Ads in the content – confusing or great money maker?

Filed as News on November 29, 2006 8:30 am

You’€™ve no doubt seen them, the double underlined words in the actual content that pops up a small balloony layer with an ad. There’€™s an interesting article titled Is it News’€¦ or Is It an Ad? over at the Wall Street Journal about this type of advertisement. It’€™s nothing new, but it’€™s breaking into traditional news segments, and as you all know that’€™s when you make the press.

So, sold links within the actual content, is it good or bad? It most certainly can be bad if the links are poorly fitted to the content, you see, much like Google Adsense these types of ads read your page and make certain keywords linked ads. Here’€™s an example from the WSJ article:

But sometimes the ads appear strangely out of context. For instance, a recent Popular Mechanics story titled “Worst Case Scenarios: How to Survive a Riot” advised readers to “stay away from the windows.” Last month, the story contained an ad for Microsoft Windows linked to the word “windows.”

While I do find this hilarious, it could also just as well be offensive in the wrong combination. That won’€™t make your readers happy, now will it?

Sample of IntelliTXT ad
A sample of an IntelliTXT ad

This type of ads is showing up in more and more blogs, besides regular websites. I find that even more dubious than actually linking part of my content to ads, since blog readers are accustomed to following links from blog posts. Sure, the links are underlined twice and probably has another color than your editorial links all around the blog, but still, it could be clicked thinking that it was further reading on the subject. Which it might be, in an ideal world, since it’€™s supposedly keyword matched, just like Adsense. I have yet to be tricked to click and Adsense ad though, since although you can style them they usually differ from the content enough so that I know that I’€™m following an ad. Does this apply with this type of links?

The article comes at a convenient time for me. Vibrant Media (that’€™s IntelliTXT) are in negotiations with one of my companies in Sweden for placing ads on some of our sites. It pays nicely, compared to Adsense, and I’€™m torn between the fact that we need to monetize these sites, but also maintain our integrity. Personally, I would never put these ads in content submitted by users, such as comments or forum posts. The site’€™s own editorial content is another matter, but then there’€™s the matter of ‘€œam I tricking the reader to click to read more?’€? which I find very hard to reach a decision on.

What do you think? Would you put these types of ads on your blog? Does it discredit the actual content and its reliability?

Hat tips to The Bivings Report

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  1. By Devdatta Akhawe posted on November 29, 2006 at 9:10 am
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    I for one generally stop subscribing to blogs with Context ads, they just seem so cheap. And they are nearly never actually in context.

  2. By Everton posted on November 29, 2006 at 11:09 am
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    The problem is though, you can’t utilise these ads at the same time as Adsense as they are contextual and hence banned

    I really think it is time Google lifted their restriction on allowing other contextual ad networks to be used at the same time. What exactly are they afraid of other than that their own CTR will fall, because users are presented with other meaningful ads? Seems a bit selfish to me.

  3. By Kamrul Hassan posted on November 29, 2006 at 11:50 am
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    Not only IntelliTXT, even clicksor have this service, which target certain keywords.

    Problem No. 1: Adding this kind of ads is i am not sure what kind of ad will come up, since when i am writing off course i don’t really think about keywords. In Adsense i can control what type of ads will come (well most of it, but not all of it).

    Problem No. 2: In user/writer generated link i can specify that which one is affiliate link(or similar kind), but this kind of link i can’t, means i am not being transparent to readers. Yes i can add disclaimer/notice to notify them, but how many times we actually read those except the content.

  4. By Darnell Clayton posted on November 29, 2006 at 11:52 am
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    Everton is right about the Google item.

    I contacted Google about this awhile ago to see if I could experiment with it on a blog (just to see how it would look, not that I enjoy these type of ads).

    Google replied back saying that this ad type was not allowed to run with Ad Sense.

    As far as other types of ads goes, it would be nice if they would allow us to run different ones, although I think I understand why they do not (it’s all about the money).

  5. By Thord Hedengren posted on November 30, 2006 at 2:51 am
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    Everton & Darnell,

    Are you guys sure about that? I’ve seen several blogs combining Adsense with IntelliTXT at least, one being John Chow’s own.

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