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    Want To Go Ad Free?
    By Hank Campbell | April 15th 2010 01:19 PM | 14 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    I will just put this out there to the community to discuss - some people complain about ads.   Granted, the people who complain about ads are probably not working for free and the most vocal critics on other sites who write 'for free' are being paid by tax dollars and using free software that is owned by large corporations.   This is free in the same sense as Wordpress or Blogger.  No one has to buy anything to write here or read here.  

    But Blogger and Wordpress can at least appear to be free so we can make it possible for you to go ad free as well.  If you want to have no ads on your articles, send me a mail.  Since everyone gets paid to write here I will disable payments for each interested columnist and remove ads from their columns.   It will look really barren in two spots so I will put a banner for us or the kids site or some clever insider joke on occasion but it won't be a paid ad.

    Over time, we can also implement an automated system for readers so when people have been here a certain number of times, we give them the option to not see any ads.    People may think it's all evil corporations out there but if I tell advertisers the only people seeing their ads really want to see ads the value of them being here goes up.

    Comments

    logicman
    I'm fine with ads as long as they aren't too intrusive. 

    For me, intrusive is when an ad has to be clicked before I can see the web page,
    an ad that pops up while I am engrossed in reading, and worst of all:
    flashing ads which can cause me instant migraine. 
    Oh yes - they can cause instant epilepsy in sufferers also.
    Hank
    I am okay with ads because I understand something that people with a sense of entitlement do not - free is a myth.   But I also disable ads for us in the office so we don't cheat advertisers by racking up hundreds of impressions per day they have to pay us for so I don't see them as often as others do.

    But I look at each one before they are approved.   We don't have those page takeover things like some sites do because of that.
    Danna Staaf
    I didn't see this post and thread until after we already talked via e-mail, but I figured it was worth adding the viewpoint of someone who's taken the option. Thank you for making it available!

    FWIW, it was the intrusiveness of ads, not their presence, that prompted me to make the choice. Unfortunately, intrusiveness is subjective. On one end of the spectrum is Google's AdWords, which almost no one finds intrusive; on the other end are page takeovers that completely cover the website until you click to close. To me, the Saint Lucia ad that initially popped up and covered this reply box, so I had to click to close before I could type my reply, is too intrusive. Once enough readers wrote to me with the same complaint, I decided it was time to opt out.

    I'm curious--has anyone else taken you up on going ad-free?
    Hank
    Not so far and the option has been around for years.  I doubt it is the money - no one is really getting rich - it may be that because the site gets a small percentage they don't want to penalize Science 2.0, but that wouldn't be much.  I think it's that, like 90% of the features, people don't know about it or don't use it.

    I think some ads can be clever and not intrusive (Adwords only makes money for Google.  If we relied on Adwords the site would make $300 a month and not even be able to pay for a server) but we don't have marketing or a salesperson to go out to large labs or someone selling equipment that pay the big bucks to advertise.  

    The overall audience actually loved that St. Lucia ad - you can tell the difference between a fake response (someone looking for the close button clicks the ad) and a valid response and it was the top response ad for 2011. But we all have different audiences, that is why we give writers the option to not carry any at all.
    Becky Jungbauer
    We get paid? Damn, no more ramen noodles for me! :)
    Hank
    Oh, I am still eating Ramen noodles!
    Gerhard Adam
    You're eating ?!?!
    Mundus vult decipi
    I like Ramen noodles. There easy too. Water, noodles, nuke them in microwave and eat! l like easy when it comes to eating. lol ;-)
    I don't mind ads. Like Patrick said, as long as they're not intrusive, then I don't have a problem with them.
    Ads are OK by me, except popups (and -unders). If I had seen NO advertising here, I would have wondered how SB could stay on the Net. I like to see a visible/viable means of support at a website before I sign on.
    rychardemanne
    Ads are fine - if there's no money coming in then there's not going to be any to pay writers, or pay for the whole website.

    Indeed I've wondered why the Google ad is down in the bottom right corner rather than somewhere more lucrative!

    Surfers have learnt to glide past adverts anyway, so if anybody complains give them the option of an ad-free subscription ;-)
    Hank
    Indeed I've wondered why the Google ad is down in the bottom right corner rather than somewhere more lucrative!
    They aren't there at all now because they were incredibly not lucrative.  No one in a science/tech audience clicks on Google ads so I'd just get rid of ads completely rather than use them for peanuts.  When this site was much smaller some space could be taken up for that little extra money but now it is just free advertising for Google customers so I took it down.
    I am okay with ads because I understand something that people with a sense of entitlement do not --- free is a myth.  
    It's easy to forget that nothing is really free...

    It would actually be nice to have far more advertisers knocking on the Science 2.0 door without compromising the quality of content...I may be dreaming, but there is a prolonged hockey lockout in Canada. I have to ask around to see what my countrymen are doing with all their free time. If we can attract 5% of them to our site and then proceed to scramble all NFL broadcasting signals...---I'm kidding, of course.
    Hank
    The advertising market is pretty bad and the public has made a trade-off this election versus helping people or helping the economy, so advertising is not going to get any better.  When we had half the traffic in 2008, we had 3-4X the ad revenue, which made it easy to justify hiring programmers and to do improvements and such.