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And Adlinks don't bring any money to the table, MFA's do
I think you are confused here. Adlinks is simply another way of showing the same ads. MFA's lower your income. Blocking them will also remove them from the list of ads that show on adlinks pages.
I'd suggest trialling out both adlinks and banners to see what works best for you. Don't get confused by MFA's here - that's an entirely separate issue.
But I was talking about user perspective. Both are the same...
You're right only in a very general way, in the same kind of way that Yahoo and a personal home page are both web sites with information on them.
If someone clicks on an ad for an MFA site, they go expecting a web site with information or a particular product. Often they don't find it. If they click on an adlink, they go to a list of ads much like the ads that appear elsewhere on the publisher's site. If they don't like what they see, in both cases they can back up. But the MFA site may make that difficult, and may obscure the fact that they are mostly looking at ads--many MFA sites I've seen are cleverly set up to look like they have actual content, subdirectories, etc, and it's all just ads. The adlinks ads, on the other hand, are just ads and there is no pretense that they are anything but that.
You may not think the differences are important, but there are differences. I have successfully used an Adlink block in one specific location on my site. I receive many regular visitors and have never had a complaint about it--though I HAVE had complaints about a few ads seen on my site in Adblocks.
If someone clicks on an ad for an MFA site, they go expecting a web site with information or a particular product. Often they don't find it. If they click on an adlink, they go to a list of ads much like the ads that appear elsewhere on the publisher's site.
I strongly suspect that most of the visitors who click AdLink think it is just a part of a navigation bar. Even though "Ads by Google" is there and clealy visible.
I personally find the ads to be a plus for my site. Not only for the income, but because the provide links to information visitors may want that I don't have.
because the provide links to information visitors may want that I don't have.
I read that often here. I think webmasters are trying to convince themselves it's true, but users much prefer "free links", that were put there for their quality.
Let's face it, adlinks are just a lure. At least "normal" ad blocks look different from the rest of the site. A non-web savvy collegue was telling me that yesterday. Before cliking on something, he checks if the link looks like the rest of the site or not. If it's not, he won't click. The more web savvy use google search for info.
Let's face it, adlinks are just a lure. At least "normal" ad blocks look different from the rest of the site.
So don't use them, if you don't like them. But I am not sure that it's true that Adblocks looks so different from the sites on which they appear. On many sites, the Adblocks don't look different either, because they have the site's color scheme. Or do you have yours display in a contrasting color? If you do, I applaud you, because you are sacrificing income for your principles.
I experimented and found that if I displayed the ads in a color scheme that was slightly different from the site's color scheme, then CTR was lower. Not "blending" makes it easy for a visitor to just ignore the ads--and if they don't read them, how can they decide that they are interested, and click?
So I don't think it's immoral to blend. It gets the visitor to look at the ad. What they do next is up to them.
In any case, the distinction that you are trying to make between Adlinks and Adblocks seems to me to be a very fine one.
A non-web savvy collegue was telling me that yesterday. Before cliking on something, he checks if the link looks like the rest of the site or not. If it's not, he won't click. The more web savvy use google search for info.
Sure, there are a lot of people that mistake ads for content on the site. They ain't all that bright, and I don't feel guilty about that. They probably think infomercials are real programs as well.
Then there are people that don't click on anything that they know are ads, like your collegue. That's fine with me as well.
Then there are people like me. I'm about as web-savvy as you can get, and I'm also very consumer savvy. I ill click on an ad just as soon as I will look at on-topic ads in my favorite magazines.
In fact, I followed a link the other day about a new material. The material sounded almost too good to be true, though the prices was not too good to be true. I looked into it and found mention of the material on both NASA and USAF pages. I'm not buying any yet at the current prices, but I am very glad that I followed that ad.
I've also checked out the most popular links clicked on by my site's visitors, and most of them offer up something useful to the visitor that found my page. I've evne bought some products from sites that I have checked this way.
Yeah, some of us really believe that well targeted, quality ads can be a useful addition to a website.
In the same line, when I compare my clicks by firefox users to is a much larger percentage than my percentage of firefox visitors. Wouldn't you think that firefox users would tend to be more web-savvy than your average IE user?
you are sacrificing income for your principles.
Don't be so sure of that. Users who feel confident about the principles you aim for will have more trust in your site ... returning more often, recommending it more often, linking to it more often.
Whatever you might leave on the table in the short term will come back to you in the longer term ... which is the whole point of "principles".
When I compare my site to others in the same niche, it looks relatively ad-free--that overall impression is what counts, I think.
And I do get plenty of return visitors and positive comments and links. I just don't think it's necessary to emphasize that the ads are ads by displaying them in lime green and orange or some other conspicuous color scheme.
The additional income I get by NOT doing that means that I have more time to spend on the site, adding information, answering email, etc. So there are trade-offs. Making more money isn't always a bad thing. Sometimes it makes other things possible.
AdLinks are very profitable for me, probably more profitable than MFA ads. But I was talking about user perspective. Both are the same...
The people that are going to click on the ads are your visitors. As webmaster, you know them best. If you don't think they will like adlinks, then don't use them.
But if you look at the ads showing on an adlinks unit, you may well find that it's simply an extended list of quality advertisers. Some visitors will be looking for additional suppliers / information etc, and adlinks can provide that.
I'm not certain I like the look of them, and I still wonder how on earth they manage to generate decent income, but the ads I've seen I'm happy with, and it generates income without losing visitors to cheapo ringtone clicks.
Adlinks on the other hand is just a unique type ad link. For sure many people confuse them for navigation and Google themselves promote blending to the hilt. But lets face it, the net is full of ads and I've clicked on many myself without realising it. When I don't want to buy, I simply go back to the site I was surfing to find the content I do seek. As more and more people get accustomed to seeing the link units, the confusion factor will decrease and rest assured there will be a new product out to grab your attention. Let's hope Google has it first :-)