Last Updated Sep 17, 2009 9:22 AM EDT
Given the context, it's actually a bit surprising to me that Mashable would be willing to run it. Here's the deal: ads are meant to be clickable, certainly, but most display advertising actually doesn't compete with the content on the screen very effectively. Advertisers are thrilled if they get a one percent click-through on an ad. That's because it's uncommon for someone who was busy reading about Kate Gosselin to actually get off point and click on the Visa ad in the corner. In the case of the AOL ad on Mashable, the consumer is in news-surfing mode, and the ad fits that state of mind; the mental leap from a Mashable post linking to video of President Obama calling Kanye West a jackass just isn't very far from a story at AOL.com about which Ex-'Idol' is now pregnant.
But anyway, more power to AOL. It's a much more better idea to use an ad to display content at AOL.com than to use it to sing the praises of AOL.
Previous coverage of AOL on BNET Media: