Tag Archives: advertising

EasyList Blocks Me: Yet Another AdBlock Rant

In the past 30 days, this blog pulled in about 37,000 pageviews. While that’s not an astronomical figure, it’s more than the 30 days before. This blog is slowly, but steadily, growing.

To my dismay, my ad impressions are lower than ever. Only fifteen thousand in the last 30 days. That’s down from 20,000…which is down from 25,000. (A few months ago, the ads were getting over 30,000 impressions!) It seems that my ad impressions are decreasing at a rate that’s far faster than the rate that my traffic increases.

Before I do much complaining, lets get a few facts straight:

  • My ads are served by the wonderful BuySellAds marketplace.
  • As per BuySellAds’ regulations, I don’t run any Flash-based ads. That means no sound, no video, no annoying salesmen dancing across the text you’re trying to read.
  • The ads are six small squares, sized 125×125 pixels, in the right-hand sidebar.
  • I set my own pricing. This means I can charge what I think is fair to both the advertiser and myself, instead of being stuck with pennies. I had been charging $30 for a thirty day period, which at one time had meant upwards of 30,000 impressions.
  • I manually approve the ads before they are shown here.
  • The ads pay for hosting and domain expenses, as well as the hours I put into writing. It’s no picnic pushing 6-7 posts out each week; a constant struggle to meet the daily deadlines without being reduced to releasing subpar-quality content.

Obviously I was not happy when I discovered that only one of my ad spots was still filled, the others having vacated earlier in the day as advertisers checked on their investments and took care of their ad bookings for the next month.

You see, advertisers will only pay for what they see to be a good investment, which is figured with a ratio between the cost and the number of times a banner ad is viewed. $50 for, say, 100,000 ad impressions would be considered a very good deal, as it works out to be about $0.50 CPM (cost per thousand impressions). Now if a website charged the same $50 for only 25,000 impressions, that would work out to be $2 CPM. If you could get more eyeballs for the same amount of money, why would you go with the lower-traffic site?

These aren’t Pay-Per-Click ads (like Google’s) we’re talking about here. The advertisers don’t care too much if their ads get clicked. They’re more worried about them being seen. If the ad views go down, I get a lot less money. Period. I can either cut my rates, and make less money, or not be able to book the ad spots at all, and make less money.

What happened to the impressions? I’m pretty sure it’s a result of AdBlock. I’ve, for awhile, used Thaya Kareeson’s excellent BuySellAds WordPress plugin to prevent my ads from being blocked by the EasyList filter, which had included a line that would block content from s3.buysellads.com. That meant that my ad impressions were nearly in line with my pageviews. Guess what happened. I found this little gem in the EasyList filter:

webmaster-source.com##.adblock

They added a line in to block ads on this website specifically. Here I had been thinking they were just blocking BuySellAds’ ad HTML at the DOM level instead of just blocking the script server, but no, they went and made it personal. Anything with a class of .adblock (which includes ads generated by BuySellAds) is stripped from my web pages. Upwards of four million internet users have the EasyList filter installed and, whether they know it or not, they can’t see the ads if they come here.

An Approach to Fair Ad Blocking

Wladimir Palant, author of the ever-popular AdBlock Plus extension for Firefox, recently penned an interesting article on the AdBlock blog: An approach to fair ad blocking.

As I stated many times before, my goal with Adblock Plus isn’t to destroy the advertising industry. In the end, the Internet does need money to run and ads are still the most universal way to distribute that money. The only problem is that ads are becoming increasingly intrusive and annoying as webmasters try to maximize their profits which is the main reason people install Adblock Plus. So the idea is to give control back to the users by allowing them to block annoying ads. Since the non-intrusive ads would be blocked less often it would encourage webmasters to use such ads, balance restored.

Now it isn’t a secret that Adblock Plus hasn’t been performing particularly well towards that goal. While users can theoretically choose not to block ads on some sites, most users simply install Adblock Plus, choose a filter subscription (which will block all ads without exceptions) and forget about Adblock Plus.

I’ve long been one of the many who feel that ad blocking has gotten out of hand, but it certainly is interesting that the author of the extension has similar views. I think of AdBlock as a pop-up blocker; it’s for nuking the Flash ads that play sound or dance across your screen, not for removing all ads, and the publishers’ revenue with it. No, I don’t click ads, save for the occasional 125×125 banner on a tech site, if an interesting one happens to catch my eye.

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Once Again, “Old Media” Gets Web Advertising Wrong…

The Online Publishers Association is calling for new, more intrusive ad formats to combat banner-blindness.

A large-scale intrusive format is absolutely necessary in today’s market,” said Adam Kleinberg, chief executive of Traction, a San Francisco ad agency. “With the economy and the move to digital, the marketers are demanding a return on investment in every campaign.”

The association, which includes big names such as CNN, CBS Interactive, IDG, Condé Nast, New York Times, and NBC Universal, cites the impending death of their old media as a need to find a way to better monetize their content on the web.

The first of the formats being proposed is “Fixed Panel,” with recommended dimensions of 336×860 pixels. It will look “naturally embedded into the page layout” and remain visible as you scroll, plastered to the side of the page. The second is “XXL Box,” recommended to be sized 468 pixels wide by 648 high. It is to have “page-turn functionality” and the ability to show video. The third is known as “Pushdown,” with a starting display size of 970×418, “which opens to display the advertisement and then rolls up to the top of the page.”

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Giveaway: Win 1,000 Business Cards From UPrinting

UPrinting LogoReaders of Webmaster-Source, listen up! UPrinting, a cheap business card printing company that I’ve found to be of good quality, has offered to give 1,000 business cards each to two people from our community.

Two winners will be chosen at random from those who comment before the deadline of March 15. (Midnight, EST.)

How to Enter

  • Leave a comment on this post, from the form at the bottom, telling us why you want the business cards, and what you will use them for. Will you promote your website by tacking them up on bulletin boards? Will you carry them around with you at a convention or conference?
  • Be sure to leave a valid email address so we can contact you and see that you receive the business cards.
  • Optionally move to the United States or Canada if you don’t already live there. UPrinting will charge a shipping fee if you reside outside of either country. :)

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Buying Advertising For Your Blog

One way to give your site a boost is to advertise. Chances are, you probably already know of some options to do so, but are they good ones? If you’re on a budget, what are the best places to advertise?

Personally, I don’t think globally buying AdSense PPC ads is the way to start. You want to target your ads a bit better than that. I have a few suggestions to try if you want to get the most for your investment.

Search Ads

Want to get a leg-up over your competitors? Try advertising in Google results.

Google Sponsored Link

Now unless you have a lot of money, you probably won’t be able to afford premium placing, which is quite pricey apparently, but you could buy some keyword-targetted pay-per-click ads to the left of the results. Not everyone looks at the ads, but more than enough do.

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How to Keep AdBlock From Hiding Your Ads

One of Firefox’s more popular extensions is AdBlock Plus, an add-on that can stop ads from showing as you browse the web. There are two ways to use it. You can selectively kill ads that are so annoying that you can’t stand them (e.g. the ones that float over content or play audio), or you can install a filter subscription that will automatically block any ads that fit the extensive criteria.

Now I like AdBlock, don’t get me wrong. I use it selectively, to remove ads that I find offensive or that hinder my use of a site too much. However, I don’t blanket-block ads like many people do. Why? Because the ads pay for the sites that produce free content for my consumption. I don’t like the flashing “Click here for a free iPod” ads any more than anyone else, but not all ads are like them. There are some ads that just sit there quietly, promoting a product that I don’t mind being shown. Those ads, the reasonable ones, are the way ads should be. They benefit the site, the advertiser, and ideally the reader. AdBlock only came into existence because of the annoying ads, the ones that give online advertising a bad name.

Imagine my indignation when I realized that the “EasyList + EasyElement” filter for AdBlock (one of the most popular filter subscriptions) was automatically blocking the 125×125 ads in my sidebar. I go through a lot to put those ads there. I work hard to make sure that they are unobtrusive, and I spend a fair bit of time communicating with companies to make ad deals. Not only does blocking them cheat the advertisers out of what they are paying for, it hurts my chances of them continuing to advertise.

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Background Advertising

What’s your opinion on “background ads”? They often come up on sites like IMDB and GameSpot, or on other sites with fixed layouts, replacing the normal background image with an ad that seems to have the website floating on top of it.

Do you tend to find this sort of ad annoying, or do you think it’s a smart idea to handle ads that way. I kind of like them. They’re out of the way mainly, and you tend to find them more interesting than a “normal” ad. On the other hand, they kind if detract from a design in some cases, removing some of it’s individuality.

I’ve been seeing the ads more often lately, and IMDB and GameSpot, as I said, tend to get them quite frequently.

On a related note, we may be seeing this sort of thing on Twitter of all places. A new service called Twittad will aid you in finding advertisers to buy your profile’s background for a given time and price. An interesting concept, and I think it will be fun to watch how well this goes over with the Twitter users.

One thing I like about this sort of thing, especially with Twittad, is that there’s no clicking through the ad, away from your site. It’s purely a branding thing. The advertiser isn’t trying to leech your pageviews in order to increase their’s, but to improve the strength of their brand, so people will come there on their own.

Targeted Marketing With Bookmarks

No, not browser bookmarks, physical bookmarks. You know, the strips of paper you use to mark your place in a book? Here’s the idea:

You print-up some bookmarks branded with your site’s logo and domain name. (You can do this yourself with an inkjet printer and some card stock.) Make them funny/interesting/cool-looking, and put a prominent logo and URL on it.

Now, go to your local bookstores and public libraries, bringing a large stack of the ‘marks. Go through and find some books on the topic of your blog, and put the bookmarks inside the books, like you were reading the book and marked the spot. Now the next person to come along and check the book out, or purchase it in the case of a bookstore, will notice the free bookmark (people like free stuff) and possibly visit your site.

How is this targeted? You put the bookmarks in books that fit your blog’s topic, especially books you’ve read and recommend. It’s cheap, it’s unobtrusive, and it works pretty good.

I’ve mainly done this with business cards, though bookmarks work even better, as people are more likely to keep them, and reuse them while reading other books. In one such case, I put cards in all of the library’s copies of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince before the seventh and final Harry Potter book was released, advertising an HP site with a big “Prepare for the final book” legend, the card’s background being the upcoming book’s cover art. I’d planned to do bookmarks, but didn’t have the time to print them up.

Photo by austinevan.

125×125 Ads: Monetize Your Blog With the Bloggers’ Ad Format

When you think of monetizing a blog, what immediately comes to mind? Google’s AdSense, right? AdSense is easy to set-up, and pretty much all legitimate sites are accepted into the program, so it’s the method most bloggers use right away. However, AdSense has it’s shortcomings, as do other monetization methods. It doesn’t work well for blogs in some niches, less and less people click them, etc. Luckily, there’s a better option.

The 125×125 ad, used by “big blogs” like ProBlogger, TechCrunch, and ReadWriteWeb, they are a great way to monetize blogs. I’ve been using them for a couple of months with great success. It’s taken me a year and a half to reach $100 in AdSense earnings; meanwhile I’ve made over $140 so far by direct-selling ads.

125x125s are, as their name suggests, square ads of one hundred twenty five pixels in both directions. They’re fairly unobtrusive, unlike monstrous leaderboard banners, and they’re less susceptible to banner blindness problems. They are the Bloggers’ Ad Format, thought-up by bloggers, and suiting their style of site well. The ads are sold directly to advertisers, cutting out the ad network middleman, and leaving you with more work on your part…but the difference in income is much greater.

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EntreCard – The Free 125×125 Advertising Exchange

EntreCard is, as they put it, is “your internet business card.” When you register at EntreCard.com, you upload a 125×125 image. This is your EntreCard, your virtual business card. Now, there are two things you can do with your card.

  • You can “drop” it on another EC user’s widget. This means both you and the recipient get an EC credit, and your card is displayed in their EC Inbox. It’s like throwing a business card across a table to someone.
  • You can advertise on a user’s widget. By clicking the “Advertise” link in the site’s profile, and paying the auto-adjusted price in EntreCredits, your ad will be submitted to the site owner for approval. If it is approved, your ad will be shown on their site for 24 hours.

As soon as I registered, I was flooded with advertising requests, as users saw the new, cheap, entry in the EC directory. Within two hours of being in the directory, my widget was booked for the next 15 days or so. The request rate has since settled down, but I still have a comfortable influx of ads.

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