META - Ads in the middle of posts

Submitted by poseidon7902 on September 24th, 2018 at 8:33 AM

Anyone else seeing ads now show up in the middle of people's posts?  It just recently started, so not sure if it's driven by an update to Chrome or possibly something that's how we're going to run this place now which seems like a really bad move.  This is the 3rd thread today that I've seen this happen.  

 

Comments

MH20

September 24th, 2018 at 8:40 AM ^

I noticed in your screen shot that you're not logged in. Do the ads still appear after you log in? I've seen that on other message boards where if you're not logged in you see ads, but after logging in they go away.

On a related note, I've started getting ads on my phone at the bottom of the screen in Chrome. It does have a down arrow that I can tap to make it disappear. Just noticed that within the past week or so. That may be a mobile browser thing, though. If not I guess I just answered my own question since I'm always logged in.

Mike Damone

September 24th, 2018 at 9:25 AM ^

I would blame it on Google changing their algorithms - but I am sure the libs on this site would consider that a political statement and downvote my ass. 

I have huge negative points that don't change regardless - but downvotes hurt my feelings...

 

Seth

September 24th, 2018 at 9:29 AM ^

Our network ad revenue is down despite our site visits being way way up and we think it's due to ad placement (and not locking them, which we are working to fix). At the moment we are running a test program through Google that tries out all sorts of empty spaces for ad positions, and then we'll pick which ones we want to keep that aren't annoying but also mean we get to keep doing this for a living. I haven't seen many in-situ ads yet. I don't think we'd keep anything that's appearing in the middle of content unless we get really high rates for a spot after the jump in feature articles or something like that.

1VaBlue1

September 24th, 2018 at 9:44 AM ^

Thanks for this, Seth!  Explanations behind changes that garner attention (like one getting its own thread) is the best way to keep things reasonable.  We don't have to like it, but if we can understand it then the complaints from chronic complainers are minimized.  Not saying everyone posting here is a chronic complainer, but some are...

Ad placement in the middle of content or comments is certainly something that should be explained, as it does change the user environment.  So the explanation is a good thing.

pz

September 24th, 2018 at 9:59 AM ^

I also wonder if this is a google issue with what is being served on the site. Complaints about the types of ads that we're getting are tiring as I know there is a methodology to it, but some of the themes seem downright ridiculous and everyone seems to be having similar issues (and I don't have the same problems on other sites).

Beyond that, I'm seeing the same ads literally hundreds of times - even if I click them and tell AdChoices not to show me the ad again - which, working in marketing, I know for sure is a worst practice for an advertiser...

mGrowOld

September 24th, 2018 at 10:38 AM ^

FWIW I get BOMBED with the mail-order bride solicitation on my work computer and the naughtiest site I've visited her is Daily Mail.  

So no, the Google browsing history isnt what's driving those ads.  It's the site itself (sports site = men), not my browsing habits.

pz

September 24th, 2018 at 12:05 PM ^

I would also recommend removing the "$" and "(lol)" from the dropdown driving to support. If someone is interested in supporting, I would guess that the sarcastic tone there probably isn't the most helpful.

I'd also love if the Amazon referral link were back on the homepage to avoid the extra scrolling around and clicks but know that it must be a low-priority revenue stream. I try to use it whenever I remember but was definitely more religious when it was right on the homepage. Maybe put it next to / under Beveled Guilt?

Magnus

September 24th, 2018 at 9:59 AM ^

I'm sure you know this already, but ad revenue is down across the board. Several years ago, I thought TTB was on the way to being almost the equivalent of a second full-time job's worth of income, but AdSense (and other platforms) really dropped off. I've incorporated other things (Amazon among them) to try to boost income, but it's still not consistently where it used to be. 

Seth

September 24th, 2018 at 10:12 AM ^

Lots of reasons for that but the main ones are ad blockers and that clickbait/SEO sites are better than the networks at gaming the system and taking the higher rate ads. The people selling the ads would MUCH rather have them on sites like ours that have readers highly engaged with the content, but we aren't as good at all the little tricks.

Seth

September 24th, 2018 at 1:20 PM ^

For display ads I never got good at them. I don't want to chase around a bunch of $200 advertisers unless they're people I like (like the Cancer Support Center and their tailgate) and it's not worth my time to do so.

You'll note however that our premier ad position over the first article is either one of our primary sponsors or it doesn't appear. And we run sponsorships in editorial spaces from people we know and interact with on Twitter, and do more podcasts for companies you are likely to meet around town. So I would say we're much further down that road than most sites, but going all the way is probably never going to happen.

mgobaran

September 24th, 2018 at 10:01 AM ^

I would blame that more on the types of ads that are being ran. As mentioned, cheeky mens underwear and oddly specific dating sites aren't going to generate many, if any, clicks. That seems to be user-wide, and not something targeted based on individual history. TBH those ads are borderline NSFW. 

Magnus

September 24th, 2018 at 10:07 AM ^

a) Ads are often based on user browsing history. 

b) Competition for ad space drives up revenue. If Brian and Co. say "You can't put underwear or dating ads here," then there are only (for a random number) 100 companies fighting for their ad space rather than 110. So if they cut out those ads, then they'll need to do something else to boost income for the competition they're losing.

Seth

September 24th, 2018 at 10:14 AM ^

It's only the super power users who get such cheap ads. Networks underrate users who see a site all the time versus new users, which makes sense in the macro but becomes self-defeating with a site like ours. Basically the internet rules are not written for sites that have a highly engaged audience who loves the site they're on and go there all the time. It's made for who can grab the attention of people when they're in a state to have their attention easily grabbed.