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The Almighty Buck

An Experiment in Micro-Advertising 139

danny writes: "Much has been said about the death of the banner-ad, but I was curious about whether text-only ads on a smaller scale worked. So I carried out an experiment in micro-advertising." This is the complete opposite approach of most advertising. Does it work? Well....
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An Experiment in Micro-Advertising

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    One interesting trend that I've noted to rise in the past few months is accesslog advertising; spiders roaming across the network, making false get requests with addresses usually linking to porn sites or various affiliate programs. As with the get itself, different URL is "spoofed" as the referer field.

    Requests like this seem to come usually from personal boxes, so I assume there's some kewl Windows program that does this advertising automatically, just insert few advertised URLs or something like that.

    This seems to be rising phenomenon as it takes about 10% of all requests on my personal webserver. I just can't see the point of advertising on access logs. Come to think of it, it has very specific target group of IT professionals and enthusiasts, so maybe that could be used to advertise software, geek toys etc. And pr0n!

    Oh, forgot, they do that already.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    When I get one of these ads I add the hostname of the service to my hosts file with a dummy IP address. That way I never see another ad from that server. The more considerate advertisers I leave alone.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Anyone with half a brain is going to read book reviews before they read a "scholarly study". This isn't a controlled study, and the results are useless.

    Not only that, but somehow I suspect that many people typing in "modern slavery" in a search engine aren't looking for something with a lot of words :-).
  • I am about to set up a set of sites on a co-located server. I found the co-lo provider I'm planning on using through a Google search for "co-location". They had one of the AdWords. Had it not been for that, I'm not sure I ever would have found them! As a result, they may well make several thousand dollars from me.

    I was planning on using AdWords myself to link to specific stories on one of my sites. So it's quite interesting that the author finds that they don't work well. I'll probably try it anyway -- $50 isn't too much to blow for an experiment like that. It *does* seem to be one of the more targetted advertising systems out there, at least if you're on a budget.

    >$1/clickthrough sucks though...
  • by Micah ( 278 )
    An ad on Google - $10

    An ad on Robot Wisdom - $20

    A month of Web hosting - $30

    A link on Slashdot's home page - priceless

    Sorry, couldn't resist! :-)
  • While it seems bizarre, you could imagine it working IF AND ONLY IF the products were on-topic for the blog, actually sincerely reviewed by the bloggers, etc.

    It works for Robot Wisdom, the blog mentioned here, because RW's owner/operator, Jorn Barger, is madly focused on being earnest in his approach to the web. In this case, not only would he not link to something he didn't believe in, he wouldn't link to something that he felt was poorly designed. Now THAT'S good old-fashioned integrity.

    Currently Barger is linking to other blogs that support his political views, which maintains his own integrity but which threatens the integrity of his blog (IMO).

  • An excellent point. The banner ads I am most annoyed by are, in fact, the ones that don't tell me what they're advertising, unless I click the banner, which I'm always reluctant to do. Which do you think is more effective, assuming they both link to the same Web site?

    Computer feeling sluggish? Time for a replacement? We've got what you need. Click here to enter our online store!


    Computer feeling sluggish? Time for a replacement? Visit the Dell Online Store at dell.com to order online!

    Notice that the former doesn't mention the company who's advertising, and if the user doesn't click the link (and remember that statistically most users don't), you get no brand exposure at all.


  • Annoying advertising gets results? Yes, right: and the result, you've mentioned. Annoyance.

    Don't ever think of 'the consumer' as something mysterious and targettable. David Ogilvy (who wrote more advertisements than you've ever seen) said, "The consumer is not an idiot, she is your wife". The consumer is you. What is _your_ reaction to being annoyed?

  • I used the specific match option, so the ads were appearing to searches that contained both words - "modern" and "slavery".


  • With banner ads (identical in appearance and usually placed in similar locations) it may be possible to directly compare performance. But with sites running different kind of text ads in different locations on the page - there was no way to make the results directly comparable.

    In any event, my writeup is really more about the ethics and effects of advertising than an evaluation of particular forms. Is there always going to be a trade-off between ad effectiveness and either editorial compromise or page functionality? (But maybe I should have made that clearer.)


  • The other way they track which ad generated the call, is by using different 800 numbers for different ads. This works alot better as it doesn't depend on the caller to do something.
  • I have also seen that people are becoming immune to advertising and are tired of the boring commercials. Instead they want to see something entertaining.

    On the web, banner ads suck but I've seen a couple flash advertisements that were very entertaining. The 'I am Canadian' commercials come to mind. What's better is, if you don't want to see the flash ad, close the window. Plain and simple.
  • Not only flashing ads, but the more recent large Flash ads are deterrents to surfing at work for those of us without a fast connection at home.

    Considering that this is probably the largest portion of the surfing public, I'm surprised at the increasing popularity of the Flash ads in particular. If you're trying to surf surreptiously, having large animated ads on your screen isn't a good idea.

  • And that sort of advertising isn't just for websites or magazines [tardsite.com].

    For that matter, it's not even just for corporate vehicles [wrapyourauto.com] anymore, either. And, for folks who want logos on their own cars, they don't even have to be advertising [autowraps.org], either.

  • by Robotech_Master ( 14247 ) on Thursday May 31, 2001 @07:27PM (#186908) Homepage Journal
    Something interesting I learned in marketing class is that coupons also serve to show a manufacturer just how many people are reading a particular magazine or otherwise paying attention to a particular source. They're not just a way to entice consumers into trying a product--they're trying to see how many people who do buy a product saw their ad.

    Pretty slick, in my opinion.

  • Advantages of text over graphics:
    -faster downloads (and therefore, they are more likely to be seen)
    - no distracting flashing gifs (like the one on top of this page)

    I will be honest, though. I don't think that they are nearly as visible as those annoying, obnoxious gifs...

    Wait... No more Punch The Monkey?! FORGET IT! I love punching that monkey. 8^)

  • Another advantage: text ads are likely to be dynamically generated by the same server that dishes up the real content, as opposed to being a reference to somewhere else. This makes all the difference where most filtering software is concerned.
  • by sethg ( 15187 ) on Thursday May 31, 2001 @06:56AM (#186911) Homepage
    Yee bought 667 ad impressions on Google for US$10 and got six click-throughs. In other words, his CPM (advertising cost per thousand audience members) was about $15 and his click-through rate was about 0.9%.

    According to this Nielsen//NetRatings press release (PDF) [], the top 100 Web advertisers in "traditional" industries have a CPM of $20.10 and a click-through rate of 0.22%.

    So if I worked for Google's advertising department, I'd be damn proud of Yee's figures.

  • What are the chances that someone searching for the word 'modern' are going to be interested in a website about slavery? If he had picked his keywords more cleverly, I think he would have had much beter results. As it is he got ~1% click throughs, so he really can't complain too much.

    Also, he was advertising for another website, so I'm not sure that this applies to people who are advertising for a product. I'm way more likely to click on a google ad if I'm searching for a place to buy a particular item then if I'm looking for information.
  • He did say that he used the words 'modern' and 'slavery', so I'm assuming they were seperate. Either way, it would brobably have been more effective if he had used something like the names of places where modern slavery exists or perhaps some terms related to modern slavery instead of the words 'modern' and 'slavery' themselves. Really, if his web page is any good, and someone is searching for 'modern slavery' he'd end up in the search results anyway; so why bother advertising?
  • by x mani x ( 21412 ) <mghase@NospAm.cs.mcgill.ca> on Thursday May 31, 2001 @06:43AM (#186914) Homepage
    Brento is correct, this experiment is essentially uninformative. Danny Yee basically posts his text ads, and when they prove ineffective he draws the conclusion that text ads in general are not as good as other types of internet advertisement. There is simply not enough information to determine whether this type of advertisement is good or not.

    I personally think they'll prove "just as" effective as normal graphic ads. People will be more appreciative of the lack of cheesy graphics and such, but not enough to actually click on them. :)
  • I use junkbuster when surfing the web. It effectively disables all banner-ads and such.

    Using text-ads not included with some stupid ilayer or iframe would be much more effective, because junkbuster can't catch them. Simple!
  • Yee bought 667 ad impressions on Google for US$10 and got six click-throughs. In other words, his CPM (advertising cost per thousand audience members) was about $15 and his click-through rate was about 0.9%.

    His clickthru rate was comparable from my site (Robot Wisdom Weblog), but he got a much, much, much better value because I can afford to sell for cheap-- and for me this was the real point of the experiment.

    Any weblog than can build an audience of a few thousand regular readers ought to be able to make a modest living at it, say by charging $20-$100/week for an ad (more for commercial sites) and keeping five ads running at all times.

    From my point of view, another aspect of the experiment was keeping control of the appearance so that my readers would not be driven away. Plus I hope to charge less for sites I like, and more for sites I don't.

  • Comicbook Guy (or possibly Nielsen himself?) writes: Without data to compare this study's findings against these numbers are meaningless.

    They're a datapoint. That's all they claim to be.

    Ten dollars for six visitors is not a level that small sites can afford. $20 for 250 is.

  • Clearly the author was not scientific in their study. But the anecdotal evidence that they presented - namely that marked advertising such as Google's adwords - doesn't work.

    My own experience has been in using Google's adwords twice, with several different messages. I never achieved more than a 0.7% click through ratio. At the price they charge, that is about $1 per click through. It just isn't cost effective.

    It would be nice to see a more scientific study comparing the different choices of advertising media, using the same target web site, the same advertising copy (the same message), and where applicable the same graphics. Now THAT would be extremely usefull.

    Still, as limited as this study is, it concurs with my experience, so I believe it to be valid.

    Take care,


    Visit our new Web Development Forum at: http://www.webdevtalk.com [webdevtalk.com]
  • They see a low number of click-throughs, and a low number of purchaces on click-throughs. So they can see the low response to their adds. They are more willing to spend their money on tv adds where they cant as readily see they are wasting money.

    The industry has been fighting this for years. You'll notice that a lot of TV or radio ads say, "Ask for Extension 760". There's no real extension 760, or whatever extension they use, but it's a code that corresponds to where they placed the ad. Of course, most of us don't bother with asking for extensions when we're ordering things.

    Print ads have been doing this with their web site tie-ins for a while, too. I just picked up the latest issue of Time off my desk for an example, and Covad's ad says to visit covad.com/sdsl29. That's a tie-in to the magazine ad, and it's a lot like a click-through.
  • by Brento ( 26177 ) <brento@breYEATSntozar.com minus poet> on Thursday May 31, 2001 @06:59AM (#186920) Homepage
    The higher questions are, what kind of site *should* host ads, how can advertising be incorporated into the content in such a way as to be visable, interesting, and attractive to users of the site.

    Well, I can answer the first one pretty easily. If you're getting free services, you should expect to get hit with obnoxious ads. The more you pay, the less obnoxious the ads are.

    For example, take radio stations. If you turn on your radio and listen to the free stations, your content will be interrupted every 10 minutes with a stream of advertisements that make banner ads look positively unobtrusive. You get a decent amount of content, but you have to sit through a lot of ads.

    Next up, public radio. If you shell out money directly to the station to support it, there's a lot less commercials. Granted, not everyone shells out the money, so in exchange, guess what? You get a minor amount of commercials. They're much less annoying than regular radio, but they're there.

    Finally, if you pony up a whopping $30+ a month for digital radio through your cable provider, you can listen to streaming music without any interruptions at all.

    That's how media works. The more you pay, the less someone else has to pay. But sooner or later, somebody has to pay. You can point to things like Shoutcast and whine that you can indeed get free audio, but somebody's paying for that through their bandwidth costs, and so are you. You don't see anybody running Shoutcast stations on free ISP's.

    What amazes me is that people are surprised by banner ads. They honestly expect someone to put up a server somewhere and offer services for free. You don't see anybody putting up free radio stations, do you? Sure, Joe Bob might pirate some radio for a while, but when he gets bored, he goes back to work like the rest of us.
  • The text-only ad said:
    563 lively book reviews on all subjects

    Whereas the Google ad said:
    A passionate but scholarly study of modern slavery

    Anyone with half a brain is going to read book reviews before they read a "scholarly study". This isn't a controlled study, and the results are useless.

    Suggestion to Danny: the next time you do a study, the test has to be set up so that it's not biased. The ads should have exactly the same content, so that you can judge the ad delivery and not the ads themselves. If you were trying to find out who found book reviews interesting as opposed to studies, then you ran a successful study, but otherwise this is totally useless.
  • Sure, Joe Bob might pirate some radio for a while, but when he gets bored, he goes back to work like the rest of us.

    Perhaps you are unaware of the countless efforts pirate radio broadcasters have gone through to keep our society from becoming a bunch of wage slaves living to buy gap clothing to wear while we listen to what someone driven by corporate interest (money) thinks we should. There have been incredible volunteer efforts foiled by the FCC. In one case (I don't recall), the FCC busted a station and had to use a jackhammer to remove their transmitter from the foundation of the premise and confiscate it. People don't mind running good radio without monetary profit, but the FCC sure does get pissed off when they don't pay a tremendous license fee, forcing them to make money off of advertising and thus keeping our apple pie institution running the way it should^tm.

    Here's some Joe Bob's you should check out:
    Linky version:
    Steal This Radio 88.7 FM [echonyc.com]
  • John Wanamaker said it long ago, "I waste half of the money I spend in advertising. I just don't know which half."
  • by AtariDatacenter ( 31657 ) on Thursday May 31, 2001 @09:00AM (#186924)
    Actually, I did a Google AdWords. But in a trollingly juvenile kind of way. You'll either like my story, or you'll hate it.

    I submitted a story about Google's adwords, and how it was very interesting in that *anybody* can place an advertisement, automatically, for anything they wanted. I personally consider this a revolution in the way advertising is handled, and I wish the idea would spread.

    Of course, my story was rejected. So, what does any evil Slashdotter do? That's right. I did a Google AdWords banner. It was titled "Get the Slashdot Guide!" with the body something to the effect of "Learn the secrets and make the most out of Slashdot. Ride the Taco!" It was set on the keyword "slashdot". It displayed the URL "www.slashdotguide.com".

    Effectiveness rate? VERY. I was getting about 12% click-throughs each day. I set a tiny budget of $30. It lasted for a few days. I would say that AdWords can be *very successful* if you correctly target your advertisement. Your experiment was rather bland, IMHO.

    Oh. The catch? The ad, while claiming it was directing you to "www.slashdotguide.com" and displaying the URL on a MOUSEOVER, actually linked them to the GoatSe.cx picture. I'm rather surprised that Google didn't put a stop to it. I'm rather surprised I did it.

    But it did get my point across when I re-submitted the story about Google AdWords. Even if they didn't follow through on it then and there. Maybe this story has something to do with it? :) (Probably NOT.)
  • The micro ads on my.yahoo.com get my attention far more than the banners. I've become conditioned to not even look toward anything flashing or rectangular with the standard aspects. I don't think I could even tell you what the standard ads are in circulation on Slashdot anymore, despite visiting about twice daily.
  • You've got to learn that there's a such thing as diminishing returns.

    Yeah, no kidding. I wonder when we'll reach a general threshold where people ignore advertising because it's become too pervasive, misleading, and just not useful. It's kind of an arms race -- viewers becoming more cynical and jaded, while advertisers become more sophisticated.

    I know we're all waiting to see how the partial collapse of web advertising plays out. What's more interesting to me is to wonder what will happen if (when) we see a similar collapse in advertising in other media. Think about how much "stuff" is supported by advertising. Think about how much of your GDP (wherever you are) comes from the flow of advertising dollars. All that stems from a certain confidence in the success of advertising. If that confidence ever wavered, we would face major shifts in the operation of our economy. Whether or not you think that would be a good thing is a different question. =)

  • So Danny, how many hits did you get when you posted it on Slashdot.org?
  • "So get used to the ads, because they're not going anywhere."

    Wrong. http://www.junkbuster.com
  • I could be totally off my rocker, but I was suffereing under the impression that the reason banner ads were losing popularity was not because there weren't any click-throughs. I thought there were plenty of click-throughs. What I had figured was the problem was the fact that nobody who clicked through ever paid for anything. I never really understood the "Shock the Monkey" banners that were designed to make you click and do nothing else. People clicked, then realized they were duped and backed out. Maybe they got stung by a barrage of pop ups or something, but they didn't really add to the revenue of the advertising site.<p>
    I also find myself agreeing with the arguments posted here about how advertising has survived for decades without any click-throughs. An advertisement for Expedia.com on the television serves to permanently link in your mind "travel web sites" to "Expedia.com" (which is why they say the name so much on the commercial). It's designed for name recognition. Nobody gets up and runs to their computer to make travel plans for next summer, so why should people click through right off the bat?<p>
    The bottom line is that banner ads should do their best to drill the name of their website into your head. Otherwise the only possible revenue they could attribute is via click-throughs, and we've all been through that rigamarole already.

  • Click
    here [goto.com] and make a spammer spend some money

    The third hit was this address:


    "Spam-free bulk email"...that's rich. Isn't that like "dehydrated water" or "Christians Against Christ?"

  • goto.com went under ? Humm... their site seems to be still up and running - and giving paid links back when doing searches. Or has it been bought out by someone ?
  • Imagine a world where television programmers religiously ran their advertising between shows, leaving the content of the shows uninterrupted. Would you ever see ads in such a world?

    Yes !! In France for example, public television isn't allowed to cut shows with commercials, and private television is only allowed one cut/show. Both still make ton of money with commercials...
  • The Nielsen/NetRatings report said nothing of the clickthrough rate of highly targeted advertising. From that report, there's no way to tell if 0.9% is good or bad for a search engine with targeted ads.
  • Someone tell me he's joking. He's joking, right?

  • by volpe ( 58112 ) on Thursday May 31, 2001 @07:17AM (#186935)

    Anyone with half a brain is going to read book reviews before they read a "scholarly study".

    And those of us with complete brains will read the scholarly studies.

    Seriously, folks, something has to be detailed enough for me to know whether or not I'll be interested in it before I go check it out. "563 lively book reviews on all subjects" is way too general to pique my interest, not to mention the fact that 563 is way too few to cover "all subjects". But I would certainly be interested in finding out what kind of horrific working conditions exist in other parts of the world, and where this stuff is going on.

    Banner ads work like impulse shopping. If I go to the supermarket for a quart of milk, and on the way to the dairy department I see a plain opaque box with the word "SNACK" written on it, the chances that I'll throw it in the cart are nil. But if I spot the brand-new taco-flavored Fritos, I might give them a try, because I already have enough information (I know what a taco is, and I've eaten Fritos before) to become interested in it.


  • <musing>

    It occurs to me that banner ads on a search engine are probably doomed to failure anyway: if a visitor comes in specifically looking for topic $foo, they're not gonna care about advertisement $bar. People using the web have notoriously short attention spans -- or I do, anyway :). Most of the time, they aren't likely to allow themselves to be distracted by an ad (or the link beyond it) unless it happens to be *really* close to what they're looking for in the first place. And even then, if I'm searching for e.g. "mistadobalina" and I happen to be shown an ad for Del Tha Funkee Homosapien's home page, I'm going to be skeptical about clicking on it out of fear that that site just wants me to buy something, even if that would otherwise be the exact site I'm looking for.


  • Since I've heard people talk about it, I asume they must be there somewhere, but I havve been using Google since they started, and I just don't get ads on my Google search results, very weired.

    I Don't run any filtering tools, and see plenty of them in altavista etc, so they are not deleted in my end.

    I just tried a few sample searches on common words, and none of them turned up any ads

    I also cleared my cookies first so my system should have been clean.

    Very strange....

    Anybody else also unable to see the ads?
    /Jacob L
  • I have to say this is totally true with me also. It seems you can't go to a site anywhere these days without getting bombarded by X10 popup ads. They're especially sneaky as they don't popup in the foreground, they popup in the background. I don't think website designers realize how much control they give to advertisers by allowing them to do popup ads. I recently was on namezero and their advertisement popup'd up a popup ad, that pop up'd another pop up ad, which pop up'd another pop up ad which was porn. It was totally unbelieveable... it was like the slippery slope of slime. Good site popups annoying site popups bad site popups sick site. Argh. I can't wait until mozilla has the feature to stop popup windows...

    The web is becoming way too entrenched in ads. This guys experiment in microads may have failed, but may have chosen poor keywords or uneffective wording. Personally, I know I MUCH more likely to click on a micro-ad. Micro-ads tend to represent what I am looking for. I would say google.com gets about %10 click-through on me, and that is WAY higher than any other site.

    I really think very macro ads are really shooting themselves in the foot. I think that online advertisers are starting to forget something even more important than click-through -- brand recognition. In the case of X10, I now dispise their brand. I was planning on buying several hundred dollars of wireless security stuff from there, but they can forget it now. I wouldn't trust them with my credit card number.

    I think the big players in advertising -- not other websites -- should start looking at the web more seriously for brand recognition. Really internet advertising is very cheap for the number of impressions especially if the ad is very tasteful. However, I think the annoying flash, popup, multiple banner ads are making online ads undesireable for brand recognition. They are doing nothing more than annoying the customer. Could you imagine on TV if commercials would begin to overlay the current TV show? During the commercial break if the screen broke up into a 3x3 grid of individual ads with their sounds overlapping. This is much like advertisement on the net today. It won't work.

  • But still, wouldn't circulation be a better metrics

    Magazines print sometimes up to twice as many copies as they sell, and it's hard to determine exactly how many sales are made at newsstands and stores. I'm not 100% but I think newsstands just chuck their old issues, so the magazine doesn't really get a count of how many were sold. Also, it's easier to track regional demographics when you've got a mailing list in front of you. Someone like Wired could almost instantly tell a potential ad customer how many geeks subscribe in the Bay Area by doing a simple search of their list, and those numbers really help sell ads.


  • No, it was "modern" and "slavery." Not necessarily both in the same search.
  • Word of warning... do NOT click on the link. Not if you're at work anyway. Yes it's the worst use of popup ads... wasn't expecting the neverending stream of porn windows though.
  • I dearly hope that Google finds a revenue model that allows it to keep running the way it has been: it plays a key role in levelling the playing field and helping smaller independent sites attract visitors.

    Yeah, there's a revenue model that would work: it's called charging a membership fee to be able to use the site, in order to cover costs. Businesses that give the primary bulk of their work/costs away at no charge to consumers simply have no future. Advertising in any form is not even close to covering costs of production--why do you think that for newspapers with any reasonable quality and variety of content you have to PAY for a subscription? Only things like GreenSheet are given away for free--because they are almost entirely composed of advertisements.

  • by jmorzins ( 86648 ) on Thursday May 31, 2001 @07:24AM (#186943)
    I'd disagree with your conclusion. The most effective TV commercials might be entertaining ones, but remember that most people's goal when watching television is to be entertained. Web sites vary, but most of the ones I see emphasize information more than they emphasize entertainment. If I'm reading the web looking for stuff to read, even if it's fun reading material, I'm more likely to click through ads that seem to match my current goal than I am to click on ads that are funny.

    The best advertisements are the ones that make the viewer think "look at that! yes, this is what I want". Exactly what will make a viewer think this depends on how well you match your ad to the viewers frame of mind.
  • the ad rate is primarily dependant on subscription rates, not total circulation

    But this makes sense, if you think about it. As an advertiser, if you subscribe to a magazine I know you'll be seeing my and next month (and the month after...) whereas if you pick up a magazine at a newsstand, who knows if you'll ever bother to pick up another.

    It's the whole "sticky eyeballs" thing in a print context rather than a web-based one.

  • This "experiment" is an excellent example of what happens when someone with no background in empirical research methods conducts an "experiment". Let me outline some of the errors that totally undermine the validity of this study

    Too few factors
    The first and most egregious error is that there are only two independent variables (the two different ads) that operationalize the entire field of micro-advertising. Assuming that one can generalize about the entire field of micro-advertising, or even just Google Adwords from one or two ads is totally absurd. If I gave an experimental drug to two people for 10 days and then concluded that the drug "didn't seem to work that well" I would be laughed out of academia. Similarly the statement "The Google AdWords setup doesn't seem to work that well" is just totally unfounded. The only thing you can conclude from having that one independent variable is that that one ad didn't work very well.

    No Control Group
    This study presents nothing to compare its findings against. Maybe AdWords doesn't work well, but compared to what? Print Adverting? Classified ads in the Boston Herald? Traditional banner ads on Yahoo? Without data to compare this study's findings against these numbers are meaningless.

    No statistical analysis
    First the author does not define at what level micro advertising would be labelled "successful." Would it be successful if it had a %25 click through rate? If it doubled banner ads? If it approximated print ads? How do you compensate for sampling error? What is the alpha level for determining significance? Where are the F scores? Pearson Correlations? Analysis of variance? What is the probability of committing a type I error? I'm sorry friend but "doesn't seem to work that well" is not a meaningful conclusion and there is zero meaningful data to support this conclusion. Your study is not generalizable to ANYTHING, and if it was subjected to any type of peer review it would be rated right up there with the "Is your boyfriend cheating on you" poll in Cosmo.

    I could go on and on, too small sample size, to few levels of the dependant variable, but you get the point. My advice to this author: Buy a textbook on research methods and read it, then you might be able to contribute something more than just pseudoscience.

  • Online ads are an *acceptable* pest on the first visit to any site... but upon repeat visits, they should disappear, or at least be optional (a cookie-embedded "ad switch" would be nice). If you think about it, ads --by their very nature-- only provide an exit from whatever site they sit on anyway.

    And, of course, this is the big difference between online advertising and ads in any other medium. When you look at, or hear, ads elsewhere, you are never required to break continuity with whatever is hosting the ads (think radio, tv, mags, etc.). But web ads don't just say "look at me"... they say "come over here instead".

    I would hope that most repeat visitors return to a site because of content, not advertising (think slashdot)... so why should frequent visitors be bombarded with the same crap, hour after hour, day after day, enticing them to leave the very site giving them space?

    Online advertising sucks precisely because of this constant nagging of the viewer, and the ever-present threat that site owners face with the matter-of-fact *exit* button functionality that online ads actually represent.

    No matter, I like the idea of text-based ads simply for their non-intrusiveness, but would rather not see any ads period. Hey, it's just like the movies to me: you are forced to watch (and occasionally enjoy) movie previews in a theater just because it's part of the experience. But nobody ever likes watching the same stupid crap on the video you rent from blockbuster.

  • The advertising industry has always had a strange approach to things (IMHO) - if you look at how they treat magazines the ad rate is primarily dependant on subscription rates, not total circulation. For some reason the industry feels that people that subscribe to a magazine are either more likely to read the ads or are just more valuable than people who pick up a copy at the local bookshop. This is why some magazines give such deep discounts for subscribers - they need that base to boost their add rates which is where their real money is coming from.
  • This reminds me of one of the late comedian Bill Hicks routines.

    "By the way if anyone here is in advertising or marketing kill yourself. Just a little thought, I am just trying to plant seeds.... Seriously if you are do. No really, there is no rationalization for what you do, and you are satans little helpers. seriously, you are the ruiners of all things good"

    Just planting seeds.

  • You mean it can get more annoying than that stupid monkey? no wait. Mail.com uses pop up ads. I have to close them just to see my email. I HATE POPUP ads! Well anyway, I don't think it can get any worse than the popup ads. Second to that is the monkey.
  • Don't give them any ideas! I have enough trouble as it is.
  • I always close them immediately. I don't think I've ever seen a popup ad load completely.
  • proximitron. cool. thanx.
  • There is a certain point where this is corect that annoying ads can get people to click them, but only if they aren't too annoying.
    I mean, come on, we've all shocked that damn monkey at least once right? That is an annoying ad, but, like TV comercials, it stays within the bounds of the expectations. It doesn't pop up, and it doesn't make noise.
    (One of the reasons why)Pop ups are so annoying because they go outside the bounds of the web page. People don't expect things to pop, and they don't like it.
    Similarly, have you seen that banner ad for moulon rougue? (I'm probably spelling it wrong) It plays sound clips! I'm sitting here in our little computer lab and that comes blaring out of the speakers. Sure I gets my attention, by being annoying, but there is no way I am going to clack that damn thing now. If the ad is that bad, just imagine how bad the site must be!!
  • The thing about TV commercials is that their success isn't measured by how many people run out and buy the product being advertised. It's a "mindshare" kind of thing. This whole click-through idea needs to be rethought...

  • by Dr_Cheeks ( 110261 ) on Thursday May 31, 2001 @06:53AM (#186955) Homepage Journal
    I've noticed that my site traffic has gone from about 45/month to about 600 just from leaving a little link in my .sig here on Slashdot. It's great for those of us running small sites in our free time that the search engines ignore. I imagine it wouldn't make much difference to big players though

    By the way....

  • by swordgeek ( 112599 ) on Thursday May 31, 2001 @07:07AM (#186956) Journal
    You've hit the nail squarely on the side. :-)

    Most of advertising in any media is designed for one thing: Brand name recognition and Pavlovian conditioning. (OK, that's two things)

    In the big North American cities, there are pages of classified ads that have nothing but companies' names. That's an attempt at fostering name recognition (probably a pretty lousy one, but dirt cheap). TV ads are usually funny or sexy skits with heavy product placement. Does that tell you _anything_ about the product? No, but it equates fun or sex with the product in some basal part of your brain, and when you go shopping for whatever it is, that association might tweak you into buying their product over the competition's.

    Of course, TV and radio ads like this don't work as soon as you start thinking about what you want to buy. Guess what? People don't think about what they want to buy! Ads like this are enormously successful, no matter how little they say about the product.

    The problem with web ads was one of perception. The web is all about linking and clicking, and for some reason the advertisers thought that they could measure interest in their ads (and thus efficacy) by counting clicks. Lo and behold, nobody clicks on the damned ads! At first it looked like web advertising was a bust, but in fact, they're now learning that people don't like traditional media ads any better than web ads, and wouldn't watch them voluntarily either. Now they're discovering the final result: Web banners work, and work in exactly the same way as traditional ads. Name recognition and mood association are just as annoying and effective no matter what the medium; and conversely, 'customer participation' (i.e. clicking through) is equally unlikely and irrelevant no matter what the medium.

    So get used to the ads, because they're not going anywhere.

  • Goto is doing extremely well; they're one of the few companies around which are making a profit off of web searches. It turns out to be a very good search engine for goods and services--you get good results because people are paying to be listed.

    Most of their traffic is through affiliates large and small, not directly through their site. Some of their affiliates are AOL, Altavista, and MSN.

    For sites which make more than $.05 per targeted visitor (meaning, the visitor actually *wants* to view your site, not some random viewer), Goto is the most effective source of traffic you can buy. As far as i know, Goto has significantly more advertisers than any other net company, and has a very interesting mix of fortune-500 advertisers and mom-and-pop-shop advertisers.

  • Here's another way of net advertising. Creating a player decal that you spray in the game of Counter Strike (A half-life mod).

    So far I don't know if it's working *grin*
  • After heading to E3, I decided to put up a review about the dismal performance Microsoft XBox put up. After seeing the "mainstream" gaming press try and spin the XBox off as hot shit, I figured, what better way to test this micro-ad thingy?

    So, I've put my own targeted ad up. The XBox should be riding an immense wave of hype after E3, the build-up was huge, so tone of people will be searching for the information...will I get hits?

    Here's my review of the XBox, in case you want to see what the real gaming public thinks of the XBox's E3 performance: XBox Review here. [epinions.com]

  • Well, here are the final results:

    673 impressions in less than a day.
    4 hits, for a clickthrough of 0.59%
    Man, that's pretty darn weak. After checking, I think I got more hits from posters on Slashdot who were interested in the link, than I did from the Google link.

    So, in conclusion...a fairly descriptive write-up with a link on Slashdot will get you more results...and it's free.

    As far as the guy who replied...sorry if don't think I was being a professional jorunalist in my review. First off, I'm not really a professional. I tell it like it is. I tell it like I think it's going to be, too.

    In regards to the "unfounded" claim that Microsoft was probably cranking up the specs on the fake XBoxes...I didn't know if Microsoft was doing that for sure, but it's common practice at E3 to demo software on the top of the line machines, and then tell the people that came by that the game was running on a system that just met the game's requirements. (I know because I worked at a company that did this, and had contacts at other companies, who told me they were doing the same.)

    I figure it's a valid assumption. If you don't, fine, whatever, that's just my speculation. It doesn't take anything away from the fact that the XBox still made a poor showing, whether it was cranked up or not.
  • Micro-advertising actually works very well because the ads have to be targetted to what people are looking for on the site. I am willing to bet that not only will you get much more click-throughs, but the extra webbing will make the site better for your surfers. A win-win all the way.-Ryan Singer
  • On more than one occasion I can recall having been so annoyed with the time taken for an ad to load (due to heavy java/animation) I have actually been compelled to click it in order to find the e:mail address of the webmaster so I could complain :)
    Could be an new source of click-thrus - just make the most annoying banners possible! :))
  • Thats another thing; does anyone ever wait for those pop-up ads to load or do they always get the X of death before they even show anything?
  • The problem with (effective) advertising on the Web is that it gets in the way of content, which is what the user is looking for.

    Same can be said for TV advertising.

    TV advertisers learned the lesson and tried to make the adverts worth watching. Indeed, on most of the cable channels I get the adverts are the only good programming.

  • The Web is very different from television: it is mainly a cognitive medium, whereas TV is mainly an emotional medium.

    That porn is the one known wokring web business model argues against this. People are people in front of TVs or web browsers.

    Somoene else has pointed pout that the TV equivalent of click through (people going to your shop etc.) is also low rate.

    However, this doesn't affect my point which was that the advertising has to fit into the medium so that when tit gets in the way it is not percieved as doing so.

    A good Tv advert is a tiny programme in it's own right which some proportion of the audience is happy to watch on the same basis as the `real' programming.

    A web equivalnt is to fit your advert in as a page on the relevent site which can be used by the browser in the same way hey use the surrouning pages.

    For example, imagine one /. headline a day was put there by an advertiser.

    A naive advertiser, equivalent to the people who think banner adds are a good idea, would put `Bloonet hubs are K00lL', and no one would click onto the page except the firstposters.

    A good advertising agency would craft a story which was relevent to the /. audience, drew people in and caused them to want to argue... oops I mean discuss at great length with some force. Perhaps not directly mentioning `bloonet' at all, perhaps making it incidental (as the Budweiser frogs followups with the chamelians never mention beer). Lots of people click onto the page an absorb the message. Next time one of them wants to buy a hub, `bloonet' springs to mind as a supplier to check out.

    BTW if /. starts doing this don't blame me, just send me a cut of the income:-)

  • by larsal ( 128351 ) on Thursday May 31, 2001 @06:42AM (#186966)

    There was an excellent article [suck.com] at Suck.com last month, pointing out one simple fact:

    Banner ads probably do work

    The problem has been [to loosely paraphrase] that the companies selling and managing banner ads thought that advertising on the Internet would be different from advertising in other media.

    Unfortunately, they're wrong. The clickthrough rates are low, sure. But how often does an ad for, say, jeans, make you head out and buy them [the rough equivalent of a 'click-through']?

    Ads are designed to get you to remember the product when you're heading out to buy products, thereby establishing brand recognition and making you more likely to choose that manufacturer's product over the hundred or so nearly identical competing brands'.

    Just because it's a new medium doesn't mean we've changed that much, and as the article points out, with the cultural recognition of that damned monkey, it could probably sell us just about anything.


  • There has been some statistical research done
    on the effectiveness of text ads.

    See http://www.planetarynews.com/online-news/
    and look for "E-pub logo that's an ad" and the
    thread around it.

    One point I find really interesting is that
    they are effective **because** a visitor has
    a high degree of confidence in what they are and
    where they will take him. One of things Nielsen
    notes makes for a "good link".

    Not sexy, just effective.


  • by Stott ( 132670 ) on Thursday May 31, 2001 @06:29AM (#186968)
    Banner ads aren't totally dead. T.V. commercials have found people don't want the mundain information, they want to be entertained. Banner ads just need to be reformatted and reborn.

    All your bases are belong to us!
  • ...is to have your story posted on slashdot
  • whereas if you pick up a magazine at a newsstand, who knows if you'll ever bother to pick up another.

    But still, wouldn't circulation be a better metrics, since even if I only read one issue, that wouldn't raise the circulation. There'd have to be 51 (25, whatever) other onetime readers to raise the circulation to match the contribution of just one subscriber? Doesn't it sound like this would actually be better bang-for-buck (52 people of which most are likely to have seen ad once, compared to 1 who has seen it 1 - 52 times?)? [obviously I know nothing about advertising, but I am slightly curious... engineers interested about advertising, what a concept!]

  • > There was an excellent article [suck.com] at Suck.com last month, pointing out one simple fact:
    > Banner ads probably do work

    Previously you could just move the bottom sucky frame to zero size, and whala! no banner ads. You can still link to a unframed pages [suck.com] tho, or even better the more liquid [suck.com] print friendly version (that unfortunately still uses tables for layout).

  • In the big North American cities, there are pages of classified ads that have nothing but companies' names.

    I live in a big north american city, and read newspapers from some others, but haven't seen classifieds that just have company names in them. Do you have any examples? This just strikes me as odd.

  • 1 - Post a comment on SlashDot with a link here... [danny.oz.au]
    2 - In time this will get modded up to Score:5, Funny (trust me ;-))
    3 - Wait for the SlashDot effect to kick in!

  • Brento is correct, this experiment is essentially uninformative. Danny Yee basically posts his text ads, and when they prove ineffective he draws the conclusion that text ads in general are not as good as other types of internet advertisement.

    Actually Danny Yee does something much smarter. He uses some flimsy data to get slashdotted getting several thousand more hits than he got out of Google or the other place.

    And the Slashdot editors fell for it.


  • Surprisingly, no one has mentioned the most obviously distressing point of the article: the sites designed with the most consistency (the most usable content) were the worst for advertising.

    Doesn't this just underscore what everyone already knows, that annoying advertising gets results because people pay attention to it? Imagine a world where television programmers religiously ran their advertising between shows, leaving the content of the shows uninterrupted. Would you ever see ads in such a world? Wonderfully usable sites such as Google [google.com], although conforming to Jakob Nielsen's design ideas, don't create enough ruckus around their ads to create a reliable advertising medium. Television, on the other hand, has awful ads all through its content, with varying ad lengths and spot times to keep the user in his/her seat, expecting the content to return at any minute.

    The funny paradox here is that TV continues to attract viewers, even with such practices, while sites that attempt to conform to a more television-like advertising standard merely run off their users. Personally, I believe that this is primarily due to a comparatively higher level of sophistication on the part of web users (say all you want...at least we can turn on the computer, right?); if the web is ever saturated with the masses that TV attracts, then the ad model could well change to the more annoying TV-style (Sign of the apocalypse, btw...), where sites that are inconsistent, confusing, or otherwise forcing the user to see the ads can create a revenue stream based on the ad.

  • Luckily there are lots of other places to get X10 gear. Check Smarthome [smarthome.com] to start with.

    I almost never patronize x10.com.
  • Actually there is just such a way to keep quality sites up. People paying for ad campaings on sites are not just the only ones that can keep them alive, you can too. Consider it a bit like 'paying to get no banner ads tagged onto your email', only that it`s not email and that now you are expressing an appreciation or need for the content. By simply donating money to services you are fond of, people can donate money to sites they want to keep up and banner free for isntance.

    Reflecting on this a bit, the problem with these kind of thing is that this model can`t work because individual payment is an uncoordinated and crude event. You can`t possibly go about and give every good site your money, and the effect you try to resort might be disproportional to what you had in mind. So maybe it`s time to build something like support.org, an organisation you are free to donate money to and which you can instruct to support a certain company with that money up to a certai degree. You can of course consult previous efforts in that direction.. the support.org runs by voting on policy issues, and those who donate cna vote and suggest policy changs. Seems like to me like a nice idea to help and sustain Open Source Projects.

    Flaws? Comments?
  • How exactly is this the complete opposite approach to "traditional" Web advertising? Advertising is when you pay third-party editorial sources to promote your interests. In addition, you generally supply the creative to do this, whether it's text, images, or sound.

    The fact that this guy spent less (i.e., smaller media buy) doesn't make this some new form of advertising.... and it's not like every advertiser doesn't run their own metrics to determine efficacy.

    The test of a successful campaign is to define the acceptable cost per unit of acceptable result (results may range from "improve awareness by 1%" to "sell 1 unit of product"). Then determine if the advertisement delivered those results at or below acceptable cost.

    Not sure how this "experiment" was deemed a failure... was there an expectation in advance about how many clickthroughs the Google ad should deliver per impression? A roughly 1% clickthrough rate is quite decent, by the standards of this industry, and the CPM he describes is quite reasonable, as well.

  • This isn't a controlled study, and the results are useless.

    He also missed out on comparing it to banner ads (the defacto web advertising medium) and identifying how many of the impressions were unique (which is particularly important in the case of the weblog, where you'll have the same people visiting the site over and over).

  • all I have to say is,

    X10 can bite me! long ago I had planned on experimenting with X10 controls in my future house (which doesn't exist yet), but I'm so sick of their flipping popup ads that I'm not buying anything from them ever.

    I wonder if the their ad department has considered how many potential customers they may be running off with their damned annoying (and obviously sexually suggestive) ads for their stupid little camera.
  • The problem with the experiment is that the ads contained different text, and the author even identifies this in his analysis.
    That's a big part of the problem but not all of it. The types of audiences the two sites have will be major factor. Another factor is the choice of keywords in Google. People looking at Google are generally searching for something specific, and usually free at that. An ad implies that someone wants to sell something (and the Google ad looks much more 'ad-like' so people will make that assumption more readily that the 'paid link' style of the other site). I doubt people searching for 'slavery' and 'modern' are looking to buy.

    RobotWisdom, OTOH will tend to have a fairly well defined audience just like /. does. That audience will tend to be interested in the stuff that is put up there and are more likely to click through. I'm particularly talking about when the ad became a normal weblog item, but even when it was prefaced by Paid Link: it still appears much like a normal item. Also it seems that the guy running RobotWisdom has a fairly strict policy on ads, which will help because his audience will know that. Slashdot benefits from the same high level of targeting: /. is just about the only site I've clicked ads on in the last few years (I don't even look at the ads on other sites).

    But despite these issues there are valid points to be taken from this experiment. In particular I think it indicates that targeted advertising is more effective (but that's already well known), and also the less 'ad-like' an ad is the more likely someone is to click through it. Of course if it becomes too deceptive it wont impress people looking for information who instead find themselves in a store.

  • Does advertising work? It depends on what you want it to achieve.

    I don't see anyone challenging the viability of print, television, or radio ads. But I can't remember a single time when I saw something advertised, dropped everything I was doing, and ran out immediately and bought that item.

    So why is it that you expect that I'm going to buy something just because I see a link to it from some webpage I'm visiting?

    I also don't buy products in order to reward them for sponsoring a content provider I happen to like. Advertisers think they subsidize popular entertainment, which

    If I buy something, I buy it because I need it or because I want it and also because I know it exists. Advertising can't tell me if I need something. Most advertising does a lousy job in telling me why I should want something. Aside from infomercials, most advertising these days doesn't try to tell me why I should want something at all. But one thing that advertising does a pretty good job of is letting me know that some product exists.

    Advertisers should also know that the world was saturated with advertising and people clamoring for my money long before the internet ever came into existance, and simply providing more room for advertising via the invention of cyberspace won't give me any more dollars in my wallet to spend on stuff. I'm already spending at the highest rate that I can sustain with my income. You've got to learn that there's a such thing as diminishing returns.

  • From Nielsen's article:
    The Web is very different from television: it is mainly a cognitive medium, whereas TV is mainly an emotional medium. This makes TV much more suited for the traditional type of advertising which is flashy and promotes superficial qualities of products. While watching TV, people approach a vegetable state and the main goal of a commercial is to minimize interaction by keeping the user's hand off the remote control. As long as the user watches, you can keep them engaged by high production values and a message that says very little besides "we are good."

    Where TV is warm, the Web is cold. It is a user-driven experience, where the user is actively engaged in determining where to go next. The user is usually on the Web for a purpose and is not likely to be distracted from the goal by an advertisement (one of the main reasons click-through is so low). This active user engagement makes the Web more cognitive, since the user has to think about what hypertext links to click and how to navigate. This again makes the Web less suited for purely emotional advertising. The user is not on the Web to "get an experience" but to get something done. The Web is not simply a "customer-oriented" medium; it's a customer-dominated medium. The user owns the Back button. Get over it: there is no way of trapping users in an ad if they don't want it.

    http://www.useit.com/alertbox/9709a.html [useit.com]

  • From the article:
    Another problem Google and Robot Wisdom both face is that they are too well designed and consistent... But I'd hate to see either Robot Wisdom or Google damage their functionality in order to improve the effectiveness of advertising.
    The problem with (effective) advertising on the Web is that it gets in the way of content, which is what the user is looking for. Any site that promotes advertising over content loses credibility and user experience. Any site that promotes content over advertising loses advertising effectiveness and cash.

    For a more in-depth analysis (and a better test program) I recommend reading Jakob Nielsen's columns on web usability [useit.com], starting with one specifically about web-based advertising [useit.com].

    Here's the URLs:


  • by david duncan scott ( 206421 ) on Thursday May 31, 2001 @07:34AM (#186998)
    I have read that the very first commercial jingle (for gum, as I recall) was carefully timed to some 10 seconds -- long enough to be memorably irritating, but not quite long enough to get up and turn the radio dial.
  • by tenzig_112 ( 213387 ) on Thursday May 31, 2001 @07:08AM (#186999) Homepage
    It seems that ad revenue plummits even as web usage rises. What to do? At some of the sites I work with, we've been slowly introducing "sneaky" advertising like product placement.

    Here's a sample of what your average 'blog will look like by the end of the Summer:


    Just sitting here at my new Dell Dimension [dell.com] sipping a Jolt [joltcola.com] and I began to wonder about the future of the Internet. I mean, my Comcast @ Home [comcast.com] service is wicked-fast. But what's next? I want to be able to stream the new LOTR [lordoftherings.net] trailer and snag the demo for Half-Life 2 [sierra.com] without a long download.

    I can't imagine sites pimping misleading links [ridiculopathy.com]. But it could happen.

  • by Foggy Tristan ( 220356 ) on Thursday May 31, 2001 @06:34AM (#187002)
    The problem with the experiment is that the ads contained different text, and the author even identifies this in his analysis.

    His Google ad was very specifically oriented towards one book review; his RobotWisdom ad geared toward numerous reviews. THe expectations of users seeing the link then passing through the link would be radically different, and not surprisingly give his RobotWisdom ad the edge.

    If they had both been geared toward the site overall, I'd believe that the results were valid. Instead, I have to question what factor really resulted in the difference in clickthroughs. This has made me want to run my own experiment with my own site, but being more careful about the wording of the two ads.

  • by bmongar ( 230600 ) on Thursday May 31, 2001 @06:35AM (#187003)
    The biggest problem with click-through ads is that they are countable. This is why the advertising industry is pulling their advertising. They see a low number of click-throughs, and a low number of purchaces on click-throughs. So they can see the low response to their adds. They are more willing to spend their money on tv adds where they cant as readily see they are wasting money.
  • Having worked for 2 different failed dot BOMBS that were based on an advertisment business model, I think its safe to say that advertisment online has been grossly overestimated regardless of how you approach it.
    For years there has been a difference in how advertisers approached their buyers. INFOMERCIALS go for the BUY NOW OR MISS OUT. Coca-Cola goes for the NAME NAME NAME. When you think softdrink think COKE. BUD WEIS EERRRRR...etc.
    Thus far none of pure dot coms(not the brick and mortar that have a website to back them up) companies have found a way to breech that gap.
    The only way I see anything changing online is for the "permission based marketing" to take over. Example: You know I am interested in puchasing a product because in a survey etc I told you so. You are partnered with a company that sells or distributes that product. You send me an ad because I told you that you could and its a product I am wanting more infomation on. Past that its a dark deep bottomless money pit that ALOT of venture capital money helps make deeper and darker.
    Razzious Domini
  • I've been [ADV: Enjoy Coca Cola! [coke.com]] making a decent [ADV: You'll Love the New Lexus LS430' [lexus.com]] living for six months now just by posting [ADV: WASSUUUUPPP!!!!??? [budweiser.com]] micro-ads on public forums.
  • /. makes me want stuff from ThinkGeek. Especially "performance drinks" with stupid names like Whoop Ass. And mice. Really nice mice.

    But only because I come day after day, and see exactly the kind of thing I'm interested in. I don't need to see it for long, but I need to see it ten or twenty times.

    Not that I buy the crap, I just want it. But if it was something in my fridge, that I knew and liked, I'd probably go grab one. Something like that could easily skew my Coke:Coffee ratio (there's one for something other than coffee, I think it's one of those performance drinks I want, that shows a bunch of coffee cups and makes me want coffee). Why the hell aren't "Coca-Cola" banners all over the web like everywhere else? OTOH, there the generic problem: when I see Coke, I just want cola, it's all the same fizzy sweet stuff with caffeine (I still think they ruined the drink when they took the cocaine out of it).

    BTW, one thing that really, really pisses me off is click-through ads that change with every reload. I navigate quickly, so usually, an ad that interests me only registers after I can't see it any more. I hit "back" and the ad is gone. I hit reload 3 or 4 times, and if the ad doesn't come up again, I go on with what I was doing (they should have "show me the last ad" links, or "show all ads in current rotation").

    Incidentally, I usually miss anything animated. I expect certain sites I like to have ads I like, so I glance at the ads. Once. If I don't see anything informative in the frame that's up (such as "40 gb harddrive: $100 Shipping included!" or "Babes in bikinis, talking about sports."), they don't get another frame to convince me. I've long since learned not to bother watching after an "intriguing" frame.

    Hmm. Looking back at the first paragraph... now I associate ThinkGeek with ass+mice, and from there to a story that starts "The real mistake was when I lit a match to see up the cardboard tube..."
  • Especially with the decline in internet advertising demand, rates and revenue, agencies are focusing less on the click-through metric and more on "branding."

    Much like traditional "highway billboard" advertising - where the number of impressions is nothing more than an estimate of how many people drive by, brand recognition in invaluable on the internet even if people don't click on the text or banner ad. There is value in advertisements even with a low click-through rate.


  • The article points out that the pages displaying the ads were so well organized (or at least consistant) that users of the pages didn't look around very much, they didn't see the ads in other words.

    Well, ... good. The ads obviously weren't crafted into the content model of either service, just grafted on top, so I'd say the article provides a huge kudos to the site designers.

    The higher questions are, what kind of site *should* host ads, how can advertising be incorporated into the content in such a way as to be visable, interesting, and attractive to users of the site.

    Thank god I don't know the answer, otherwise I'd be upstairs in marketing instead of reading /.

    Nietzsche on Diku:
    sn; at god ba g
    :Backstab >KILLS< god.

If I had only known, I would have been a locksmith. -- Albert Einstein