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Ruin us, please

Ruin us, please

Anne forwarded this depressing Advertising Age article to me, As Ad Rates Sink, More Websites Explore Ad-Free Business:

This is web publishing in 2013, when declining ad rates and the sense that each buck is harder to get than the last is leading increasing numbers of publishers to strip out the ads and ask readers to pony up. Even The New York Times has at least contemplated the idea of an ad-free version, asking readers about it in a recent survey about potential new products. Its sibling The Boston Globe already operates two websites, the free, which is packed with all kinds of traditional ads, and the subscriber-only, with far fewer, and much less intrusive, ads.

But ad-free experiments are taking root faster among smaller publishers and blogs, for whom the economics of digital advertising can be particularly punishing. You wouldn’t call it a sea change, but there is a lot of splashing in the waves.

The article goes on to discuss how various websites, including Andrew Sullivan’s Daily Dish, have tried various models with varying success.

We will be expanding our research and activism assets here.  Consider everything we have done to date just a test drive, working out the kinks, figuring out how we can be most effective despite our small size and the fact that no one actually works here.

We’ve taken a few small steps in that direction, but it’s going to require that we do better at generating income (turn-off your damn ad blocker!) than we do now.

But I’m also a firm believer in the “free information” model.  I’d rather have more people read us for free than fewer people read us for a fee.

So expect a Legal Insurrection Building Fund campaign soon, as much as I hate having to do that.

That flood of money which is ruining politics hasn’t made its way here yet … so when the Legal Insurrection Building Fund starts, ruin us, please.


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TrooperJohnSmith | March 29, 2013 at 7:17 pm

I have a pile of cash in the fridge, so give me a PO Box where I can send it. Oh, ignore the freezer burn, please.

One thing I think people learn when they blog themselves is to click on every ad you see on sites you like. It takes no effort and I just never understood why no one would take a little extra time to do that to keep people writing conservative blogs. Unlike left wing blogs, independent bloggers who write for the right do it despite the fact there is no one paying them to promote a political agenda. Click on their pages and click on their ads. Oh and use their links every time you buy from Amazon. End rant 😀

I understand the dilemma with ad blocking. I recently installed adblock on Firefox because I’ve had it with all the girlie ads on sites such as Breitbart, ZeroHedge, and more. I’ve always blocked all the google analytic and related tracker sites. I don’t appreciate third parties watching my surfing habits.

The thing I’d like to have with ad blocker, and would pay for, is a way to block third-party and unseemly ads. I’d be happy to have an active learning system that would let me flag ads I don’t like. I’m trying to do this manually now, but it’s slow going so far. Then I could let most ads come through, as is beneficial to you and others.

    JerryB in reply to JerryB. | March 29, 2013 at 7:49 pm

    Here’s an idea that would ruin everything: an ad display blocker that downloads the ads but simply doesn’t display them to me.

    I think the answer is the dual-access site, part free to garner views, part pay. And definitely pay to post. (Could be my last post!)

    On another thought, maybe PayPal could run a ticker system that works like automatic tolls on the turnpike. You pay as you read.

I agree with Trooper on the “Where my money goes” aspect.

If push came to shove, there are a few worthwhile endeavors that would get my support, in spite of increasingly greedy government grabs.

Let us hope the advertising works on this site, because it’s fine and unobtrusive to the main articles, yet still is visible and can entice me from time to time, based upon the content of the advertising.

    TrooperJohnSmith in reply to Paul. | March 30, 2013 at 2:00 am

    Become a 503C like all the Soros-funded “NGOs” and we can write you off our taxes, Doc.

LI will survive in a market economy!!

Maybe tiers ? … e.g.:
1. Building funders (Koch bros types, etc., who get to have something special … e.g. dinner with you? signed T-shirt? :-))
2. Loyalists (subscription fees — access to comment)
3. Readers — free for the posts.

There’s a lot more to consider here. Your goals / plans / future etc. for the site.

What’s your budget and where do you want to go? I’m in at least at #2 at any rate.

Must be

stevewhitemd | March 29, 2013 at 8:06 pm

Professor: at Rantburg (where I’m a moderator) we do a bleg two to three times a year. That brings in enough from loyal readers to cover our server costs, etc, which has been our goal. We’re a low-cost operation and if you’re considering a similar operation at LI then shaking the can occasionally may be all you need to do.

If your costs include more than that then I like Bruno’s idea of bundling some sort of funding initiative. I think if Karl Rove had spread a few million bucks around the blogosphere in 2011-12 his party would have done better — I’d like him to experiment with it, anyway 🙂

I confess I don’t click on ads in blogs — wasted money for the advertisers. Some sort of bleg/membership/tiered model is the way to go.

    snopercod in reply to stevewhitemd. | March 30, 2013 at 7:57 am

    I concur that a periodic bleg is the way to go. It works for FreeRepublic and Day-by-Day Cartoon, as well as Rantburg.

    Disclaimer: I’m running AdBlock Plus, as well as No-Script, which blocks all the tracking javascripts on this and other sites. I count 15 scripts that this site tries to run on my computer and I have 2/3 of them blocked – definitely google-anylitics.

LI is a worthy cause for donations. Guess I’m lucky since hubby and I are on a “fixed” income but plan to stay Adv free one way or another. It doesn’t cost me a dime, so far, to keep blogging on blogspot. I will also keep my personal genealogy website Adv free for as long as possible.

Prof – As a long time professional in the online ad/analytics industry, I can tell you, first hand, that online display advertising engagement rates are awful and have been getting worse every year, especially as people move to phones and tablets. Given the slow economy of the past few years, more and more companies are simply not going to make an investment in channels that don’t work. These same companies are also seeing less and less return from their paid search efforts. I suspect within the next couple of years you’ll see some big names reduce or kill off completely their paid search budgets.

(Insider Hint: try serving the ads yourself instead of via a network. Ad blockers generally will not block an image that originates from the same domain.)

Fellow readers, please disable your ad blocker for the sites you enjoy and frequent. Also, allow those same site to track your activity. It’s anonymous and helps the site owners see what’s working and what’s not. The average user will willfully give up more info about themselves on Facebook than any tracking program can or would hope to obtain.

Illustrating Chicago’s Murders, Homicides, Violence and Idiocy at

    JerryB in reply to W.H.Thompson. | March 29, 2013 at 9:58 pm

    I appreciate your plea to allow trackers, but I’d rather just pay to read a site. But then it will come down to a few sites, and those likely won’t include blogs.

    It’s a dilemma. Maybe an idea is a blog consortium where you pay at a gateway and get access to many blogs. Just don’t ask me to let google track me.

Henry Hawkins | March 29, 2013 at 9:12 pm

Well, there are other ways. Professor Jacobson self-finances by either:

a) becoming a top earning Hollywood movie star.

b) winining a roster spot on the NY Yankees, Rangers or Knicks.

c) becoming a male stripper on Ladies’ Night at the Kuma Charmers Gentleman’s Club.

adsense banned me because user were clicking ads.
thats messed up, the targeted ads interested a few members so clicking them made them ban me.

You know what? I had completely forgotten that I had installed an ad blocking program. I did it a long time ago, because when I’m doing searches, the ads became so intrusive that it was almost impossible to find the information I was looking for.

It’s easy enough to fix… I click on the icon on the toolbar, and click on “Disable on”.


And thanks for the reminder… I’ll do the same for the OTHER blogs/etc that I frequent. When their income goes up, they can thank YOU, Professor. 😉

Seriously, a clear post on how to do this might make a huge difference. I didn’t block YOUR site to avoid the ads… I blocked the ads on ALL sites, to avoid the ads of a FEW sites I rarely visit. Never occurred to me to turn it off.

I’ll consider giving but right now a dear blog buddie, Amusing Bunni, really needs the cheddar as she endures end-stage liver cancer. Please excuse my shameless link.

Best way? Keep working at electing GOP reps, then get them to fund the blog and your lifestyle, exactly as the Democrat elected leaders do for the likes of Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, etc, etc, etc. It does work.

I don’t really care about the ads as I learned long ago to tune them out. I couldn’t tell you what ads just ran when the program continues. But, its the tracking I detest; so I also block the ads, or my tracking blockers block the ads for me. Thank you tracking blocker programmers; keep up your great work. As for all of you idiots using anything Google or use the pre installed online scripted directors on your connected TVs, software, and similar such junk…well, I already described your laziness. No wonder America is in free-fall straight to Hell. Yes I know companies have to make money and hopefully profit enough to stay in business. How about trying to do it the old fashioned way…earn it!

    JerryB in reply to aposematic. | March 30, 2013 at 10:25 am

    Thanks for seconding the tracking. If I had a second machine on a separate URL on which I did nothing but surf — no email, no banking, no taxes, no Amazon, etc. — then I might not mind it too much. That would be annoying and expensive. Even with that, it’s still not sci-fi to realize that googlistas and others can piece together a pretty good profile of you and eventually tie it to your person. Maybe folks don’t care, but I do.

    Another thing: my ISP just stopped supporting 3Mbit cheapskates like me and graciously raised me to 15Mb and my monthly charge to $30. Should I be grateful?

Left out Facebook in the above. People using that evil site are not only idiots but stupid idiots. I tried it over two years ago but even then they would reset my personal settings back to their defaults at least once a week. I got tired after going to a dozen or more places to change my settings back to no sharing. After three weeks of that I had had enough and left Facebook forever to the stupid idiots. | March 30, 2013 at 11:45 am

The question that I asked for people who use adblockers and never click on ads at sites they like, is how do you expect those sites to generate enough revenue to stay in business?

Why are people supposedly bothered more by third party ads than by subscription fees? It seems to me that advertising is a painless way for readers to enjoy the content.

I try to post new, original content on Cars In Depth every day. At least one or two posts. There are lots of car enthusiast sites competing for readers so you have to give readers a reason to come back. The content has to be worthwhile. That means you have to spend a significant amount of time creating that content. Going to a car show and shooting 800 image pairs takes time. Also 60-80% of the content on Cars In Depth features 3D photos and videos that I mostly shoot myself. There’s some processing and cropping involved which takes additional time, as does uploading the photos to the site’s server and the videos to YouTube.

That’s just for the graphics. The text takes more time. Even if I put up just a paragraph about a particular car model or a specific vehicle, that has to be researched and put into some kind of context that is both more in depth, more reliable and more entertaining than what’s on Wikipedia or the other sites on the first page of search engine results.

I happen to like cars so some of it’s a busman’s holiday, but it still takes time and it’s nice to be rewarded for one’s effort. I’m trying to take the long term perspective and regard that effort as sweat equity in an enterprise. Now I happen to have gotten at least one regular freelance writing gig in no small part due to what I’ve done with my own site, so there’s been some reward, and Adsense revenue covers the ISP rent and related internet costs, but much as I appreciate the freelance gigs and the bylines, I’d rather be that Adsense revenue be considerably larger and that I was the one paying freelancers.

My business plan is to focus on a niche that I think will become the mass market standard. When most sites have 3D content, we’ll already be established as the 3D car site. In the meantime, though, it’d be nice to make a little money, so please visit Cars In Depth and if you like what you see (if you think 3D is a conspiracy to get you to buy yet another new TV set, all the photo and video players there can be set to 2D as well as the most popular 3D formats) click on an ad or two.

Ronnie Schreiber

    Good luck Ronnie. I appreciate what you say. My feedback is a pushback that I hope you and others will pass onto the trackers. Tell them that your visitors don’t like being tracked from site to site. If the ads only tracked me at the site I visit, that would be perfectly fine with me. In other words, when I visit you, your ads guys can source their material from your URL, place all the cookies they want on my machine, and tally my every click on your site. If I trust you, I’ll trust your site.

    My problem is that they want to track me everywhere I go and build a profile. They want to use your site to put cookies on my machine that will read out when I visit other sites. They’re paying you to help them ride me around like a donkey. In other words, they’re using you, too.

    To reiterate what I said earlier, I’ll pay rather than be tracked. But I won’t buy much. | March 30, 2013 at 11:46 am

“The question that I ask”
Preview is my friend.