Media: Russell Davies,

I was recently trapped in a room and forced to judge a day of digital marketing and websites. Even for someone who's such a mindless zealot on behalf of all things digital, it was an appalling experience. It illustrated just how far the "marketing web" lags behind the actual web that people use, create and inhabit every day.

The most striking horror was the huge proportion of the day spent looking at loading pages. You know loading pages? When you get to a site it says "please wait" and shows you a little visual of something filling up, or crawling along, sometimes with a little percentage sign, to remind you how much of your life you're wasting. And if you're lucky, there will be a little animation, presumably inspired by the assumption that the average consumer is as distractable and purposeless as a kitten.

Heaven knows regular advertising does some stupid things to people, but at least you don't come into the centre break of Coronation Street and find a spokesman from Ford saying: "Hang on a second. We'll have an ad coming right up, in the meantime, have a look at this paper aeroplane."

Similarly, imagine how well Amazon, Flickr or eBay would be doing if they made you wait like that for everything.

And once we got beyond the loading page, there were very rarely any real ideas, just gloss, froth and myriad opportunities to click on a car, spin it round and see what it would look like if it was a different colour.

One of the few sites that escaped this drenching in Flash and video was a powerful history of segregation in the US called (And even this wasn't entirely loading free.) When you come to the site, you are confronted with a stark choice: click here if you're white, click here if you're coloured. Instant idea. Powerful, provocative, it uses the medium well, and it's quick. (I don't know if it won anything, I had to leave the judging early and my votes won't count.)

There's a lot of reasons for this loading page abuse: the need to be visually impressive in the boardroom presentation, the overstuffing of websites with every conceivable bit of content and the thinness of many overall marketing ideas, but the danger will be if we let this sort of design calcify into habit. At a time when the most interesting and popular services on the web are getting cleaner, simpler and quicker, there's a real risk that the "marketing web" will end up like the haunted carnival we all remember from Scooby Doo cartoons; ornate, elaborate and abandoned.