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Last post Author Topic: "Half of our users block ads. Now what?"  (Read 9190 times)

Josh

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"Half of our users block ads. Now what?"
« on: March 10, 2013, 07:44:57 AM »
Quote
Relax. We're still friends.

Last month, I learned that the primary way we support Destructoid was quickly shrinking due to a browser plug-in: the ad-blocker. On the bright side, it brought some closure on why our ad checks never quite kept up with perky site traffic or growing bandwidth bills.

No, I'm not going to chainsaw your face for installing an ad-blocker. Chances are, though, you understand that blocking ads denies us some coffers and you probably feel a little bad about it, but all ads intrinsically annoy you. That's okay. Still, it is enough for me to say that it's a problem facing my site and other sites like it, and a few weeks ago, I started to appeal to readers to whitelist us -- that mostly failed.

Is asking for nickels the best way to future-proof a gaming site?

"Almost half of your readers block your ads. We don't think we're mistaken."

Read more here

To me, I think this is becoming a real problem for websites that rely on ad revenue. I feel this mentality of block all ads and force site owners to find new ways to generate revenue ties back in to the entitled generation, as I've called it in the past. People who believe everything should be free and that they are entitled to information, software, movies, games, music...all for free because it is their right or because they feel they are being "screwed by the big organizations/outlets".

Now, let me preface this with the fact that I am not referring to those who block ads on sites that are completely obnoxious, attempt to mislead with fake download now buttons, or require you to sit through 10-15 seconds of an ad before you can proceed. I am talking about sites that legitimately put up non-intrusive ads and adhere to a set of ethics with regards to how ads should be displayed to the users. I routinely allow sites to display ads to me that I support, that do not attempt to mislead or annoy me, and whose content I find to be reputable and valuable. That said, I will not unblock any site that performs any of the aforementioned things.

What do you think? Are the days of online ads numbered? Are we moving to a content-based society that will result in subscriptions for basic information? Yes, there will always be the free news site, but eventually, as they gain in popularity, the need for funding will arise and I am certain that the thought of ad-based revenue will be discussed. Heck, even donationcoder/mouser has experimented with ads.

What do you think?

Renegade

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Re: "Half of our users block ads. Now what?"
« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2013, 08:05:21 AM »
I'm not against ads on sites, and I don't block them.

However, I have no sympathy whatsoever.

The way I see it is that it's not about the ads --- it's about Big Data and privacy issues. Things have simply become TOO intrusive.

Intrusiveness kills sympathy.



It is EXTREMELY rare for me to click an ad or allow a video ad to play through. I even go out of my way to find the site for the ad without clicking it if possible. If they weren't creating profiles and all that, well, it would probably be a different story, and I'd probably be willing to click ads that interest me. At the moment, I'm not willing to participate.
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Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

40hz

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Re: "Half of our users block ads. Now what?"
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2013, 08:14:32 AM »
I think ad blocking originally emerged in response to widespread abusive practices on the part of many who were relying on web advertising for their income. I'm sure we all remember that miserable period when pop-up (and the pop-under) ads were pretty much the norm. So taking a high-handed tone and blaming the victims of prior abuse is more than a little disingenuous AFAIC.

And while it's true that many sites never played those games - or have since learned the error of their ways - they're now discovering that consumer trust is a very real and fragile thing. Especially when it comes to the web. So even though the notion of 'entitlement' very likely drives a part of the ad blocking mentality, it would have never become such an issue if so much web advertising hadn't been allowed to become so intrusive and annoying in the first place.

Right now, I think ad blocking is done more out of habit than anything else. At least that's the case with me. When asked (politely) not to block ads by those websites I regularly visit, I almost always exempt them from being blocked. However, sites I don't regularly visit, or that have an excessive (IMO) amount of annoying advertising are SOL.

I don't really know what to suggest to the webmasters who have to deal with this issue - other than offer some tough love and say: if people aren't willing to pay to support what you're doing for them - and you can't afford to continue it out of your own pocket - then maybe it's time to wake up and smell the coffee.

This is a hard reality everybody involved in any creative activity (music, drama, literature, art) has to deal with every day. And as site producers and content providers, website owners fall into that same category. Something often referred to as "starving artists".

I suppose there are a few alternatives to advertising. You could charge a membership fee, solicit donations - or best of all - sell your own product. I never have a problem with people advertising something they make themselves. But I tend to be much less appreciative of 3rd-party advertising. Especially if it's totally unrelated to anything I might reasonably be visiting the site for in the first place. And I also find any sort of history tracking to be personally offensive and morally repugnant. But that may just be me. I get crotchety about the littlest things sometimes.
  ;) 8)
« Last Edit: March 10, 2013, 08:23:07 AM by 40hz »

eleman

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Re: "Half of our users block ads. Now what?"
« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2013, 08:21:26 AM »
There are ads, and there are irritations. Anything that moves on a web page (other than videos which I specifically press play on) is a source of distraction and/or irritation. So I block them all without any conscience suffering.

Blocking just the animated/irritating stuff is more work then I intend to put up with, so I use universal ad filters such as fanboy's list or easy list. If non-intrusive ads are collateral damage, so be it.

Renegade

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Re: "Half of our users block ads. Now what?"
« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2013, 09:27:04 AM »
Sounds like I am not the only one with no sympathy. :-)
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Carol Haynes

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Re: "Half of our users block ads. Now what?"
« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2013, 10:25:22 AM »
No I have no sympathy either - if you want revenue from a website sell something people want - don't bombard me with crap from other sources.

If a website really needs to make money advertising something from another website then look for things you really like and can stand behind and become a reseller/partner.

Sorry I use an adblocker because it seems like 90% of the internet consists of flashing adverts for crap!

rgdot

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Re: "Half of our users block ads. Now what?"
« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2013, 10:30:37 AM »
At the end of the day...
People block/skip/walkaway from TV ads too. Content creators and producers complaining about ad effectiveness or reach is not new.


40hz

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Re: "Half of our users block ads. Now what?"
« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2013, 11:33:21 AM »
What do you think? Are the days of online ads numbered? Are we moving to a content-based society that will result in subscriptions for basic information?

There's an old bit of Zen instruction which goes: "When sitting, just sit. When standing, just stand. Above all, do not to wobble..."

I think it's reached the point when the web must leave its adolescence behind and emerge into adulthood. Which is to say it's time to graduate from school, stop sponging off your parents, and start to earn a living. It's also time to abandon all those "pfun" experiments and 'contrarian' theories (such as the "New Economy" and "Everything is free!") that haven't proven themselves, and move on to better (or at least more realistic) things.

In a nutshell:

It costs something in time and money to do most things worth doing. And people will either be willing to support it - or they won't. If they won't, the two remaining choices are to abandon the endeavor; or, scale it back and become a "patron of the art" by funding it yourself.

Trying to straddle the middle and somehow get somebody else to pay for it through indirect means doesn't work very well. It mostly just pisses off the people you're trying to serve. So do one or the other. Either get it to pay for itself - or pay for it yourself.

To paraphrase the Zen master: If you honestly need to sell, sell honestly. If not, then don't. Above all, do not spin in circles and make an ass of yourself trying to find a way around this.

zen.jpg

 8)
« Last Edit: March 10, 2013, 11:40:22 AM by 40hz »

wraith808

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Re: "Half of our users block ads. Now what?"
« Reply #8 on: March 10, 2013, 12:21:53 PM »
Truthfully, and I think I'm not alone, I have no problems with ads on most sites.  However, bad people use them to do bad things- both to distribute malware, and to put obtrusive things before you that use flash, flashing graphics, and other things that make you want to burn your eyes out.  So I run one.  And I'm too lazy to whitelist.  Sometimes I do if there is an appeal.  But most times I just don't pay attention.

Until the advertisers solve the problems with the bad ads on networks, and make people really not care, this won't change.  But to get to that point, they have to stop trying to affect the numbers for one thing, and that will never happen.

And 40 effective summarizes why this approach of gaining revenue doesn't work well, so I'll stop rambling now. :)

cyberdiva

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Re: "Half of our users block ads. Now what?"
« Reply #9 on: March 10, 2013, 01:45:01 PM »
Several people have mentioned their dislike of ads that flash, buzz, or are obnoxiousl distracting in other ways.  Do adblockers exist that do or can deal only with such ads?  I know that I started using an adblocker and flashblock to deal with ads (and, for that matter, non ads) that I found distracting.  I might  be happy to switch to one that targeted only those kinds of ads. 

Cloq

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Re: "Half of our users block ads. Now what?"
« Reply #10 on: March 10, 2013, 02:29:41 PM »
My sentiments about "ads":

Quote from reddit user:
-----
I'm not him but I'll be happy to list why its f*cked up..1.- A VERY large portion of the viruses out there end up through infected ads, block ads? Virus infections drop off the map. 2.- Destructoid does NOT sere the ads, like everybody else that pass it off to third parties. See #1 as to why that is a problem, it lets you pass the buck and you end up giving your users infections. 3.- The advertisers have gone from simple txt and jpgs to shitting out ads that take over the sound and maxes out the volume, its like inviting someone into your home and on the second or third visit they scream in your face..would you invite them back? 4.- They have taken ad revenues to the extreme, an article that would be 3 paragraphs is now shit all over a dozen pages...why should I care about you when you are trying to milk me for more revenue while making things worse for me?

I'll be happy to unblock a site if they ask nicely...IF they ONLY use txt ads, no risky Flash or Java ads, NO taking over my speakers, NO blasting commercials..they do that? I have NO problem with unblocking. The problem is all these sites are frankly lazy bastards that just want to make money without having to do the work so they just sell their ad space to any company that offers them cash without giving a f*ck if its ads are rude, if they assault our senses, hell they don't even seem to give a f*ck if they end up serving malware to their users, just as long as they get paid. Well I have to clean up their messes so f*ck them, I install adblock as SOP to ALL PCs that come through my door.
-----

Carol Haynes

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Re: "Half of our users block ads. Now what?"
« Reply #11 on: March 10, 2013, 02:41:57 PM »
Strikes me that the biggest problem is that legitimate sites advertising don't really have control over what is advertised or the advertisments.

I would be a lot less annoyed (and paranoid) about website advertising if site admins posted plain graphics with simple links which they inspect and monitor. They should also take full responsibility for any malware pushed through their ads - which would force them to only deal with reputable sellers and businesses.

Again it seems to me that a good site using advertising would negotiate commission on sales and make the sales their own on products they actually recommend. Instead of that you get endless links to registry cleaners and 'speed up your computer' ads which cause no end of trouble - and that's before you even get started on all the viruses and malware that get shoved in drive by attacks!

Renegade

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Re: "Half of our users block ads. Now what?"
« Reply #12 on: March 10, 2013, 06:49:01 PM »
It costs something in time and money to do most things worth doing. And people will either be willing to support it - or they won't. If they won't, the two remaining choices are to abandon the endeavor; or, scale it back and become a "patron of the art" by funding it yourself.

Trying to straddle the middle and somehow get somebody else to pay for it through indirect means doesn't work very well. It mostly just pisses off the people you're trying to serve. So do one or the other. Either get it to pay for itself - or pay for it yourself.

Sounds like you're trying to point out the sense of entitlement from publishers. "Since I made this, I must be paid for it whether you like it or not." It works both ways there.
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Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

40hz

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Re: "Half of our users block ads. Now what?"
« Reply #13 on: March 10, 2013, 07:04:52 PM »
Sounds like you're trying to point out the sense of entitlement from publishers. "Since I made this, I must be paid for it whether you like it or not." It works both ways there.

Sorry Ren, but that's not what I'm saying at all.  :nono2:

I'm putting the burden on the 'publishers' to produce something worth buying or quit the field. Just like I'm suggesting the 'consumers' pay for what they use if there's a price tag attached and if they really want it - or do without.

No justification of 'entitlement' in what I'm saying for either side.

I don't believe in taking money for nothing any more than I believe in appropriating something for nothing unless it's freely given as a gift.

I operate within a fairly simple moral framework. It's not too fancy. But it works for me. Beyond that I make no representations or warranties. YMMV. :P ;D

Renegade

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Re: "Half of our users block ads. Now what?"
« Reply #14 on: March 10, 2013, 07:08:44 PM »
Sounds like you're trying to point out the sense of entitlement from publishers. "Since I made this, I must be paid for it whether you like it or not." It works both ways there.

Sorry Ren, but that's not what I'm saying at all.  :nono2:

Got it. Didn't mean to put words in your mouth. Guess I was just reading into it what wasn't there.

FWIW, I still think that you're pretty much bang on there. I've always thought ads as a revenue source were pretty lame.
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Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

Tinman57

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Re: "Half of our users block ads. Now what?"
« Reply #15 on: March 10, 2013, 07:56:18 PM »
  The ad marketers screwed themselves by assaulting our privacy with their tracking.  And then there are websites that takes 5 minutes to load up with nothing but ads and one small article.  Then there are the pop-ups that get in your way, sometimes popping up on cue every X minutes.  Then let's not forget the scrolling ads they injected into your status bar, basically making it useless other than a constant ad continuously scrolling.
  Oh, I could go on and on, but we've all seen it, and most of us are tired of it.  They made their beds, now they can lay in them.....

mouser

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Re: "Half of our users block ads. Now what?"
« Reply #16 on: March 10, 2013, 08:11:56 PM »
My natural alliance is with the small website trying to survive on the revenue generated by ads.

BUT, I have a couple of thoughts about this:

1. I'm a firm believer that it is silly to worry about generating income from the percentage of people who are sophisticated enough to circumvent these kinds of things, whether they be paywalls, pirating drm, or adblockers.  It is almost certainly the case that if someone is using an ad blocker then they werent going to click on your ads -- so asking them to turn off the ad blocker is just silliness.  And i have a hard time believing the 50% figure.

2. It seems to me that the entire internet is being built on this house of cards scam financial bubble that we call internet ads.  Once again a bit of marketing geniuses have figured out how to fleece companies by turning our entire internet into a giant advertising factory -- wrecking havok on our ability to find information on the web, and corrupting every source of information out there, and creating huge incentives to lie, create fake posts and reviews, create fake clicks, etc.  And the losers are the honest content producers and consumers.  The sooner we have an internet revolution and get rid of internet ads the better.  I hope what comes in its place is direct funding of content producers by content consumers and that we can kill the advertising middlemen.

40hz

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Re: "Half of our users block ads. Now what?"
« Reply #17 on: March 10, 2013, 08:42:29 PM »
the losers are the honest content producers and consumers.

this! :Thmbsup:

TaoPhoenix

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Re: "Half of our users block ads. Now what?"
« Reply #18 on: March 10, 2013, 11:15:54 PM »
Hmm, goods stuff here. What other angles can I go after?

1. Companies can't stand "stasis". "Grow or bust" is a famous theme in simplistic business advice seminars. Trouble is, sometimes you just can't grow past a certain scale. So let's say a really nice small ad was used for a while, and everything is fine. Then some Biz type decides "we need more ad revenue. Let's make the ad ... bigger!" Uh... oops. There went a 20% *drop* in revenue from upset customers!

2. Re: The "entitlement" claim, most of TV was offered for free via ad revenue for decades, so it's not quite fair to suddenly decide that "it's different on the internet" and that a former TV viewer, now an online article viewer, suddenly became "entitled".

3. The bar for content is just higher. Newspapers were semi-subsidized by "gimmicks" like the comics, classifieds, and a few other things. There was a lot of filler slammed out. Sorry, Craigslist happened, (yes, with problems), web comics have basically pulverized the comic scene for newspapers, and everyone has the same 3 paragraph AP feed. So if it's gonna come to hard cash for content, make it for something that someone(s) really busted hump to write.

Example: Stephen Brill wrote a bone crunching rundown on hospital scam charges. Take a look.
http://healthland.ti...ills-are-killing-us/
10 (decent sized pages!) Super important topic. (Which still may not be really hitting national news!)
And it took him *seven months* to write. That's one I might have paid a couple dollars for.


wraith808

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Re: "Half of our users block ads. Now what?"
« Reply #19 on: March 11, 2013, 12:35:46 AM »
2. Re: The "entitlement" claim, most of TV was offered for free via ad revenue for decades, so it's not quite fair to suddenly decide that "it's different on the internet" and that a former TV viewer, now an online article viewer, suddenly became "entitled".

It's actually not different on the internet.  TV is having a hard time with DVRs and such that effectively are Ad-Blockers.  Adapt or die.

Renegade

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Re: "Half of our users block ads. Now what?"
« Reply #20 on: March 11, 2013, 01:57:47 AM »
It's actually not different on the internet.  TV is having a hard time with DVRs and such that effectively are Ad-Blockers.  Adapt or die.

Or do the shameless product placements and dialog plugs that you see on NCIS, CSI, etc. etc. etc.
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Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

Carol Haynes

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Re: "Half of our users block ads. Now what?"
« Reply #21 on: March 11, 2013, 04:22:36 AM »
It's actually not different on the internet.  TV is having a hard time with DVRs and such that effectively are Ad-Blockers.  Adapt or die.

Or do the shameless product placements and dialog plugs that you see on NCIS, CSI, etc. etc. etc.

Quite if you believe Hollywood everything from medical research to national defence is run on iMacs!

40hz

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Re: "Half of our users block ads. Now what?"
« Reply #22 on: March 11, 2013, 06:42:08 AM »
2. Re: The "entitlement" claim, most of TV was offered for free via ad revenue for decades, so it's not quite fair to suddenly decide that "it's different on the internet" and that a former TV viewer, now an online article viewer, suddenly became "entitled".

Also, lets not forget that virtually all the underlying technology running the web was paid for with US tax dollars. Something that was repeatedly emphasized by just about everybody during those early years when the general public was first granted access to the Internet. Likely it was intended as a bit of "meme engineering" to prevent some business from trying to do a grab on it and become the next Bell Telephone monopoly; and also to forestall the US government from having a change of heart and revoking public access.

So if John Q. Public suddenly got it in his head that he "owned" the web and that it was "already paid for"...well...that's hardly unexpected. That's what he was told. Repeatedly.

Why that idea became, by extrapolation, an assumption that everything carried on the web (i.e music, movies, content) must also be free is a question that has been widely discussed and argued. So it's hardly worth going off on a tangent to repeat any of it here. Suffice to say, everybody has their own favorite theory on why this 'entitlement' mindset emerged.
 ;D

Fred Nerd

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Re: "Half of our users block ads. Now what?"
« Reply #23 on: March 11, 2013, 07:00:57 AM »
My opinion on this is that on one hand I like things being free especially for younger people etc. BUT on the other hand I would much rather pay then see ads.
Part of the my plan would be copy protection that wouldn't be TOO hard to get around so that kids could use their brains and pirate what they need, BUT you'd be reminded you should pay for it. Like the DC way of paying for it or being reminded to renew your licence.
Remember back in the 'good old days' of Windows 98? Kids who grew up then learnt to use lateral thinking to get things you couldn't afford, with plenty of viruses to catch you out AND then to learn how to fix it when you downloaded photoshop_crack_win.exe ;)
Was really good fun, and you learned to think. Still didn't get anything productive done, but it was fun.

Anyway, I use an ad blocker since I hate ads so much that if I see an ad I'll boycott the company for annoying me. Unless it's an 'infomercial'. If I'm looking at a site to buy building products, they can try to tell me that I should own the latest nail gun, that makes sense.

But basically, I'm happy for a lot of blogs and bloggers to go broke. They don't work as hard as I do, and seem to know less as well. Anyone I like can ask for donations or premium services and I'll pay.  
Same with Android apps, less ad supported only, more crippleware with a pay option. More prestige in owning a phone with everything paid for.

Renegade

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Re: "Half of our users block ads. Now what?"
« Reply #24 on: March 11, 2013, 08:55:33 AM »
Quite if you believe Hollywood everything from medical research to national defence is run on iMacs!

Almost, but not quite.

NCIS is a Microsoft show. I remember one episode where the boss and the computer geek are talking and one says something like, "Oh, I just stored it all securely on my SkyDrive blah blah blah *chokes on MS c*** in mouth*."

I just about wanted to vomit.

Opinion about TV
Anyone that thinks that TV is anything more than entertaining propaganda that you pay for is a blithering idiot.

The great feat in Hollywood is that they have turned entertainment into propaganda, and people swallow it hook, line and sinker and refuse to believe that it is propaganda.

Anyone interested can look up LRPS (long range penetration strain). It's not a new idea and has been around for decades.

Any further comment belongs in the Basement with a few beer and a sense of humour! :D


Oh, and there are other MS shows out there as well. Apple just understands propaganda better and does a better job of it.
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Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker