May 17, 2004

Saying No to Image-Based Ads

For reasons of personal preference and potential profit, this site has opted not to display Google's image-based ads. Despite the option being made available to web publishers under the AdSense program, I doubt that I would see additional revenue from image-based banner ads.

Google's decision to offer image-based advertisements as part of the AdSense program was reported on Slashdot last Thursday. When I logged into AdSense that afternoon, I verified that the option was there to enable image-based ads. Google -- thoughtfully -- has the following page-specific options available to AdSense publishers:

  • Use my default account setting
  • Text ads only on this page
  • Text and image ads on this page

I am using the default account settings for ad types, which happens to be set up as "Display text ads only in all ad units." This configuration was the default one provided by Google. I certainly appreciate that Google allowed the image-based ads to be an opt-in decision, to be made by each individual publisher.

The conversation that's been sparked on Slashdot brings up quite a few point about the future of Google's business model, however these concerns aren't shared. Image-based ads bring back memories of the olden days of advertising on the Internet, with hideously animated banner ads that drew your attention away from the content. I don't want any part of that, indeed my reasons are quite simple.

Maintain aesthetic control.
With the current set of text ads, I control their color and size. With image-based ads the size would be the same, but the images displayed may or may not match with my existing color scheme and style (or lack thereof).

Emphasis on content.
I decided to enroll in Google's AdSense program because the ads weren't large or gaudy, and because they allowed the content to retain emphasis. Overall the ads appear bland, but are still visible for inquisitive eyes who might be looking for commercial services that relate to the current article. More experienced eyes can easily glide past them without much trouble.

Finally, I doubt that I'd earn more money using image-based ads. The regular readers of this site wouldn't be likely to click on gaudy images anyways. Some users will even block the ads originating from Google's servers from appearing in their browsers. The ad examples that I've seen tend to be one image-based ad per block, as compared to two or four text ads per block. Unless Google's advertisers are paying more for a click on a large banner, it seems I get four related ads in the same amount of space. That's four content-related options for viewers to click on, versus a single option. Seems like a no brainer to me.

Posted by alexm at May 17, 2004 09:09 AM.
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