What happened to you O'Reilly?

Bright and early this morning, I opened my “Daily” bookmarks in Firefox and started catching up on everything. I read my Dilbert, checked the logs for this site, and published Caleb's latest article on CodeSnipers. And then I checked in on O'Reilly and noticed something… here, I'll describe it with images instead of words (click for larger size):

Notice anything odd there? Is there perhaps something obstructing the view of the page I actually came to visit? Is there something preventing me from being able to move on with what I was doing and generally causing me to say “what the…?”?

Yes, if you accidentally move the mouse over the banner ad, the huge window below opens and Microsoft asks us to “discover the difference”. Microsoft – masters of the web experience which they are – hijacks my experience in order to sell their products.

Dear Bill, I know you're a regular reader here, so let me give you a tip. There is a reason why Google has swallowed the ad space whole. They “get it” with their ads and don't intrude into our lives and destroy the user experience. That's why most blogs have Adsense or something similar.

Funny note, they talk about “enhanced visualizations” when you move over the whiteboard. Microsoft, you've gotten one thing right, when I want “enhanced visualizations”, the first place I go is to the whiteboard. But I digress…

Is this this perhaps a case of O'Reilly – a company's from which I own 20+ books purchased over the past 6 years – shilling for Microsoft? Or is it perhaps that some Account Manager at O'Reilly did a poor job of vetting ads?

I for one am stunned by O'Reilly's disregard – either through malice or negligence – for their readership. From Microsoft, I'm not all that surprised.