Your Feedback Requested

Okay, folks, I want your feedback on something.

And let me dive right into it — here are the reasons why, after ten years, I am seriously considering putting some ads on Whatever:

1. As the last week of inexplicable loading slowness reminds me, Whatever (and by association, all of has gotten big enough that the “put the site on a host server and hope things don’t go randomly nutty” theory of being online gets continually less tenable as I go along. I need a hosting solution that’s somewhat more robust, particularly if the site continues its general rate of growth. That costs money.

2. I would also like to finally put the whole site into a single easy-to-access format. Right now, the ten year history of Whatever is broken up into three major chunks: 1998 – 2002, which is accessible only by going to Archive.Org and using the Wayback Machine (and then only sporadically; the archive is patchy); 2002 – August 2007, which is accessible only if you know the direct URLs to whatever you’re looking for (no pun intended), and October 2007 – forward, which is available via the current WordPress installation. And you don’t even want to know what the actual Whatever backend folder looks like.

Putting all that into some sort of order is not necessarily complicated (cut and paste all the content into one blog software package, fix the urls of art/links so they point to the right places, drop in forwarding info so people who follow old URLs can find what they’re looking for in the new places, etc), but it is laborious and time-consuming, and I don’t have time to do it. I would need to hire someone to do it. Again with the money.

2a. While I’m doing all that organizing, I’d really like to give Whatever (and a new look and better functionality. The site you’re looking at now expresses the extent of my competence with online design, site architecture and user friendliness. To make it better, I need to hire someone to deal with it. Again: Money.

3. Because I have a strong belief in the concept of “Pay it Forward,” one of the things I do here on Whatever, having been fortunate to have developed a large audience, is give over space to other writers to promote their work. I do that right now with the “Big Idea” entries, and by doing brief write-ups of what comes into the Scalzi Compound; I would like to be able to do more of it. Again, the limiting factor here is time — I’ve basically worked these elements to take up as little time as possible, but they still take a big chunk of time I could be using to do other things (like, er, write posts or even those crazy things called novels).

Additionally, I love having fun with contests and silly stuff here; I’m tremendously awful at doing fulfillment on them, and beyond that there’s a lot of back-end stuff you don’t see, both relating to Whatever and to the rest of my writing career, that I have to deal with which I’m generally bad at dealing with. Krissy, of course, handles some of it (notably financial stuff), but she has her own job and things that she does, and after a long day of dealing with the rest of the world, I don’t think what she really wants to do is deal with my crap.

I don’t know how much more time I can dig out of my own schedule to handle the back-end for all the cool stuff here I like doing with writers and readers — but I do know that if I could hire someone, they would have all sorts of time to handle the back-end of all the cool stuff I like doing with writers and readers, because that would be their job. This would make writers and readers happy, since it would lead to more exposure for the former and less time waiting for me to pull my head out of my ass to send them stuff with the latter. It would make me happy, since I would have more time to focus on writing, and presumably it would make whomever I hired happy, because, you know, this wouldn’t exactly be lifting heavy objects as a job. And you know what it takes to hire someone? If you said “well, money,” you would be correct.

4. I make a very comfortable living writing novels and other books at this point — and here is the point where I bow in deep respect and humility to you, my wonderful readers — but as comfortable as I am, I am not so comfortable that I can easily spend the several thousands of dollars I would need at this point to overhaul and revamp the site and put it on technologically robust footing, or to hire someone even in a part-time capacity to to assist me with stuff I would like to be assisted with.

Where to get additional money? Well, donating blood and plasma only takes one so far, and while I suppose I could try to sell another novel specifically to raise funds for all this, I would then be obliged to write that novel, and as it happens I have quite enough writing on my plate as it is. And in general given all my obligations with work and family, I don’t have any large amount of time to do anything else to raise money. I suppose I could do a fund raiser and hit you folks up for money, but, you know, I really don’t want to do that. It’s one thing to fundraise for a charity here once a year or whatever. It’s another to ask you all for cash for myself.

Whatever does represent a possible resource, however. For September, Whatever is averaging 63,000 page views a day. If it keeps up, that’ll be 1.8 million page views for the month. I’ve looked at what some of the ad networks are asking for sites with traffic similar to mine, and it seems not unreasonable that I could bring in a useful amount of money — enough to pay for reorganizing the site, expand some of the fun stuff that gets done here, and hire someone to help me run the site (and also tell me what the hell I’ve done with my keys, etc). And who knows, I might even having something left over to pay for Athena’s college.

So those are the reasons I am seriously considering putting advertising on Whatever.

Here’s the reason I am resistant: I think it’s ugly and annoying. And I like that I’ve gone ten years without it.

Now, I’ve said before that if it ever got to the point where I was having trouble finding money in other ways and my family needed it that money, I would have no problem putting ads up on the site. I’m definitely not there now, nor does it look likely that I’ll be going that direction anytime soon. On the other hand, as noted above, Whatever is kind of on a pivot point; in one direction there are some opportunities to expand what’s done here and in the other there’s a necessity to pull back, based on time and technological constraints. And, basically, one path has advertising on it, and the other does not.

As you might expect, I’ve been twisting and pulling at this for a while, a condition exacerbated by the access problems in the last week. What I’m interested in knowing is what your opinion might be. To be clear, whatever decision I make will be my own, based on my own calculus of time, ambition, interest and so on. But at the same time, the Whatever is what it is now not just because of what I do here but because there’s a community here. I think it’s only fair to give you your say on the subject.

So: your thoughts, please. Thanks.

248 Comments on “Your Feedback Requested”

  1. John, I say go for it. I’m not a huge fan of advertising, but I’m also not tremendously bothered by it. If it means the opportunity to make the kind of improvements you have in mind, why not? I enjoy your writing/the Big Idea/cute kitty photos/bacon jokes enough that I’m going to keep visiting, whether there’s ads or not.

  2. I say bring on the ads. yeah, they annoying, but i enjoy the content of the site enough to deal with them, and would live to see the site expanded as a result. also, you know you do put in enough effort to the site that you deserve to get a little back in the interest of subsidizing a college education

  3. I don’t mind ads either – I think the majority of web savvy users have learned to background the advertising wallpaper. However, I would like to put in a plea for no annoying mouseovers that popup and cover up your words. Epic hate.

  4. Not too long ago, the Bad Astronomer went with Discover. I don’t find their ads get in my way. Perhaps Whatever doesn’t fit their agenda, but it’s a possibility. If the two of you can share bacon flavored candy, why not web hosts?

  5. Well, there’s advertising, and there’s advertising. Stuff like google “adwords” is not too obtrusive, doesn’t add much to loading time, but nevertheless they catch my eye often enough that I sometimes follow them. I can’t see where anybody should have a serious problem with those.

    On the other hand, those graphic-intensive, animated, gaudy monstrosities that I see most places are a plague upon the earth and to be reviled. Especially when they are things like one of the old “Vonage” ads that used to crash my browser whenever it got to a particular point in the animation. I have a slow connection on my home machine, and big ads like that seriously bog down my system.

    As long as you maintain a final say on just how obtrusive the ads are allowed to get, it should be fine. I think moderation is good in this case.

  6. I don’t know how much control you would have over it, but obviously there are degrees of ads. I’m fine with seeing ads as long as they don’t move, make noise, or try to make my computer do things without my permission. I’m actually happy to see ads that are relevent to whatever I’m looking at (as is the case with the Tor website). Obviously though, limitations on the types of ads reduce potential revenue for you, so you’ll presumably have to figure out exactly where you draw the line.
    In general, I understand that practically everything on the web is paid for with ads, which is strange in some ways because I’ve never ever bought anything after seeing an ad online. It’s also a little sad, I remember seeing a study showing a strong correlation between the socioeconomic/educational status of people, and how often they bought things from ads online. Online ads amount to a highly regressive tax, much like the lottery, in many ways. As a result, I’m pretty happy to see non-obnoxious ads, and I frown on people using ad-blocker software, on the basis that they’re avoiding paying what amounts to a very low price for a non-free service. A world where everyone blocked ads would be a world with a much smaller web.

  7. I don’t know how much control you would have over it, but obviously there are degrees of ads. I’m fine with seeing ads as long as they don’t move, make noise, or try to make my computer do things without my permission. I’m actually happy to see ads that are relevent to whatever I’m looking at (as is the case with the Tor website). Obviously though, limitations on the types of ads reduce potential revenue for you, so you’ll presumably have to figure out exactly where you draw the line.
    In general, I understand that practically everything on the web is paid for with ads, which is strange in some ways because I’ve never ever bought anything after seeing an ad online. It’s also a little sad, I remember seeing a study showing a strong correlation between the socioeconomic/educational status of people, and how often they bought things from ads online. Online ads amount to a highly regressive tax, much like the lottery, in many ways. As a result, I’m pretty happy to see non-obnoxious ads, and I frown on people using ad-blocker software, on the basis that they’re avoiding paying what amounts to a very low price for a non-free service. A world where everyone blocked ads would be a world with a much smaller web.
    Also I’ve just had three server errors trying to post this comment.

  8. Not only would I not care if you added ads, I believe I would be more or less oblivious to their presence. So many of the sites I browse have ads that they all just blur into the background. (And I’m sure the purchasers of said advertising space just love to hear that.) If it helps you be a happy, productive Scalzi, I say sell.

  9. The only time ads are a problem is when they _are_ the content, rather than an adjunct to the content. You know, the ones where the page is full of bright and shiny and flashy objects, with a tiny article jammed in somewhere.

    I don’t see that as likely here.

    I have ads on my website. I give away useful information (to many, many fewer people), and the ads pay for webhosting. I don’t see this as being any different. I did agonize over the decision, but nobody has complained. I think that pretty much everyone recognizes that even free stuff takes money.

    And I’m all for anything that helps eliminate this pesky server error!

  10. *de-lurk*
    I say go for it. Considering that the Whatever has been a part of your writing career (I came here via Bacon Cat, discovered your writing was interesting, bought OMW, recommended it to friends, who recommended it to their friends, etc…), I would be happy to see you continue to expand it.

    However, as others have noted, there is advertising and then there is advertising. Popups, banners that expand to suddenly fill the page and other such nonsense would certainly not be appreciated.

    And on another note, you can actually make this work for you. The guys at Penny Arcade are very strict with their ads – they only allow ads from products that they are personally happy with and refuse to post ads or take revenue from any old crap that comes along. Doing something similar, you (or your assistant) can form an advertising base of products, services or sites that you think are worth knowing about. A couple of weeks ago when you told everyone about that shaving lotion stuff? You could have gotten paid for that. And I think you should.

    P.S. I humbly submit that the person who assists you on the Whatever, should you hire one, have the job title “The Whateverist”.


  11. I think that following’s model, or something similiar would be fine. I have no problem with you even adding an occasional ad to your rss feed.

    You put effort into this, and it makes sense to take advantage of the fact that people would be willing to advertise on your blog.

    Jeff Atwood had a nice article on his thought process when he started posting adds on his blog.

  12. I’ve never had a problem with ads, other than the intrusive kind that pop-up and obscure the page (with difficult to find close-outs). If you have some sort of control over what ads are used, it could even add a little to the website (links to your favorite brand of bacon, for instance). Upgrades cost coin, get the ads.

  13. Resistance to advertising has frequently struck me as odd, though perhaps because I was once part of the industry. And especially in regard to blogs; the Internet is another mostly free medium, and everything else that comes free (radio and television, mostly) is ad-supported. Ads often are just something to skip, sometimes even annoy, but also in some cases are excellent enough to, like, win awards and such. I, for one, generally love Levi’s commercials and often seek them out online.

    All of which is to say I’d think it’s fine. Heck, I’ve wondered why you haven’t done it already (though your previous posts indicating why have cleared that right up).

  14. 1) As we are reminded from time to time, it’s your site. Speaking personally, I appreciate your sensitivity in seeking our input, so here goes:

    2) Studies have shown (no linkies, no time for research, so trust me on this!) that generations following the boomers have become increasingly able to ignore advertisements of all kinds. I read several excellent blogs which have advertisements and I could not tell you what any of the advertisements were hawking this morning, let alone on any other day. Conclusion: advertisements are unlikely to affect us directly. I, for one, will hardly notice.

    3) Ad content can sometimes be incongruous with points being expressed. One of my favorite examples was on the Mortgage Lender Implode-O-Meter when Google placed ads for mortgage loans. You will need to be careful about *what* ads run.

    4) This is, despite recent socialist activity, still America and a free market society. Earning a buck is not only acceptable, it is expected after a point. The fact that you would channel some of the revenues back to this site speaks well of you and bodes well for the future.

    5) Outsourcing site maintenance and day-to-day operations is a very sensible approach. After all, one’s wit and humor tends to suffer greatly whilst wrestling the WordPress alligators, servers, links, etc. – and we appreciate your wit and humor and hope that you will continue to share it here and in your (actual) work. I say, save it for the books – unless you find that fury and frustration actually jazz your creative process.

  15. Seriously, if it helps you accomplish things on the back end of things, I really do like James’ idea. As long as they don’t wiggle, jiggle, yell out “No WAY” or tell me I’ve just won two free Ipods, I say go for it.

    It would also be cool if you could get ads that did go with your site too, like writery stuff or maybe have authors/artists pay a monthly fee to put up banners and the like? That way you’d have complete control over something as opposed to an ad program choosing for you.

    If you do end up putting up those dancing mortgage ads though, I will send ninja llamas to your house. I mean it.

  16. O Advice-Seeking Scalzi, the Executive Committee of The Official Ghlaghghee Fan Club is pleased to offer a very workable solution to your problem.

    We suggest you convert the Whatever to a single image of Our Most Perfect Lady, the Beauteous Ghlaghghee that changes every fifteen minutes. You can adjust the resolution of the image as needed to account for bandwidth restrictions.

    See how easy that was?

    The Official Ghlaghghee Fan Club

    PS – We suggest further that you give this approach a trial run, starting now and lasting for at least 6 months.

  17. Ironically, I got an Error 500 trying to get to the comments.

    Outside of that, I think that you should get ads. They are everywhere, and I don’t even notice them in most places. If you make money and I don’t even really see the ads, then why the hell wouldn’t you do it?

  18. I’ll have to agree with the previous comments. Unobtrusive ads would be fine; great, gaudy animated monsters are no-nos. And it would be very nice if the ads were at least somewhat related to the concept of science fiction -after all those are the types of ads I might actually pay attention to. Of course these restrictions might place a serious barrier to being able to find someone willing to place ads and pay enough for the privilege to make it worth your while.

    You’ve spent a long time and a serious amount of effort in making this site what it is today. Being able to get at least a little something back for all that effort make sense, and if it helps this site move forward into the world of the future, I say great.

  19. Meh. Obnoxious ads would defeat the purpose of having ads in the first place (adding new content and running more contests doesn’t get you much if everyone’s too annoyed by the site to come here) so don’t do those. But there are plenty of non-obnoxious ways to do ads.

    Penny Arcade does a pretty good job of it, I think… The ads are in a consistent place, and since they’re pretty strict about what sorts of ads they run, they’re not annoying. If anything, I’m generally curious to see what ads are running on the site.

  20. I’m a newb here, but my reaction to
    “Should I allow advertising”
    “Wait, there’s no advertising?”

    Internet ads, with a few exceptions, do not make it through my mental filters. I just assume there are ads on anything that doesn’t look like unformatted ascii txt.

    If you allow pop ups, or that stuff that breaks the back button, or stuff that lies about the link destination, or large animated crap, or NSFW stuff, *then* I’ll be annoyed.

    That said, this seems like a great place for the pork industry to advertise.

    “Ghalagee preferrs to be taped to Hogsire Farms brand bacon.”

  21. I don’t have a problem with ads, and actually have ads on some of the sites I run. Not necessarily every page, mind you, and I try to keep the ads related to the content (like GoogleAds does). I’ve also had some luck with sponsorship of specific pages, which is a bit less intrusive than multiple ads. I only accept sponsorship of specific pages (not the whole site) so that I can keep at least the illusion in my own mind of maintaining independence from the influence of filthy lucre.

    I say, go for it.

  22. As long as they are not epilepsy-inducing flashy, audible, or pop-ups over actual content (HAAAAAAATE), it makes no difference to me. I am very good at ignoring ad content.

    Basically, as long as it’s tasteful, I can’t see why anyone would reasonably object, especially if it means I won’t have to hit “reload” three times to get the blog to come up.

  23. Ads? There are ads on websites? Who knew! (Well, I do notice the user-hostile ones, and take care to avoid those products and services.) I’ve seen so many comments from people about this topic, though, in the last year, that I think there might be a business there, where you would take in money and reconstruct people’s websites for them.

    Not going into that business, though.

  24. There’s ads, and there’s ads.

    Done well, and contextually, ads can actually enhance the experience by making me aware of things I might not otherwise know. Good example, the new

    Intrusive ads — ads in the middle of content blocks, ads which have nothing whatsoever to do with the topic at hand, ads for penile enlargement and teeth whitening products — are irritating enough that I block them.

    I’ve installed an ad blocker in Firefox, which I use to browse sites I don’t trust, or that have annoying ads.

    I have no ad blocker in Safari, which I use to browse sites where I don’t mind if I see an ad.

  25. another *de-lurk*

    If you find it would make it easier for you to keep up the site and fill it with good stuff – go for it. I’m not a fan of advertising on websites and rather enjoy the »clear« look, but I really don’t mind them if there is actual content to be enjoyed. So on the Whatever – really not a problem. (btw, I first came here by following a link to the being poor entry. Liked it a lot, liked the other stuff, keep coming back ever since).
    You put so much energy in your blog that it’s only fair if you get to concentrate on what you enjoy doing most and leave the fussy bits for others to deal with. And we get more good stuff to read and contests and weird bits from the farflung corners of your mind – everybody wins!
    I do second (or by now, third, fourth and fifth) the comments on please, nothing that moves or makes noises. Makes me twitchy.

    And now for something completely different:

    That windswept picture of Athena? Totally friggin’ awesome.


  26. Dude, put ’em up. I’ve found lots of cool books/tools/gadgets from adverts on other blogs… I have a great filter, the things that don’t interest me, I barely even register… the good things, I check out. No reason why you shouldn’t reap some of the rewards of your many readers occasionally clicking on an ad. Rock on.

  27. I think you are making the problem bigger than it is. I haven’t noticed any performance issues on the site, and clearly your userbase has no qualms with a reasonable amount of non-gag-flex-inducing advertisements.

    If these are the biggest problems in your life right now, you are doing pretty good.

    Maybe you can help me with one of my problems – I too like bacon, and I too am lazy, so sometimes I microwave it. This stinks up the house in a way far fouler than frying bacon (which stinks, but in a pleasant way). Any Whatever readers have good bacon-microwaving tips to avoid that?

  28. I say go for it. If nothing else, play around with ads for a while and find out a) how much they bug you and b) how much money you make. You can always pull them later if you don’t like how it’s working out. No one likes ads, but we all understand what they’re for. And you definitely deserve a little $$ for all the work you put into Whatever.

  29. Like Tony, I ran into the “Error 500 – Internal server error” in trying to comment. The only real way at this point to shrink the Whatever down to a manageable size would be to stop posting so much and let the neighborhood run to seed for a while until people wandered off. Given that, I’d much rather you have ads to free you from the tech work and allow you to continue the community.

  30. I’m not sure that I would recognize the internet without ads:) Something like the Deck Network( – nice, simple ads – would rock, although i’m not sure if there’s anything similar for your user base(i’m not entirely sure there’s anything quite like your ‘average’ user out there:).

    Another question that this raises: would there be an option for a subscription that would allow a viewer to skip the ads, much like a number of blogs and other pseudo-paid sites offer?

  31. I say do it if it helps you out.

    Most ads don’t bother me. Except for people dancing about mortgage rates and the banners that scroll across the middle. I don’t know how easy it is to pick and choose the type of ads you get, however.

    I’m sure it is not an easy choice to make. We all appreciate you asking for our input.

  32. As long as they’re not horribly obnoxious (I’m thinking noisy and blinking Flash animations, pop-ups covering the text I’m trying to read, etc.) go for it.

  33. If it frees you up to do more-better, go for it. Ads don’t bother me. If it helps take mundane stuff off your plate, so much the better. Not only pay it forward, but generating jobs!! I don’t mind ads. I know what they do and why they are there. And if it gives us more of that sweeeeeeeet “smells of cloves” John Scalzi, then so much the better!!!

  34. Okay, I just wrote a great, humorous reply simply stating that I have no problem with ads, you spend too much time entertaining us through Whatever and you should get paid for your efforts. Then I got a 500 error when I submitted my comment. You’ll simply have to believe me when I tell you that my first reply was much better. I’ll save this one before I try to submit it.

  35. I also got the 500 error in trying to get to the main page, but I say go for it.

    Echoing the comments above, provided they don’t hijack my viewing experience, I’m all for it. However, if I suddenly have to close 5-10 bacon-related popups, well, let’s just say I’ll be switching to steak and eggs for breakfast.

  36. Ads are fine. Another thing you might want to consider is putting up a “Donate via Paypal” button. With the kind of readership your site has I’d think you might even get enough donations to pay for the updates and repairs you need. Especially if you have free stuff (ebooks, audios, etc) for download.

    That’s what I did on my own site, and even though I have a minute fraction of your page views it pays for my site and hosting.

    just an idea.

  37. I’m with the ‘go ahead, with caveats’ group – at Absolute Write our google ads kept putting up terrible crap, vanity presses, dubious and marginal “writing services” companies, even competing writing sites…I’d think you’d want to try and avoid giving them any visibility, thus it’s possible that adsense wouldn’t be a good choice. Specific sponsorships, or what Chris @ #20 said Penny Arcade does, that sounds fine.

    Regardless, ads wouldn’t detract from my enjoyment of an otherwise fabulous site.

  38. You should do it. You write about cool stuff, so I think your advertisers wouldn’t be lame. I trust your judgment and taste.

  39. Yep, go for it if it lets you do things with the site that you want to do. You can always take them down if you find them not needed at some point. But I wouldn’t object in the slightest if there were ads on the site.

  40. If the extra income would be enough to pay someone else to deal with the headaches and upgrade the site to where you would like it, then go for it. Sounds like it won’t bother most of us so long as there are no text-blocking pop-ups and it will give you time to relax and get back to enjoying the site with us when ‘real work’ allows.

  41. I don’t mind ads – but that’s because I don’t see them (firefox + ad blocker). That might be an issue if you have a big base of readers who also block ads.

    In general, I don’t mind the google adwords approach (I don’t use an ad blocker at work, so I still see them sometimes) and unobtrusive ads don’t bother me. I think you have a fundamental right to make some cash from everyone reading what you write.

    Just don’t forget if your readership is primarily technical, they may never see them.

  42. As long as you don’t try to sell me penile implants or a new mortgage, do it.

    Those google ads aren’t that obtrusive.
    Besides, this is America, Dammit.

  43. I vote for ads. I have no problems saying NO! to marketers, in whatever form they’re presented. Plus I like to buy crap.

  44. John,

    I agree with the above posts; unobtrusive and well-selected ads will irritate almost no one. That said, I’ll follow this up with an e-mail since you just so happened to touch upon my area of employment with this post.

  45. Go for it dude. I totally trust your judgment on what kinds of ads would suck and which wouldn’t and I like the idea of you making more money.

  46. I vote go for it – it’s pretty standard, and the extra functionality you could add with the revenue is worth it for me.

  47. Add me to the “go for it, as long as the ads are unobtrusive” bandwagon.

    BTW, at Daily Kos, if you cough up $4/month, $40/year, or $100/lifetime, you can see an ad-free version of the site. I don’t know how hard it would be for your Whateverist to set up a similar arrangement.

  48. Go ahead. As much as I enjoy your blog I don’t think you need to devote time to design/hosting/mailing out books issues. You need more time in which to goof around taping things to your pets and photographing Athena and adoring your wife.

  49. I don’t see ads as a problem, at all. It is perfectly understandable that you need to pay someone to help with the site. The value from continuing the site, and possible upgrades, is certainly worth dealing with some ads.

  50. Ads are A-OK by me. You’re giving us all of this witty entertainment for free, but it’s costing you in terms of time you could spend working on other, more immediately profit-bearing things. How can I possibly begrudge you recouping that cost of your time?

    And hey, the less time you spend fiddling with WordPress, the more time you’ll have for entertaining us… right? Right? ;)

  51. Book and downloadable book related ads would be great.

    I know some authors have a link to AMAZON or B & N on their websites & get a bit of $ when someone buys through that link. Some independent bookstores do this, too.

    If possible, please avoid the POD vanity-press ads and “editor services.”

  52. I utterly approve, particularly if you do something that you manage by hand rather than keyword focused. (I work at a dental industry site. You can not keyword ‘oral’, no matter how you filter. My fear is that all variations of the word ‘cat’ would be similar.)

    If you’re upgrading anyway, a lot of quality CMSs have calendar-based posting or ad management built in.

    I agree with someone above who said that allowing small-time folk to post on your site would be ideal.

  53. As long as the advertising isn’t too obtrusive (no pop-ups essentially) and they don’t affect the content (eg. Analog decides to put up an ad, then suddenly every second update is about Analog, and always super positive), then it won’t bother me.

  54. Do it, John. You can make advertising on your blog as unobtrusive as you want it to be. And anyway, I thought the rule of thumb is: if it feels like work, you ought to get paid for it.

  55. I do think that sites without ads look cleaner, but so what. The majority of your readers won’t begrudge you for wanting to be compensated for your work. A blog doesn’t exactly lend itself to a subscription model so advertising is a pretty reasonable way to cover your costs.

  56. How to put ads on your site without feeling like an ass:

    Download and install OZH’s Who Sees Ads:

    With this tool you can wrap your ad blocks in little rule-sets so that:

    * Only those arriving from a google search (unlikely to be regular visitors) see ads.
    * Anyone who has been to more than 3 pages on the site never sees ads
    * Etc. It’s highly configurable.

    Then, right next to your block of ads, put a link to AdBlock Plus. Make sure that AdBlock Plus will block any and all ads appearing on your site.

    Talk to your buddy Cory Doctorow about this stuff – he’s making a killing on ads at BB, and should know where you can start.

  57. Also a vote for having no problem with discreet (ie non-moving, quiet, non-popping-up) ads on the site. You put enough work into this site and entertaining us that it only seems reasonable that you should profit from it if you wish to do so. Also, I agree it makes sense to be able to farm out all the tedious admin hassles so you can concentrate on the parts you really enjoy.

  58. I agree with the general commentary so far, your site, your rules, go for it. Personally, I read posts through RSS and only pop over to the actual site when I want to say something, so you might want to consider looking at RSS stream ads as well, I mostly filter them as well.

    If it is the cost for you to maintain an environment that you think your community deserves, then by all means, it is one I am willing to pay in order to keep playing.

  59. OK – I just got advice from a person at work who’s in the know. He suggests adding in a google ad sense feed to start with, which should give you a good sense for how much money can be made with the least amount of work.

    You should be able to fit one into the content on the right hand side of the page.

    Once you’ve got someone who’s actually the running site for pay, they can use an ad server, and make you more money. An ad server will allow you to plug in a feed from either a network, an ad exchange, or a direct buyer, and take the ad down after it’s run it’s course.

  60. Put the ads up. They might be annoying at first, but almost any highly-trafficked site has them and they are still highly-trafficked. People get used to them and stop realizing they are there, unless there really is something useful in the ad that they feel strong enough to click on it to find out more. And thus you’ve actually done a service for your readers!

  61. I have no problem with ads, as long as they:

    1) Have no obnoxious animation

    2) Don’t have ‘clever’ Javascript which randomly covers parts of the site

    3) I don’t have to scroll past 50 of them to get at the content.

    4) No sound (especially not auto-playing sound)

    In short: fine, as long as they’re not distracting from the content.

  62. Put the ads up.Your site, your rules, you choose…… Although personally I use Firefox and AdBlock so I end up seeing about 5% of the ads that litter the virtual landscape I wander through from day to day

  63. Whatever does represent a possible resource, however. For September, Whatever is averaging 63,000 page views a day.

    I got it! Make every page view dependent upon adding one word to a collaborative novel. That’s a novel a day! Slap your John Hancock on it and sell that puppy…

    Seriously though. I’ve got no problem with ads. I tune them out quite easily. Easy enough that a female friend walked in on me the other day and noticed all the porn ads on the page I was viewing that I, quite simply, never even registered. I mean… boobies! And it didn’t make a psychic dent.

  64. Whatever is a quality place; I’d be glad to see you invest to spiffy it up a bit. So ads aren’t a problem for me. To echo others, though: please avoid the Flash-based malarkey, or I’ll Adblock my way past it. So, nyahh!

  65. Fire up the ads. As long as they’re somewhat content-related (books and such), I’m all for it.
    What I would not want to see is your “Whatever-assistant’ handling posting on your behalf, where we get multiple posts from him/her/it/them about your schedule/day/mood and only the occasional nugget of wisdom from you.

  66. I can ignore adds. Hell, I ignore the guys the pharmaceuticals send to bother doctors. And they’re actual people, in sexy suits. I say bring in the adds. They detract none from my reading experience and bring in bucks. No pain, all gain, as far as I’m concerned.

    I will make fun of you if the add content is amusing tho. That’s a warning.

  67. Go for the ads! (I’ve fooled around with google ads, and they are easy, easy, easy.)

    Make sure you’re using any and all referral programs you can, too.

    I also don’t mind ads in moderation in RSS feeds. And I like the suggestion of a “donate via paypal” button, although I have no idea how much that might bring in.

  68. Skimmed through all the comments, and not one true dissenting vote. That’s a huge compliment to you, I think, that we trust your judgement on something like this. It’s also a huge compliment to US that you’re asking at all.

    Go for it. I can’t see you going for the huge bandwidth eating epileptic seizure inducing bombasts. Josh Jasper @ 44 and Jemaleddin @62 read my mind before I even got here – between Teresa and Cory, you’ve got two incredibly rich resources to tap into wrt not only who to advertise with, but HOW to do it both successfully and unobtrusively. MakingLight has the best balance, IMHO, of ads – unobtrusive and relevent, kept in a sidebar, mostly text; bOINGbOING goes a little overboard if you ask me, the Mutants must be doing something right, right?

    Ad away, John. Use your best judgement.

  69. Totally agree with #41 Basil Sands on trying out donations first. Would be glad to make a donation to keep Whatever ad free and growing (and no special gifts required – the content here is worth it).

    I love having a place like Whatever where I read great content and not be assaulted by ads (whether they’re the nausea inducing blinking ones or not – I am so sick of seeing them). And I am happy to put my money where my mouth is and pony up some cash to keep it ad free, but still able to evolve.

  70. Won’t bother me either way. Combination of NoScript, FlashBlock, and Firefox’s ‘do not show images from …’ means I don’t see any advertising during my browsing experience a lot of the time. :-D

    Even with ads, though, I would still keep coming. It’s hard to get snark of this high a caliber much anywhere else…

  71. Do it. Run the ads. Won’t bother me, shouldn’t bother anyone reasonable so long as the ads are non-intrusive (no interstitials, flash ads, etc.) and not for porn or adult sites, gambling sites, etc.

    It wouldn’t have to be a *a lot* of advertising to make it work, and anyone who complains about a few small ads isn’t looking at the bigger picture.

  72. Wellll…

    I wouldn’t mind ads, but unfortunately there’s sort of an unusual circumstance here — I’ve got Firefox loaded down with plugins that tend to make ads dissapear, NoScript the most blatant of them.

    This is one of those rare cases where I wouldn’t mind seeing ads, assuming they were unobnoxious; I’ve had ads lead me to interesting (and sometimes profitable) things before. However, Noscript blocks by the IP of the site serving the script, and if you use an external and common source for ads (Doubleclick would be a widespread example), enabling them for Whatever would enable them everywhere, something I wouldn’t exactly be happy doing. If you can get the ad script sourced from Whatever locally somehow, or from some other source that I wouldn’t be afraid of throwing tracking cookies all over me, I’d be happy to whitelist it.

    That said, I realize I’m in a minority and don’t expect any such thing. Just sayin’.

  73. Whatever (pun intended). I like that you respect your readers enough to ask about it in advance. Text ads don’t bother me at all; if big flashing image ads here started bothering me, well, I’d probably just read all the posts in Google Reader instead of clicking over.

  74. Reasonably non-obnoxious ads are fine by me. Of course, LiveJournal just told me the price of my free user account was having ads, so I may not be the best judge of this.

  75. Go for it. Avoid the top-banner advert, since i like the soothing pix of your piece of rural Ohio, but a discrete column of ads down the side wouldn’t do much to distract.

  76. Hi John. Waiting for your site to load is more annoying than ads.

    But please, no jumping, wiggling or talking ads. I prefer well mannered ads.

    And it would be nice if the ads had something to do with writing, writers, or really cool things you like.

    Thanks for asking us.

  77. (beating the dead horse) Welcome to! Brought to you by: Hormel!

    As many have already said: unobtrusive ads are at worse a non-factor, and are occassionally even interesting/helpful.

  78. Go for it! I just started reading your blog this week. I just finished reading Ghost Brigades(Awesome!) and I finished Old Man’s War last week(again, Awesome!) I like the blog and I think anything to make it easier on you should be done. Bring on the ads!:-)

  79. As an avid reader and rare commenter: No problem here. I don’t even notice the ads on sites any more, for the most part (maybe we shouldn’t tell that to the advertisers).

    I think most of us around here trust your judgment on such things.

    And, its your damn site – after all.

    More writing + less futzing with site = Happpy Readers + More money for Scalzi

  80. I read your blog from an aggregator, so personally wouldn’t be affected. But I think the less intrusive ads are acceptable and won’t drive your loyal readers away. Besides, if the ads were actually related to your website content, we might even find them useful!

  81. Mr. Scalzi,

    I currently pay $35 per annum to Jerry Pournelle (even though I disagree with 80% of what he says). I pay $2/month to Leo LaPorte. There are some other sites I subscribe to, but those two are most relevant

    So, I’d rather pay you $5/month to you, than weigh through or be annoyed by ads. OK, maybe $2?

    But, as someone said above, it is your site. And, I suppose managing subscriptions could be a pain (or you could give Athena some clerical training).

    I’ll be here every day. Irrespective of how you raise the money. And, two days in a row, I’ve had a bunch of trouble getting to “Whatever”.

  82. You have few nay-sayers, so it’s really just a matter of personal pride. If you’d rather not have ads but can’t do without the money in the short term, remember that you can always take them down after a few months as long as your blog engine can handle a template change.

  83. I saw Chris at #20 note Penny Arcade’s ads, and I must heartily agree with him. Not only are they unobtrusive, despite being animated most of the time, they are also directly targeted to the site’s main audience (gamers) and personally vetted (at least to some extent) by Mike and Jerry. This works well for Penny Arcade because the targeted audience aspect lets them charge a premium for the adspace. As I understand it, they get to do the website full-time, and they’re raising families to boot! I don’t know how your traffic numbers match up to theirs, but I’m sure the principal that targeted advertising equals more effective and thus more valuable still stands (and your traffic numbers can’t be that far off from theirs, if at all…)

    Secondly, if you get to personally vet what goes onto your page it will be less likely to annoy visitors, and may in fact aid the site’s content by offering visitors ideas for products/books/services that they on the one hand can trust, and on the other hand will be highly interested in. From what I can tell, everyone comes out a winner there.

  84. I say go for it. Most people will never notice them. Of those that do, the small majority that are “offended” by them in some way should really learn how to install a real browser and ad blocking software.

    It’s what I did, and I read your site through RSS anyway, which means I see almost no ads anyway.

    I also want to echo Ian’s comment the person you hire be called “The Whateverist”, just cause that’d be cool.

  85. I’m pretty good friends with a blogger who has an audience about the size of yours and she told me that simply dealing with the logistics of the site itself was a nightmare. She wound up selling it to a third party so she could just post and not have to worry about it anymore.

    Given that you must have the same responsibilities, the fact that you post as much as you do is amazing and I don’t think anyone could place any kind of blame on you for simply wanting to do a better job of giving them more free content.

    Not to say you want to do anything like she did, but I’d be hard pressed to see how someone could object to you doing something so reasonable.

  86. It’s your site, but since you asked:

    1. Put up a tip jar. Would you really send back a cash gift from people who sincerely want to help you? If not then why not make it easy for them to do it.

    2. Put up reasonably non-intrusive ads. (No sound, no flashing, etc.)

    3. Make sure you have a tax professional analyze whether, at this point in your career, running the Whatever could be a deductible business/marketing expense. It seems like it should be, but then again tax class was way too early in the morning for me…

    4. Share your experiences about how it works out on the business side for you.

    5. Don’t forget how lucrative payola can be.

    -Movies: “George Lucas is back at the top of his game with The Clone Wars.”

    -Books: “If only my Old Man’s War series was even a fraction as good as the Left Behind series…”

    -Even politics: “The Big Idea: John McCain. His selection of Sarah Palin reflects a profound and sublime understanding of what America needs in a Vice President today.”

    P.S. Hurry! “Error 500 – Internal server error” when first trying to preview this post?

  87. Go for it, John.

    If it means the site will get better, more stable, prettier, less of a mess and you’ll get more time to yourself as well, then I can’t see why a few ads should hurt. You know, as long as they’re nicely incorporated into the design and don’t hinder my experience of the site, and even then I’ll just scriptblock ’em with my nifty Firefox browser. I definitly won’t mind.

  88. No problem with subtle ads, hate flashy animated ads. If having ads helps you hire an assistant and makes your life easier, I say go for it.

  89. As others have said, I would be happy with non-obnoxious ads. There are the OK ads, that just sit there on the side and don’t move, even if you accidentally move the mouse over or near them.

    Then there are 1st-level obnoxious, which behave themselves unless you roll over.

    2nd-level obnoxious, aka barely tolerable, are the ones that are constantly using up bandwidth with animation that thinks is it catching my eye when in reality it is just encouraging me to move another window over the top of it to hide it.

    Then we have intolerable, which sometimes show up on IMDb, where the ad balloons into some massive picture, maybe a moving one, that actually covers part of the text. Covering any of the text is not cool. I hope you would be able to make sure that never never never happens. Ever.

    Ads for things like the Creation Museum and the Mormon Church might actually be humerous. But not too many of them.

  90. The decision is Yours to make mister Scalzi. It may not be an easy decision, but You are the only person who can make it. If You choose to offer subscription I may not be able to afford the moneys, but you should not worry about that!

  91. Tasetful ads would be fine. Even better would be if you had some level of editorial control over them, similar to the way it is done over at Penny Arcade. You aren’t going to have the same model as them, but the ads would mean more (and thus be worth more) if there was some minimum level of implied endorsement if they show up here.

  92. I’m all for it. If I’m getting something for free (your near-daily words of wisdom) I do not mind having the advertisers pay for it.

    The very fact that you ask tells me you will be attentive to what kind of advertising is used and how obtrusive it is. Plus, if it allows you to employ someone, even part-time, you’re contributing to the economy in a positive way.

  93. I wouldn’t complain if you put up ads. It would be nice if they were smallish and hopefully not flashing people into epileptic fits. The guy has a pretty unobtrusive ads system and it seems to be working for him.

    I generally view the site via RSS and most of the feeds I read are sponsored in some way. Might be a thing to consider too.

    My 2 cents. You has them.

  94. Do it. We all read all sorts of blogs and other websites every day that have ads, and my guess is that the vast majority of us don’t mind one bit. I sure don’t. And I’m kind of curious about the kinds of ads that would show up here.

  95. Just so long as visitors get to poke fun at any oddball ads in the comment streams. You know, something like an ad for Obama on a day when you’ve ranted about something he’s done :).

    So, go for it. Worse comes to worst, those who are unhappy can tinker with their adblock settings.

    – Mark

  96. Go for it! Athena will probably be ready for college sooner than most and, I suspect, be smart enough for one of them there big ivy league ones.

  97. Whatever is a resource and point of entertainment for me. If you need to put ads, put ads on it. I’ll even click on some of them for you.

    Bandwidth, site design, maintenance, etc. all costs money. Any reasonable person would understand that ads help provide this content for a little inconvenience or even free. The Penny Arcade guys do and do it well with unintrusive, well designed (graphically) ads. You should go for it. If it makes managing Whatever better and allows you to post/contribute more, I think ads are well worth it.

  98. Go ahead with the ads.
    I do prefer the type without blinking and flashy stuff.
    Your site, your money do what you want.

  99. Harummph. [Grumpy old man voice] I hate ads on principle and despise the culture that allows them to permeate everything. I’ve appreciated the lack of ads here for years.

    But then, I love your books. If ads will let you improve the site and give you more time to write books… Darn these dilemmas. You can always pull it and go back to ad-free if they end up being more trouble than they’re worth.

  100. I would say go for the ads.
    I’m selfish enough to want a better Whatever and I value content over any marinal inconvenience re ads.
    Also, I feel that blog readers have got used to ads over the last few years.

  101. Ditto the majority: go for the ads, just please no pop-ups or walk-ons or obnoxiously loud/flashing ones. I would be interested in book-y, write-ly ads. Don’t know how you’ve managed without an assistant thus far.

  102. Unpaid intern. Kids always want internships in every field. Problem solved! Of course, you will have to keep replacing them every semseter, but at least it’s a free solution!

  103. wow – it almost seems that you feel guilty that you are successful – I say go for the ads – as long as you advertise for stuff you CARE about and nothing you think is evil – how can this be anything but good?

  104. Ads are fine, but they should be not make noise and not move around too much. Just like Ghlaghghee.

  105. The post sounds like you want us to tell you to go with the advertising.

    In any case, take the money and run.

  106. Have you seen/tried Project Wonderful? Basically folks can “bid” on advertising space and you can choose the types of ads you want to allow. I see it on a lot of webcomics (in fact, I think that’s how I learned about it) and as an advertiser that *used* PW, I definitely saw my site views go waaaaay up. They offer different shapes/sizes of ads… it’s kinda cool, I think.

    It seems like the potential benefits of some extra Whatever revenue are worth at least trying it out. Whoever suggested the 6 month trial period… that seems like a good idea. Test it out and see how you feel. Maybe rolling in piles of advertising dollars will help! :)

  107. I say go for it. Put the ads up, make some money, revamp the site.

    And, y’know, nothing says you have to leave them up forever. After six months or so — or however long you might need to accrue the necessary funds — you can always take them down, so as to not impede on your shiny new site.


  108. Go ahead with the ads, it only makes sense with the amount of people who visit whatever. I trust your judgement and you wont get some of those annoying talking ads. You want to keep this place respectable, and if you didn’t, you wouldn’t have made this post.

  109. I don’t mind them if they’re really interesting. It would be cool to see advertisements for things you don’t normally see. Off the wall crap that would give me a good laugh.

    I can’t begin to tell you how much eHarmony makes me want to yark. I know my credit rating, thanks. And I know for sure that my I.Q. is higher than George Bush. I don’t need to take no stinkin’ test.

  110. Well, hell, I’ll chime in with a “go for it”, too, with the usual caveats (jumping, blinking, noisy, obtrusive–unh-unh!). As others have said, the ads are just part of the furniture to me now, meaning unless they’re about something useful or important to me, they enter my eyeballs and exit through the ear without registering on my brain.

    I think a “Help fund a Whateverette!” donate button wouldn’t be bad either.

    You can always use Amazon to shill your friends’ books!

  111. Hi John – I just clicked through from Stover’s site and saw this. Notice that someone else has mentioned Project Wonderful, but I would also suggest looking at it. It’s highly customisable, non-intrusive and, best of all, I believe you can have some control over ad content? Read up on that, but it’s certainly a good option. Plus, the guy who wrote it (Ryan North of Dinosaur Comics) is an absolute star.

  112. Lots of comments already, but to add my two cents….

    Go for it! As long as the ads don’t flash or make noise, I’m fine with them. Since I’m using the RSS feed, I doubt I’ll see them anyway ;)

  113. I say go for it. To be unobtrusive you can do something like Google Ad Words. Unfortunately, lots of us run Adblock Plus (as you can see in the comments). I’m pretty sure that percentage is relatively small though.

  114. Wait, there are ads on the internet? I don’t even notice them anymore. Unless they block what I’m reading, but then it’s like my cat sitting on the newspaper when I’m trying to read. I just push it off.

    Totally trust your judgment, and it’s worth it to read your bloggy wisdom rather than get errors.

  115. Without having read the previous 130ish comments, my opinion…

    I’ve been here for a few years now. When I first got here, I really enjoyed reading nearly everything you wrote each day, and that you interacted well with the community via the comments and with followup posts.

    In the past year, as you’ve been busier elsewhere (winning Hugos and whatnot), and as the site has continued to grow at the same time (especially right after the last Worldcon), you’ve had proportionally less time to spend here. Larger readership, less of you to go around, understandable.

    This has had an unfortunate effect on how you come across here. Your posts have been less inspired and less varied overall (albeit still with highlights here and there, like the Creation Museum thing), and you no longer have the patience to respond well to every comment. This is especially evident when it’s a comment that disagrees with you. It used to be that you would take the time to explain in detail exactly why you thought they were in the wrong – which was often snarky, but in an amusing way – and those of us reading along (well, me at least) found it both educational and entertaining. But in the past year or so, your replies have been very short, impatient, and not very conducive to further discussion. There’s still snark, but it’s no longer fun snark – it’s more like a snarl of “STFU”. The range of opposing viewpoints has decreased here as a result, and some of the more intelligent commenters have started to wandered away.

    And so we have a crossroads for the future of Whatever. I would love to see you come back to participating on your own blog in the way you were doing before, when you did have more time and energy to put into it. If that means putting up ads so you can hire someone to take care of the paperwork, then please, by all means, do.

    Thank you for the opportunity to let me say a few things that have been on my mind for some time.

  116. John, I say go with what with helps you out in the long run. I have Adblock Plus running, so it really won’t affect my enjoyment of your site.

  117. I’m not the biggest fan of advertising, but if it’ll help you, I say go for it.

    And yes, another Adblocker here, but I have been known to disable it on certain sites.

  118. Do whatever it takes so you have time to WRITE MORE BOOKS!! If it’s ads, then that’s fine, as long as they don’t take forever to load (I’m still on dialup)!

  119. Thanks for asking.

    Non-intrusive ads that let you concentrate on content vs. drudge? Sounds like Win-Win to me.

    Ian @ 11

    “The Whateverist” Heh, wish I’d thought of that.

  120. Go for the ads, hell with it. Really, I think everyone’s largely able to edit ads out of view in realtime now anyway. Unless they’re for cool things.

    If you can advertise stuff I actually want to buy, that would be doubly cool.

  121. Sometimes ads can be pretty. I really like the little 125×125 squares on places like Blog Perfume, and I don’t block those despite having two different ad-blocking plugins in Firefox, because they are relevant and pretty.

    I also don’t block ads on other site when they’re closely related to the site and aren’t obnoxious. For instance, webcomics that advertise other webcomics; gaming sites that advertise games.

    I think Whatever has enough clout to be able to pick and choose ads carefully, and enough visibility to make advertising space a premium—a very valuable premium. For instance, ads for SF publishers, ads for books, ads for other SF sites. Ads for anything SF related or for quirky things or whatnot. I think this is likely what you have in mind—and I think it has the possibility to add, not detract.

    Google ads are simpler, of course, but less pretty. However, they may also be highly amusing. I wonder, if you choose to go the Google Adsense route, what Google ads will show up on your bacon posts….

    Some sites also allow people to subscribe so that, when logged in, their site view is devoid of ads. This is much harder to set up, but when I have that option, I take it, despite adblockers.

    Much as I dislike advertising, I think it’s gotten the reputation it deserves because people don’t target it well. Not even advertisers target well; for a long time, the idea of conversion ratio (i.e., do people click on these ads?) as something to improve by conscious and deliberate targeting has not been prioritized. This results in a lot of advertising becoming noise, rather than something that informs. Advertising is about the spread of information, after all—and doing such a thing intelligently is something advertisers should be doing more of.

    Um. lotta words. *blames the meds*

  122. Put ads up. You’re the kind of guy who’ll find a relatively attractive and unobtrusive way to do it, so none of us will mind. Also, why deny yourself an income stream?

    If I had enough readers on my site to actually make real money, I’d have a lot more than just a single Google AdSense banner…

    Hey, if you do start selling ads, I’d like to advertise here! Send me your media kit… :)

  123. John, I’d say proceed with the advertising. It’s pretty much the only way you’ll be able to expand without going broke.

    But then, my brain filters so heavily that I almost do not see the ads at all, and certainly can’t remember what they are two minutes later. Others may be more annoyed.


  124. Go for it John. We (meaning you and to a much lesser extent me) write to make money. This is just another way to do it. Though I’d encourage you to be selective. I don’t want to see John McCain adverts here after all.


  125. I’ve never been particularly bothered by well behaved ads. Ones that don’t move about or shout or wave at me. And since I now use Firefox with NoScript, their misbehaved siblings have been severely dealt with.

    There hasn’t been much of it in the comments, but the idea that ads are somehow bad or immoral seems quint. If only you can preserve the wholesome purity of Whatever by not having ads. I say bring on the penis enlargement ads.

  126. Non-obtrusive ads aren’t a problem. Of course, they may make less money, but I’m not sure how much you’re going to need here, and you do get a lot of traffic.

    Not that I’d see them in firefox – I install adblock once I see a couple flashy ads of doom on one site, and there go all the ads – but they’d show up in Thunderbird, which I use as an RSS reader.

    Obtrusive ads would … well, cause me to see if there was an adblock for Thunderbird and if not, I’d probably unsubscribe from the RSS, though it’s not like I need RSS to show up here.

    Project Wonderful (mentioned above) has been fine whenever I’ve seen it show up.

  127. John,

    For whatever my opinion is worth, I think ads stink. I actively and aggressively block ads — primarily because they can drastically slow down web page loading even on DSL.

    The IntelliTXT ads (with the double-underlined words) are some of the worst! I found a way to block them with Adblock, so I’m finally happy.

    People like me would probably not even notice if you put ads on your site.

  128. I’ll add my .02, for what it’s worth. (not so much anymore with inflation, methinks.)

    I don’t mind ads. I’ve found some useful stuff via ads in the past, but very rarely. I don’t find unobtrusive ads to be any sort of bad thing. I echo the hate others have for noisy, flashy, popovery, try-to-do-things-to-my-computer-I-didn’t-ask-for advertisements though.

    I’d like to see this utopian whatever-esque future you’ve dreamed up. If advertising is what it takes to get us there, I’m on board and ready to click on a couple of them.

    I don’t think you’d alienate any large percentage of your readership with some well placed advertising. Bonus points if it’s interesting and topical enough that we’ll actually – gasp! – use them.

  129. I would say go for the ads. We need more books!!!!

    But please, please, please… No “You’re the 999,999th visitor” type ads. I don’t mind advertising as long as it’s not obnoxious.

  130. I’ll add my voice to the group who’s saying to go for it, but stick to ads you personally approve of (both graphically, and product/servicewise).

  131. Honestly, I wouldn’t mind ads. I would personally prefer if they were directly related to things on the site (i.e., not like Google’s AdSense, in which “sense” makes absolutely no sense at all, as results hardly ever match what I’m looking at). Like, publishers’ ads for books would be cool. Just not hyper-animated or overly distracting.

  132. Assuming they wouldn’t be of the “Click on this annoying flashing monkey to WIN” variety of ads, I don’t see a problem with them.

  133. In principle, I’m fine with ads. I echo the commenters that hate the kind of ads that cause stuff to appear on mouseover.

    I read about a dozen blogs every day, most of them have ads. The only one that causes annoying delays on loading is the Bad Astronomy blog, since its most recent makeover.

  134. I’d like better access to older articles since I’m a newer reader. I don’t mind ads, and moreover, since I usually read via RSS, go ahead and put ads there too.

  135. Hey John –

    Whatever (pun intended) works for you, works for me. I love the site and want it to continue, but not at the expense of your pocketbook. You’ll figure out a way to do it that won’t be obnoxious anyway, so I’m not worried in the slightest.

    Go for it!


  136. I think Ads are a good thing.

    You are providing an entertainment service, and as you’ve noted before, you write a lot of words here–words for which you aren’t directly getting paid for.

    I think people (in general) have become somewhat spoiled in that they want something for nothing. Registering to view on-line news papers, ads–those are the price we pay for having content we don’t have to pay for directly.

    I personally find Ad block add-ons a little unethical, since as I said, it feels to me like trying to get a free lunch.

    That said, I hate talking ads, and animated ads are also pretty obnoxious. And pop-up ads are a horrible menace. So I’d be sad if you used those kinds of ads. But I don’t think they’re your style, so I’m not so worried.

    And if you have someone to handle the back end work so you can focus on the things you like, that would be awesome. Perhaps your web elf can also serve as a comment moderator? No offense, but when you have such a large volume of comments, it gets really hard to moderate, and someone assisting you might help you get back to the fun of blogging.

  137. Go ahead and advertise. I can ignore most everything. And if by chance, there is something interesting being advertised, I might just buy.

    One caveat though.

    When William Gaines of Mad Magazine fame was once asked why he did not accept ads, he replied he had to remain independent. He said, as I recall: “You can’t advertise Pepsi and knock Coke.”

  138. I think you deserve to draw income from the blog even if it is not righteously reinvested in the blog. After ten damn years of things and stuff, you should be able to buy an iPod, send your daughter to college, or support your crack habit. Whatever.

  139. Have your bacon and eat it too!

    Put the ads up (tasteful, well-placed ads) and, since you’ll be paying for the support and service, offer a paid subscription opt out for those who want Whatever that way.

    As an added bonus, you can offer free ‘no-ads’ subscriptions as contest prizes, or simply make someone’s day by saying “hey, you get a free, no ads subscription to Whatever because the cats like your face.”

  140. No pop-ups, and no ads to “check your computer for viruses” because I’m still dealing with that one infesting my computer with virus.

    Are you familiar with the online comic Day By Day?

    He had a marathon for his readers to contribute to the site to keep it running after he lost his job. He has a variety of ads on the site to help defray expenses. I’m not saying that you should have a marathon, it doesn’t strike me as your style. But it’s one example of a site supporting itself in a rather creative manner.

    If you scroll back in the past month, you’ll see some of his comics reference his marathon. Once you get to know the characters, it’s pretty funny.

  141. Here’s something interesting, I can read your blog via an RSS feed on Livejournal so if you decide to put ads on your site, I won’t see them if all I want to do is read your blog. However, the reason I hit your blog site is to read the comments. That being said, I don’t mine non-obnoxious ad content if it makes things easier for you.
    In the looking for help with thing side, the webgoblin for Neil Gaiman might be looking for additional freelance work.

  142. Ads are fine, just please dear god don’t let them have sound (unless perhaps you click on them to activate the sound).

  143. Con Burn the pre 2007 stuff to CD and then delete.
    Some could argue that revenue from Your Hate mail Will be Graded could reasonably be at least partially put towards site maintenance.
    Pro You put a lot of time and money into this site and there is no reason you shouldn’t get paid for that work. A reasonably sized banner that IS NOT animated wouldn’t kill me. No popups, those are fatal.

  144. John, if you can find a non-intrusive way to do ads, go for it. Hell, I’ve gotten so used to them I barely notice them on blogs as long as they’re not excessively ugly. If you target right, I may actually click on them.

  145. i only lurk here and there and post from time to time. that said, in general, ads don’t bother me. i live on and they have ads. as long as they aren’t blinking and screaming and adjusting the window size. a small ad off to the side is cool. and the little google ads are apparently very profitable and very unobtrusive.

  146. I don’t mind static ads at all. I do, however, mind animated ads. If they can be stilled via the Escape key, I am content to merely stop the animation. If they can’t be stopped, then the Adblock extension to Firefox does an admirable job of making them go away.

    That said, bring on the ads!

  147. As long as the ads don’t have sound, who cares? Everyone ignores ads once they learn where they appear on a site. If people dislike them that much, there are banner-ad blockers for free.

  148. meh, I use Firefox and rarely see ads anyway, so sure go for it. Heck, if you are scrupulous about what ads you allow I might even be interested in seeing them from time to time

  149. Ads are fine, as long as it’s nothing too intrusive. Sidebar ads, etc, are fine – I’d much rather have those than the annoying ads where they’re hyperlinks in the middle of a post (so that you’re like, “hey, interesting information… wait, an ad.).

    No matter what though, as long as you keep writing good stuff, I’ll keep reading it. :D

  150. If you have the time and energy.

    Go the Penny Arcade route. Vet each ad. In fact they have to go through you to service.

    Then you can control was is on the site AND who knows, make the ads awesome too.

  151. It’s nice to get the respect, but really… On this occasion, why the hell does my free-loading arse get a vote? You’ve given me endless hours of harmless entertainment and insight, and if my ad-blocking whatsits have to work a little harder then it’s a small price for someone else to pay. :)

    I’m totally with you on the “ugly and annoying” element of web advertising, but am totally confident you’ll find a way of (at least) keeping the throbbing, blinking seizure-inducing fugliness to a bare minimum.

  152. Ads would fine for me. Just hope they are limited to the bottom of the sidebar or some place just as discreet.

  153. As an added bonus, you can offer free ‘no-ads’ subscriptions as contest prizes, or simply make someone’s day by saying “hey, you get a free, no ads subscription to Whatever because the cats like your face.”

    I shudder to think what Chang-not-Chang will do with this.

  154. No flash, no popups, no pop-overs or pop-anything that gets in the way of shit, nothing I have to click close on so I can read the site. And if they aren’t blinking shit that’d be nice. In that case I’m okay, though I still prefer no ads.

  155. Once you get past figuring out how much google ad sense will get you, then you’ll have a better sense of what actual CPC – Cost per click is at the bottom of the barrel.

    For the higher range of what blog networks charge for direct buys at rate card pricing, check the author’s section of Federated Media. I have on idea what the split with blog authors is, mind you. But even if it’s only 10% to you, it may well beat out google ad sense. Federated sells on CPM, so far as I know.

  156. I dislike most ads, but I trust you’ll find a way to do them non-obnoxiously. The ones on Making Light don’t bother me. Another site that uses advertising well: the library comic Unshelved, .

  157. Hey John,

    I say go for it. Ads don’t bother me on sites. To be honest, I’ve come to expect them – and recently I’ve started using them to promote my own work. Take a look at Project Wonderful (www, It’s a neat little system where people bid for your ad space. With a blog as popular as yours, I think you might get some serious bidding wars going on – and that’s all good for you.


  158. John, Whatever is bookmarked and it will still be one of the top 5 sites I visit daily, ads or not. Hire someone at least part time with the money. Get the hosting and support squared away. Your site’s worth it.

  159. I personally use Firefox w/ AdBlock plus, so I hardly ever see any ads anyway. I’m guessing most of your regular readers are even savvier than I at this sort of thing.

    If an ad company wants to give you money anyway, go for it. I wish all of my dilemmas were so happy.

  160. I think you will choose ads that won’t be annoying (punch the monkey anyone?), so I think it’s fine. I’m used to ads by now, and know that’s the way the internet world turns. So it’s all good.

  161. I would prefer if you just hit us all up for money as a fundraiser thing, and we payed for the site revamp. I promise to donate.

    I really hate ads.

  162. Count me in the “go for it” category. I trust that any ads you decided to run would be tasteful and not of the flashy, obnoxious variety, so I doubt they’d be much of a distraction. Like most people, I’m used to tuning advertising out, anyway.

  163. Yeah, I’m positive on this. All the stuff you cited sounds good, and as long as ads aren’t just gratuitously obtrusive (e.g., popup/unders) I can generally tune them out for the most part anyway. And hey, sometimes I even actually do see something interesting in them (s’how I found this, for instance). So yeah, you’ve definitely got my go-ahead, for whatever that might be worth.

  164. I have no problem with ads on Whatever, John. Do what you need to do to make your life a little easier.

  165. Ads that sit there? Sure!

    Ads that expand over the content and get in my way? No.

    A “watch an ad before you can click through to read Whatever” scheme? Hell, no.

  166. Ads are ubiquitous; hardly even notice them except when they misbehave, or when a site is running slow and only the damned ads are visible.

    Frankly, it’s your blog, son: none of our damned business.

  167. Advertising is also another way off showing your own good taste, after all you get to choose which of the applying advertisers makes the cut. At the end of the day, it’s your site and I would gladly avoid looking at adverts if it keeps it going. I read it for the content and the comments and am quite capable of ignoring extraneous frippery.

  168. I may dislike advertising, but I really like what you write. If you add ads you will have more time to write. So bring on the ads.

    Also, I feel that you should be paid well for what you write. And you shouldn’t have to fork over your dough to do what you want here.

    That being said, I would also be willing to contribute to an ‘upgrade fund’ if it were made available.

    Thank you for asking our opinions and thank you for writing damn good stuff.

  169. I say go with the ads. Just pick some ad service where you have some control over what is coming up in the rotation and put the ad somewhere on the page where it’s not a distraction. I think you could play with your layout quite bit and not have it be a big deal. Hey maybe Tor would pony up a little change to have ads for recent releases and whatnot.

    And think of it this way, the ads pay for something that would come out of your pocket. So now you could a) put extra money into Athena’s college fund or to fund her first mad science/take over the world project b) fund some other fun hobby of yours c) take your wife out to a nice dinner or d) more catnip.

  170. If you make them textual ads, like google ads, the irritation factor will be low. What’s more, services like google will (most of the time) make the ads relevant to the content on your site, i.e. it will be links to science fiction books and sites. People might end up even liking that.

    Of course, you may be able to strike a deal with one of the SF sites you already do business with, assuring relevance. That way you could even limit advertisements to stuff that you yourself like.

  171. Text ads wouldn’t bother me, but if they start blinking I wouldn’t return very often. I like your writing and your blog, but I hate blinking ads.

  172. 1. Yes, ads, sure, (and omg, where have you been all my reading life: you rock!)

    1a. Please, don’t let them yell or flash.

    2. What others have said: give us the option to just throw money at you via PayPal. You’re providing value and entertainment with “Whatever”, and as far as I understand this “internet” thing, it costs money not only to do so, but to do all the housekeeping stuff that would make it more fun for us.

  173. As everyone else has said, ads are fine by me, so long as they don’t freaking blink or flash.

    That said, think of a fundraiser this way: you charge us money to read your books; charging us money to read your blog is not all that different — especially if we volunteer to pony up (the way we volunteer to pay for your books. :)) 1000 readers X $5 = a good down payment on a webminion!

    I know! Think of it as us paying you in advance for your next book, because we’ll be buying you the free time to write it! Well, it made sense at the time. Do whatever makes you happy, John, I’m sure if you’re happy we’ll be happy.

  174. As much as I hate to be the 205th “Me, too” comment — yeah, John, this is your puppy. I don’t think I’d have been dissuaded from reading your site if you had done this back in 2001 or earlier, and it sounds like no one else would either.

    Besides — you’ll still be the grand high poohbah here. If you do it, and you hate it, you can get rid of it (provided you haven’t yet allocated ad income to a staff salary).

    Seems to me that what most Whateverites want is whatever is likely to increase the Scalzi words-per-annum output. As you frequently point out, cashflow is a wonderful inducement for such, and website management is a drag on such. Therefore… I think you’re probably the single most conflicted person about this call, which should tell you something.

  175. Hmm, sounds like the jury’s still out then . . . . .

    Seriously, ‘Whatever’ is clearly not a stagnant backwater. Change is good, more is good, better is better. Most web-users are ad-blind by now anyway.

  176. Like a lot of others, I have no problem with ads. I don’t even mind the animated ones. Now the ones that contain audio…those need to be drowned in a bathtub.

  177. Go for it. Anybody who hates adverts has some kind of adblocker installed anyway (or at least they should do) so they’re not even going to notice them. And considering what you’re going to do with the revenue, this benefits everybody who reads your blog. So it’s win-win.

  178. I don’t mind ads done in the manner of Making Light, where they are confined to the sidebar, tastefully designed, and somehow always tend to seem… relevant to the content, so they’re not distracting; they fit in with the purpose and the message of the site.

    (ditto on the not having animated ads though)
    (and on making it obvious how people can just throw money at you)

  179. Whatever works. Just so long as you don’t have some gizmo that makes me read the ads. After all, I come here for fine words – yours and all the other splendid folk who haunt these pixels – and laughs, sometimes even tears.

    Even an ad written by Salman Rushdie didn’t provide those.

  180. Don’t tell the people who buy adspace on the internet, but I think most of us have gotten really good at filtering out of our conscious webbrowsing. As long as you keep to many of the above suggestions, and don’t let the ads interfere directly with your content – it wouldn’t bother me in the least.

  181. 1. Ads don’t have to be ugly. Check out “The Deck”, which a lot of smart blogs use to generate some income. Generally, you get to choose regular advertiser that is switched up regularly, and you can choose a nice styled text ad. This means you can choose an advertiser that matches up nicely with your audience (if sucha thing is possible).

    2. RSS. Make sure your page views and such count real page hits, discounting any incoming RSS aggregation hits, which will likely not count as a page hit (unless you tack on a text ad to the RSS feed, as well). Some sites have had to restrict RSS to a synopsis, or move to a subscription model for RSS because people simple switch to RSS when confronted with ads of any sort.

  182. I say go for it. Not because I love ads. Not because I think having moving things on a sidebar is super-fantastic.

    I say go for it because I love it when you feature new books. I love it that you post regularly, on a variety of topics. I’m also a pro at ignoring ads. I’ve been surfing what feels like forever, (about 12 years) and ultimately, most sites end up with ads specifically to address problems you are having, ie so many visitors that you need to move the site to a new server, and all that takes money. I’m not a fan of ads, but I understand the reality of life. It’s a damn shame money doesn’t grow on trees, since that would solve so many problems.

    I’ve gotten so much from your site: interesting postings about so many cool things, great ideas for books to read, and generally laughs at times when I’ve really needed them. The least I can do in return is ignore your ads ;)

  183. I read through Google Reader, so I unless you stick ads in the RSS feed (which is fine too), I won’t be affected. I say go for it.

  184. Ads don’t bother me as I’ve learned to accept them or work around them depending on degree of obnoxiousness. +1 on not accepting flash-based, blinking, popping, stalking, or lurking ads. As Google reminds us, Don’t Be Evil.

    I’m also in favor of goal-specific fundraising. For example, one month to raise nnnn dollars for a year’s hosting. Donors at the $10 level get names added to the honor roll page for the site; $50 get names linked to their own blogs; $100 get all the above plus a Guest Blog day on Whatever. Just some ideas for you and Kristine to kick around.

  185. Put on ads. By now, ads on popular sites are utterly unremarkable. People expect it don’t care. Those that do care just block them.

    A better Whatever would make everyone happy.

  186. Happy to join what appears to be the vast majority here — go for it, John. You put time and effort into entertaining us, there’s no reason someone shouldn’t pay for it (especially when it isn’t, y’know, us). If you’re going to put some of that revenue back into Whatever, so much the better — I’ve certainly noticed the increasing delays in loading when I try to come to the site — but that’s up to you. I’d tell you to go ahead with the ads even if you didn’t intend to put more money into Whatever.

  187. Go for it and even if you make some extra money on the side, after you set aside money for Athena’s college fund, we won’t mind.

    One request though: Please don’t sign up with an advertiser who’ll insist on putting up flash-based ads.

    PS: Jason Kottke runs ads via a site called The Deck ( and the ads are unobtrusive.

  188. I’m going to go very much against the flow here. Now, while I, personally, could care less about ads, as long as they’re not obtrusive (the general consensus, it seems), I don’t think that’s all you should be considering.

    What is Whatever to you? Primarily at least, is it an independent creative work, or is it a means to an end, that end being the improvement and promotion of your personal writing ability? If the latter, is it really sending the right message to put ads on a site that is essentially a big ad?

    My personal opinion is that I would prefer to see Whatever be whatever you can afford to make it (in time and/or $) without ads, than become an endpoint instead of a means to an end. The best, and possibly only, ads that should be on your site would be pointers to where people can go to pay you for your work.

  189. Are you a professional blogger or are you a novelist? Writing fiction is your work. You stop doing the blog to pay attention to the fiction. The blog is where you come to have fun. If you take this thing “out of the garage” it’s going to become work. Is that what you want? If that’s where it already is, then you might as well get paid.

    If you need more money write another book.

    Ask yourself: Do I want to be The Boss [tm]? Do I want to hire and fire staff? Do I want to do payroll calculations and send off payments to the franchise tax board? Do I want to go to meetings with the accountants? Lunch with the ad staff?

    Sure, now you’re thinking “We’ll all be rich! Rich as Nazis!” but it might come at the cost of one of the favorite bits of your soul turning black and dropping off. If that’s something you’re OK with, then go for it.

  190. I was in a very similar position last March with my website. it’s not a blog, it’s a car forum, but the situation was almost the same. The site had outgrown it’s home (a server running on my personal DSL line in my house) so I had to move it. I originally purchased a ‘shared server’ hosting plan, but due to the huge over-sell of the server, my site was using most of the resources on that server, so I had to move it again. I did the same thing, I asked the community what to do, and in short order (without me even actually asking originally) I had enough money donated by members to purchase a full year of dedicated server space. I don’t currently run ads, at one time I had Adwords running, and I should do so again, but for now, it’s paying for itself.

    I don’t know if that is workable for your situation, but you may be pleasantly surprised. I know of other blogs that pay for themselves this way, and I think most people are willing to pay for good content, especially when they can see the results and know that it’s not going into some huge faceless corporation.

    Just my $.02, consider it a donation… :)


  191. I say go with ads, but if possible do the Penny Arcade route – only accept ads from products that you think are worthy of our/your time.

  192. If you put in advertisements it will not stop me from reading Whatever. I doubt it would feel that intrusive to me. If you decided you wanted to do an online fundraiser instead, that’d be okay, too, and I’d probably contribute a little bit.

  193. If it wasn’t for point one, I would have suggested you look for short-term volunteers willing to fix up the archived posts of the Whatever and handle Big Idea stuff. The contests would be sad to lose, but not too big a deal.

    But if you need a new hosting service, I say bring on the ads. I read most of the posts on my LJ friends list anyway, and only click over here for the comments (mostly on political topics, mostly to see who flounces).

    Thanks for the blog and the time you put into it. It’s great stuff.

  194. I say go for it… you gotta do what you gotta do. And if advertising means we get more Scalzi, then so be it. The fact that my addiction to Whatever is too powerful to keep me away, no matter how gaudy the site becomes, is of no moment.

    Anyway, that’s my take.

  195. I don’t mind nonobtrusive ads — if they don’t jump up-and-down and scream to get my attention, it’s fine by me.

    Another Suggestion: Put out a tip jar. Set up a PayPal account and a banner/link such that anyone who wants to contribute, may. (This may have been suggested earlier, but I don’t feel like sloughing through 200+ messages right now.)

  196. Put ads on if you want to. If I don’t like them, I’ll block them. However, I won’t stop reading Whatever in any case. Your site, your rules: my eyeballs, my rules. :)

    Now, if it’s strictly $$$ that’s a problem, ads as a source of revenue are legitimate and can even be tastefully done. On the other hand, if you have a few one-time tasks that you need done from a computing standpoint, well, welcome to *my* bailiwick. :)

    I’d be happy to contribute pro-bono time to reduce the computer-task debt from which you suffer. (Perhaps others will chime in as well.) I have a background in linux/Sun server administration, PHP, perl, and other arcane incantations purposed to keep the magic smoke in the box and AddValue(TM). I maintain (but do not design) websites for my kids’ PTA and my HOA.

    I’ll presume that you can see my email address, which is otherwise hidden since I’m not looking for a job at this time. If you have a good qualification of what you want done (and you must if you’re considering the possibility of outside help, right?), please feel free to tickle me at that address, and I’ll send my qualifications. I don’t want to send them if they’re not desired.

    It’s the least that I can do until you can write novels as fast as I can read them. ;)

  197. You ought to get paid for this work you do on this site, although as you have pointed out, it has helped your career otherwise. Generally, (good) free entertainment is paid for by advertising: radio, Yahoo, and AOL are perfect examples of the model… In my opinion, you already engage in a subtle form of advertising: you plug a lot of work done by others. (I hope they plug yours as well). The plugging bothers me a bit because of the perceived non-commercial intent whereas there is a commercial outcome, i.e. more sales for those you endorse (hopefully). Conversely, advertisements are clearly commercial in intent. While I am sure you will make sure that the advertisements are kosher with your values, oversight does not constitute an endorsement any more than advertisements on TV constitute a recommendation by the network showing them. After having said this, I don’t believe you are being disingenuous when you plug a product, but it feels like a subtle form of advertising anyway. In reality, an endorsement without payment is pure, but it still rubs me the wrong way because it is intruding on a non-commercial space (your writing). Advertisements are seperated from that space because they are not in the body of the text. I have the same issue when I watch TV or the movies and they have very clearly inserted Coca Cola for one of the characters to drink.

  198. Go for it, but do it politely. Still words or text are fine, but I find any advert that moves / flashes etc extremely irritating. You could possibly offer an ad-free service for those who are willing to hand over money, thus offering an opt-out for anyone who cares enough.

  199. The most precious thing you have is your time. If you can free up your time, at no cost to yourself other than occassionally spotting an ad out of the corner of your eye, then I think you should go for it.

  200. Yes, please. I’m also up for the donate via paypal thing. Anything that will allow you to get yourself an assistant/webperson to take care of technical issues will free you up for more writing. And if I didn’t really like your writing, I wouldn’t be here.
    Besides, I have no problem paying for things that I enjoy. And I enjoy Whatever very much.

  201. Here’s how I’d look at this if I were you:

    1. The blog is a moneymaking enterprise. People come to the blog because they have feline/pork fetishes and find out that you’re a novelist and then they buy your books.
    2. The blog is, as you note, in a bit of disarray. Not the current content, but the older stuff, much of which is highly valuable content.
    3. Your time is valuable.

    Assuming that the above three points are true (I think it self-evident, other people may not) then reorganizing the Whatever should have as targets:

    1. Making existing valuable content available.
    2. Making it easier for you to manage.

    From that perspective, it makes sense to me that you would consider investing the money up front to have someone design something that would allow you to spend less time on dicking around and more on generating money-making content. Somebody who knows what he or she is doing should be able to both bring in the old content and give you something that will make it easy to do the things you want to do.

    Invest the money up front, and recover or defray it with ads. Frankly, I’d be interested in seeing what sort of ad content you’d offer. I’m one of those people who actually looks at good ad content and follows it. A decent ad campaign is not actually a detraction from a site IMO.

  202. And by Here’s how I’d look at this if I were you I actually mean here’s another perspective, not you should think like me!

  203. I don’t mind ads at all. I think all the reasons you put forth are completely valid. As for ugliness of ads, if you limit the number of available spaces to certain areas in keeping with the design of the site you can keep your blog relatively nice looking. I say go for it. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of ads would run on the site as well.


  204. Very early on in my online experience I trained myself to not even see online ads. For all I know, you could have put ads on the site months ago. I’d never notice.

  205. as comfortable as I am, I am not so comfortable that I can easily spend the several thousands of dollars I would need at this point to overhaul and revamp the site and put it on technologically robust footing, or to hire someone even in a part-time capacity to to assist me with stuff I would like to be assisted with.

    I pondered this for a bit; the result of said pondering is that while I suspect (which prompted said pondering) that someone such as Tor *would* both have, and be willing to use for this, the required resources, they might also request editorial input.

    Which would be worse than ads.

    [On the other hand, maybe they wouldn’t. I don’t know how much leverage you already get in contracts because you have the Whatever visibility.]

    Second tangential comment: if the Whatever becomes significantly difficult for folk to access, my bet is that regardless of the ad decision, it will be worthwhile to invest needed time/$ to fix that. But then you’ll know whether that’s true better than do I, so not very helpful.

    Actual answer to question: go ahead; I will likely not see them anyway, and would not expect you to host ads tht would annoy me in any case.

    Comment on above: I’m surprised at the level of agreement in responses. Folk must trust your judgement. Whoda thunk?

  206. p.s. Would I pay for Whatever access? Yes, probably; the history is long enough and the content valuable enough. I doubt that you’d get many new readers willing to do so, so the subs would need to be voluntary. Overall, I agree with you that saving such requests for charity is an element of the ambience here that I like.

    [Plus, a sub setup would make it harder to force future Creation Museum visits ;-))]

  207. I’d like to put in another nomination for Project Wonderful for adverts. You have control over what gets shown, the advertisers know what sort of site they’re pushing adverts to and they pay.

  208. I’m not a big fan of advertising in any form, but it has its uses (the advertising-gullible fund advertisers who fund stuff I can view for free if I put up with the advertising).

    Please find an ad provider that has ethical standards in format and content.

    Ethical format: No pop-ups, pop-unders, flashers, or floaters. No audio without user permission.

    Ethical content: No advertising that pretends to be something else, such as a system warning, virus alert, or web error. No frauds, if it has to misspell a pharmaceutical, they’re selling something else.

  209. Personally speaking, I only notice a site has ads when they are REALLY annoying, like the ones that pop up and keep flashing until you close them. Most of the news/sci fi sites I look at regularly apparantly have ads – I’ve just gone back to check, as I couldn’t have told you before – so it really wouldn’t worry me personally.

    I do have to say that I also like the idea of a subscription type service to whatever, it would make it feel more of a club but may also make people feel that they have some say in the site, which would take something away from it somehow. I also think it would cut the numbers of visitors unless the fees were voluntary and then, not sure how many people would actually cough up.

    I say then: Ads, blah, whatever!

  210. Adds would be all right. I would personally love to see a creation museum add on your site, just for the cognitive dissonance.

    I assume that you find pop ups and pop unders just as annoying as we do, so I don’t worry about you adding them.

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