White Coat Underground

Bad ads

In case you hadn’t noticed, the advertising present on the top and right of the blog has been a bit odd lately. Dr. Oz’s smiling face has been showing up above mine, you may have just won $59, your teeth can be whiter than white, and last but not least human trafficking in “Russian brides”.

First, might I point out that I have nothing to do with the ads other than appearing on the same page as them.

Wait, that’s stupid. I might not choose the ads, but I choose to write for ScienceBlogs, so I am culpable. Normally, I don’t care much about ads that show up on my page. After all, someone has to pay for the bandwidth. But when something is dangerous, I have to draw the line. Quackery ads are potentially dangerous, fake lotto ads can rip people off, any questionable click can infect your computer—but it’s the “Russian brides” that is the most distressing. There is a real problem with trafficking of women in the world, often very young, always impoverished, and more often than not, in addition to being deprived of their freedom, beaten, raped, starved, and sold as chattel. It’s not OK to be seen on the same page as these ads.

Thankfully, once the Sb Overlords were notified, they promised to immediately pull the ads, allowing me to continue here rather than go back to wordpress. As of now, I no longer see the Russian bride ads, but I still see the ads for fake penis growth pills and other dangerous nonsense. Hopefully these will be gone soon.

In tough economic times, I’m willing to make certain compromises. I can live with crappy ads as long as they aren’t a rip-off and aren’t dangerous. But some lines cannot be crossed. Ever.

Comments

  1. #1 ejay
    July 2, 2009

    I agree with your stand on advertising but must say I’ve never noticed any ads, objectionable or not, on your web site. Perhaps the companies that do place the targeted ads I see on other sites don’t consider Scienceblogs a good place to advertise.

  2. #2 Chris
    July 2, 2009

    Actually, it turned out to be very useful. One clueless wag was trying to pull the Pharma Shill Gambit on Orac because there was a drug company ad. It was explained to him quite clearly that Orac did not choose the ad.

    Then I looked at the page when there was both a Dr. Oz and Russian Bride ad, and I asked the failed troll what that meant. Got a lame answer from a microscopic critter.

  3. #3 DebinOz
    July 2, 2009

    Adblock for Firefox is a very useful add-on!

  4. #4 antipodean
    July 2, 2009

    I’m getting quack weight loss methods and some other shite. But then I would never have noticed them unless I’d been told to look.

    I have firefox adblocker installed in my head, apparently.

  5. #5 Blake Stacey
    July 2, 2009

    . . . the Hell?

    I’d really like to have the advertisement selection process explained to me.

  6. #6 Blake Stacey
    July 2, 2009

    (I agree completely with PalMD here — I just want to know how in the name of Galileo H. Galilei this kind of thing can happen!)

  7. #7 Peggy
    July 2, 2009

    Right now I’m seeing what look like context-generated text ads by “Snap Link Ads” on your blog. There are big links at the top of your page for “Prostate Cancer”, “Enzyte”, “Russian Brides”, “Private Insurance” and “Medical Education” – a weird combination but definitely related to the content of your blog and post. Contextual ads seem like an especially bad choice for ScienceBlogs considering so many of you write about quack medicine and pseudoscience.

  8. #8 oscar zoalaster
    July 2, 2009

    All of those advertisements are obviously advertisements. An advertisement is, by definition, not a reliable source of information. Consequently the only reason to every notice an advertisement is if it uses pretty pictures or an artistic arrangement of colors. I don’t care who advertises on Scienceblogs, advertisements are ignored unless they have a merit that is separate from the advertisers intentions.

  9. #9 Ramel
    July 2, 2009

    Oh thank god, I was starting to think lil’ bastard had screwed my PC again….

  10. #10 Dacks
    July 2, 2009

    Have you heard the argument that you shouldn’t use adblocker because advertising dollars paid for the content you are reading, so you should conscientiously expose your eyeballs to the inanity? roflmao!

  11. #11 DrugMonkey
    July 2, 2009

    Have you heard the argument that you shouldn’t use adblocker because advertising dollars paid for the content you are reading, so you should conscientiously expose your eyeballs to the inanity? roflmao!

    Have you heard the argument that for an ad-supported media outlet if those who might place ads conclude that they are not getting value for their outlay they will stop supporting the medium? And eventually that medium will fold?

    I recently became aware that AdBlocker is not totally transparent to ad metering so using it decreases at least one metric by which advertisers judge the usefulness of advertising with online media. So I turned mine off for ScienceBlogs reading. Naturally, I have greater interest than most readers in seeing Sb continue to succeed but I will remind that I was a reader like anyone else long before I was invited on board.

    Look, nobody likes ads. online, tv, radio, you name it. Technologies like TiVo and ad-blocking software are great. In the long run, and with broad enough use, well….these have consequences. Each reader will just have to decide for her or himself where to put the balance point for their browsing pleasure.

  12. #12 K.R.
    July 2, 2009

    There was an ad for “mail-order brides” on the front page of your blog when I opened the page (of which I took a screen-cap after reading this post.) Evidently the problem has not been taken care of.

  13. #13 Gerry L
    July 3, 2009

    Ads? What ads? My eyes don’t even see ad banners at the top of web pages. In fact, they quickly figure out where the ads reside on sites I frequently visit and zone them out. Only ones I notice are the ones that float across the screen while I’m trying to read. And those make me VERY, VERY ANGRY at what ever is being advertised.

  14. #14 bob
    July 3, 2009

    @DrugMonkey: My understanding was that ad-blocking software (I use Adblock Plus) still downloads the ads, and so the sites aren’t affected monetarily. Is that not true?

  15. #15 Chris
    July 3, 2009

    Cut and paste, with returns after the “click here”, of what was on the top banner:

    Mail Order Bride Click Here
    Private Insurance Click Here
    Omni Click Here
    Math Education Click Here
    Research Paper Click Here
    Russian Brides Click Here
    Prostate Cancer Click Here
    New Medical Click Here
    Compromises

    The last one is ironic.

  16. #16 Wyomingite
    July 3, 2009

    I had come to see what you had written about the ads and was greeted by a Dual-Action Cleanse banner ad. It can’t be too bad though, the guy in the ad (Klee Irwin) is an “Herbalist and Nutraceutical Engineer” cause nature and herbs are awesome for “cleansing” apparently.

  17. #17 DebinOz
    July 3, 2009

    Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know the argument re seeing said ads, to support the blog.

    However:

    1. I live in Australia, so most of the ads don’t pertain;
    2. I don’t need a mail-order bride;
    3. They boggle my mind, and if they boggle my mind, I won’t read the blog;
    4. Some of them steam my clams so much that I forget to focus on the blog content;
    5. I feel like I suffer enough from ads on TV;
    6. If they are silly enough to pay for adverts on this blog, screw them.

    Adblock is my homeboy!

  18. #18 #1 Dinosaur
    July 3, 2009

    Good for you!

    Interesting that it was so easy for you to have the offending ads removed. Another blog, Science-Based Medicine, that prides itself on definitive skeptical content, apparently can’t be bothered. Their blog regularly shows ads for chiropractors alongside scathing takedowns of how ridiculous chiropractic is, as well as all kinds of ads for colon cleanses and alternative practices.

    When I’ve brought it to their attention, I’ve gotten mealy-mouthed answers like, “The webmaster can’t do anything about it,” and “We trust our readers to understand that we don’t choose the ads and that we don’t endorse their content.” Whiskey, tango, foxtrot??

    Frankly, I’d think they’d be more embarrassed about it. Lowers my opinion of them too, not that they seem to care.

  19. #19 Dacks
    July 3, 2009

    DrugMonkey,
    Thank you for reading the ads, so people like me don’t have to.

  20. #20 PalMD
    July 3, 2009

    At science-based medicine, we haven’t had a problem with mail-order brides and that sort of thing. The ads are also smaller and less inyourface. And we pretty much need them to keep up the bandwidth. Just as here we need ads and have to balance the offesiveness of the ads vs. the need for them, at SBM it is also a balance.

  21. #21 Magnus
    July 3, 2009

    Pheromones Click Here Math Education Click Here Russian Brides Click Here Omni Click Here Mail Order Bride Click Here Medical Education

    Copy-paste from the top ad.

    Research
    Paper
    Click Here Private
    Insurance
    Click Here Mail
    Order Bride
    Click Here Omni
    Click Here New Medical
    Click Here Math
    Education
    Click Here Medical
    Education
    Click Here Prostate
    Cancer

    Copy-paste from the right side bar ad.

  22. #22 Wes
    July 3, 2009

    I’m a bit flabbergasted at the mail order brides ads. I mean, yeah the other ads are obnoxious bullshit. But sex trafficking? Seriously? Is there nothing too sick and depraved to appear on Google ads? Seed needs to figure out what went wrong here and make sure it never, ever happens again.

  23. #23 DrugMonkey
    July 3, 2009

    @DrugMonkey: My understanding was that ad-blocking software (I use Adblock Plus) still downloads the ads, and so the sites aren’t affected monetarily. Is that not true?

    I was under a similar, apparently mistaken, understanding. Someone who really should know wtf he is talking about convinced me otherwise.

  24. #24 The Blind Watchmaker
    July 3, 2009

    Wait…which page is the penis growth pills on?

  25. #25 Laelaps
    July 7, 2009

    I thought they were all gone, but I just saw another ad for “resveratrol” on the front page. Ugh.