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Asking readers not to block your ads
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SuitCase



Joined: 14 Jun 2010
Posts: 96

PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 3:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Who is a website operator to tell their visitor how they should view the site? You are yet another content provider among millions. You should be grateful they granted you their attention.

If, from there, they enjoy you enough to feel like they owe you instead, so be it. But it's an unhealthy attitude (for the web) to feel as if anyone owes you for the content you put out.
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smbhax.com
No! Don't post it there!


Joined: 10 Apr 2009
Posts: 2922
Location: Seattle

PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 3:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SuitCase wrote:
This is disrespectful to your readers, just as much as being a control freak around the distribution of your content (people redistributing your work.)

If someone dislikes ads enough to remove them, you deal with it. They're still worth something to you. If every 1000 readers you have buys $50 worth of stuff on the store, they're still worth 5 cents, even if you're not getting your monthly 3 cents of ad revenue from them.

If your hosting isn't offset by even 5% of your ad revenue already then you should not be so bad at doing advertising. Ads are pure profit, they're not really a tit-for-tat way to subsidise a server cost. Servers are cheap.

I would never put up a "PLEASE DON'T BLOCK ADS" for the reason that it treats your reader like an asshole, misses the point of the internet, and (pragmatically speaking) makes the following point less tenable: barely anyone blocks ads.

It's a nerdy thing to do, and it might cost you like 2% of your impressions per month. Not that many people block ads anyway. But if you keep bringing it up, with a huge link on your homepage? It gets people thinking about it who might otherwise not. So how is this even a pragmatic choice? It's like if you put up an eBook and menacingly rail at the buyer about your exclusive distribution rights. It's likely to inspire just as many people to spite you and post it on a torrent site as it would discourage already-honest people.

So why even bother? It's morally a lame thing to do, plus it seems a likely way to get a few more people going "ah! I forgot to reinstall adblock".

Monetise in other ways. Be inventive instead of whining. We have over a hundred people paying a subscription for, amongst other things, a cookie that removes all our ads. It even makes the website a little more usable in places. I would bet just ten of those monthly subs would offset every single lost impression to ad blockers, and who even cares about that $40 even if you can't offset it?

Interesting points. I'd tended to assume that ad-block users were a very small percentage of overall internet readership as well, but I don't have any kind of statistics to back that up with. And I suppose it could vary significantly on some sites.
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smbhax.com
No! Don't post it there!


Joined: 10 Apr 2009
Posts: 2922
Location: Seattle

PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 3:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

rocketpig wrote:
smbhax.com wrote:

Dude hardcore! What's the reaction from the forum users been, and has there been any noticeable change in ad view stats?


Actually, positive in both regards. People don't really have the guts to stand up and defend their blocking of the only revenue stream of a completely free service (which it is in the case of my forum sites). To boot, ad clicks go up for a few days afterwards. It's kinda funny.

Some people block ads for legitimate reasons. Some sites go WAY overboard and force-feed ads at users to the point of blocking content for a few seconds. I think my speeches about how my ads are unobtrusive get a few people who blacklist all sites thinking about it and they whitelist my site. In the end, it works for everybody.


Heh, interesting. :D
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rocketpig



Joined: 20 Dec 2010
Posts: 404

PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 3:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SuitCase wrote:
Who is a website operator to tell their visitor how they should view the site? You are yet another content provider among millions. You should be grateful they granted you their attention.


I'm not grateful for anything that doesn't earn me a dime. If the person buys something, great. Then I don't care what they do. If they want to keep blocking ads, I won't stop them.

I don't get how it's perfectly okay to block a revenue stream from a free service but it's not okay to politely ask users not to do it. It doesn't make sense.
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wendyw
The Bomb-diggity


Joined: 10 Jul 2008
Posts: 4116
Location: North-East England

PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 3:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SuitCase wrote:
Who is a website operator to tell their visitor how they should view the site? You are yet another content provider among millions. You should be grateful they granted you their attention.

If, from there, they enjoy you enough to feel like they owe you instead, so be it. But it's an unhealthy attitude (for the web) to feel as if anyone owes you for the content you put out.


Not tell, but ask.

I just don't see there's any disrespect shown by making a polite request.

I definitely don't see any disrespect in asking people not to post the stuff you created wherever they feel like, which your post suggested was also disrespectful. I just don't understand that point of view.

That said, I am grateful for every reader I have, however quiet they keep, but I don't see it as being disrespectful to politely ask readers a favour or to want to keep control of where your work appears on the net.
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SuitCase



Joined: 14 Jun 2010
Posts: 96

PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 4:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think it points to a misunderstanding of how publishing on the web works. You're running against the grain if you assert that you control what you post publicly. Most readers think that way, which is why it's likely your content will be hotlinked, satirised, reposted and reworked all over the place as more and more people come.

I see any attempt to clamp down on that customary freedom as a statement by the author that "I have a stick up my ass about a few things and want you to feel guilty or bad about not doing as I say". It's not hugely disrespectful if you plead politely, but it's still essentially a selfish attitude that will turn some people off. I feel that it's certainly a negative - that people essentially feel goodwill towards you and general happiness that your comic is available for their use on their terms, but when you start introducing provisos you skew that relationship and introduce doubts into the reader's mind about just how dedicated you are to their happiness.

In relation to polite requests, this is kind of academic, btw. But it would be more notable if you put a big "Don't rob us!" guilt tripping banner at the top of ad-blocked pages.
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Zoe Robinson
Resident Diet Lawyer


Joined: 02 Jul 2007
Posts: 1863
Location: Manchester, UK

PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 8:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SuitCase wrote:
I think it points to a misunderstanding of how publishing on the web works. You're running against the grain if you assert that you control what you post publicly.


This is bullshit and you know it. You are, yet again, trying to justify your own position with aggression.

SuitCase wrote:
Most readers think that way, which is why it's likely your content will be hotlinked, satirised, reposted and reworked all over the place as more and more people come.


What colour is the sky on your planet? Most Internet users are perfectly happy to give due credit to the creator of a work. Most people, in fact, get angry when they see dickheads stealing another person's hard work; especially when they are making a profit off it.

This is why sites like You Thought We Wouldn't Notice not only exist but thrive.

SuitCase wrote:
I see any attempt to clamp down on that customary freedom as a statement by the author that "I have a stick up my ass about a few things and want you to feel guilty or bad about not doing as I say".


Then you are an idiot.
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Wolfus



Joined: 06 Mar 2009
Posts: 527
Location: UK

PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 8:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I see and agree with both sides to this.. I run small Google ads on my website, but I also use Adblock myself.

Ads annoy me, they slow down loading, they distract and they occasionally can be quite offensive if the site admin is lax on checking their content. It's my computer and I want to use it the way I choose.
If I particularly enjoy a webcomic I might unblock their ads if I notice that they run them. But at the end of the day I feel that one person unblocking ads that they are never going to click on, for the 3-4 impressions they leave a week isn't going to change your world. Even if you convince a dozen or so people a day to unblock your ads (if you even have that many readers), it's not going to make a huge difference.

At the end of the day for me it's all about examining why you make webcomics...
If you do it for the joy of doing it - truly doing it for this reason - I doubt you'd be downcast over ads and hosting costs anyway.
If you're trying to get your comic self supporting and adblock is making so much of an impact that you cannot afford to, then you're doing something wrong already.

I don't have a "please don't block my ads!" on my site because I don't want to. My site costs me a whole 10 cents a day to run and I get so much enjoyment out of it.

However if it does upset you, perhaps it is worth the smarter members here compiling a webcomic white-list file for Adblock and offering that up on a site (that could be linked to with a little button or graphic rather than a large blog post)?
Do something about it if you don't like what's happening. Smile
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Spencey



Joined: 16 May 2008
Posts: 640
Location: Scotland

PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 8:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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.

Personally, I don't care if somebody uses adblocker when viewing my own site. I appreciate each reader whether I am serving them an ad or not. The important thing to me is that I am sharing my work with another reader.
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Wolfus



Joined: 06 Mar 2009
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 8:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zoe Robinson wrote:
Visiting one of my websites while using an ad-blocker is effectively telling me you like my stuff enough to look at it but you don't want me to make a living from it. That's not nice.
I don't think many people see it that way. Or even think that deeply about it.
Me? I just don't like ads the same way I don't like spam email. I figure it's something for people who can tolerate it being there.

Yeah, I know that the little squares of text or pictures on your (general 'your') website that have scarce little to do with the content or my interests are effectively me dropping a few coins in the tip jar on the way out.
But to be honest I'd rather a site have a donation button so I can choose to support the creator than force crap onto my screen.

Like SuitCase said (though I'm not sure I'd phrase it so..somethingly), there are alternatives.
Have a donation run, offer incentives, run a webshop... and if all that fails then perhaps people don't actually like a website enough to support it. Horrible thought that it is. Confused
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Casual Notice
Spambot Extraordinaire


Joined: 18 Mar 2005
Posts: 2959
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 11:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OKay, the donation model is nototiously unreliable and pretty shitty even when it works. The television model of using content to expose eyes to advertising is not a bad compromise to the inconsistency of relying on the kindness of strangers.

On the other hand, ad services like Google AdSense and the other big one that i forget (and that doesn't relly count because they've pretty much disavowed any relationship with comics) do not have a good track record of delivering non-intrusive, clean, all-ages advertising to their frontage providers. Over the last five years, I have had to clean viruses and trojans from my computer six times. All of those times were due to hits from reputable sites that got a stinker from Google or the other one.

That's all to say that I'm on the fence. I don't use an ad blocker, because I'm too lazy (and I have a fairly serious firewall at this point), but I can see how others might prefer to keep the shutters down. The internet is unlike the television model in at least one respect: the crappy ad where they turn maxi-pads into beach loungers can't infect your tv with tracking software and a backdoor for phishers.
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wendyw
The Bomb-diggity


Joined: 10 Jul 2008
Posts: 4116
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 1:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SuitCase wrote:
I think it points to a misunderstanding of how publishing on the web works. You're running against the grain if you assert that you control what you post publicly. Most readers think that way, which is why it's likely your content will be hotlinked, satirised, reposted and reworked all over the place as more and more people come.

I see any attempt to clamp down on that customary freedom as a statement by the author that "I have a stick up my ass about a few things and want you to feel guilty or bad about not doing as I say". It's not hugely disrespectful if you plead politely, but it's still essentially a selfish attitude that will turn some people off. I feel that it's certainly a negative - that people essentially feel goodwill towards you and general happiness that your comic is available for their use on their terms, but when you start introducing provisos you skew that relationship and introduce doubts into the reader's mind about just how dedicated you are to their happiness.

In relation to polite requests, this is kind of academic, btw. But it would be more notable if you put a big "Don't rob us!" guilt tripping banner at the top of ad-blocked pages.


I still don't buy it and I know I'm not the only one.
There are people who think everything on the net should be free and there's no such thing as copyright on the internet, but that is not the only view going around. There are plenty of people who ask permission to repost things, report what they think is an unauthorised repost to creators and generally be nice about the whole thing.

Other people may use other people's work without supplying a link back and be genuinely apologetic when told that they did something wrong and asked to either link to the content instead or put a credit and link back underneath it.

And yes, there are the people that feel they should be able to use everything ever posted on the internet exactly how they feel (up to and including selling it on shoddy merchandise on ebay in some cases) but in my opinion this is presumptuous and a bit selfish of them. There are also the people that feel everything they do should be protected, but nobody else's creations should.

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. 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.
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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 1:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Casual Notice wrote:
OKay, the donation model is nototiously unreliable and pretty shitty even when it works. The television model of using content to expose eyes to advertising is not a bad compromise to the inconsistency of relying on the kindness of strangers.

On the other hand, ad services like Google AdSense and the other big one that i forget (and that doesn't relly count because they've pretty much disavowed any relationship with comics) do not have a good track record of delivering non-intrusive, clean, all-ages advertising to their frontage providers. Over the last five years, I have had to clean viruses and trojans from my computer six times. All of those times were due to hits from reputable sites that got a stinker from Google or the other one.

That's all to say that I'm on the fence. I don't use an ad blocker, because I'm too lazy (and I have a fairly serious firewall at this point), but I can see how others might prefer to keep the shutters down. The internet is unlike the television model in at least one respect: the crappy ad where they turn maxi-pads into beach loungers can't infect your tv with tracking software and a backdoor for phishers.

Contextweb (aka ADSDAQ) might be the ad service you're thinking of?

In the past couple months I started getting virus warnings from my free antivirus program (Avira Antivir) when using ImageShack, of all things--although that's one site I use with IE and thus don't have my ad blocker going, since they can't seem to keep their Firefox plugin current.
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smbhax.com
No! Don't post it there!


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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!


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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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