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Thread: It's Time For A New Phoronix User Survey

  1. #21
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    It was a really dumb survey, which is not surprising coming from an advertisement company. When the questions stopped making sense I started answering randomly. It was obvious the results wouldn’t lead to anything useful, they just want to know how much money they can squeeze out of you.

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by stqn View Post
    It was a really dumb survey, which is not surprising coming from an advertisement company. When the questions stopped making sense I started answering randomly. It was obvious the results wouldn’t lead to anything useful, they just want to know how much money they can squeeze out of you.
    Exactly. It's companies like IDC that make me glad the web is an open platform where you are free to bring your own smart client (ad blocker included), and also why I will fight any effort trying to DRMize the web tooth and nail. Being in control of what I see on my screen and what runs on my computer is the single best part of the web, and IDC and other advertisers would like to take that away. Including Michael since he is strongly anti-adblock.

    When is IDC and Michael going to realize that they can make much more profit and have much more sales by having things like product reviews on this website, with carefully considered and balanced "pros and cons" of each device, and a link at the end of the article that both gives the user a small discount (coupon code) and gives the site a referral bonus?

    Little flashy ads that say "MY PRODUCT IS COOL, BUY IT NOW" have very little effect on the percentage of the population that thinks for themselves -- and a large portion of Phoronix readership is in that category. We respond to reasoned argumentation in the form of prose, not whizzling flash ads. If anything, those make me less likely to ever buy that product because I interpret the advertising company as full of sleezeballs.

  3. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by allquixotic View Post
    When is IDC and Michael going to realize that they can make much more profit and have much more sales by having things like product reviews on this website, with carefully considered and balanced "pros and cons" of each device, and a link at the end of the article that both gives the user a small discount (coupon code) and gives the site a referral bonus?
    That's been experimented with and overall is far from being the biggest revenue driver... Not to mention it's more difficult to do referral/affiliate traffic in Chicago/Illinois now due to stupid laws.

    Quote Originally Posted by allquixotic View Post
    Little flashy ads that say "MY PRODUCT IS COOL, BUY IT NOW" have very little effect on the percentage of the population that thinks for themselves -- and a large portion of Phoronix readership is in that category. We respond to reasoned argumentation in the form of prose, not whizzling flash ads. If anything, those make me less likely to ever buy that product because I interpret the advertising company as full of sleezeballs.
    I'm paid for impressions, not clicks. So if you don't click the ad, that's fine by me.

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael View Post
    That's been experimented with and overall is far from being the biggest revenue driver... Not to mention it's more difficult to do referral/affiliate traffic in Chicago/Illinois now due to stupid laws.
    What "stupid laws"? I'm not doubting you, just genuinely interested. I don't know of anything like that here in Maryland. It sounds ridiculous to me; taxing it is one thing but making it illegal or adding burdensome requirements to it, that'd be very irritating indeed.

    Would it matter if you get hosted elsewhere, or do they still have jurisdiction because you live and do business in Illinois?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael View Post
    I'm paid for impressions, not clicks. So if you don't click the ad, that's fine by me.
    To be frank, that's an awful thing to say. You're essentially saying, "I don't care if the ads are extremely annoying/undesirable because I have no financial incentive to make you interested in them; as soon as you come to the site I'm monetizing you". For someone who thrives on advertising, I find this astonishing.

    First, imagine how much revenue you lose because people who would normally not want to disable ads have disabled them. Overall I find that people are reasonable; if there is no desire, then there is no need. So if a reader comes to your site and most sites they visit don't have terrible, irrelevant and obtrusive ads, this will be the only site like that they've ever experienced, and this site alone might drive them to install Adblock. In fact, that is the case for me: if I never visited Phoronix, I'd have ZERO need to ever install AdBlock.

    In other words, if the ads weren't as obtrusive and/or were more relevant, people might be less inclined to disable them, which would bring you more revenue. Sounds nice, right? But no; instead of trying to improve the quality of your site (and your ads reflect directly on the quality of your site overall, like it or not) you would prefer to not care. I quote again:

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael View Post
    I'm paid for impressions, not clicks. So if you don't click the ad, that's fine by me.
    Spoken like someone who doesn't give a shit.

    You're lucky your tie to the FOSS driver developer news feed keeps me coming back, or I'd cancel my Phoronix membership. Gah. There has to be a way to put food on the table without being a douchebag. "Do the right thing" and opportunities come knocking. That's how I've lived my life and I think I'm doing pretty well. What's your excuse?

  5. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by allquixotic View Post
    What "stupid laws"? I'm not doubting you, just genuinely interested. I don't know of anything like that here in Maryland. It sounds ridiculous to me; taxing it is one thing but making it illegal or adding burdensome requirements to it, that'd be very irritating indeed.

    Would it matter if you get hosted elsewhere, or do they still have jurisdiction because you live and do business in Illinois?
    I'm based in Illinois so that's what counts. Basically if there's any 'affiliate' of a company (e.g. Amazon affiliate or NewEgg affiliate) within Illinois, the state of Illinois has been trying to make the Internet retailer charge sales tax even if they have no physical presence in the state -- just these independent affiliates. So then Amazon and most other Internet retailers throw the affiliates under the bus rather than resorting to charging their customers sales tax.

    Quote Originally Posted by allquixotic View Post
    To be frank, that's an awful thing to say...You're lucky your tie to the FOSS driver developer news feed keeps me coming back, or I'd cancel my Phoronix membership. Gah. There has to be a way to put food on the table without being a douchebag. "Do the right thing" and opportunities come knocking. That's how I've lived my life and I think I'm doing pretty well. What's your excuse?
    I wasn't referring to the quality of the ads but the ads themselves and even if Microsoft is serving an ad on Phoronix, it can be uninteresting to the masses, but still being paid.

  6. #26
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    It sounds like you might want to consider parting ways with IDG TechNetwork. You haven't expressed publicly any indication that you're dissatisfied with the way they're treating your users, but certainly you must be reading the complaints and certainly you must have ideas that it can be done better?

    I mean is there any particular reason why you don't think any other agency or network or whatever they're called (I call 'em scum) would be able to generate a similar or greater amount of revenue without annoying users as much?

    Also note that I define "user annoyance" along two axes: one is obtrusiveness and one is relevance. So an ad that is obtrusive and irrelevant is extremely annoying; an ad that is obtrusive but interesting is moderately annoying; an ad that is unobtrusive but uninteresting is moderately annoying; and an ad that is unobtrusive and interesting is least annoying or even "not annoying at all".

    You can further break down obtrusive into different types of obtrusiveness:

    1. How much space it takes on the screen (taking up a lot of space can make it fairly obtrusive but not as badly as the below);
    2. Whether it just occupies space on the page or prevents you from viewing the page at all (popups and floating frames that you have to close are the MOST annoying);
    3. How much user interaction is required to stop the advertisement from being in the way (requiring user interaction or waiting is a HUGE blow to obtrusiveness);
    4. How much bandwidth the ad consumes, and how much it detracts from the performance of the web browser (this will be variable depending on the end user's ISP and computer, but certainly it can be argued that flash videos are the worst and plain text are the best).

    I've seen ads on Phoronix spanning the gamut of all the above, and on top of that being completely irrelevant, so they get a big fat "F" and make me EXTREMELY likely to keep using AdBlock into the future.

    So why do you think that having maximally obtrusive, maximally irrelevant ads on Phoronix is the best approach? Are you really so cynical that you think the entire rest of the advertisement industry is not able to improve upon this at all, and make the ads slightly less intrusive or slightly more relevant without hurting your bottom line (or hell, even helping it)?

    Admittedly I don't have a lot of experience with the "science" of advertising, but to me it seems like IDG goes out of their way to make the experience as miserable as possible, as if to encourage users to subscribe to Premium or GTFO (or do neither and install a freely available extension for their browser of choice). But I don't subscribe to premium to get rid of the ads; even when I'm not logged in, AdBlock does that perfectly. I subscribe to support you because some of what you do amuses me and provides me information I can't find elsewhere.

    Come on; you have to be interested in how to improve the situation! Don't you? Isn't software all about incremental improvements? Isn't the goal of advertising to be relevant? I realize you're on the defensive here and having to justify your choices, but I don't think you're doing yourself any favors by being complacent in the matter. Approach it from a positive, "can-do" perspective and look for ways to improve. I don't think you're going to find any improvement with IDG, though, hence why I hinted that I think you should look elsewhere.

    But I don't know, maybe there is nobody else who can do it better. Maybe the sad state of the advertising industry at large is really that all they can serve up is a steaming pile of irrelevant, resource-hogging shit. I wouldn't want to be involved with them at all if that were the case.

  7. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by allquixotic View Post
    It sounds like you might want to consider parting ways with IDG TechNetwork. You haven't expressed publicly any indication that you're dissatisfied with the way they're treating your users, but certainly you must be reading the complaints and certainly you must have ideas that it can be done better?
    I've experimented with other ad networks but IDG simply provides the best revenue... Targeting Linux enthusiasts isn't exactly the most lucrative area and there aren't many advertisers targeting that market so basically have to do with the ads that are handed in order to meet expenses. Obviously if it was very profitable, there would be more staff by now and I wouldn't be busting myself all day/night working.

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael View Post
    I've experimented with other ad networks but IDG simply provides the best revenue... Targeting Linux enthusiasts isn't exactly the most lucrative area and there aren't many advertisers targeting that market so basically have to do with the ads that are handed in order to meet expenses. Obviously if it was very profitable, there would be more staff by now and I wouldn't be busting myself all day/night working.
    Alright, fair enough. I know you devote all your time to this pursuit and it is appreciated. If IDG is providing you enough to get by on until Linux becomes a larger market segment, so be it. I guess it's kind of a necessary evil, huh? At least the site doesn't require Windows to view it.

    Maybe I'm being too hard on you and expecting too much, since it seems like you've been in business forever (certainly a long time) and you get a ton of industry attention from basically anybody who dares to touch Linux with a 6 foot pole. From the articles it seems like you're a lot bigger and a lot more successful than perhaps you actually are.

    *sigh* I just wish it didn't have to be this way. IDG's ad stream seems like it's going to be a losing battle for you, because ultimately, those flash ads and full-screen ads are just going to either drive users permanently away, or get them to install AdBlock -- neither of which are good outcomes for you. And there is definitely no correlation between people annoyed by ads and people who purchase Premium -- as I said, my reasons for subscribing are completely orthogonal.

    Anyway... I did actually complete the survey and made every effort to tell IDG that I do not want video ads, so hopefully they'll listen. Not that I'd ever actually see a video ad with Premium+AdBlock anyway, but I'm kinda looking out for the random visitor / casual visitor who doesn't know about AdBlock.

    Sorry for going off. You're doing a good job overall and covering things that matter. You even get slashdotted from time to time. Keep it up. Peace.

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael View Post
    I'm based in Illinois so that's what counts. Basically if there's any 'affiliate' of a company (e.g. Amazon affiliate or NewEgg affiliate) within Illinois, the state of Illinois has been trying to make the Internet retailer charge sales tax even if they have no physical presence in the state -- just these independent affiliates. So then Amazon and most other Internet retailers throw the affiliates under the bus rather than resorting to charging their customers sales tax.
    Sounds like the solution is to paper move the HQ to Luxembourg or Ireland, who just so happens to have a branch in Illinois, and maybe another in Germany.

    More profits to you too, via less taxes.

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