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Ad Network Not Paying Up 72

Rev. DOG. writes: "According to Lowtax at Something Awful, the now defunct GameFan Network, bought out by Express.com a while back has sent a letter to their sites saying that they won't pay them a dime, because the bulk of the banner ads served up were for GameFan/Express or hosted sites. Apparently, during Lowtax's stay there, they wouldn't let him take any non-GameFan advertising. Anyway, it's all at the 10-9-00 article on the front page at SA, especially warning others on other banner-ad networks that they may be next." I'm not knocking on Gamefan/Express as much as this is a good example of /always/ read the fine print. Read it again. Have a lawyer read it. When I was selling the ads on here, there were a couple times that people tried to screw us over - so be prepared.
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Ad Network Not Paying Up

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  • Whoa. The phrasing is that "most" of the ads were network space fillers. "Most", but not "all". If, say, 1 percent of the ads were income producers, why aren't they offering at least 1 percent of what they should have?

    Incidentally, does this letter give such sites the status of a creditor, so they can demand payment, sue for the debt ("Ha, got your car!"), and stand in line at bankruptcy court for a share of the assets?

  • Uh, yeah, K's down to 16 now, trying to build it back up the hard way. You lose the bonus when you dip below 25, so that's why (usually I'm too lazy to check the "No Bonus" box).

    I was using my bonus as a bully pulpit to let people see my side on the issues. Unfortunately, with the swarm of AMD articles, I fell out of the favorable portion of the Slashdot crowd. That's the price of speaking your mind, but hey, what's right is not always popular, and what's popular is not always right.

    I'll probably ditch the bonus when I see that I'm outnumbered. That way, I'll risk losing 2 instead of 3 points. I'll keep the bonus for things which might soar to 5, so I won't be whoring points (as much).

    I hope other KWs adopt this as a standard doctrine for posting (yeah, Signal_11, I'm talking to you!).

  • by Anonymous Coward
    this is the person who puts 12 year old's geocities sites on his front page for mockery, and then sends his users there to flame them.

    Granted, the whole ad-thing is a bit unfair - but then again someone who so blatently is immoral and screws people over for the sake of a laugh deserves this.

    I mean, lowtax would laugh at someone in a wheelchair for christ's sake!
  • When I was selling the ads on here, there were a couple times that people tried to screw us over - so be prepared.

    Sorry guys, I never see them. Junkbuster prunes them out.

  • It's not a good idea to say "Gamefan/Express.com" since Gamefan is in no way responsibile for what's happening. Gamefan is getting screwed as much as anyone else- Express.com bought Gamefan erroniously and doesn't even want it, so they're finding as many ways as possible to not pay GF and GF's hosted sites.

    At least, that's how I've heard it. Express.com are the ones to blame.

    Fortunately, the print magazine won't be effected.
  • Speaking from my infantry beta testing. Nick Fisher is an asshole. He would harass other fan sites of the game

  • Okay, so SA wanted to make a few bucks to defray expenses. No fault there. But, now that lowtax got burned because he didn't read the fine print, he wants *you* to share the financial burden of recovering his losses by "contributing" to his server fund. I wonder if lowtax intended to share the profits over and above his expenses with the same people from whom he now solicits contributions. Lowtax should be placed on his own SA list for this one.

  • I never fail to be amazed at some of the folks that post on these banner ad issues. Busy websites are expensive to run. Telcos never forget to send the bill for that T1/T3/Colo shelf the webserver is attached to. In many cases, the only revenue these sites take in, comes from banner ads. No one really enjoys looking at ads, but lets face it - they make it possible for a website to support more than just a few hundred page impressions a month. You think Slashdot would even be here if they didn't get ad revenue? How many thousand bucks a month would *you* pony up out of your own pocket to pay for bandwidth for your suddenly-popular website? No ads? Guess what - only corporations with the bucks to throw away on websites will be capable of supporting the traffic load a popular site generates. As for the guys bragging here about the various ways they have devised to prevent ads from being seen on webpages - screw you. You're doing nothing more than cheating the websites out of the ability to pay their bills, and hastening the demise of the non-big-business information scene. How clever of you. I'm sure the big business corporate types really appreciate the help you're giving them. Go ahead and map names to loopback. Download that copy of junkbuster. But when you can't log on a site anymore that isn't owned by AT&T, IBM, MCI, or whatever, just remember - you helped bring that about.
  • I blame the pornographers for the state of the Internet

    Just because they created the ad banner doesn't mean the current state of the Internet is their fault. All they did was prove that putting up a notice that said "HEY! NEKKID LADIES OVER HERE!" was effective. It was the clueless mainstream marketers who made the illogical leap that banner ads could pay for everything else.

  • True, but fortunately, most sites have a simple method of retribution - leave the ad network. OK, it's not always *quite* that simple, but it would seem to be in a network's best interests to treat their member sites fairly. After all, it won't take much burning for sites to flee en masse, and spread the word to potential new recruits.

    I run a site that used to be part of the GameFan network as well. We signed up a few months ago, noticed we were never getting paid OR serving ads for anything other than express.com, and promptly left. Yeah, I feel a bit burned, but having control over my site's DNS, and local backups of our files made it easy to nip the abuse in the bud :)
  • Banner ads don't work. How many times have you clicked?

    Advertising is a bullshit business that's only plausible w/ an unconscious audience. Do you go buying a car after every ad you see? Do you go clicking at everything that pops on a page? I'd hope not.

    Slashdot became big because of the content which ironically is the reader comments and the support of readers' needs.

    Not viewing ads means I'm saving myself aggravation and distraction. I'm obviously not going to click anyway. And please relax. My ad blocking affects only me.

    Just check out the TiVo. They reported 80% of ads were being skipped.

    If you have a product you'll make money. If you don't what the hell are you doing trying to sell?
  • You think Slashdot would even be here if they didn't get ad revenue?

    Possibly. Slashdot could probably get away with selling subscriptions to readers. Shit, they could probably sell karma points. ;-)

    Besides, many people here (moreso than typical web users, I would think) filter [linux.kz] out [junkbusters.com] the ads anyway, so if the ad company has even the slightest clue, they're not paying much.

  • this sounds like a matter of bad negotiating.

    Perhaps, but the bad negotiating wouldn't have mattered if someone wasn't trying to take advantage of suckers. I don't care if it's "standard practice" or not, it is dishonest and deliberately deceiving. The people I do business with aren't out to unfairly fuck me over a technicality, nor am I out to unfairly fuck them over a technicality. Only the weak and pathetic hide behind fine print, and such scum do not deserve to transact with honorable men.

  • You got your sig off a fortune cookie. :P You also forgot that it's a quote from Winston Churchill.
  • This is offtopic, but I don't know where to ask:

    Should I moderate trolls that are at 0 down to -1 or just leave them?

  • by Talisman ( 39902 ) on Tuesday October 10, 2000 @04:20AM (#718939) Homepage
    His name is Nick Fisher. He lives in Minnesota and plays with his dad's money, which he desperately wants everyone to believe is his, and that he earned it all from scratch. I swear this guy was the valedictorian of the Elmer Fudd School of Self-Esteem. "My name is Nick Fisher. I am a millionaire. I own a mansion and a yacht."

    I had the misfortune of making his acquaintance about 5 years ago in the online game SubSpace [subspace.net]. I was pretty active in the SubSpace community and was witness to countless incidents where he proved what a prick he is. He did things ranging from getting people banned from the game even when they had done nothing wrong, to ping flooding individuals during League matches so that his squad would win. He pulled the same stunt on one of the more popular Quake servers and was cold busted by the guy that ran it. He had about a 60-page ping log, all coming from Nick Fisher's IP address.

    Anyway, to anyone who has ever met this jackass, this type of behavior comes as no surprise. Download SubSpace [subspace.net] and see for yourself. Go into any zone, ask about 'trixter' (his rather fitting online name) and the Gamefan debacle. You'll get an earful. He still plays rather frequently, so you may even get the chance to tell him how you feel in person. (SubSpace only runs on Windows. Sorry.)

  • Oh wait. Yes it did. This has been ongoing for at least a week, why is it now suddenly /. worthy?
  • Gamefan is getting screwed as much as anyone else- Express.com bought Gamefan erroniously and doesn't even want it

    Ok, how does a company buy something erroneously? I mean, I can see how an individual can do this, as I have multiple copies of the same book, but I don't quite get this one...

    Anyone got details?
  • Look at the registration info for GAMEFAN.NET, EXPRESS.COM or VOODOOEXTREME.COM

    They all have Fisher's name or his company's name (Maximum Holdings) as at least one of the contacts.
  • Oh, thanks for making me feel great about the $5.00 donation I just sent him, you uncompassionate sop. I was at SA not two days ago and he kept me laughing for about a half an hour.

    If Rich (which he obviously is not) wants to set up a *voluntary* donations box where you can donate money to him quickly and easily, because you enjoyed the writing and want to keep the site from going under, that is his imperative.

    Who the hell are you to judge him on this? Where is your web site? As if he hasn't already contributed enough of his time and effort into creating a freaking awesome site, now, when he needs your help, he has to contend with jerks who wouldn't bend over to move their own crippled mother off a traintrack without complaining about it.

  • Yeah, but I can't seem to get the old gif capable gd library to compile.
  • It's very similar to what happened [detonate.net] to cr0wbar [mailto] with Safe Audit a little while ago over at detonate.net [detonate.net]. Can these banner-ad revenue services just spontaneously decide that they're no longer going to pay web sites for hosting their banners? What's going to happen to a lot of the web sites that depend on them to pay for server space and domain names?
  • That's why I liked the Link Enchange [linkexchange.com]. Your ads get displayed based on the number of hits to your site. No one gets charged. (Not sure how you make money off of this!--premimum ads?)

    Of course, since Microsoft bought it, I see a lot more Microsoft, MSN, and even Link Exchange ads. They've gotten rid of the link exchange web site and hidden the directory so well that I can't find it anymore. Microsoft is their own worst enemy.

  • Wow, I remember Trixter. I can't believe it's really him still up to his old tactics. As a bit of background, he used to run Warzone.com and later moved to start the EGN client to compete with ICQ.

    At one point, he was in control of now-defunct VRGN's Subspace servers. I volunteered to help them with the maintenance, and I was accepted on the basis of me running the largest non-VIE Subspace server at the time. As soon as Trixter got word of it, he threatened to immediately "withdraw all [his] blessings" from VRGN because an experienced volunteer wanted to help. That's the road to fame and glory alright.

    I now also work for a rather large digital media company which sells over 350 million banner impressions a month. We have a lot consultants, but our most valuable asset is the ad sales team that we keep happy in a beautiful office overlooking a major city in southern California. Their sole focus is to call up every company and sell our inventory (available ad impressions) to them. We've also been making money since day one; maybe the approach has something to do with it.

  • Oh yeah. Well, he was at the IRC meeting, probably for a last blast from Hemos and Taco, heh.
  • What I don't understand is what Lowtax did with all the money he had before Gamefan stopped paying him? I've seen him claim 5 million impressions a month, which would be $12,500 for a single month. I sympathize with his being stuck with $3000 in bandwidth costs, but surely he can cover this based on the money he got from Gamefan before they stopped paying. If people want to donate money to him, so be it. It's hard for me to sympathize with someone who may have been pulling in over ten grand a month before the bottom dropped out though.
  • Here's what's really going on:
    GameFan states to its network that it will pay $2.5 CPM, which means that for every 1000 impressions it will pay them $2.5.
    I can guarantee you that if GameFan were to pay that much it would go out of business. The problem is simply that the market does not pay that much! A savvy company wishing to advertise with GameFan will NOT, EVER pay that much today! Average clickthrough on banners in substantially below 0.5%, so if someone were to pay $2.5 CPM, it would cost them $5 a click at least. That's not acceptable.

    So... What happens? Well, people don't advertise, and GameFan Network doesn't make any money. But wait! People do advertise? So what's going on? Well, they're paying much less than $2.5 CPM (which is very much negotiable). So does GameFan lose money? No! Because GameFan/Express.com HAS A CONFLICT OF INTEREST!
    GameFan/Express.com is itself a website, with means of revenue dependent on people visiting the site. With this clause in their contract, this is what happens:

    GameFan states that it will pay $2.5 CPM for any ad NOT for GameFan.

    GameFan sells on its own site let's say an average of $1 CPM and fills its real estate.

    GameFan also takes any idiot advertiser who wants to pay $2.5 CPM and shoves him in the network itself.

    Anything else that's left unpaid, GameFan uses to drive traffic to its site, where it gets $0.5 CPM.

    End result? GameFan makes $0.5 CPM out of every click on an ad IT SERVES, FOR ITSELF, on the network!

    I'd call that a scam, but hey...
  • >But when you can't log on a site anymore that isn't owned by AT&T, IBM, MCI, or whatever, just remember - you helped bring that about.

    Strange. Banner ads came well after the WWW. So did the homepages of AT&T, IBM, and MCI.

    So why wouldn't the internet simply revert to the mostly text (ie: content) filled universe it once was.

    As far as hating banner stripping software and the people who use it goes, well, like you say about ads, I'll say about modems: Busy webpages are expensive to download.

    Yeah, I don't have a choice but to use a 33.6k modem either, so don't give me the "get cable modem" dance [seems like everyone on slashdot lives in SV nowadays]. And no, I WON'T pay $300 a month (and the rest) to use the internet over satellite so I can download ads (whoopie...). And moving is pointless. I already live 5 minutes from what is classed as a Canadian Metropolis.

    >You think Slashdot would even be here if they didn't get ad revenue?

    I was here before moderation (no, I didn't register till a couple of months ago due to a deep seated dislike of the poor moderation that once infested slashdot) so I can say this: Slashdot didn't always have ads (IIRC).

    Ad blocking software seems to have only taken off in the last year or two. Probably has a lot to do with "Punch my monkey and win nothing!" and "Flash Flash FLASH ugly FLASH click me NOW n0w NOW!!!! flash FLaSH fLaSh!!!" and, for certain, "downloading 110k animated gif... (5% done)". Maybe ad companies should reflect on this and reconsider how annoying/big their ads are. Right now the time spent installing and configuring ad blocking software, plus the time spent updating the blocking lists is much less than downloading the various crappy, huge, ads that are out there.

    Just my $2/100. :-)
  • Hi Talisman... this is Rincewind, how's it going. :)

    I heartily second everything Talisman has said about Nick Fisher 'AKA' Trixter in his message. I played a lot of SubSpace many years ago, and maintained a strategy guide for the game. Trixter was without a doubt the most obnoxious prick in the history of that game (and believe, me this is saying A LOT.)

    To give credit where credit is due, he was one of the best SubSpace players out there, and I was a member of his squad (called ONE) at one time. But I did see the error of my ways however, and quit. :)

    Nick Fisher is one of those people gifted with a golden tongue and a black heart. Beware all who may have the opportunity to deal with him in the future.
  • Yeah, Express.com doesn't have to pay them. But if they don't, you can bet that they're not getting another $0.02 out of me. I'll buy my anime and import stuff somewhere else. (Damn, and I had my eye on those Final Fantasy Selphie figurines}.

    I wouldn't bother. Rinoa 0wNz Selphie anyday...


  • Two types of ad revenue:

    Click through and impressions.

    An impression can be registered without me needing to see it.

    A click-through system is not going to benefit anyone if I never click anyway.

  • I care about lowtax because i think his site is generally funny.

    The kid you were talking about was 14.

    And he chose to play adult games as an adult and has been laughed at by a lot of people. (mostly deservedly)

    Sometimes lowtax crosses a line and I look at what he's done and think "that isn't so funny".

    But mostly I laugh my head of and send the page to a friend.

    Just because your sense of humour responds to different things to mine/his/anyone elses doesn't mean that a hosted webmaster serving up 15gb of mostly text a day with a banner add on the top of every page shouldn't be paid by the advertisiers pon his pretty darn hot content.

    Otherwise there will be no model for little people to make a living on the web.

    Be a big corporate site or die.

    Thats not the web i want.

  • You think Slashdot would even be here if they didn't get ad revenue? How many thousand bucks a month would *you* pony up out of your own pocket to pay for bandwidth for your suddenly-popular website? No ads?
    I don't know about *my* popular website, but if /. got rid of account-free ACs I'd pay a buck a month for an ad-free version of /. -- A$ or US$, you pick. More if being a subscriber got you an extra +1 Bonus. Think how much revenue that would bring in across the entire user base.

    I will happily patronise a decent service in an effort to make the S2N ratio less N and more S.

  • What Safe Audit said was that the quality of service was not on par with their expectations. If we slashdotted a site one day, that sites impressions would shoot through the roof... but only for that day. And certainly, lots of those people will just ignore the banner. I'm not defending Safe Audit... it's pretty lame to "adjust" based on a perceptual thing (ie. its quantitative vs qualitative here folks).

    What GameFAN has done is run out of money by not being able to sell banner ads. Whatever the reason really is, the fact is: they ran out of cash. I think that Express.com, being the new parent company of GameFAN, is obligated to pay their member sites something for carrying the ads - otherwise, as someone else pointed out, it beggs the questions of an advert scam to draw people to GameFAN/Express.com.

    I think we can all learn:
    1) RTFL
    2) IANAL, YANAL, so GAFL!
    3) The advertiser shouldn't "adjust" pay based on "quality" delivered.
    4) The advertiser should be pro-active and let people know that they are dying - perhaps lower the rates or something to entice new clients.

  • Worked for a company once that advertised with this newspaper's online edition (the large metro newspaper bearing the name of a recent Olympic Games host city). After receiving a couple of suspicious bills, we started keeping a close eye on referrers, and rigged the URLs we passed to them to count.

    When challenged, they admitted fraud and withdrew invoices citing thousands more click-throughs than we actually got.

    Mind you, the guy I was working for then was a crook in his own right - it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy...

  • by billybob2001 ( 234675 ) on Tuesday October 10, 2000 @03:30AM (#718959)
    /always/ read the fine print. Read it again. Have a lawyer read it.

    I did that. Once.

    Too bad I didn't read his fine print.

  • Uh... I would have thought most banner-ad companies were scams?? Isn't it only a small percentage of them that actually pay? If I had a cent for everytime I've heard something like this... I'd have at least 10 cents by now!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Try your question at sid=moderation [slashdot.org]

    Or do like me: downmod trolls if they are really annoying or offensive *and* you have nothing better to do with your modpoints at the time.

  • The way I heard it is that the owner of the gamefan network (i forget his name, but he had a past of being an asshole and a shyster) sold it to Express.com but express.com didn't know what they were buying. However it happened, it turned out Express found themselves with a site network they didn't want and the rest, as they say, is recent history.
  • Actually it was a bumper sticker. I didn't know who the quote was originally from.
  • His name is Nick Fisher and from pretty much all accounts, he's a dickhead. Check this /. post on the same story:

    http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=00/10/10/12212 34&cid=42


  • once I was BROKE and OUT OF LUCK. but then I discovered the INTERNET and how to MAKE MONEY FAST!!! all you do is send ME $20 and I will run a BANNER for your site, and soon you will have lost of traffic and HUNDREDS of people JUST LIKE YOU will be sending **YOU** $20 to host **THEIR** banners so that THEY can *****MAKE MONEY FAST*****!

    I have to wonder how sustainable this banner-impression based economy that so many companies seem to run on really is.
  • How about because the story Lowtax posted about all this fun was posted Yesterday? Yes, it happened last week, but the story this slashdot posting is about happened yesterday.

    That aside, why is /. posting about it today? shouldn't they wait at least a week?

    (Ha ha, only serious)

  • I perodically hear about sites that get screwed over by these banner-ad companies. The reaction always seems to post a complaint letter on the web site and stop using the service.

    I always thought that a better solution would be to have whatever perl/php/etc. script that serves the banners continue to show the banner, but modify the gif so it has a huge red line through it with overlaid text that says "advertiser www.banneradcompany.com does not pay out for ads". Then send e-mail to all the people whose ads you are showing and tell them to take a look at how their ad looks on your page.

    Bad PR goes a long way in advertising.
  • If you don't like the banners, why don't you block them and quit whining?
  • Ad effectiveness isn't the issue here. How does your ad blocking affect only you? Did you think the bandwidth you use comes for free? Furthermore, do you think Slashdot would have ever gotten big in the first place if they couldn't have paid for their bandwidth/servers/etc? How do you think they *did* pay for it?

    Please, pull your head out of your arse and get a clue. Most of the quality, non-corporate sites can't afford to run at a loss, and banner ads are often the *only* income they get. Too many people block the ads, the sites disappear. It's that simple.
  • JeffK will hax0r u now
  • This saga has been going on a while, and from what I've heard Express.com has been doing every damn thing they can to keep lowtax from geeting his well deserved (imo) cash. At first they didn't deny he was owed money, but just blatantly failed to pay. Then, they refused to pay him because he had been posting derogatory remarks about Gamefan's business practices. Now, and only now, are they stating that they don't owe him anything based on this utterly lame legal loophole. I can imagine how pissed Lowtax must be. And Voodoo extreme. And UU. You can read the small print all you want, but this reeks of a sleazy lawyer peering through them himself in a desperate attempt to find a loophole that will allow GameFan to wiggle their way out of paying what must be hundreds of thousands of dollars by now. By the way, proud as he may be, lowtax is accepting donations. If you appreciate the site, you may want to help him out.
  • Good, then i suggest everyone who visits slashdot put up a banner ad blocker and see how long cmdrtaco can pay those thousands of dollars a month for co-location hosting and bandwidth charges. The point is, whether they work or not, most sites need some way of getting paid in order to pay the bills (and we're not even talkinga bout profit here).
  • Lowtax needs to do his homework. i've been very involved in a certain very successful gaming site for about 4 years. i've seen ad brokers come and go (out of business even). the practices and terms he describe are completely standard.

    this sounds like a matter of bad negotiating. lowtax obviously didn't know what a good deal looks like, as he did not negotiate one (granted, very few people have the experience to know what a good banner contract looks like)

    ad brokers "fill" inventory with non-paying in-store ads (like the commercials for tv shows), this is _indeed_ the mark of a broker not being able to sell their product (i.e. space on your site). you can draw two conclusions when you see this on your site:

    1. your site stinks, who would want to advertise here anyway? this is the more likely case.
    2. you ad broker stinks, and is unable to sell space on your site. this is far less likely, but i've seen it happen, and this is the case for gamefan.

    the moral of the story is, ALWAYS make your contract breakable if they don't fill their inventory, or negotiate a guaranteed minimum income. anything less, and you are bending over. and remember to GETH THE F*CK OUT when you see alot of "stock" ads.

    it _is_ possible to negotiate with these guys. most of them are desperately in need of clicks. in fact, alot of them are so desperate, they'll cut you a deal they can't fill. this happened to us, our "big dot com ipo" broker is now trading around the penny stock territory.

    another piece of advice, is to stick with the bigboys (cnet comes to mind). if the big boys won't take you, you aren't good enough to make them money, and you likely aren't good enough to make _you_ money either.

    remember, this is bidneth, nobody owes you anything. you get what you agree to.

  • Express.com bought a dud and now they're trying to palm the cost off on to the "employees" by witholding payment.
    It really stinks. They've strung poor Rich along for ages and I'm sure he's doing well to hold on to his sanity.
    To people who say "too bad, you should've read the small print" or whatever well the guy has been receiving payment for the same ads for ages. Then one day the cheque doesn't arrive and they tell him "we'll be paying you late - sorry" the time drags by and yesterday it turned in to "nope, we're not paying you ever because of some lame shit we just made up" and he's $3000 out of pocket for the bandwidth for the site.
    We all run the risk in a salaried environment of a similar experience - I know I've had it happen to me - comapny starts going bust but they don't tell the employees and then Bam! "sorry no pay this month -we're broke" and you sit there looking at your credit card bill & mortgage cos you lived a month in the future.
    Saying "you should've known it could happen" isn't much comfort.

    and btw. people in wheelchairs are funny just like everybody else is.

    as usual Post your comments in the forum [somethingawful.com]
  • "You think Slashdot would even be here if they didn't get ad revenue? How many thousand bucks a month would *you* pony up out of your own pocket to pay for bandwidth for your suddenly-popular website?"

    Here's a question for you then. How much money do you think Andover throws in? I'm not preaching conspiracy theories here, but seeing as how Slashdot is owned by Andover, and has affiliations to OSDN, I don't think banner ads play that big of a role in keeping Slashdot afloat.

    Besides, the WWW existed before banner ads, what makes you think the WWW is going to die if we all don't start clicking on ads?

    "As for the guys bragging here about the various ways they have devised to prevent ads from being seen on webpages - screw you."

    No, screw you. And screw the ad companies too. Wanna know why?

    Advertisers nowadays seem to have this notion that the more Flash / Java banners they use, the better the responses will be. Hello? Not everybody has the money to pay for a cable modem. Some people are still stuck on their 56 K modems, like me. And I don't want to wait while someone like Doubleclick tries to shove some 100 K "Punch the Money and Win $20 of Worthless Tokens!" ad through my modem. I've spent up to five minutes just waiting for a page to load, because either the banner ad was taking too long to load, or the ad server decided to be bitchy and slow.

    And hey, while we've mentioned Doubleclick, how about all those privacy invasions? Sure, the data is anonymous, for now. Doubleclick wants to serve me a banner? Fine. But they also want to know everything about me in the process. So excuse me for being privacy-minded.

    So yes, I filter banner ads. So fucking what? Your bitching is falling on the wrong people. Why don't you take you and your soapbox over to the advertisers and ask them why they want to serve 10 cookies with every monstrosity of a Flash / Java ad? Maybe then you'll see why people filter the ads out.

  • I handle all the money and most of the code for lowpass.net [lowpass.net].. We did Threatster [lowpass.net] and a few other semi-popular things.

    We've been really lucky and collected every dime we've been owed so far, but not without staying on top of it.. Read the contracts, for real.. No-payment for network ads is clearly in ours, their stats page even shows how many we've served as a percentage of the total.

    Lowtax mentions a clause about not seeking other sponsors, but honestly, that couldn't have been stopping him, he did change to backbeat after all..
  • Relax, that's just the Threatster URL forward.. Press back twice fast..

    I suppose I'll have to change that to a proper header forward now..

  • This is a particularly good idea. It would serve two very useful purposes. 1 - Allow webmasters to avoid the slugs and sleazemeisters and 2 - Show webmasters the width of competition. How long do you think sleaze tactics would be around if there was a third party site vetting out the losers?
  • Check this out:

    Infantry Q&A [bluesnews.com]

    Infantry Q&A [loonyboi-12:42 AM EDT] - Post a Comment
    GameAddicts has conducted an interview with Jeff Peterson, the lead programmer and co-owner of Harmless Games, the developers of Subspace and the upcoming game Infantry. The game was originally supposed to be funded and published by Brainscan, which is part of the Maximum Holdings, which was purchased by GameFan, which was purchased by Express.com (phew). With the recent turmoil at GameFan, Jeff says the publishing rights have been sold to another company, who will be making an announcement in the near future.
  • Look, this guy needs a serious reality check. There are three posibilities here. 1) he never signed any contract; 2) his contract allows them to do this; 3) his contract does not allow them to do this. If it's 1 or 2, he deserves what he's getting. If it's 3, there are specific legal remedies that he can get. In any case, let's stop this pointless finger-pointing without hard facts, shall we? We don't even know if his contract permitted them to do what they are doing. If it did, then express.com has not done anything wrong.
  • When I put my site Bill's Games [billsgames.com] online, I ended up going through about 10 different ad networks before I finally dropped all but ValueClick.

    They pay well, they have good statistics tools (no JavaScript needed), and friendly customer support!

    If you're lucky enough to make $2000 or more a month, they can even send your payment via wire.
  • well that's an interesting point. From his in-flat web cam pics he doesn't exactly look like he's living the high life and rolling in $10,000 per month surely you wouldn't even mention $3000 in server bills 'cos you'd already have paid them.

  • That company was named - Sony. I can't wait to hear the whine start once Infantry starts under Sony if they deal with the Infantry players they same way they deal with EverQuest players. RastaSaf
  • I sure hope that Hemos was referring to the pre-Andover setup.

    Selling ads must be one of the most horrible occupations associated with running a website, and not something that most techies are any good at either. If there's a good reason for bringing in external involvement, it's got to be to give that job to somebody else.
  • When I first signed on, I was simply told that I'd get $2.50 CPM - that is, $2.50 per 1,000 ads served.

    I feel sorry for the guy, but aparrently he has nobody to blame but himself.

    Shhheeeeesh! Before you get into a business transaction, any business transaction, you don't rely on what you're told by a corporate droid.

    I hope he learned a lesson without taking too much of a hit. Welcome to the world, pal

  • by Dark Paladin ( 116525 ) <jhummel&johnhummel,net> on Tuesday October 10, 2000 @04:00AM (#718986) Homepage

    I run a gaming site - granted, not a popular one, but that doesn't hurt my feelings any. And advertisements is something that any site has to deal with.

    The problem I see with the whole Express.com/Gamefan Network thing isn't a legal thing, but a right thing. Sure, the legal thing for them to do is to cut their losses, don't pay the sites, and keep the corporation going.

    Then there's the right thing to do. In the case of Something Awful, the guy's out $3000 in server costs because he's not going to get paid. I think more about the case of VoodooExtreme.com, which was probably getting a few million hits a day - and evidently they are owed $100,000 [gamerspress.com] that they're never going to see.

    These are folks who had an agreement, that they would run their site, bring in traffic, and have ads up for the "parent company" - and in return they would recieve money to keep it going. In the case of some of these sites, people have probably quit their day jobs because they had enough money coming in (or promised to come in) to take care of them.

    Yeah, Express.com doesn't have to pay them. But if they don't, you can bet that they're not getting another $0.02 out of me. I'll buy my anime and import stuff somewhere else. (Damn, and I had my eye on those Final Fantasy Selphie figurines).

    Do the right thing, Express.
    John "Dark Paladin" Hummel

  • I blame the pornographers for the state of the Internet, but not for putting morally questionable material out there. I blame them for creating the banner advertisement, the 468x60 splash of garish color, choppy animation, and oversized text featuring the words CLICK HERE... and then showing that people can make money that way.

    After all, it's the love of *money* that is the root of all evil, not the love of enormous hooters.

    A whole economy has sprung up around banner links, and not a pleasant economy either. Sure, banners can advertise legitimate services, and some of them are quite attractive doing so too. But I've seen bad banners too. Things that don't lead where they expect, or promise things they don't deliver. I've even seen samples of banners made to look like part of the website that they're being hosted on!

    The Internet itself loses value under these circumstances. Information wants to be free, but it doesn't necessarily want to make itself known to everybody, and it can be awfully hard to pick out when the noise is intentionally disguising itself as signal.

    (Side note: the advantage to using either a Mac or Linux box is the user interface -- I get to laugh myself silly at every banner advertisement that's dolled up to look like a dialog box which, if you're on the aforementioned, is appearing on the wrong OS.)

    Then this happens. This beautifully apocryphal event that tells the world, "Banner adverts aren't all they're cracked up to be! Servers might not get rich off of them!" Business models shift. Sites either negotiate better contracts with the people they're shilling for, or work up alternative business models that don't require banner advertising for revenue. Or people start using their own servers.

    Contracts get looked at a little more carefully, too. It'd be nice if the unscrupulous ones were left out in the cold by their own legal trickery, but that'd be too much to hope. All they have to do is latch onto the suckers. Then again, I'd like to think that suckers are an exhaustable resource, that if they're suckered enough, they start thinking.

    It might not happen the way I'm hoping it will... what I'm hoping is that the banner advertising companies thin out and become more reputable. Who knows? They may even point to more interesting content...

  • I've just received an email from Dan Knight at Low End Mac -- http://lowendmac.com/. He's suggesting webmasters (1) write the bozo at Express.com to express their disappointment with how Express.com fulfills contractual obligations and then (2) tell Express.com we're all ready to get out of their affiliate program (since we can't trust them to pay) and instead push Amazon.com, buy.com, and anyone else who doesn't screw sites. I expect this could be far more effective than whining. :-)
  • Great idea. I'll send a letter and take the links off my site!
  • Someone should establish a site where webmasters can rate/view the merits/demerits of certain ad services.

  • If you are dealing with a guy named LOWTAX you know that he won't be going to the government/feds/court anytime soon after you rip him off :)

    j/k I love JEFF K! and somethingawful.com rox0rs your box0rs!
  • Back on 8/23 Moto over at TechZone, wrote up a great piece on how to start a tech site [thetechzone.com]. In it, he clearly talks about ad's, and how most networks pay for them only when they're not for other network sites. It seems to me, if you're going to work within and industry, and make deals with other companies within that industry, you ought to do your footwork. It's simply irresponsible, to sign a contract with a company, without reading what you're agreeing to. And if you do that, you have nobody to blame but yourself.

    And I don't see fault with not being allowed to solicit outside advertising either. I would think, that part of being a network, is that the network can control it's identity. If you start working on side deals, it will dilute the brand identity that the network is trying to build. It's just part of the price you pay, for the convenience of not having to shop for your own ad's, and for the strength of co-marketing that you should get from the affiliated sites.

    I'd basically chalk this whole episode up, as a sterling example of a variation of "caveat emptor". Be sure of what you are getting, before you lay out the cash to get it. I feel for the guy, but at least he'll provide an object lesson to some others by publicizing his mistakes.
  • Simple solution:

    1. Use Junkbuster.
    2. Use a perl LWP::UserAgent script to clickthrough as many banner ads as you want without ever looking at them. Stagger the hits right, and I'll defy an ad network to refuse to pay because the hits are faked. After all, they're right there in the log file, and they did come from an honest-to-god client, every packet.

    -- Dave

  • Hey, maybe you should reach into your own wallet this time, since you're so compassionate, and send him another five bucks. You could be particularly altruistic and send it to him in my name.

  • Funny, Detonate.net had the exact same problem a bunch of months back. Next spammers are going to stop being paid to email everyone on earth! *pray*

What is algebra, exactly? Is it one of those three-cornered things? -- J.M. Barrie