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Re: Web Site Headlines

Postby TAsunder » Wed May 06, 2009 2:58 pm

TheBookPolice wrote:If by "participate in the arms race," you mean "drilling a hole in your own boat." Sure, we might all evolve to have gills, but people are gonna drown before that ever happens.


If TDP drowns because their only source of revenue is online banner ads, it's their own fault. It's an increasingly ineffective form of advertising. Rates are going down, click-through rates are going down, and sooner or later the bubble will burst.
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Re: Web Site Headlines

Postby TheBookPolice » Wed May 06, 2009 3:10 pm

TAsunder wrote:
TheBookPolice wrote:If by "participate in the arms race," you mean "drilling a hole in your own boat." Sure, we might all evolve to have gills, but people are gonna drown before that ever happens.

If TDP drowns because their only source of revenue is online banner ads, it's their own fault. It's an increasingly ineffective form of advertising. Rates are going down, click-through rates are going down, and sooner or later the bubble will burst.

No, TDP is the boat (mental note: "The Boat" could be a very cool new nickname). You're the one drowning, because using ad-blockers on a free site like TDP is just hastening the demise of the site, something you as a user clearly must not want to happen.
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Re: Web Site Headlines

Postby ilikebeans » Wed May 06, 2009 3:25 pm

TheBookPolice wrote:You're the one drowning, because using ad-blockers on a free site like TDP is just hastening the demise of the site, something you as a user clearly must not want to happen.

That depends. Does the site get revenue for ad impressions, or only click-throughs? If the latter, does it matter if someone uses an ad blocker if they never click on ads in the first place?
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Re: Web Site Headlines

Postby TAsunder » Wed May 06, 2009 3:33 pm

TheBookPolice wrote:
TAsunder wrote:
TheBookPolice wrote:If by "participate in the arms race," you mean "drilling a hole in your own boat." Sure, we might all evolve to have gills, but people are gonna drown before that ever happens.

If TDP drowns because their only source of revenue is online banner ads, it's their own fault. It's an increasingly ineffective form of advertising. Rates are going down, click-through rates are going down, and sooner or later the bubble will burst.

No, TDP is the boat (mental note: "The Boat" could be a very cool new nickname). You're the one drowning, because using ad-blockers on a free site like TDP is just hastening the demise of the site, something you as a user clearly must not want to happen.


Suddenly I don't know how to swim or hop on another boat?

I won't like it if TDP fails, but if it fails because they aren't getting enough money from banner ads, then I'll hardly feel guilty or sorry for TDP. See above.

Of course, you are assuming that TDP gets revenue just from ad VIEWS which is increasingly rare and unlikely to continue for very long if true, and that the advertiser has any way to differentiate between delivered and actually viewed. Regardless of whether I see the ads, it is extraordinarily rare that I (or anyone else) would click one. A click through rate of 1% would be an incredible success story.
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Re: Web Site Headlines

Postby jjoyce » Wed May 06, 2009 4:15 pm

How can you speak so authoritatively about how a website should or shouldn't generate revenue if you don't even understand the value of advertising?

Again, these are local businesses we deal with. Of course we don't charge by click, because clicking isn't the only measure of success for a web ad. If you want to argue that banner advertising is less or more effective than other types of advertising (commercials, billboards, magazine inserts), then I'd like to see some data that can measure something equivalent to a click. Some studies indicate that because a website visitor is more engaged with the medium than a newspaper reader or a TV watcher, advertising here has more value, particularly when you're reaching a niche audience at the point of decision making (I'm searching for a place to eat tonight on TDP and see some ads that pop up along with the search results).

And no, banner advertising is not the only way we make money, but it's one of the ways we get the word out about other revenue-producing parts of our business, like Events (Green Day) and other services we provide to advertisers (isthmussaves.com). Of course, there's also classifieds and search and other stuff. But local businesses want to be where the action is and they want to develop their brand. Harder to do that with text ads.

But after doing this for a while, I'm under no illusion that clicking banners is the end-all, be-all. It's probably worth a ton more if you walked into Liliana's and told the manager that you're there because you saw the ad on TDP.
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Re: Web Site Headlines

Postby TAsunder » Wed May 06, 2009 5:28 pm

jjoyce wrote:How can you speak so authoritatively about how a website should or shouldn't generate revenue if you don't even understand the value of advertising?


Do enlighten me by pointing out the flaws in what I've stated. I'll be glad to respond.

Again, these are local businesses we deal with. Of course we don't charge by click, because clicking isn't the only measure of success for a web ad.


Neither is banner images delivered. That is, in fact, an extraordinarily poor measure of success. There is a reason that CPM advertising rates have gown down substantially.

If you want to argue that banner advertising is less or more effective than other types of advertising (commercials, billboards, magazine inserts), then I'd like to see some data that can measure something equivalent to a click.


You don't need it if you have data that clearly demonstrates how infrequently users actually even look at the ads and mentally process them. Barring any shocking or jarring content, that is quite low.

Some studies indicate that because a website visitor is more engaged with the medium than a newspaper reader or a TV watcher, advertising here has more value, particularly when you're reaching a niche audience at the point of decision making (I'm searching for a place to eat tonight on TDP and see some ads that pop up along with the search results).


For that ad to be effective, it shouldn't look like an ad, though. Which means it shouldn't be a banner ad.

You know what's even more effective? When the ad is only shown to the subset of users who are actually likely to act based on an ad. That would exclude users like me or anyone else who distrusts online advertising by default. Such people do exist, but they are increasingly rare commodities.

And no, banner advertising is not the only way we make money, but it's one of the ways we get the word out about other revenue-producing parts of our business, like Events (Green Day) and other services we provide to advertisers (isthmussaves.com). Of course, there's also classifieds and search and other stuff. But local businesses want to be where the action is and they want to develop their brand. Harder to do that with text ads.


Quite the opposite - it's much easier to do with text ads because people are far more likely to actually look at them. That is why Google is one of the most successful and prolific advertisers.
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Re: Web Site Headlines

Postby snoqueen » Wed May 06, 2009 5:47 pm

I love the photo bar. It's not easy to crop a little horizontal strip of photo and make it interesting, and your art ppl have done it consistently.

I also enjoy ads and appreciate the effort it takes to make a good one with good graphics. Ads make me curious to try different restaurants and announce events of interest, like the "write by the lake" UW course. I think UW and MATC should try more ads for specific classes or lecture series, except MATC is booked solid right now anyhow.

I deliberately patronize places I've seen on line, if only because they're putting forth some effort to reach out to the public. It makes a positive impression.

I am also convinced the alt.com ticket guy and the corncob guy are the same person. Who IS this freak?

The Internet would be a boring place with no ads. The only ones I don't like are the ones that intercept you on your way to a page and take over the whole screen, and the ones that freeze Firefox.
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Re: Web Site Headlines

Postby jjoyce » Wed May 06, 2009 7:32 pm

TAsunder wrote:Quite the opposite - it's much easier to do with text ads because people are far more likely to actually look at them. That is why Google is one of the most successful and prolific advertisers.


You have made these points as though we have no idea what our own ads are doing as far as clicks and rates.

The click-through rate of our ads (only one measure of an ad's effectiveness) is significantly higher than the national averages and higher than what a lot of other alt weeklies report.

Also: As this site continues to deliver value to our advertisers (which we do), we're able to increase rates (which we have). And we have more advertisers now than we did last year. All of these points are fact, not speculation.

Now, if you as a user are indifferent to ads, then fine. And if you choose not to click or even acknowledge them, that's fine too. But there are a lot of advertisers and users who find value in ads. Ads are content, when it comes to local papers like Isthmus.
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Re: Web Site Headlines

Postby Kenneth Burns » Wed May 06, 2009 9:26 pm

TAsunder wrote:If TDP drowns because their only source of revenue is online banner ads, it's their own fault. It's an increasingly ineffective form of advertising. Rates are going down, click-through rates are going down, and sooner or later the bubble will burst.


Where was I for the bubble?
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Re: Web Site Headlines

Postby fennel » Wed May 06, 2009 9:49 pm

TheBookPolice wrote:You're the one drowning, because using ad-blockers on a free site like TDP is just hastening the demise of the site, something you as a user clearly must not want to happen.
That's the most patently absurd assertion I've heard in a long while. To suggest that a visitor who does not want to see ads ought to nonetheless do so for the good of an expired business model ... Ach!
The visitor is here, after all. If they're contributing to a forum, that's an infusion – good or bad – that would otherwise be lost.

If you genuninely like ads, hooray for you. If you don't like ads but feel virtuous by subjecting yourself to them, hooray for you.

If anything, ad blockers have kept TDP alive. Those who don't mind ads don't use them. Those who do mind them visit and contribute nonetheless, since they aren't shut out. Even if the latter is a small minority, it provides a kind of kinetic engery otherwise missing.
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Re: Web Site Headlines

Postby white_rabbit » Wed May 06, 2009 10:13 pm

People who use ad-blockers are like those certain type of individuals who never tip the bartender at an open bar. Yes, you still get your free beer and can justify your stinginess by telling yourself that he's still getting paid by the host but eventually all the good bartenders are going to leave and go to work for the joints with the cover charge and your going to be left with madison.com
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Re: Web Site Headlines

Postby TheBookPolice » Wed May 06, 2009 10:37 pm

When they're good, they're fine. Sometimes I even actively like them rather than just accept them. When they're bad or intrusive (see the former Alt.com ad), I complain to the advertiser and/or intermediary (TDP).

You and I aren't responsible for TDP's business model. We're users of the site, and if we value it, why would we want to behave in a way that doesn't help the site to persevere, nevermind might actively hurt its chances?

To me, that means allowing for ads to occasionally intrude on what for you is a very non-spastic and non-commercial Internet experience, I'm sure.

EDIT: sorry, I left off the quote, but this was a response to fennel, primarily.
Last edited by TheBookPolice on Thu May 07, 2009 9:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Web Site Headlines

Postby TAsunder » Thu May 07, 2009 9:44 am

jjoyce wrote:You have made these points as though we have no idea what our own ads are doing as far as clicks and rates.


What does that have to do with whether text ads would be more effective. Have you tested them to see? I would be flabbergasted if a well-integrated text ad performed worse than a flashing banner ad that sometimes has objectionable content.

The click-through rate of our ads (only one measure of an ad's effectiveness) is significantly higher than the national averages and higher than what a lot of other alt weeklies report.


And what would that rate be? 0.8%? What are the other measures you are using for ad effectiveness, BTW? Eyetracking studies?

Also: As this site continues to deliver value to our advertisers (which we do), we're able to increase rates (which we have). And we have more advertisers now than we did last year. All of these points are fact, not speculation.


I never disputed them. What I disputed is the long-term value and business sense of banner ads as a primary source of income. There are many factors that would influence the number of advertisers in your paper. Unless you have demonstrated that TDP is somehow the exception to a well-established fact of banner advertising, it is moot.

It's great if it's helping TDP for now, but it is not a tenable business model long term to base the entire survival of the organization on banner ads. I am quite certain you don't and would find the notion equally ridiculous.

Now, if you as a user are indifferent to ads, then fine. And if you choose not to click or even acknowledge them, that's fine too. But there are a lot of advertisers and users who find value in ads. Ads are content, when it comes to local papers like Isthmus.


The Isthmus is delivered in print. TDP is not. There is a massive difference in how users interact with each. I am not disputing the value of print ads at all. If you were to place print ads in the same spot on every page of The Isthmus without exception, you would find the same thing happening with the print version as happens with virtually every site on the Internet that does the same.

As you recall, what started this whole chain of the value of advertising was the absurd thought-terminating cliche that TBP tried to introduce by suggesting that not viewing the ads would eventually doom TDP. It is based on the reasoning above posted by white_rabbit that I somehow owe TDP my viewership of ads because otherwise we'll all get "crappy bartenders."

This is, of course, based on the highly illogical assumption that quality bartenders would just give up a valuable segment of the market instead of increasing their rates or finding other ways of being profitable. Apparently bartenders, TDP, and online advertising is so inept and unresponsive to market forces that, like a lemming, it just walks off any ledge in its path and then blames the ledge.
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Re: Web Site Headlines

Postby TAsunder » Thu May 07, 2009 9:49 am

TheBookPolice wrote:You and I aren't responsible for TDP's business model. We're users of the site, and if we value it, why would we want to behave in a way that doesn't help the site to persevere, nevermind might actively hurt its chances?

To me, that means allowing for ads to occasionally intrude on what for you is a very non-spastic and non-commercial Internet experience, I'm sure.


Do you use the same reasoning for telemarketers? They are not substantially different than internet advertisers in general. Both of them intrude on you in obnoxious ways. After 15+ years of increasingly invasive and at times legitimately dangerous internet advertising, I've had enough. It's like I've been to 500 "open bars" and have been insulted and threatened so often that I have decided to stop "tipping". It's going to take a lot to convince me that I should be looking at ads even on sites like TDP. Certainly not anytime soon considering the poor judgment and lack of sense shown with the alt.com ads.
Last edited by TAsunder on Thu May 07, 2009 10:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Web Site Headlines

Postby TheBookPolice » Thu May 07, 2009 9:53 am

TAsunder wrote:Do you use the same reasoning for telemarketers? They are not substantially different than internet advertisers in general. Both of them intrude on you in obnoxious ways. After 15+ years of increasingly invasive and at times legitimately dangerous internet advertising, I've had enough. It's going to take a lot to convince me that I should be looking at ads even on sites like TDP. Certainly not anytime soon considering the poor judgment and lack of sense shown with the alt.com ads.

Telemarketers selling debt management and whatever the hell else they sell--I wouldn't know because I don't have a land line anymore. And I think the horse is kind of out of the barn that telemarketers are almost universally reviled, and the products they sold generally questionable. Fireman's charity? They couldn't tell you how much money was going to the charity if you gave them an hour.

So let's compare those telemarketers to, say, the lineup I'm facing right now. Flavor of India, High Noon Saloon, Sa-Bai Thong, Out, Alt.com, and two Isthmus-sponsored ads. Yeah, those all seem pretty dangerous and invasive. Come on.

Does it help TDP if you block ads? Conversely, is there a chance that it might hurt them? Given that the current ad profile is pretty inoffensive, I see no reason to chance the latter.
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