Name this phenomenon

Many websites are so full of ads that you can’t scroll down a page to find a story without clicking. Is there a word for this? Navigating a page is like stepping through a digital minefield. It doesn’t seem there’s any penalty for the websites. If they get someone to click, well, they are paid for that click, accidentally done or not. But back to our word search. How would you describe this online experience? Or is it more similar to real life?

A large indoor shopping mall near me is littered with kiosks, small stands outside the main stores that stock everything from cell phone cases to license plate frames. One or two people man these booths, haranguing  shoppers walking by. It’s like a carnival midway, with every kind of huckster pitching a different come on. You can’t walk in peace, instead you play dodge ’em, winding this way and that to avoid contact. That’s how it feels on a web page.

All I can think of is advertising overload. If that seems inglorious, perhaps we can say it in French: surcharge de publicité. I welcome your suggestions. E-mail me at

July 15, 2015 Update. I’ve now heard the term clickbait. As in, “That page is clickbait.” I’ll go with that.


By thomasfarley01

Business writer and graphic arts gadfly.

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