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If I Had Ads Here, Would You Click Them?

I think this is a fair question. If I had ads on this blog, would you click them? More importantly, why would you click them?

I had my first web page in, oh, um, way back before the turn of the century. I’ve been on the Internet in one form or another since before the thought of the turn of the century, before the time the Y2K issue was even developed. I’ve seen web fads come and go, and the ads get really big, then really small, eventually becoming text ads, and now everyone has ads, even diary blogs feature ads of various shapes and size.

In all that time, even on commercial and retail websites, I can only remember clicking 5 ads. Of those 5, at least 3 were by accident, thinking it was a link leading to something non-commercial. There might have been more, but there were totally unconscious and unintentional clicks.

Is this just me, or are the rest of you paranoid about clicking ads?

In my early days of beta testing a wide variety of software products (back when they were written in Basic and DOS – oooh, that dates me ;-) Anyone even remember Fortran?), eventually moving out onto the web, I’ve been rather paranoid about viruses, regularly practicing safe computer sex (no sharing floppies, mind you!) long before it became fashionable. Advertising seemed to fall into that lot when it first started, flashing and blinking to grab my attention towards something I had no interest in. Mind you, when it comes to shopping, I am a thrifty spender and major shopper rolled into one. If there is a bargain to be found, my nose is to the ground sniffing. But ads on web pages never “did” anything for me other than annoy me. And that trend continues today.

I HATE having to scroll past ads to get to content. Makes me want to leave the site immediately. I hate ads that don’t match the web layout or design, or load first with content coming in last, so I have to wait through the mind-numbing blinking, flashing, or stupid words (“Discount Toner Broker Cheap Discounts”) just to find answers to my questions. As for the naked women flashing their tits to the world on a lot of forums, chats, software, and game pages – don’t get me started.

Yet, I have no problem with people putting ads on their blogs. Sure, you want to make money. Great. Sure, you want to offer your readers “more” than just what you have to say or the long list of links you’ve collected. Of course, you want this blog thing to at least pay for itself. I understand that.

But honestly, do you click on ads when visiting blogs and websites? Do you really pay attention to them and think “Hey, here’s a bargain! Why don’t I click it to find out more?”

Why do you click them? Is it because of the deal they are offering? Is it because you really need those ink cartridges or posters of naked girls? Or do you feel sorry for the poor sot hosting ads in order to pay for their blog? Do you click the ads knowing that this blogger might make .06 cents every time you click it? Do you feel like you are supporting the blog and the content by clicking ads?

There is a lot of research into where to place ads on your blogs and how to get the maximum number of clicks, even by confusing people who can’t tell the difference between an ad and content so ad clicks are increased just by accident. There is a lot of research into what types of ads work best, testing words, layout, colors, and demographics. But how much work is really done exploring the truth about clicking ads?

I know people are clicking ads. Bloggers are making money from ad clickthroughs. I want to know if YOU are clicking and if you are, why are you clicking. If there were ads on this blog, would you click them and why? Let’s do an informal study to see what say you, the blog fan, of how you personally use ads on other people’s blogs.

Do you click ads on blogs? Why?


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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen

14 Comments

  1. Posted February 14, 2006 at 4:56 am | Permalink

    Quite simply? No. I don’t click ads.

    No, I probably wouldn’t click ads if they were on here either. If you’re using adsense on here then surely it will be mostly about web and wordpress as Adsense (or similar) taylors the ads to the content of the site?

    That would mean that ads on here would all be about blogging or WordPress, all information about which I can get for free.

  2. Posted February 14, 2006 at 6:10 am | Permalink

    Hi Lorelle!

    Good question!
    Yes I remember Fortran IV, dated as I am ;)
    I also remember BASIC and BASICA and Pascal an C(++), on which I had the pleasure of entertaining students. That’s until Java came along and the millennium came to an end. I also remember faintly when our school computer ( a Swedish masterpiece named Compis ) was upgraded from 8kB memory to 64 – to work with all that space.

    Then in 1994 I fell out into and in love with the web, around the time the Internet became accessible for normal people ( who’s normal by the way ) in Sweden, where I happen to live.

    At the time Netscape was driving the web forward and the standards people crazy, and I remember the first Netscape “animation” of the Mozilla creature. Do you, dated or not ? It was a few GIF images with their mascot in different positions, one on each HTML page, and the animation was driven by the meta tag HTTP-EQUIV=”Refresh”, calling the next page to load.

    Well, then came Java Applets and LiveScript/JavaScript and more image formats, and the bell rang in business headquarters, that maybe you could do business in this ARPA/DARPA thingy.

    And the ill famed BLINK tag got competition from flashing animated GIF ads and later flashing Flash ads, rendering page content unreadable.

    Lately I think Google has fostered another view on ads, text based, as you say and less intrusive. The advertisers ( some ) have realized that you want to get content and in a timely manner, and that you even want to read it.

    Do I click on ads?
    Hardly ever!

    Do I have ads on my blog? Yes, now I have, as an experiment.
    Do I make money? I’m not allowed to say how much, but it’s less than $10 in a month :->.

    I must admit, this time I came to you to as for a favour 8~]
    I’m using the same theme as you are, the Regulus 2, but I have added an extra sidebar, because I wanted to have some more widgets. In the narrow sidebar to the left I want to cluster all syndication, some ads (sic!) and a mildly flickering Flickr Flash.

    Would you be kind to take a look and share you views on the overall layout and the offending factor of the AdSense ads?

    Do I click them? I daren’t !
    I sure hope someone does though.

    Good article as always!

  3. Posted February 14, 2006 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    Oops – I didn’t read your sandbox recommendation, hrm..
    And if you look, please disregard the the header image ;)

  4. Posted February 14, 2006 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    Lorelle,

    As you know from a few previous posts, I love the work you do here and I do at times feel guilty for not commenting maybe as much as I should. I have only around 5 or 6 blogs that I subscribe to the comments feed and this is one of those.

    I also have been online for way to many years to even try and work out what year my first e-mail address was turned on through a FidoNet BBS gateway.

    I am not sure how many hits your site gets per day. I personally subscribe to your feed via the direct RSS links and not via Feedburner or any other such service though in that fine tradition of myself being an ‘edge’ case and want to have a raw source of a feed rather than something that was parsed through one of these services (I am reading and writing a great amount of XML content and do not want a stained source). It would be nice if Matt and the WordPress team could drop a section into the Admin of WordPress.com sites that could give you an idea of how many people are grabbing your site via RSS readers.

    So onto the ad’s, No I wouldn’t click on them for much the same reasons you stated above. So there is the guilt again, many people must definitely get value from your content and if not then that is a scary thought for another day. I have and there are some others starting to talk about what Google are doing [barons] and I have a few other bits and pieces going into an article I am writing on why ‘Google is Evil’. Google is already seeing advertisers stopping the advertising that they have been doing with Google because you only have that customer for a fraction of a second and then they are gone again most likely forever. There are some serious problems with the entire way the advertising system works on Google including Click-Fraud, and a lack of effort on Google’s behalf in tackling this. Financially Google will have the worst record this year for advertising as more and more users start to learn the difference between a sponsored link and a normal web link. I will even go out on a limb and state that Google will dump the Adwords and AdSense program’s in the very near future, either because users stop clicking on these links completely by using ad blocking plug-ins on their browser or for legal action that is taken against Google. The only way that this will survive is for some extremely serious modifications to the program.

    That still doesn’t answer your question though does it? So how can you get some revenue in a friendly and safe way that can be designed to fit with-in your own design and content that you produce. I think that you are a perfect fit into a ‘Web Hosting Affiliate’ program. The part that I see that you can generate this revenue from is by teaming up with Yahoo.

    The WordPress site has affiliate links to hosting providers from the WordPress Hosting page. And this is a revenue generating stream for the WordPress team. The Yahoo hosting site that has the WordPress hosting plans starting at $8.01/Mth. At the base of that page is a Yahoo Affiliate Program with all of the tracking and payments provided by Commission Junction.

    Tie all of this together with your posts on what can be done for free on WordPress.com and what you can do if you host your WordPress blog on the Yahoo servers. You now have an excellent advertiser that is partnered to fit your entire blog topic and expert knowledge. Take this up a step further and you can even offer users that have signed up with Yahoo via your Affiliate Program extra help or services, from starter help to advance customization for set fee’s to off set the cost of your blogging activities. No doubt this could be done with any affiliate program and personally I like the idea of Yahoo because of the existing effort they have shown by offering WordPress blogs on their own servers. Yahoo will also take care of server technical and bandwidth issues.

    Now you have a revenue stream that showcases your professionalism and quality. You do not need to worry about the hosting side as Yahoo will take care of that, or you need to worry about is WordPress issues that you already deal with in your own endeavours already on your blogs.

    As I refer people to sign-up and get a blog I would recommend signing up through you because of the extra value you add to the blogging community and the WordPress community. Now I could go directly to the Yahoo hosting site and sign-up directly for this service but why should Yahoo get all of the extra money when it costs the user nothing extra to sign up via the affiliate link from your site or the link at the bottom of each of your posts from the RSS feed.

    You are now able to offer professional and I would say qualified support and services to corporate, small business and personal bloggers who are hosting with Yahoo with little extra headache. As for the rest of the WordPress.com users who may miss out on your exclusive WordPress tips that are only available via people who have signed up with Yahoo hosting program we will never know because we never know of this exclusive content except a rumour that such a thing exists.

    I would not only click this ad, I would direct users to this ad for them to click.

  5. Posted February 14, 2006 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    Oh Shoot… No Links above… :(

    These four links are reference sources for the above comment.

    Barons on Google

    WordPress Hosting

    Yahoo Hosting

    Yahoo Affiliate Program

    Cheers,

    Stephen

  6. Posted February 14, 2006 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    The links were there, it’s just that WordPress automatically moderates any comment with more than three links in it. Comment spam protection at work! And thanks for the information. Really excellent points.

  7. Posted December 6, 2006 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

    No; I hardly ever click on ads. And if you had them on your site, I doubt if I will. Why? I hardly look at them. I usually come to a site with something in mind, and I simply overlook anything that gets in the way. Usually ;-)

  8. Ed
    Posted January 1, 2007 at 1:10 am | Permalink

    I click on ads all the time. I was searching for a mortgage broker a couple months back. I musta hit a few hundred adsense links. Just today I was looking for a cheap and easy host. And what do ya know, a hundred more clicks. Now I think I’m gonna use adsense on my new site to make some beer money. Am I a bad man? Hell, I know I’ve done a lot worse things in my younger days.

  9. Posted January 10, 2007 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    Yes I would click them, a) sometimes I think the info from the ads can be of my benefit b) And sometimes just to help out.

    I click on ads on the internet. Usually the contextual ones. But never those poker thingies. They annoy me.

  10. Posted January 11, 2007 at 5:13 am | Permalink

    I sometimes click ads on blogs, especially if I have either a) enjoyed the blog or b) think the blog has given me something useful. By clicking on the ads I know I am saying thank you to the author by giving them a bit of money. Unfortuantely I think ads have spoilt the internet rather than improved it, how many of you (like me) have tried to find information on something and the search engine results just provided page after page of advertising website, it takes ages to find an actual ‘real’ site, which is very frustrating.

  11. Shivakumar
    Posted January 12, 2007 at 5:20 am | Permalink

    It depends on the ad. The advantage with the google adsense the the ads are relevent to the content. I have got to some usefull sites through google ads. I am also running in adsense in my sites. I am new to blogs. Just I have started blog hosting just now and got this link from my wordpress mu dashboard. So, I think showing ads for providing free blog services. I know I am not going to make millions, but atleast to pay for the hosting charges untill start a comercial service on my site.

    Also, there are bloggers writing technical articles on thier blogs. Let them make some bucks for sharing their technical knowledge.

    Comming back to your question, I only click, if the ad is relevant to my search.

  12. Posted January 12, 2007 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    Yes, I click on ads on a blog. When the content of an ad is interesting and to support the blogger. Never click on ads with an image.

  13. Posted February 15, 2007 at 12:29 am | Permalink

    Hoi Lorelle!

    From my point of view there is a very simple reason especially to click on google adsense ads. With 2 or 3 clicks you donate some cents/dollars to someone you may took advantage from. Nice present or?

    It is total a win-win situation. 3 clicks for free make someone happy. Even you, because you gave some gift away.

    Regards,

    René Kriest

  14. Psynister
    Posted March 21, 2008 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

    Only on very rare occasions will I click on an add, and really the only adds I ever click on are ones directly related to the content I’m looking at (as pointed out by several others).

    In fact, if I go to a site and see that there are adds for something completely different than what I’m looking for, then you better have something incredibly good and grabbing my attention in about 2 seconds or I’m gone before I even look at your page.

    I don’t mind adds being there, but if they don’t add anything to the site then your site just lost most of its credibility and my interest just dropped by about 80%.


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