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In these searches, I'm finding an alarming trend. It's one thing to monetize a site, we all have bills to pay. But lately I'm finding that actual content is so crowded out it's a fraction of a site's real estate. Just today I was on a site, in frames, surrounded by affiliate ads, adSense, buy now's, and all sorts of other gizmos, with the actual content reduced to a meager 4" X 6" space scrolling in a frameset.
Is anyone else bothered by this? Do you think a site's value to the site owner is improved or degraded by an overuse of commercialism?
Off to my tiny corner of the 'net . . . .
Is anyone else bothered by this?
Do you think a site's value to the site owner is improved or degraded by an overuse of commercialism?
I firmly believe it is degraded. The more bells and whistles, the more degraded it becomes. Not only from a visual standpoint but from a performance one too.
Also, too many distractions are responsible for that "back button" click and high bounce rates.
Yep. Too many ads- I'm outta there. Blinking graphics- See ya. Moving interstitials- Gone.
For many, copy serves one purpose. It provides a place to hang ads. Write just enough copy to support targeting. Make sure to target every permutation of a phrase. The ads become the content. The copy is an afterthought. Visitors are given no consideration. Except as clicks. Copy isn't written for the visitors, it's simply written to herd them to the page.
I've taken to calling it 'carnival copy'. Much like a carnival barker's pitch, the only goal is to get the visitors in the tent to see the bearded lady or the leopard boy. Once in the tent the visitors are treated to a lady wearing a fake beard or a boy sporting fake spots. The visitors leave feeling cheated but the carnival barker has done his job.
Copy isn't written for the visitors, it's simply written to herd them to the page.
Not writing for the site visitor is missing half of the equation.
This is a timely topic. Earlier today I was looking at referals on my blogs, and it was interesting to see that I have been turning up on research phrases. The twist is this, my content was probably irrelevant for the research, but it was served ad-free.
I couldn't use adblock.
Completely discredited the site, obviously, but at the same time... who do they think they are fooling with all th ads? Even a non-webmaster is going to get turned off.
Imagine watching a show with 90% commercials. It would be an awful experience. Why put your visitors through the same thing?
That is why Tivo is so popular, you don't have to watch commercials. Which is why I predict ad-blocking software is going to become more popular over the next few years.
Online, the websites for these papers and mags are among the worst offenders for over-advertising, at least in terms of big name, "reputable" sites. They're just transfering an advertising to copy ratio from print to an online page, without bothering to take into account the differences in the two mediums (in print, at least the ads don't blink or move).
1. These are the portal pages, and have less advertising than the internal content.
2. Both are subsidiary papers of publishing conglomerates, who have fairly massive web presences.
3. The visual clutter is such that it's hard to tell content links (some of which resemble banners) from advertising links (some of which resemble navigational text). It's cheap shot advertising at its worst.
4. Both are navigational and visual trainwrecks. If any one here had designed those pages, I'd tell them to get off the web.
The problem with this is that people see their favorite dailies doing it, so they think it's ok when other sites do it. It "legitimizes" the prectice in the public consciousness.
What these sites fail to realize is that this just doesn't work online. At least not in the long term. They might see a short term bump in revenue when they increase their ad space, but over time, people gravitate away from the site. Fewer visitors = fewer clicks. What they should be doing is looking at the king of online advertising revenue: Google. A few well placed, non intrusive, targeted ads. Sure the CTR/pageview won't be as high, but the overall pageviews will increase over time, which will more that make up for the lost CTR.
Sadly, this is one of the things that has ebbed and flowed since Bubble 1.0 days. Right now, I think we're seeing a return to the "bad old days" of massive over advertising that preceded the collapse of the first bubble.
Something new and better is needed and google better pull up their socks.
I'm not surprised to see adblock mentioned here. It is sites like these that drive people to use blocking software, which then harms well-designed sites as well.
The whole thing is so frustrating. Create a site that YOU would want to visit, not one that makes you cringe! Only by creating something of value will you reap long-term rewards. It would be nice if the advertisers would refuse to do business with these spam sites.
Traditional print media (newspapers, magazines, etc) contains 60 to 80% advertising.
Nothing has changed, the internet is probably worst.
Go to GG and type in a popular keyword, say camera's. Now count the ads on top and to the right. Then, click on the ten displayed (free links) and determine which ones are commercial and which are pure content.
[edited by: Edge at 2:11 pm (utc) on Nov. 15, 2007]
The problem on the Internet the ease of publishing. Cut and paste a little content, join every affiliate program on the planet. Affiliate programs are partially to blame since they go everywhere trying to sign up new affiliates. If each affiliate produces one sale a month they are happy. Plus the payouts do not ever occur since the participants never reach minimum payment level.
Everything that is new attracts hordes of newbies in a quest for richness. There is an initial surge with a lot of fallout when the participation life cycle of the participators reaches critical mass.
For most of them that point is financial limitations. Then there are the ones that loose interest after the plan does not produce instant riches. The rest fallout along the way. Their websites hang around until the domain registration runs out.
Usually the originators and some quality participants are all that is left. Sometimes big money buys out the whole deal.
My 2 cents worth comes from my experiences after going through several technology revolutions since the 1960's, including the Internet from the beginning.
People , want to eat, want to buy their first car, go on that hoiliday to the Bahamas,,,,
Things a lot of people here , in the West , or who have been at this a long time take for granted,
Web is getting more competitive, more people posting articles online, fewer visitors per page , less income per page, but each human being still has the same desires
so they try get more out of each page,
While one still has dominion over the serps an can count on 500,000 visitors per month, it will be easier to step back an correctly assess these advert crowded pages as the flawed rubbish that they are,
But what happens when those 500,000 visitors per month start spreading out more thinly, as the new comers get better
The commentary on a thread like this would make really interesting reading then,
Will any then have the will to support a 10,000 page site with expenses outstipping income month after month
"Yes dearest, that net $500 i pay out every month for expenses is to keep my advert "thin" site afloat, you'll see it'll pay off"
I guess that of these 58 million sites, the amount of garbage is still quite high. If you consider that Alexa calculates the rank for about 10 million sites, you understand the dimension of the problem - it's huge. -- I'd consider about 4-5 million sites to carry unique content (i.e. not stolen, not syndicated, not useless). That would be just 3.5% of all sites.
I think the tendency is pointing downwards. It is so easy to through up some garbage today, that it is becoming increasingly difficult to find good content in the right amount.
This could become a field for startup companies - just focus on indexing quality sites, make them findable, and ignore the 95% of garbage. How long does it take to index, say, 5 million sites? Not long. Not long at all.
As long as the net stays this way, we will see more crap and more gold diggers piling up trash with just as much perfume to cover the smell (from a distance of a search engine...)
But it will get better... 10 more years, maybe...
You have 100 servers full of websites?
nope, just 1 site with 15 Terabytes of content... and it is really hard to have that updated, monitored and stored right! It takes a lot of manpower and cash. However are ads not the business model behind that - yet these take still a significant part of our revenue and we need them to drive the site! It is hard to find the thin red line between "annoying" and "good ads"... I am basically doing A/B testing every month.
The ones that rank at the top have 95% ads. I really wonder how they got the ranking to reach that level.
Google put them there to make money.
This post brings to mind some of the crap SERPs I had to wade through recently while trying to find some simple information on truck mods. MFA 'patentsonline' results, over and over.
Google put them there to make money.No they don't. That would make them only money on the short term. On the long term visitors will stop using Google if Google would use that strategy and Google is aware of that.
People (including advertisers) hate MFA sites. Therefore the only thing Goole can do is hate MFA site too.
The website in question is a simple content rich website and its design is not much to talk about (my focus was on the content and not so much on the looks of the website - though the latter is not bad at all - if I may say so myself).
On completion, I showed the website to a few friends and family - I received the same reaction from most of them "this is nice, but maybe you could have added some flash - eye catching images. Movement is missing".
I realised that every one of them was paying more attention to the look and design of the website rather than the content on the website. No one was really looking at this content rich resource I had developed and was feeling happy about up until that moment!
What is it that web surfers are really looking for? I was pretty sure it was valuable information..now I am confused!