantime, get an ad blocker, and start breathing the non-banner ad fresh air.

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  16. I don't see anything wrong with what Google is doing. I use gmail daily and I haven't even noticed their ads, they are very small and not in your face at all. And with programs mentioned above, there shouldn't be an issue with their tiny little ads.

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  17. Well it's ok with me, so far as they don't serve image ads with text-only emails. Image ads next to image-heavy emails don't distract.

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  18. Even if I have images in my email I still don't want visual adds.

    I had one of these unpleasant encounters, it was very surprising even disturbing. #I felt betrayed#

    Google please don't go there!

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  19. Google tests a brand new ad block below messages. It's not available to each one, so Google most likely tests its effectiveness.

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  20. I have images blocked in the emails (because I'm often reading on dialup), so I only see the ad picture. This is incredibly annoying.

    Also, their "targeting" is whacked. I understand that "Fat Dragon Games" is not necessarily obviously an RPG company, but it doesn't need to be accompanied by a weight loss ad.

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  21. The first reason why I came to Google from yahoo is because they don't use image adds, But if they changed there mind then I think I'll have to change my mind too.

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  22. In Google AdWords, when you compare a text ad and an image ad of the same size, you would notice that images grabs your attention more than text. I still love using text though I prefer images because they grab more attention than text. Here is how you can create image ads or banner ads that grab attention.

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