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Asking readers not to block your ads
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smbhax.com
No! Don't post it there!


Joined: 10 Apr 2009
Posts: 3014
Location: Seattle

PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 1:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Spencey wrote:
When I surf the web at work, I have no choice but to view sites with adblocker on - my employer does this centrally and it would be a violaton of the Internet use policy for me to remove it. I'm sure there must be other people in the same position.

Interesting! I hadn't heard of that. I wonder how common a practice that is.
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smbhax.com
No! Don't post it there!


Joined: 10 Apr 2009
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Location: Seattle

PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 2:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wendyw wrote:
There is no prevalent single view of copyright on the internet and there never has been. The internet is inconsistent, fractured and varied. You can't go against the grain on the internet on these issues, because the internet doesn't have a grain. It has a crazy, frantic crosshatch drawn by someone who decided three days previously that caffeine was a better option than sleep and has been sticking hard to that decision.

Maybe, but I tend to think the largest user group, by far, is the one that just wants free stuff, wants it now, and doesn't really care about anything else. Re: that group, they're not blocking your ads, but if you stick a big sign on your site saying "don't block our ads," it might get them thinking about it--but would it be more likely to be in a good way (no matter how politely you phrase the request), ie they actually decide to go out of their way for someone else on the internet for once in their surfing existence, or would it go in a bad way, namely that they get a little miffed and feel put upon, and are consequently slightly less likely to want to come back?

Ah, this makes me think of the earlier comment where someone said they didn't care about a reader who isn't getting them any money. I don't know if such a thing exists, because even if they aren't buying anything, and aren't tripping ad counters, they're probably still going to, for instance, have their browsing activity tracked to or from your site by Google some time or other, and will consequently bump up your searchability, in theory, by a tiny tiny amount, in time leading to more hits, from people who aren't blocking the ads or are buying things, etc.
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rocketpig



Joined: 20 Dec 2010
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 2:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

smbhax.com wrote:
Spencey wrote:
When I surf the web at work, I have no choice but to view sites with adblocker on - my employer does this centrally and it would be a violaton of the Internet use policy for me to remove it. I'm sure there must be other people in the same position.

Interesting! I hadn't heard of that. I wonder how common a practice that is.


Pretty common, especially in larger corporations. It's a good policy and you can't fault people for having ad blockers at work.
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rocketpig



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PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 2:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

smbhax.com wrote:
Ah, this makes me think of the earlier comment where someone said they didn't care about a reader who isn't getting them any money. I don't know if such a thing exists, because even if they aren't buying anything, and aren't tripping ad counters, they're probably still going to, for instance, have their browsing activity tracked to or from your site by Google some time or other, and will consequently bump up your searchability, in theory, by a tiny tiny amount, in time leading to more hits, from people who aren't blocking the ads or are buying things, etc.


It's not that I don't care about them, I just don't think they're doing me any favors by visiting my free site, which was implied by another poster. Every visitor has an impact on the site but if it's a one-and-done click once a week with ad blockers enabled and no link sharing ever, the effect is so minimal that it doesn't really matter.

We're the ones doing the work here. We're the ones pouring over bristol paper and sitting in front of computer monitors for way too many hours a week. We're the ones who forego a social life to do this work. WE'RE the ones doing the readers a favor, not the other way around, especially if the end product is a quality comic. That's my point. Politely asking viewers to not be a dick and not to block a revenue stream for all our hard work isn't overstepping the creator/reader relationship in the slightest bit. I've done it on my other sites and the results have been positive every time. Most people simply don't think about it and once you bring it to their attention, they may unblock your site. Problem solved.

I find the notion that the reader is doing the creator a favor just by showing up, no matter what they do with the site/content, a very strange stance to have. I'm not advocating being rude to your viewership and I do appreciate that they come by to check out my stuff but a little give-and-take makes the experience better for everyone if you ask for it appropriately. Many will be willing to comply and those who don't, well, screw 'em, honestly. It's not like I think we should hunt them down and yell at them but the more you can minimize ad blockers without turning into a tyrant, the better.
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SuitCase



Joined: 14 Jun 2010
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 2:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh dear! Zoe seems very upset. But as her post was free of substance, I can't respond to it.

wendyw wrote:
All four of those kinds of people exist on the net in large amounts and people vary on how they see these issues depending on what it is that's being posted, where it's being posted and who posted it in the first place.

There is no prevalent single view of copyright on the internet and there never has been. The internet is inconsistent, fractured and varied. You can't go against the grain on the internet on these issues, because the internet doesn't have a grain.
Oh, absolutely. There are definitely people out there with strong moral positions on attribution and copyright that will respond positively to an artist's request regarding distribution, ads, whatever. I would be cautious not to lose your sense of perspective, though - as smbhax suggests, the largest group of any site's visitors is likely to not have the same interest in content rights. I would imagine on a site like this, you're in a bubble where most people will say "I would never be upset by a request to unblock ads", but most people here are creators or close enough to creators to have a skewed perspective.

There is still a predominant grain to run against, and it is "all content is free". Most people on the internet will be repulsed if they click a Google link and see a paywall, and get annoyed by suggestions that they should pay for anything that they can get elsewhere for free. (See: News Corp's recent attempts to do subscription news.) You have to be inventive, and come up with value propositions that appeal to a portion of your audience rather than assuming you can get a dollar out of everyone.

I don't understand how this isn't obvious to a webcomic artist, because the webcomic model is a concept that embraces this idea. Put the content up for nothing, and do your best to monetise by various other means. Ads are just one way.

rocketpig wrote:
It's not that I don't care about them, I just don't think they're doing me any favors by visiting my free site, which was implied by another poster. Every visitor has an impact on the site but if it's a one-and-done click once a week with ad blockers enabled and no link sharing ever, the effect is so minimal that it doesn't really matter.
What if they decide to buy something from your store?
What if they fill out your survey?
What if they share the comic to a friend?
What if they post a link to the comic on their blog or Twitter feed?
What if they send you an email pointing out an error in your content or website that you are then able to fix?
What if they donate to you?
What if they draw fanart?
What if they are inspired to visit you at a convention?

It's incredibly shortsighted to think that a visitor to your site is worth whatever CPM rate you're getting. As it's not at all expensive to support even tens of thousands of readers without ad revenue to offset the server costs, you should be forward-thinking enough to see the value inherent in a reader that blocks ads. Respect their choice and they're more likely to take care of you in another way.
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rocketpig



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PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 2:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SuitCase wrote:

rocketpig wrote:
It's not that I don't care about them, I just don't think they're doing me any favors by visiting my free site, which was implied by another poster. Every visitor has an impact on the site but if it's a one-and-done click once a week with ad blockers enabled and no link sharing ever, the effect is so minimal that it doesn't really matter.
What if they decide to buy something from your store?
What if they fill out your survey?
What if they share the comic to a friend?
What if they post a link to the comic on their blog or Twitter feed?
What if they send you an email pointing out an error in your content or website that you are then able to fix?
What if they donate to you?
What if they draw fanart?
What if they are inspired to visit you at a convention?

It's incredibly shortsighted to think that a visitor to your site is worth whatever CPM rate you're getting. As it's not at all expensive to support even tens of thousands of readers without ad revenue to offset the server costs, you should be forward-thinking enough to see the value inherent in a reader that blocks ads. Respect their choice and they're more likely to take care of you in another way.


If they're interested enough in my work to give me money or visit me in a booth, they're not going to be so offended by a polite request to whitelist my site that they leave the site forever.

This is a two-way street. I'm giving them something for free and asking for very little in return. If they're so block-headed that they get pissy when I politely ask that my site be whitelisted from adblockers, I'd put the odds that they will not give me a nickel of their money under *any* circumstances at approximately 99.999999999999999% (rounded for accuracy).

People who buy your stuff or visit you at a con obviously appreciate the hard work you're putting into the comic. If they appreciate your work, they're not going to throw a fit over a small request (not demand) that they do not use ad blockers while viewing your site.
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rocketpig



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PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 4:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Darc wrote:
The true fact is, you are never going to make everyone happy. Never. You could be the nicest person around, bend yourself backwards, and run yourself ragged until you're little more than a smudge on the ground and still someone would find some fault with what you do. It may be a reader, it may be a fellow comic creator, but someone will be unhappy.


Exactly. You can never please everyone. All you can do is try to make your money and be nice enough about it to not piss off the casual reader.

If someone is really going to get that upset over a request to not use an adblocker, I really question just how valuable that reader is in the first place. Chances are, any little "slip-up", real or not, could irritate that person into leaving if their precious sensibilities are upset over something so utterly minor.

In my experience, the average person just ignores the request or realizes that they don't need to adblock that particular site. Either way, a normal person isn't going to get huffy about it, especially if they're a regular reader who visits the site often and appreciates that creator's work.
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SuitCase



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PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 5:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I block ads, would be annoyed at "turn off your blocker" nags, and I use a lot of my disposable income to buy webcomic merchandise from sites I like and subscribe to services I'm interested in.
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smbhax.com
No! Don't post it there!


Joined: 10 Apr 2009
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 7:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

rocketpig wrote:
This is a two-way street. I'm giving them something for free and asking for very little in return.

This is an interesting point on its own; I guess I tend to think that both author and reader *are* asking a lot: the reader is asking that the author make a consistent, quality, easily accessible webcomic, and the author is asking that the reader continue to come back week after week--rather than spending their time reading other comics or--God forbid--doing something else with their life besides the Internet. Neither of those is a little thing, really.
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smbhax.com
No! Don't post it there!


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 7:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Max Vaehling wrote:
But I wouldn't go so far as to ask my readers to adjust their privacy settings so I can show them more ways of making me money. Let's face it, even the friendliest request with sugar on top will come across as whining, singling out wrongdoers, complaining, shouting, policing or some other sort of negativity to some people, especially people who are intent on protecting their surf experience. The friendliest reply then would be "what I allow on my computer is none of your business". Me, I just don't want to be That Guy.

Yeah, that was kind of what I was thinking. I got that vibe--somehow--from the two requests I talked about at the start of the thread. Maybe if they hadn't spent so many words trying to explain how expensive it is to run a web site and how this should be the reader's problem... I dunno.
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smbhax.com
No! Don't post it there!


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 7:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Darc wrote:
(And yes, I'm sure my 'Become a Supporter' ad is also blocked by most ad blockers. Since I occasionally mention the Supporters area in news post and on the blog, usually when an issue ends, I'm still not concerned. I see the key as having a few different options for income and to promote those various options in many ways.)

Is it rude to ask people to not use blockers on your site? Maybe. It depends on your view of things. Hell, I don't badger my readers to join the Supporters area and I even ask my Supporters to not do so to other readers, yet I occasionally run across people who claim what I'm doing is rude. The true fact is, you are never going to make everyone happy. Never. You could be the nicest person around, bend yourself backwards, and run yourself ragged until you're little more than a smudge on the ground and still someone would find some fault with what you do. It may be a reader, it may be a fellow comic creator, but someone will be unhappy.

For what it's worth, my simple proxy-based blocker, while it does block your TWCL forum sig, does not block the leaderboard supporter.php leaderboard you have under your comic page! (Although it took me a while to find it, since for some reason I thought it would be in the upper right corner.) That's pretty much all just based on filename, though.

And the way you handle your supporter thing doesn't strike me as rude at all. I guess maybe because it's not asking me to change my behavior just to read the comic: it's saying that *if* I did this extra thing, I'd get even more than I'm getting now.

On the other hand, it seems harder to phrase "a don't block my ads" request that positively, since the equation is more like *if* I the reader change my behavior, the author will no longer consider me a cursed sponger--which apparently they do currently.

And then I cry in my Brawndo.
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rocketpig



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PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 2:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

smbhax.com wrote:
rocketpig wrote:
This is a two-way street. I'm giving them something for free and asking for very little in return.

This is an interesting point on its own; I guess I tend to think that both author and reader *are* asking a lot: the reader is asking that the author make a consistent, quality, easily accessible webcomic, and the author is asking that the reader continue to come back week after week--rather than spending their time reading other comics or--God forbid--doing something else with their life besides the Internet. Neither of those is a little thing, really.


True, maybe "very little" is understating it a bit. What I'm really driving at is SuitCase's point that the readers are somehow blessing us with their presence. I don't buy into that line of thinking. I work hard to make a quality product and I don't believe people are doing me a favor just by showing up. It's not that I don't appreciate them reading the book, I just feel I have something that is worth reading and it takes me a lot of time every week to produce that product.

If that person ad blocks my site, doesn't buy anything from me, and doesn't share the book with their friends, I can't say I really give a damn about that reader. I work too hard to care about the people who want to freeload. It's not as if I'm going to kick them off my site or anything (which would be nearly impossible anyway) but I'm not going to put much thought into making them happy, either.
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SuitCase



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2011 1:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

But it demonstrates laziness and ignorance. It's saying "I decided you need to be paying me two cents a month by viewing ads, so please change your behaviour to suit my decision."

Even if it's couched in politeness. Even if it's left with "hey but it's your choice". It's petty. And uninventive. There are so many other things you can do with your time, many of them ways to monetise those people not looking at (or clicking on) ads.
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munkymu
Postpostpostpostpost!


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2011 1:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

rocketpig wrote:

True, maybe "very little" is understating it a bit. What I'm really driving at is SuitCase's point that the readers are somehow blessing us with their presence.


Technically they are. Without readers you're just some guy slaving away to no purpose. If you wanted that you could chuck your comic pages in the closet as you finished them, spend nothing and get nothing in return.

Not that there's any reason to deify them or bend over backwards to satisfy their every request, but you need them more than they need you and in larger numbers.
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smbhax.com
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2011 3:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Darc wrote:
Really? Neat. Yeah, it's php so the issue number, page number, and number of pages ahead will automatically update when the Supporters side updates.

(Holy moly that is slick! :o)
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