Ad Revenue

ClickWhat I’m about to say has nothing to do with this site. The only ads on this site are for Amazon, and I only get money if you actually buy something. And then it is only 4% of the purchase price and that doesn’t include shipping which is often the most expensive part. I’m thinking of taking down the ads. But eventually, when the site is getting more than 1000 unique visitors per day (it is now at around 400), I will start doing regular ads. So what I’m about to say could some day affect me, but that isn’t why I’m talking about it.

Click on ads. And not just once. Click on the ad and click on one of the ad site’s links. Don’t click on an ad and click back. Google (and probably other ad companies) see this as a mistake and don’t credit the site. I also recommend clicking on political ads of things you find really vile. I know the natural tendency is to never click on such ads, but this is wrongheaded. Make them pay a dime for you having had to look at their awfulness.

I’m not telling you to do this as a scam. This is an effort to keep the internet strong. Ad revenue is falling fast. Some have suggested that Facebook is doomed in the long run (ten years). This is very important (but I’m not recommending that you click on Facebook ads—I don’t see Facebook’s demise being bad, but if ad revenue is hurting them, imagine what it is doing to everyone else). But it isn’t the only issue.

Many ads are just like billboards along the highway. For example, I just saw one for Ben & Jerry’s. I know from my own experience with Google AdSense, that at least most websites do not get paid for this ad unless someone clicks on it. Yet it works perfectly as an ad; having seen it, I am much more likely to buy ice cream tonight. So I clicked on the ad. I clicked around their site. I made sure that the website got its dime, but much more important, I made sure that Ben & Jerry’s paid their dime.

Don’t think of clicking on ads as a sign that you’re an easy mark. Think of it as a charitable contribution to making the internet viable. Think of it as a way to support the websites you like. Most of all, think of it as a way of making advertisers pay for the services they receive.

Update (25 July 2012 9:36 pm)

When I was at the grocery store early this evening, I stopped and checked out the ice cream. In particular, I was looking at the Ben & Jerry’s. (People who think advertising doesn’t affect them are fooling themselves.) It was only because I remembered seeing the ad that I decided not to buy any. And I’m regretting it right now!

BTW: Stephen Colbert’s AmeriCone Dream is a very good ice cream. Jimmy Fallon’s ‘Late Night Snack’ is as bad as it sounds. While it is true that I’m kind of a traditionalist when it comes to ice cream, you can trust me: you will like AmericCone Dream; you may not like Late Night Snack; and if you have taste, you will think that it is just weird (but not in a good way).

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

0 thoughts on “Ad Revenue

  1. AmeriCone Dream is Good! The ex-girlfriend’s favorite ;)

    I am, alas, one of those people who loathes ads so much I do everything I can to avoid them actually dictating my comings and goings. Of course the best way for this to work is insulate myself from the most powerful of these (i.e. I don’t watch a lot of TV). As a general rule I also don’t mess with internet ad banners and such.

    But then again, I’ve also had a couple websites where I got to experience the ad thing from the other perspective. Still, I am not about to spend time online just to explore the big wide world of ads. Nonetheless, this is a very interesting post.

    Then again, in trying what you propose, in an effort to help support certain websites (in a way the internet itself as you kinda put it), I have a feeling I might screw it up. So I’ll try it later ;)

  2. A tad off topic, but speaking of the "health" of the internet as a community (or groups of communities), anonymity and pseudonymity, this article is interesting (about trolling):

    I find that anonymity can be a great thing (such as with regard to sites like and harm reduction, making it easier for people to get the help to ensure they practice safe habit, habits which when described by one would otherwise lead to their stigmatization at best and incarcerated at worst; of course I’m speaking of drug use), but of course it’s not simply good. 4chan and BL are two good examples of why anonymity has positives and benefits.

    Also, see this on anonymity and BL:

    -A forum dedicated to totally anonymous posting:
    -"Discussing drugs in public internet forums:"



  3. @Mike – I just noticed your comments. Clearly my idea can only work if no one notices it. If it took off, the system would adjust to it. Kind of like Smith and Neo.

    Truly, I think the web just needs to change its economics. Maybe this is already happening. I see more and more display ads. I don’t know who is getting paid. Probably it is the case that big websites get paid for displaying the ads but small ones only get paid for clicks.

    Also, there is a video ad for every 10 minutes on YouTube. I would think those ought to pay a bit of money.

    As for trolling, I’ve been meaning to write an article on the psychology of trolling because I think what everyone says is wrong. That is, I don’t think it is primarily the anonymity that makes trolls. I think in the modern world people are desperate for a little attention. We are a nation of 300 million "individuals," 99.9% of them all looking at the same 100 people. We are pathetic.

    "You are all individuals!"

    "We are all individuals!"

    "I’m not!"

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