The problem: You are reading your favorite blog and there is an ad along the top banner or on a sidebar that seems to conflict with the contents of the blog you are reading, perhaps even disturbingly so. Why does this happen and what can be done about it?

Disclaimer: Certain ad brokers ask that those who use their services not talk about ads on their sites. In other words, if I blog at “Acme.com” and use Mooglyoogly Ad Service, Mooglyoogly does not want me to write in a blog post something like “Hey, click on the ads in my sidebar” or “Don’t click on the ads in my sidebar.” Why do they care? Because they have a plan, with the ads, and they don’t want external forces affecting that plan. They even have other rules like how many ads you can put on a page all at once. For some reason, some ad brokers don’t want you to have too many ads at once.

So, my disclaimer: In this post, I am not talking about the ads on this site. Just in case. I’ve never been asked to not do so, but if anyone is checking, it is a robot with whom it will be difficult to reason. I don’t like messing with the robots. I’m talking about ads on another site. I’ll let you guess what that site is. Don’t tell the robots.

Anyway, here’s the problem: You have a blog you like to read, like mine for instance, and you come to understand the writer of the blog has certain interests, certain proclivities, and certain political orientations or beliefs. Then, one day you are looking at that person’s site and you see an ad that makes no sense to you. For example, you are reading my site and you see a Michele Bachmann ad. I’ve written quite a bit about Michele Bachmann, and none of it is complementary, and if you are a regular reader of my site, you probably don’t like her much either. So, when you see a “Vote for Michele Bachmann” ad on my site, you may be confused, hopefully amused, and quite possibly annoyed. It seems like Michele Bachmann is sponsoring my blog, and it might even feel a little like I am somehow sponsoring her. After all, I’m “letting” an ad for her campaign be on my blog.

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There is actually a guy out there on the Internet who has made the assumption that this link is two way and purposeful. When he sees an ad on a blog where what that ad is about and what the blog (or an individual blog post) is about are very much out of sync. Like a Heartland Institute or Michele Bachmann or Fundamentalist Evangelical Christian Creation Society ad on my blog. When he sees these associations, he takes a screen capture and posts it in a blog post, and then writes something that insinuates that there is some sort of conspiracy going on. Then he yells “Get off my lawn!!!”

Here’s the thing: Very few ads on any site are direct sponsorships. Most ads are brokered by a company that sells ad usage to various companies or institutions, political candidates, or any other buyer, and then uses various half-baked technologies to put those ads on blogs or other web sites. This sucks, because it does mean that certain things can’t happen. A political candidate can’t easily avoid having his or her ads placed on sites where the candidates are routinely ridiculed or criticized. The producers of perfectly good products are having their ads distributed around the Internet in a rather r-Strategic pattern, which is wasteful (fortunately they don’t really pay for this). Ad brokers and blogs or web sites that are, essentially, selling ad space are wasting the space by poorly matching ad to site to reader. And, if you get mad at some blogger (and that happens) you can’t really call up a sponsor and tell them to stop advertising on that blogger’s site.

But, pragmatically, there really isn’t a good way to address these problems.

Think of it this way. You build a multi floor public building with escalators and elevators and stairways and hallways, and line the hallways with retail outlets. People park in a nearby lot and go into the building and shop. Let’s call the building a “Mall.” The cost of running the mall is borne by fees charged to all of the retailers, so if people show up and do things that don’t involve buying stuff, and that cost you a lot of cleanup or other costs, you get annoyed and disallow them. But, on closer inspection you discover that the people who are going up and down on the escalator and elevator, which costs you money in electricity, often don’t buy things. Often, they are just walking around in the Mall for no apparent reason. Other times they are confused and they go upstairs looking for something that is actually downstairs.

You can fix this. You can interview each person on their way into the mall and estimate the likelihood that they are actually going to purchase something. You can check with people before they get on the escalator or elevator to see if they actually know where they are going, and thus minimize improper use of these people-transport devices, and get people where they really want to be more efficiently. Everyone–visitors to your Mall, the retailers, and you–would all be happier.

But you don’t do any of these things because the total cost of making it all make sense is prohibitive. It is probably one or two or even three orders of magnitude more expensive than just paying the extra electricity cost for moving people around, and paying the maintenance costs on all those doors people are passing trough needlessly, and all those floors they are walking around on, slowing wearing down and they tread upon them.

That’s what these ads are. They are numerous, any one instance of ad impression is extraordinarily cheap, the payback from a given ad being clicked on is very very low. Efforts to match ads to sites are always underway, but they are usually pretty imprecise and also slow to cause change or fine tuning because it really isn’t worth spending any more on it.

But there are some things you can do about this.

I won’t mention ad blockers because I want you to see the ads so that you occasionally see something you like and follow it somewhere. I don’t make much money on this blogging gig, but that is how I make the little I do make.

You can laugh at absurd ads. When you see a Michele Bachmann ad on my site, you can find that funny instead of annoying. In fact, that principle–finding things funny instead of annoying–can be applied generally to life. Just avoid over-applying it or people will think you are a driveling idiot. Fine tuning is important.

You can complain to the blogger about the ad and the blogger can send the complaint upstream to the network manager who can send it on to the person who checks on these things who will send it to the ad broker who will send it to the Mooglyoogly complaint department manager, Helen Waite. In other words, if you’ve got a problem with an ad, you can go to Helen Waite.

You can counter act the ad with directed and effective action that is roughly balanced in terms of energy and effort. For instance, if you see an ad favoring your state’s Right Wing Anti-Gay No-Same-Sex Marriage Law, you can do something to counter the sentiment behind that ad. You could go to testify before your state legislature in the matter, or go on a month long starvation diet, but that would be out of proportion. Instead, you could just go sign one of those online petitions against the thing you don’t like. Or even better, find a blog post on the site where you saw the annoying ad that addresses a related issue, and put a link there in a comment to one off those online petitions, or to some other web site that supports your preferred view. That will totally counteract the annoying ad!

You can ask the blogger to not have ads at all, but to blog for free. Before you do that, though, you need to find something in your life that you do which costs other people money, then start doing that for free. Then, you can ask. Otherwise, don’t ask.

The Robots that are supposed to match ads to content suck. Maybe they work better on some sites and not as well on other sites. But, I think they mostly suck and it is quite possible that they are so bad at what they do that random ad placement is better. Or, maybe we are just gearing up for the day when the ad placing services are the same as, say, search services or email services or other document managing services, so that they can figure out all the things they need to know about the user of sites (not the site itself) and thus match ads to your preferences.

If and when that day comes, be careful what you complain about. “I can’t believe I’m always seeing ads for vinyl body suits and inflatable sex dolls. Why is that!!?!”

Of course, that day will never come. Right?

And now, in closing, a friend of mine who knew I was writing this post sent me this YouTube video, and it is strangely matched to the contents of this blog post:

Yo Dawg.

Comments

  1. #1 Julie Stahlhut
    March 13, 2012

    When I kept a blog, I wrote about insects frequently. Not surprising, since I’m such an antennahead. Predictably, pesticide ads started showing up in the banners. Very, very annoying.

  2. #2 Jason Antrosio
    March 13, 2012

    “For instance, if you see an ad favoring your state’s Right Wing Anti-Gay No-Same-Sex Marriage Law, you can do something to counter the sentiment behind that ad.”

    Interesting post. I run a couple self-hosted sites with ads. One advantage to that is I can block certain categories, although those are probably the ones that would get more clicks. I don’t block the political ads, in part because one way to “counter the sentiment” would be to click on the ad, which will then (hopefully) be charged to the corporation paying for the ad.

  3. #3 Rattus Norvegicus
    March 13, 2012

    This is not only affected by the content of the blog, but also by what a particular user has clicked on. For example, a few weeks ago I saw an ad for a really cool RC helicopter (hey, I’m a guy, I like toys still. Even though I’m in my mid 50′s). Now pretty much every site I go to has an ad for the same RC helicopter. More worrying though is that I went to the website of a potential employer and submitted a resume, now I see ads for this company all over the place even though I never saw them before. Hmmm….

  4. #4 theshortearedowl
    March 13, 2012

    My favourites are the cosmetics ads on feminist websites.

  5. #5 Charles
    March 14, 2012

    As much as I understand the importance of ads for generating revenue, I hate them with a passion. Thus Adblock Plus. Sad but true.

  6. #6 blotonthelandscape
    March 14, 2012

    And FOR GOD’S SAKE DO NOT CLICK ON THE AD! If you actually want to visit the site after you see the ad, in order to complain to the traffickers, then clear your cookie cache, use a search engine or go directly. That way you don’t register as a post-click/impression activity, and you aren’t assigned as a ‘success’ from the POV of the traffickers. Alternatively, block cookies, and repeatedly load the ad on your screen. This will result in a large quantity of unique impressions, which will generate high costs, and will send a message to the wallets of the producers.

    I work in the media planning industry, specifically in data analysis and insight for online communications. We are forced to make assumptions based on responses, so if we can track a visit to our target site that was inspired by our placement, we consider it a success.

    On the other hand, a decent analyst will pick up the low impression:conversion ratio, and feed it back to the traffickers, who will adjust their campaign parameters. Often though this sort of analysis happens post-campaign, and if the traffickers aren’t part of an agency that employs analysts they’re likely to make bad decisions repeatedly.

    Trafficking is also very difficult to do well, and easy to get wrong (if you want to try it, have a look at Google’s Doubleclick for Advertisers). Without experience, patience and a technical mindset, you can end up misplacing ads and being very wasteful, spending lots of money with little return, and annoying people in the process.

    Finally, it is just possible that these ads get decent return from customers who are antagonistic to the blog, who read it with a view to criticise.

  7. #7 Greg Laden
    March 14, 2012

    If no one ever clicks on the ads, the ad revenue goes away, and I stop blogging. Just saying.

    If you are hooked to the internet in such a way that clicking on something ruins your life, both the Internet is broken (and it is!) and you are asking for it, as it were (not to blame the victim).

    Consider the fact that your behavior is meaningful to ad agencies and other agents is a form of power. Own your own presence on the internet. If that involves confounding the enemy, then so be it.

    I’ve decided to be my self on the internet, and it hasn’t hurt me. I always click on telescope and microscope ads. Well, not always, but now and then. That’s the only ad I click on. So, to the internet, I am a person who buys telescopes and microscopes. My internet is decorated with telescope and microscope ads. They are pretty, inoffensive, and I’m not constantly tempted to buy them.

    So, between me and the Internet, when I say “Jump” it says “How man telescopes would you like.” Makes me laugh.

  8. #8 blotonthelandscape
    March 14, 2012

    @Rattus Norvegicus, re-targetting, like most digital marketing strategies, relies on cookie data. If you don’t like it, clear your cookie cache regularly. Of course, if marketers can build an online profile of you, you’re much less likely to get served irrelevant ads.

    It’s an imprecise science, but it’s like anything; if you watch a TV show, most of the ads are likely to be irrelevant. Same goes for press, radio, posters and cinema. With digital media we can target far more efficiently. This just means that when we get it wrong it’s far more noticeable.

  9. #9 Wow
    March 14, 2012

    There’s a difference between being unable to be relevant and failing to be relevant.

    Ads that don’t manage to be relevant when “targeted” shows that the “targeting” doesn’t work.

    And IMO the problem isn’t so much the ads as the fact that the ads are on a service that DOES NOT CARE if you get a good impression of the website that ad is on.

    I.e. doubleclick. So many times a page is COMPLETELY BLANK because it won’t render a sausage until doubleclick gets their logging info. Doubleclick don’t care you are sitting waiting at a blank screen for 20 minutes. If their system is that busy, they’re making loadsamoney, and you have no choice: their ad tracking is everywhere.

    So, although I understand greg’s POV, the problem is that the ad submission company doesn’t give two shits for your site. And they therefore don’t care if people are driven away because a third party is running slow.

    Therefore, the ONLY way for readers to continue is to adblock et al. Not what is *wanted*, but the only way to read what’s here. And if it disappears, then that’s little different from a blank page.

  10. #10 GregH
    March 14, 2012

    Greg Laden: Own your own presence on the internet.

    I see what you’re saying, but is that even possible? You run two blogs and are a regular G+ user. You’re well known around these parts, Mr. Microscope!

    Because I can’t have AdBlock here at work, this is the only site where I’ve written to the overall site management to complain about the offensive flashing crap their clients call advertising. Because I like ScienceBlogs. Needless to say, they didn’t respond.

  11. #11 EricJuve
    March 14, 2012

    I just bought a telescope through a click on an Orion ad in FreeThought blogs, The Xblog specifically. That ad returned in excess of $1000.00 for Orion. I didn’t choose Orion because of the ad but after researching what I wanted and what was available I used the link on The X Blog so that hopefully the sale was traced back to that site.

  12. #12 Ole Phat Stu
    March 14, 2012

    Helen Waite!

    Groan; first time I’ve seen that pun. Not.

  13. #13 noname
    March 14, 2012

    The other option is to stop reading the blogger if you dislike the ads they’re serving. I don’t read anymore any of the bloggers who moved to freethoughtblogs, at least not on that platform, because of the structure (could care less about the content) of the ads there. Turned out, there were other writers worth reading elsewhere.

    And while I don’t particularly get excited about ad content, for the reasons you mention, all of the major blog ad providers allow the hosting website to block ads from being served on their site. For a network site, the point of contact or person who would have access to the tool would not be the blog author, but a network should be policing itself as a cost of doing business.

  14. #14 Wow
    March 14, 2012

    “The other option is to stop reading the blogger if you dislike the ads they’re serving”

    Nope, that’s not a rational response.

    The problem would be with the ads, not the blogger.

    By not reading the blogger, they’re no longer getting read, therefore no longer getting ad impressions, therefore going to go down just as hard as if you used adblock on all ads.

    ONE way to do this PROPERLY is to explain why ads are bad FOR THE BLOGGER THEMSELVES.

    Since that requires actually coming on to the blog, this would be impossible with your “other idea”.

    The RIGHT way is to not read the bits you dislike. That would, in this case, be the ads.

    DO try to think before you post, there’s a good kid.

  15. #15 Eric Lund
    March 14, 2012

    It’s all well and good to say “ignore this ad”. It isn’t always easy to implement that strategy. One especially heinous ad I’ve been seeing on ScienceBlogs lately has a number of features that make it impossible to ignore. The image is an animated GIF or similar technology which does nothing but jitter around (motion attracts the eye). It’s also, at least for me (YMMV) a nausea-inducing image, such that I have to scroll the page to get the $^&#^%$% thing off the screen. Oh, and it comes with the reliable scam marker of featuring a $TOWN woman (it tries to infer my location from my IP address–successfully at my work computer, but from home it names a place 40 miles away–and sets $TOWN to that location).

    Frequently, ads are served by keyword. That’s a major reason why Greg’s blogs draw so many Michelle Bachmann ads: the algorithms are smart enough to notice that Greg discusses Bachmann but not smart enough to see that he is being sharply critical of whatever her in(s)anity du jour is. I also see it in location sensitive stuff: I happen to live in a town with the same name as a much larger city in a different state, and many of the ads I see that are allegedly keyed to my town actually involve the namesake. (This one hasn’t arisen on SB that I know of, but it does arise on, for instance, weather forecast sites.)

  16. #16 Greg Laden
    March 14, 2012

    Wow: Ads that don’t manage to be relevant when “targeted” shows that the “targeting” doesn’t work.
    And IMO the problem isn’t so much the ads as the fact that the ads are on a service that DOES NOT CARE if you get a good impression of the website that ad is on.

    Maybe, but there is another possibility. Maybe most people on the internet are visiting sites that use key words and phrases that positively connect to the users intentions and interests, and can then be positively linked to ads. For instance, a Christian Home Schooler is looking at Christian Home Schooling sites, where the robots know to place Christian Home Schooling Retail Goods.

    The sites you and I read and/or write, however are Critiques of Christian Homeshcooling, so the Christian Home School Retail Ads end up there anyway, by accident. Most of the ads that I see as discordant with what I write are exactly that … they are picking up keywords but missing the “sucks” part. So, the robot sees “Homeopath” and puts a homeopathy ad on a blog post that says “homeopathy sucks”

    It is not so easy for robots to get negation.

  17. #17 Greg Laden
    March 14, 2012

    GregH, sorry, I’m sure they carefully read your email, though.

    EricJuve: way to go!

    Noname: This entire blog post is based on the realities that exist at the network you mention. We do police the ads … we routinely send the info about ads we don’t like up stream and the are supposedly blocked. We can’t do more. Anyway, are you suggesting that Freethoughtblog.com offer a paid alternative with no ads?

    Would you pay for that? Would anybody pay for that? Because we could do that. I figure no one would pay for it.

  18. #18 EJ
    March 14, 2012

    There’s an assumption here that because a particular blogger advocates a certain view that all of his readership shares that view. But if you go into the comments section of, for example, any high-profile atheist blog, it’s obvious that plenty of Christians read it, if only just to argue with it, so an ad targeting Christians, like in your example, might not be as off-base as it seems at first glance.

    I have noticed though, that among agencies there does seem to be a certain reluctance to categorize beliefs and political leanings – for example you can easily buy ads on sites relating to “politics,” but it’s much harder to find targeting specifically for “liberal politics” or “conservative politics.” I suspect it’s at least partly because it’s difficult to create content classifying algorithms that can actually discern meaning. It’s easy to tell, for example, that a blogger mentions Michelle Bachmann frequently, and therefore is writing about politics, but it’s a lot harder, and requires more data, to determine if that blogger is mocking or praising a particular politician.

    There have been efforts to use more human-based solutions to sort this out, for example the “Advertise Liberally” network, but they’ve had at most fairly modest success thus far. Actually paying a human to review and classify all but the highest traffic blogs out there would probably not be cost-effective, even if it enabled better targeting.

  19. #19 EJ
    March 14, 2012

    Aaand I see you already addressed my second paragraph… carry on then, nothing to see here.

  20. #20 Doug Alder
    March 14, 2012

    /me I just laugh at them – on my own site I use Google Ads because they give me more control over what I will allow to be shown.

  21. #21 noname
    March 14, 2012

    @WoW 14: Absolutely is a rational response. When I lived in Chicago I preferred the Sun Times which is a tabloid formatted newspaper over the Tribune which is broadsheet formatted (I think that’s the term), because the Sun Times was easier to read on the train. If a columnist I enjoyed switched papers (which happened now and then) I felt under no compunction to follow them to the new paper, nor to say anything to the columnist.

    Incidentally, this comment thread is the only time I’ve been inclined to say anything at all about FTB.

    @Greg 17: No, I would not pay for an ad-free version of FTB, nor have I asked for one. I actively avoid clicking FTB links now because:
    - number of ads per page load (There are 2 third party ads on this page (SB is owned by nat geo, IIRC, and their two ads are small and unobtrusive), there are at least 5 per FTB post (banner under title, square under the advertise here, square above and below recent posts, and “sponsored links” at end of post, I’m not counting the conference notices at the bottom of the right sidebar or the “advertise here block”) FTB also puts an ad between some posts when scanning archives, SB and FoS do not. (I realize FoS is non-profit, but they are competing with you) (Also, correctly or not, I remember FTB as being much worse about this, and as using banners between paragraphs on occasion which FTB does not appear to be doing at all at this time)

    - use of pop-up ads (even though I do have those blocked the notice of blockage is annoying… this is not a deal breaker for me, pantheos(slacktivist) uses popups, but they’re throttled)

    - It seemed, in the first month or so after launch, when I did read FTB hosted blogs, several of your authors were writing and formatting for page-views and impressions, rather than writing as they had been here and other places you drew them from. (shorter posts, lists with every item on a separate page or using internal pagination, articles which were written as a long post broken into multiple parts, or using forced pagination– in fairness, that seems to have abated or stopped, if I remember it correctly at all)

    I have seen relatively recent CPM and CPC rates, and am familiar with hosting and IT costs for mid-large sites. The ad-supported business model is difficult to impossible, and I don’t have a solution to how to pay bloggers who don’t care to write for free. (I maintain an open source app though, so I guess I could just ask them to work for free also? :) j/k) I am however expressly willing to accept not being able to read those bloggers as a consequence of my preferences, either because they’re pay-walled or because they’ve stopped writing.

    I’m mostly indifferent to the content of the ads themselves, that you are policing them is all that I would ask. Your suggestion that the appropriate person to complain to was Helen Waite suggested you were not.

    And, again, in fairness, FTB seems to have gotten a lot better from how I remember it near the launch period. That experience had been enough to cause me to actively avoid the site. It may be time for me to revisit the question for myself.

  22. #22 Greg Laden
    March 14, 2012

    “SB is owned by nat geo,”

    Actually, SB is still owned by Seed Media Group and that is not going to change any time soon as far as I know. It is a common misconception that National Geographic owns Science Blogs.

  23. #23 Pteryxx
    March 15, 2012

    *blinkblink* Hang on, so all that kerfuffle about Nat Geo imposing politeness restrictions never came to pass? So we all could still be commenting here on Sb?

    …Are y’all blogging here actually getting your pay nowadays?

  24. #24 travc
    March 15, 2012

    Wow@9 makes a very good point. Ad services which cause load delays are the absolute worst and have cause me personally to stop visiting several sites which would otherwise get my traffic. This might not really (or entirely) be the ad service’s fault though… A properly written site should load ads asynchronously and not have to wait. Of course, some services might not allow that (which is just stupid and evidence someone technically illiterate is calling the shots).

    As for relevance, yeah, bots have some difficulties, but they are actually amazingly good given the incredibly difficult task. Personally, I generally find targeted ads much less annoying. When the targeting is a complete 180′ miss, it is still better than the crap I get randomly (which is almost all scams or pure spam). Purely geolocation targeting is an exception, since it is mostly scam/spam too. Face it, a misplaced Bachmann ad is far less annoying than most (by quantity of random ads I’ve seen at least) of the ads out there.

  25. #25 blotonthelandscape
    March 15, 2012

    As a final note from me, in the spirit of taking control of your online experience, use the url linked in my name or google “Google Ad Preferences” to customise the types of ads that google and co. will serve you.

    You’ll also get to see their “best guess” of your gender, age and preferences. It gives you a cookie that you can use to transfer settings between different locations.

    For those who seek an ad-free experience, whatever your reasons (load speed/offense/irrelevance etc.), then an ad-blocker or even a cookie blocker (Ad-block or Ghostery respectively for Firefox; the latter I use to monitor pages for clients, but it can be used to prevent specific cookies from loading).

  26. #26 Wow
    March 15, 2012

    “A properly written site should load ads asynchronously and not have to wait.”

    This doesn’t serve the ad providers needs, however, so may be forbidden. If you can read the stuff without the ads when the ad server is busy, they’ve not “monetised” your eyeballs.

    Remember, they don’t give a flying squirrel for the websites that their service is used in.

    In that sense, the adservers are being “intelligent” by the Free Market ideals. Just dumb in the long term. But some other sucker may have taken over by then to carry the can, so why should they care?

  27. #27 Wow
    March 15, 2012

    “For instance, a Christian Home Schooler is looking at Christian Home Schooling sites, where the robots know to place Christian Home Schooling Retail Goods.”

    Or someone who is a Christian Home Schooler posts with their webpage on your blog and you get lumbered with a “connection” to the same crud.

    Using a dumb and knowably fallible program to pretend to target is as dumb as a human doing so just as ineffectively.

    A recent DMCA takedown on Youtube had a program flag birdsong as “property” of some RIAA label. When countered, the company doing that flagging replied with “No, we checked and it DEFINITELY is ours”.

    They doubled-down on the stupid there. They didn’t even look, but they relied on their knowingly broken program to tell them that they were owed (the ad revenue from that youtube clip was passed on to that company, and there is NO DOWNSIDE to them for false claim).

    It’s the same with the adservers.

    And similarly, they don’t get a pass because they relied on a program.

    If they rely on a program, then when that program works, they shouldn’t get paid any more. And they should only get paid while they’re developing. It’s the way programmers get paid for work.

    But no, they want to get paid as if they themselves were doing it.

    Well then it IS them, not a program doing it, they just were lazy as well as stupid.

  28. #28 Greg Laden
    March 15, 2012

    Pteryxx: There are three versions of “truth” here. There is what everyone says no matter how often they are corrected, there is the effective meaning of it all, and there is the actual technical truth. The effective meaning of it all is probably somewhere between the widespread misconceptions and the actual truth.

    There was a period of a few months some time back (about a year ago maybe?) where there was a delay in getting paid, then we all got paid. Otherwise payments have been regular since I’ve been blogging here.

    Scienceblogs has had a policy statement forever, and it has largely been ignored. National geographic has asked Seed Media group to start enforcing that at some point in the future; that time has not yet come.

    There have been no changes in policy, or anything else, effectively, here at Science Blogs.

    A deal was struck some time ago between National Geographic and Science Blogs in which there will be various kinds of interaction and mutual support. When that deal goes into effect, there will be implementation of the pre-existing policy, which as far as I can tell won’t affect anything here on my blog regarding commenting.

    There is a reason that the deal has not yet come to pass, and there is also new and current news about this. Perhaps I’ll write a whole blog post on that revealing the details!

  29. #29 Greg Laden
    March 15, 2012

    Wow [26]: Remember, they don’t give a flying squirrel for the websites that their service is used in….In that sense, the adservers are being “intelligent” by the Free Market ideals. ..

    I’m not sure about that. One of the most important factors in getting on page one of a google search (once a site exists, has a reasonably good goole rank, and has relevant search term) is how fast the site responds. Google creates that first page very quickly; Sites that deliver slowly simply can’t be there. An advertiser is shooting itself in the foot by slowing down a site so the site gets fewer visits.

    Anyway, as far as I know, on the other blog I write, there is flexibility in how ads can be added to that site regarding loading and it does not slow down the loading of the content.

    A recent DMCA takedown on Youtube had a program flag birdsong as “property” of some RIAA label. When countered, the company doing that flagging replied with “No, we checked and it DEFINITELY is ours”.

    I saw that. There is no wonder that the birds are angry!

    IIRC there was a downside in the end: That youtube maneno became a poster-child for current efforts to regulate intellectual property, demonstrating how we don’t really want the producers of the property to also investigate, enforce, try and find guilty, and fine or otherwise mete out punishment mostly on their own!

  30. #30 Wow
    March 15, 2012

    Greg,

    I’m not disputing your blog, nor decrying the blog here for having ads.

    I can understand them.

    But from the other end of the implied contract, the adserver blocking the content is why people will use ad blocking so the page they want to see is blocked.

    And, despite the comment of the other person that quote you made from #26, this is, from the short-term goal of wealth accrual maximisation that capitalism promotes, a rational decision from the ad marketers.

    It’s the same reason why they still make ads “annoying”. Rather than “letting” someone notice the ad because it was relevant, for example, they want to get noticed ahead of any competitor on the site, therefore they can’t rely on the user, they have to force the issue.

    Bringing spank-the-monkey, popup, popunders, popbehinds and popovertheres which ensured that EVERYONE who could included blocking software.

    Short term, no loss. Long term? Well, blame the downturn on the economy, keep your “marketing” bonus, and move on to somewhere else.

    Like the youtube episode.

    It really does show up that the DMCA provision protecting the accused doesn’t work.

    I really hope this means that that provision is now taken SERIOUSLY and actually applied. It’s a disgraceful act otherwise.