Friday Stupid

22 Aug

Seth Godin on ads being like online tip jars:

I can say this because there are no ads here but,

If you like what you’re reading, click an ad to say thanks.

Pretty simple,

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but not an accepted online protocol, at least not yet.

I like most of what Seth says, but that just made my eyes boggle. Clicking on an ad that you don’t care about just because you like the content is outright cheating


I hope people know to do better.

28 Responses to Friday Stupid



August 22nd, 2008 at 5:30 pm

Yet, unfortunately, that’s not always the case.

I have seen so many webmasters that ask the users to click on ads when the user asks how they can support the site. And of course, then, the advertiser would be charged for what they thought was a legitimate click.

Truly despicable…



August 22nd, 2008 at 8:00 pm

Please, dude. Its not cheating nor is it despicable. Its an industry with a pricing model, and a guy with an analogy.

If advertisers would rather pay a CPM, regardless of performance, they are free to do so. Paying for audience and not performance has been the foundation of the media business.

Its not cheating. Its not lying. Its advertising.



August 22nd, 2008 at 9:45 pm

Some people astound me.

So lets say you are advertising on Google Adwords. You are paying $1.00 per click related to ‘TV advertising’.

Some guy blogs about advertising on TV, your ad shows up on it contextually, but because Joe Bloe wants to ‘support’ that blog, he clicks on your ad.

You are now $1.00 out for a visitor not worth it.

Now imagine this happening 100 times. 1000 times. 10000 times?



August 22nd, 2008 at 10:12 pm

TVguy, the reason an advertiser pays a webmaster for clicks is because they believe they are getting an interested potential visitor/customer. Asking people to click on your ads even when they aren’t interested is violating the advertiser’s rights and robbing him of his money.

I have seen a lot of sites put up a ‘Donate’ or ‘Contribute’ page. THAT is called a tip jar. Clicking on ads that are irrelevant to you to support the author, however, sounds more like click fraud to me.



August 23rd, 2008 at 12:27 am

Don’t worry, I use Adblock Plus with the element hiding helper so I’m hardly ever tempted to click on an ad I’m not interested in and harm someone by making them $1 poorer. I’m nice that way.



August 23rd, 2008 at 12:55 am

Right because if someone came from you and just took a dollar from you that would be alright.

Alternatively where does it stop? What if 10 people did that? 100 people? 1000 people?



August 23rd, 2008 at 2:41 am

In my opinion, clicking an ad to support the content is just as bad as clicking your own ads to get the money.

You’d only do it if you’re too cheap to fork out the measly $1.

Think of it this way:

A homeless man asks you for $1 for a meal.
You’re kind, you give him the dollar.
The homeless man takes off his bum clothes, and then gives the dollar to someone random, as a ‘tip’.

How would you feel about this? Cheated? I know I would.

I use PPC advertising, and I rely on the statistics I gather.
There are so may factors to this which should be taken into consideration, before telling everyone to “tip” with other people’s money!





August 23rd, 2008 at 2:50 am

It sort of looks like you’re replying to me, Ahmed, and if so, I find that a little odd because your analogy is all wrong. Using Adblock is like being a blind deaf pickpocket – you can’t see or hear anyone so actually robbing them is near impossible.

In other words, when I use Adblock, I can’t see any ads to click on and, therefore, I can’t harm any advertisers and all is good in the world.

Your analogy is pretty lousy even if you weren’t replying to me. If you pay a blogger per click and people then click on your ad just because they fell for Seth Godin’s lame attempt at moral manipulation, then everything is working as correctly. Just because you expect every click to result in a sale, that doesn’t mean everyone else has to behave themselves and make sure you get what you want. In fact, I’d be utterly astounded if such an arrangement *didn’t* result in bloggers and owners of real web sites begging readers to click on the ads just to support them.

The difference between that and someone coming up to you in the street and taking a dollar off you isn’t even subtle.

Oh, and about your 10, 100, and 1000 people question, that would be $10, $100, and $1000 respectively. As for where it stops, I’d have to say bed. Let’s face it, if 1000 people each took a dollar off me while I was trying to walk down the street, I’d need a lie down.



August 23rd, 2008 at 2:57 am

I just added your link to my Adblock Plus element hiding list, Mark. If it were a pay-per-click ad and not simply a freebie courtesy of this comments page, I would’ve been able to save you money too!



August 23rd, 2008 at 3:58 pm

Chuffy – kind of to you and also expanding on TVguy.

Using Adblock is quite low to me. If you don’t like the ads on a site, don’t visit it. A website is essentially private property, and if you cannot play by their rules, then get off.



August 23rd, 2008 at 7:51 pm

I agree 100% Ahmed.

Users that have adblock lead to starving webmasters…When a webmaster has to pay for you, the user, to visit his site (by purchasing bandwidth). Ultimately, he’s letting you view his content.

In a lot of situations, webmasters, without ad revenue, can’t keep their site up and running.

Can’t you simply respect that and accept the ads on HIS site? If you don’t like the ads, simply don’t visit. But block the ads when you still will use his site is horrible.



August 24th, 2008 at 3:49 am

No, Ahmed (and others). It’s got nothing to do with “playing by their rules”. This is your own personal hangup and it’s *your* rule; you’re just applying it to other people and their sites.

The really funny thing about all this is, if I actually believed that I had some moral obligation to any of you people – whether you’re advertisers or bloggers or web site owners – I wouldn’t know what to think. I have no interest in clicking on ads, and you don’t want me doing it just to line a site owner’s pocket, but I’m not allowed to hide those ads either! Yet hiding ads ensures I’m not going to click on them and in doing so harm any poor delicate advertisers. *Chuckle*

What you’re trying to do – both Seth Godin and you people here – is impose (through moral bullying) a code of honour that applies only to the end user – precisely the person you have no control over. I will continue to block whatever content I wish – ads or otherwise – and so will many other people. I suspect many more would too – if they knew they could.

What will this do to web sites? It might wipe them out! It probably won’t. Blogs (for instance) tend to be free to set up and operate and the allure isn’t ad revenue, but the chance for people with chronic alphanumeric diarrhoea to muse aimlessly about why we should do this, why we shouldn’t do that, and what they’re doing with their iPhone. And, of course, a free blog doesn’t get any less free to operate just because the content is actually worth reading.

But what if it does wipe out these web sites? Well, it could usher in a new era of community hosting possibly even with creative new technologies using peer-to-peer networks. Then again, maybe not. Will clicking on ads to “tip” bloggers harm advertisers? Who cares? Hardly anyone. That’s the thing you have to understand.

You need to stop whining about what people should be doing and take a look at what they *are* doing. If what they’re doing doesn’t fit in with your world-view and isn’t compatible with your way of doing business, then the only option is for you to re-evaluate your ways. There’s no point getting preachy when things don’t go your way. It just doesn’t work.

There are many terrible problems in this world that could be solved if ordinary people had both the time and inclination to cooperate yet they remain unsolved. Do you seriously believe that doing your version of The Right Thing while viewing web pages (!!!) is a thought worth entertaining for anyone other than the smug and self-righteous and those swayed by guilt brought on by tedious sermons from officious browbeaters?

Think about that before you tell me how horrible I am again.



August 24th, 2008 at 10:27 am

Chuffy – you seem to be not understanding me.

There are two separate issues.

1. Clicking on ads just to support a website. That is flat out stealing. You are taking a dollar (or much more) from the advertiser and handing it to the publisher for free. That is garbage

2. Ad blocker. Those are ads on *MY* site. If you want to go ad-less – go ahead! I honestly don’t care. But on *MY* site, the ads stay, and if you have a problem with it, go somewhere else. Last time I checked this very blog has no ads. So if you come here with an ad-blocker fine – you see what I expect you to see. But if I did have a site with advertising, you have absolutely no right to remove it.

Your argument is rather circle – “people do it live with it.” The fact is that Seth condoned stealing and I am saying that was rather stupid of him.



August 24th, 2008 at 11:44 am

“Blogs (for instance) tend to be free to set up and operate and the allure isn’t ad revenue”

Webmasters have a right to pay for their website costs through ads. If they choose to do so, they also have full rights to make money using their sites.

Visitors checking MY site cost ME money. I have to pay for server upkeep and bandwidth. The way I pay for this is through placing ads on MY site. That’s how I can afford to let you check my site.

You blocking my ads but viewing my content is rude. Don’t go to a site if your intent is to make the webmaster lose money.



August 24th, 2008 at 12:56 pm

I understand you just fine and have already covered your first issue in my previous posts. I’ll make it clearer for you all the same. If an advertiser pays per click, and I click on an ad, then, whatever my reason for doing so, I’m fulfilling the requirements for the advertiser to pay the site owner. I click, the advertiser pays. Simple. No theft, no violation of some code of chivalry, no problem.

I won’t bore you with silly attempts to justify clicking on ads I’m not interested in – like the fact that I’m actually viewing the advertiser’s content (which is the only sensible purpose of pay-per-click – to expect anything more is just comical). After all, *I* don’t click on ads even if I can see them. Remember?

As for your second issue, well, I also block any JavaScript, Java applets and Flash you might have. In fact, I can rearrange your content in most any way I like. I can just turn off images too (it’s been a standard feature of almost all browsers for many years). I can also use lynx if I want. And I’m not sure you can tell me how *I* can view your content on *MY* computer.

Far from being circular, my argument is very simple and worth considering. This isn’t about theft or violation of “rights”; it’s about you taking responsibility when your users don’t behave the way you expected them to and not trying to force that responsibility on to said users by, in this case, giving them a bucket-full of moral slop.

As I said, you can complain about what people *should* be doing until you’re blue in the face, but if you want to get any closer to a solution, you’ll have to pay more attention to what they *are* doing.



August 24th, 2008 at 1:09 pm

Hany, I don’t ever click on ads, understand? And my intent in using AdBlock is to avoid looking at them.

How can I lose you money if I was never going to click on the ads anyway?



August 24th, 2008 at 7:04 pm

Chuffy, you simply seeing the ad will pay me 0.003-0.005. That money goes to pay for my web hosting so that you can see my site.

You not seeing that ad doesn’t give me any money to pay for you to see the site.

I understand that 0.003-0.005$ is nothing, but what if there are hundreds, thousands, millions like you?

I can only pay for you to view my site if you let me make money by you seeing the ad. Blocking it when you still want to see my site makes me have to pay out of own pocket for you to view that content. That’s how I lose money when my visitors use AdBlock.


Should You Click an Ad to “Support” a Blog? « Portland’s Finest Advertising Blog

August 24th, 2008 at 9:26 pm

[...] 24, 2008 · No Comments Interesting discussion happening in the Comments field at TechSoapbox. It was prompted by a post on Seth Godin’s blog that reads, in part: If every time you read a [...]



August 24th, 2008 at 9:29 pm

Well, Hany, how you pay for your site is not my concern. It’s yours. This goes back to what I said before about the ineffectiveness of complaining about what you think people should be doing. I’m not going to degrade my browsing experience just so an advertiser will pay you $0.003-$0.005 because you decided to use (often very annoying and intrusive) pay-per-impression advertising on your site.

If this is somehow a serious issue for you then clearly you’ll have to do something. Now, there’s an easy way and a hard way to learn that making your users feel like thieves is not the “something” I’m talking about and, not surprisingly, a rather bad idea. I’m trying to make it easy for you and you’re not paying attention.

If this isn’t really a serious issue for you and you’re simply the sort of person who likes to tell people what they should and shouldn’t do, then I doubt there’s much anyone can do to help you. You’re bound to alienate your user base sooner or later – assuming you haven’t already done so.



August 25th, 2008 at 12:31 am

Complaining about what people are doing?

If someone came on your property and crapped – would you be angry? Or would you think “oh well its what people will do”

A website is the same thing. If I want to put ads on *MY* site you can either abide by the ads or get the hell of my site. There is no ifs-buts about that. My property, my rules.



August 25th, 2008 at 6:46 am

I think you’ll find you are mistaken. I’ve gone through this with you several times now and I can’t keep on repeating myself in new and evermore exciting ways, so I’ll just leave it at that.

You don’t get it, you probably never will, and, in the end, all you can do is tell your users to do as you say or shove off – and that can only hurt you.



August 25th, 2008 at 8:45 am

My $0.02 on the two issues under discussion.

1) Encouraging users to click on ads is a violation of the TOS. End of story there.

2) You can’t dictate how I view your site. Sorry. I rely on web ads as well and this is just a reality. If I view your site with my BlackBerry, I don’t get ads either – is that against the ‘rules’?



August 25th, 2008 at 10:51 am

Colin, there’s a big difference between you seeing my site on a Blackberry (where you wouldn’t have a choice to block/view ads) and you actively blocking ads on my site. They may both hurt me but one is not directly your fault and out of your hands.

And I agree with you 100% on the first point you made.



August 25th, 2008 at 12:51 pm

Encoraging people to click on PPC ads is most definitely unethical and against the ToS of Google and every other PPC program I’ve seen.

For people who want to have an online “tip jar” I suggest the following:
1) Amazon’s Honor System
2) Have a link where people can “tip” you directly through PayPal
3) Add PPA (pay-per-action) affiliate links and encourage visitors to “buy from my sponsors”

I especially encourage the win-win-win situation of #3: site owner gets a commission, advertiser gets a sale, site visitor gets a product in addition to tipping the site owner.



August 25th, 2008 at 5:45 pm

Chuffy – I’m not sure *you* can tell me how you can view *MY* content on your computer.

This is the reason why paid posts are getting more and more popular. Shame really.

As for clicking on ads. It is definitely a strange system we have going with the CPC, CPA, CPM models, click/don’t click. It would be nice if only those interested in a particular ad clicked on them, and that there was no need for CPM so we could show ads to only those that “wanted” to see them, but that’s not how things work.

I hate ad blocking software, but for certain ads, I can understand why people use them. Ads shouldn’t take away from a user experience. Shaking ads, oddly animated ads, ads that talk… OI! But a simple static, or two frame gif ad shouldn’t be blocked.

Just my two cents…


Greg Melton

August 26th, 2008 at 12:29 pm

How about CPD (cost per duration) as a viable alternative to CPC, CPA, CPM? We’ve developed a widget which allows anyone to sponsor your content. This can be used in the exact same way as Seth is talking about. If you’d like to tip a site then upload an image and set an amount. Your sponsor runs for 30-days and there is no click-fraud with our system. Everyone wins. The publisher gets an alternative revenue stream and the sponsor get’s promotion, unlimited impressions, and possible click-thrus for 30-days. Great thread!


The Flurry around Seth’s “Ads, Tip Jar” Meme

August 27th, 2008 at 8:46 am

[...] Friday Stupid (from: Tech [...]


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September 12th, 2008 at 3:10 pm

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