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The Almighty Buck

Ask Jeeves Gives Up On Banner Ads 151

WhatBusinessModel? writes "In another blow to online banner advertising, Ask Jeeves is announcing that it will stop running banner ads on its website in favor of more paid listings. Says Steve Berkowitz, president of Ask Jeeves Web Properties, 'I think banners have seen their day. They're not as compelling as they once were.' In contrast, he describes paid listings as 'kind of a next evolution of the yellow pages.'" Probably a change that will become more and more prominent in the search engine world.
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Ask Jeeves Gives Up On Banner Ads

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  • okay (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Joe the Lesser ( 533425 ) on Sunday January 05, 2003 @12:57PM (#5019945) Homepage Journal
    So now instead of annoying consumers, let's just restrict what we show them. Is that the jist of it?
    • Re:okay (Score:4, Insightful)

      by SoupIsGoodFood_42 ( 521389 ) on Sunday January 05, 2003 @05:31PM (#5021315)
      What are you talking about? They aren't restricting anything. Go there youself and do a search, they list the sponsored results seperatly, and yes the other results are still there in full. Google already does this.

      It makes much more sence to have sponors that may be of value to the user instead of annoying adds.
      They have to make money somehow.

      Sigh. A company does somethign sensible, then they get ripped to shreads by uninformed meaningless /. poster babble.

  • Banner ads compelling? To whom?
    • Re:What the?! (Score:2, Insightful)

      by malraid ( 592373 )
      Banner ads can be compelling if they are:

      1) Non intrusive or tricky (unlike Presion Time Ads)
      2) Very well targeted.

      For example, if I'm surfing a music band's website, and there is a banner for online music retailer, that will take me directly to a list that band's albums, that's a good banner. Even if I don't click on it, I will not whine about it beign there. This is probably a very clear cut case, but there are many where banner ads can be compelling and complementary to the website's content. Unfortunatly, less 1% are well thought probably, and since very few people click on them, they are not compeling (monetary wise) to website operators.

      Of course, as with mostly everything in the Internet, it is easier to mass abuse rather than be creative, thoughtfull, or decent.
    • I don't remember the exact numbers here, but there was a study done about banner blindness. They monitored people's online searches (for products, information, etc) and found that an overwhelming majority of people did not click on banners EVEN IF IT ADVERTISED THE PRODUCT, SERVICE, OR INFORMATION THEY WERE LOOKING FOR.
  • by Sabu mark ( 205793 ) on Sunday January 05, 2003 @12:59PM (#5019957) because pop-ups are more visible (read as: annoying) and they don't mess up the site's page layout.

    So when I hear "Ask Jeeves is eschewing banners for paid listings" I cynically suspect they left out "and a heaping crapload of pop-ups."

    It's all a moot point, though, because who in their right mind uses Ask Jeeves in the first place?
    • by Ninja Master Gara ( 602359 ) on Sunday January 05, 2003 @01:04PM (#5019983) Homepage
      Pop-Ups are also vigourously protested against by site users, and more and more blocked by software, even as a standard feature for Earthlink users. Mainstream sites can't hope to use popups for any period of time without repurcussions.
      • But you fail to realize that the majority of ad-related decision makers are marketing people, who are inherently evil and stupid (I know, my boss is one).

        My boss, for instance, is annoyed that we don't constantly have a popup on our site. Myself and the editor have resisted constantly, but eventually we're either going to have to come up with a better idea or give in. The problem with our ideas is that they aren't intrusive. Why do they need to be intrusive?

        Well, we need to make money even though we're just the web site for a larger company that makes tons of money. Right now the site costs about $400,000/year to run and brings in about $350,000 almost entirely through advertising. Somehow we have to get advertisers to cough up at least $50,000 more per year and advertisers wan't views and clicks.

        Unfortunately, the web makes it very easy to track exactly which response viewers have to ads, so the ads are held accountable for what kind of response they get. TV, on the other hand, has no reliable form of accountability for ad productiveness, so advertisers rely on incorrect aggregate data from Neilson (or another company) to determine how successful their ad is.

        Making money on the web is tough.
    • A very different approach to Google - from this months Wired []:

      "Over the years, Brin and Page have resisted pressure to run banners, opting instead for haiku-like text ads and unintrusive sponsored links. They've taken a stand against pop-ups and pop-unders..."

      Apparently the sponsored link sites aren't even allowed to use popups.

    • by Nick Number ( 447026 ) on Sunday January 05, 2003 @01:34PM (#5020138) Homepage Journal
      So when I hear "Ask Jeeves is eschewing banners for paid listings" I cynically suspect they left out "and a heaping crapload of pop-ups."

      No, they already got rid of those. Check out the second sentence of the article:
      The decision follows the company's move last fall to halt pop-up ads, which other Web sites such as iVillage and America Online have also done.
    • Another thing is that when people go to a search engine, they know exactly what they're looking for, and are less likely to wander astray because of a banner.
    • Instead of "cynically suspecting" or anything like that, you should inform yourself a little bit more.

      From the article:
      The decision follows the company's move last fall to halt pop-up ads

      I know that cynically suspecting is fun; but you should realize that its accuracy isn't so great.
    • I used to find Ask Jeeves very helpful. I was often able to get at questions for which other search engines gave me too many answers. I've used it less and less as they've put in more and more sponsored links. I suspect that I'll never use it now.
    • ...pop-ups are more visible (read as: annoying)...

      They've not very visible when they're sitting behinde the page the person is reading. And they've not visible for very long when the person see the pop-up and reaches for the close button, that's if they get a chance to load.

      I've never click on a pop-up, I occationaly click on a banner.

      I cynically suspect they left out "and a heaping crapload of pop-ups."

      Well, the point is moot since they don't use pop-ups anyway (well, I didn't get any).

    • For that matter, who in their right mind uses a browser that displays pop-ups?

      I hate to plug mozilla here, however if you're annoyed by popups, get mozilla and block the pop-ups... problem solved. As for as I'm concerned they can advertise all they like!
  • Ask who? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Twirlip of the Mists ( 615030 ) <> on Sunday January 05, 2003 @01:02PM (#5019967)
    Ask who? Oh, you mean that thing that's not anywhere near as useful as Google, which by the way also eschews banner ads in favor of paid listings? Yeah, I'm real broken up about this.
    • Re:Ask who? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ProfKyne ( 149971 )

      Not to sound harsh, but I think you're missing the point. The OP is saying that more and more "high-profile" sites (not sure if is considered "high-profile") are throwing out the banner-ad revenue model.

      More of a comment on the state of web trends than a breaking news alert about per se.

      • Yeah, except I think Twirlip of the Mists(615030)'s original point was still a pretty good one. For about 2 or 3 months there, back in 99 or something, Ask Jeeves was my search enginge of choice. Then I started using Google, never looking back.

        Frankly, I had sort of assumed Ask Jeeves had died. It amazes me that with Google around anyone would even consider using something like Ask Jeeves. Don't get me wrong -- competition is healthy! But whether you allow banner ads/popups/subscriptions won't save your sinking ship if you are Ask Jeeves fighting google!!!
    • Yes, but can you have a conversation [] with Google?
  • kind of a next evolution of the yellow pages

    Really? I swear my dead-tree yellow pages does the same thing...

  • If it's done right (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheRealFixer ( 552803 ) on Sunday January 05, 2003 @01:05PM (#5019984)
    I don't have a problem with paid listings, as long as they don't mess with the search order based on how much the companies pay. The Yellow Pages don't put the highest paying customers all in the front of the book with no regard to what you're looking for.

    Let them have a nice little relevant ad in the search results, but keep the search results in proper order.
    • I don't have a problem with paid listings, as long as they don't mess with the search order based on how much the companies pay. The Yellow Pages don't put the highest paying customers all in the front of the book with no regard to what you're looking for.

      Something which is often overlooked. About 6 months ago I did a search on Google( for "Nex II" as I was looking at purchasing one.

      The first paid listing was to advancedmp3players who were selling it for the cheapest price in the UK.

      There have been several other occasions where I've found paid for listings very useful - but you're right, they must be kept seperate and clearly indicated that they are paid for.

  • Speaking of banner ads, I am curious as to how much slashdot gets from having MICROSOFT BANNER ADS.

    I mean, it's like greenpeace being sponsored by exxon.
  • Google (Score:5, Insightful)

    by isorox ( 205688 ) on Sunday January 05, 2003 @01:11PM (#5020013) Homepage Journal
    rarr rarr rarr ask jeeves sucks rarr rarr rarr use google rarr rarr rarr

    But what happens when Google has a monopoly?
    • Re:Google (Score:3, Interesting)

      by sfraggle ( 212671 )
      Monopolies are only bad when they're abusive monopolies. If google was the only search engine around and wasnt making any kind of improvements to itself that might be justified, but past experience has shown that google is constantly trying to improve itself and come up with new innovative search techniques and features. So I dont think we have much to worry about :)
      • It's just that if google were the only search engine and effectively censoring results or using paid ranking, we would never know.

        Google may not be evil (i like google!), but at the moment google _is_ the internet for a lot of people. If they can't find it with google, it doesn't exist.

        Imagine that turning into a 'abusive monopoly'.
      • You are so terribly wrong there....monopolies are bad, PERIOD, there is no good monopoly. Monopolies cannot be easily governed to ensure that they aren't running amok, because you have no alternative, like the other reply says, most people, if they cannot find it on google, it doesn't exist for them, now whats to keepgoogle from censoring out their database on whatever grounds they choose? Too many things can go wrong with monopolies, and they are too hard to break.
        • You're right, although there are legal monopolies like utilities or government services. Whether they are good or not is debatable, of course - they usually lack a profit oriented model so they fall into a gray area.
    • "But what happens when Google has a monopoly?"

      How is that possible? Even if Google has 99.99999% traffic from all searches, the 0.00001% used search engine can still scan just as much of the web as Google can.
      • Almost everyone uses google, other search engines cant pay for things like bandwidth, therefore shut down. Google then goes bad (nasty takeover by microsoft, for example, removes everything about linux)

        It takes time and money to create a new search engine, build the servers, and index even a millionth of the web. For all purposes google is a monopoly for a few years at least, and more if money cant be raised.

        If google has a monopoly, no matter how benelovent they are, power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutly.
        • No, almost all geeks use Google, but the ordinary web surfer will tend to use the prettier, more advertised search engines, like Altavista, Yahoo and Lycos.

          This is also true for the ISPs own packages which sometimes force the browser to use their own search engines.

          A lot of people haven't even seen Google.

          As far as i know, there has been no internet based company which has managed to gain a monopoly, due to the completely unstable nature of the internet, It's hard to gain a complete grasp on any business area without loosing it due to a shake up in that sector.
    • by Ars-Fartsica ( 166957 ) on Sunday January 05, 2003 @02:16PM (#5020397)
      Google's main advantage so far is that most content ownership on the web is still dispersed among small splayers who benefit from being in a popular index.

      Over time that will change. As content ownership consolidates, these companies will be loathe to subsidize Google's ad business by providing them with free content. Look at Google News. Really, how long can they expect their crawler to be allowed to copy content? In this sense all Google is doing is stealing content someone somewhere paid for, Reuters feeds aren't free folks. For now thats fine, the stakes are low. As soon as Google News actually competes as a news site, their crawler won't be allowed in.

      I would not be surprised to see major content owners to charge access to crawlers in the future. Why not? If users are charged, so should crawlers. In fact the crawler should be charged more, as they are basically getting a copy to redistribute it to many users, not just to be viewed by one.

      In the next few years, as ownership and access to content become critical issues for the bottom line, Google may find itself facing a toll both instead of a robots.txt file.

      • Google news links take you directly to the news provider's page (unlike Yahoo, which co-brands almost everything).

        If I had, say, a newspaper, I would very much like to be well-placed on Google news, since I'm giving them very little (a summary, a small photo) and getting a great listing in return; and I have control in the end, since somebody is coming to my site to read the story. As far as I can tell they only require you to be a serious news source and to allow people to read the linked story with no hijinks (like popups, registration etc).

        In fact, if I had a special-interest paper or magazine, I would even consider paying Google news, a-la AdWords, for right-column listings. For example, the Wall Street Journal would presumably love to show up on all Google news searches for "NASDAQ."

        And in the case of the WSJ online, which is not free, it would be smart of them to have a free section just for Google news, where full articles (linked from Google) are free but there are plenty of hints about how much more you get if you pay. But I digress...

        I think your comment is perhaps more applicable to Yahoo. Whatever they pay a newspaper for the feed (or Reuters etc), the content provider isn't getting anything else, except maybe a byline and a logo.

        • Google news links take you directly to the news provider's page (unlike Yahoo, which co-brands almost everything).

          BZZZT!!! - Yahoo bought and paid for those feeds. Yahoo has permission to publish them.

          In fact, if I had a special-interest paper or magazine, I would even consider paying Google news, a-la AdWords, for right-column listings. For example, the Wall Street Journal would presumably love to show up on all Google news searches for "NASDAQ."

          First, the WSJ is zealous about protecting its content. THey already have an established brand - they don't need Google to get the word out. If you want to read the WSJ online, you pay, no exceptions. This is why they are one of the only profitable web publishers.

          Now to your earlier point - for a small zine, being in Google would be beneficial, as the distribution and exposure is worth it even if you don't control the browse experience. For a large content owner like AOL, it is definitely not worth it. Google is a competitor to AOL in some regards, particularly for online ad dollars. You don't subsidize your competitors. Since and other well known AOL sites don't need the exposure of Google, their inclusion in Google News is almost surely a long term loss for AOL, particularly if they lose surfers to Google News for good.

          think your comment is perhaps more applicable to Yahoo. Whatever they pay a newspaper for the feed (or Reuters etc), the content provider isn't getting anything else, except maybe a byline and a logo.

          Uhhh, you don't know how Reuters works. That is their business - providing data to end user services. Every newspaper, radio station, website, etc. uses Reuters and AP to get their national and international news.

      • by NewtonsLaw ( 409638 ) on Sunday January 05, 2003 @05:30PM (#5021310)
        As content ownership consolidates, these companies will be loathe to subsidize Google's ad business by providing them with free content

        But hang on, Google News only takes the headline and first paragraph -- it doesn't copy entire stories. And the main web index already allows you to specifically exclude your pages from Google's cache if that's what you'd prefer.

        However, by allowing Google to spider your site and exerpt a paragraph or two the result is a three-way value exchange:

        1. Google gets to build a great index that it can leverage to generate revenue

        2. The publishers get extra traffic through the Google index and they can leverage that to generate revenue.

        3. The average Net user gets a nicely organized index to help them track down the latest news or information.

        So long as this balance remains, everybody wins.

        When I started out in the online News aggregation business five years ago I encountered some resistance from a few news sites (such as that actually wanted to charge me for carrying their headlines and providing links to their stories.

        Just 18 months later (when my aggregation network was being accessed over a million times a day), many of those same news sites were begging to be included in the index because they wanted the traffic.

        Any content provider that tries to charge Google (or any other index) for spidering/linking rights will be attempting to unbalance the value-exchange and they'll ultimately fail.

        Just look at the Google model -- one of the main reasons that it is at the top of the pile is because it continues to offer a good value exchange to visitors.

        Unlike many of its peers, Google doesn't assault you with endless banners and pop-ups or insult you with paid listing that are made to look like genuine search results. As a user, I get good value out of Google so I keep going back.

        If someone chooses not to be included in Google's index because they demand payment then it's their loss, not mine (nor Google's).
        • But hang on, Google News only takes the headline and first paragraph -- it doesn't copy entire stories.

          And in the long run people will return to Google News, not the news site. Thus rendering the ad space on the news site's top page worthless, and enriching the ad space on Google News's top page. Trust me, people are going to come around to this.

          2. The publishers get extra traffic through the Google index and they can leverage that to generate revenue.

          As I said in my first post, for small publishers this makes sense. For someone like AOL, that does not need distribution, brand name enhancement, or exposure for sites like and, it is a losing proposition, as they compete with Google for ad dollars. Over time content the web will be centralized, and those megacorps will not be sending big bucks on acquisitions just to share and share alike.

          Any content provider that tries to charge Google (or any other index) for spidering/linking rights will be attempting to unbalance the value-exchange and they'll ultimately fail.

          So the WSJ will fail? So Consumer Reports will fail? Basically you are saying that anyone who charges for content is doomed, yet the numbers show that the sites that charge access are among those that have respectable profitability.

          I mean, lets not be naive, content on the web is not getting more free over time. Many major content owners like AOL and Knight Ridder are getting ready to put a price tag on access as soon as they think they can get away with it. If they charge for a magazine or newspaper, why would they not eventually do the same with web content?

    • a monopoly is when a company is so big that it can sell its products at lower prices becuase it has tons of money, and undercut its competitors.
      In the case microsoft, a monopoly also creates products that are only compatable with its own products, and specifacally creates products witch prevent competitors products from being installed. But thats a whole different argument.

      Google is a free service. So are all search engines. Google makes its money by being a better search engine, getting lots of people to use it. Then it can go and do things like the occasional add, or banner, or the little paid advertaisment related to your search.

      Lets say google was infinitely huge, that everyone used it, and that it was by far better then any of its competition. It still doesn't have a monoply. Nothing is preventing competition.

      On the other hand, if windows came installed with the google bar, and didn't allow a simalar product to be installed for any other search engine. Then that might be a different story.

      --pardon the bad spelling--
  • by gh0ul ( 71352 ) <jdfmcok@gmail . c om> on Sunday January 05, 2003 @01:11PM (#5020016) Homepage Journal
    I believe popup-banners and all the pop-unders etc.. have played a large part in poluting the internet AD industry, and made most all of us bitter and ad-unfriendly.

    At one time banner ads thrived, you could sell them on a popular site and make thousands, or you could spend a little and get a lot elsewhere.

    Now in 2003, banner ads are looked down at. Most of us either ignore the ads and don't even pay attention to them, or we block them with certain tools.

    TextAds are not to shabby tho, providing basic detail in a non-pictorial format just to let us know what it is and a link to learn more about it.

    Google, by providing Textads and not huge 468x60 banners, has kept their site clean and no cluttered.

    Sites like Slashdot [], Yahoo [], and many more are slowly realizing banners are not producing enough UNF to pay the bills, and are resorting to subscriber based services like Yahoo Personals, or Slashdot's subscriptions [].

    Another prime example would be [].

    The dotcom boom is long over, and will never be the same again... Look at how we view TV commercials!
    • The problem is, advertising companies are trying to ignore the fact that the boom is over, done with, soooo 2000. And they're trying to convince everyone else that it's not over. And when people start to ignore them, they just get louder and more annoying.

      The online advertising industry is long overdue for a HUGE meltdown. They've been dying for a while now, but they've just been postponing the inevetable.
    • Sites like Slashdot [], Yahoo [], and many more are slowly realizing banners are not producing enough UNF to pay the bills, and are resorting to subscriber based services like Yahoo Personals, or Slashdot's subscriptions [].

      Not sure about the other sites, but Slashdot went from a non-subscription, non-advertising-subsidized site to using ads and simultaneously offering a subscription to avoid seeing the ads. In other words, they didn't "realize" that ads don't work, they just came up with an intelligent solution for people who don't want to see the ads and are willing to help sponsor the site.

  • by Rezalution ( 571400 ) <reza@netstream[ ]et ['s.n' in gap]> on Sunday January 05, 2003 @01:13PM (#5020026) Homepage
    ..from online banner advertising.

    Companies spend TONS of money on magazine ads, billboards, newspaper ads..etc. And you can't track how many views or sales leads they generate the way you can on the web.

    I bet those billboards and newspaper ads create less web page views than web banners.

    Yet companies still spend money on those types of advertising.. Why? Because advertising is all about familiarity. Getting the name and image out and making it stick in people's heads. Banners are an effective way of doing that.

    Nobody expects someone to read a newspaper ad and run to the store to buy something, so why do people expect that kind of behaviour on the web??

    • by Fnkmaster ( 89084 ) on Sunday January 05, 2003 @01:43PM (#5020175)
      I've been trying to figure this one out myself. Just because people CAN click on it (i.e. it's a hyperlink) doesn't mean that people WILL click on it. And just because people don't click on it doesn't mean that they didn't see and note what it was promoting or that they weren't interested at all. I think people would be more inclined to click on banner ads if A) They were ads for useful products or services relevant to me and to the topic matter of the site I'm currently on (like Slashdot, which does a pretty damned good job at having "interesting" "tech-related" "geeky" advertisers, and I actually DO sometimes click on banner ads) and B) They hadn't become so embittered by years of fighting off annoying pop-ups, pop-unders, hijacking Flash ads, and other shit where the immediate goal is to get it the fuck out of your way.

      Advertisers signed their own pink slips when they decided these extremely annoying ads were beneficial to them. But honestly, if we get rid of all that atrocious crap and go back to reasonable, targetted banner ads (which in a while will be the only things left that work, since everybody and their mother will eventually get pop-up blockers, thanks to the abuse of the advertisers and sites that permit it), I think advertisers will find that banner ads can be MORE effective per eyeball than TV ads, for example, by virtue of being targetted to a much more appropriate audience. But to expect more than the building of brand-name recognition and acceptance from ads, like the immediate desire to run and buy a product or service, is pretty much ridiculous since people don't want to interrupt what they PAY to be able to do, namely browse the web, for your fucking product.

      I also think the prevalence of "middle-click tab opening" and features like this may increase clickthrough rates - if I can see a banner ad I like and flag it as something I want to check out more thoroughly when I'm finished with my current train of thought (Open in a New Tab) I'm more likely to click on it since it becomes a non-interruptive process.

    • by kfg ( 145172 ) on Sunday January 05, 2003 @02:00PM (#5020292)
      that kind of behaviour on the web??"

      Beats the hell out of me. From my perspective the "failure" of banner ads has come from the advertisers themselves not having a very clear idea of their own business. This is less uncommon than many people think.

      For a perspective on this read "Ogilvy on Advertising." Why this book isn't on every executive's desk is beyond me.

      Most companies don't have a clear idea on the difference between advertising and promotion either. I recall seeing an interview with A-B's NASCAR rep. He explicitly stated that the 50 million or so they spend in Budweiser sponsorship, so far as they knew, didn't result in one *single* can of beer being sold, and that they didn't care. That wasn't what they were spending that money for in the first place.

      Please note that Budweiser is the number one selling beer in America by a goodly margin. These people have taken a ride on the clue train. Why others don't observe and learn is a wonder and a mystery.

      Porsche sold every 959 at a loss. Estimates of how *much* of a loss range from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands . . . *per unit.* No one but Porsche knows for sure.

      Decades later Porsche still considers this some of the best money they've ever spent. Hmmmmmmmm, maybe another clue?

      Banner ads work. It isn't the fault of the *ads* if the *advertisers* don't understand the definition of "works."

    • Those victoria secrets billboard ads and enwspaper ads certainly got my 100% attention :9.
      • haha.. exactly. You'll never forget what Victoria's Secret sells. And if your girlfriend/wife ever asks you to buy her lingerie, what company do you think you'll think of first??!!

        great example man!

    • I think it's unfair for advertisers to give up on banner ads just because they get closer to the ugly truth on how directly effective ads are.

      I mean, aren't most TV ads just a convenient time to:
      1) Go to the toilet.
      2) Get/make a nice snack/drink
      3) Study - 50% show, 50% study (some ad breaks can be rather long).
      4) Do minor housekeeping, etc.

      Print ads? I often don't even _see_ big newspaper ads. Especially those which are mainly big pictures. Because I'm usually "browsing with images off" - my eyes automatically look for columns of small text. e.g. "Full page ad? What full page ad? I don't see no stinkin'... Oh you mean this one taking up the whole left page facing the article I'm reading? Ah *sheepish grin*". Advertorials often have better luck with my eyeballs...

      Most of us have other things to do in our lives. Heck if we're really busy we may not even talk to people we know if we see them on the street - just give them a wave. So what do they expect from ads? If I visit a site, it's for the site's main content, not the ads. Doh. Go figure.

      To all advertisers, I'll look for you when I need you, make sure I know how to spell and recognise your name, and that your name appears when I do a search for your sort of stuff and last but not least make sure most of your customers like you and your product.
  • I wasn't even aware that Ask Jeeves was still around! Is someone still giving them capital to burn?!?!?
    • Yes, the are used. Some recent article listed the popular searches for 2002. It also had a table of popular search engines by queries done a day, in millions. After Google, Yahoo, AOL, MSN, and possibly Lycos, AskJeeves was #6 or so.

      This could be because some partner sites automatically query I think each site reported its own statistics. Google was visited the most times each day, with Yahoo near-by (probably for mail and games.)

      And, users frequently returned to Google and spent the most time at Google (11 mins I think) other than AOL (15 mins.)
  • Ostiguy said he thinks ask jeeves has also seen its day. Although, he isn't sure if they even really actually had one. When you are trailing google, you *cannot* make decisions that will put you further behind. Making your search engine results more suspect is not a winning strategy.

  • by dr.wurst ( 597445 ) <> on Sunday January 05, 2003 @01:15PM (#5020033)
    It's like combining the yellow pages with the library.

    Q: Where can I find information about the library?
    AskJeeves: Who needs a library when you have AMAZON.COM?
  • Banner block (Score:1, Redundant)

    by Jeedo ( 624414 )
    I made a clever little mod to "hosts" that blocks 90% of those annoying banners and ads

    mod can bee seen here []

  • Google Benchmarking (Score:3, Interesting)

    by johann_moeller ( 638595 ) on Sunday January 05, 2003 @01:24PM (#5020085)
    According to a few reports on the Internet, Google is profitable, whereas, ASKJ is still in the red. Although they decreased net loss by 95% they're still doing bad. I guess the CEO of ASKJ had a thought similar to: "What income sources does Google have? Are there any we could imitate? Well, let's do so and hope we'll join the ranks of profitable dotcom's!"
  • Ask Jeeves should know what it wants to provide.

    If its a search engine then people will get pissed off at getting results not based on quality, but on dollars spent with Jeeves.

    Customer satisfaction will plummet - if it can plummet any lower.
  • Says Steve Berkowitz, president of Ask Jeeves Web Properties, 'I think banners have seen their day. They're not as compelling as they once were.' In contrast, he describes paid listings as 'kind of a next evolution of the yellow pages.'"

    Says every thinking internet user, "I think Ask Jeeves has seen its day. It's not as compelling as it, was actually never compelling at all." In contrast, users describe other search engines as being "kind of the only logical choice, unless you're really into images of butlers for some reason."
  • annouced they will drop banner advertising in favor of articles shilling products for a fee. "What the hell," said Rob Malda, "we have been doing it for a year now, and we are still getting first posts and tons of trolls."
  • I'd like to know how successful advertising banners turned out for the slashdot team. I'm currently considering to build a community site myself and would like to be compensated through descreet banners - then again, I don't even register those things anymore. Maybe traffic should really be directed to sites by articles and comments such as the ones right here on /.
    The other side of the coin really is the growing question of the effectiveness of online (and offline/real life) advertising . A lot of companys have established a multifaceted approach to getting their products and services into the public's mind; but I sometimes wonder if they might overestimate their effectiveness, despite all recent criticism. Now, this might spell true for banner ads, billboards, TV commercials, printed ads, etc.. altogether, but the issue of advertising as an effective selling tool is a much bigger discussion. I prefer the community/word of mouth approach anyday!
  • In the past (> 6 mos. ago) when I would pose a question to Ask Jeeves, most of their answers would be in line with, "You can buy anthrax at Microbes 'R' Us." As far as I'm concerned, they've been a commercial site anyway. So I guess now instead of annoying me greatly with ad-answers and popups, I'd be only mildly annoyed with just ad-answers.

    Gee, what was the URL for Google again?

  • by Sayten241 ( 592677 ) on Sunday January 05, 2003 @01:44PM (#5020178)
    Sure, it's certainly nothing compared to google, but if you're asking a common question it serves up the answer much faster than google will. Also, google's great for techies like us, but some people can be confused by the way it just rattles off a bunch of sites and it's easier for them to just get an answer strait from Jeeves. Jeeves also gives you a list of other related searches on the right-hand side of the screen that I find very usefull when I'm trying to get just the right word combination in order to get some good results.
    • Damn, how much is askjeeves paying you?

      Jeeves USED to give interresting results, years ago, but back in (IIRC) the spring or summer of 2000, they turned evil. Now all the awsers it vomits are paid links with little relevance to the question I asked.

      but some people can be confused by the way [google] just rattles off a bunch of sites

      Yes, these people are called retards and should step away from the keyboard ;- )

      No, seriously, people are confused by a list of 10 sites listed in order or relevance to the query? Dang, don't these people ever feel lucky?

  • by Anonymous Coward
    In Soviet Russia, Jeeves asks YOU.
  • People have been saying for years that banners don't work. I've yet to click on one myself (except that bash the monkey one when it first came out)

    Unfortunately, this means that I'll never go back there again. Paid listings, assuming they're done like overture/ are not something I want to deal with, the results are often annoying and irrelevant. Google's I can deal with since the paid results are to the right and so small.

    Though, it was neat snooping in on the recently asked questions on jeeves, some of the questions were occasionally interesting.
  • It wasn't so long ago that people were touting text ads as a bandwidth-friendly and clean solution to the banners mess. A lot of major sites (Google []...) and other popular sites (fuckedcompany [], blogger []) adopted them. What happened?
  • by qat ( 637648 )
    I am good to see a more used search engine is getting rid of banners and popups. They are probably the most annoying thing in the world, and I have gone to great lengths to find software to prevent (tq Stop!Zilla). Anyways, I would much rather see an ad on the side of a webpage that says "Find products matching "C++ Tutorial"" than just random banner ads popping up all over, telling me my penis is too small and that my wife is ugly. Much more efficient, not to mention easier to deal with.
  • the END of the Internet as we know it!!

    does this mean that nobody surfing gives two craps about banner ads and never did anyway?

    umm, yes sir, think it does. this isn't even news, i think a few of us use google, who seem to make money without banners. hell, i think anyone who knows enough to read this site, knew that banners weren't all that even when the rest of the world was fooled.

    what a sarcastic day for me . . . no reason to stop now!

  • Text Link Ads (Score:3, Insightful)

    by anarchima ( 585853 ) on Sunday January 05, 2003 @02:05PM (#5020322) Homepage
    I've often wondered why companies and websites have insisted on using _banner_ ads as their preferred medium of profiling a product. It seems that everyone can spot such an advertisement a mile off. A much more subtle "trick" is to use advertise in a simple text link. That way the user has a harder time differentiating the commercialised crap and actual content. Oh well, I suppose I should be grateful. On another note, I like how Google clearly marks their text ads with a yellowish frame.
  • by adrianbye ( 452416 ) on Sunday January 05, 2003 @02:05PM (#5020324)
    Text ads work well in google because

    a) they're placed close to what someone is searching for.

    b) their keyword relevance is selected by the user. As we all know, there's much more power and accuracy as users provide more information (compare dmoz & yahoo for example).

    Slashdot could easily do the same - put some contexctually based pay per click ads close to the stories. This would help all of us.

    For example, see a story about MySQL? Put a list on the side of the story comprised of text based PPC ads. The advertisers who want to be associated with that product will know how much its worth for them to be listed at the top.
  • Paid ads that dont interrupt normal results (really). I hope thats the stance Jeeves takes.
  • Content will only be given out for free in order to build userbase. Once a critical mass has been built and the service seen as "sticky" (meaning inertia will have set in and people will not exit en masse upon changes), the charges will start.

    In three or four years I would not be surprised if site access fees amount ot roughly the same as people pay for cable and/or cell phone services on a monthly basis.

    Also, once access to content is charged, crawlers like Google can forget about mirroring sites for free, unless the webmaster sees it in their best interest, which it won't be for the biggest players who don't like their competition mirroring their content.

  • *[src*='ads.'],
    *[src* =''],
    display : none !important;

    The thing about Mozilla is between its popup blocking, control of javascript, and user css I really really don't understand why anyone would surf without it. Its just liberating not to have to deal with crappy banners and not to have to deal with a proxy.

    I just wanted to point this out to the 90% of visitors to Slashdot that use IE. There are good alternatives out there.(No I'm not joking the vast majority of vistors here use IE)

    BTW Go 49ers!
  • by Skapare ( 16644 ) on Sunday January 05, 2003 @02:45PM (#5020570) Homepage

    Banner ads are still done wrong on a lot of sites. The problem is they are too often arranged to be paid based on the number of times clicked, and ignore payment based on impression. Impression is how ads work in newspapers, magazines, television, and radio. But on the web, many advertisers saw the possibility of interactive clicking and just assumed a consumer would click on the ad whenever they wanted to find out more. Just notice how many ads don't really tell you in the ad what company or even what product/service is involved.

    Unlike most of the other media, web users often tend to be motivated for other goals at the moment the ad is impressed. For example when visiting a portal like Ask Jeeves [], they have something on their mind they are looking for. The ad is just a diversion and they are unlikely to go there.

    But ... ad impressions still work. They just have a latent psychological effect that builds up over time. Seeing the ad once, if its something you are really interested in, might get you over to that site ... later on today. Or it might even get you to buy that product ... later on this week. And if it's something you have no interest in at all, when you see that ad (best if it's not intrusive which would make it negative) many many times, you build up "brand awareness". Later, maybe many months later, when you do have a need for that product or service, or happen to be talking with someone who does, then the brand name comes up. When shopping for that kind of product and you see several choices on the store shelves, you're more inclined to pick the brand that was more advertised just because it now seems to be the more familiar brand ... and you never even visited their web site.

    If you like fast food and McDonalds [] adds a new product to their lineup which you might like, the banner ad for it might clue you in to this wonderful new treat. But are you likely to visit their web site? A few people might. Most won't. Are you likely to pull in the next time you're driving down the street while hungry on your lunch break? Very likely.

    Too many web site operators think they have to be paid for advertising based on click throughs. That's just wrong, and it needs to change for web advertising to survive (the interactivity goals based on ads was never a realistic concept).

    Too many businesses in product areas, especially consumer, where there is no real value of a web site to their product (fast food, small appliances, groceries, clothing, etc) are just not advertising on the web at all because they know people won't click on the ads to visit their site (no obvious value to it). What they are missing is that the impression model still works ... or that they are afraid of advertising based on impressions because of some difficulties in accounting and auditing (mostly because its still too click-through oriented and these problems are not yet well solved).

    Impression ads, of course, have to be cheaper per impression than a click-through. And this won't rule out still having click-through ads. While writing this comment the Think Geek [] ad for Bawls [] is blinking away at me. I'm not going to be visiting because I have no interest today. But if next month I happen to have an interest in it, I know where to go get it. That's latent response impression advertising. But it only works when the ad makes it clear where to go (domain names help if it's an online place to go). And it only works if the web site is going to get paid even if no one ever clicks on the ad.

    • ... Impression ads, of course, have to be cheaper per impression than a click-through. And this won't rule out still having click-through ads ...

      This is still showing a double-standard applied to internet advedrising. If someone actually clicks on an ad, there is a good possibility that they are going to buy something right then. The equivalent of the current ad scheme on the internet, applied to TV, would be that NBC would run a commercial for Ford, but would only get paid about $0.05 for every person who immediatly turned off the TV and went to buy a new Mustang right then. How long would it take for every TV station to go off the air (except PBS) with an ad scheme like that? Internet ads should be payed per-impression, and click-thoughs should get a commission for the website, say 5% of the purchase.

      • Yes, I'll take a 5% commission on a new Mustang someone buys. But how likely is that to happen through my web page []? Of course things like that are decisions I have to make. And I end up having to make that based on the demographics I bring in. Since my web page isn't about cars, or Mustangs, I suspect the probablity to be way too low to be worth it. I'll go with impression ads.

    • Having interned at a media buying company whose clients often advertised on a wide variety of search engines (this was about two years ago, before Google had really started to dominate) I'm a little confused. Your comment seems very well thought out and reasonable, but in my experience it also seems a lot like how things are already done, at least in the case of the search engines I worked with.

      Click-thru rate is astonishingly small--something like one in a thousand. So the buyer pays for impressions first and foremost, so many dollars (or cents) for so many thousands of times the ad is seen. Click-thrus are also kept track of and earn a higher rate and a cookie is set to keep track of whether the viewer actually buys a product from the web site. If there is a click-thru purchase, the web site gets paid much more for that than an individual impression, of course. The cookie also works so that the buyer can look at the banner ad but not click on it--if he just sees the ad and ends up placing an order a week later without having ever clicked on it the search engine still gets paid for it, though usually not as much as a straight click-thru purchase.

      So impressions, click-thrus, and purchases are kept track of and charged accorindingly. In fact, during my high school internship my job was to format the reports of number of views, clicks, purchases, et al. for the client. As far as I know, the impression-based advertising model is in place online on most search engines, and has been for a while.
      • Based on ads I do see, it still looks like most advertisers (decisions quite possibly being made at ad agencies) are expecting click-throughs. Those advertisers for which click-throughs are unexpected or unserving (e.g. McDonalds, and many of the other traditional consumer product categories I mentioned) tend not to be represented in web ads. The question is, is this because there is a perception that web advertising only works when click-through has significance (e.g. that there is no impressioning on people), or is it because even impression ads don't work?

        Comparing web banner ads to say TV commercials is hard to do because TV commercials work different. They grab some time (of those not heading to the frig or the toilet, or fondling their remote) and get to tell a story, play a jingle, or just describe. Web ads have do have to make a more concise message. So the per impression price will be lower than the per impression price of a 30 second TV commercial. The question is how that affects advertising buying decisions. Just why is it that they are failing to buy impression based web advertising in the banner format?

  • This isnt good for small-scale websites that dont have the $$ to pay for all of this "paid-listing" I am worried about this.
  • Well between mozilla's pop-up blocking capabilities and the Bannerblind [] addon. I've been browsing banner-free for quite some time.

Air is water with holes in it.