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Danish watchdog calls for ban on intrusive online ads

Finds echoes in Norway

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Our thanks to Kasper Larsen, founder of Klarisma, a web data-mining specialist, for drawing our attention to calls in Denmark to ban in-yer-face online ads such as "shutter" banner rolldowns and interstitials.

According to ComputerWorld Denmark, the Danish "Forbruger-ombudsmand" - described by Larsen as "the consumers watch organ" wants a ban on such ads. Norway could follow suit, he says.

In his weblog, Larsen attacks the consumer watchdog's rationale. He is not exactly a bystander, staking a claim to be "one of the inventors of the Shutter Banners" through his sometime involvement with Jubii, a leading Danish website now owned by Lycos Europe.

Says Larsen: "If Shutter Banners and interstitials should be banned from Internet - then Outdoor and soccer field banners that rotate should also be banned. And then - what about TV program sponsorships - that shows what is much like a shutter banner or interstitial before and after the sponsored program? Should they be banned? The consumer always got the choice on the Internet - go somewhere else if you don't like it here."

In recent weeks, AOL, iVillage and Ask Jeeves have voluntarily removed pop-up ads from their site, in response to consumer revulsion. But banning ad formats is a most peculiar idea to these non-Scandinavian eyes. ®

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