Poll About TMO’s Advertising

Poll: Do the ads on TMO help make you aware of and/or refresh your memory of products or services relevant to your interests?
Total Votes: 20
Yes
16
No
4
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    Posted: 18 August 2009 12:41 PM

    As is probably evident, TMO has two simultaneous paths to follow.  Our primary goal is that of serving you, our readers, with content that’s relevant, enjoyable, informative and engaging. Once that’s accomplished we can then provide our relevant advertisers with an audience to whom they can expose their products and services. Those ads help fund our primary goal, and that keeps the circle going ‘round.

    To that end, I’m curious how you, our readers, feel about the ads, hence today’s poll. wink  I’ll keep the answer options simple, but feel free to post your thoughts after you answer the question, too. Thanks!

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    -Dave Hamilton / The Mac Observer / Mac Geek Gab / Dave on Twitter
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    Posted: 18 August 2009 01:47 PM #1

    The small image ads are OK.  But the ads tagged as part of articles are distracting and many times not even appropriate to the article, and sometimes not even appropriate to computers.  They are why I voted NO.

         
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    Posted: 18 August 2009 02:07 PM #2

    Mike Weasner - 18 August 2009 04:47 PM

    The small image ads are OK.  But the ads tagged as part of articles are distracting and many times not even appropriate to the article, and sometimes not even appropriate to computers.  They are why I voted NO.

    Thanks, Mike! This is actually very helpful feedback. When posing this poll I had actually meant the image ads and neglected to consider that folks would also factor-in the intext advertising, too. 

    If those in-text ads are annoying or distracting, you can disable them. To do it, scroll over a one, then click the little question mark, scroll down the page and click the disable option. If that does not work, please let me know!

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    -Dave Hamilton / The Mac Observer / Mac Geek Gab / Dave on Twitter
    When you find a big kettle of crazy, it’s best not to stir it.

         
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    Posted: 18 August 2009 02:32 PM #3

    Thanks for the tip about disabling those inline ads.  I had never noticed that itsy-bitsy faint ? on my 17” screen.  They sure make it difficult.  And then to place the disable option at the bottom of their web page.  But at least it worked!

         
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    Posted: 19 August 2009 05:57 AM #4

    I don’t mind most of them, but some of them are distracting to say the least.

         
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    Posted: 19 August 2009 12:05 PM #5

    MaxW - 19 August 2009 08:57 AM

    I don’t mind most of them, but some of them are distracting to say the least.

    Thanks, Max—Feel free to let us know if you find a particular ad overly distracting.  We’re always looking for—and reacting to—that sort of feedback from all of you.

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    -Dave Hamilton / The Mac Observer / Mac Geek Gab / Dave on Twitter
    When you find a big kettle of crazy, it’s best not to stir it.

         
  • Posted: 19 August 2009 12:40 PM #6

    I completely agree… the image ads tend to be relevant, unobtrusive, and actually enjoyable (compared to almost any other site on the net). I actually do buy things off of the image ads, and they seem to match well with the content without being too far on the “pay to play” side of things.

    On the other hand, I can’t seem to find any way to keep the stupid in line ads from popping up. Maybe I’m doing something wrong, but it seems like if I disable them they just come back again within a week or so… but I haven’t really done a scientific survey. More like “Dang it why are these stupid java popups making it so I can’t scroll and read this (*&^ing article!”, I disable them, then sometime in the near future it’s back to the “dangit’s”.

    They in text ads seem to be almost counter relevant… almost like they were designed to distract you from reading the page so you don’t want to stay on the site. The links seem relevant to the word, not the article. For example, I don’t really know why a “computing with bifocals” article about setting up Mail on mac would link to a Blackberry ad… except that the Blackberry happens to have email capabilities.

    All in all, it has the feeling of those “Looking for X? Try eBay!” fake relevant ads from Google, but with the added bonus of covering up the text I’m trying to read whenever I try to scroll down the page.

    Just for clarification, I still love TMO, and if those context ads are the best way to pay the bills then more power to you. However, if they sold you guys by convincing you that readers wouldn’t view them as intrusive as a Viagra popup, I disagree.  Personally, I’d rather you guys do MORE of the traditionally journalistically risky “sponsored deal of the day!” types of things that actually relate to Mac brands than randomly pitching me random things based on random words. At least in those situations new readers aren’t confused into thinking that one of your contributers accidentally linked to a completely irrelevant page. (remembering that those intext ads look almost exactly like the “previews” that blog sites now often use)

    Again, not mad at you guys for the decision, but if you’re looking for reader feedback on “how much we like the ads”... here it is! wink If you’re looking for “How much do you like the articles?” the answer is A LOT! I read every day, often more than once due to RSS updates… but those intext ads are about the most intrusive I’ve seen outside of Hong Kong based phishing sites and Viagra ads.

         
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    Posted: 19 August 2009 12:58 PM #7

    brettod - 19 August 2009 03:40 PM

    Again, not mad at you guys for the decision, but if you’re looking for reader feedback on “how much we like the ads”... here it is! wink If you’re looking for “How much do you like the articles?” the answer is A LOT! I read every day, often more than once due to RSS updates… but those intext ads are about the most intrusive I’ve seen outside of Hong Kong based phishing sites and Viagra ads.

    Thanks for the feedback here, Brett! This is good stuff and definitely gives us quite a bit to consider. Those in-text ads do provide statistically relevant revenue, though it (probably!) wouldn’t kill us to get rid of them.  That said, as we navigate through and out of this econolypse it is difficult to choose to cut off a revenue stream.

    However, the message is received loud and clear, and I’ve already begun working with Kontera to see if there’s something we can do along those lines.

    A follow-up question: if the format of the in-text ads stayed the same but the products advertised were more relevant, would you still have them almost as much?

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    -Dave Hamilton / The Mac Observer / Mac Geek Gab / Dave on Twitter
    When you find a big kettle of crazy, it’s best not to stir it.

         
  • Posted: 19 August 2009 01:48 PM #8

    I voted “yes” as I was thinking of the banner ads. I probably click through more ads here on TMO than all other sites combined. Some of them are kinda distracting (primarily due to hokey animation like the PDFpen ad that’s showing at the top of the page while I’m typing this reply.) All in, all the banner ads do seem to maintain the interests that align with the content on this site.

    Regarding the in-text ads, I was very annoyed at first, but quickly learned to dodge them like potholes in the road. I just sort of avoid hovering over them so they don’t open that irritating window.

         
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    Posted: 19 August 2009 02:09 PM #9

    I voted NO as I never any of the ads.
    I block all 3rd-party ads.
    I don’t block ads delivered by the site itself.
    On this site I am blocking *backbeatmedia*

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    Dave Barnes
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    Posted: 19 August 2009 02:55 PM #10

    davebarnes - 19 August 2009 05:09 PM

    I voted NO as I never any of the ads.
    I block all 3rd-party ads.
    I don’t block ads delivered by the site itself.
    On this site I am blocking *backbeatmedia*

    So here’s the thing: TMO doesn’t sell or serve any of its ads.  BackBeat Media is the exclusive rep and management firm for ALL TMO ads, so you’re effectively blocking 100% of TMO’s ads.

    This opens up another subject: blocking ads is, effectively, choosing not to pay for the content you’re getting.  TMO is by no means free, not to produce, and not to read. To produce it our writers get paid in dollars. To read it, we get paid by showing you ads of our choice.  Those include all the ads from BBM’s servers.  Dave, I hope you’ll rethink your decision.

    Full disclosure: I am a founder of and have daily responsibilities at BackBeat Media, too. It’s all one big happy family. wink

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    -Dave Hamilton / The Mac Observer / Mac Geek Gab / Dave on Twitter
    When you find a big kettle of crazy, it’s best not to stir it.

         
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    Posted: 19 August 2009 04:13 PM #11

    Done.

    I actually was not using the *backbeatmedia* filter.
    I was using *adserver* which I deleted.

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    Dave Barnes
    +1.303.744.9024
    WebEnhancement Services - Worldwide

         
  • Posted: 19 August 2009 04:33 PM #12

    I’d much appreciate if the in-text ads were relevant to the content of the article. It’s always been one of my pet peeves that they weren’t, and I’d probably be more inclined to click through on them if they were. That being said, I’d rather have a minor annoyance than lose one of my favorite mac sites.

         
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    Posted: 19 August 2009 04:52 PM #13

    davebarnes - 19 August 2009 07:13 PM

    Done.

    I actually was not using the *backbeatmedia* filter.
    I was using *adserver* which I deleted.

    Dave, you rock.  Thanks!

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    -Dave Hamilton / The Mac Observer / Mac Geek Gab / Dave on Twitter
    When you find a big kettle of crazy, it’s best not to stir it.

         
  • Posted: 19 August 2009 07:48 PM #14

    I think everything but the in-line text ads are perfect in terms of content. The in-line ones, however, distract me from the articles all too often.

    I would also like to point out that, since I read TMO about 60% of the time on my iPhone, I never see most of the normal banner ads. Since there is no iPhone-formatted version of the site, when I zoom in to read the text of the article, all of the advertisements are hidden from my view. The remedy for this would be to have a few of the ad boxes inline (a good example of this can be found in any book summary on sparknotes.com).

    If I don’t see the ads, I am not likely to act on them. However when I am on my Macbook viewing the site, I find the ads relevant and make some purchasing decisions based on them.

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    Your Average 18-year-old Mac Geek,
    -alex

         
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    Posted: 19 August 2009 08:26 PM #15

    This is a great discussion so far, folks, and we appreciate the input.  Keep it coming!

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    Editor - The Mac Observer

    Favorite (but less relevant than it used to be) Quote: Microsoft’s tyranny lies not in its success, but in the way it achieved and maintains that success.