December 30, 2005

advertising is incompatible with blogging

Advertising is incompatible with blogging. My blogging, anyway. After a month of experimenting with AdSense and YPN I'm removing the ads. My reasons, in case you care:

1. Relevance -- I had imagined that ads might actually be useful to the large number of folks that land on fredshouse from random searches. I was wrong. The clickthrough rate for December was a bit over 1% overall, which is pathetic even by junk mail standards. More importantly, 99% of my visitors didn't click on any ads. So who's being served here? Besides, have you ever looked at those ads? Even the most accurately targeted ones are pretty lame.

2. Aesthetics -- Ads are ugly, and they detract from the site design. Text ads are less intrusive than graphic banners and towers (and seemingly more effective as well), but they are still unpleasant. I'm not overly proud of my design skills here, but the ads made everything look cheap and cheesy. So, gone.

3. Public Morality -- We already have too much advertising in the world. The commercialization of every square inch of public space is a blight on society. The assignment of commodity advertising value to every person, place and thing in the world is a triumph of greed over humanity and the natural world. At least let my little corner of the web be commercial-free.

4. Personal Morality -- This is the bad one: having ads changed how I thought about blogging. Instead of focusing on my own interests and creative expression, I started to think about what kind of content would attract ads with higher CPM rates. Mind you, this didn't show up in actual behavior b/c I've just been 2B2B (too busy to blog, eh?). Nonetheless I'm amazed by how quickly and easily the money influenced the content; this seems immoral on a very personal level.

Overall, an interesting experiment that taught me a couple of useful things, provided a new perspective, and helped me to clarify my thoughts. I can't generalize my own experience with ads to other blogs with ads, but it does suggest the continued importance of critical reading and thinking.

Posted by Gene at December 30, 2005 10:26 AM


I don't quite understand your problem, a clickthrough rate of 1% is quite good. I personally have good experiences with the Google text ads, they are very relevant. The image ads are not but I think that's because image ads in Adwords are not quite popular yet.

Posted by: Dave at December 30, 2005 10:54 AM

Maybe you should read this article:

Posted by: Dave at December 30, 2005 11:04 AM
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