A TextAd posted just to earn affiliate money? December 22, 2001 12:47 PM   Subscribe

A TextAd posted just to earn affiliate money? kufel, member since 12/20/01, has posted no links, comments or threads to MeFi or MeTa, but has taken out two TextAds for DreamHost, each with what I imagine must be his own WebID appended on the url.

I know they're paid ads, and the proceeds go to mathowie, but this somehow feels weird to me. (Is there even an etiquette for TextAds, anyway?)
posted by mattpfeff to Etiquette/Policy at 12:47 PM (22 comments total)

I dunno I mean he/she is paying for it, on the other hand a lil warning would be nice.
posted by riffola at 12:52 PM on December 22, 2001


People who take out Text Ads for businesses are probably making money from the Ads. How's this different?
posted by tomorama at 12:57 PM on December 22, 2001


I don't think the affilliate program will pay more than the ad cost, and given the high % of mefi readers with websites and webhosting (not to mention the other hosts I've allowed to advertise), I didn't think it was out of the normal bounds of what is acceptable.

In case anyone was wondering, yes I've denied a handful of ads, mostly for get-rich-quick type sites, and when an ad appears at all icky, I email the person to let them know it will probably be unsuccessful and deny the ad. Across the spectrum of all ads, this one is farther over on the side of "deny it, it sucks" than "accept it, it's great", but not so far as to be completely irrelevant to many users here.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 12:58 PM on December 22, 2001


I really don't see any point in taking Text Ads to MeTa. People are paying for them and if they don't meet the criteria, Matt doesn't have to accept them.
posted by tomorama at 12:59 PM on December 22, 2001


Matt Pfeff: the etiquette is that Matt manually approves each and every one, and whatever he accepts is by definition OK.

He makes the rules.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 2:06 PM on December 22, 2001


I, on the contrary, think it's part of MetaFilter's greatness that everything is discussed. We do read our textads and we are concerned if we think something might harm their integrity. Specially great is that Matt discusses individual textads here on MeTa. Now that's freedom.
As far as this one is concerned, it's an interesting question: should advertisers participate minimally on MetaFilter? Should there be a link between being a member and putting up a textad?
My opinion is there shouldn't. As long as a textad isn't icky, then I don't even see why the advertiser should be a member. There are probably a lot of people wanting to become members - what did happen to Voyageman's Oakland cutie, by the way? - who would like to place a textad.
I think it's great that they do. Though the opposite argument - that there should be a community link - could also be superbly made. :)

posted by MiguelCardoso at 2:12 PM on December 22, 2001


Steven: we know Matt makes the rules. But he does read members' opinions and very generously takes them into consideration. That's why we all feel free here.
Btw, I wish there could be a moratorium on "It's Matt's playground" and "Matt makes the rules" comments.
Sometimes this comment just means "I won't bother thinking about this question, because it's not up to me."
This is certainly not about you, SDB! :)
Why a moratorium?
Primo, because they make him sound like some tyrant or, at best, a control-freak with well-worked-out rules ever-present in his head. Whereas we all know how flexible he is.
Secondo, because, er, as I said, we already know.
(Sorry for going off topic a bit)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 2:24 PM on December 22, 2001


Should there be a link between being a member and putting up a textad?

I think this is one of the things that seemed off. Ideally, you'd register as a member because of a desire to participate in the site, not just to profit off it.

On the other hand, I think the other thing that sortah bugged me is that some people have said they like the fact that the ads come from inside the community. For instance, here, and in the comment below it (by some guy who must've pirated SDB's log-in).

Matt Pfeff: the etiquette is that Matt manually approves each and every one, and whatever he accepts is by definition OK. He makes the rules.

I just love this kind of remark. It points out the obvious while bowing down before the all-mighty mathowie, and manages to simultaneously imply that He shouldn't bother with any thoughts his site's users might have. But of course his site's users are one of the few things mathowie has specifically said he does care about.

But, not to worry, Steven -- no one here's trying to tell mathowie what to do.
posted by mattpfeff at 3:08 PM on December 22, 2001


Miguel: No, I'm not going to shut up about it. (See below for the reason why.)

Matt Pfeff: there comes a point where "discussion" becomes "carping". Matt puts a lot of work into this site, and the only reason for him to do so is because it brings him happiness and satisfaction. When he is greeted with a constant stream of bitching and moaning about everything, that diminishes his joy and brings him one day closer to dropping the whole thing into the ash can.

Guests in someone's home don't spend the entire time they're there telling the owner how to redecorate the place -- unless they don't want to get invited back again.

I don't bring that comment up because I think that Matt Haughey is some sort of tyrant. On the contrary: I bring it up because I think he's a normal person who is about one notch away from giving up entirely. He has, on several occasions, expressed his frustration here.

MetaFilter is not a fact of nature, nor is it a natural right. We "members of the community" can poison the soup sufficiently badly to make it vanish completely by our misbehavior. It's possible for the system to catastrophically fail, and the failure mechanism will be Matt Haughey pressing the "off" switch on the hardware and never turning it back on again.

There is no better way for us to kill this site off completely than by making Matt's life miserable by second-guessing everything he does.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 4:15 PM on December 22, 2001


Btw, I wish there could be a moratorium on "It's Matt's playground" and "Matt makes the rules" comments.

I second that, anyone who has spent more than five minutes in metatalk knows that Matt is open to suggestions and doesn't walk into the thread call everyone bitches and tells them to get lost.

I moused over a different dreamhost ad earlier and saw the same thing and didn't think twice about it. Someone is paying and might just make something other than hits. How this is very different from putting up an ad to a site with an ad is beyond me.
posted by skallas at 4:16 PM on December 22, 2001


'I think this is one of the things that seemed off. Ideally, you'd register as a member because of a desire to participate in the site, not just to profit off it.'

Whilst I agree with editorial involvement in the process, it is ridiculous to suggest that advertising should be limited to those that participate in the community. There is a whole Internet of possible products and services that may be of interest to mefi members, why put up a gate?

posted by RobertLoch at 5:59 PM on December 22, 2001


I've got to agree with SDB here, but for a slightly different reason. Spending any length of time in the BlueZone these days makes it abundantly clear that there are a lot of members who assume MeFi is owned and run by some Faceless Corporation, who've never read the guidelines and could care less about any community standards that have evolved here over time, who wouldn't know Matt if he bit them, and who act accordingly. Reminding them at periodic intervals about the (what's left of the) closeknit, real-relationship nature of a lot of the active userbase here and the fact that it's run by one guy is important.

As a small aside, I think the fact that MeFi is run by 'one guy', who is visible and present, helps to create and foster the web-of-personal relationships thing that MeFi has going, and that I, for one, enjoy. Same with kuro5hin, and Rusty.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:15 PM on December 22, 2001


there comes a point where "discussion" becomes "carping"

Once again with the obvious remark that I just don't understand how to apply here. All I did was point something out and ask about it, and make some observations that I hoped were pertinant. I have no complaints, and, honestly, don't know what I've written here that sounds like I'm complaining, not to mention "bitching and moaning" or "carping" or telling mathowie how to redecorate.

it is ridiculous to suggest that advertising should be limited to those that participate in the community

I personally agree; I was just noting that some people (including the illustrious SDB) had previously described reasons why it's actually advantageous to draw the advertisers from the community itself. Obviously (or so I thought) it's not a deal-breaker, though; you'd need some cost-benefit analysis type dealie.

-----
I also want to step back for a second. It seems obvious, but somehow I feel a need to say: MeTa is far more valuable to the extent that we can use it for more than expressing personal grievances; and assuming that that's what other people are doing is, in that light, a mistake. I have absolutely no, zero, null, nada and zip grievances with mathowie choosing absolutely anyone he wants to sell a TextAd to. This thread wasn't about me somehow feeling betrayed or let down or any crap like that. I simply noticed something on the site that seemed unusual, and remarked on it.

Now, I ask you, isn't that the whole point of MeTa? To bring these things out in the open? Shouldn't it just go without saying (even though it obviously doesn't) that mathowie can do with the ideas discussed here as he sees fit -- and, also, that he can't do anything with those ideas if no one ever expresses them?

This whole, don't-make-any-noise-or-you'll-wake-the-baby attitude -- that we should just keep quiet and cross our fingers and pray the site isn't shut down -- is completely backwards to me. Community participation is the whole point of the thing, from what I understand. And mathowie's worst headaches, if I've read his remarks on the topic right, don't come out of people thinking about (and discussing) how this community should be, but exactly the opposite -- people posting links and double posts and comments without thinking about the site or its users.
posted by mattpfeff at 9:16 PM on December 22, 2001


I don't think the affilliate program will pay more than the ad cost

A couple of months ago, with Matt's permission, I took out a TextAd that pointed to a book at Amazon using my Amazon Associates code, wondering if I could get the ad to pay for itself. The ad didn't make a single sale.
posted by jkottke at 11:42 PM on December 22, 2001


Btw, I wish there could be a moratorium on "It's Matt's playground" and "Matt makes the rules" comments.

Oh, that it would be so. But don't expect SDB to agree to it--he seems to feel some driving need to defend Matt and his rightful place in the GSoT, despite the fact that he clearly doesn't need or want it.
posted by rushmc at 3:44 PM on December 23, 2001


I have between 2000 and 3000 daily visitors on my site, and also have an affiliate link to Dreamhost (since my sites are hosted there). In two years, I referred three people. Convert that to a few million pageviews, and you get a pathetically low CPA...

In other words, I don't think this TextAd will make the buyer any money, but I think what counts more is that by paying for it, he supported MeFi...
posted by ckemp at 3:52 PM on December 23, 2001


Guests in someone's home don't spend the entire time they're there telling the owner how to redecorate the place -- unless they don't want to get invited back again.

<yawn> Except that, despite your being enamored of this particular metaphor, it doesn't accurately reflect how many of us view the site. Including Matt, who has recently and explicitly stated that he is uncomfortable with this characterization in response to one of your earlier uses of it (which I would cite, if I felt I had any prospect of locating it with the search function).

It just amazes me how you continually fight this notion that Matt may WANT feedback on the site from those who use it. Maybe you're a control freak and feel the need to dictate every little aspect of your own website. That would certainly be your right. But that is clearly not how Matt has chosen to set up/run this site, so how about you just chill a little, let Matt defend himself as he sees fit when he feels threatened in some way, and let the rest of us continue to try to contribute productively to Metafilter as we see fit?
posted by rushmc at 3:52 PM on December 23, 2001


It no longer seems to be possible for me to post anything on this system without at least one person jumping on my case about it. In the last couple of weeks I've cut way back on my participation here, and yet I don't think I've caught so much static in any previous two-week period in two years.

And you know what? I don't care anymore. What I realized is that the only way I can please everyone is by staying completely silent. And maybe not even that way: out of the tens of thousands of readers of this site, there may actually be two or three who like what I write. Anyway, doing that would amount to giving in to the tyranny of the masses (or rather, to the tyranny of the obnoxious loud voices). I object to that on principle. No man shouts me down.

So Rush, stick it. I will change my behavior when and only when Matt asks me to.

Don't you recognize the inherent contradiction in your position? You're saying that everyone should have the right to criticize Matt, but I shouldn't have the right to criticize them for doing so.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 12:39 AM on December 24, 2001


Don't you recognize the inherent contradiction in your position? You're saying that everyone should have the right to criticize Matt, but I shouldn't have the right to criticize them for doing so.

I don't see any inherent contradiction. What people are arguing with is not your right to defend Matt but your repeated assertions that whatever Matt does is correct ex cathedra. What people are asking for is a discussion of issues on the merits of the issue.
posted by anapestic at 6:05 AM on December 24, 2001


The long term harm caused by the cumulative effect of such discussions outweighs the benefits of each individual case. You're trying to win battles and will lose the war as a result.

There are cases where I think Matt probably does welcome comments. Sometimes he's actually asked for them. But when he's obviously done something specific quite deliberately, then leave it alone. He manually approves every advertisement, and it's none of our business how he makes that decision.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 7:04 AM on December 24, 2001


Geez, could you be a little more pompous? "No man shouts me down" indeed.

You know, Steven, when every disagreement with your pronouncements is met with drama and/or aggression--"stick it"--it becomes harder and harder to take you seriously as someone who really participates here. And if you wonder why it always seems to be "about you," read your posts. You keep taking every disagreement as a personal slight, and eventually it becomes impossible for the rest of us to separate the person from the position. Just calm down.

it's none of our business how he makes that decision.

But it's your business to tell us so? I don't think so.

I can't think of a few reasons why someone might question this. One, he/she thinks of Matt as, in some sense, a friend and wonders what Matt's take on the issue is. Two, he/she is concerned that Matt might have overlooked something. Three, he/she is concerned that Matt hasn't thought through the implications of something fully and might welcome some exploration of a subject. Someone with a healthy ego would, I think, see those as well-meant and, agree or disagree, accept that it's a valid point for discussion. Only insecure people see every question as a personal attack.
posted by rodii at 9:07 AM on December 24, 2001


You're saying that everyone should have the right to criticize Matt, but I shouldn't have the right to criticize them for doing so.

1) Who has ever criticized Matt? What we're talking about here is participation, through feedback, discussion, and a free and open exchange of ideas. It's a given that, at the end of this process, Matt does what he chooses.

2) You're not criticizing people for "criticizing Matt;" you're trying to deform a long-accepted process here and silence the voices and input of those whose commitment to and fondness for the site, it is beginning to seem to me, outstrip your own. Appeal to authority all you want, look for daddy or God or the authoritarian figure of your choice to do all the work, make all the choices, and make everything better so that you feel no responsibility to contribute or participate--that's fine. Just don't be surprised when others have a varying attitude. And at least have the decency to change your tune when The Great Matt, Himself suggests that you have the wrong end of the stick. To do otherwise is strongly contradictory to your philosophy...and borderline hypocritical.

3) The long term harm caused by the cumulative effect of such discussions outweighs the benefits of each individual case. You're trying to win battles and will lose the war as a result. Unsubstantiated opinion, bereft of any supporting evidence or argument. And you wonder that we scoff? The fact that Metafilter exists, functions, and is good, counters this fearmongering.

4) I will change my behavior when and only when Matt asks me to. Now who is showing utter disregard for the fellow members of his community? Arrogant...and shameful.

5) It no longer seems to be possible for me to post anything on this system without at least one person jumping on my case about it. There is some truth in that. As many people have told you independently now, in various threads, look to thyself to discover the reasons why.

6) And you know what? I don't care anymore. It shows.
posted by rushmc at 10:25 AM on December 24, 2001


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