Ad Farm is a text advertising network that has recently sprung up January 1, 2002 10:23 PM   Subscribe

Ad Farm is a text advertising network that has recently sprung up. It remains to be seen whether they're repeating the same old mistakes, making brand new ones or doing something cool.
posted by owillis to General Weblog-Related at 10:23 PM (23 comments total)

There's one major advantage (for them) to this over other kinds of ads: if they're handled right, there is no way to filter them out with an ad-blocker. On the other hand, as long as they remain unobtrusive and unobnoxious. there's no need to.

If they're merging the ad text in at the server before the page is delivered, it's completely transparent to the user and can't be stopped. On the other hand, if they're playing fancy games with javascript and using the client's browser to retrieve the ad text from somewhere else, it's blockable.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 11:09 PM on January 1, 2002

They're just using javascript but personally I find the use of ad blockers a little hokey.
posted by owillis at 11:12 PM on January 1, 2002

I swear by 'em. I'm using "AdSubtract" and I like it a lot.

I see what you mean; it appears to be keying off a site called "". Guess I'll have to add another rule to my block list...
posted by Steven Den Beste at 11:41 PM on January 1, 2002

Actually, that one's pulling off my own site. My view on ad blockers is that if you dislike the ad so much its better to not patronize the site versus leeching.
posted by owillis at 11:43 PM on January 1, 2002

'its better to not patronize the site versus leeching.'

I think that's very well put.

posted by RobertLoch at 1:36 AM on January 2, 2002

owillis: I'm not sure I agree with your stance "to patronize vs. to leech". Take newspaper ads... a fact of life if one intends to read a newspaper. However, these ads don't spin, fizzle, blink, pop up, pop under, or whatever else the "new media experts" can come up with tomorrow. The obtrusive nature of web advertising is what I object to, so I use ad blockers. This doesn't mean I don't want to consume the information provided by the host, I just don't want to be pummeled by obnoxious ads. I'd say to fine tune your statement: don't patronize the companies that use such forms of advertising.

So, someone comes up with a clever and non-obtrusive way to advertise much like the program underwriting one hears on public radio. I love text ads, and I click them if they seem compelling.

Of course, if you don't care for them you can add:
to your hosts file (using windows) to stop them from being loaded from this particular organization.
posted by internook at 1:50 AM on January 2, 2002

I use a long, long hosts file, all redirected to If there's interest, I can post it here. It doesn't block everything, but it does block most ad networks, and is easily configurable (just a text file after all) and pleasingly 'low-tech'.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:57 AM on January 2, 2002

I'm a little surprised that Adfarm appears to be only offering publishers a set rate. Please correct me if I've got this wrong. Anyhow, my point being that 10,000 impression on 1 site can be worth considerably more that 10,000 on another. Why don't they let publishers set their own prices?
posted by RobertLoch at 2:25 AM on January 2, 2002

My position is that unlike other mediums, a web audience becomes more expensive as it grows. If someone is using pop ups and unders, I guarantee its for a good reason. The best thing to do, in my opinion is to stop patronizing them and their advertisers versus still gleaning their information/content without the producers of said content being paid.
posted by owillis at 2:26 AM on January 2, 2002

Oliver: I "leech" deliberately. It's a political act.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 6:41 AM on January 2, 2002

I "leech" deliberately.

SDB, just because you are able to steal doesn't mean you are right to. And you are stealing. Ad-based sites offer their customers a simple proposition: You can read our content for free, and we'll be able to continue publishing it if you let these ads show up on your screen. You can take it or leave it; no site in any way "forces" advertising on you.

You say you think ad-based sites are "collateral damage" (quote from his essay), and you are willing to sacrifice them for what you see as a more important cause. So, simply don't visit them. A true political act stands behind its principle, and doesn't just claim it when convenient.
posted by mattpfeff at 7:16 AM on January 2, 2002

'Ad Farm' is actually kinda for fun. It isn't for large corporations and businesses. Every ad gets screened for potential boringness or loserness. It's low cost so nearly anyone can use it, and anyone can sign up to have the ads placed on their site, and earn pocket money doing so.

I'm not a spokesperson for it, but I wanted to point out the above because so far, in this thread, 'Ad Farm' has been lumped in with regular advertising on the innernut, and that ain't right, son, that ain't right.

(I like to reload the text ads and be entertained in some postmod random way.) Anyway. That is all.
posted by kv at 8:14 AM on January 2, 2002

Matt Pfeff, it's not that I want to ignore them; I actively want to asist in their commercial deaths. I am not breaking any laws by loading their material while blocking their ads. (Which means that claims that I'm "stealing" approach libel; "stealing" is a crime and I am committing no crime.)

I feel absolutely no guilt whatever for what I'm doing.

Ignoring them and not visiting will not help them go bankrupt as rapidly as my visiting them while blocking their ads, so I can achieve my political goal faster by doing what I'm doing. Which is why I stand behind the principle of blocking ads, and of telling other people how to do so to encourage them to do the same.

Tell me, do you have a mute control on the remote for your TV? Do you use it? Isn't part of the deal for TV that you'll also watch the advertising? Don't you feel guilty about visiting the bathroom during the ads, or channel-surfing?
posted by Steven Den Beste at 10:09 AM on January 2, 2002

TV advertising does not cost the broadcaster one bit more if their audience expands by 1,000. On the web it does.
posted by owillis at 11:14 AM on January 2, 2002

Oliver, TV advertising rates are based on expected audience. An ad on a more popular show costs more; that's why the ratings are so important.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 11:29 AM on January 2, 2002

I'm talking about delivery cost, not production costs. But its a moot point. Neither of us is going to change his mind, I'm just glad a lot less people use ad blockers than do.
posted by owillis at 12:24 PM on January 2, 2002

AdFarm would be much nicer if people could buy ads just using their credit cards directly-- not through PayPal....
posted by andrewraff at 12:30 PM on January 2, 2002

SDB, just because you are able to steal doesn't mean you are right to.
If they want to protect content they should put it behind a login. There is server side software to ensure ads load for casual viewers.

If a site asks me to view ads or scamper I'd obey. Would anyone here not?
posted by holloway at 4:27 PM on January 2, 2002

Holloway, that program can be defeated by a small change to the ad blocking software.

What it's detecting is whether you are retrieving the ad. It cannot determine if the content is being displayed. Right now most ad-blockers work by blocking requests (by blocking the outgoing stream). But they could be modified to retrieve the material but then to dump it in the bit-bucket and not send it to the screen (i.e. filtering the return), and there is absolutely no way whatever for the server to detect that this has happened.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 7:30 PM on January 2, 2002

Uh, yeah. Emphasis on the casual.

It would stop people not loading ads to save bandwidth. I don't block ads for any other reason.

Once, in fact, I tried every possible coordinate on that tree and I didn't hit the monkey.
posted by holloway at 8:36 PM on January 2, 2002

Once, in fact, I tried every possible coordinate on that tree and I didn't hit the monkey.

That's because to hit the jackpot, you actually had to click two different locations in the right order. That's what I seem to remember, anyway.
posted by kindall at 11:36 PM on January 2, 2002

Er, mushrooms, they're the meat of the sea, doncha know.
posted by holloway at 2:01 PM on January 3, 2002

(apologies for my lag time; had some business in New Hampshire)

When I say stealing, I do not mean to say I think it is illegal. Apologies for that confusion. But I do mean to say that you cannot claim any moral justification for abusing the accidental circumstance that enables you to view a site's content without its ads; you are violating an implicit agreement between you and the providers whose content you wish to view.

More generally, I would ask, is stealing wrong because it's illegal, or illegal because it's wrong?

Why are monopolies illegal, for example? I'd say it's because having the power to gouge customers isn't the same is it being right to. And I'd say it works similarly for having the power to gouge sellers -- to take their product without abiding by the terms on which they intend to deliver it.

(As for the mute-button issue, that possibility is built in to the deal between the content provider and the advertiser; the advertiser chooses to take that risk. With ad blocking, however, the ad is never served, and the content provider cannot charge the advertiser for it. There is no analogy there.)

Also, I really must say, SDB, for someone who so adamantly defended mathowie's right to sell ads as he pleases on this site, your claim here that you wish to deliberately pull under any ad-based site is rather, well, ironic. Am I to take it your political views are so flexible that you can make exceptions as you please? If so, why should I take your views seriously?
posted by mattpfeff at 2:25 PM on January 3, 2002

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