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Why I like ads, especially ads on Kuro5hin

By pwayner in Meta
Tue Jun 18, 2002 at 10:27:32 AM EST
Tags: Kuro5hin.org (all tags)

The intention may be pure, but I think the attitude toward advertisements is just plain wrong. I like ads and I hope there are more of them. They're a clean, crisp message because someone is paying for them. Furthermore, the ads I've bought on Kuro5hin for my new book ( Translucent Databases , wink wink) have drawn a very nice response and sold some books. Kuro5hin is the right audience and some of the buyers seemed happy they saw the ad. That's why I agree with Tony the Tiger and say, "They're geeerrraaaaattteee." Let me explain.

A long time ago, I used to write for Byte Magazine. One day, a person said, "Oh, that's one of the magazines that people actually read for the ads." It was kind of depressing to hear that they weren't reading for my articles.

But this guy was right. People did buy BYTE just to read the ads. They paid cash at the magazine rack just to read the ads from Dell, HP, Altair, Processor Technology and many others. Why? Because the ads had information before the articles. A review or a story about a new product might not arrive for several months. If you wanted to follow the computer revolution, you read the ads.

This phenomenon is also true in women's wear. The September issue of Vogue breaks the backs of postal clerks everywhere because it's loaded with ads. There may be a story or two in the brick, but everyone reads it to see the new fall line. The clothes for sale are the story. This is certainly commercial and some may call it crass, but you read the ads if you care about how you look.

The beautiful Shangri-La of the ad-free web was wonderful, but I'm not too sad that the days are gone. All of the fan sites and goofy web cams are fun, but serious work is important too. Serious companies advertise because they want to get their message out as well as possible.

Let me explain by example. I needed to rent an LCD projector this morning for a course I'm giving this week. ( Wink, wink ) After typing in "LCD Projector rent Baltimore" into Google , I found myself using the ads on the side of the page more than the sacred listings. Why? Google's search engine is great, but there's plenty of noise. Heck, there's a link pointing to a site selling tickets to Arizona Diamondback games because some of the luxury suites in the stadium have LCD projectors in them.

The ads on the side of the page, however, are pristine and exactly what I want. Someone is paying for them. They're not going to waste my time and they're not going to waste their own. They want to rent LCD projectors. The only thing that bugs me is that the ads don't focus enough on Baltimore. Compared to the left, though, they're pretty noise free.

That's why the kurmudgeons in Kuro5hin should change their attitude toward ads. Acting like ads pollute the site just makes advertisers feel bad about spending their money. When I wrote for Byte, everyone wanted to read the ads. Now when I advertise on Kuro5hin, they want to read the stories. I can't win.

Seriously, ad content can be great. This ad for Co-Lo server time caught my eye a month ago and I've been intrigued ever since. I learned more from it than from many of the articles.

My hope is that Kuro5hin will increase the number of words and letters to the ads. The text ads already outperform the banner ads I run on Slashdot. The comments are a great touch. Rusty might also create a bidding mechanism so the price can go up and down. Ads buyers might offer to pay $.50, $1, $2, $3, etc and the system would deploy the highest bids first. Pay too little and you're gone. The market will quickly find the right price.

Let me just say that a commercial message can be annoying and even offensive. There's a fine line between informative and manipulative. I wish I could offer a way to ensure that Kuro5hin would only be filled with the best ads that don't waste anyone's time. But, there are plenty of articles that just don't interest me either. There's no easy solution, but I think we're missing a large potential by dismissing ads out of hand or acting like they're a snake in the Garden of Eden.


Voxel dot net
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Related Links
o Slashdot
o Kuro5hin
o Google
o ads I've bought on Kuro5hin
o Translucent Databases
o Byte Magazine.
o Wink, wink
o "LCD Projector rent Baltimore" into Google
o tickets to Arizona Diamondback games
o Co-Lo server time
o Also by pwayner

Display: Sort:
Why I like ads, especially ads on Kuro5hin | 71 comments (54 topical, 17 editorial, 0 hidden)
Better tools to manage ads (4.50 / 2) (#2)
by cribeiro on Mon Jun 17, 2002 at 09:43:12 PM EST

I remember when I used to buy Byte and PC Magazine just to read the ads, in the mid 80's. And for me, it was really like this; in fact I had little knowledge of english at the time, and the ads were much easier to understand than the articles.

BTW, I think that the text ads are really a great idea. It does not detract from the spirit of the site; it's a clean and unobstrusive way to sell something. Some additions would be very useful, such as tools to manage the ads, and to help schedule their appearance in some way.

For example, let us assume that, when you buy ad space, you get credits, not impressions. The default exchange is 1 credit = 1 impression. However, someone can bid for an article, and pay a little more to sponsor that article. Of course, someone else can outbid the first bidder, and so on.

Why I hate ads (4.57 / 7) (#4)
by FlipFlop on Mon Jun 17, 2002 at 10:01:07 PM EST

I hate internet advertisements for one big reason. The advertisers think they have a right to track me from article to article and site to site. By simply browsing the web, an ad agency builds up a profile on me. If I ever provide my real name at any affiliated web site (for example, I click on an ad and buy something), the advertiser can tie my name to the profile.

Why do I care if they profile me? Because I envision a day, in the not-too-distant future where employers, landlords, lawyers, and dates buy my profile and use it to make decisions about me. I picture a day when airport personnel run an instant check to decide if they should pull me aside for a 'random' check. I can see police creating a psychological profile of a criminal, and contacting an ad agency to find people who fit that profile (basically, the police would be picking out good scapegoats).

Aside from the privacy concerns, I hate popup and popunder advertisements.

Finally, animated advertisements can get a bit annoying when I'm reading something. I have no problem with simple static images and text ads, as long as I am not being stalked.

AdTI - The think tank that didn't

I have to agree with you completely. (none / 0) (#5)
by pwayner on Mon Jun 17, 2002 at 10:06:50 PM EST

You're right about the tracking and the pop-up ads. Both are terrible.

My only hope is that the marketeers will eventually realize that too much tracking doesn't help them. They need to attract new customers. Sigh.

[ Parent ]
double click stopped... (none / 0) (#59)
by killthiskid on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 08:20:46 PM EST

Way back (end of last year) CNET reported that DoubleClick (biggest server of banner ads?) closed down its ad tracking program. They no longer track you from site to site. It just wasn't worth it.

[ Parent ]
Not me (4.87 / 8) (#8)
by DeadBaby on Mon Jun 17, 2002 at 11:03:21 PM EST

I can't stand ads of any kind. TV ads are the worst, of course, with their freeze dried techno music and bouncey "ISN'T LIFE GREAT!?!?!" voice over. Magazine ads are bearable, at least they don't shout at me and insult me with bad jingles. Some web ads are alright but flash/popup/audio ads are even worse than TV becuase I don't really expect them. I can't count how many times i've visisted a random site at 3am and been scared to death when they started playing a sound out of nowhere.

You know what type of ads I hate the most though? The morons who walk around wearing advertisments on their body. Have some self respect. If you must dress like a lemming (in your blue jeans and t-shirt) at least wear a t-shirt that isn't plastered with stupid product logos and brand names.

If K5 gets annoying ads, I will just stop coming here. I hate the ads a lot more than I like this site. Sad but true.
"Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity -- in all this vastness -- there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us." - Carl Sagan

yep (none / 0) (#33)
by MotorMachineMercenary on Tue Jun 18, 2002 at 10:18:25 AM EST

I've always (well, for years) said that I'll start wearing advertisements on my clothes when the companies start paying for the space.

Since I can't play tennis or drive a car really fast (safely), it's doubtful this will happen any time soon...

My bodyweight is muscle and cock MMM
Tenured K5 uberdouchebag Herr mirleid
Meatgazer Frau gr3y

[ Parent ]
FWIW (4.00 / 1) (#37)
by davidduncanscott on Tue Jun 18, 2002 at 11:20:04 AM EST

I wear some gimme shirts, but I don't pay for a shirt with a logo unless it's a band or the Orioles (well, one record company, but that was a Stiff Records "If It Ain't Stiff It Ain't Worth a Fuck" shirt), and not many of those. Still, if somebody wishes to clothe me at their expense, I won't argue unless I actively object to the product or company (no NAMBLA shirts, thank you!)

[ Parent ]
The worst thing about television ads (none / 0) (#52)
by roam on Tue Jun 18, 2002 at 03:23:33 PM EST

The volume. I don't mind other aspects of commercials, but I absolutely hate having to turn my TV down when someone comes on yelling about dryer sheets.

Are they like hamsters?
Specifically, can I tape up a chinchilla, slather him in axle grease, and shove him up my ass? - Patrick Bateman

[ Parent ]
Adverts on K5 (3.00 / 3) (#12)
by jabber on Tue Jun 18, 2002 at 12:13:31 AM EST

I have no problem with K5 accepting adverts, so long as they are unobtrusive. Intelligent, educated people like the majority here have nothing to fear from ads. The ones that are relevant to our interests, we might even click-through, and the ones that don't interest us, we learn quickly to filter out and not even notice.

By obtrusive ads, I mean the CSS animations that cover up content, or little scripting hacks that open new windows all over the place, or ones that track my browsing patterns. The former two I resent because of inconvenience, and the fact that they occasionally hang Netscape; the latter I loathe on principle.

Of course, I assume that all Premuim Subscribers will be able to opt-out of whatever ad scheme gets adopted.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"

100% guaranteed: Agreed with another statement ;) (none / 0) (#20)
by Jel on Tue Jun 18, 2002 at 03:58:33 AM EST


Why, just last week, I was studying some adverts, and found a great device, which will speed up my dishwashing by 30 hours per day.  I'm not sure how it works yet, but the box was great, and assembly wasn't difficult at all with only one moving part, so I'm sure I'll figure out how it works quickly, too.  Not only that, it's 100% guaranteed to "Live up to it's Design", which is very reassuring.

In short, I think that ads rock.  In fact, I'm sure that I've seen ads which prove that.  I think we need more ads, and I think they should promise simple folk more of those great things which were previously unattainable.

[ Parent ]

Idea (none / 0) (#35)
by fortytwo on Tue Jun 18, 2002 at 10:44:48 AM EST

Why not let people get some benifits by accepting ads on the bar to the right at all times voulentarially? Like, give spell check or something,,,

[ Parent ]
Ads (5.00 / 1) (#19)
by infraoctarine on Tue Jun 18, 2002 at 03:30:38 AM EST

While I don't agree with your attitude against ads in general, I tolerate them under some circumstances, and occasionally even find them informative.

For me, the most tolerable kind of ads are the kind when the ad pays for something I want, like magazine, newspaper or TV ads. Even if they stink, at least they lower the price of the paper/show. Newspaper and magazine ads have the added advantage of being static, which make them easy to ignore if you're not interested. I wouldn't mind if K5 was paid for by ads. They may even be large, as long as they're not flashing or spawning new windows.

The worst kind of ads are in the form of spam, on billboards, or direct mail. That kind of ad just tries to capture my attention, but gives nothing back. Those, I really hate.

Also, I agree with the privacy concerns FlipFlop writes about. On the Internet, collecting information about people is all too easy...

Spam and annoying advertising (none / 0) (#25)
by pwayner on Tue Jun 18, 2002 at 07:48:25 AM EST

I think I may to try to write a piece about annoying advertising. Paper junk mail doesn't really bother me because it isn't out of hand. I can still manage it each day. But SPAM is jamming my mailbox. If there was only an easy way to handle it, I wouldn't mind.

You're right about the new windows. If the browsers made them easy to dismiss, then most of us wouldn't mind.

The real challenge is for the site designers. They need to make it easy for people to browse the ads without detracting from the real content. Kuro5hin's lightly color ad box has always been one of my favorites. Now if it only allowed a bit more text....

[ Parent ]
Try Mozilla (4.00 / 1) (#46)
by chris mahan on Tue Jun 18, 2002 at 01:34:10 PM EST

Mozilla allows the disabling of popups and popunders.

Not advocating, just reminding :)

[read Chapterhouse Dune by Frank Herbert]

[ Parent ]
Interesting nugget (4.50 / 4) (#21)
by codemonkey_uk on Tue Jun 18, 2002 at 06:56:48 AM EST

I hope Rusty reads this article, because it contains one little nugget of information that is invaluable in the sale of advertising space:
"The text ads [I run on Kuro5hin] already outperform the banner ads I run on Slashdot" - pwayner, author of "Translucent Databases"
Independant feedback like that can be vitial to securing the sale of advertising space.
"The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way." - Bertrand Russell
too bad... (none / 0) (#38)
by tps12 on Tue Jun 18, 2002 at 11:24:26 AM EST

...90% of the ads on slashdot are for other VA Software sites.

[ Parent ]
K5 is not Vogue (4.66 / 3) (#22)
by Spork on Tue Jun 18, 2002 at 07:02:12 AM EST

I appreciate your effort, and it is well-timed, but I don't think it's fair to us to compare K5 to Vogue magazine. K5 is good because of its content. By the day the content becomes "filler between the color advertisement spreads" the contributors here will have long moved on.

But I am happy that you thought ads here were worth buying, and I have +1'ned your story in hopes it drives up demand and shortens this unfortunate "begging period."

It doesn't have to be one or the other. (none / 0) (#23)
by pwayner on Tue Jun 18, 2002 at 07:38:15 AM EST

The content doesn't need to become filler between gloss pictures of wan storks in expensive outfits. We can have content and reasonable ads. Some of the ads on Kuro5hin are great and they don't detract from the content.

Plus, the democratic nature of Kuro5hin should keep it from going the way of Vogue. The editors at that magazine realize that its easier not to rock the boat. Here, anyone can submit an article. The editors don't exist. Of course, if the voters become bland and risk averse, there's nothing you can do.

[ Parent ]
I miss Byte (4.50 / 2) (#27)
by wiredog on Tue Jun 18, 2002 at 08:44:32 AM EST

What did you write about there?

One of my all-time favorite articles, one that made a years subscription worthwhile, was "Why PC's Crash, And Mainframes Don't" in the April 98 issue. Pity the archives are offline. It's an article that's as true today as it was 4 years ago. How many general readership computer magazines had articles that were still valid 1 year later, much less 4?

Damn, I miss that magazine. Damn CMP for killing it.

Can't sleep. The clowns will get me.

Dozens of articles (5.00 / 1) (#29)
by pwayner on Tue Jun 18, 2002 at 09:18:18 AM EST

I don't even remember them anymore. My archives are even hard to find. I don't know what they've done to them.

Here's Tom Halfhill's great summary of what happened. I've always thought it was some tax scheme.

[ Parent ]
Article Offline? (5.00 / 1) (#56)
by zerovoid on Tue Jun 18, 2002 at 09:01:28 PM EST

Right, I'll bite: Crash-Proof Computing.

[ Parent ]
Creative Computing (none / 0) (#62)
by fluffy grue on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 12:08:31 AM EST

I still treasure my January 1983 issue of Creative Computing. It has a lot of really good articles on computer graphics. Of course, the techniques are pretty dated, but there's a few articles on implications of computer graphics. One of these days I'll get around to scanning in an article entitled, "Is computer art really art?" It looks at both art using the computer as a tool and art generated by the computer, the latter scenario still being something which is undecided and a source of great debate.

Also, it's fun to see how far we've come. Back then, 320x200 with 256 colors was considered high-resolution, and it had a great article on how to do post-production film hacks to fake that sort of quality (for slides and prints) on systems like the Apple II. Also, the ads are priceless... there's this one for a football game where it says that "the graphics and sounds are so realistic, you'll be afraid that the players will go on strike," and the graphics are just these unrecognizable big blobs of color. And of course, there's an "actual size" ad for an actual computer with 4K of RAM which is signifigantly larger than today's subnotebooks. (At one time I started scanning the whole magazine in and lost interest at about that page. For reference I was going to scan in my Sony Picturebook, but I never got around to it before the Picturebook was stolen.)
"trhurler: he's a bright ray of sunshine shoved right up your ass" -- Misery Loves Chachi

[ Parent ]

It was a great magazine. (none / 0) (#65)
by pwayner on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 07:35:17 AM EST

I never wrote for them, but I did meet David Ahl once.

[ Parent ]
Carefully crafted message. (5.00 / 1) (#28)
by poopi on Tue Jun 18, 2002 at 09:14:55 AM EST

Yes. It's true. The message in an ad is carefully crafted to be clear and precise because irrelevant or superfluous info is a waste of money. However! The message is also crafted to sell the goods/service not to fill a need that the reader may have. There are as many carefully crafted messages selling useful products/services, as there are useless ones. That is why most people seek reassurance from known (friends, family, co-workers) or expert (reviewers) sources. I hate ads. The art (evil science) of advertising has become so sophisticated that often times even I (who views ads with suspicion) get take in every once in a while. I fear that advertising will become so "well crafted" that truth will fade to be replaced by perception. I hope I don't sound elitist, but there are many people in this world who's lack of sophistication makes them very vulnerable to advertising (propaganda, in another sphere). And if the number of these unsophisticates increases (sometimes it seems so) their belief will outweigh the truth. Then products like the "New Coke" will not die, but will carry on because the marketing is successful. We can see much of this effect in the music world (personal tastes taken into account, but...): Brittany, Boy Bands, etc. The marketing behind these acts is what drives the record sales, because there is near universal agreement that the talent simply isn't there. The kids (who are the target market for these products) are the unsophisticates about whom I talk about above. But there are more examples: the electroshock exercisers, astrologers and of course the "Make millions from the comfort of your own home..." crap. I think advertising is one of the true evils in this world, it elevates the value of "white lies", omission and hyperbole, while at the same time devalues the truth.


"It's always nice to see USA set the edgy standards. First for freedom, then for the police state." - chimera

You're absolutely right...but (5.00 / 1) (#30)
by pwayner on Tue Jun 18, 2002 at 09:28:27 AM EST

You're right about Britney and the Boy Bands, but the good news is that advertising quits working. People over 30 are increasingly immune to the kinds of tricks that Samantha Stevens would dream up for McMann and Tate. You can't just paint a cow and call it a horse.

On the other hand, I'm glad to see ads for something I want or need. Yes, we could all be living in grass huts and sitting in front of a fire, but the clever devices, tasty foods, and silly entertainment aren't all bad. You've got to do something with your time between nibbling the nuts and berries.

[ Parent ]
Grass Huts and VCRs (none / 0) (#32)
by poopi on Tue Jun 18, 2002 at 10:08:11 AM EST

I agree that advertising is a method for producers to connect with consumers. Without this connection we might still be living in grass huts. However, I think that there has to be a better way than advertising like it is today. Sure your example of 30-year-olds is good, but what has it cost us? Have we not become much more cynical and untrusting? How about our personal commitment to truth, has it been beaten down for the sake of "practicality"? If the producers were to "advertise" their product using "scientific" methods (A pure statement of benefits and detriments.) perhaps we'd all be better off. The only reason advertising has become what it is today, is that it can prop up inferior products and in some cases beat down superior, competeing ones: BETAMAX, MacOS (Not that I'm a proponent of either. Just using popularly know examples. Yes, I know both cases are debatable.) Ads do not have to be the primary method of connecting consumers and producers. Ads also can be much more ethical than what they are now. If we let advertising go unchecked, it will bite us in the ass one day. What I'm afraid of is that there will be very few people left who will be able to notice. Perhaps I'm being a bit too pessimistic. But, when I see how advertising affects my niece and nephew and especially my grandparents...perhaps not so pessimistic after all.


"It's always nice to see USA set the edgy standards. First for freedom, then for the police state." - chimera
[ Parent ]

+1 (none / 0) (#31)
by inerte on Tue Jun 18, 2002 at 09:53:52 AM EST

  But we should really slow down. Since rusty said K5 is broke, something like 3 or 4 articles appeared on the queue.

  It's understandable that people are showing concern on this difficult time, and I believe there are more people writing "Why and how support K5" articles.

  For those people, hold on. Wait a couple weeks. We've build momentum, now to keep remind of the good stuff around here, let's have a constant flow of articles, and not shoot away everything right now.

Bodily exercise, when compulsory, does no harm to the body; but knowledge which is acquired under compulsion obtains no hold on the mind.

you found the problem (3.00 / 2) (#36)
by corian on Tue Jun 18, 2002 at 11:02:53 AM EST

The ads on the side of the page, however, are pristine and exactly what I want. Someone is paying for them. They're not going to waste my time and they're not going to waste their own. They want to rent LCD projectors. The only thing that bugs me is that the ads don't focus enough on Baltimore. Compared to the left, though, they're pretty noise free. Exactly. What you have there are targeted ads. You expressed an interested, and ads came up relevant to what you were looking for. Just like if you're looking in the yellow pages -- ads relevant to your needs. Most ads, especially on the internet, are not like this. They're for movies staring JLO or something that has nothing to do with the news on Palestinian Terrorism that i'm reading. We like relevant ads -- books about a vacation spot i'm researching, and the like. Most mediums HAVE relevant ads. If I'm reading a computer game magazine, I get computer game ads. Great! I used to by the computer shopper for ads and prices. Certainly not for their articles. We don't like random "hey my website is cool" that pop across our screen. We have when a preview of the new hollywood crap comes up in the middle of the page, covering what we're trying to read. Very few ads have proper thought and targeting put into them. The problem isn't lack of interence, its irrelvance.

Time and Place (5.00 / 4) (#40)
by gidds on Tue Jun 18, 2002 at 11:34:18 AM EST

You're confusing two completely separate scenarios:

If I want to buy a particular product or service, then yes, I'll want to see adverts.  Targetted, relevant adverts, and lots of them.  And the only articles or editorial I'll want to see will also be relevant and targetted.

But if I'm just reading a magazine or web site for general information, then I emphatically don't want to see adverts.  If I'm not looking to buy a product, then an ad isn't going to change my mind, just annoy me and waste my time and screen space.

This is an argument for separating ads from general content.  They're aimed at different activities, and only get in each other's way.  Why don't more advertisers understand this?  If they make their ads and sales information easier to find when we want to, then they won't need to spend so much effort annoying us when we don't.


Nail on the head (5.00 / 1) (#41)
by Sc00tz on Tue Jun 18, 2002 at 12:27:27 PM EST

The other thing that's silly is that people get annoyed if people block ads. I go to some sites that have ads (here, slashdot, news.com, etc.) I don't want to see the ads, I don't care about the ads, I'm NOT going to click on the ads, EVER. So why should I waste time/bandwidth downloading them?
-- http://scootz.net/~travis
[ Parent ]
Reading a magazine (none / 0) (#57)
by tarpy on Tue Jun 18, 2002 at 09:42:38 PM EST

But if I'm just reading a magazine or web site for general information, then I emphatically don't want to see adverts. If I'm not looking to buy a product, then an ad isn't going to change my mind, just annoy me and waste my time and screen space.

Uh, are you sure? I read some magazines (especially PCMag in the old days) just to look at the ads, see what was going on, and just to wish.

Sometimes web ads are the same thing.

Sir, this is old skool. Old skool. I salute you! - Knot In The Face
[ Parent ]

So? (none / 0) (#70)
by gidds on Sat Jun 22, 2002 at 07:54:12 PM EST

I read some magazines... just to look at the ads, see what was going on, and just to wish.

Fine, so have some web sites that only have ads, too.  Just don't pollute the rest.

[ Parent ]

K5 click through percentage (none / 0) (#42)
by krkrbt on Tue Jun 18, 2002 at 01:11:01 PM EST

... does anyone know what a good text-ad click-through percentage is? I'm getting 2% on my first one (on 777 impressions), and I think that's probably pretty good...

Click through percentage (none / 0) (#43)
by froseph on Tue Jun 18, 2002 at 01:15:56 PM EST

I click on a lot of the text ads because I know they are from fellow K5ers and not some big company that might screw me with lots of pop up ads. The biggest reason i click though is because I am intrigued, especially if it is funny.

[ Parent ]
There's a stats page (none / 0) (#50)
by dark on Tue Jun 18, 2002 at 02:32:27 PM EST

You can get to the text ad stats page by selecting "buy ad", then "ad information page", then "how well do they work?". Or you can use this link :-)

It looks like 2% is about average.

Remember, though, that the click-through stats are there only to satisfy a certain corporate mindset. They're not very meaningful as a measure of how popular or effective your ad really is. I often follow ad links, but rarely by clicking on them when the ad shows on the front page, and that's the only way that counts as a "click-through".

[ Parent ]
My laast ad. (none / 0) (#60)
by /dev/trash on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 09:52:17 PM EST

Was around 2% click thru. But my counter showed that traffic was 30 times normal.

Updated 02/20/2004
New Site
[ Parent ]
I want my Text Ads back! (5.00 / 2) (#44)
by outlandish on Tue Jun 18, 2002 at 01:26:09 PM EST

While I think the peanut gallery is correct in pointing out the potential flaw in the author's logic (k5 != vogue/byte), I still want my text ads back. I singed up as a member to support the site but now I don't get to read the text ads. In retrospect, with such a low cost, I would have rather spent my $20 on two text ads.

(BTW: despite my complaint, after subscribing it really felt good to log in today and know I wasn't the only one... not like when I ponied up $5 for /. and all I heard for weeks after was sour grapes...)

Also, with rusty highlighting a $10 ad as a way to support the site, I expect a flood of interesting submissions over the next few weeks.

I think the ad system could end up being a lot like the rest of k5, full of interesting reader-submitted content. Personally, I'd like to know if users of this site have anything to sell me, because I'd rather give them my money. For instance, I'd rather buy a home-built PC from a k5 contributor than from Wal Mart, even if it costs $50 more plus shipping. I just believe in a networked, localized, small-business based economy that much.

Call me crazy, but I like seeing text ads for cottage industry crafts, novels and paintings, software and memory chips. Aside from voting and direct action/activism, the greatest power we plebeian consumers possess is the dollars in our wallets. Making the choice and exerting the simple effort to patronize local/community business is a real thing.

But enough polemic. I'll ask again: how can I get the text ads back?

remote-hosted soapboxing, mindless self-promotion, and salacious gossip -- outlandishjosh.com

User Preferences -> Show ads (nt) (5.00 / 2) (#47)
by GhostfacedFiddlah on Tue Jun 18, 2002 at 01:45:15 PM EST

[ Parent ]
thx (5.00 / 1) (#48)
by outlandish on Tue Jun 18, 2002 at 01:52:01 PM EST

...and here I was thinking it would be in "display preferences"

remote-hosted soapboxing, mindless self-promotion, and salacious gossip -- outlandishjosh.com

[ Parent ]
Yeah (5.00 / 1) (#49)
by GhostfacedFiddlah on Tue Jun 18, 2002 at 02:28:23 PM EST

I had a good little five-minute treasure hunt finding it yesterday.  You listening Rusty? :)

[ Parent ]
Default should be "on" (5.00 / 1) (#51)
by Perianwyr on Tue Jun 18, 2002 at 02:37:34 PM EST

If someone subscribes just to get away from ads of all kinds, that's fine, but I see a lot of people inadvertently losing the text ads even if they liked them because of subscription.

[ Parent ]
You want to read something for the ads: (3.00 / 2) (#45)
by chris mahan on Tue Jun 18, 2002 at 01:28:37 PM EST

Go read ZDNet. They are so good about putting ads Everywhere...

Or at least they were the last time I wend there, about 8 months ago.

[read Chapterhouse Dune by Frank Herbert]

An ad suggestion (none / 0) (#53)
by Erbo on Tue Jun 18, 2002 at 05:05:02 PM EST

I already made this suggestion elsewhere, but...

How about a scheme for community-purchased banner ads, in addition to the text ads? Yeah, I know, banner ads can be annoying, but wouldn't you appreciate them more if you knew they were from your fellow K5 readers, rather than from big corporations? Just keep 'em as images...no Java applets, no JavaScript, no CSS, none of that bullshit, and limit them to the classic "standard" banner size, not those big monstrosities some places are carrying these days. (That also makes them easy to produce; anyone with a copy of The GIMP could come up with one of these ads.) And, naturally, you'd want to include a "comments" link, just as with the text ads, and keep the "approval" process in place so you could turn down somebody's attempt to submit the goatse.cx guy on a banner ad. :-)

The reason I bring this up is that I've got some old Electric Minds banners dating back to the Rheingold era, and it would be cool if I could use them once again for their intended purpose. (These were designed circa 1996, so they're nowhere near as annoying as most current banner ads. IMHO, anyway.) Just a thought...
Electric Minds - virtual community since 1996. http://www.electricminds.org

No animations? (5.00 / 1) (#54)
by pin0cchio on Tue Jun 18, 2002 at 06:42:43 PM EST

That also makes them easy to produce; anyone with a copy of The GIMP could come up with one of these ads.

It's also impossible for a United States resident to produce animated images with GIMP, because GIMP is normally compiled without support for writing LZW images (such as GIF and some variations of TIFF). The only web image formats that the majority of viewers can see are PNG, JPEG, GIF, and SWF. (Among leading browsers, only Netscape, Beonex, and other versions of Mozilla display MNG.) PNG and JPEG do not support animation, and Macromedia's SWF seems to fall into "bullshit" as you called it, so that leaves GIF, whose only defined compression method (Unisys LZW) is encumbered by U.S. Patent 4,558,302 and foreign counterparts, due to expire in one year unless Unisys manages to drum up support for a Cherilyn LaPierre Patent Term Extension Act.

[ Parent ]
Well... (none / 0) (#58)
by Erbo on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 01:49:01 PM EST

You don't have to use The GIMP; you can use some other tool that can produce legal GIFs. And you don't have to do animated banners either, for that matter.

Flash is bullshit as far as banner ads are concerned; it requires a plug-in that's not available on all platforms (in fact, even on Win2K, my Mozilla installation doesn't seem to be able to use Flash, even though Internet Exploder can), frequently takes too much time to download, and is considered annoying by many people. (Even animated GIFs might be considered annoying.) For this purpose, Flash would be more trouble than it's worth. (Besides...is there a free-software program for creating SWFs, anyway? I've never heard of one.)

Also: Do uncompressed GIFs support animation? A GIF image without LZW would likely escape that whole patent issue.

Aside: Unisys really shot themselves in the foot over the patent issue. Most people who want to use a compression algorithm these days use "deflate" (the ZIP/GZIP/zlib algorithm); they probably haven't made enough from licensing LZW to overcome the loss of goodwill from being heavy-handed in the first place.

But all this is kind of incidental to the whole banner-ad issue.
Electric Minds - virtual community since 1996. http://www.electricminds.org
[ Parent ]

Free SWF stuff (none / 0) (#61)
by fluffy grue on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 11:59:58 PM EST

The SWF format itself is open, and Macromedia is fine with anyone making tools for it. I've seen a few Free tools for generating dynamic Flash content (i.e. where a CGI dynamically generates an SWF for client-side display), though I haven't seen anything for actually drawing the stuff. I imagine that the server-side SWF stuff just is used to put new ActionScript stuff into existing animations or something. I don't know much about the SWF format, though.

I think it's just a matter of time before someone makes a decent free vector animation app which has the capability to put out SWF, though. Of course, the W3C is pushing their own format (the name of which escapes me right now), but there's no reason a free tool can't put out both.

FWIW, SWF does have a good non-animation use, though it's rarely used for this: it's good for sending out high-quality vector images which are smaller than the equivalent GIF/JPEG/PNG. I've seen a few sites (webcomics, mostly, such as Ashfield Online) which use SWF for this purpose.
"trhurler: he's a bright ray of sunshine shoved right up your ass" -- Misery Loves Chachi

[ Parent ]

OK then, I'll let up to a certain extent (none / 0) (#63)
by Erbo on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 01:48:12 AM EST

Allow Flash banners, but with the understanding that they will be examined even more carefully than other ad types before being approved for display, as the Flash format and scripting is inherently more powerful, and must not be allowed to do stuff that could be seriously disruptive to the site. (If the format is as open as you say, this could be semi-automated, using a program which would take the file apart and look for potentially unsafe operations.)
Electric Minds - virtual community since 1996. http://www.electricminds.org
[ Parent ]
I can tell you're not a CS... (none / 0) (#64)
by fluffy grue on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 02:58:47 AM EST

using a program which would take the file apart and look for potentially unsafe operations.)
Solved the halting problem, have we?
"trhurler: he's a bright ray of sunshine shoved right up your ass" -- Misery Loves Chachi

[ Parent ]

Oh, come on... (none / 0) (#66)
by Erbo on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 02:42:35 PM EST

I didn't mean that the automated process could find every unsafe operation; it just might be able to weed out some of the easy cases. It would be intended as a front-line check to take some workload off the human ad reviewers (who would still need to review and approve the ads that weren't "obviously" unsafe).
Electric Minds - virtual community since 1996. http://www.electricminds.org
[ Parent ]
The easiest way to make a flash animation unsafe: (none / 0) (#67)
by fluffy grue on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 08:40:48 PM EST

Put it into an infinite loop, doing stuff.

Most browsers will never get control of their own process back from the Flash player as a result. I've seen a few broken flash animations out there which do just that, and both Mozilla (under UNIX) and MSIE (under MacOS) need to be forceably killed afterwards.

Which basically makes it the halting problem in its purest form.
"trhurler: he's a bright ray of sunshine shoved right up your ass" -- Misery Loves Chachi

[ Parent ]

If it's *that* easy to make unsafe... (none / 0) (#68)
by Erbo on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 05:44:36 PM EST

...you're just supplying more evidence to support my original point, which was that Flash shouldn't be allowed at all. And, if it's impossible to tell if a Flash file is safe without having a human look at it (and there's no way to automate the process even partially, to make it any easier), that makes a good argument for either banning Flash ads or making them vastly more expensive.
Electric Minds - virtual community since 1996. http://www.electricminds.org
[ Parent ]
Oh, I agree (none / 0) (#69)
by fluffy grue on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 11:27:03 PM EST

I was only stating that Flash makes a very good, low-bandwidth vector image format, not that it's safe. :D Though all ads need to eventually be screened by a human anyway, and screening a Flash ad is only slightly more complex than, say, making sure that the animated .gif ads don't wait 10 minutes before replacing the image with something else.
"trhurler: he's a bright ray of sunshine shoved right up your ass" -- Misery Loves Chachi

[ Parent ]

Interactive Advertising (4.00 / 1) (#55)
by zephiros on Tue Jun 18, 2002 at 07:22:18 PM EST

As I said a while back, talking to companies before you buy from them is a good thing. So is talking to other customers. In fact, I'd say the lack of customer-to-customer communication is the greatest defect of online shopping. There's no one to casually look over and say "I bought one of those last month, and the stupid handle broke off."

Would pervasive interactive advertising make me spend more? Probably not. Would it make me spend less time at epinions, or googling for "gainward geforce4 bluescreen?" Almost certainly.

ads in eden (none / 0) (#71)
by TheSkillPath on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 04:12:57 AM EST

You point out (quite rightly) that ads serve a valuable purpose. I suppose the gut, anti-ad reaction comes from seeing invasive pop-ups, and adverts for unwanted and over-hyped products.

With smaller websites, however, a paradigm is possible that is not available to traditional print media, driven as they are by a very high percentage of revenue being ad-related.

That is, for the site owner to be personally responsible, and in some cases, endorse the ad.

A good example of this would be one of my favorite newsleters, This Is True (www.thisistrue.com)

I suppose that those advertisers who pay to be on the site are really happy, also, and consider their money well spent, as the click-through ratio is VERY high.

This type of advertising is practically friend-to-friend word of mouth advertising:)

my 2c..

-- Do unto others before they do unto you.

Why I like ads, especially ads on Kuro5hin | 71 comments (54 topical, 17 editorial, 0 hidden)
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