Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Blog ads

I currently host Google ads on this blog, and I've really mixed feelings about it. I have Google ads deployed across most of my websites without any particular issue. On my Popular Science book review site, for example, when I just took a look, the home page ads were for things like BBC Focus magazine and New Scientist. Which seems entirely reasonable and not in any way a problem.

But the trouble is, Google's magic algorithm for determining what to display insists on displaying self-publishing adverts here. Now some of these are, without doubt, respectable - but there is a certain type of "we'll publish your book" advertiser that is, how can I put it, lacking in morals. On the other hand, I certainly can't say the specific ads that come up on a particular day are bad. And sometimes they can be quite amusing. A few days ago, one ad was for a literary agent, the second said "you don't need a literary agent."

For the moment I'll leave them there... but they're under consideration.


  1. I would have thought that your readers would be sufficiently discerning to recognise the less-than-useful ads. And click through anyway just to give themselves a laugh and you an extra couple of pennies.

    Thanks to AdBlock, I don't see any ads, so sorry. I'll have to buy you a beer instead.

  2. I would hope they would be so discerning, yes, Bob. There's just the concern that someone might think that because an ad appears here, I might be endorsing it.

    And do feel free to click through, anyone who can see them - every click does indeed earn me some pennies. Actually I've just seen one I might take a look at myself - 'an innovative new way to put your blog, and more, online, apparently. Sadly I don't get paid anything when I take a look at the ads!

  3. I think those ads are there because you wrote a post on the topic the other day, Brian. Write about some other things and you'll see other ads appear. This happens to me quite a bit in Gmail (where you can't "not have the ads" - the ads are what Google text miner thinks are relevant to what your message is about.)
    Ad blockers can have unfortunate side effects, incidentally, such as rendering commenting or bookmarking via bookmarklets impossible. That Google toolbar is lethal from that point of view - I uninstalled it after a day.

  4. Thanks, Maxine, I suspect you are right (though it may also pick up on the keywords in the blog's subtitle etc.)

    Agree absolutely about ad blockers - at best they disrupt the look of web pages... and Google toolbar is a pain.