BlogAds Redux

Paul at Wizbang complains about the distracting animated ads that are atop my sidebars.

The ad on the left was animated to begin with and I just didn’t notice it. The one in the right sidebar wasn’t animated until this morning. I’ve written the advertiser and asked them to revert it to its original format, which is within my rights, but it’s not an immediate fix. If it were especially egregious, I would just remove the adstrip until they restored it but they had no way of knowing that I’d care.

This is clearly something BlogAds needs to address. They give the site owner approval authority over the design of the ad but once the ad is running, the advertiser can change it to whatever they want within the rather broad technical parameters of BlogAds–even advertising for a completely different product.

Unfortunately, the ads are getting uglier over time. Until a month or so ago, most of them used a smallish logo and very spare text, putting the main advertising message on the click-through page. Look at the RoadRunner, Lamutt for Congress, and Vastly Important Notes ads on the left adstrip. All are quite tasteful and certainly the revenue generated by them outweighs whatever small aesthetic impact they have on the site. Now, many advertisers are taking advantage of flaws in the ad limitations (which are based on displayed characters rather than actual ad dimension) and putting more junk in there in an attempt to stand out.

Update: The proprietor of the Bush Playing Cards site has graciously agreed to restore the old image when he can get to his home office later today. He wasn’t getting many click-throughs with the static format so was trying something else. Click the man’s ads, people!

FILED UNDER: Blogosphere,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. jen says:

    I still hate them. I will always hate them. It doesn’t matter how small they are or if they are not animated. When I read a blog, I don’t want to be bombarded with advertising. It’s getting to where the ads almost completely distract me from the content. I may stop visiting blogs that have too many or highly annoying ads – including OTB.

  2. Paul says:

    This is clearly something BlogAds needs to address

    I’m glad you see it that way.

    It seems pretty obvious that if they significantly change an ad after the approval process it should have to be approved again.

    And- BTW even if they changed every 10 seconds or so it would not be so bad. Having two bouncing back and forth makes it look like a hotel you rent by the hour. (sorry 😉

  3. James Joyner says:

    jen: Sorry the ads are causing you so much aggravation.

    Paul: Yep. I have been complaining about some of this stuff to Henry and Miklos and some technical fixes are underway. This whole enterprise has grown bigger and faster than they’d allowed for and they stay behind. Partly, it’s just a function of advertisers figuring out new loopholds faster than BlogAds can fix them.

    They’re less keen on disallowing editing, since so many advertisers like to tweak their ads constantly. But I’d prefer to have to approve changes a couple times a day than have stuff I didn’t approve on the site.

  4. jen says:

    I should apologize for complaining so strongly. It’s your blog and your decision if you want to have them. I am one who considers blogging my hobby and so I’m happy to incure the personal expense to run my blog. The commercialization of what seems to be most people’s hobby bothers me a tad. That the ads are annoying in themselves only makes it moreso, especially on your blog – with Cleavage Chick to the left here and the flashing twins at the top.

  5. Steve says:

    Hmmm…I had never paid any attention to them until you mentioned them in this post.

    My eyes go straight to the center column where the real content resides! After looking through the new content I once in a while take a look at your blogroll for who is ‘Hot!’

    Are you having some success with BlogAds?

  6. Jeremiah says:

    I ignore ’em, as I do on every site. It is your site, though, so I do what you need to do.

  7. Attila Girl says:

    I always read the main column of text. It’s no harder to tune out ads I’m not intested in than to flip past ad pages in magazines. And most magazine revenue comes from ads–not from what subscribers pay.

    I looked at the animated ads partly because of the animation and partly because I was interested in the subject matter. And when I was done I went back to reading your blog. No problem at all.

  8. James Joyner says:

    Steve: Yeah, I’ve made back my operating expenses and then some with BlogAds. Quite a bit less with Google, although enough to keep them on. I’ll likely dump Amazon soon–they’ve been worthless.

    AG: True. And, since I don’t have any subscribers, they’re an even bigger portion of my revenue!

  9. Thank you guys for the healthy debate and suggestions. It DOES work for advertisers to change their ads from time to time, which is why we are keen on the feature. And, unfortunately, some bloggers take days before they approve an ad – so to have them re-approve ads after modification would be extra pain for all involved.
    Until now this system has worked, but now there are a few advertisers who are abusing it. As James says, we’ve got to find a technical solution against advertisers’ abusing the ad limits.
    In the meantime, note that our T&C says bloggers have the right to ask us to revert to the original version of the ad/image if they don’t like advertiser’s edit.
    Cheers and hang in there: miklos AT