New "docking" ad will start soon

We’ll soon start running “docking” ads at the bottom of SDMB pages. Docking means the ads will remain visible at the bottom of the page when you scroll. We’ve been running these ads for a while on the Straight Dope column archive; they don’t strike me as objectionable. Be that as it may, Straight Dope subscribers won’t see these ads when they’re logged in.

I used to check the Straight Dope main website every week, but I have not gone there in several months because of the increasingly obtrusive and slow ads. Of course that’s a moot point with regards to the message board, but still.

Does this mean you will stop the damned pop under ads?

Thanks for the head’s up, not happy about it though since you posted it I won’t automatically assume my computer has been hijacked when I see them.

You mean the one I just got on the SD page, where a video starts autoplaying after the page loads?

Yeah, no-one ever finds that objectionable.

If that’s what it takes so that The Master doesn’t have to get a real job … then so be it

As long as it doesn’t defeat my ad blocking software, I don’t care.

They are objectionable. If they weren’t, they would be common on other sites. This sort of thing makes the site look like a junk website. I already don’t recommend the main website to anyone, since it will look like a junk content rehoster.

If the site is actually this far gone that this stuff is necessary, tell us so we can start preparing for it to be shut down. Otherwise, stop making it worse.

What would it cost per active user to ditch ads altogether? Is ad revenue simply to support the board operating costs, or is it a profit center for CR/SD?

A few long-desired improvements in exchange for the hassle would be appreciated by the user base - especially a zombie thread flag. I have a pretty good UI design document for it if a few bux could be spent on a vBulletin mod.

I would wager that if the SD did a Kickstarter to cover the costs of the board for one full year, they’d hit it pretty quickly.

I would be actually curious if Ed Zotti would be willing to outsource the ad network picking job to a brain trust of highly respected SDMB members. I mean, you clearly suck at it (no offense). This of course means that you’ll need to open the books to determine the expenditures and the revenue required, from which this select group of elder debatesmen would optimize the ads to meet the requirements (proper revenue, minimum ad chicanery) And perhaps even optimizing for expenditures by looking at different web hosting providers, and gasp! maybe even looking at upgrading Vbulletin to a modern version.

What say you Ed Zotti?

I suspect that the ad policy of the board is not under Ed’s control and while he will clearly have some say the final decision rests with the owners of the Straight Dope.

Not in a million billion years.

As an FYI, the docking ad was annoying enough that I finally installed an ad blocker on my PC. Unfortunately I used to access The Dope from my tablet the majority of the time but because I don’t want to root my device to install an ad blocker I guess I’ll just have to cut back on the amount of time I spend here.

I did not mind previous ads and even occasionally clicked on them. The dock style ads obscure the screen (especially annoying on a mobile device) and reload with every new page. Because of this you have lost at least one set of eyes that sometimes noted and clicked on the subtler ads.

Cyros, you don’t have to root your device. Use AdBlocker browser.

It’s been tried, the number of quality posts seemed to drop, along with the apparent number of members posting. It took IMHO years for the board’s quality to come back up.* The board’s magic is us, anything to discourage it’s use and the magic starts to go away. Actually we should all get a share of the ad revenue as the board is nothing without us.

  • This was my opinion when the SDMB went pay a number of years back, I don’t know about actual statistics, but it did seem to take a big hit.

Thanks for the tip! I’ll give it a go when I get home.

No, I was there, too, and in those very early days when charging for any kind of access on the net was a throwback to AOL/Prodigy/etc., I left and thus missed the window for Charter Membership.

I didn’t mean make the board pay-to-play. It was a simple question about how much revenue is needed from users to keep the board running… and/or satisfy any need for profit. Kickstarter was suggested; an annual contribution drive might be a reasonable alternative; pretty much anything except limiting participation based on payment. $10 from 1,000 core users should be ample to cover board operating costs, even with server and bandwidth costs above the norm. And I suspect that’s the low end of what could be expected in support.

But it’s not about keeping the board running, it’s about revenue, and as long as media companies believe there’s endless money to be squeezed out of the process - always just a little more, if they squeeze harder - then settling for, say, $10k in revenue over and above costs won’t be good enough if they think the ad space can generate $15k. We think of Da Dope as something special, but in the end it’s just CR’s donkey on a treadmill, spinning hay into gold powered by our participation.

I’d be good for a structured contribution scheme to get rid of ads for all users. But it looks like the eroding option of pay for no ads is all we’ll get, and sooner or later the operator’s reach for revenue will mean that even pay users will get a “selected” or “limited” or “reduced” ad impact. Because pennies per click, you know.

I thought there already was an opt-in way to support the board (and avoid ads) by contributing a nominal amount. I must be mistaken.

Oooh, sneaky. I went in with shields down just to see what the ads look like. There was a docking ad on the bottom about quitting smoking, and a little arrow that looks like you can minimize the ad. I clicked on the minimize arrow and one of those tacky background check ads popped up.

Why doesn’t the board look at using the same ads that the NY Times uses or something? This place gets the worst, tackiest, click-baitiest ads on the internet. We’re really not at all like YouTube commenters (be ban people like that) or Yahoo Answerers (we warn people like that if they spew their bad information in GQ), why are we treated to ads that are worse?