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I agree. Here's the link - kvetch

Tom Martin
Greenhorn

Joined: Oct 09, 2009
Posts: 5
OK, so the site needs to support itself. Got no complaint with ads.
And I've always liked the site, been ghosting thru here for years.
But this 'I agree here's the link' thing at the bottom of every thread is a little on the shady side IMHO.
It looks like a link elaborating the thread, but wastes my time with something irrelevant.
I think it undermines Javaranch's credibility ... not to mention it's annoying to get tricked by it ....

-tom

Joanne Neal
Rancher

Joined: Aug 05, 2005
Posts: 3599
    
  15
More importantly - I would have thought it was self defeating.
To me it looks like a spam post and anything that looks like spam gets ignored which is probably not what the advertiser wants.
It would be interesting to hear if there is any difference between the response rate to these and the normal ads.


Joanne
paul wheaton
Trailboss

Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20583
    ∞

Response rate to a banner at the top: about 0.04%

Response rate to the one liner at the bottom: about 4%

Further, the stuff at the bottom strikes me as less obnoxious, smaller and clearly a link to a product.

Further still, all of the products are excellent and for developers: Aspose file libraries, JRebel dev environment enhancement, LearnNow self-ed for programming. JProfiler - what an excellent tool.

Other sites will have 30 ads per page - and half of them are flashing. And some sites insist to get more information you have to click, but half the time what you click on fires up some popunder or popover. Some sites have hovering "sign up for our email" stuff - you can't see the content until you sign up.

And here's something that probably isn't known: my day job has become telling people "no". "We want to buy CodeRanch for $400" "No". "We want to put pup ups on CodeRanch all year for $400." "No." "We want to own all of your advertising slots to put advertising there at our whim and we will pay you, uh, 'money'" "No."

I call the little ads after the last post "DX1". I think DX1 is excellent. You know it is an ad. If you don't want to go there, don't go there. On the other hand, I would like to ask everybody to support our sponsors. Give their stuff a look - and a thought. Be aware that their stuff exists.

But most of all: i want to encourage people to check out Aspose. Because they have been a regular sponsor for many years, and when I talk to the Aspose guy on the phone, it is a huge pleasure to talk to a normal, rational person after a day of saying "no" to nasty screwballs.



permaculture Wood Burning Stoves 2.0 - 4-DVD set
Joanne Neal
Rancher

Joined: Aug 05, 2005
Posts: 3599
    
  15
paul wheaton wrote:Response rate to a banner at the top: about 0.04%

Response rate to the one liner at the bottom: about 4%

Interesting. Guess I shouldn't look to switch to a career in marketing.

paul wheaton wrote:You know it is an ad. If you don't want to go there, don't go there.

Yes I know it's an ad, but how do I know if I want to go there or not.
Currently you have an ad at the top that says 'Build amazing java Web applications', so I know it's from someone who produces a tool for building web applications. So if I'm looking for such a tool, I know I probably should go there.
At the bottom, you have a link to JRebel. No indication of what JRebel might be. How do I know if I want to take a look ?

Based on the response rates you quote, it would appear folks around here are more curious than I am.
paul wheaton
Trailboss

Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20583
    ∞

Where DX1 is right now: we used to run adsense banners there. I like DX1 about a hundred times more than adsense.

Thanks to DX1: all adsense has been removed from CodeRanch.

Another fun fact: it turns out that black hat SEO outfits come to CodeRanch, pretend to click on our banners at the top, but instead of doing a 302 to the advertiser, they do a 302 to somebody else. Thus convincing somebody that there is traffic coming from CodeRanch. That was an ugly two weeks.


paul wheaton
Trailboss

Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20583
    ∞

How do I know if I want to take a look ?


And this is CodeRanch.

If you were on some lessor site, the link could take you to some virus and spyware infested site to try and convince you to play their casino games.

You know CodeRanch. What is going to be the worst possible scenario on the other side of that link? Maybe it will be Ruby on Rails instead of Java? Maybe it will be something about one of my other sites instead of about programming?


dennis deems
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 12, 2011
Posts: 808
What you say is contradictory: if you believe we know they are ads, then why go to the trouble of making them look like forum posts? I'm with Joanne. I clicked on the zkoss banner ad because I was interested in their product. I clicked on the fake-post footer ad by accident, thinking it was a forum post. You know the saying, fool me twice? Well you fooled me once. And you successfully trained me never, ever to click on another fake-post footer ad on your site.
paul wheaton
Trailboss

Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20583
    ∞

Dennis Deems wrote: And you successfully trained me never, ever to click on another fake-post footer ad on your site.


I'm fine with that.

So now I have happy advertisers. The site is leaner and cleaner. And you go about enjoying CodeRanch all you want the way that you are comfy.

I'm having a hard time seeing the downside here.
Joanne Neal
Rancher

Joined: Aug 05, 2005
Posts: 3599
    
  15
Dennis Deems wrote:I clicked on the fake-post footer ad by accident, thinking it was a forum post.

Maybe that's the reason for the higher response rate. The novelty factor. It will be interesting to see a comparison in 6 months or a year when people are more used to them.
paul wheaton
Trailboss

Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20583
    ∞

As for fake post: who is the author of the fake post? What time was it posted? Where is the button to quote the post, or to report it?

I think our regulars will see that there is a lean, clean ad where the other ads used to be. It is clearly an ad and not a fake post.

But if somebody just uses CodeRanch for answers, and they just click as fast as they can on the link at the bottom of the thread without reading it. Then they will learn about one of our excellent advertisers. I'm happy. The advertiser is happy. And people that just want to grab and run might now take a moment to actually read our site.

All is good.
Pushkar Choudhary
Rancher

Joined: May 21, 2006
Posts: 425

paul wheaton wrote:Response rate to a banner at the top: about 0.04%

Response rate to the one liner at the bottom: about 4%


I wonder if some of those additional clicks are because of people tricked (not intentionally by JR) into thinking that this link could be an extension of the discussion, like the OP mentioned?
dennis deems
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 12, 2011
Posts: 808
paul wheaton wrote:It is clearly an ad and not a fake post.


Disingenuous. "I agree. Here's the link" is not advertising copy.
paul wheaton
Trailboss

Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20583
    ∞

I like the idea that the good people that come here and participate in discussions think that CodeRanch is the best place in the world to talk about software engineering.

At the same time, we get people that google for some obscure topic, come here, get their information and leave. They don't say "hi" and they don't help the rest of us to build a greater understanding of good software engineering. They come, they use, and they go. I'm glad that they found value here. I'm glad that the ideas here can be of use to others and to influence the greater software engineering community. And, at the same time, it sorta feels a bit like they could have said "thanks!" or even "nope - not what I'm looking for." They come, get what they want, and poof! They're gone.

Did you see the fly go up the moose's nose? I made that! Did you see our FAQ? How about sharing a rude joke in our "meaningless drivel" forum a bit later?

Nope. They are gone.

I have watched people do this. Google; find words words in first post to verify problem match; scroll down and click on anything.

This approach seems rather disrespectful of the community. So now I rather enjoy the thought that these people are getting lots of exposure to our rather excellent advertisers. I actually giggle a little bit.

Tricked? When you take a good look at it, i think it is CLEARLY an ad. A simple, clean teeny tiny ad. But if a person doesn't take the time to look, I can see how they might click on it. But I would not call it "tricked".

I suppose if some horrible criminal attempted to rape a woman, only she turned out to be a dude that was up for it, I suppose the rapist could say "that's not fair, you tricked me." And the comedy of this is funnier if the dude has a mustache and is wearing a t-shirt that says "I'm a dude."



dennis deems
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 12, 2011
Posts: 808
paul wheaton wrote:I'm having a hard time seeing the downside here.


The down side for me is that somebody tricked me, so I trust them less than I did before.
paul wheaton
Trailboss

Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20583
    ∞

Dennis Deems wrote:
paul wheaton wrote:It is clearly an ad and not a fake post.


Disingenuous. "I agree. Here's the link" is not advertising copy.


I wrote that.

So let me see if I understand this: you clicked on this, and read something about one of our excellent advertisers. So now, you will never click on a DX1 again because i wrote something where I agreed with everybody/anybody, and and then provided a link to http://aspose.com/file-tools - and on the other side of the link as file tools by aspose.

So the experience was so awful, that you need to take the time to tell me how terrible it was. And you would like for me to remove these ads because you might click on it again? And then .... learn about another excellent, on topic product?

Because of my amazingly attractive prose that does not sound like advertising copy?
paul wheaton
Trailboss

Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20583
    ∞

Dennis Deems wrote:
paul wheaton wrote:I'm having a hard time seeing the downside here.


The down side for me is that somebody tricked me, so I trust them less than I did before.


I tricked you. That turned out to be a pretty weak trick. Is that all it took to trick you - to change the wording on the ad?

don't you hate it when you are watching a movie and then the movie doesn't end the way you thought it would?

dennis deems
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 12, 2011
Posts: 808
paul wheaton wrote:So the experience was so awful, that you need to take the time to tell me how terrible it was.


I'm not taking the time to tell you how terrible the experience was of clicking on a link. I'm taking the time to tell you that I agree with the OP: in my opinion those ads undermine Java Ranch's credibility.


And you would like for me to remove these ads because you might click on it again?


I know you don't care about that, and in your place I probably wouldn't either. I don't even really care that much: I clicked once, now I won't, the end. I never said you should remove the ads.


Because of my amazingly attractive prose that does not sound like advertising copy?


Because of its position at the bottom of a thread, on the same background color as the other thread posts, horizontally aligned to the other thread posts.
paul wheaton
Trailboss

Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20583
    ∞

Another odd note.

When I started this site, I wanted universal happiness for everybody. And I realized that people would tell me what i have to do. Because it was what they wanted. And other people would tell me and opposite thing and use "have to" also. Awkward. I changed my tactic. Rather than trying to please everybody, I simply do what I think is best and embrace that some people will like it and some won't.

Back in 2000, our banner at the top said something like "look, a real life advertiser! They gave us money and everything! Please look at their stuff!" and people clicked like crazy. As the years passed, people got used to ignoring the banners. Oh well.

Now I'm a cranky old guy that perpetually tries to find ways to get stuff to work out. Where the good guys win and the bad guys are sad.

Frankly, I am thinking of going to the goodwill and buying a discarded bowling trophy, and putting a yellow sticky note on the front that says "DX1 is a great idea" and presenting it to myself. (yes, I really am that obnoxious and arrogant)

I'm not surprised people want to have all the CodeRanch candy and no DX1. It's good to want things. Want away. And you should want to win the lottery. And want a piece of really good pie.

For me, DX1 makes all sorts of things right as rain. It is a huge positive. And I like that it is different from regular advertising. And I like that my advertisers like it SOOOOOO much. I always looked at advertising as a dirty thing until DX1.

paul wheaton
Trailboss

Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20583
    ∞

dennis said: "I agree. Here's the link" is not advertising copy.

It turns out it totally is advertising copy.

dennis said: in my opinion those ads undermine Java Ranch's credibility.

minor point: there is no DX1 on JavaRanch. Just on CodeRanch.

I would argue the credibility point, but you properly qualified your statement as "in my opinion" - so I can't touch it.

dennis said: Because of its position at the bottom of a thread, on the same background color as the other thread posts, horizontally aligned to the other thread posts.

The exact position, background color and alignment we have used for a decade. And the ads we put there were largely ignored. And the color of that spot is slightly darker.

In a nutshell: the people that respect this site and notice changes have gotten used to that being a spot for ads. People that look first to see who wrote the post before reading the post will see that this is an ad. People who look first to see when the post was written, will see that it is an ad. People that don't care who the author is, nor when it was written ... might click on a link without even reading the URL. I'm having a really hard time working up a tear for them.

Oh no: did my web site save you a hundred hours of frustration, and then you "wasted" ten seconds learning about an excellent advertiser related to your development stuff? Did it turn out that the product was actually really good and you might actually use it? .... maybe if i put water on my face in just the right spot, it will look like I'm weeping.



paul wheaton
Trailboss

Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20583
    ∞

Regulars quickly figure out "it's an ad" and treat it as such.

The grab-and-run people will probably figure it out too. Like Joanne said - it will be interesting to see what the stats are in a few months.


paul wheaton
Trailboss

Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20583
    ∞

I think this is a good time to point out that other sites like CodeRanch have sold their souls to the highest bidder - in fact the sites have been sold and now some ad whore agency runs the site to make the most money.

Note that this site has always had hardly any ads. And there has been a strong focus on the ads being on topic and moderately low key.

We have never done a survey. We have been hounded by potential advertisers to do surveys. Never.

Finally, I wish to make it clear: I know that these concerns that are raised in this thread would never be raised at those other sites, because ad-whoring is expected. And that people raise these concerns here because this site is held to a much higher standard. Much higher.

While there might be a few that think that we have lowered our standards a pinch, I think we have a raised our standards a lot. No more adsense. Lean, clean teeny-tiny ads. In an era where things have gotten uglier, I think we have found a better path. I think we are blazing a trail for community awesomeness.
Darryl Burke
Bartender

Joined: May 03, 2008
Posts: 4571
    
    5

I agree with Paul. Anyone who still thinks DX1 ads are obnoxious should read this thread on another forum.

db


luck, db
There are no new questions, but there may be new answers.
Tony Docherty
Bartender

Joined: Aug 07, 2007
Posts: 2297
    
  49
I also agree with Paul. In a perfect world there would be no need for advertising unfortunately this isn't and there is.

Having spent a number of years on another forum that went from minimal ads to ads taking the right-hand 20% of screen estate to ads that popped up over half the screen if you moved your mouse anywhere near them to my final pet hate of double underlined links which popup on hover splattered liberally throughout every post I find the ads here to be mercifully small and unobtrusive.

Someone/something has to pay for hosting/running/maintaining this site. This site that we all benefit from. So rather than complaining about clicking on a link you didn't really want, think of it as helping to keep this site up and running. In fact each and everyone one of us should make it our responsibility to occasionally click on these links to keep the money coming in or we could end up in a few years time posting about how good it was in the days when there were only DX1 ads to worry about.

paul wheaton
Trailboss

Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20583
    ∞

Darryl Burke wrote:I agree with Paul. Anyone who still thinks DX1 ads are obnoxious should read this thread on another forum.

db


Here are my favorite parts:

22) Both threads were started at almost the exact same time. On CodeRanch, you got a rich discussion within hours. Including from the site owner. At the other site, there has still been no response.

23) At the other site, the content of the thread occupies about 10% of the page real estate. On CodeRanch it's about 95%.

24) On this site, the concern is with six words. On the other site, loud sound from an ad comes over the speakers when you open the page. If you load several pages, the voices are competing with each other.

Here is a disturbing tidbit: Their home page has a pagerank of 6 while ours has a pagerank of 5. Therefore, their site is roughly six times bigger than ours. Bummer.
Steve Fahlbusch
Bartender

Joined: Sep 18, 2000
Posts: 562
    
    7

While there might be a few that think that we have lowered our standards a pinch, I think we have a raised our standards a lot. No more adsense. Lean, clean teeny-tiny ads. In an era where things have gotten uglier, I think we have found a better path. I think we are blazing a trail for community awesomeness.


Let me say that i am one of the non-few - i personally think what you are doing is great and your approach has always been first-rate, first-class and more importantly in the best interest of not only the site but also those of us that use the site.

As to tricking me into clicking on the links..... as soon as i saw them, i clicked as to see what was being advertised. And there have been many, many times that i have recommended a product (or other) to my clients, students or my company based on the links..... these are part of being a professional in this field, to have recommendations to issues.

But saying that I still want a great piece of pie.

-steve
Dylan Foster
Greenhorn

Joined: Mar 02, 2013
Posts: 1
This thread was worth it just to see the add on the bottom after reading it all... And btw I'm with Paul
Campbell Ritchie
Sheriff

Joined: Oct 13, 2005
Posts: 39044
    
  23
Welcome to the Ranch Dylan Foster
B Glover
Greenhorn

Joined: Mar 14, 2013
Posts: 3
I just navigated my way here after discovering the "Head First" series, which is utterly brilliant. (But...eeek, that "I agree" ad really is awful. Have you tried a "Donate" button?)
paul wheaton
Trailboss

Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20583
    ∞

That's a thought. How much are you thinking of donating?
B Glover
Greenhorn

Joined: Mar 14, 2013
Posts: 3
Only a fiver. How much does the ad earn per year?
Jason Wyatt
Greenhorn

Joined: Oct 03, 2002
Posts: 2
Just another 2c... I can understand your point of view Paul, I was wondering however, if the ads could be done in the same way, but without the "I agree. Here's the link..."?

It's a bit like having someone come up to you and a friend while you're having a technical conversation, they listen for a bit, then say "I agree. Here's a product which does what you're talking about", then giving you a pizza flyer.

I guess the advertisers are happy, because they are sending out heaps of flyers, so they get paid. And the guy handing out flyers gets paid, so he's happy. But I wonder whether the pizza company would really be happy, as it would possibly be undermining their image?
paul wheaton
Trailboss

Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20583
    ∞

Jason,

I see that this is your first post. I'm sorry that the threads about software engineering did not seem interesting enough to you to be rewarded with your first post.

In your analogy, I think it would be more accurate to say that you and your friend are standing next to a pizza shop and you have decided to not go in. After all, you are familiar with this street and this pizza shop. And then a third person runs up, finds out that they are interested in your conversation, because they are, at this moment, very interested in this topic. They cannot be bothered with the depth of your conversation so they then decide that better information must be inside the pizza shop - so they go in. Only to discover that the only thing in the pizza shop is pizza. So then then come back out of the pizza shop and actually listen to the conversation.

Since this is your very first conversation here, and this topic seems to be of concern to you, then I suspect that the roll of the guy going into the pizza shop was played by you.
Jason Wyatt
Greenhorn

Joined: Oct 03, 2002
Posts: 2
Sorry, you're right, I shouldn't voice suggestions in my first post here, even if on-topic and meant to be constructive. Please ignore, or feel free to delete.

The thread caught my attention as it's something I've wondered about. I also feel your pain because I face similar problems as a website manager, with hosting costs but limited incoming revenue to cover it. I was just wondering if you'd tried using the same advertising mechanism, with all the positive benefits, but without the aspect of "I agree".

Incidentally, our company did trial jrebel, and we ended up buying licenses too. I found out about it through your site many years ago. So the advertising worked in our case and worked quite well, because we hadn't heard of jrebel before, and it offered a solution to the persistent compile-test-edit-compile delays most Java developers face. So it is quite effective at getting their name out there.
Jeanne Boyarsky
author & internet detective
Marshal

Joined: May 26, 2003
Posts: 30580
    
154

Jason Wyatt wrote:Incidentally, our company did trial jrebel, and we ended up buying licenses too. I found out about it through your site many years ago. So the advertising worked in our case and worked quite well, because we hadn't heard of jrebel before, and it offered a solution to the persistent compile-test-edit-compile delays most Java developers face. So it is quite effective at getting their name out there.

Cool. It's nice to hear that instance worked out well!


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Ashish Ramteke
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 24, 2012
Posts: 86
    
    1
Hi! I read some replies from the top here, some from the last. I didn't think of the ad-line as something I was to be tricked into... I was curious about it at the start here. I am saying about the ad-line- "I agree. Here's the link: (link)". I thought of it as quite a humorous, nice ad-line.
I am starting with Java mainly and I am yet to get certified, but quite soon will give a certification exam. When I was new here, I used to think of the things in that link in the ad-line as, like, 'hmm.., those may be the things that professionals would be needing.' I used to think of it like, 'Yes, I agree, there has to be a better thing to get that problem solved, so here's the link: ', didn't think of it as tricky. From the title of this post, I thought that it would be quite a funny post, with many people adding replies making it a 'sticky' post. But, when I read, it looked as serious... But, it was good and nice to read, and nice to read posts from the (our) trailboss!
Thanks!


Good day..! :-)
Tony Docherty
Bartender

Joined: Aug 07, 2007
Posts: 2297
    
  49
Hi Ashish,
Glad to hear you're enjoying your time on the ranch and good luck with your certification exam.
Ashish Ramteke
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 24, 2012
Posts: 86
    
    1
Hi Tony Docherty!
Thanks for the wishes!
J Oliver
Greenhorn

Joined: Oct 28, 2011
Posts: 2
Interesting thread. I found my way here because I was annoyed with the "I agree..." message. Not because it is an ad, but rather I thought it was some outsider who scammed a very useful website to get free advertizing. Now that I know it is CodeRanch simply keeping the lights on, use whatever phrase gets the most click traffic. For me personally, I think honesty is the best policy: "Help us keep the lights on. Click this link once in a while and learn about something new: ____"
kenny cason
Greenhorn

Joined: Aug 07, 2013
Posts: 1
I actually regularly refer to Code Ranch, but just finally created an account to give some feedback.

I was just talking wtih my friends about spammy advertising and I told them "You know one tool i'll never use? It's JRebel because they spam forums with comments prefixed with "I agree. Here's the link"." They then asked me what JRebel does and I said I don't know and I don't care, I don't like spammers. Then I came to show them the example and upon further examination I realized that it was an advertisement. I would be really careful about prefixing the ad with "I agree. Here's the link." I personally think it's disingenious to prefix it this way as it frames the advertisers into looking like spammers.

I think we are all open to honest advertisement. In fact, Facebook regularly gets my click throughs of genuine interest because they are relevant. I just found an interesting analytics company today through FB ads.
I feel that already have the attention of programmers, and on the Java forums, you have the attention of Java programmers, so they would already be welcome to good, quality genuine ads for java tools.

Now that I finalllly know it was Code Ranch that added the "I agree. Here's the link" I will finally check out JRebel.
Tim Holloway
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Jun 25, 2001
Posts: 16091
    
  21

The other day, I was reviewing a thread and the bottom 3 items on the list were 2 copies of spam and the "I agree" ad. They all looked of a set.

I, too dislike ads that come in under false pretences, and have complained about what it does to our image as a respectable resource for technical assistance (ratty old moose nothwithstanding).

But I'm told that the bloody things do get business.

They just won't get mine.


Customer surveys are for companies who didn't pay proper attention to begin with.
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://aspose.com/file-tools
 
subject: I agree. Here's the link - kvetch