so i'm guessing most people won't be surprised by this "come-to-jesus" confession by Jakob Nielsen... which i came across because Jimmy Guterman's headline was a lot more interesting than the original.
however what's perhaps more interesting to discuss than the finding itself -- NEWSFLASH: people click on banner ads that are made to look like buttons / checkboxes / dialog boxes... who knew? -- is Nielsen's reason for withholding the data for ~10 years. Basically, he believes (or believed) the information could be used unethically & successfully by morally ambivalent advertisers to the detriment of Joe Sixpack User. SHOCKED, i tell you i'm SHOCKED!
In a change of heart, Nielsen more recently came clean & decided that making the truth known / disseminating information outweighed the potential damage that might be caused from black hats using it improperly. i'm a bit surprised he took so long to come to this conclusion, as it's oft-quoted territory:
- "knowledge is power"
- "power corrupts", however...
- "the truth shall set you free"
and last but not least:
- dumbass users tend to click on shimmying motherfucker dudes
...which of course is what led to the downfall of the Roman Empire, why Faust sold out to Lucifer, and why Bill Clinton mistook Monica Lewinsky for a cigar holder. and perhaps why you recently refinanced your home and why LowerMyBills got stinkin' rich off lead-gen revenue & got bought for a cool $330M samoleons. but i digress.
- mildly interesting: deceptive banner ads that use fake dialog boxes really work well
- lots more interesting: jakob nielsen, someone who makes a living as a usability expert and regularly dispenses information about online user behavior on his blog, has been holding out on his readers on this deep dark secret for a verrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry loooooooooooooooong time.
now doesn't that make you go hmmmmm.
btw, thought i'd conduct my own highly non-empirical sample survey about whether people find the fake dialog box thing annoying: