Do you know how to play Minesweeper? The object of the game is to clear an abstract minefield without detonating a mine. One wrong click and - POW! - game over.

Navigating the Internet today is kind of playing an advanced version of Minesweeper. You move your mouse around a minefield stuffed with pop-up advertisements acting like explosive devices. One wrong click – POW! – and the blast wave throws you to a web-site, you did not intend to visit. Welcome! Hopefully, it is not one of those malignant sites, but it is still annoying.

The obnoxious ads… Some time ago they were just quiet inconvenient banners on the sides of a web-page, modestly targeting your peripheral vision. Now they are flashing, blinking, vibrating, flipping and flopping, floating across the screen, making noise and playing videos.

You are on the Internet, in the middle of something important, and you can’t concentrate. Are you suffering from attention deficit disorder? Not really, you just struggle to ignore the intense commotion on the page. In a top left corner there is sort of a cute cartoon. You are trying not to look there, but your marginal vision already registered a dog fetching a bone. Is it a new videogame? Nope, it is a LowerMyBills ad. You can’t help but thinking that it would be nice to lower your bills, but not this very second since you are in the middle of something. For another minute you are reflecting on the idea of using a bone-fetching doggy for this ad. For some reason you recall the booty-shaking dancing girls in a lower-left corner yesterday. You did not really like their style, but yet wasted some time staring at them. What were they about, by the way? Ah, yeah, LowerMyBills ad. As well as two-stepping cowboys from last week. Now all these images are stuck in your head, and you can’t get rid of them. Maybe you should try to lower your bills. But not now, when you are in the middle of something. You need to get back to what you were doing… No chance… Suddenly a soccer ball starts jumping across the screen. Introducing a jumping ad! Where the heck is ‘close’ button on this thing? To find it, you need to point the mouse to the ball, and the damn thing is jumping! Catch me if you can. The uninvited playmate is teasing you, “kick me” is written on the ball, you have no intention to kick, but you need to get rid of the stupid bouncer, so to end with it, you kick. Maybe if there was written “don’t kick me”, you would do it sooner. Anyway, you kick – you click – POW!

Okay, you conquered another ad, now back to what you were doing. What was it? You were reading “How to prevent flu”. It is a flu season; you don’t feel good, maybe catching it and need to prevent it ASAP. But accidentally your mouse pointer moves over the top right corner and another ad comes alive without any warning or invitation. You did not even click! But the video has already started, and a good-looking girl in a white pantsuit is trying to persuade you to buy something. She may be a nurse, is it something medical? Possibly about flu? That would make sense. And yes, it is medical. It is “Have a happy period” video clip. You are watching the Cottex tampons ad. That’s interesting. How did they make the period happy? Did they infuse the tampons with morphine? No, they did not. Hence, unlike the model in a white pantsuit, normal women will remain miserable. Good bye, Cottex.

Again, how to prevent flu? You need to know now, just try to focus. You try, but suddenly you are startled with a loud voice. It’s no one here, who is talking? Are you losing your mind? Starting to hear voices? And what are they saying? “Congratulations, you just won a…” Yeah right. But where the heck it comes from? You don’t see any new pop-up on the screen. Ah, here it is, hiding at the very bottom, blinking, flashing, ringing, scaring the crap out of you.

Will you ever be able to prevent flu? You are constantly destructed by “Try this and you will be amazed “ or “shoot the monkey and win $25”, and you panic every time a Smileys emoticon screams "Hello!”. You don’t like these obnoxious ads! Tough… As there is no clear way to hinder them. Today's advertising technology is as creative as it is annoying. This breed of online ads is so tightly fused with browsers and Web sites that it's extremely difficult to block.

We have to co-exist with obnoxious Web ads. All things considered, the Web is where we are searching for stuff. And what if you want to advertise your own product? It may be a very good product. Maybe something to prevent flu. You will place your ad on the Net. And you will make it quite obnoxious to stand out of billions of other ads. And you will distract other annoyed people, and you will become an ‘annoyee’.

We realize that ‘in your face’ advertisement can cause an opposite effect. Internet aside, if you start harassing innocent people in front of a grocery store, shoving a 3 foot Viagra poster in their faces, they will have to respond to your marketing. They may buy some Viagra from you. They may stop shopping in this store. They may even move out of the area. Likewise the Internet users can detour your site and warn the others to avoid you. But chances are – they may actually click. And –POW!

As annoying as Web ads are, their revenue is the reason why most web content is free. Without them we'd be paying a nickel every time we wanted to look up a weather forecast or a ballgame score. And for our precious nickel we would rather survive the annoying Web ads.