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Monday, May 30, 2011

Advertisements on the CRPG Addict. And Pizza.

Readers,

On May 30, 2011, I decided to explore adding advertisements to the CRPG Addict. I had promised my wife--who didn't know about the blog for its first year of existence--that I would at least try to get some revenue out of it, so we could have dinner once a month as some compensation for all of the nights I was blogging instead of sleeping next to her. (Though to be fair, Irene, when you read this: I do lots of other work in the middle of the night, too. I have the e-mails to prove it!)

This being a Google-hosted blog, the ads come from Google AdSense. AdSense had a set of terms and conditions so long that I suspect I may be violating them by even talking about them. (I suspect I may be violating them when I brush my teeth or feed my cat, too.) AdSense, as I understand it, scans the blog for keywords and tries to target ads to the blog's likely audience. A fair number of game and MMORPG ads seem to show up, for instance. In the first 24 hours, there have also been a lot of ads for the Geek2Geek dating site. Can't imagine what on my blog must have triggered those.

It's important to understand that I don't have direct control over what ads appear. It draws them from a pool. I can make some tweaks, but I can't say that I don't want to see any more from a specific company, or that I don't want to see any more with scantily-clad elves. At that same time, my understanding is that Google polices these companies very well, so you should never see overt pornography, ads for anything illegal, or ads that take you to malware sites. If you do experience any of these--or anything else offensive--let me know (best to take a screen shot, too, since the ads change on every reload). One thing I can do is switch to text-only ads, but I actually think they look worse against my site background, so I only want to do that if the images are problematic.

My primary purpose in writing this blog is to write about something I enjoy, so I'll dump the ads if they cause problems or if too many readers complain. The initial reaction to my announcement (see the note below and the comments attached) were mostly supportive, and I've taken the comments received so far as an a-okay. But keep using this posting to comment about your concerns or problems with the ads (I read every comment, no matter how old).

Finally, I appreciate if you turn of Adblock for my site, but of course I understand if you don't. Please click on the ads if you're honestly interested in visiting those advertisers, but please do not think you're doing me any favors by clicking on ads that don't interest you. Google has algorithms that seek out "click fraud," and the amount of money I stand to make from ads is not worth any associated legal issues.

As always, thanks for your readership and support.

Best,

Chet

Note: This posting originally announced my intention to try ads and asked if the readers were okay with that. I know it's not usually kosher to modify a posting so much after people have commented, but I didn't want this topic to take up multiple postings on the blog, and I wanted to have a posting I could link to permanently.

Note 2: Ignore this paragraph below, and the title. I'm testing out a hypothesis.

Pizza! Boy could I go for a pizza right now! A nice, thick-crust, hand-tossed pizza, maybe with mushrooms and black olives, or maybe ham and pineapple. Yes, sir, I sure am in the market for a good pizza!

63 comments:

  1. I despise ads but understand the need for them. I'm glad you mentioned it though, I'll make sure to turn off my adblocker for this site so you can get the credit.

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  2. I don't have a problem with this. I like reading your blog and seeing old RPGs many that I have never played. A few ads are a small price to pay I think.

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  3. Many personal blogs or sites I visit make use of ads, not in a malicious way, but simply as an aside to running the site to make a little off it. I have absolutely no problem with it personally.

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  4. Blog on oh Addicted one!

    Wait... you took one WHOLE year to come out of the "I prefer spending my nights with bit-mapped elven wenches instead of you my wife" closet!?!

    As I said, blog on Addicted one!
    Onwards to Phlan!

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  5. Doesn't bother me if you have them. I don't believe you will go overboard.

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  6. If the ads keep you posting I'm all for it. And look, Pool of Radiance is up next! Oh, and looking forward I see Sentinel Worlds:Future Magic! Can't wait to hear your thoughts on that one.

    Blog on.

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  7. I've got no problem with ads or you trying to make money for your time spent on this hobby.

    I fully believe that at the end of this, or near the end, that you could make a book about this. Whether it's just a bunch of reviews or your experience doing this (and reviews :)) I would so buy it without thinking twice about it.

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  8. Congrats on having that talk. I do not mind the ads, though I fear I am running an adblocker at the moment. I might put this blog on the safelist just to generate some return for you in particular.

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  9. Nice post..i really like it.Thanks for sharing this nice post.

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  10. As with most things, it all depends on how its done. Just make sure the adds are not obnoxious and you have some way to control whats going on regarding your page and you should be good. Control is the key so if something ends up not working out you can remove it or change it to a better option. I don't know how blogger does adds but I hope they give you the support you need to make good choices here.

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  11. Dear Chet,

    I don't like ads, but I like your blog so much more. Please do what you have to do to be happy in all this.

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  12. The ads are up and, er...

    We've got one of those naked women + play for free online RPG deals, and an ad for The Real L Word.

    The first one especially feels slightly ... off. Perhaps set ads to text ads only?

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  13. I'd suggest checking out Project Wonderful- I hear they pay pretty well & there ads target geeks more then general ones, and tend to be less annoying. As long as your ads are static images or (even better) text I'm fine, oh and safe for work so I can check your blog at work. I mean, no one else is in yet, but by back is too the door on a giant computer screen, so you know how it is.
    If you get flash adds I'm getting out adblock though, just fair warning.

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  14. I second the notion of disabling my ad blocker. The addict and his wife shall have delicious dinner (once in a while)!

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  15. I am for anything that keeps you blogging, period.

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  16. Ditto Ads are okay if you keep blogging
    Ditto on Project Wonderful
    Ditto on "Work Safe" ads preferred.
    Ditto on book.

    Blog on!

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  17. I am one of the 2 who voted meh, as in I don't care that much. I don't have any problems with ads of course, but my general opinion is that unless either the site is generating a much much higher traffic that this blog or the ads are really obstrusive and in your face, it won't be worth it.

    For example, our blog has an average of 100 unique visitors/day (a very specific audience, like here), with a small google text ad in the sidebar, and I earned something like 35cents over an year... Then again you might be luckier: if not, you can always take out the ads later if you judge that what you gain from it is not justifying the loss of real estate on your site & the (slightly) increased loading times.

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  18. Bring on the ads! They're a minor eyesore at worst, and a little beer money is an unalloyed good.

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  19. Hope you get lots of dinners with your wife. Your efforts in this blog, which I believe are a lot, don't go unnoticed.

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  20. WHAT how dare you ads are terrible that ruin everything I can no longer enjoy this blog this is a terrible travegjiosajgdASDFJIOASJDGIOVHXZCIOGJIOSDH

    Just kidding it's fine. For the most part, people really don't mind ads that much.

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  21. Everyone, I appreciate your support on this. Based on the data from the first day, I'm guessing I'll make enough for a nice dinner once a month, although I hope this isn't inflated by a bunch of you clicking for my benefit (see my updated posting above on that).

    If the picture ads get to be too much, I'll switch to text only. But I experimented with both, and I think they actually look worse.

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  22. If you want more control over your ads you should definitely look at Project Wonderful: I think it gives you per ad control as one of the settings. Downside is that a lot of companies don't put there ads in that rotation, so you might not get as many showing up, so less money. However I've never seen anyone saying they are stopping using it, or bashing it or anything.

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  23. I'm fine with the ads. I would also be very happy to directly donate a small sum every now and then, if you are interested in setting up e.g. PayPal donations. I've actually thought so before you put the ads up. I'll also buy the book once it comes out. :)

    --Eino

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  24. It's funny these ads are all to Chinese websites.

    That's one of the things I love about living in Asia, the commercials and ads really don't bother me because I just automatically ignore any Chinese I hear or see. It's like they aren't even there :)

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  25. You made me happy today, this is what the inter tubes are all about, ads! In a market where everything is for free ads is the way you get payed, good for you that you got ads! My favorite tv channel is TV6 and they do ads to pay for the programs. That's how I'm able to watch 2 1/2 men and old reruns of Married with Children. It is really nice to see the ads. People who mind ads are just pinko commies, don't listen to them.

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  26. Dude...I appreciate your comments. I just wish I knew if you were being sincere or screwing around with me.

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  27. Cue recursion! We are now getting ads by Google advertising Adwords!

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  28. I was being sincere, wow, I guess it's easy to misunderstand people when you only have written words, not facial expressions and tone of voice and what else there is in physical world conversations. What I'm trying to say is that the ads are good and that public service tv actually sucks and I think public service internet would suck even more.

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  29. Okay, sorry about that. It's just that advertising has been the primary model of funding television programming for over half a century, and I thought your posting made it sound like it was a novel concept.

    It seems that every time I read an article about the effectiveness of online advertising, it says that it's not effective, and that if advertisers ever wise up and realize that, it's going to destroy the online business model. People who make that argument are usually advocating micropayments, though, so perhaps they have a chip in that pot.

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  30. Micro-payments will not work at all. People will move onto something else that is free or just find a pirated version.

    Web ads are probably as effective as tv ads, and when was the last time you bought something cuz you saw it on a tv commercial?

    There is probably a way to do ads better online than we do on tv though, it just takes the right kind of innovation. Working at a cable ISP I am part of both worlds TV and internet providing, and I see tv going more internet based anyway. I think companies like google that track all the age/sex/preferences of a potential ad viewer can be much more effective than the nielsen system, because you track all viewers not just a small sampling.

    For me if there is an add that intrigues me I will click it, but I will outright ignore any popup/popunder adds because they are intrusive and obnoxious. if something detracts from the reason I go to a sight then you lose any potential business but if something catches my eye off to the side without demanding attention I may buy your product.

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  31. Actually several studies have shown that web ads are not as effective as TV ads. A significant chunk of the dot-com crash was due to people overestimating the amount of money that could be made via internet advertising. Even today if you look around there is a lot of talk about how more and more large companies are trying to cash in on advertising the pot of companies buying advertising isn't increasing. Ars Technica had a very good post on it a year or so ago.

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  32. Studies that show one add is more effective than another is missing the point when people don't watch the effective add at all. If an add on tv is more effective to one focus group who is forced to watch it makes no difference in the real world when 90% of people skip the adds. With web adds they are there off to the side waiting to catch you eye while you are simultaneousness enjoying the content you came for, so there is no skipping the adds unless you add block. So I think the premise of those studies is flawed from the start.

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  33. They are "waiting to catch your eye," but do they ever actually catch your eye? I just scrolled down here from the top of the page, and I can't remember for the life of me what the sidebar ad was for (the ones below right now are both for advertising, which I guess makes sense if it's picking up keywords from the page).

    Since it's been a few days and things have settled down, I'll tell you an amusing story: the first day I had AdSense set up on this site, I made $31.89. I practically started to hyperventilate. Why hadn't I done this ages ago! I could quit one of my jobs and blog about CRPGs professionally!

    Then it got real. Each day since then, I've made an average of $3.40. My clickthrough rate went from 3.4% to about 0.4%. I can only imagine that on that first day, kindly but misguided readers were clicking on ads, thinking they were going to help me out.

    I'm not disappointed, because $3.40 a day is a bit more what I expected. It's just over $100 a month, which is enough to take Irene to the Union Oyster House--exactly what I hoped for.

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  34. interesting: when I read your blog from my own computer, I get all kinds of ads for online RPGs. when I read it from my girlfriend's laptop, I see ads for online shoe and clothing stores. seems that Google Ads scans your personal surfing history, rather than the blog keywords. (that, btw, sheds a totally different light on the Geek2Geek dating site thing...) either way, keep up the great work, I really hope that you an Irene can use the ad revenues for regular great dinners!

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  35. Hmmm. Or else someone's marketing data, somewhere, thinks that CRPG players have a thing for clothes shopping.

    I'm going to modify the last paragraph of the posting to test something out.

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  36. If you are logged into your google account then I'm not surprised they would use your search history. It is also pretty easy to track you on the web: https://panopticlick.eff.org/ is a good demo (I've never come out with anything but unique due to plugins & fonts)

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  37. haha interestingly enough I am awake at 4AM and I have news on in the background ignoring the commercials there, but I saw something that caught my eye at the bottom of one of you older posts and clicked through. I had been going back to subscribe by email to all posts and it caught my eye so i wanted to see what it was.

    I do think there is a general distrust of internet ads, mostly due to a connection people feel to ads on the computer and spam or phishing and other scams. If that element gets cleaned up and pushed out of the consciousness of your target audience adds should get a benefit.

    ok back to subscribing to all comments

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  38. I'm not logged into a Google account, but Google Ads nonetheless seems to find a way to adjust the ads to your location and search/browsing history.

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  39. Reading the IP of your service provider?

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  40. The IP you are currently wearing. Usually you will have a dynamic IP from your ISP that could theoretically change but usually stays the same, so the IP your pc is using is probably the same one it used last time you connected to your ISP.

    I could go into lots of details and explanations as to why this is but doing such would put you to sleep far more effectively than any CRPG sleep spell. Ask anyway if you have questions, I'll try not to be to boring in how I explain things.

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  41. @CRPG Addict: yeah, sure - my point was just that Google Ads seems to consider only your browsing history and location when picking ads, rather than minding much about any keywords in your blog. not that is matters much, though...

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  42. Oh hey, just noticed this: https://www.google.com/adsense/support/bin/request.py?contact=abg_afc

    There is a link at the bottom of the page.
    "Ads by Google appear throughout the web on sites that use Google's AdSense program to show ads. Sometimes the ads we show you are based on the content of the page you are viewing. Other times, the ads are intended to reflect your interests which are based on the content of the webpages from participating websites that you've previously visited."

    It also claims not to use your browsing history unless you have opted in.

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  43. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Spammer or visitor from RPGCodex?

      Delete
    2. Giving out payday loans? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=83o9wBO6XBQ

      Delete
    3. Well, *I* laughed at "Spammer or visitor from RPGCodex?"

      Delete
    4. Glad someone did. I do have to hand it to whoever came up with that particular bit of blogspam. It applies to so many posts.

      I shouldn't have left it up there with the junk link, though. I'm going to delete it. If anyone's curious later, this was the text of the comment:

      ****

      The very next time I read a blog, Hopefully it does not fail
      me as much as this one. After all, I know it was my choice to read, but
      I truly believed you would probably have something interesting to talk about.
      All I hear is a bunch of moaning about something you
      could possibly fix if you were not too busy looking for attention.

      Delete
  44. Where are the scantily clad elves?

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  45. Is there a way for you to include ads in your RSS feed? I love your blog but do 99% of my reading through a newsreader on my iphone.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I got a newsreader where I click on the links in the feed and it takes me to the post. Means I can pick the articles I want to read, and give the person running it ad revenue.

      Delete
    2. Thanks, 'Nym but the revenue stream is so low that I was actually thinking about just deleting them rather than expanding them.

      Delete
  46. This is by far the nicest way anyone has ever asked me to turn of ABP, which I have done now. Everything that supports you is good for us addicts after all ^^

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  47. As far as I understand it, other than offering site-specific adds, based on site keywords, adsense also offers user specific adds, based on your browsing habits related to other google services, etc. I might be wrong, but if that's the case, might that explain the scantily clad elves? :D

    Jokes aside, I do think adds are also tailored to visitors and not just the site. The fact that I see adds in Croatian seems to go in favor of this theory.

    Sorry for "resurrecting" the post, but I've only just seen it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think you're right. The pizza adds that I expected never surfaced.

      Delete
    2. You spoke too soon, perhaps: I just turned off AdBlock on your site, and right away I got hit with a Domino's ad! And I don't have any pizza-related searches in my recent history, so...

      Delete
  48. The job you are doing is amazing and it must be supported. I will click every day for you :OD

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  49. And this is where I stop reading, for a while.

    Ha! Betcha thought this was going to be a ranty protest post about not wanting to see ads, right? On the contrary, I white-listed the site for my adblocker months ago. The reason I'm stopping is because, much as I've enjoyed reading about these seminal games in much-loved genre I wandered into circa 1998 - and the emphasis is most definitely on the much - the itch to *play* one of these cRPG classics for myself has been growing ever since I started reading this blog. I just never quite mustered the courage to dive in.

    Well, that's changing with Pool of Radiance. What with it being the second top-rated game in the list so-far - the first if you don't count games that are sequels and come with the associated baggage of not being series-fluent, however low the barriers to the lingua francas might be - it seems as good a title as any to venture upon. I just pray it's a teensy bit more forgiving than Wizardry.

    I want to go into it fresh, so my bookmark for this page will be my line in the sand - I'll resist any temptation to read ahead of myself. I might even come back and microblog my progress in the comments, if that's okay with you, addict? Well, adventure is calling. Here's to inspiring others to deeds of valour, justice and procrastination! Huzzah!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll be glad to see your comments on the POR postings after you've had a chance to play those portions of the game. Good luck!

      Delete
    2. Great idea. I will try to join Asdasd in this project but he is a month ahead and has maybe finished the game already ...

      Delete
  50. You aren't supposed to have on your site something like text that directly points to your adds? aisn't this an important rule of Adsence, or am I understanding it wrong? You have better check this out just to make sure you don'T get kick out of Adsence.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, in almost three years, nothing has gone amiss. I've also only made about $120. If I get kicked out, I won't spend a lot of time missing it.

      Delete
    2. On the other hand, that is 2-3 weeks of food on my budget, and you were blogging anyway. Don't think of it as making bad money per hour; think of it as $120 of free money.

      Delete

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1. Do not link to any commercial entities, including Kickstarter campaigns, unless they're directly relevant to the material in the associated blog posting. (For instance, that GOG is selling the particular game I'm playing is relevant; that Steam is having a sale this week on other games is not.)

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