We implemented our player on top of video.js, and most of the developers who were there at the time still have nightmares about it.
We finally got the thing working, looking good, embeddable, reasonably cross-browser. We shipped it. A few days later, we get a curious email from some ad provider. "It looks like your VPAID ads have stopped running!"
Oops. We'd naively believed we could live without Flash (I take full responsibility for this stupidity). The sales folks pointed to a big gap between our old projected revenue and our new projected revenue. So we went and did the work, hating every minute of it.
The underinvestment in ad-tech by publishers and the cancerous ecosystem of vendors that have grown up around it is one of biggest collective mistakes made by an industry.
I am optimistic that this problem can be solved, and we are actively looking at this at my current employer. We sell direct, usually without a ton of intermediaries. Talk to me if you want to know more.
Incidentally, if you want to know if a publisher is going to survive the next five years, a decent proxy is the number of intermediaries involved in their ad supply chain.
I did plenty unpleasant work for them, like building a clean redesign, agonizing over page load speeds, and then filling up the page with multi-megabyte tracking tools and every possible ad under sun (which would not only ruin the design, but often inexplicably and randomly break the page because of really, really shitty code).
All that work was pleasant compared to the horror of working on the video player though, and I felt bad for the full-timers who were usually put on 'bug-fixing' duty while we contractors got to work on the cool projects...
Advertising is a massive industry and while it does have some plenty of annoying outputs, it has also powered the commercialization and expansion of the internet to what we have today. The world has definitely benefited from all the rich content, services and companies like Google that are available because of it.
There is, it's just very hard to do and usually requires some potential catastrophe and a lot of money to do. Yes, advertising has funded some great things, but many of them I avoid. I want my data to stay where I put it and don't want to be tracked and sold. Pretty sure I'm losing though.
I don't know if your view and interest are in conflict though. Valuable knowledge can come from bad sources, no?
We built a brand new modern ad network and it's amazing how few advertisers and publishers care or even understand how important a good user experience is.
Increasingly I believe we'll see the former.
Does "native content" (paid-for pieces disguised as objective information) require "sophisticated" ad network tech?
Content has always been a good marketing tool, we're just starting to see a lot more of it with publishers setting up their own "agencies" to sell pieces written by the same teams but for advertisers. Some are actually really great (Netflix stories for example).
When it comes to distribution, there is just a lot that needs to be done for advertising. Part of the big draw for digital/online is all the data you can collect and analyze and use to optimize. Publishers usually do not have the technical resources to build this or manage and integrate with all the other thousands of systems that advertisers use. It's almost always worth it to have a vendor that specializes in the infrastructure so publishers can just focus on their own business.
The major adblocker filter lists tend to quickly add filters for "native" ads on any site with a non-trivial number of users.
Rather than moving to native ads, start planning today for how you could do without ads entirely. If that doesn't turn up any answers, you should worry about your future.
Advertising will always be around though. No need to worry about that future. People want content but they don't want to pay, and advertising is a great model that works well for the vast majority. In fact digital advertising today is bigger, stronger and better than ever.
It's the legacy tech, formats and thinking that are broken, but progress is being made and everything will get better soon enough.
I admire your optimism that putting consumers and advertisers in a directly adversarial relationship (by forcing them into an arms race around blocking) will somehow make everything great, but I have a hard time sharing it.
This is a much longer discussion than fit for HN but digital advertising is doing better in pretty much every metric: There's more time spent with ads, deeper engagements, more conversions/ROI and better formats than ever before. Take a look at any of the big apps and platforms that have billions of interactions that happen every day for the data to back this up. Adblocking, even at the scale it is today, is still a small percentage of the entire market.
I'm not sure who you're referring to with "everyone" but the situation is definitely not untenable. It's just outdated. Advertising is always a relationship between the advertiser, publisher and consumer but the consumer was never really considered in the past because they had no power or way to provide feedback. Adblocking is changing that dynamic and giving power to the people while letting advertisers know that they need to actually consider the user experience.
Since the advertising model isn't going to go away, the natural evolution is that the implementation and approach will change to create better experiences that fit with the way people consume media along with the expectations around privacy, relevance and value. The market will also re-calibrate and rise up from the artificially low rates of today.
This is a massive industry so it won't be quick and there will be lots of pain in the short term. No way around that, but progress is happening and things will absolutely get better. It might be a hated industry (and for good reason) but there are plenty of good people out there working hard and doing the right thing.
There are plenty of people who would like it to, and personally I hope they win. With sufficiently widespread and robust use of adblocking technology, perhaps advertising will become sufficiently unworkable to go away entirely.
The fundamental model of advertising giving free access to content is great and works for pretty much everyone. It's fast, simple, egalitarian, requires no commitment and is very scalable.
Adblocking tech will never cover 100% of ads, there will always be workarounds and other developments to either serve ads or refuse adblocking users. With all the adblocking growth we've seen so far, it's still a tiny part of the ad market. Whatever we've lost in adblocked impressions has been more than made up for in all the mobile apps and platforms that take up more and more of people's time.
If you really want to pay for content then there are increasingly more options being offered, but this does not need to be mutually exclusive of ads. It's just a different option and more choice is the real solution.
Is it? Step back from the Internet. How many people keep things laden with adverts? Cars, magazine and appliances come covered in advertising crap. Better quality things suffer a less from this. We throw things away that are covered with adverts, or at a minimum pull them off. Things that come as they are, unadulterated, are things I place a higher value on. By and large adverts mark things out as cheap. I may be different to others in this regard but I like to pay more, lose the crap and that be it.
> How many people keep things laden with adverts?
I dont know but this doesn't really have anything to do with the advertising model. Ads don't need to be around forever to do their job. Digital ads are by definition very ephemeral and instantaneous.
> Things that come as they are, unadulterated, are things I place a higher value on. By and large adverts mark things out as cheap.
That's because ads do make goods/services cheap(er). If you dont want ads, then you have to make up the cost by paying it yourself. You're just talking about a spectrum on how much of the true cost you want to pay.
> but I like to pay more, lose the crap and that be it.
Ok, you can do that. More publishers are starting to offer paid subscriptions and there are services like patreon, flattr, blendle, optimal, google contributor and more. More choice is good but most will choose ads for free content.
A former coworker posted a picture of her baby on Instagram wearing a GAP tshirt. That's an advert that's only going to get thrown away when the kid outgrows it.
I'd rather live in a world where billboards/TV commercials serve as clearly delineated frames for ads to exist in, rather than the world we are moving towards, where essays and "news" articles hide behind a facade of objectivity while subtly promoting some sponsor's content.
But submarines/native content is the logical end of all freely-published syndicated content on the web, given the arms race between ad blockers and ad networks. What could be more user-friendly than an ad disguised as an article?
Time to start paying for good content - the free ride for us common consumers is over.
An actual article. It's not an "ad" or "submarine content" if it's a legitimate product review or similar.
So user-friendly, that the mistrust of the Internet is probably higher than ever . Sometimes it's legitimately hard to tell what is real, and what is an ad, whether it's some website about some health concern (my favorite BS ones), some tech review site, or god knows what else. And as a discerning, analytical reader with a scientific mindset, I've trained myself to do my own research via studies and reputable sources (health) or even message forums (tech).
The user-friendliness of the ad industry presently is somewhat terrifying to me, if I'm honest.
1 - I can't back that up. :-) But why would I bother, when I can just state it, like one of those 'Top 3 Tablets [whose manufacturers that paid us ]' or 'Glowing Review of New Macbook [ with softball criticisms] '?
My non-ironic point: there's tremendous mistrust now on the Net, as information seems more dubious than ever - from the curating of news (recent story with Facebook) to the paid reviews (Amazon finally cracking down on, but which are still quite ubiquitous), to ads that look like articles. If there's a reason I come to this site, it's because I feel like I have a more direct line to the truth, and it's 'curated' by discerning readers and comments. (Some of whom, ahem, are a little aggressive in their downvotes).
Now, how is that not a souring of the good faith of the reader, when the ad industry pursues insidious/sinuous/backhanded tactics, all because the reader doesn't want to see, hear or read something that the ad industry wants them to see, hear or read.
See also: Cable TV.
I told the lady she'd better not tell anyone if she wanted to get her work done and allow stories to be published on the same website that serves those same ads.
Done well, everyone wins: good content that pushes a message for the advertiser. It's not done well very often. Quartz has done it well a fair amount.
Maybe I'm naive but how are these ads of any value to the advertiser? - nobody wants them, everybody ignores them. How can ads that surely almost exclusively receive accidental clicks be so worthwhile for publishers like you?
There's different types of media: print, television, digital (banner ads). Print is dead (has been the increasingly accurate argument for 10 years now), television is expensive and untrackable, and digital is here to save the ad industry because that's where all your customers are and it's very trackable.
The value to the advertiser is either direct-action ("click here and buuuuuy!") or branding ("we exist, see!") Companies like Verizon, Proctor and Gamble, Johnson and Johnson, unilever, etc. spend billions on branding.
How does that money get allocated? Well, you've got a brand manager for, say, Acme Inc. Their job is "Get more people to buy" and they split their resources between creative--often working with big agencies (think Madmen, see AdAge)--and media buying. There's often pressure to spend less on creative and more on ad buys. And when ad buys don't perform, they say "We should have spent more on creative".
Media buying is basically buying banner ads (or tv or whatever). They're typically sold at a CPM (Cost Per thousand iMpressions), less often Cost Per Click.
So to answer your question: major brands have billions for branding and it's a bunch of people's jobs to spend that money and convince the people they work for that it's money well spent. And if it's not money well spent, they'll find someone who will tell them it is.
I'll be the first to say there's a lot of mismanagement, incompetence, politics, etc that leads to this but it's also one of the most data driven industries around and there's a lot of proof behind the results. It's not all just random guessing.
You have some players who have honed their advertising strategy for years to try to get the biggest bang for their buck- and they're willing to pay to have professionals work out how to hone it further.
You also have unheard-of locals who have pinstriped sales reps telling them about how much money they're going to make if they buy this billboard or phone book page, and agencies paying big bucks to get the pinstripiest, salesiest representatives to the right suckers as efficiently as possible.
Then there's everything in-between for all the people who are in way over their heads but want to at least imitate the ones who are doing it right.
The technical strategies are pretty straightforward but it's all the business policies, silo'ed data, bad integrations/tech, privacy issues/constraints, and (the worst of all) politics and outdated thinking, that cause these issues.
Attribution isn't that hard, it's basic analytics and statistical analysis - but half the agencies don't have any understanding of math or tech and just use last click wins with some unreliable vendor and probably poor implementation which ultimately hurts everyone.
I have the fortune to also work with an incredibly bright Data Science team (several of whom have phenomenal stats backgrounds), and they all agree with me.
Many companies and agencies know last click has very real limitations. Likewise, for anyone that has started to go down the rabbit hole, you quickly find all of the other static models have similar limitations. Dynamic/data-driven attribution at the user path level is the way forward, and Adobe's econometric attribution modeling tools are the closest I've seen to getting it right. But even that has limitations (cost being just one of them). The free reports in GA and AdWords are a great start, but likewise have their own issues.
There are a LOT of variables in terms of sample sizes, data accuracy, inability to effectively isolate an experiment group due to other marketing efforts, etc. that all throw other major wrenches into this.
All of that said, I'd genuinely love to hear your solution for how to definitively solve attribution from an analytics and statistical analysis perspective. As much as I disagree with your statement, I realize I don't have all the answers, and if you have them, I (and many others) want to hear them.
Personally, I think this is the biggest challenge the industry faces right now. My gut says display and video CPMs are overvalued, but better analytics and better data are needed to really help advertisers answer the questions of things like "what is a view through worth?" or "how much revenue should I attribute to this display/video campaign?"
M is for mille, not impressions
- Name recognition. We don't need people to click, we just need them to associate our brand with their need.
- Sales leads. They have a need, we have a product, it wasn't a massive sales boost in B2B, but it paid for itself.
- Push competitor's ads down. Diminish their brand recognition/leads/etc.
- Advertise on competitor's search results, show us as a legitimate competitor in the consumer's mind.
The ultimate goal is that people in the industry say "we've heard of you." Very targeted adverts are a great way of doing that along with social engineering and attending inter-industry events.
It might sound crazy, but it was better for us overall if people didn't click. We got more value out of passive advertising than active click-throughs.
It is just like waving your hands around and saying "we exist!"
While the former is true, the latter is not. And clicks aren't the only measure, especially where video is concerned. There's a lot of voodoo in advertising, but advertisers do look at their statistics, and see an uptick in sales/brand awareness/etc when they run video ads like that.
But the general public? I don't know. I don't think a lot of people really distinguish between the ads at the top of a google search and the actual search results below (sometimes well below) them.
I think if the current model was not thought to have an overall positive ROI for the advertisers, it would have failed by now, or evolved into something else.
I think in very few cases (maybe Amazon ads are an exception) ads cause people to go out and immediately buy things -- but with constant exposure over time, the likelihood that you're going to buy something goes up.
Seriously, this is an entire profession, it's not voodoo, people aren't just sheeple, it works.
Much in the same way that research has shown (pretty conclusively) that exposing yourself to violent television over and over again makes you more violent and less concerned with violence happening around you.
I really hoped that the Guardian and others were going to create their own safer (no pron/malware) and faster (less RTB) network and cut out much of the cruft when I read about Pangaea last year. Looks like it's more about sharing data though :(
Long term = people will eventually learn to avoid your site because BBC feels much more responsive.
My two cents right now would be that consumer revenues (people paying you directly) is probably the only way to run a profitable generalist news company. That, or have the backing of a nation state (BBC) or philanthropic institution. If you want to run a business from ads on the internet, you need a great case for why you're a better option than Facebook, and most news companies just can't make that case.
I wish more sites offered an alternative to the dilemma of UX-breaking ads vs ad blocker guilt.
Imagine your printed edition where your editors have no idea what sort of ads are printed in your paper, because it's all added at the printing firm by some shady characters.
You might say that such advertising is losing in the long run because it's alienating users, and you'd be right. But when you balance sheet shows a precipitous decline month on month as your print readers convert to online ones, you don't have many other options to keep investors happy.
Not every newspaper has the same ad setup. Ads are added at printing and are still targeted to the best of the publishing companies ability.
Advertising was the biggest pain point.
The fun part is when the ad trafficker would run a VPAID payload with 18 sequential ad-auction vendors. We saw delay from first byte of the player to first byte of the advertisement go from Xms on a fast connection to > 30 seconds.
And then they blamed the player for being slow \o/
I half won and then firmly lost a project around then to port their video serving to our web tv platform.
Lost due to severe inability to manage such a project but we had a nice multi-format video player for the time: js abstraction over different players for different platforms (flash, quicktime, windows media, ...).
indeed. rule of thumb: every intermediary is a potential disintermediary (see Google, Apple etc)
bright side: or acquirer!
The site is responsible for including ads; "publishers" should get the full blame from their readers. The publishers themselves can complain to the ad network they use, but readers are right to just blame the publishers.
The only network ads I had running on my news site were from Google Adsense, the seemingly reputable choice, but I found ads and trackers from all sorts of networks were infiltrating through that little window.
The only reasonable action was to just turn it all off and forgo the marginal ad revenue. We now only host ads we have sold direct.
Then the publisher should stop working with networks that do this.
That's not in our control as users, only the publisher can do that.
Even well known news websites have ios app store redirects that stop content from being viewed.
Now, if it was an open standard without a gateway, it would be a different beast. But fraud would kill it.
Ad networks seem to be immune to fraud. Large companies will pay to have their brands seen anyway; us small guys take the hit.
It's this crap that's destroying the web and making people's devices unusable. Until it stops people will continue installing ad blockers. No amount of guilt trip adblock walls will stop that.
I tried to complain, but ad_server.py didn't care.
Here's an alternative. Specialist sites sometimes sell ads directly to the advertisers without using a network. They can choose what they show, and often won't accept ads that don't relate to their users. Not really an option for a dilute gossip news blog though.
Ergo the lesson I learn is to not visit your site. How's that a net positive for content creators?
This becomes a problem for the publisher more so than the reader from my perspective. My job in the context of this relationship is fundamentally to consume your content. Your job is to figure out how to monetize your content in a way that isn't offensive and is sustainable.
I'm not saying I won't pay for quality content (I do!), but there needs to be a way to monetize that's respectful of your readers.
Do those ads include any JS? If not, you've figured out how advertising should work.
Thank you. I turned off ad blocker for your site (one is still networked to the bad guys, though...)
We're still talking internally about what we're going to do with the social stuff -- we're leaning towards kicking it out -- as well as the user insight we're granting to Google in return for using its (excellent) DFP to serve our own ads. Is that what you mean, or have we missed something?
Edit: By "use" I mean I buy ads there.
Edit 2: Damn, that's some nice looking stuff on that site.
You don't have to get rid of social buttons; for some sites, they produce significant results. Just turn them into links and locally hosted static logos rather than scripts.
I know nothing about the web advertising industry or how it works with bidding and so on and I don't think I am alone.
So if a site has ads then as far as I am concerned the buck stops with the them: I have no knowledge of the ad setup or what deal the site has and I don't care either - the site owner takes the responsibility and if I have a negative effect (hacked/malware/slow load or whatever) then I won't be back.
If you bought a car and it had a dodgy handbrake then you would blame the manufacturer of the car, not the company in Outer Mongolia that supplies it to them, or worse, the company that supplies them with their plastic... same applies here.
The suggested solution to "figure it out" and "find other advertising networks" doesn't work because almost all of them do this shit.
You can choose NOT to use them if you want to.
NOTE: I am referring to all content creators that do this: I don't mean to aim at you in particular.
And yeah, if the revenue from some other obscure network is 10% of AdSense, and a good business becomes not viable, it's not good for anyone.
- all ads are responsive HTML5 ads
- all resources are loaded over HTTPS
- ads are based on your content, not on a profile of the user
- ads can be requested server side by sending the URL where the ad will be displayed through an API. The response contains the ad code, as well as the expiration date
- if you want, you can even download a package with all resources so ad blockers can't block you. (unless they target you specifically)
- if you don't get an ad in return, you can fill that space with your own fallback ads
- the ad network also does some kind of sentiment analysis so it doesn't show ads for Donald Trump on a page that's critical about him
- the ad network immediately severs ties with anyone who abuses the system
It's the fastest ad network around. Simple, fast, static, all user-initiated, and we only focus on content (articles, videos, etc that you read on the same site you're already on). We also don't work with any 3rd parties so there's no security or malware risk. Happy to share any technical details.
There are good ad networks out there but in this strange industry, it's all about politics and connections, not tech or UX (which is why we're in this mess in the first place). This is the biggest battle we're fighting with everyone from advertisers and agencies to publishers.
Native is a complicated term that gets overused but the way we see it is a combination of look/feel + context + behavior. Most "native" ads today are just the look/feel but crappy irrelevant content that makes no sense on the site or isn't content at all but just takes you to some sales landing page like any other banner ad.
However, there can be good quality content (educational, informative, entertaining, and not just primarily selling) that happens to be sponsored by a brand. Native isn't about tricking the user but about being unobtrusive. The same way you would skip a news headline you're not interested in, you would skip a native ad placement as well (at least this is how it should work).
People read what they want to read and sometimes it's advertising. There's nothing wrong with that. What we do is make sure everything is properly labeled (to FTC standards) and user-initiated so that users know what it is and make their own choice - and I believe transparency and choice are the best things we can offer.
We are looking for people to try it out once it launches. Show your interest at https://HaloAds.com
> Mixed Content: The page at 'https://haloads.com/' was loaded over HTTPS, but requested an insecure stylesheet 'http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Lato:400,300,700,900'. This request has been blocked; the content must be served over HTTPS.
https://haloads.com/assets/img/favicon.png Failed to load resource: the server responded with a status of 404 ()
* I will immediately know if a server doesn't support https, because the image won't load
Our primary aim is to rid the internet of spam advertising and to turn online ads into an acceptable thing to have on your site as opposed to focusing on the highest bidder regardless of the quality of what your viewers end up seeing.
But the key requirement for an ad network is that it makes money. I am optimistic that your system would produce user-friendly sites that would, given good content, eventually develop a positive reputation, earn more traffic, and make more money than their competitors. But that requires long-term vision and user-first business ethics, which most companies are not very good at. At any time, once that reputation and traffic pattern was established, switching to a more aggressive ad network would make the site or ad seller more money. Then it would dip back down as users reacted, but I am not convinced that a sufficient number of businesses would have the wherewithal to see it through.
The ad network I'm proposing will never be as large as Google is right now. If it's a small network that only connects entrepeneurs with solid long-term visions, I am fine with that. I don't believe in unicorns anyway.
My intuition is that The Deck is in slow decline due to fewer advertisers and declining interest in its member sites (Metafilter, Instapaper, a lot of web 2.0 design resources.) I still think it is an excellent example to follow, though.
This is why you have 1 tag that loads dozens more because each agency is using a different system to serve an image or track an impression. There are some standards around formats but the actual tech delivery is terrible and this industry (for all the great tech that is actually built) just seems to have major problems at making things that work well. Probably because the consumer has never really been the major focus.
Have we given up on relevance? I was always hopeful that one day in the future the sites I love could be supported by showing _only_ ads that interested their users. With our post-modern privacy fetish, though, I guess I'm becoming resigned to hygiene ads just so long as they're served over HTTPS.
1. A blast of ads for something you just bought.
2. A blast of ads for something you just decided not to buy.
This doesn't mean relevance needs to go out the window. People were targeting their ads well before it became vogue to collect people's toenail clippings and feed them into collaborative filtering models. For example, if you're a high end diamond store then you shouldn't need a bunch of whiz kids from San Francisco to tell you that your ad would be better-placed on The New Yorker's site than on The Village Voice.
If I'm reading a site about auto maintenance, for example, what's more relevant? Ads for auto parts suppliers, or ads for cookware because that's what I last bought on Amazon?
If the answer is none or not much, you may see the problem with this analysis, as it has as much bearing on what the market will provide as my opinion on what I would like to see in woman's grooming products.
This small agency easily spent 500k a year on Adwords alone. Not much maybe, but there are tens of thousands of agencies just like that one.
As a self-taught developer, I rebuilt my main website from the ground up and relaunched it last month. I have an A A A A A rating at webpagetest.org, but have the feeling that Adsense is ruining my hard work.
Right now I am not focussed on maximizing revenue, but when the time comes I hope I can do it in the most user-friendly way possible, without having to setup a sales department and doing everything myself.
As a marketer my problem never was "I don't have enough data", but it always was "I don't have enough traffic". Just give me quality traffic and I'll hand you my money.
I don't need all bells and whistles as it makes it far too hard (and expensive) to set up a campaign for a small SMB.
As for the clients, they only want to know the results and maybe a list of sites where their ads were shown.
It seems to me that it's pointless to discuss product development without considering the customers of that product, so I'm trying to elicit discussion of that specific topic.
So, while adserver waiting for an ad from the RTB waterfall, then your server would wait too. It's not best practice I guess.
Besides that, many of your points already adopted by all ad networks. Many of the ad sector's problems directly related to advertisers. They want to measure everything, everything! There is a section in VAST definition called TrackingEvents. start, firstQuartile, midpoint, thirdQuartile, complete, pause, mute, click, skip ... goes on.
Agency make plans and send Vast codes to networks (for example sizmek vast code). We have many publishers well we have to measure that actions too. Stats has to be match. Then we are putting incoming vast to our adserver and it generates new one with wrapped vast. Then we are sending to publisher and of course they want to measure these actions too. They putting our vast code to their DFP and it generates new codes and ad goes to public.
Dfp Code > Our Adserver Code > Agency code
Then user sees the ad, for example video ad then tracking starts.
Impression: [Dfp, Our adserver, Sizmek]
Ad start: [Dfp, Our adserver, Sizmek]
First Quartile: [Dfp, Our adserver, Sizmek]
Midpoint: [Dfp, Our adserver, Sizmek]
Complete: [Dfp, Our adserver, Sizmek]
Click: [Dfp, Our adserver, Sizmek]
See, list goes on. One ad and many requests and counting. I am not talking about RTB waterfalls it is something else already.
We all have to measure this stats because many of the advertisers pay based on this measurements.
(you name it the currency)
%25 == 0
%50 == 0.003
%75 == 0.0055
%100 == 0.007
Advertisers may want to track everything, but that doesn't mean you have to. If everyone is doing it, you can differentiate by saying NO.
As a marketer my problem never was "I don't have enough data", but it always was "I don't have enough traffic". Give me quality traffic and I'll hand you my money.
As a publisher THAT's what I want to offer. Quality traffic, without all the bullshit.
Maybe that gets me 10% of the revenue that all scummy 'best practices' get me, but I think it will work out great in the long run.
I only need an ad network to facilitate this, without having to set it up myself.
I am classifying publishers based on those stats and also requesting money from you again based on those stats.
You can not differentiate by saying not, because there is no such an option like NO!
About measurements, you can measure almost anything (except for user identity). As long as you don't monetize it. You can monetize clicks or conversions.
But the problem with ads isn't the technical issue, it is that they suck, horribly, because the products on offer are useless, offensive, or just plain not interesting. Facebook kept showing me offers for a shitty dating site that I am almost sure was a scam, for magic healing crystals, for utility services from a company 100s of miles away. At one point they even offered me to take the degree I already had, from the university I had already attended, despite the fact that facebook knew this.
Google kept giving me ads for the same shitty apartment search site after I moved into my new apartment, rather than something useful, such as curtains, furniture, etc.
Get an ad network that can actually deliver interesting ads I won't care how many requests it makes.
About as realistic as any of the other things on the wishlist but what can you do.
A competitor can make do with much lower margins.
THIS THIS THIS THIS THIS is my condition for viewing ads. Request and render the ads server-side, and I'll happily view them.
If you are saying that fraud is harder to detect without building user profiles, that might be so. But it's not impossible.
If you are saying that ads can be changed into clickbait I guess you'll have find a way to deal with that. I think an ad network should have an active relationship with both advertisers and publishers and not the anonymous, fully automated, crappy relationship Google has right now.
And don't get me started on mobile.
That's why I'm staying away from ppc and am advertising with CPM. My spidey-sense tells me it hasn't been as thoroughly gamed yet.
The quality score is quality from Google's point of view. If I put in things that help me qualify my leads (and get fewer people clicking and discovering that they don't want it), my quality score goes down. (The best way to do that, by the way, is to put in a price. Then the people who are just doing research tend to not click it. But you get penalized for that.)
They are throwing no intelligence at it. I have an entire site set up around study skills. My quality score for "study skills?" 1/10.
You could setup a non-profit for tracking views and maybe even clicks, that only uses this information for statistical analysis. Revenue can be shared based on these statistics. The fraud issue would also have to be tackled by this entity.
> Peter Dahlberg
> we, the publishers, get the full blame from our readers.
That's because you are to blame. As far as I know nobdoy forces you to use those shitty ad networks. Look for a honest way to finance your business and don't whine.
That actually makes a lot of sense. As long as Google et al. are making money from this, they have no incentive to change. Google, the automated rainbow monolith, in particular doesn't have any incentive to even listen.
But if publishers take the apparently extremely inconvenient step of using other networks, this sort of shit might get cleaned up. EDIT: Perhaps I should have said "other buyers;" these problems seem closely associated with the nature of ad networks.
The problem for me as a user, is how would I know the difference that such a site has, and then know that I can whitelist it?
Chrome and Firefox warn users if they visit "deceptive websites", and disallow it. It's touted as part of their "safe browsing feature".
What it means in practice though, is that if you use another ad network, and that ad network has an advert that Google dislike, they will block your website on Chrome,Firefox and Safari also uses it now I believe. They won't just block the advert, they will block your whole website. Getting unblocked takes ages, and is a complete pain, because google will not tell you which advert it objects to.
So it's not a simple case of "Use other networks", because Google have thought about that, and locked it down. It's a big risk to use another ad network, because Google might just decide to block your website.
The fact that Google now controls what websites users are allowed to visit, should ring alarm bells with everyone. Unfortunately it doesn't seem to be reported on.
Does this actually happen? And if so, what about the advert does Google dislike? And if there is no good reason for this, how does Google get away with it?
They dislike "deceptive" adverts. So for example, if it's an image, saying "download" then Google will block your website.
Who knows, maybe in the future they'll start banning websites that advertise gambling or other things they dislike.
Now I do think that adverts like that are irritating, and deceptive, but should the website that happens to be using an ad-network, that allowed an advertiser to upload an image that says "download", be blocked so that users cannot access it from Chrome and firefox? Of course not. Censorship in browsers is just not a good thing going forward. And pretty much every ad-network (Even adsense) has problems keeping out bad adverts. I don't see why Google should penalise website owners for an advertising-industry-wide problem.
IMHO It should be investigated by governments, as it's a clear case of using their muscle to retain their absolute monopoly of online advertising.
Why not? At least that would get websites to look at the ads their ad networks are serving up a little more than "not at all". Ultimately these ads would impact the site's brand even if browsers didn't block it, the damage would just be more subtle and easier to ignore.
Until somebody in the ad delivery chain accepts responsibility for ad quality nothing is going to change. Publishers and websites have the most to lose here and should be demanding better from their ad networks.
I think it would be fantastic to have a credible alternative to Google adsense, but there isn't one at the moment.
Technically, a better approach would be for Google to block the advertisement or even the ad network. Blocking the website publisher is just bullying tactics.
Simple. Write that in big, bold letters at the top of your site. You know, the same place where that autoplay video ad usually goes.
Don't bother. Your ad-blocking software does not block inline ads anyway, and this is a requirement for them being non-harmfull.
I found you could also choose more different formats. OK, there was no video (thank God), but you could have unobtrusive text links, you could have banners, little buttons, HTML blocks, and so on. And yes, also annoying pop-ups and flash ads...
You also had paid content, which is absolutely taboo and vilified today, but I believe it was not nearly as bad as we think. It was certainly better than some alternatives (horrible pop-up-ads that installed dialers, does anybody remember them?) Back then, I was proud to not serve evil or annoying ads, and to promote articles from partners on my site - including setting links to them to promote their page ranks. (That Google shows links among search results that they get money for, but forbids slightly improving the position of search results when other people got money for it tells a lot IMHO.)
One alternative to the current situation would be for sites to serve their own ads (from their own servers). I wonder why this isn't done at least from big sites?
This means no tracking, which in turn means the advertiser has to trust the publisher completely.
This is entirely possible - it's however not going to work through an opaque network of auctions. The publisher will have to sell the advertising space to advertisers themselves, just like print and TV, and trust the impression statistics, just like print and TV. Advertisers can't just drop $10k at the doorstep of some as network and sit back and expect statistics. They will have to drop more money, and spend even more on the surveys they have to perform to figure out whether their advertising is working.
This would be the death of the "online ad industry" as we know it, and also the death of large parts of the web as we know it. I'm not sure it's a bad thing.
Similar to Nielsen ratings for television, they're approximate.
Ideally for advertiser would be to pay per conversion, but then we need to defraud the other side.
Is this the case? I've seen absolutely tonnes of blatantly paid-for content across the web, and if anything there seems to be much more than there ever was.
The ASA rules are pretty tight. The user has to know something is paid for content before clicking. So a YouTuber putting out a sponsored video needs to include something in the title of the video, and the link, saying "sponsored content". A banner at the start of the video isn't enough.
eg, if you complain about an advert from a Canadian firm the ASA will refer it to the appropriate national agency for you. My limited understanding is this is reciprocal for residents of those nations too.
The rules are being flouted wholesale, yet many nations have an ASA that could do something about it.
The ASA is generally likely to consider terms such as “sponsored content” as referring to a traditional sponsorship relationship, where material has been financially sponsored but over which the creator retains editorial control. Sponsorship of this kind is not covered by the CAP Code.
Using such terms to describe an ad feature is unlikely to be acceptable. Following an ASA challenge, the ASA ruled against an ad that was included in a “sponsored section” of a website and labelled as “in association with”, considering that the labels in themselves did not make clear the commercial nature of the content
There was a lot of consolidation. But they're still around. They're basically that opaque network of algorithmic auctions you mentionned, in fact. If they can't display one of their direct clients' ads, they sell the spot to the highest bidder.
I have paid for apps in the past and will continue to do so in the future but only for stuff that brings me real value. I may not be the biggest supporter out there but I have a couple of Patreon's running (is that the right term?) for people that provide me with value.
Let's face it, there is a whole load of shite content out there... so maybe we need to cull the herd a bit.
Anyway, you can run a website for almost nothing these days and spending, say, $50 a month will get you some serious hosting solutions so if your business is just exploiting my browsing habits and selling my metadata on then I will happily grab the popcorn and watch your site burn.
Even if I was paying full fee for these things to be dropped on my physical door step every day, there would still be ads, only they'd be static and safe.
Other than that I just want a button to pay a couple cents to read just that article, no matter who has posted it.
The second problem is that far too few people are willing to pay.
The only real option, apart from revolution, is to move to another country that doesn't do it but I don't think there is one now.
Of bigger concern is that I am in the minority: Most of my circle believe in the terrorist/paedo rhetoric the Government spins and think its justifiable.
As for the commercial stuff, my only problem is if I can't avoid it or I really have to go out of my way to avoid it but so far my tinfoil hat hasn't been breached, e.g. my wife has various loyalty cards but I don't want to carry one... I have that choice with commercial entities
I'm in the UK btw.
As for me, I give out less (real) pii than 99.999% of the world, in part because even as a kid I knew how easy it was to find and use info.
I don't know what the best way forward is to the topic, but the current situation seems problematic to me.
Only real solution long-term is a positive & significant economic culture that values privacy; my opinion.
Doesn't mean ads arent targeted. E.g. a 25 year old white programmer probably isn't getting Spanish language ads, or ads targeting new mothers, or ads for retirement communities.
You'd be surprised. I bought a travel sewing kit five years ago on Amazon, and ever since I'm getting advertisements and "recommendations" for handbags, makeup and high-heeled shoes. It's so blatantly sexist and wrong it's almost funny again.
Have you considered that it's blatantly sexist and right? I.e., that perhaps no-one programmed the ad network to associate sewing kits with handbags, makeup & high-heeled shoes, that perhaps the ad serving AIs learnt that on their own?
I wonder what we'll do when our AIs come to socially-unacceptable-but-true conclusions. Humans can be brow-beaten or persuaded into ignoring the truth systematically, but computers have to either have each bit of truth-denying programmed into them, or have much better intelligence and spend much more CPU calculating at a higher level in order to avoid socially-unacceptable truths.
I buy an average of a hundred items on Amazon a year, among them all my – male – clothes. Your algorithms are just plain shit when a single purchase five years ago is somehow weighed more than the whole rest.
I'd fire the department responsible for that waste of money.
If the algorithm makes money I don't see the problem.
Hmm, isn't "being sexist" the whole raison d'etre for recommendation algorithms? I mean, sexism or other form of chauvinism are basically estimation of individual traits based on group affiliation.
If this "blantantly sexist" ads were wrong no one would purchase such ads. Sure they may be stereotypical, but that's what targeted ads are all about, creating data driven stereotypes that later can be used for increasing sales and relativity.
Yes, the "blatantly sexist" bias may have happened due to unbiased empiricism. But the ads as still wrong. Id the GP was an exception, that would be an worthless anecdote, but anecdotes of ads being correct are hard to find.
I have to do that surprisingly frequently, myself. I buy things buy as gifts, as one off experiments, or with no intention of using them for their intended purposes. ;)
Most ads-supported games have only ads of ad-supported games. That would be sane if it was a fast growing market with reasonable barriers to entry, but "free" games are not.
I really pity the newspapers, especially the ones that also have an online presence, they are caught between a rock and a hard place and no matter what they do they end up hurting themselves, their employers, users or shareholders. It's very hard to transition from a 1800's model to one that will work 200 years later.
Bandwidth being as cheap as it is means that advertisers really don't care about how many bytes they need to shove down the pipe in order to make a sale. End users on metered bandwidth (mobile for instance) will suffer but that's not the advertisers problem, to them it is mission accomplished and the website owner/publisher will end up holding the bag.
Well, it is their problem or else we wouldn't have this "crisis" of Internet ads now and cries of advertisers/publishers. After all, you can only push a limited amount of bullshit down the users throat before they start throwing up.. It took many years of abuse by countless browser bars, pop-up ads, auto play videos, inflated network bills for a casual user to start using ad-blockers.
Where do these media companies get their data from? Data that says autoplay videos create more engagement or revenue or something that can make up for people, like me, just running away? The other day Fortune magazine surprised me with that same thing, and the video wasn't even related to what the article was about. Does it come from Facebook's success with _silent_ autoplay? These are not rhetoric questions, I'm really curious to understand the logic behind this.
I can't believe there's no ad network that will take a stand against abusive advertising and actually vet the ads on their network. Surely they could get a lot of business and at least a lot of goodwill. Is it just too labour intensive?
They do, all creatives are audited on submission. You can't provide literally ANY creative at bid time, it has to be one that's been audited. It's people that then switch the creative once the audit has been completed that are screwing everyone. It should result in you being banned from the network, but it's hard (apparently) to ban people that are paying the bills for you the ad network.
If I am including shitty 3rd party stuff in physical goods I am fully responsible for the final result and possible bad outcomes. Why should that be any different for web sites?
So maybe journalism as a profession is dying as blogging as a hobby rises. Of course there is value in professional journalism, but the need for that journalism is more specific.
IMO it will happen similar to encyclopedia authors or GPS makers followed a decade back.
"I don't know how that malware ended up on your PC, I was just serving ads from such-and-such network!"
There are a lot more cancers of the advertising industry than just those listed too. In particular I would say the news industry which is a shadow of its former self, is a great example. It doesnt matter what major news site I go to, theres a big half, full, middle page popup that requires an x yo be hit, or wait for this ad, or some wierd hyperlink hijacking bullshit, or any number of other douchebaggery which tells me the site considers the ad network a bigger customer than the reader.
I'm mostly talking about on the phone, on desktop, with a combination of ublock origin and others this is greatly reduced, but only a small subset of the population uses those.
Our country is in what amounts to a constitutional democratic crisis of epic proportions but ads are interfering with citizens informing themselves due to recursive feedback loops between publishers and advertisers.
Dont even get me started on how the standard SV business model I see is: create something semi novel, get a bunch of users, sell company, new owners exploit users for advertising, ride the wave until the crash.
Or how people pay money for cable but still sit through 18 minutes of brainwashing, mindnumbing commercials for the priviledge of paying!
Its a big ol racket basket of bullshit. Cancer barely even begins to describe it. How about stage 4 metasticised cancer of the everything.
It's like we say restaurant owners should support the mafia because otherwise they cannot make money in the neighborhood. Or any other criminal(ish) activity.
"Without advertising we wouldn't be able to run this" MAYBE it really means you shouldn't run it at all, but don't force advertising(+malware) down your users throat just to justify an unsound business decision.
Edit: reworded to avoid confussion
It's not a simple black/white choice in most cases. As a top 10K website publisher, you have many advertising options. Some are considered safe and user-friendly (Google, DoubleClick - IMHO no longer justified) and others less so (pop-ups, various auctioned stuff). You then get to decide on these options by estimating the potential revenue vs. negative effect on users for each. Some sites are greedier than others, some marketing folks more convincing than UX managers, many people just don't know what to expect until they get their first sh*tstorm from users.
OTOH there are thousands of worthless sites that obviously only exist to serve ads, some major publishers included.
What I mean is that if it's not a sustainable business then you'd need to add advertising to make it so. So maybe it shouldn't be called a business at all. But don't force advertising on your users just because you made an unsound business decision.
Few are going to pay a subscription to chat on a Civilization or fishing forum a few hours a week. Advertising should be the appropriate model for this. Trouble is it's being poisoned by the greed of Buzzfeed and Wired etc.
The people launching it normally does it because they are passionate enough and paying 2-5$/month/admin is totally feasible.
The problem with adding a profit to niche sites is that then people start launching them JUST to get money and people land on frankenpages with malware.
People from wealthy countries usually forget about the rest of the world, when they talk about things that annoy them.
That said, if you're running a hobby site that only targets people from a poor country, the money has to come from them anyway, be it from ads or from donations. In that particular situation, why would ads bring more money than donations compared to sites targeting people from richer countries?
I am from Spain where the minimum salary is around 700$ and has 40% of young people unemployment, however it's not poor compared to most other countries and the hosting cost is considered cheap.
I don't know what could they do where the hosting cost is significative. Do ad networks scale prices depending on the country served?
I think that's the ugly side of global capitalism as the answer is they shouldn't launch sites then.
Maybe they could try to join several groups to share the expenses. Any other ideas (besides advertising)?
Not that I really care about making money on it - as with most things, measuring my hosting costs in terms of Starbucks coffees puts it nicely in perspective. I should probably go pull my adsense ads.
No, that's exactly wrong.
You tell people that you can get paid for having a URL called, someone will cheat- they will find the most power-and-cost "efficient" way of having that URL called.
Now there are people trying to be "efficient" and there are people trying to monetise content, and the advertiser can't tell the difference, so the mean price of that traffic goes down, and as a result, Buzzfeed (heh) and Wired make less money so they have less to spend on good content.
Eventually, all we get is recycled reality television.
If you really want to blame someone for this, consider that Google is laughing all the way to the bank, because they make more money as demand increases, not when their publishers produce better content. They could stop this, but don't.
Every time someone posts a link to paywall, everyone discusses how to bypass it. And the people reading HN are wealthy Silicon Valley people. Well, not me but you get the idea.
Everyone talking about charging people instead ads - have you ever tried it? Tell me your success stories.
If you're trying to pay salaries, good luck, but hosting costs are very low nowadays.
I don't begrudge people trying to make a bit of pocket money from their sites either. They often put quite a few hours of admin after all, but as is, advertising is fairly broken - for everyone it seems.
The alternative for SMB's would be to have good SEO and recognition. But that is built over time, it's difficult to get the initial burst of people needed initially otherwise. There's still YC's mantra, doing something people want and letting those people spread the word, but that's just one more way (and probably shouldn't be the only one).
But most people are focused on the short term. You can pretty much switch on traffic with an advertising campaign. Wooha, but once the CPC start to increase and you'll have to stop, your business is dead as well.
var iframe = document.createElement('iframe');
iframe.src = '(ad url here)';
However, page loads that approach 100 MB are leaving him with less money in his pocket to purchase the products and services being advertised. Something needs to give.
That's what I use, every day, and it's really no problem to surf the Web that way. You miss some of the pictures, you miss 99% of the ads, you're not constantly wallowing in the advertising cesspool.
Perhaps there should be a running "hall of shame" listing of the most egregious offending pages. Sure it's not their fault directly but these days few organizations want to be associated with the useless wasting of energy.
We moved on, and now it's even worse because now it's one additional http hit for every resource requested (images, jsons, etc). Things were as bad before with tags and tracking and analytics and whatnot, but at least many of the resources loaded were self-contained in a well compressed SWF file.
Hopefully now we're realizing it's not about the technology involved, but what people actually do with it.
All those servers to keep up with that request rate and all that bandwidth spent. Even as costs go down, I don't see how anyone can break even on this. The tiny fraction of a penny earned on this ad is surely outweighed by the cost to display it.
And also the follow-on costs of increasing bounce rates and less time-on-site. Publishers have to be seeing less value in these kinds of ads that perform this way.
It doesn't make any kind of economical sense!
Can't Google limit the size of the ads somehow? The number of requests per page? Whether the ad remains a static image or it's a video? I find it hard to believe it would be that hard for Google to implement restrictions around this.
And advertisers wonder why the use of adblockers is skyrocketing. If Google knows about this but isn't willing to fix it, then I worry it will allow similar stuff to work within AMP pages as well, but the difference will be you won't be able to block them unless you block the whole content as well. That would mean advertisers have learned nothing from the rise of adblockers.
Don't expect any solution from them. This is something end users (by ad-blocking) or startups (by destroying the market) can do, but not big companies.
From his Twitter account.
Yeah, because all that needs to happen to solve this entire mess is for someone, anyone at all to bring it to the attention of the right person at Google.
They'll be just as shocked to hear it as Claude Rains was in Casablanca. And, rest assured, they'll take care of it.
sovrn was a network I dropped for this very reason - they kept serving VPAID ads and didn't give me a way to turn them off.
The list goes on.
That was not advertisement, but malware. It is probably running DDos attack on some website. We should block that.
Anyway, at ancient days I surfed with i486 on 14.4 kbps modem. Not much has changed since.
I doubt it. It more likely that someone wants to know how long the reader/users of a page are exposed to their ads. Some idiot savant then figured "Hey, we'll play a video and download the bits in chucks. Then we know how much of the videos was played, and that's the amount of time they spend on the page."
It's not an ad blocker. It's malware protection.
I laughed, then dropped into the DOM inspector to remove the blocker overlay element.
We noticed that you're using an ad blocker,
which may adversely affect the performance
and content on Bloomberg.com. For the
best experience, please whitelist the site.
If we enter into a business relationship, I will pay you for a good or service that you want. I will be obligated to do so because we came to an agreement in which you provide me the good or service and I give you money. But I'm not obligated to pay you money if I don't want to, and in turn, you wouldn't be obligated to provide me with your good or service. If not enough people give you money, you will go out of business. That's the risk you take with running a business.
If you enter into a business relationship with an advertiser, good luck. That has nothing to do with me. I get that you came to an agreement with the advertiser in which you provide them with ad viewers and they give you money, but it's not my responsibility to help you hold up your end of the bargain by viewing ads. At best advertisers are wasting my attention to try to sell me something I don't want or need. At worst, they're lying to me, collecting my private data, installing malware on my devices. Advertising is almost universally reprehensible. I want nothing to do with them. If advertisers don't pay you enough money, you will go out of business. That's the risk you take with running a business.
Of course, if I don't view your ads, you aren't obligated to provide me with your good or service. I fully support sites that use anti-adblocking banners. I mean I support them morally, not financially; if I come across such a banner I'll leave.
There are arguments about whose responsibility it is when ads do reprehensible things: is it the ad network or the publisher? This strikes me as similar to arguing whether the hit man or the person who hired him is responsible. Don't take money to do reprehensible things and you won't have this problem.
There's also an argument floating around that ads are the only things that makes quality content possible. This is obviously false: I remember the 90s and content was better pre-advertising. Sheldon Brown's website is still the best website if you want to choose a bike that fits your needs. Erowid is still the best resource for information on drug harm reduction. And decades of development have only made things better for non-ad models: even without a packaged solution like Patreon it's not hard to include donations or paid subscriptions on your website.
Yes, some businesses will not survive the transition to non-ad models, but we have good reason to believe that the BuzzFeeds and Gawkers of the world will be disproportionately represented in that number. I'm looking forward to it.
Don't blame the publisher or advertiser for not noticing that their 'anti-fraud' vendor is sending itself events every millisecond.
It's not just a problem with ads, but with videos in general. If I land in a video-hosting site, I don't want the video to start.
If this sounds like a security model you are correct.
Currently the lowest hanging fruit security model would be allowing a plugin to run client side and white-listing which domains it can work with (is triggered/loaded on).
It's not a problem getting the correct data from your server logs, but it's not difficult to imagine someone fiddling with the number and indicating that they displayed far more ads than they really did.
As you can see, that checkbox is not on in the demoed GIF.
The ad code is actively requesting new ads and pinging its trackers countless times.
2. That's entirely irrelevant in this matter because it was not turned on.
$100/year will cover all Internet ads.
$500/year will cover all advertising. Period.
That's money you're already paying.
Oh, and that's Europe, North America, Japan, and Australia, pretty much. The rest of the world gets awesome content for no charge.
My "you" is statistical, but yes, generally, of the $500 billion spent on ads worldwide, the industrialised world, about 1 billion people, pay for it. If my maths check out, that's $500/year.
Amazon is Google's largest single advertiser.
I'll see if I cant find an excellent HN comment made a ways back (and not by me).
Ah, here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7485773
The bit about advertising and its effects on society at the end is the bit I come closest to agreeing with, and it's a shame that the author of that past thought to start it with a quote from a terrible book and not, say, Noam Chomsky. I have no problem with advertising in principle; just the way it's been co-opted to sell lies and dreams. Ads on the web - in contrast to the sorts of ads you get offline - seem to be old fashioned, telling you about specific products and services, rather than showing you what your life could be like if only you owned this or that brand of fridge.
Why not just go to the webpage? And why launch another app that can identify me from an app that is meant to not allow that?
What boggles my mind is that people actually look at the ads and click on them and buy things.
I'm doing everyone a favor by saving them bandwidth and not counting me and lowering their click-through rates. I was never going to click your ad, or buy anything that started from an ad on the banner of a web page in the first place.
I did not even now that youtube serves adds until someone told me a couple of months ago...
This makes posts like this even more weird.
It is like staring into an unknown abyss or standing in front of a lake which glows in the dark because someone dumped a ton of radioactive waste.
But they won't let me override to block those, they insist I allow everything they've approved, or nothing.
Considering getting back on Flattr (which I used before) with the new Flattr plus option - as long as I still get to review the sites it auto-flattered at end of month, and ideally have a blacklist there as well ("never support this, no matter how many times they manage to draw my clicks"). But I've only got so much money. I will have to go away from individually supporting stuff if I do that.