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Bad ads are ruining our (sex) lives, say Americans

In a survey performed by an analytics company, Americans complain that bad ads -- especially when repeated -- are stopping them from surfing the Web, working, and even, say almost 1 in 5, sex. Pop-up ads and lottery scams are the worst offenders.

Could Pop-up ads such as this ruin your sex life?
Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Have you ever thought how pop-up ads really work on you?

I'm not looking for a rational answer. I am, as usual, trying to explore your feelings.

You see, things can affect us in insidious ways, so much so that we don't realize what we are becoming, until we have irrevocably become it.

Analytics company (1-1 consumer lifestyle predictive analytics company, to be precise) InsightsOne decided they had to know how ads were affecting Americans. In a deeper sense, you understand. So it commissioned Harris Interactive to probe, delve, and elicit.

The results are not an advertisement for online advertising.

Seventy percent of Americans declared that pop-up ads and lottery scams were their most loathed and constant presences.

Sixty-six percent loathed seeing male enhancement ads. As if males really do need to be enhanced.

Fifty-eight percent wailed that they detest seeing ads for products they don't need. (But Steve Jobs always explained that Americans don't know what they need.)

And 53 percent sniffed at having to see female enhancement ads -- which does not, I am sure, refer to ads for Sheryl Sandberg's new book.

All this might seem fairly predictable. However, it's the effects that these ads supposedly have that may lure you permanently into the jungles of Borneo.

Fifty-one percent of people claimed that these ads made them stop surfing the Web. Almost as frightening for the future of our economy was that 37 percent said that they made them stop online shopping. I wasn't aware there was any other kind.

Working and sleeping were also allegedly affected. But perhaps the most painful, if not the most ludicrous, revelation was that 19 percent claimed that these ads put them off sex.

"Not tonight, darling, I've just seen a pop-up male-enhancement ad," might be understandable.

"Not tonight, darling, I've just seen a pop-up ad for riding breeches," perhaps less so.

It might well be that the majority of these respondents had personal problems. But 23 percent claimed that just one bad ad from a company will put them off that company for ever. Some 43 percent said it would only take two ads.

Might this explain, at least in part, the difficult research results experienced by BlackBerry this week?

It's often hard to explain to companies that people aren't sitting at home, desperately waiting for their new ad.

An ad is a mere visitor in someone else's house. Although Google would like to tell you which ad you want in your house, before you even consider it yourself.

It's worth trying to imagine what others might think of your creativity.

There is surely no greater responsibility than having so much power that you could destroy someone else's sex life.