Google ads have hit Atheist Nexus. You've likely noticed the fairly unobtrusive box to the right side of the screen. If not, take a look quick, I'll wait...

Advertising, by and large, is a way of life on the net. Be it very loosely targeted like Google ads or annoying flash panels telling you that you've just won a new laptop, we deal with it. Maintaining a fairly well trafficed site costs and the people behind the curtain need to do what they can to come up with cash for hardware, staffing and maintenance (among other things).

In a previous blog I mention having left myspace due to advertising. Myspace gets an ungodly amount of traffic and they don't ask users for a penny, thus, it's the internet equivalent of an ADD infused infomercial on crank. Nexus, simply by the nature of the target audience, will never achieve that level of traffic. The day I come to log in and have to click around a gaudy Mountain Dew ad or something promoting a band I've never heard of (nor likely would enjoy) is the day I'm outta here.

So we have Google giving us ads and I'm ok with that, google ads can be amusing sometimes. Richard has kept the display small and out of the for me. I do question the verbiage of "support our sponsors" when we have ads for sites like "" popping up..but we can't really predict what Google is going to shove in there.

Lets see what I'm being sold this morning (yes, I did click each add from the helps!): - This works, I'm already a member. - Internet dating, ugh. Does Google know I'm single? Does the mere mention of the word in my profile instantly give me this ad? I'm happy single and the day I decide to start trying to meet someone the last place I'm going is the intertubes. - I had no idea what this was upon clicking. The ad said "Are You A Real Atheist ? Or Are You Just Pretending ? Test If You Have The God Gene." I assumed it was joke or one of those amusing sites proclaiming it's impossible to not believe in fairies. It turns out to be just another dating site and the 'god gene' is one of their "compatibility" questions. Too bad, I was looking for a fundie bullshit laugh this morning. - More internet dating, blah blah blah. Perhaps relevant to someone but not myself.

These last two have got to be the clearest example of why I question calling these people "sponsors". AKA - "The Atheist's Riddle So Simple, Any Child Can Understand So Complex, No Atheist Can Solve" This is a generic looking page asking for your email address so they can tell you how bad you are for being an atheist and how much jesus loves you. Essentially a christian fishing site so they can constantly tell you how much jesus wants to jump your bones. If you give these people your email address and you suddenly get herpes, don't say I didn't warn you. - "Do You Believe in God?Jesus Christ Loves You. Here is a Prayer That Can Change Your Life" There's my fundie chuckle for the morning!

We've got ads now, it was inevitable. If you don't like them that's fine but please don't bitch, it's a necessary evil. Does this mean we shouldn't strive to support the site? No, not at all, donations will keep those ads to a minimal. We can't stop them but we sure can keep them in check.

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Comment by Neece on August 9, 2008 at 6:51pm
TANSTAAFL - There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch - Robert Heinlein.
That's my two cents, borrowed from a fellow atheist.
Comment by Mark on August 9, 2008 at 6:29pm
There's really no reason for Internet-savvy people to have to put up with ads at all. Good ol' Firefox and Adblock+ solve that problem. And a little greasemonkey script can even hide the "support ads" box.

And a donation still gets A|N some money. All good.

I have no problem with anyone asking for money, mainly because I have no problem ignoring their requests if I don't feel like giving. As long as their requests don't interfere with the service they provide. That's why I hate commercial radio and TV, the ads can't be ignored and they interrupt the show or flow of music.
Comment by Hessenroots on August 9, 2008 at 4:18pm
I agree with you on that Latin. It's like public radio to me. Sure, I'll listen to commercial radio but the moment they have a fundraiser drive I'm out. I'll gladly pay for public radio because it is something different and delivers a far superior product for my consumption.

I do refer to AN as a social networking site (lovinly so as "social networking for the rest of us" on my podcast site) but it is something more then that. I'd hope anyone here sees it the same way to some extent.
Comment by IsThatLatin on August 9, 2008 at 4:01pm
we're used to getting everything for free, many aren't willing to donate

I think this is a source of frustration for me. And I'm not saying I'm any different from anyone else...I'm sure I'm just as bad. But I see A/N as something in, one can look at it like one looks at facebook or MySpace: as just another social networking site. I don't.

Maybe it's because I see it as not just a social networking site, but as an opportunity to help grow something substantial and effective in the Atheist community, that makes me more tolerant to the donations system and possible ads. If facebook started asking me for money, bye-bye facebook. But when A/N does, I see it more as an investment. Maybe it's just me, I dunno.

Comment by Dawn K on August 9, 2008 at 3:50pm
I have ad-block so I don't see the ads although I can see the box with "support ads". I agree that it's probably a necessary evil. Supporting the site with donations is ideal but not everyone is able and on the net where we're used to getting everything for free, many aren't willing to donate. Google ads don't bother me personally at all. In fact I'd definitely click through on this site just to add my support. But I agree that banner ads and even worse the animated ones are not to be tolerated.
Comment by IsThatLatin on August 9, 2008 at 3:38pm
Yeah, 'Support Ads' is much better.
Comment by Hessenroots on August 9, 2008 at 3:23pm
Thanks for the thoughts, Latin.

I hate those animated ones too, especially the ones with sound that you can't turn off . I don't want a voice telling me "you're a winner!" every 30 seconds while I'm trying to sift through a forum.

Side note, I do see that the title of the ad window has been changed to "Support Ads". Perhaps BR had the same thought I did upon seeing some of the links
Comment by IsThatLatin on August 9, 2008 at 3:16pm
I'm not a fan of internet ads in general (who is?), but BR kept this so small that I honestly didn't even notice it until you pointed it out. We're of one mind here--necessary evil. That being said, that doesn't mean I want to wade through a ton of ads (don't you love trying to click on something you want, only to have your line of fire invaded by some animated bullshit thing you know you're off on some page you have zero desire to look at...*sigh*). I agree that the day A/N turns into MySpace (you're right, that amount of ads is totally unacceptable), A/N will cease to be the comfortable, laid back sort of place I am enjoying now--too many ads stress me out and I just don't want to deal with it.

This tiny Google problem. Right now it wants to know if I 'Want Atheist Women?' Thanks, no, but I'm sure some folks on here do. Click away, gentlemen!

Maybe a couple of small ads like this could be tolerated until A/N can get donations up. Once funding is in place and can be regularly and reasonably counted on from members or other sources, the ads can come down.

People who complain about small ads, or the donation system, etc...I don't know. These are growing pains and they're to be expected. It might help folks to be a little more forward looking.



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