The MEN’s head of online editorial, Sarah Hartley, said the dumping of pop-up and pop-under ads was a big move for the site.
“We are getting rid of intrusive ads,” she said. “At the end of it we have to think about what we want to achieve with the site and we want to bring people to it. The user is being put at the fore for this whole project. Pop-ups just get in the way; they are a barrier.”
Digital sales manager Paul O’Halloran said the number of ads on each news page would also be slashed from 12 to just two – a banner and a square-format MPU (message plus unit) – although rates would not go up. He said revenue would be made up from more vertical ads on classified pages.
“The remaining ads will have a better opportunity to stand out,” O’Halloran said.
The increase in “web 2.0” features would also allow users to create their own profiles and interact with each other on the site as well as posting messages and giving feedback on stories. Further interactivity will be added at a later date.
The MEN’s portfolio of weekly newspapers will see their websites revamped next as part of the company’s internet strategy.