textads introduced to mefi March 25, 2003 7:47 PM   Subscribe

Metafilter, brought to you by Pepsi Blue.
posted by crunchland to Bugs at 7:47 PM (135 comments total)

Could be worse.
posted by PrinceValium at 8:03 PM on March 25, 2003


I'd like to know, as a matter of interest, how many of you oh-so-shocked-by-evil-commerce bloggers would actually turn down advertising. Or money. And that's considering the overwhelming majority don't put up a community service that's actually used or put in the necessary time and effort to keep it up.

Also, among the media you read and watch, just how many are advertisement-free.

I love the Internet - but what freeloaders most of you are!
posted by MiguelCardoso at 8:07 PM on March 25, 2003


All right, Miguel, how much did Matt pay to place that ad with you???

No, seriously, though. Just keep the ads non-intrusive and I think everybody'll get used to them. It's just "right-pricing" the service.
posted by soyjoy at 8:12 PM on March 25, 2003


I hate ads in general, but the text ads are OK. The ones in the threads, however, are really intrusive and annoying.

Miguel, you made your point four times in the previous thread. Fine, you like ads. Now move away from the podium and let the other kids talk.
posted by languagehat at 8:13 PM on March 25, 2003


I'm not shocked by ads - I'm shocked how long it's actually taken Matt to say 'the hell with it' and capitalize on his no-doubt monster pageviews - but I would in fact turn down advertising on my paltry little site, were I asked. And kick the ass of whoever offered it as they headed out the door. Fuck them.

My forlorn feeling is that Matt has just given up on this place, and these ads are a manifestation of that weariness. 'If I can't love it, I might as well make a few bucks for expenses from it,' I imagine him saying.

Not having heard anything from him about it yet, I feel free to daydream.

[/stalker]
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:15 PM on March 25, 2003


I know they're disruptive on the blue pages, I've been talking to google and hopefully they'll be allowing custom colors soon, as I'd prefer to go with the sidebar colors from the front page on them throughout the site.

If you switch to the plain-text version of metafilter, the ads are perfectly fine and easier to ignore. Or use Netscape 4, which for some reason doesn't display them at all (I think due to it using an IFRAME).
posted by mathowie (staff) at 8:16 PM on March 25, 2003


Or use Netscape 4,

Matt, have you gone crazy? Is that your problem? ;-)
posted by Wulfgar! at 8:22 PM on March 25, 2003


My forlorn feeling is that Matt has just given up on this place, and these ads are a manifestation of that weariness. 'If I can't love it, I might as well make a few bucks for expenses from it,' I imagine him saying.

On many days in the past I'd agree with that statement wholeheartedly, but I realized a few weeks back the site really has brought a lot of great people together, gotten a lot of great content online, and has helped me out professionally immensely. I sort of stopped self-hating the site and work it requires to keep afloat after that realization.

When the site is down, there's nothing like it to replace it (at least for me), and I've been enjoying the contributions the past couple weeks, especially the great posts that have nothing to do with iraq, and even some of the major war-related posts (note I said major, as in not just a tiny new thing that popped up on CNN.com when you refreshed it).

As we head towards four years of this site, I realized I can't keep it up forever as is. I can keep a personal blog up for the rest of my life, but metafilter requires quite a bit more attention, and I knew getting some money to offset the costs of my time and hardware was one way of ensuring that it'll keep going. When google asked me if was game for it, I weighed all the drawbacks: the "selling out", the look of more textads, some members protesting, etc, against finally getting some sort of steady financial support to keep the site alfoat longer than I would have originally. I also considered who was asking me: it's Google fer chrissakes, and it's just textads (I signed contracts that ensure there will never be anything but text in the ads). I trust Google, and although the contrast on the ads is pretty high, they're not as instrusive as other forms of online advertising.

It's an unfortunate fact of life that community projects can't go on for free, forever (see also: Daypop, the mirror project, fark, slashdot, and just about every other big community site). You have a lot of users sharing a common resource that requires much in the way of processing, bandwidth, and adminstration, and sometimes the "evils" of advertising offer support.

So yeah, the site's definitely turned a corner tonight, though I see a lot of open road ahead, instead of the brick wall waiting at the dead end we were heading for.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 8:28 PM on March 25, 2003


Matt, it's cool with me. Rock on, brother.
posted by ColdChef at 8:34 PM on March 25, 2003


Fuckin' A, that was very well said, Matt. Full steam ahead. (I'm gonna stop short of saying "let's roll", 'cuz then I'd just have to cause myself physical harm.) Seriously, change is inevitable, to struggle is an option. I'll deal with the ads, rather than deal with silence.
posted by Wulfgar! at 8:36 PM on March 25, 2003


Is MeFi Pro still in the works?
posted by PrinceValium at 8:39 PM on March 25, 2003


hey, metatalk is still ad-free so let's all camp out here!
posted by gluechunk at 8:39 PM on March 25, 2003


Or use Netscape 4

HA! Vindication!

Seriously, Matt, good for you -- not only for turning the corner, but for being smart and straight-headed about it.
posted by gleuschk at 8:51 PM on March 25, 2003


Um, matt ... I'm still logged in on MeTa, but I can't log in on MeFi. Just to let you know if this is a problem others might be having or anything.

And I totally understand about the need to run ads!
posted by yhbc at 9:09 PM on March 25, 2003


That should be fixed now, yhbc.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:15 PM on March 25, 2003


Fixed, matt; thanks.
posted by yhbc at 9:24 PM on March 25, 2003


On Safari, when I view a thread, I get the word "ADVERTISEMENT" centered, in ~12pt text, and then a long sidebar that's left aligned, and probably 800 pixels tall. There is nothing to the right of the ad -- just lots and lots of blue. At the end of the ad, again, I get "ADVERTISEMENT" centered again, and then, below that, the thread runs normally.
posted by waldo at 9:34 PM on March 25, 2003


in fact, in the Lite version of the site, it's the local ads that are actually more jarring, since they stay blue and green.

how many of you oh-so-shocked-by-evil-commerce bloggers would actually turn down advertising

um, I would, on my personal site. People try to get me to shill for stuff on librarian.net all the darned time. But this isn't a personal site, it's a community site and a community resource and as far as I'm concerned whatever keeps Matt from having to really sell out at some crappy desk job to afford more bandwidth, then I'm all for it. Nice going, Matt.
posted by jessamyn at 9:34 PM on March 25, 2003


Maybe it's just me, but can't the ads be at the bottom of the threads, like after the trackback things?

I'm getting this enormous gap of blue (with ads to the left) before the comments. Not that it's bad, I mean I could always think about Ghandi or the Pope or how my index finger carpal tunnel is functioning perfectly as I'm scrolling lazily down a wide blue field. With ads.
posted by hama7 at 9:37 PM on March 25, 2003


to really sell out at some crappy desk job

I hear that...
posted by Shane at 9:40 PM on March 25, 2003


The white background is definitely a bummer-- the ads stick out much more than they would on google itself-- in fact, now that i've checked, text ads on google use a background color-- let's hope that feature shows up soon here.

That said, it's a far cry from an X10 popup.

Oh, also, the first time I saw one on the home page, the ad was for Operation Iraqi Freedom pins. I thought it was an early April Fools joke.
posted by gwint at 9:40 PM on March 25, 2003


With the ads on the right-hand side of the screen, I no longer get the big blue gap in Safari.
posted by waldo at 9:41 PM on March 25, 2003


Any user who bitches about ads deserves a booting, a la those wacky Aussies from the Simpsons' trip to Oz. I'm happy to see you make a few more dimes a month off of this site, Matt. (But I do hope that you're able to change the color of the ads...)
posted by UKnowForKids at 9:43 PM on March 25, 2003


Matt,

I'd be willing to pay to have no ads appear on my view. I am sure there may be others. I know what I'd be willing to pay but its probably best not to say it out loud.

What does (revenue from google ads per month/# of active users)*10 come out to?

(If you do do something like this, I suggest there be no way for a user to tell whether another user is a 'paying' user so as not to incite the inevitable social divisions)
posted by vacapinta at 9:44 PM on March 25, 2003


I'd like to know, as a matter of interest, how many of you oh-so-shocked-by-evil-commerce bloggers would actually turn down advertising. Or money.

i've been offered a great deal of money from various porn companies to outright buy katgyrl.com, and i've always been approached by other co's wanting to advertise on that same domain, and i've always said no thanks.

that being said i have no prob with the ads but don't think it's unreasonable to mention that the blinding white is, well, blinding me. it seems to be a really pale shade of grey now tho', or am i going crazy...? anyway, i'll get used to the ads since there's so much more to pay attn to around here than that alone.
posted by t r a c y at 9:58 PM on March 25, 2003


I think the hover-over-link/URL-display (I don't know the term for it) functionality would be good for the link in the ads if that is possible. I guess the mystery lures you in, but I wouldn't want to waste time on something I already know about. I'm on Mozilla-OSX in case it is supposed to be there, but isn't.
posted by mblandi at 10:01 PM on March 25, 2003


Two thumbs up. Make some money on this monster. Hell yes. And if you charged a small subscription for a "no ad" version I'll bet you could make more.
posted by y6y6y6 at 10:03 PM on March 25, 2003


(If you do do something like this, I suggest there be no way for a user to tell whether another user is a 'paying' user so as not to incite the inevitable social divisions)

Well, I see somebody is still sitting at the little kids table.... Oh? Yes, I'll have wee bit more, thank you.... *sound of ice cubes in glass, carbonation*


on the serious tip, it's fine with me and certainly no sign of decay.
posted by y2karl at 10:05 PM on March 25, 2003


Matt, may you get filthy rich and keep MeFi alive for a long, long time.
posted by samuelad at 10:08 PM on March 25, 2003


I'm reassured by the ads. It gives me the sense that the site won't be disappearing any time soon, and relieves a bit of the guilt trip.
posted by taz at 10:11 PM on March 25, 2003


It's all good, Matt. You have made a valuable contribution to the web, and deserve some recompense.
posted by scottymac at 10:19 PM on March 25, 2003


Taz, why feel guilty when you can donate?
posted by samuelad at 10:20 PM on March 25, 2003


Those ads are pretty damned smart. I go into hama7's thread about maps and mapping, and the ads, surely enough, were about mapping products.
posted by mkn at 10:46 PM on March 25, 2003


No complaints from me (arguably one of the most militant web ad blockers out there) because text ads are simply easy on the eyes and don't ruin the site in terms of usability, readabilty, and "god-damn-popup-ability." I can't even read a NYTimes article without going into printer friendly mode anymore. Its like trying to read a book while surrounded by strobe-lights and strange disembodied voices yelling, "BUY THIS BOOK," "REFINANCE YOUR HOME," "TUNE IN TO CNN TONIGHT" over and over.

As long as we don't migrate to animated color ASCII art everyone should be more or less content.
posted by skallas at 10:56 PM on March 25, 2003


I dunno what I'd charge for no ads, if it'd be a monthly thing ($1-2 bucks?), or a one-time thing ($5-10) to never see one again.

If you're still seeing a weird layout, try reloading the updated stylesheet and viewing the site again.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:56 PM on March 25, 2003


Whatever it takes to keep it all lumbering along, Matt. Thanks for all your time and trouble.
posted by jokeefe at 11:02 PM on March 25, 2003


Matt, if I may be so bold as to suggest, how about $25 a year for no ads, and the ability to search comments on the search pages?
posted by riffola at 12:18 AM on March 26, 2003


I agree with jokeefe. We're lucky to have Matt and His Creation, and who knows, maybe an ad will direct you to something useful? Let's try to be supportive, people.
posted by Bootcut at 12:19 AM on March 26, 2003


So yeah, the site's definitely turned a corner tonight, though I see a lot of open road ahead, instead of the brick wall waiting at the dead end we were heading for.

That's great news, Matt. I'm genuinely glad to hear it's not weary acceptance of defeat but a vision for the future that's the driver for change.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:42 AM on March 26, 2003


stavros you fool. I was this close to buying the site for fifty dollars and one year of free massages.

If I had my way it would be all porno all the time.
posted by skallas at 12:47 AM on March 26, 2003


*cries*
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:02 AM on March 26, 2003


I've never agreed with everybody before.
posted by crasspastor at 2:21 AM on March 26, 2003


127.0.0.1 pagead.googlesyndication.com
posted by crunchland at 2:39 AM on March 26, 2003


c:\windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts, here I come!
posted by Pretty_Generic at 2:40 AM on March 26, 2003


I don't mind the ads at all because I've already got them blocked. Who knew when I started sticking it to the man the man would be Google and Matt?
posted by raaka at 2:44 AM on March 26, 2003


I guess I wasn't the first.
posted by raaka at 2:49 AM on March 26, 2003


On many days in the past I'd agree with that statement wholeheartedly, but I realized a few weeks back the site really has brought a lot of great people together, gotten a lot of great content online, and has helped me out professionally immensely. I sort of stopped self-hating the site and work it requires to keep afloat after that realization.

that's really good to hear (in a completely non-snarky way). it's been kind-of weird at times using the site when it was clear that the owner felt somewhat ambivalent about the whole thing (especially when it was obvious that it was a big success). thanks for all the work.

incidentally, privoxy isn't blocking the ads (whatever version is in default debian, at any rate). yet ;-)
posted by andrew cooke at 4:23 AM on March 26, 2003


I think the ads are well worth dealing with to keep this place going. I was lost, lost, I say, this weekend without it. Metafilter is the first site I hit everyday.

The bright white, though? A wee bit glaring compared to the normal colors.
posted by SuzySmith at 4:31 AM on March 26, 2003


You can enjoy an ad-free frontpage at www.met4filter.org if you'd like to.
posted by sebas at 4:52 AM on March 26, 2003


"if it'd be a monthly thing ($1-2 bucks?)"

That sounds about right. I'd prefer to pay per year.

One worry is that if you are getting money for subscriptions and/or impressions it increases the motivation to open new memberships. Personally I feel we could accommodate new members right now. Just saying.......

Also, we've been hearing more people talking about creating customized, parsed versions of the site via screen scraping. If someone wants to parse out one thing (say to facilitate a kill file, or a word filter) it's just as easy to leave out the ads at the same time. Thoughts? Is this legal? Will people get in trouble for doing things like this?
posted by y6y6y6 at 5:28 AM on March 26, 2003


Textads are perfectly harmless.

Matt. it's about time you made some money off this place. Enjoy!
posted by konolia at 5:32 AM on March 26, 2003


After all this hype I'm not seeing any ads. :(

IE5, so that could be my problem. Whatever... I'll pull through somehow.
posted by ODiV at 5:50 AM on March 26, 2003


While I don't mind the textads, I hate the google ads. As for paying to get rid of the them, how soon can this happen? The new ads are quite the distraction (to me at least) and I'd gladly pay $1-2/month (or more) to have the old metafilter back.
posted by darainwa at 6:14 AM on March 26, 2003


And if you charged a small subscription for a "no ad" version I'll bet you could make more.

Except that would reduce the "eyeballs" for the ads. Are google paying per view? You might need to do some juggling to get that to work out.
posted by walrus at 6:26 AM on March 26, 2003


I wish there was some way to customize the Google ads like you can customize the CSS version of BlogAds. I looked at the JavaScript rendering the ads, but I see nothing to hook via CSS.

And to those who are against the ads or who are blocking them, donate.
posted by mkelley at 9:21 AM on March 26, 2003


Seriously, how many of you would actually pay for an ad free Metafilter?

I doubt there's that many of you. Talk is very cheap.

I have no problem with text ads since they're so easy to ignore. I haven't clicked on an ad banner since 1997 or so. I just tune them out. As long as things don't progress to Flash ads and multiple pop up obnoxiousness, I'll be happy.
posted by mark13 at 9:33 AM on March 26, 2003


First, because I'm on a really slow dial-up, I usually browse sites like MeFi with images turned off. Text Ads show up fine - yesterday the GoogleAds showed up as a blank white box, but now it's just the word ADVERTISEMENT. FYI.

Second, Matt, thanks for keeping metafilter going!

Third, I hope I'm not going to get stoned here for suggesting a SLIGHT design adjustment? Something so that the text ads AND google ads (hopefully with their soon-to-be-available-please-GOD color customization option) seem more a part of the site than tacked on? They aren't TOO bad on the front page (whiteness aside), although it's strange to see them in such different formats - makes it seem more cluttered and incidental that way. And maybe there's a way of integrating both kinds of ads in the HEADING section of the subpages (why not do TextAds there too, now that GoogleAds are there) or SOMETHING so that the ads aren't just stuck out there on the right looking obvious but forlorn. Maybe we can hold a little 'integrate the ads' design competition that keeps MeFi looking MeFi still, but smoother?
posted by thunder at 9:41 AM on March 26, 2003


Seriously, how many of you would actually pay for an ad free Metafilter?

I would. 10 bucks? I just spent that on lunch. Some things are still extremely inexpensive for what you get, and Metafilter will always be one of them.
posted by PrinceValium at 9:43 AM on March 26, 2003


for what it's worth, I've worked up a mockup of how I'd ideally like to display them, and am sending this off to google: screenshot
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:43 AM on March 26, 2003


Seriously, how many of you would actually pay for an ad free Metafilter?
I doubt there's that many of you. Talk is very cheap.


Well, if you go to the donate page, there are something like 50 names there, but it looks like the list hasn't been updated in about a year-- I know because I donated a long time ago and I ain't there. Anyway, point being that I imagine there are at least a few hundred people that have already proven they would pay for an ad free metafilter. I'm certainly one of them.
posted by gwint at 9:50 AM on March 26, 2003


Thanks for the screenshot, Matt! That's something I could DEFINITELY live with, and maybe even appreciate. Amazing with a little background color can do! :-)
posted by thunder at 9:52 AM on March 26, 2003


"Seriously, how many of you would actually pay for an ad free Metafilter?"

[raises hand]

I suspect you are right. But I also believe strongly in supporting things I actually use, even if I can get them for free. Public radio works this way. Shareware works this way.

And don't forget that there are tons of value add things Matt could do here to make a subscription worth more than just a "feel good" proposition.

"there are something like 50 names there"

If I remember correctly, you had to let Matt know you wanted to be added or you didn't get on the list.
posted by y6y6y6 at 9:54 AM on March 26, 2003


WHAT a little background color.... forget spell check, I need a brain check today....
posted by thunder at 9:55 AM on March 26, 2003


127.0.0.1 pagead.googlesyndication.com

How can you defend your continued use of this site when you have intentionally crippled Matt's ability to pay for his expenses and his time?

As someone who runs his own community site, you know how much it takes, financially and physically, to keep it going. As shown by your donation whoring -- I don't think I've ever seen a poor-me-webmaster beg on a site that's larger than the 450-by-175 banner on your main page.

To see you bypass ads here and encourage others to do the same is amazing. I hope that you and the other ungrateful sponges will find some other site that passes your commercial purity test, rather than helping each other relegate Matt to indentured servitude.
posted by rcade at 9:56 AM on March 26, 2003


Seriously, how many of you would actually pay for an ad free Metafilter?

Me. I'm not on that list but I paid, thanks. I also bought text-ads a number of times, and I'll always support those things which have actual value for me, regardless of whether or not that support is mandatory. I totally reject the imputation that disliking advertisements is synonymous with wanting a free ride. It's not even a demonstrably logical conclusion, never mind being way off base from personal experience.

Matt: those ads display really badly in IE 5.5. About half a mile of screen real estate before I can even see the thread link, never mind comments. Someone else mentioned this problem for another browser, but I'm too lazy to track down their comment in the five minutes before my journey home. The screenshot version would be fine: it would be no more or less intrusive than the ads on a google search, which I'll even admit to clicking where relevant.

On preview, I'm considering blocking those ads, rcade, because they currently make the site irritating to look at. I won't stop supporting mefi though, whenever I can afford it and as long as it's still worth a read. I don't appreciate your blanket insults at all. You would probably resent people going to the toilet during an advertising break on television, no?
posted by walrus at 10:10 AM on March 26, 2003


Hey, I never said that matt shouldn't try any means to get money where he can. His amazon page off his own donation page shows he's collected over $5500 from us. That includes a donation from me, too. I've also given him about $100 in text ad revenue myself.

Give your fucking high horse a rest.
posted by crunchland at 10:11 AM on March 26, 2003


ahem (courtesy mathowie)
posted by VulcanMike at 10:13 AM on March 26, 2003


I couldn't figure out why I wasn't seeing the ads - it wasn't anything in my hosts file. Matt hinted at it and the .js source confirmed it - I have IFRAMES disabled in Opera. My experience is that IFRAMES=things blinking and yelling at me so I turned them off. (But I'm not seeing them in IE6 either and I still haven't figured that one out - there doesn't seem to be an obvious IFRAME disable in IE). So now I'm torn - re-enable IFRAMES and let MetaFilter get the revenue it needs and deserves or keep them disabled and avoid the blinking and the yelling (on other sites)? Maybe I should just switch to Lynx.
posted by TimeFactor at 10:16 AM on March 26, 2003


furthermore, my "instructions" were obscure enough so that only the most saavy would know how to use them.

If Matt can get some revenue from those google ads, good for him. I can say that I would never have clicked on one of them, so my not seeing them isn't going to deprive him of anything. I daresay that anyone who would follow my "instructions" would also not be likely to click on the ads.

In another metatalk thread, there's talk of people thinking about selling their user id's. On the same day that Matt introduces Google ads. Why do you suppose that is? Because they're fed up with the server downtime? Or maybe it's because they feel that Matt has finally sold us all out.

If my exhaustive guide to hax0ring means that one or two long-time users stick around metafilter a while longer, to post the fascinating messages that bring all the lurkers out of the woodwork, that drive those high refresh rates that expose them to the invasive google ads, then I have no troubles with my actions.
posted by crunchland at 10:20 AM on March 26, 2003


I'll gladly pay $5 per month for MeFi, I've donated accordingly last year, and if he can change the colour of the ads, I'll pay and opt to let the ads display.
posted by riffola at 10:25 AM on March 26, 2003


#textad2 > div {display : none;}

You don't see anything. Google still sees an ad impression. Personally, I don't think it's worth the effort.
posted by Su at 10:38 AM on March 26, 2003


"Why do you suppose that is?"

Pure silliness? People are talking about selling their id for no good reason other than they feel chatty. Try not to be so defensive. Who gives a rats ass? People are free to block TV ads by switching the channel, free to block radio ads by turning the volume down, free to block text ads by editing their hosts file. Big deal.

People block ads across all media. It's expected behavior.

People who want to give Matt money will, and have always, found a way to do that. People who want to block ads will, and have always, found a way to do that. The only difference now is that Matt might get more money from the "use but not pay" crowd.

It's a freakin' win win people. What the hell? Why are we arguing and calling people names over this?
posted by y6y6y6 at 10:41 AM on March 26, 2003


I am once again in complete agreement with y6y6y6... a sure sign of the apocalypse.
posted by jonson at 10:52 AM on March 26, 2003


With your record, it really makes me smile to see you take the mitigative route y63. No insult intended.
posted by walrus at 10:54 AM on March 26, 2003


I actually liked the text ads, which I would read when I had read pretty much everything else, just to see if there was anything of interest.

But I am not so crazy about the new advertisements. The white block really looks like the most important element on the page. The imbedded, moving flash ads the Times uses are less obtrusive.

What was wrong with the old text ad format?

Or, here's an experiment, I really liked that Matt presents a link to all textads. I figure that the people that advertise there have something they want to promote to the MeFi audience, so sometimes I'll look.

What if the ads were just linked to? You might still get great click-throughs, and that's all that really matters.

Or - couldn't they just be treated like the text ads? Or could they be tagged somehow (I'm not sure how trackback works) to appear at the end of related threads?

Btw, I personally am glad that you are making some money, or at least not losing any!

Max
posted by xammerboy at 11:05 AM on March 26, 2003


I've worked up a mockup of how I'd ideally like to display them

Nice! I assume there will be a version of these for the Lite stylesheet as well?

and FWIW, I donated and I'll donate again, and I may exercise my prerogative to block the Google ads as well. It's the slow loading that gets me, plus all the identical Amazon links, and cloying ad-text. Or maybe I'll block them on one computer and not the other. It seems like a pretty reasonable personal choice for people to make - to see or not to see - if you ask me, if they're already contributing in other ways.
posted by jessamyn at 11:08 AM on March 26, 2003


Matt, what about using the CSS selector above, or an ID on your container DIV, to try and force styling on the ads?
Assuming it wouldn't be some sort of breach of contract, of course. Unfortunately, I'm figuring it is.

In the end, though, Y6 is right. The attitude of everything on the net being free is really tired. You deal with commercials of some form in every single other media outlet you encounter. Those exceptions that don't take commercials generally take donations. When the donations don't add up to enough funding, they either die, or decide to take advertising.
Ergo: You brought this on yourselves, really.

The ads are small, don't flash, move, hijack your browser, etc. You couldn't ask for much more. The color situation is being worked on, but it isn't going to kill anyone. If your browser has problems displaying them, upgrade it; the ads don't make the site unreadable, your browser does. If you can't upgrade, then bitch at your lazy/hidebound admin. If it has a "b" on the end of the version number, you shouldn't be complaining here, but most likely there. And if you simply must block, you've been given two mechanisms so far, one of which should do absolutely no damage to Matt's revenue from the advertising, assuming it's based on views, not clicks. Win win...win.
posted by Su at 11:09 AM on March 26, 2003


rcade:I hope that you and the other ungrateful sponges will find some other site that passes your commercial purity test, rather than helping each other relegate Matt to indentured servitude.

crunchland:Give your fucking high horse a rest.


y2karl - Quod Erat Demonstrandum.
posted by vacapinta at 11:18 AM on March 26, 2003


You would probably resent people going to the toilet during an advertising break on television, no?

Missing an occasional commercial is not the same thing as automatically skipping all of them.

Hey, I never said that matt shouldn't try any means to get money where he can.

I considered your "Pepsi Blue" crack to be a criticism of his new ads.

However, if you have no problem with his effort to commercialize the site, why are you making it more difficult for him to do that? Your response about making a donation and buying text ads shows that you know this site costs money to run. Yet you're actively working to deprive him of a significant source of revenue.

Even though you're pitching in, and I compliment you for that, encouraging other people to sponge is a shitty thing to do.
posted by rcade at 11:28 AM on March 26, 2003


"it really makes me smile to see you take the mitigative route y63"

Well, this really pissed me off. Like, lay in bed fuming all night pissed off. So now I feel the need to prove the fucking asshole wrong. I'll be nothing but a polite little toad from now on. That will show the bastard.

Ummm..... Starting now I guess. Right.
posted by y6y6y6 at 11:37 AM on March 26, 2003


One last comment: People keep comparing this to skipping commercials in a mass medium, but it's a ludicrous comparison when you consider that Metafilter is a site run by one guy.

There's a one-to-one relationship here that's a lot closer in nature to party host-and-partygoer than corporation-and-consumer. To me, intentionally blocking these ads is like showing up for party after party at someone's house and never, ever pitching in to pay for the beer.
posted by rcade at 11:43 AM on March 26, 2003


This was a good decision, Matt. I support you fully in any endeavor that keeps MetaFilter up and available.
Thanks.
posted by me3dia at 11:46 AM on March 26, 2003


Good for you, Matt, and good for us!

Your point about "nothing to replace it" is true - warts and all, good days and bad, it's a damn fine site. And it's only right that some of the time you've contributed should be compensated. I am delighted to learn this gives MeFi a renewed lease on life.
posted by madamjujujive at 11:53 AM on March 26, 2003


You would probably resent people going to the toilet during an advertising break on television, no?

Blocking ads on a website is entirely different. Each view or use of a website costs the publisher money or time (for maintenance, in this case), whereas watching TV ads no incremental cost; and not watching or not watching a commercial has no effect on a TV station's actual revenue, whereas blocking an ad prevents a website's publisher from earning any revenue, because he/she only get paid per advertisement view.

(I once wrote up my thoughts on this, here. I think I even still agree with me.)
posted by mattpfeff at 11:55 AM on March 26, 2003


you are assuming matt is getting paid per view, which, based on the advertising rates listed over on google, is highly unlikely.
posted by crunchland at 12:06 PM on March 26, 2003


Missing an occasional commercial is not the same thing as automatically skipping all of them.

You're right. But I do automatically switch off, or do something else during adverts. If I am rarely distracted by one, I find afterwards that I can describe perfectly what happened in the advert, but can almost never tell someone sitting next to me just what product was advertised. It's as if my mind, having been told often enough that it's all bullshit, will just scrub it out of my memory. It's rather useful, except when I want one of those thingummyjigs.

I never, but never, read adverts in the newspaper. I would stop reading at all if they made them more intrusive, and in fact I rarely read paper media these days simply from the strain of carrying them all around with me. Web adverts suffer similarly, except if they are too intrusive I'm liable to just close the page in a fit of pique, often accompanied by swearwords. It's the distraction I resent. Google ads (like these ones) are less likely to give me a brain hemorrhage, because they may actually have some relevance to why I'm reading the flaming thing in the first place.

Mattpfeff: don't forget that it costs me money to download them too. I can be choosy how I spend my money, and if advertisers are still stupid enough to believe in broadcasting via a narrowcast medium, that's their lookout.
Make it discrete and relevant and I won't be interested in blocking it: I'll even "click through" sometimes.
posted by walrus at 12:06 PM on March 26, 2003


Question for Matt:

If we wanted to buy adwords through google, could we specify that our ads only appear on MeFi, or are you lumped in with other web properties?

If not, will Google work with you on this?

I much prefer their "pay per clickthrough" to the impressions model of the textads.
posted by machaus at 12:19 PM on March 26, 2003


If we wanted to buy adwords through google, could we specify that our ads only appear on MeFi, or are you lumped in with other web properties?

I have no idea. I think you just allow your normal ad to run through their content partner network, then if your keywords come up on them (whether that's metafilter or howstuffworks.com or blogspot), it'll be displayed. I don't think they do site-by-site basis advertising.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 1:07 PM on March 26, 2003


Is the keyword search on a thread by thread basis? I've noticed some threads appear to get more than others.
posted by walrus at 1:11 PM on March 26, 2003


*breaths sigh of relief that MeFi has been given a reprieve*

Late to the part as usual, but I want to chime in and support those who are supporting the (barely) commercial route that mathowie has taken. When MeFi went down recently, I was too busy to search around and find out what had happened, but had this niggling fear in the back of my head that mathowie had finally had enough and pulled the plug. Everything evolves and grows during its life and a web community is no different - the ads are hardly obtrusive compared to the majority of portal-type sites and, unless a subscription or something similar was introduced to ensure that the users pay for the cost of the site, this is a perfect solution. How much better can it get than having MetaFilter for free and have someone else paying the bills?

For some reason, I only ever get one ad at the top of a white space on the right hand side, rather than the list of ads on mathowie's screen shot. Is that because of my high user number?
posted by dg at 2:05 PM on March 26, 2003


dg: I only see one ad in the white space as well (on both the front page and thread views), and my user number is 482.
posted by adrianhon at 2:24 PM on March 26, 2003


dg: dunno if it was clear, but I'm broadly supportive too. I have seen one, two or summat like five ads segregating that white space so far, and am expecting that it's all down to those keyword shenanigans. The machine-like logic of searching being what it is, I have my suspicions that sometimes those keywords will sometimes provide ads 180 degrees opposed to the content, but am personally looking forward to the occasional juxtaposition.
posted by walrus at 2:28 PM on March 26, 2003


The number of ads appear to have to do with the words on teh screen, and the number of advertisers paying for words.

The product-oriented threads have 5-6 ads for me, while some of the general ones only have a single ad for non-profits.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 2:29 PM on March 26, 2003


Gee, (he said, knowing full well that competition would surely ensue) I wonder what product or combination of products mentioned in a thread would result in the most ads?
posted by yhbc at 2:37 PM on March 26, 2003


Is it keywords in any comment or just the thread itself? I would assume it's searching keywords based on a parse of the XML feed which would be just the thread's main post right?
posted by willnot at 2:40 PM on March 26, 2003


I'm trying to figure out how my Blode post got an ad for Star Wars toys.
Possibly the word "Attack" triggered something related to "Attack of the Clones"?
The mind wobbles.
posted by PrinceValium at 2:46 PM on March 26, 2003


A new form of meta-bitch?
Can we kill this now, please? There are some very few times where this might actually add something to a thread, but in general, it's just going to be derailing.
posted by Su at 2:50 PM on March 26, 2003


"To me, intentionally blocking these ads is like showing up for party after party at someone's house and never, ever pitching in to pay for the beer"...To me, we got these ads because thousands upon thousands showed up at Metafilter and never paid their way. Predicts imminent demise of the free lunch.
posted by Mack Twain at 3:27 PM on March 26, 2003


I think the ads are a good thing, and the best thing that Matt could have done. Donations, while good, are generally sporadic and not steady. GoogleAds sound like they're a steady source of revenue, and, while the color isn't great, they're not popups or pop-unders, they don't blink or make sounds, they're not some Flash ad landing in the middle of the screen with a 2-point "x" you need a magnifying glass to see just to close the damned thing, and we know, because Matt has it in his contract, that they won't become any of the aforementioned any time soon.

So -- :: mad applause ::

Go you, Matt.
posted by metrocake at 3:51 PM on March 26, 2003


I'm trying to figure out how my Blode post got an ad for Star Wars toys.

I think was the phrase "episode 1...episode 2..." that set it off.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 3:52 PM on March 26, 2003


why are we talking about this ?
its not as if we were going be consulted or anything.
If your'e short of cash matt, may i suggest starting pornfilter ?
posted by sgt.serenity at 4:21 PM on March 26, 2003


*anticipates a perverse little game which consists in wording your post in a way that befuddles Google completely. Theoretically, the grand prize could be no adverts at all. Incremental negative points would be awarded for every advert over one; but positive points for non-profit ones.

Those of us who don't donate should at least lend our eyeballs and ocasionally click. We should also remember, imo, how much we already owe Google. Google is our friend. Now doubly so.

P.S. I never thought Americans were so adept at ruining what should have been a party.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 4:26 PM on March 26, 2003


If your'e short of cash matt, may i suggest starting pornfilter ?
posted by sgt.serenity at 4:21 PM PST on March 26



I have my first 100 FPPs lined up ...
posted by Wulfgar! at 4:27 PM on March 26, 2003


I'd be fine with metafilter even if it looked like MSNBC. Just please no pop ups, pop unders, pop overs, whatever.

The only problem I'm having with mefi lately is the rabid leftism. It's just seriously unbalanced and annoyingly self-congratulatory.
posted by KiloHeavy at 4:27 PM on March 26, 2003


If your'e short of cash matt, may i suggest starting pornfilter ?

It already exists, kinda, run by one of our very own here at MeFi. I can't say more, or I'd have to kill you.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:53 PM on March 26, 2003


"Seriously, how many of you would actually pay for an ad free Metafilter?"

Why not, I already pay for an ad-free Slashdot.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 4:53 PM on March 26, 2003


KiloHeavy - well said - and I'm generally left leaning. The overwhelmingly self righteous tone of the relatively anonymous leftist posters on Mefi is pushing me further right every day. Of course, the same could be said for the far right on Mefi, but there are so far and away fewer, they are easier to ignore. The left really set the tone here.
posted by jonson at 4:54 PM on March 26, 2003


why are we talking about this ?

...because we can?

I mean seriously, where are we, and what are we doing?
posted by inpHilltr8r at 4:58 PM on March 26, 2003


It takes a lot of money and resources to run a service like MetaFilter. I've been wanting to launch a project of my own, but the cost of gettig things going is just rediculous, between servers and bandwidth and worrying about h@x0rs l33t DOSing your server. I say more power to Matt.

(Some mentioned pop-ups. Do those things even still work? Every browser I use includes a pop-up blocker built in.)
posted by benjh at 5:01 PM on March 26, 2003


A new form of meta-bitch?

like the baby-stroller ad appearing next to the "killed your wife" thread...? Matt may just need to add another MeTa category "those durn google ad juxtapositions!"
posted by jessamyn at 5:09 PM on March 26, 2003


The overwhelmingly self righteous tone of the relatively anonymous leftist posters on Mefi is pushing me further right every day

Dammit, jonson - how I envy you. It's had the opposite effect on me. I must be too influenciƔvel - vulnerable/gullible/porous. I started off as a resolute conservative but MetaFilter has slowly been turning me into a raging liberal. Seriously. I once blamed fold_and_mutilate, stav the wonder, quonsar and the other irresponsible agents provocateurs, but now I blame precisely those brave anonymous leftists who chime in at the worst times, disconnecting my principles from my thoughts...

Here's hoping we cancel eachother out, my friend!
posted by MiguelCardoso at 5:12 PM on March 26, 2003


Off-Topic: Since I mentioned it, if anyone knows where I can host a metafilter-like web site, which will have no where near the bandwidth this does, please e-mail me. Thnx. :-)
posted by benjh at 5:26 PM on March 26, 2003


* slips the wonderchicken a shiny new quarter *

* also buys him a drink *
posted by yhbc at 5:57 PM on March 26, 2003


Neat! A shiny thing and a drink! I'm in my happy place!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:26 PM on March 26, 2003


Here's hoping we cancel each other out, my friend!

Migs, as we are clearly the same person (pointed out here and here), I imagine we do.
posted by jonson at 7:37 PM on March 26, 2003


By the way, the ads are blocked if one accesses mefi through SSL.
posted by walrus at 3:50 AM on March 27, 2003


By the way, the ads are blocked if one accesses mefi through SSL.

There's a solution: skip the ads and add to the server load.
posted by yerfatma at 5:08 AM on March 27, 2003


I wasn't aware SSL added to the server load, but I suppose that makes sense. When Matt recently added this feature, I was unaware it wasn't meant to be used. You should also be aware that I added my comment purely for information, rather than to make some kind of sarcastic point.
posted by walrus at 6:07 AM on March 27, 2003


they're only blocked if you choose (or your browser chooses automatically, perhaps based on some long-forgotten checkbox...) not to display insecure elements embedded in a secure page. that's because they're pulled in separately, via a non-ssl link.

anyone have info on the extra cost for ssl on a site like this? there are two costs - negotiating the link and encrypting the data. if you stay within ssl and jump from page to page you shouldn't need to renegotiate, so the only cost is encryption. i suspect that's a lot less than either then initial handshake or sql queries, but i have no numbers.
posted by andrew cooke at 8:59 AM on March 27, 2003


The ads are Mefi blue now. Looks much better.
posted by PrinceValium at 9:43 AM on March 27, 2003


yay! Those Google folks kick ass for turning my feature request around in less than 24 hours.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:48 AM on March 27, 2003


The ads look much better now, thanks Matt.
posted by riffola at 10:06 AM on March 27, 2003


ack, now the ads look bad with the MeFiLite style, any chance for a reprieve, or should I just suck it up?
posted by jessamyn at 10:12 AM on March 27, 2003


Much, MUCH better. Thanks, Google.

I wonder if they can fix my user page, too ;)
posted by iconomy at 10:32 AM on March 27, 2003


jessamyn, unfortunately, they're doing the customization on their side, so I can't tweak things. Sorry about that.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:36 AM on March 27, 2003


God, Jessamyn. Bitch, bitch bitch.
*ducks*
posted by Su at 10:36 AM on March 27, 2003


I never post at this level, and I apologise if this breaks the flow of a technical discussion, but I just wanted to send a message of support to you, Matt, for doing what you have to do to keep Metafilter going. I know this is such a cliche, but MeFi really does feel like an extension of my brain - as a working writer, activist, father, pop-cult junkie, WHATEVER, I find myself stretched, amused, diverted, informed, transformed (and occasionally just plain baffled/grossed out) by what I find here. Many of the posts on topics either I've started, or I'm interested in, provide the kind of collective intelligence and research that the dot-com bullshit merchants of the late nineties could only dream of. When Blink.com went Pro, I had to go with it - because it had become the same kind of brain extension. If ads keep you going, then at least you're facing out to the world, rather than into a group of private consumers. All networks have their decay rate - but MeFi is still bifurcating, metastazing, whaddeva the goddam trendy jargon is for "still rockin'" is.

We're all in this together, indeed. Power to you, sir. (Cue orchestral swell from D. Elfman)
posted by theplayethic at 1:43 PM on March 27, 2003


Blue ads = much better look to the site. I will also try to remember to click on a couple each day, to do my bit to keep the click-through rate up.
posted by dg at 2:02 PM on March 27, 2003


It's a job for clickmonkeys!
posted by elwoodwiles at 3:02 PM on March 27, 2003


i'm getting a white floating box the shape of the ads further down the page in the comment pages using chimera on mac, resizing the window moves it further down and/or eliminates it. this box does cover whatever text may be under it.
posted by rhyax at 5:57 PM on March 27, 2003


I think Matt has every right to place ads...and I hope it covers the cost of the servers, and the bandwidth and the dev and maint time...and still adds profit to his pockets.
posted by dejah420 at 7:13 PM on March 27, 2003


Matt--I'm just curious: Is Google paying you a straight CPM for the listings, or are you doing a revenue share?
posted by bdk3clash at 10:59 AM on March 28, 2003


just in case you are still checking this, matt -- congrats on getting google $$$. yummy.

*gross slurp-belching jabba the hutt sounds*
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 1:56 AM on March 29, 2003


As someone who's community site (citizenx.com) was just shut down due to lack of funds and an excessive debt to our web host, I applaud Matt's efforts (and success) in keeping the site alive.
posted by halcyon at 10:11 AM on March 30, 2003


What browser is being used in Matt's Screenshot?
posted by trharlan at 10:03 AM on April 7, 2003


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