“We Need More Ads!”

Thoughts by Ben

As you may know, I like Doctor Who. A lot. I watch the show religiously, collect (and play with) the figures, and I even write for a Doctor Who news site. As you also may be aware, I am a graphic designer. So, what do you think my ideal topic would be? Of course, a Doctor Who website. A while ago I was shown a Doctor Who website which made my eyes bleed. The reason being there was too many adverts on it. And I don’t mean just a few. Have a look yourself:

www.dr-whoonline.co.uk

I don’t know about you, but I counted at least 66 adverts on the homepage alone. 66! And most of them were on a slider, so there was more than one advert per image.

Now, you think with that amount of adverts on, advertising space must be cheap. Well you’re wrong. To advertise on one of the 225×150 adverts at the very bottom of the page for three months, would cost you £300. Three hundred of your British pounds sterling! That’s £300 to advertise at the very bottom of a website with more colours than are physically available where nobody will ever scroll down to (unless they’re writing an article like this) for three months. That’s utterly absurd! But what’s even more incredible is that 9 people have actually done it! Nine people… Nine ridiculous people have wasted the same amount of money as you can buy an iPad for! You could build a website for less than that. You could probably even get an advert on a billboard for two weeks for that amount (I checked)! And if that’s how much the small ones at the very bottom are, imagine how much the ones at the top must cost.

A lot of people hate adverts on websites, but what you have to realise is that the people behind the site have to make money somehow, so they sell advertising space on their site. Fair enough. And with a website, aside from hosting fees – and the initial purchasing of the domain name – there’s no overheads, so after about £10 a month it’s all profit. So usually some websites have a one or two advertising spaces on their site. They don’t want to, but they have to in order to sustain the website. But 66?! If this guy’s got 66 people paying at least £300 per three months, that’s about £6,600 a month. £6,600!

I mean fair enough the adverts are relevant. They’re mostly to do with Doctor Who, one of its spinoffs, or something that Doctor Who fans are likely to be interested in. But surely nobody has ever gone to the site and thought “Hm, I like these ads, I wonder what’s at the very bottom of the page that I might be interested in.” And the advertisers will have ways of detecting how often their advert is being clicked on. So if they’re still advertising then apparently people are clicking on them. It’s madness. Maybe some sad, lonely people are sat at home clicking on the ads. Maybe it’s the guy who runs the site. Maybe he’s thinking “Gotta keep the advertisers” so he’s bought 30 computers which he keeps in different houses and all day he goes around clicking on the adverts.

Another problem with so many adverts is it takes up space. When you first open the website you are blinded by the adverts and you have to scroll down before you actually see the content of the website. Considering it’s a news site, you’d think they would prioritise the articles above the adverts. Clearly not. In fact I’ve never actually bothered to read any of the content. Let’s do that now.

… …

Okay, so I was first deceived into reading the ‘about us’ section which is oddly named ‘editorial’. There was some interesting stats there though.

How many visitors does DWO get?
– 35,000+ Daily Visitors
– 45,000+ Forum members.
– 90,000+ Twitter Followers
– 15,000+ Weekly DWO WhoCast Podcast Listeners

To be honest I doubt that’s entirely true. The Twitter numbers stack up, but still, it doesn’t mean that 35,000 people regularly visit the site and read the articles and enjoy them. I’ve been on the site about 5 times tonight doing research for this article and not read a thing.

Then there’s some video greetings from some of the well known Doctor Who actors, which is impressive until you watch them and they look incredibly forced, like they’ve been kidnapped at a convention and held at gunpoint to read off a script. The news section is okay. The images on the navigation links are broken, and the content is poorly laid out, again second to the adverts.

But the real question I suppose is this: is it worth it? The guy who runs it is probably thinking “Yes. I get £6,600 a month just for posting a few articles a week.” and he probably has a small team of people to do that for him. So for him it’s easy money. But what he hasn’t thought about is the site’s reputation. As I mentioned, I write for a Doctor Who news site which does pretty much the same as DWO, and everyone who writes for it has said (we have a Skype group chat) that nobody they know likes DWO or ever goes on there. In fact it has become a joke to us.

And then there’s the site I write for:

www.thegallifreytimes.co.uk

Now our site isn’t very big. It’s been running a few years and has a small team of very good writers who do a marvellous job of posting news items regularly every day. I’m not just saying that because I’m on the team either, I used to follow the site on Twitter beforehand and would often read their articles. But one rule the site has always remained firm on is that it would never have advertising on there. Because to us it cheapens it. At the moment we’re all volunteer writers. We don’t make any money from it, we do it because we love Doctor Who and have a genuine passion for writing about it. This has earned us a good reputation for being a reliable source of news and many people have commented on us not having any adverts on the site.

And it’s not just Doctor Who news sites that has adverts. Another site I regularly visit is explosm.net, home of the daily webcomic Cyanide & Happiness.

explosm.net

As you can see, they have three advertising spaces. One on the top, one to the right of the comic, and one down the bottom. That’s just enough really. They’re not in the way but at the same time they might catch your eye. I have been known to click on a couple in my time and they have proved worthy of a click. The difference here I guess is that I only have a few to choose from. On DWO you’d probably spend a good half an hour working out which one to click first.

So, that’s pretty much all I have to say about adverts on websites. Well, it isn’t. But I fear this article is becoming too long. Before I go, I would like to point out that this site has no adverts. Occasionally you will see an advert on the sidebar, but that will always be a spoof-advert like “The future: coming soon” or “Visit Vietnam: you’ll see things man”. But we hope to keep this site ad-free. Because we’re not in it for the money. We love writing these posts and being silly and making all sorts of crazy material for you to enjoy. So, why not enjoy some of said material now. Go on. Have a look at some of the older posts. Off you go now. Goodbye.

Leave a Reply