Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 23rd Nov 2011 23:12 UTC
Internet & Networking It's a somewhat uneasy subject among websites such as OSNews - advertisements, the site's readability, and how to get a little more income without compromising the pleasure of using the site. Brent Simmons published a blog post about the topic which has been making its rounds across the web. The gist: websites, save for a precious few, seem to be getting progressively worse.
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OSNEWS
by Adurbe on Wed 23rd Nov 2011 23:21 UTC
Adurbe
Member since:
2005-07-06

OSNews have never been the 'prettiest' of sites. It has always been functional and 'does what it says on the tin'. For this, I love it.

Adblock has an exception for this site, and every so often, the unobtrusiveness ads relate to things im interested in! Makes a huge difference. If they were to popup everywhere, that exception would be removed in short order!

Reply Score: 16

RE: OSNEWS
by reez on Fri 25th Nov 2011 10:35 UTC in reply to "OSNEWS"
reez Member since:
2006-06-28

OSNews have never been the 'prettiest' of sites. It has always been functional and 'does what it says on the tin'. For this, I love it.

Adblock has an exception for this site, and every so often, the unobtrusiveness ads relate to things im interested in! Makes a huge difference. If they were to popup everywhere, that exception would be removed in short order!

I agree with one exception. I really like how OSNews looks.

It also has an Adblock exception here.

Reply Score: 2

RE: OSNEWS
by curio on Fri 25th Nov 2011 13:50 UTC in reply to "OSNEWS"
curio Member since:
2010-05-03

Adblock+ gives browser users the power to say no to ads. Great! It's a powerful tool. It then gives them the option of white-listing sites (such as OsNews)they're interested in supporting through ad views. OK, but. We shouldn't have to trust Tom, or any other site owner to not eventually or even occasionally subject us readers to intrusive and obnoxious ads. The problem with the whole adblock+ 'block vs white-listing concept', is the 'all or nothing' extremes that are available to the end user. Readers must constantly judge at what level/when each web-site's white-listing will need to be revoked--the stick component of the carrot and stick approach. However, I'd much prefer to see a much more proactive solution in place. One that would actually encourage sites to be less obnoxious and intrusive with their ads by making less intrusive ads generally more viewed and hence more profitable.

How? If adblock+ (or some other ad blocker app/service) had a finer grained filtering method by which it would white-list ads by categories, types or by certain acceptable properties, instead of by white-listing whole websites, it would then allow end users to opt-in (selectively) to those non-obtrusive types of ads while continuing to utterly stonewall the obnoxious and intrusive ones regardless of what site they're on. That simple mechanism (if doable) would also help site owners sell these less intrusive ads to advertisers because such ads would then have a greater potential of being seen by more people--the carrot component of the carrot and stick approach.

Further, when site owners (Tom) make pleas to their readers for support through ad views, far fewer readers will tell them to 'pound sand' if readers are made aware that reasonable solutions are available.

Apply this same concept to tracking blockers such as Ghostery (trackers by type or category) and we might have a more generally usable, more cooperative Inter-web.


When solutions such as these exists I'll immediately start white-listing those ad/tracker types that I find acceptably unobtrusive, Internet-wide. Until then, everybody is blocked--OsNews too. I'll allow no site to present me with pages chuck full of various and sundry animated, flashing, neon signs--tool-bars covering content--social network buttons out the hinder parts--and overlay elements that must be interacted with to be rid of them etc.. No one should. We need better control over the types of ads/trackers we're subjected to...

Reply Score: 3

Mobile Sites
by Jon Dough on Thu 24th Nov 2011 00:01 UTC
Jon Dough
Member since:
2005-11-30

For Gizmodo and Engadget, I use their Android Apps on my phone to read them. Works great!

Reply Score: 2

Comment by cb88
by cb88 on Thu 24th Nov 2011 02:05 UTC
cb88
Member since:
2009-04-23

The ads on this site are an order of magnitude less intrusive than those on "the site that does a lot of Linux Benchmarks which also has a terrible forum" ... In fact the ads on this site don't bother me at all.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Comment by cb88
by jbicha on Thu 24th Nov 2011 04:38 UTC in reply to "Comment by cb88"
jbicha Member since:
2008-07-10

I agree, OSnews has good content without too annoying of ads. I also have OSnews white-listed in Adblock.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Comment by cb88
by Kivada on Thu 24th Nov 2011 09:36 UTC in reply to "Comment by cb88"
Kivada Member since:
2010-07-07

If only we had another Linux review site that wasn't run by a douche bag...

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Comment by cb88
by pandronic on Fri 25th Nov 2011 10:09 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by cb88"
pandronic Member since:
2006-05-18

I've been following this for a couple of months: http://www.webupd8.org

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Comment by cb88
by NuxRo on Sat 26th Nov 2011 13:12 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by cb88"
NuxRo Member since:
2010-09-25

I've been following this for a couple of months: http://www.webupd8.org


Andrei does a great job with webupd8 content-wise, but I almost need to use readability extensions on his site, too much "social" crap and ads.

Edited 2011-11-26 13:13 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Comment by cb88
by pandronic on Sat 26th Nov 2011 17:19 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by cb88"
pandronic Member since:
2006-05-18

I think the article summaries are a little too long and he could put more articles on the homepage. Aside from that I think he's doing quite a good job. The social stuff might be useful for people following him on those websites, I dunno.

Edited 2011-11-26 17:23 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Blog is has original views
by kateline on Thu 24th Nov 2011 05:07 UTC
kateline
Member since:
2011-05-19

Original thinking in the blog article.

I really like the fact that OS News has relatively unobtrusive ads. It's one reason I bookmark it as a favorite for tech news and views.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Blog is has original views
by Neolander on Thu 24th Nov 2011 06:38 UTC in reply to "Blog is has original views"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

Well, tried OSnews without ads using membership, now I'm getting a bit short on money so I didn't renew, and as far as ads are concerned it's really what every news website should be.

I don't use ad blockers. If websites don't work, ignoring the fact is not the way to make things change.

Speaking of ads, I wonder how wordpress.com get their funding. I once asked them, and they say it's about premium upgrades, but these really sound too cheap and infrequently necessary to be of any use to them...

Reply Score: 2

Gotta agree
by WorknMan on Thu 24th Nov 2011 07:09 UTC
WorknMan
Member since:
2005-11-13

Most websites since around '96 are absolutely horrible. If it were up to me, we'd go back to the 3.x browser days, with tables and maybe a little bit of CSS. It's like video games... back in the old days, they were kind of ugly, but also simple and straightforward, with a very short learning curve. And most important of all, they were FUN! Now days, companies are concentrating so much on how to make this year's game look prettier than last year's, presumably in order to make consumers forget about the fact that they are about to spend $60 to play the exact same game over again. If they're lucky, they might make some deals and throw in a bit of advertising into the game too. I wouldn't be surprised if there were Burger King billboards in the latest Call of Duty game. (What are they up to now... number 37?) But quite honestly, I'd rather watch flies f**k than play most of them. The sort of remarks like 'you gotta play it for 6 hours before you'll know if it's any good' makes me want to slap the shit out of somebody.

Websites are kind of the same way. All kinds of flashy animations and 9 million social network buttons, and the browser strains just to be able to load the site. I've often thought about looking into how to make desktop browsers display mobile websites just to get rid of the cruft, but have never looked into it.

Hint to webmasters: If you've got more than one toolbar/navigation bar on your site, you fail. (I'll give you a pass though if the second one is a breadcrumb bar.)

Edited 2011-11-24 07:11 UTC

Reply Score: 5

RE: Gotta agree
by Soulbender on Thu 24th Nov 2011 16:45 UTC in reply to "Gotta agree"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

presumably in order to make consumers forget about the fact that they are about to spend $60 to play the exact same game over again.


Don't forget the new cash cow: DLC aka "we-rushed-the-game-and-didnt-create-any-content-before-release".

Reply Score: 5

RE: Gotta agree
by siride on Thu 24th Nov 2011 22:02 UTC in reply to "Gotta agree"
siride Member since:
2006-01-02

There certainly are elements of modern webdesign that are annoying, but let's not pretend like mid-90s webdesign was great. It was absolutely atrocious. You can make good-looking websites without annoying your users or using up a lot of bandwidth. There are well-made sites out there. They just unfortunately are not the rule.

Reply Score: 5

Comment by OSbunny
by OSbunny on Thu 24th Nov 2011 10:55 UTC
OSbunny
Member since:
2009-05-23

Most human activities are done to make money. Lots of websites start off as hobby sites. But as they become popular and demand more of their webmaster's time and money they need to be monetized. Then it turns into a business and businesses are all for profit. So expecting a website publisher to not monetize his site to the hilt is wishful thinking.

The second point I'd like to make is that content based sites get the majority of their traffic from search engines and NOT from regular readers. This is the way the web works and it's better this way because search engines bring new visitors to a site. Advertisers and publishers prefer unique visitors over repeat visitors. Repeat visitors click less because they become ad blind and even if they do click they earn less per click as well. So designing a site for regular visitors is out of the question.

Now one thing I do agree with is that navigation needs to be simplified. The reason is that content based websites don't have high page views. People usually land on the site looking for specific information and then leave. If you are lucky they might visit one or two other pages on your site. But that's it. So making elaborate navigation menus is pointless. No one is using your navigation system!

If you are still reading I hope you realize that there is more to this business than you think!

Reply Score: 4

I like OSnews
by mgarba on Thu 24th Nov 2011 12:53 UTC
mgarba
Member since:
2011-04-23

The ads on this site are usually quite unobstrusive, and the pages load fast, especially on mobile phones.

For this reason (and the content of course) I keep coming here.

I hope the new redesign won't cripple any of these features: fast-loading, mobile-ready and pleasant reading.

Reply Score: 2

noo
by NuxRo on Fri 25th Nov 2011 09:05 UTC
NuxRo
Member since:
2010-09-25

Yes, the internet is ridden with web designed crap. I can't navigate without adblocks and readability-like extensions anymore.
Don't change osnews! Please don't make it WEB 2.0/3.0/8 ... It's fast, it's readable, it's sane, don't change it. "Le mieux est l'ennemi du bien" :>

Reply Score: 2

Comment by ichi
by ichi on Fri 25th Nov 2011 20:36 UTC
ichi
Member since:
2007-03-06

My issue with ads is that I never ever click on them.

It's not a matter of whether I'm interested on what they offer or not, but rather an habit grown out of the crappy track record of scams and drive by attacks of those flashy annoying things. And it's not that I don't trust the owners of the sites I use to visit (well, actually I don't), the problem is that they don't actually have full control over what's being advertised.

If I see something interesting I just open a new tab and google it to see what it's about.
I don't know if there's some kind of revenue for getting users to see ads, but if it's all about clicking through then they are failing here.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Comment by ichi
by Alfman on Sat 26th Nov 2011 05:22 UTC in reply to "Comment by ichi"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

ichi,

"My issue with ads is that I never ever click on them. It's not a matter of whether I'm interested on what they offer or not, but rather an habit grown out of the crappy track record of scams and drive by attacks of those flashy annoying things"

Like you, I've never clicked on any ad to get information - when I want something I always search for it myself.

Remember back in the days when bloggers used to ask us to "click on my ads to support me". Does anyone else sometimes click on ads to make them help pay for a website?

I've contemplated writing a FF plugin to convert third party syndicated ads to a "$" which can be clicked without distracting from the real content and make it indistinguishable from a real click. It's interesting to think how the dynamic would play out...

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by ichi
by OSbunny on Sat 26th Nov 2011 11:51 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by ichi"
OSbunny Member since:
2009-05-23

That would be click fraud. Advertiser's pay for clicks from people who are genuinely interested in their products. The idea is that for ever x number of clicks they make a sale (called a "conversion" in the lingo) and part of the profit earned from that sale is used to pay for the advertising costs.

If people start to click on ads for any reason other than being interested in the product two things happen:

- The cost of advertising increases and that hurts advertisers. Advertisers then move their marketing dollars elsewhere or threaten to do so which hurts publishers and ad networks.

- The ad network bans the publisher because his site is generating invalid clicks. They can tell because they track what a user does after he clicks on the ad. Does he browse the advertiser's site like a normal user? Or does he simply close the site and start clicking on another ad?

So in the end clicking on an ad to support the publisher will cause more harm than good.

Edited 2011-11-26 12:00 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Comment by ichi
by Alfman on Sat 26th Nov 2011 21:01 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by ichi"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

OSbunny,

"That would be click fraud. Advertiser's pay for clicks from people who are genuinely interested in their products."

As I see it, once they send the ad, they explicitly invite us to click, and personally I feel no guilt in clicking to help fund a website. If they didn't want me clicking, they shouldn't have sent me the ad.

Reply Score: 2

lucky you're not in China
by KLU9 on Sun 27th Nov 2011 19:17 UTC
KLU9
Member since:
2006-12-06

Another +1 for OSnews' cleaner approach.

But if people are disappointed by the mess on websites in English, they'd probably have a heart attack if they had to rely on websites in Chinese: extremely busy pages, multiple pop-ups, multiple hovering and sliding ads blocking content, ads with auto-playing audio and video (sometimes several at once), "bars" at top and bottom, and animation EVERYWHERE.

Oh and they have this lovely habit of making links open in a new page/tab/window. Yes even internal links; do a site search and the results open in a new window; click on a result and it opens in a new window. If that result's not what you want, search again, new window ad nauseam.

Sod's law when I want to offer an example, I can only find pages that are positively restrained (perhaps coz of a China-produced ad filter I finally added to Opera).
e.g portals like http://www.163.com/ or http://www.qq.com/
(relatively, few intrusive ads and only 1 or 2 pop-ups... but my god the number of links on QQ.... must be 500+!!)

Reply Score: 2