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Sep 16 2011

Ed explains everything

Have you been wondering what the deal is with the advertising here? Ed Brayton summarizes the situation.

Also, several people have suggested putting up a PayPal donation button or something here. I’m a little reluctant: there has also been talk of using donations to replace the ads, and I don’t think that is easily done — let’s not add any headaches to the process by trying to get some kind of variable approach to ad revenues. I can’t say that you’d be able to donate and I’d make the ads magically disappear for you. Also, one of the ways that we’d like to get better, targeted ads that would benefit the whole of the network is to be able to use the overall traffic as a draw…and if the single biggest traffic generator finds a way to cut himself out of the ad cycle, that would hurt everyone else.

It’s weird. I’m taking a socialist perspective to advertising.

52 comments

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  1. 1
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    It’s weird. I’m taking a socialist perspective to advertising.

    Just make sure to feel guilty about it afterwards.

    I suggest the same type of ads found in Scientific American. Upscale and intelligent demographic.

  2. 2
    Glen Davidson

    Hmmm, sounds pretty capitalistic to me.

    Don’t worry then, everything works out perfectly under completely unregulated markets. That’s what Greenspan always knew, Randian that he is (was?). You know how well that worked out.

    Glen Davidson

  3. 3
    Kel

    I personally like the idea of having religious ads on an atheist website – makes it seem like a decent use of religious revenue.

  4. 4
    Inaji

    I know how the ads work, it’s all fine with me. While I’d be happy to donate if it was necessary, the notion of a PayPal button would result in my money staying in my pocket, as I avoid them like the plague.

  5. 5
    Kel

    Reading Ed’s post, I realise that my last post is redundant – unless, that is, we start clicking on the stupid ads in order to get the revenue. hmmm, dilemma.

  6. 6
    Midnight Rambler

    I don’t think anyone was expecting that putting up a donation button meant you should get rid of ads altogether. Just that it would provide an extra buffer, and a means to contribute for those who use adblockers. Frankly, browsing without an adblocker is intolerable for me due to the number of animated ads. If they were all static, I’d be fine with them.

  7. 7
    Ichthyic

    I can’t say that you’d be able to donate and I’d make the ads magically disappear for you.

    no, but if it were readily available, it would make those of who adblock this site feel slightly less guilty.

  8. 8
    Ichthyic

    er, IOW what Rambler said.

    but, additionally, I’m not fine with unmanaged ad feeds.

    all too often, static or not, they contain malicious code.

    most of the time, my various safeguards ignore the stuff, but not always.

    which is the main reason I now adblock all sites that use unmanaged ad feeds.

  9. 9
    John Morales

    PZ, I’m not going to put up with ads when I don’t have to*, but I’d happy to support this site. I owe you.

    (Also, what ichthyic wrote @7)

    * Which I don’t.

  10. 10
    Ichthyic

    ignore contain

    second time today my brain has substituted a near antonym for what I meant to say.

  11. 11
    PZ Myers

    Assuaging guilt and lining my pockets, too? That sounds like something a priest would do. I’ll think about it.

    Maybe I should suggest it to my wife, that if she sets it up, all money donated would go direct to her…then I’m not benefiting directly, but you’d be giving her a little more autonomy.

  12. 12
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Maybe I should suggest it to my wife, that if she sets it up, all money donated would go direct to her…

    You mean you don’t operate under the “What’s hers is hers, and what’s mine is hers system?”

  13. 13
    Iris Vander Pluym

    Hmm. To tell you the truth, I kind of like the inappropriate ads. They crack me up. But I would think from your perspective, whatever entertainment value they provide may well be outweighed by their ick factor.

    Which got me thinking… if you can gain revenue for every click on an ad from your site, is there a way to sic your minions ilk on them, kind of like a poll crash?

    Crashing a Christian dating site would make my day. Just sayin’.

  14. 14
    Ichthyic

    Assuaging guilt and lining my pockets, too?

    yup: win/win.

  15. 15
    davidb

    As a silver surfer, I’m not all that internet savvy, but I am savvy enough to use Firefox and adblock plus.

    I see no ads.

    I feel that I should disable adblock+ for a few selected sites, like this one, but have to confess that my very brief exploration of trying to do so has not proved fruitful.

    Anyone like to post a ‘disabling adblock+ on selected sites for dummies’ primer?

    David B

  16. 16
    Ichthyic

    …oh, almost forgot:

    also alleviates having to manage ad banners, so it’s really:

    win/win/win

  17. 17
    PZ Myers

    Yeah, it’s pretty much a commune over here in the Myers household, with joint accounts and constant mingling of our incomes. But if it were coming in under her name as her mad money she might be more willing to indulge herself.

  18. 18
    Jerrald Hayes

    Whenever I see a Christian or wingnut type add anywhere on a website I really appreciate and like (such as this one) you can sure as hell bet I am going to click on it to make they help pay for the content I like.

    I especially love to click on all the Newsmax ads I see everywhere. I get a sense of “religious” fulfillment knowing I am costing them advertising dollars.

  19. 19
    Ichthyic

    Anyone like to post a ‘disabling adblock+ on selected sites

    here:

    https://adblockplus.org/en/faq_basics#disable

  20. 20
    Rey Fox

    but you’d be giving her a little more autonomy.

    No, you don’t want to give a lady more autonomy. Next thing you know, she’ll be out hunting for a trophy husband.

  21. 21
    Alverant

    My issue isn’t with the ads per se. I find them annoying, but necessary. My concern is with GOOGLE ads. I heard stories about how tough it is to get money from google ads. There were charges if miscounting views and clicks and all sorts of ways to reduce how much they pay to their customers. I hope Ed read the EULA and made dang sure the numbers Google uses in determining payment are accurate.

  22. 22
    PZ Myers

    she’ll be out hunting for a trophy husband.

    Are you implying that she doesn’t already have one?

  23. 23
    cag

    I’ve done the selective disable of adblock for the FTB blogs. In order for the bloggers to profit, do I need to click more than once? I usually (since Ed posted his screed) click (sometimes have a laugh) and then close the tab.

  24. 24
    Greta Christina

    Also, several people have suggested putting up a PayPal donation button or something here. I’m a little reluctant: there has also been talk of using donations to replace the ads, and I don’t think that is easily done — let’s not add any headaches to the process by trying to get some kind of variable approach to ad revenues.

    It doesn’t have to be either/or. I’m planning on putting up a PayPal donation button on my blog, as soon as I can figure out how. If people are big enough suckers kind enough to want to give you money for no reason other than that they like you, who are you to stop them?

  25. 25
    Cyberguy

    The ad that suggests you “Date Christian Girls” should definitely be taken up. If hordes of atheists started hitting on the Christians romantically, maybe we would convert a few to our side. Alternatively they might remove the advertisement.

    They can’t complain that atheists were not invited.

    Direct action, people!

  26. 26
    Crissa

    I still say you should take donations.

    It may be a headache to build a nonprofit just for this, but I think it’s ultimately more rewarding.

  27. 27
    Crissa

    PS, don’t care about ads, as long as they’re not malicious or popup (over, under, after, redirect, etc starts getting malicious if you ask me) – those types are seriously not okay. You ads don’t really change the amount of time it takes to load the site for me.

  28. 28
    Lyra

    I read his article, and encountered this, much to my dismay:

    In most cases, we only get paid if people click on the ads, not just if they see them.

    While I’m willing to unblock the ads on this site and view silly Christian dating advertizements, I’m not particularly interested in clicking on any of them. So, whatever you can do to get around that would be great. ^_^

  29. 29
    Lyra

    Oh! And I saw the most wonderful evolvefish.com advertizement, which made me happy. It isn’t all ridiculous ads! There are some that are relative!

    Sorry if this is a double post. *sneak sneak*

  30. 30
    Pteryxx

    For what it’s worth, to enable ads through Firefox+AdBlock+NoScript, click on ABP (top right) for “Disable on freethoughtblogs.com” and then NoScript (bottom right) for:

    allow googleadservices.com
    allow doubleclick.net
    allow freethoughtblogs.com

    Disallowing any of those three stops all ads, by my experimenting.

    The animated images are still animated, but NoScript blocks the Flash ads and should block the pop-ups and pop-unders. It ought to block remote hostile scripts too, but I recommend never turning off adblocking without a good realtime shield like Avast! in place.

    also for what it’s worth, people may have other reasons for using adblock, such as conserving bandwidth or not risking malware, or just having different annoyance levels. *shrug* there’s no point going “what if EVERYONE blocked ads!” or telling others their reasons aren’t good enough.

  31. 31
    ed

    paypal is a good idea if you ever want to get money from those of us who have adblockers

  32. 32
    Shin

    Just fyi, it’s quite possible and actually pretty easy (for a semi-competent developer) to set up the system where a user subscription would “magically” take away the ads. Just sayin’.

  33. 33
    John Morales

    Shin, no, I don’t like that at all, nor would I partake.

    A subscription is a contract (implicit or otherwise); I’m merely thinking about donations (AKA gratuities) – something optionally given without claim, obligation or expectation.

    (Think street busker)

  34. 34
    osmosis

    I kinda like the idea of religious money paying to support freethought blogs.

  35. 35
    Joe Fogey

    I’m sorry if this is a stuppid question – but do the advertisers pay per click? I will be clicking like mad on the xian ones if so.

  36. 36
    MarkNS

    How hard is it to simply ignore the ads? I don’t even notice them and if these unobtrusive pixels mean I continue to get Pharyngula for free then bring ‘em on. I’m pretty amazed that anyone would complain about them.

  37. 37
    davidb

    Thanks to other posters I now have ads, as a result of which I now know that I can meet Christian girls. On clicking I found myself delighted by the spelling and grammar on the website -

    ‘Meet Christians is the premire website for meeting christian singles online. It is known that compitability play a key part in every relationship’

    David B

  38. 38
    Pepijn

    I passionately hate advertising. Who ever thought it up as a business model should be hung, drawn and quartered. It’s ugly, annoying and frequently intrusive (especially those ads with video or even sound in them, or which take over the entire page if you accidentally let your mouse wander over them). It violates your privacy by tracking you across websites and collecting information about your habits, likes and dislikes without asking you. And it sets up a potential conflict of interest, where it is more important for a site owner to appease his advertisers, since that’s where the money is coming from. This appeasement may not even be consciously done, it can be very subtle and pernicious.

    It’s a step on a slope, which may or may not be slippery, but at the bottom of which the reader has become the product which is sold to the advertisers. I’m speaking generally here, I actually don’t think PZ would ever try to appease his advertisers, but I’m not so sure about all the other bloggers on here.

    So I block all advertisements. I don’t mind freeloading on all those people who don’t mind the ads, and I’m willing to put my money where my mouth is and directly support the sites I read regularly. But I can’t do that if there is no mechanism in place…

  39. 39
    David Marjanović, OM

    Reading Ed’s post, I realise that my last post is redundant – unless, that is, we start clicking on the stupid ads in order to get the revenue. hmmm, dilemma.

    Oh shit. In that case, the Christian ads take up valuable space and time that could be given to ads we actually would click on.

    On ScienceBlogs, advertizers paid per view, not per click, right?

    How hard is it to simply ignore the ads? I don’t even notice them and if these unobtrusive pixels mean I continue to get Pharyngula for free then bring ‘em on. I’m pretty amazed that anyone would complain about them.

    Static ads can be ignored. Those that move take up enough processor power that the fan of this laptop starts running, and I can’t concentrate when the fan runs. They also mean loading the site takes longer (unless the connection is so good that you don’t notice).

    I haven’t got pop-up ads or ads with sound on FtB so far, but I have on other sites, and, man, are those pains in the ass and the rest of me. They hijack lots of processing power, too.

    And that’s before we get to malware. Once there was an outright virus in a ScienceBlogs ad.

  40. 40
    Tom Rafferty

    This is why I quickly stopped putting ads on my blog. While I do not object to capitalism, I draw the line on any apparent endorsement of irrationality.

  41. 41
    mikmik

    I suppose Christian sites get Date Atheist Girls ads? I miss the Date Liberal Girls on TPM and the like. Now I get Date Hot Senior Women, I am not kidding.

  42. 42
    culch

    My first comment at the new site. Another registration system to keep track of.
    My introduction to Pharyngula, some years ago, was thru Ed Brayton’s slagging of PZ as being radical and wrong. But I followed the links, and PZ’s position made much more sense than Ed’s. Then they were slagging each other, Gnu atheist vs. accommodationist, and Pharyngula’s comments are often entertaining and informative, so I didn’t bother reading Ed any more. And now they’re in bed, or at least in business, with each other.

  43. 43
    Matt Penfold

    My introduction to Pharyngula, some years ago, was thru Ed Brayton’s slagging of PZ as being radical and wrong. But I followed the links, and PZ’s position made much more sense than Ed’s. Then they were slagging each other, Gnu atheist vs. accommodationist, and Pharyngula’s comments are often entertaining and informative, so I didn’t bother reading Ed any more. And now they’re in bed, or at least in business, with each other.

    From what I have read of Brayton lately he has moved towards PZ’s position somewhat.

  44. 44
    Paul Petersen

    I think it is funny to see ads for Ron Paul, or Date Christian Girls on PZ’s pages. Hope the advertisers don’t cotton on to the fact that we (PZ’s loyal readers) are extremely unlikely to be moved by their ads.

  45. 45
    Heather K

    I’m one of those people who started using AdBlock due to animated ads. PZ no doubt remembers the period in 2006-2007 or thereabouts when SciBlogs was running animated ads that broke a bunch of his readers’ browsers. For the record, AFAICT, Safari and Internet Explorer were unaffected, but anything Mozilla based, i.e. Firefox and Seamonkey, broke messily. AdBlock meant I didn’t have to start websurfing with IE.

  46. 46
    muskiet

    Ads?…. Let me check… yep… Adblock Plus still keeps ads away from my screen :)

  47. 47
    James Sweet

    I’m still puzzled by why this bothers me so much. To me, it just looks like the rest of the Internet; I mostly tune the ads out completely; and on the rare occasions I do notice them, I usually find the irony hilarious. “Date Christian Women!” on an atheist website? Come on, that’s funny.

  48. 48
    Amit Joshi

    Why all the fuss? You should all be happy that advertisers who have no hope of getting revenue/traffic/converts from here, are sending their money to this place!

  49. 49
    Sili

    Are you implying that she doesn’t already have one?

    A Trophy Husband™ would have more regular haircuts.

  50. 50
    Scott

    I actually like the ads. They seem to be based on keywords that appear here, so you get some really interesting ones like the slutty-looking woman in the “date Christian singles” ad.

  51. 51
    Vicki, duly vaccinated tool of the feminist conspiracy

    I keep getting a 404 on the explanation.

  52. 52
    Cherish Anderson

    I’m going on a date with a longtime friend turned possible romance (don’t start, I know, I know…) and I need an outfit for a date out to dinner at an upscale sushi bar. I’m tall, with wide hips and all my sundresses seem…too summery. I have no idea what to wear! Does anyone have any suggestions?

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