If you don’t use ad block, you’re going to notice some new ad locations on the website this week. If you do use ad block, well, you won’t see them… which is the reason they’re there.
To be clear, that is not a judgement or an accusation. I understand and sympathize with the various reasons to use an ad blocker. Especially since with the ad exchanges, we can’t always control the ads showing up on our site. I’m not going to make some big pitch about the evil of ad block and implore you to disable it; if you choose to use it, that’s your decision and your right. But as a website owner who relies on advertising income, the proliferation of ad blockers and their indiscriminate use has had an unmistakable impact on the way that side of the business functions. And it’s something we have to find ways to deal with.
Let’s get this out on the table right up front: I don’t like the new ads. I don’t really want them on the website, and I’ve yet to decide if they’ll stay. We’re doing a sort of trial with them at the moment so that we can collect hard data on their performance and so I could see them in practice. There’s some garbage at the bottom of the page, and occasionally a video ad in the corner that should not play sound unless you mouse over it.
I don’t like them, but I’m also faced with having to at least seriously consider their use. Advertising income is directly responsible for keeping this site running. I don’t mean that in a “I need to eat so I can keep working” sort of way, although that is certainly part of it. I mean the revenue generated by advertising pays for the server to keep this website online and the personnel to monitor/respond to issues.
And so I’m torn between not wanting to cover my website in ads, and not wanting to leave money on the table, so to speak. Especially now that I have a family to support, I feel added pressure to take steps I might not worry too much about if it were just me alone. It’s hard not to be keenly aware of the percentage of traffic that uses ad blockers, and not wonder if that deficit could be made up at least in part by certain ads that offer a higher payout, even if they are a bit gross.
Ideally, I could convince more people to support the website with $1 a month via Patreon and not even need ads. But that requires active participation whereas placing ads on a page is a passive method of the support; the reader doesn’t have to do anything extra. They’re already loading the page for the comic. They visit the site, and someone else gives me some money.
So, that’s the long and short of it. It’s why ads are there to begin with, and it’s why we’ve added some new ones. Like I said, it may or may not be permanent. Part of me wants them to not be worth it so I can get rid of them, and part of me worries about what the next step is if they don’t work out.
I don’t mind ads. Video autoplay ads, well, I mind a little (mind like HELL if they make noise). And flash ads, well, that’ll look like I block because I no longer have that malware on my system.
I agree with you… right after we installed this code, my second video ad autoplayed sound (some mascara ad). Startled the fuck out of me, and pissed me off. I told Screenwave right away that I was not going to tolerate that. They said it wasn’t supposed to do that, and we reported the ad. Haven’t seen it since. I’m still deciding whether to keep it or not. As I type this, it’s playing the Tomb Raider and Ninjago trailers, which I kind of don’t mind; at least it’s in the ballpark of my demographic. But yeah, overall, advertising is… Read more »
Yeah…seeing that mascara ad this morning. I had to copy paste your post into notepad to read it, because it wouldn’t shut up or stop playing.
Honestly, I don’t mind the ads that were here before. The ads that are here now would make me start using an ad blocker. Not only are they noisily invasive (both audibly and visually) but they’re to some of the worst click bait portions of the web.
Hope the decision for a solution gets easier for you, but I’m going to grab an ad blocker if these are up much beyond a week.
Yep, that dumb mascara ad got me too with the sound. There was one about “talk to dad” or something that I actually watched with sound. So, some ads are good. Other ads just need to die a painful death.
“Let me assure that Hell will seem like a REPRIEVE when I am done with you”
– Black Mage
I don’t mind ads, per se, even the ones that are obnoxious videos with sound, because I keep my phone/tablet on mute. I don’t even notice them most of the time because I guess I’ve become habituated to having ads there. What I do mind are the junk ads that redirect my browser to phishing websites that claim I’ve won a $100 Amazon gift card just because I’m an iOS/chrome/whatever user (first time I visited your site this evening), or the ads that fill my screen and can’t be closed because the little x is covered up by even more… Read more »
Financing web sites by ads is dying. In fact, we are heading for a collapse. It is inherently a dysfunctional system. Ad blockers are not the problem but mostly a response from the immune system. If the revenue from the ads is critical in keeping your web site up, you will probably have to look into a plan B in the future: not right now this moment, but within the next 6-24 months. As I like your work, I want you to be able to deliver comics to me (and others) ;-). Of course this is not possible without money.… Read more »
Ayuh. Need to rip that band-aid off as soon as possible and make internet ads as a concept disappear. Direct-support sites like Patreon are the future.
It certainly seems so. But “Plan B” involves putting all of the content behind a paywall like Patreon. Trading a majority of my readers for the smaller percentage that will pay $1 a month if it’s the only way to get the content. And maybe keeping the website as a once-in-a-while depository of old content.
But I don’t love that idea, and I’d like to stave it off as long as possible :/
I don’t see paywalls as the only Plan B and hope as well, that the content will remain available for anyone. And I wouldn’t mind that I have to pay a bit more so that those who can’t pay still can watch your comics.
A paywall doesn’t really seem like a viable solution because it would mean far fewer new readers, which would probably mean that that smaller percentage would also get smaller over time.
Concur with Martin. That you describe ads as passive monetization is precisely the problem with the industry — I don’t ask to see ads because I don’t want to see ads. If someone wishes to support you, they have the option of purchasing your merchandise and funding you through e.g. Patreon. This doesn’t have to be a paywall, but that’s certainly one way to force readers to declare just how much they value your content.
Just turned off my ad blocker as I do want to support you and, as you said in your post, it is a easy way for me to do it.
Not gonna lie, I don’t like it. But honestly, since you are very clear on your stance, you aren’t going to have total garbage on it.
I will keep the ads on because I want to support you and the work you do as I really do appreciate it!
You’d be helping Tim more by pledging $1/month through Patreon and turning ads back off, seriously. It’s also more than a youtuber makes off of one regular ad-blasted viewer.
Depends on which format I’m viewing the page dictates if I see ads or not (mobile or desktop). But I have seen ads in spots where ads would be.
Maybe make it so a paetron link shows up there if ads are blocked?
I’ve modified my blocker to allow the less offensive ads through on this site. (I’m also a Patreon supporter.)
I’d like to see an option like Penny Arcade where if you are a paid up supporter and logged into the site, then ad’s aren’t shown.
Turned off the ad blocker =)
On Android, your ads regularly redirect me to random scam sites (“your device is infected” or “enter this lottery!!!”) without me clicking anything. I have almost unsubscribed several times because of this. Ads are fine, but please find a service that does some quality control, or people will be quite justified using adblock (or not reading you at all).
Yes, it’s a problem with mobile ads that affects every ad exchange out there. The advertisers submit their ads to the exchange, get approved, and then go back in and ad their malicious script. We do what we can to fight it, but I’ve had it happen to me while visiting all sorts of sites on my phone, large and small. :/
I never installed an ad blocker exactly for the reasons that you stated: I like to “do” something to sustain the authors of the websites that I visit. And I don’t even mind banners and audio/video starting in auto. Unfortunately, what’s really annoying are ads that autoredirect you to some other site; I’m on mobile right now and I had to close the tab and to go back and forth three times because of them, just to be able to read this article…about ads. 😀
I know, we never had that problem before because we never had a mobile-friendly site until a few months ago. Now I’ve learned that mobile platforms are far more susceptible to those sort of hijack ads. :/
For what it’s worth, I had AdBlocker disabled on this site… until one of those video ads popped up just now. I want to let the ads through and support the site, but also, I despise video ads, and never want to see them, hear them, or encourage their use. :/
I understand completely. I don’t want to be in the position of inflicting ads on people either. But it’s a tough balancing act, providing content for free and then *hoping* you get paid for your time/work after the fact.
It’s hard because I really do want to support the comics I read but my work computer runs 4 monitors on a business 512mb card, it can barely handle scrolling an image let alone any sort of animation. Some of the ones I read (not this one) I’ve had to re-enable it or just stop reading the comic entirely because the page was unusable. Trouble with Ad-Block Plus is I don’t think you can whitelist a site then blacklist certain ads on it… If it does end up affecting my work computer I will look deeper into it. I have… Read more »
Tim I wouldn’t lose any sleep over it. It’s sad when art and creativity has to deal with the greed and callousness of corporate business. I don’t use an ad blocker because it interferes with my work (at souless-corporatation) and ads have never bother me while I have enjoyed your creativity, at home or at the office. Do whatever you need to do to keep doing what you’re doing! I hope I speak for all of us when I say: We understand.
When I came to this page to read the post a video ad auto-played WITH sound. Personally video ads are my least favorite. The junk at the bottom I can live with.
Did you happen to catch the brand being advertised? Those are not supposed to auto play sound, and if the ad network can’t guarantee us they won’t, I’m not even going to consider the video ads.
I did not, sorry. But when coming back to this a (different) video ad played but WITHOUT sound. So maybe I had moused over it accidentally?
Just coming to read this site, I got a video add with sound. I don’t block adds, but I do have a tendency to stay away from sites that use these type of adds, as they destroy the user experience. I saw this question from you, so I reloaded to see what the product was… The most offensive that I saw was “Lash Sensational”. The other issue I have with these type of adds is when you roll your mouse over them, they take that as permission to start the sound. This behavior is reprehensible from an add perspective. I… Read more »
Yes. Lash Sensational, by Mabelline. That’s the one I got too. As I said in a comment above, if the network can’t guarantee silence, we’re not going to even consider it.
I’ve turned my ad-blocker off… But I have to say if these really intrusive ads continue then I’ll turn it on again. I can see it’s going to be a tough balancing act but at the end of the day I do recognise I am consuming a service that is free at the point of contact. Thanks for the great comic!
Maybelline Lash Sensation mascara is auto-playing sound. I hit Reload about 10 times. Toilet paper, Gillette and yogurt commercials are fine. Each time the Maybelline ad plays a lady toting “TODAY, I HAVE THE BEST MASCARA…”, while a jet airline engine starts warming up into a club-step beat. Unleash the kraken on them.
Yeah, that’s the one I’ve gotten too. We’ve reached out to see what can be done. If nothing can be done, fuck those ads then.
The Kraken Shall be Unleashed.
For me the main ad I don’t like (outside of the usual sound-based ones) are ads that track your view as you scroll down and follow. If it’s pinned to the side or at the very bottom, fine. But having that corner ad follow me wherever I go is, well creepy.
(small idea: if comments are automatically expanded, that pushes the bottom-most ads away from us! Hooray!)
Oh and also ads that actively change the layout of the website, either when they load in or worse, AFTER and abjectly push the content I’m trying to read/click on away. IGN used to be terrible with those!
I run AdBlock on Chrome, and while I’ve whitelisted this site, I still don’t see any ads. I’m not (at this time) a Patreon supporter, so that’s not the cause either.
Since this site almost never work in my safari and my feedly can’t pick the pictures, I have to manually copypaste the address to Chrome every time you post. So I just disabled its ad blocker for your domain. Hope it helps.
maybe look into going to line webtoon or tapas. i know with tapas they have a rotation of free comics that you can read that are behind a “paywall”, you should really look into something like that.
I’m personally perfectly fine with ads, as long as they’re not sexually explicit or gratuitously violent in any way. Seeing as this site is run by someone who -actively cares- about the ad content on it, I’m pretty happy. I’m not generally able to support a site financially, and so being able to do a tiny bit by providing ad views is only right.
I’d much rather have CAD with ads at the bottom of a page than no CAD, that’s for sure.
This is going to sound silly, but is there anything I can do to actively INCREASE the amount of ad revenue that you get from my visit? Say, like reading through a bunch of older pages or hitting “refresh” a bunch of times or something? Or would that just be increasing the amount of bandwidth? If ad clicks help, I don’t mind clicking onto the header or sidebar ads by Baby Gap or Geico or stuff; but pretty much everything from Taboola on the bottom makes me wary.
Could be just because I’m running Linux, but the video ads are definitely playing audio on page load.
That said, do what you have to to keep going. I can’t pay regularly for the pleasure of this comic. If I’m a little inconvenienced, but it helps you stay running, then I’m more than happy to have the inconvenience.
I’m someone who keeps blocking ads because I’ve had enough with the annoying video ads and web pages slowing down. I also contribute to your Patreon.
In my opinion, you should consider having a “background”, so to speak, behind the ads, that users only see when blocking ads, that promotes your Patreon. Something like Nexus mods.
I don’t mind passive ads but I can’t stand ones that make noise when you go to a site. I am paetron subscriber for you (and a number of other sites) to make up for my aggressive use of adblockers. (I am using versions of adblockers I doubt you have ever heard of, and as a result see no new ads on this page). If everyone would go back to passive ads people like me would stop using adblockers (I know that everyone wouldn’t.) Fair warning, if the new ads somehow slip through and make noise, I will stop coming… Read more »
I use NoScript to block scripts. There’s absolutely no reason for an ad to run scripts unless it’s trying to be intrusive, annoying, or nefarious. All an ad really needs is an image, and a referral link. Everything else they have to do can be run server side. The ad companies only have themselves to blame. I don’t skip ads on TV, or YouTube very often, because they’re within the context of the content I’m viewing. By marketing modern internet ads to customers using how annoying and intrusive they are as selling points, they’re the ones driving people to ad… Read more »
Sadly, even if I did try to turn off all of my ad-blocking for here, I’m fairly sure it wouldn’t make a difference. I’ve been hit by malware pretty hard in the past from ads, and so I run a pretty stout combination of ad-blockers and script-blockers (AdBlock Plus, uBlock Origin, Ghostery, and NoScript) because I’m not letting it happen again. It’s not because I don’t want to support sites (trust me, if ads weren’t used as a malicious infection vector, I’d put up with most of them.) but because I don’t like re-installing Windows and making “the phone call”… Read more »
Goodness gracious, anything but that!
Aren’t you big enough now for sponsored ads? A few of my goto’s do this, and I don’t mind, since I know they’ve been vetted and probably don’t contain malware. What they do is basically have a splash background on the front page, and a banner ad leading to an on-site article about the advertisement. Positive aspects: – Fixed “income” – Little risk (as long as you have sponsors) – No bloat or malware (unless you make it so) – Aimed at your audience, which improves outcome for your sponsor. Negative aspects: – More manual work and public relations Your… Read more »
We do those too, but they’re becoming less and less reliable as the exchanges become the go-to method for bidding on bulk, low CPM ad space on a variety of sites it seems. I’m not directly involved with that sort of stuff, that’s what Screenwave does, but it does seem that hoping to rely just on sponsored, direct buy campaigns doesn’t seem as viable anymore.
Can I not feel guilty about having you ad-blocked if I give on Patreon?
Ad block away 🙂 I appreciate that you support my work in whatever way works for you.
I use Adblock Plus but I turn it off for sites as I deem needed. I have shut it off for this one 🙂 I was unaware of Patreon and honestly I kind of fell off my religious reading after the main story line went out a while back, it appears it is back now and I need to play catch up as well. Always loved your work and excited to go back and recap the story and then jump back in!
“and occasionally a video ad in the corner that should not play sound unless you mouse over it.” Unfortunately that’s not the case, I just had one that popped up in the corner and started playing a video with sound on its own. I only put my mouse over there to close it. And sorry, I didn’t pay attention to which brand it was, I just heard unwanted sound and went for the close button. I’ve had my AdBlocker disabled on this site for years because ads like that didn’t exist here. Today I’m turning it on. I have an… Read more »
Immediately turned off my adblocker for this site!
Didn’t even know there were supposed to be ads until this page.
As has been stated previously, the biggest ad problem (in my opinion) is the distance between the “You May Like” and the “Join the conversation”. I don’t want to risk slipping and clicking on a garbage clickbaited virus if I am trying to get to the comments section.
Otherwise, I don’t really mind except for the auto sound players. I just keep my eyes on the black area
By the way this is a great use of getting a response and opinion from readers.
Ad Block Plus has a default setting to allow non intrusive ads through. Have you considered making sure your ads are considered non intrusive so they are displayed even with the ad blocker enabled?
Know I’m a little late to the game, but I wanted to at least share with you the fact that your point here made me sign up for Patreon. I just installed an ad blocker on my home network and I enjoy your content enough that I honestly didn’t want to see you lose income over my decision.
So thank you for your work, I’ve never had cause for complaint
It’s appreciated, Hunter 🙂
I’ve been around here for a long while and I love to support sites by whitelisting good advertisers. I subscribe to a whitelist purposefully aimed at allowing good ads through and I’ve never seen one here. I’m sure that doesn’t mean that the ads that would normally be here are crap, but I might suggest that you work with your advertising platform to have them meet the requirements laid out for whitelist inclusion and get their ads included in the whitelist (the guidelines are here: https://adblockplus.org/acceptable-ads#criteria .) I’ve found that allowing acceptable ads actually has lead to me seeing ads… Read more »
Tim, I’m a supporter of you on Patreon but I also went ahead and disabled my ad blocker on this site to give you a little more support. However, if the ads get unruly (autoplay, high CPU usage), I will have to consider re-enabling the ad-blocker…but I won’t remove my support for you on Patreon.
I completely understand, Dave. I appreciate your support of my work in whatever form works for you 🙂
Hey Tim, I disabled adblock for the site, been too big a fan for years not to want to give a hand if I can :).
I just disabled adblock on this site so I can help out, even if just a bit. As long as the ads aren’t ridiculously obtrusive, I don’t mind them.
Dude. Whatever you gotta do to make a decent living is fine with me. I know where the “mute tab” option is. If you can support your family while making stuff I love to read, that’s great. If someone else is gonna pay it instead of me, that’s even better.
Have you considered more heavily marketing your Patron? I’m not sure about others, but doing something like The Guardian does on their website made me set up a subscription with them. If you have not seen it, at the bottom of each article it gives a blurb about how dependent they are on donations in order to not have to set up a paywall. As long as you don’t make it too intrusive (no more intrusive then current ads) that might be a way to pad Patrons a bit. As it is, unless you are a supermassive fan, you are… Read more »
Hey Tim, I know you will probaly not see this but the moment I saw that you were using ads, I turned mine off. Just wanna tell you that that’s the first time I’ve ever done that for any website. I also don’t care about ads.
Oh. I clicked this thinking it was a link for sponsors to advertise with you. Whoops
Congrats, you probably just made 15$ more a month because of the good caring people who have decided to sign up for patreon. 😀