As you may know, the global economic depression has hit the media hard, due in large part to the fact that ad rates are in the toilet. OSNews is in the same boat. Despite the fact that we still have good advertisers, our income from advertising this year will only be a fraction of what it was last year. We probably won’t make enough to cover our costs. Other news sites, as they’ve seen revenue decrease, have responded with more, and more intrusive, advertising. We don’ t want to do that. We feel we have a covenant with our readers. If you’ll be respectful of our need to run ads, we’ll be respectful of your need to read the site without having ads shoved down your throat. Please read on, for more discussion of our ad “covenant,” and a plea for help, including a plea to all Adblock users to please unblock OSNews.OSNews is in an interesting situation, because our readers are so savvy. We realize that about 100% of our readers are capable of blocking our ads if they want to. About 60% of OSNews readers use Firefox, and one of the most popular Firefox extensions is Adblock. I have Adblock installed on my Firefox, and I use it when I’m reading a web site with particularly annoying ads (like the ones congratulating me on my free iPod). Unfortunately, Adblock doesn’t allow you to easily block ads on just one website. You have to block all ads and then manually disable Adblock for each site. I wish it worked the other way around. I don’t want to deprive my favorite sites of ad views, but want to easily banish the ads from certain other sites that don’t respect me as a reader. But for OSNews’ purposes, the way Adblock works now is fine. I would just like to plead with all Adblock-using OSNews readers to please click on their Adblock icon and “disable on www.osnews.com.”
We work with a good ad broker called Techvertical, who also sell ads for O’Reilly and Betanews. They understand our commitment to avoid intrusive advertising, but they’re always getting pressure from advertisers to run bigger, flashier ads. They contacted me the other day to see if I would consider running an auto-expanding ad at the top. It’s a little more intrusive than I like, but I’ve considered giving it a try for a couple of days. If you see it (it will only be visible to US-based readers) please let me know in the comments whether it’s overboard. But rather than agonize over these issues privately, I’d like to open it up for a discussion with the readers. How do you feel about online advertising? Have we been doing a good job running ads that are on-topic and non-intrusive?
If you’re willing to help OSNews during these tough times, there are a few things you can do that will help us directly, and most of them don’t require much effort:
- The more traffic we get, the better, so visit OSNews often, read the articles, and participate in the conversation. Also, tell your friends about OSNews, and submit OSNews stories you like to Digg, Slashdot, etc.
- The more stories we publish, the higher our traffic is, so submit news items or even submit an article or product review. Contact us if you’re interested in writing or editing.
- If you’re using Adblock, disable it for osnews.com
- If you notice an ad on OSNews that’s interesting to you, click on it. We don’t get paid per-click for most ads, but our advertisers closely monitor response rates. Click on the ad, and check out the site it links out to. That assures that we’ll keep the ad campaigns we have.
- If you know of a company that makes something that would appeal to OSNews readers, encourge them to Advertise on OSNews. Ad rates are very low right now.
- If you know of any other tech-related web site that receives healthy traffic but hasn’t been able to get good advertisers, have them contact us. We’d like to form a network of sites in order to have more sway with advertisers.
- Let us know if you have any other ideas for improving OSNews.
Actually, by default Adblock Plus is a black-listing solution and doesn’t block advertisement at all. It’s only if you subscribe to one of the lists (e.g. EasyList) that you’ll have to white-list sites instead.