Ads on the Blog: A Request for Feedback

As you may have seen if you don’t have an ad-blocker enabled on your browser, at the end of July I suddenly enabled ads on this blog. The idea is to see if the ads can generate enough money to pay for (most of) the costs of hosting the site without becoming an irritant to readers. I use the WordAds service from WordPress.com and from the blog dashboard it appeared that I had a fair bit of control over where the ads appeared: only in the sidebar and at the bottom of blog pages but not blog posts. However, it appears that in addition to these locations WordPress randomly inserts ads between paragraphs on some posts. I seem to see these only on Firefox and on my phone and never on Chrome for the Mac. I’ve no idea how consistent this is. WordPress tells me that I can request to have this “feature” turned off. Before I do so I thought I would check with readers to see what your take on all this is. So if you wouldn’t mind terribly, please take 30 seconds to respond to the following polls. Thanks!

 

1.

If you are fine with ads in the abstract then please answer the following question as well:

2.

If you have thoughts about ads separate from the poll questions above please write in to the comments below.

16 thoughts on “Ads on the Blog: A Request for Feedback

    • Yes, hosting is not that expensive and was even cheaper when I went the self-hosted route—but then the blog would crash every time some post became popular. I moved to WordPress.com a few years ago. The plan I’m on now is not particularly expensive but I might soon need to upgrade to the next level (it’s a file storage issue—all those obsessive pictures of food take up room). At that point it would be nice to have at least half of that cost subsidized*. And in terms of current ad revenues, it seems likely I could do that.

      *I could indeed also just pay for it by purchasing five or six fewer bottles of whisky a year.

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  1. >> I could indeed also just pay for it by purchasing five or six fewer bottles of whisky a year.

    Yes, but that’s five or six fewer bottles you’d review each year (okay, some likely will be repeats; we all have our favorites). Ads on this site are not obnoxious. Go for it.

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  2. Hi there,

    my email provider is advert sponsored so that the email account can be free. Recently they put ads into a sidebar right from the messages. That leads to a much smaller window for the messages and some are no longer displayed in full. Non of the ads has ever inerested me nor ever will. It is annoying to have that smaller messages window for ads you do not need or want.

    But it is your show you run it like you see fit. So if it is neccessary to buy hosting time by adverts or buying less bottles I would vote for adverts. Can’t let you run dry, can we?

    I think your wonderful blog is worth the annoyance of ads… to a certain degree.

    Greetings
    kallaskander

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  3. Do what you need to do to keep your terrific blog going, MAO. In the sidebar and below posts is fine – not too much of an irritant. Between the paras of a post might start to feel a bit strange.

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  4. Thanks to everyone who responded to the poll or commented for the feedback. I have asked WordPress.com’s customer support to disable the placement of ads within posts—as this is a “feature” they randomly provided, I do not have control over it. I’m not sure how long it will take for this to happen so if you keep seeing inline ads after a day or two, please let me know.

    I will in their place activate ads to run below posts/pages and see what that looks like.

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  5. A belated response to this: I support the idea of ads in principle, but switched my ad-blocker back on when you first enabled the ads as I found them very visually distracting (I think they were animated? I can’t remember clearly now.). I tried switching the ad-blocker off again recently because I wanted to support the blog, and have found the ads much more tolerable since.

    Not sure if this is something you have any kind of influence over, but if you do I would definitely consider what kind of ads are likely to be more or less disruptive to readers. For me static images are fine, but anything that moves or makes a noise will have me switching the ad-blocker back on.

    Hope the ads do make a noticeable difference in subsidising the running of the blog!

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    • Alas, I have no control of any kind over what kinds of ads run. Maybe on self-hosted servers where you contract directly with ad providers you could specify these things but on WordPress.com there’s a set ads plugin that you turn on and then you get whatever ads run. WordPress.com’s ad engine doesn’t pay as much some others, apparently. But when I was doing the self-hosted thing in the early years of the blog it was a bit too much of a pain dealing with uptime and upgrades and security and so forth.

      As of now, it looks like the ads will pay just enough to cover the current site costs. Again, if they’re too annoying/distracting please feel free to turn your ad-blocker on. And if they become too annoying/distracting for too many people, then the revenue they generate won’t be worth it anyway.

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      • Thanks for the explanation! I suppose I’d have been surprised if WordPress gave you that level of fine control, and I can imagine self hosting would be a massive pain, fully understand why you’ve done it this way. I’ll keep the ad-blocker off as much as I can. Glad it looks likely to cover your costs!

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