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AdBrite Announces Inline Ads

Posted By Darren Rowse 12th of May 2006 Advertising 0 Comments

Adbrite (aff) have announced this week that they are moving towards giving their publishers ‘inline’ ads.

Inline ads are those links you see inside of content (often green or made to look different to other links on a page) that have a little popup window that appears when your comes into contact with the link (see picture below for an example).


This type of advertising causes quite a bit of debate among bloggers. Some like them because they don’t take up too much room (unless your cursor is over them) while others feel they are too close to looking like a link and are therefore a little deceptive.

What do you think? Would you try them?

Inline ads are CPC ads (ie you get paid per click). You don’t have to manually put them into your blog – other ad providers who use them provide you with a piece of code to put into your page that does it automatically for you. In a sense they are contextual ads but I do know of some bloggers who have been using them in conjunction with AdSense ads on the same page through other ad providers (you’d want to check this with AdSense before using them).

There’s no real word at this stage on when they go live with them but I suspect they’ll be popular with some bloggers.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
  • So that’s what those are. They’ve always struck me as deceptive, intrusive, and spammy. Two thumbs down.

  • No, no, no, no, no, no, no!

    I won’t ever run this type of ad on any site. And I’m not one of those anti-advertising types – I make most of my money from web ads and I even run pop-under ads.

    Please don’t be tempted to run these:

    1. They break the fundamental hypertextiness of the web. When I see a link on ProBlogger to “Advertising” I expect it to link to a Problogger article on the topic, or maybe another relevant link. When it turns out to be an ad, I feel cheated.

    2. They make your site look slimy. They give me the impression that you care more about ad clicks than about informing your users. I’m probably in the minority, but this type of ad will lower your site’s reputation in my eyes more than any other with the possible exception of porn pop-ups.

    3. They don’t work. Unless you have a particular kind of site and a particular kind of reader, you’ll get very few clicks, and you’ll have annoyed most of your readers for nothing.

    I’ve met Pud, he’s a great guy and AdBrite has always been one of the most respectable ad companies in my book. I’m disappointed to hear they’re going to do this type of advertising.

  • As a reader, I also dislike them. I don’t like the way they intrude on the content. I have more respect for ads that are clearly ads, and that live in clearly defined places.
    These inline ads remind me of product placement, and of sports commentators who check scores on the ‘Rio Tinto Scoreboard’…. grrrr

  • As a surfer I hate them – I tend to move my mouse around whilst I’m surfing (I don’t navigate pages with the mouse so the pointer is usually in the window content not on the scrollbar) – and the amount of times an ad pops up is infuriating.

    Though they do look different to normal links (double-underlined green, for example) they’re still obtrusive as for a moment you think they might be a link, then you realise they’re not. It’s starting to make me wary of text links in content altogether, which can’t be good.

    Therefore, if as an end-user I don’t like them, I won’t use them on my sites either.

  • I hate these types of ads, they’re intrusive and bring my browser to a crawl if I just happen to move my mouse over one whilst scanning a page. Any site that uses them generally loses my readership, and I’d never dream of adding them to any of my sites.

  • Right, it’s not just that the cursor happens to fall on them. When I’m reading online I have this habit of constantly selecting and deselecting lines of text at random, just to keep my hand busy or something. I normally do it without thinking but these stupid popup ads interrupt my reading whenever I do it, so I actually have to sit on my hand to get through the article. Pass.

  • It’s a bit like being shot at. You move your cursor down the page and, bang, bang, bang!!! The wretched things shoot up at you. I often feel like a rugby player when negotiating those pages, jinking the cursor round the links to avoid the tackles.

    When will I put them on my blogs? When Hell freezes over.

  • Whew I almost put those type of ads on my site this week. I am glad the panel has warned me against this. Although I do make my own decisions, I am the decider. I look for advice online for what works and what doesn’t.

  • Rob

    Is it just the behaviour of these ads people don’t like, or inline links as ads in general?
    I’ve been pondering on adding affiliate links into my blog posts, but I’m really not sure if people view them as annoying or whatever.

  • As a rule of thumb, I design my ad placements so that if I was a reader, I wouldn’t be annoyed by them. That doesn’t mean I hide them, but I don’t want them to be intrusive.

    I find these inline ads to be extremely annoying when I’m reading something, and I have no plans to include them in my site.

  • I like their inlineyness, I just wish there was a way to make them actually relevant. Whether it’s a paid link or not, I want to know that when readers click, they’re taken to a page that serves their genuine needs. I think the way they are now, they generate mainly accidental clicks.

  • I hate them. I think they cross a line that makes them intrusive.

  • i use two companies offering these inline links and I’m quite satisfied. I’m just wondering how will Adbrite set the CPC value, as I got an account there too, so it would be nice to have everything under one roof…

  • Pretty clear-cut and unanimous from the comments – I hate them. I think they cheapen a site and they do slow down your browser a little if you happen to hover over them.

    I’m all for advertising but this is just too “in your face”.

    When I come a cross a site using them I seldom go back.

  • I can’t stand them almost as much as I can’t stand spam in my inbox.

    I visited a site the other day that was loaded with them, and when I couldn’t read any of the content because the stupid ads kept popping up, I just left without reading one word.

    I scroll up and down with my mouse wheel so my mouse is always inside the window, and I would never want to annoy my readers who do the same thing.

  • Darren

    I was also checking Clicksor, they have this same type of ads.

    In the Clicksor (i don’t now Adbrite) site, they say that they are contextual ads, the same as Adsense. Doesn’t interfiere having both?


  • I already using this type of ads on my blog,with kontera,but not yet sucessed having poor CTR.

  • I agree with the negative responses above: the “links” often have little to do with the content of the post and reduce your reader’s trust — It would annoy my readers if I started to include seemingly random links to advertisements in my posts.

    I tend to use RSS feeds to read blogs that use this technique, since it removes the distraction and frustration.

  • I really hate ads like this, because a lot of times they’ll be placed somewhere close to a place where I try to bring my cursor, and while I’m trying to click on something else, the ad pops up and gets in the way.

    Do you have any of those pet peeves with the internet that are so annoying to you that every time it happens it just infuriates you? Yeah, well these kind of ads are one of those for me.

  • I’ll add my voice to the chorus of boo birds. The ads are just too obvious and desperate, and degrade the surfer’s experience.

    They also are extremely off in their targeting most times. I think these ads run off decent people and chase money away.

  • jim

    I agree with everyone else here, inline ads are annoying. The most annoying thing is rolling over them, having something pop up, and then having to wait after you’ve dragged the mouse away to get back at the content. It’s disturbs the reader too much for my tastes, it’s like having a flashing red & white banner asking you to hit something… ugh.

  • Good lord those are obnoxious. I’ll stop visiting sites that implement these… even b5media sites. ;-)

  • There’s an inherent danger that ad formats, such as this, are too invasive and may drive readers away.

  • Let me join the chorus and say that I hate these things. I hate them so much have Firefox set to block those from companies I know of via adblock and/or greasemonkey. The ads are simply too intrusive for me. I think another problem with this type of ads is that they seem purely word based. An ad for eyeglasses once popped up when I passed my cursor over the word “glasses” in a web page. The reference was actually to water glasses.

    Someone asked if this dislike carries over to affiliate links in the text of the message. For me, it doesn’t. Most people who put affiliate links in their posts do so in a helpful way. If the post is about product X, I really don’t mind a link to product X. Also, most such links are just links. Not weird dhtml/css ad windows that pop up over the the post text if my mouse cursor happens to pass over the word.

  • I agree with SG above about affiliate links. You can make moral arguments about whether they’re appropriate, and it depends on your site, but the thing about affiliate links is that they’re real links.

    If I talk about the book “The Davinci Code” and use its title as an affiliate link to Amazon, from the reader’s perspective it’s just a normal link. You can click on it for more information about the book, which is exactly what you wanted. The link adds value to the post. The only difference is that I get a cut if you buy it.

    These “Inline Ads” aren’t real links. They appear on words that otherwise wouldn’t have been links at all, and they rarely lead to where the user would want to go. In fact, as a webmaster, you give up control over where the links are sending your users. They don’t add value, they take it away (from your other links, which suddenly look like ads too).

  • Pingback: » Are Inline Ads Worth It?()

  • I’ve just noticed that b5 has these things on its blogs now, at least on Windows Vista. I have to say, they thoroughly destroy the experience and reduce the readability of the content. It’s a bit of an insult to visitors.

  • That’s news to me John – I don’t see them on any b5 blogs including WV….?

  • John,
    I’ve had past experience where my computer has been infected by a virus that did this. Could that be it?

    I’ve never encountered it at any b5 blog … and I hope I never do.

  • Rob

    I’m seeing Kontera ones on Vista Weblog too.

  • Shit, I just had a quick look at Windows Vista and yep they are there! They’re the green links.

    That’s a real shame.

  • I’ve just checked it again and they’re there, but there is a delay then they appear and they are relevant to the text. No other website I’ve visited today does that. Maybe it’s UK only?

  • that’s really odd – I can’t see them. I’ll check into this.

  • Darren,
    You know I’m in the same city as you and I see them. The 2 latest posts.

  • It’s not a virus, Martin. It’s embedded in the site.

  • John,
    Yep you see it and I see it too so it’s not a bug on the user side. It’s clearly been placed.

  • Maybe only Windows XP picks them up. I seem to remember something about smart tags in the original spec. If you’re on a Mac, Darren, that may be the answer.

  • I can see the source code but not the ads.

    I’ve done a little digging and it seems that we’re testing them on a small number of our blogs and that they were introduced just before my last holiday when I was packing and getting my guest blogs ready (hence me not being up with it).

    I’m also told that they are only supposed to be on old posts and not new ones – obviously not working if you can see them on the last two posts.

    We’ll be discussing whether to continue with them in the weeks ahead.

    My own personal opinion is that I don’t like this type of advertising. I think it’s confusing to readers to see different types of ads.

    I do however know of some blogs that use them in a way that is less disruptive than others (ie I think some ad systems let you limit how many appear on a page and let you considerably change the appearance of them.

    Anyway – It’s definately something we’ll be discussing further as directors.

    My lesson – no more holidays for me! :-)

  • Darren, the overwhelming consensus of your loyal readership on this post is against them. And they are all pros too. For myself, I simply won’t visit sites that give me this experience. It would be interesting though to see what traffic fall-off occurs over, say, a month. I don’t mean search traffic, but RSS and plain domain traffic.

  • Darren,

    Yikes must be a little red-faced :-) It’s not easy having 3 bosses scattered around the world. Who handles such things at b5? Is there one person in charge of advertising at b5?

    Reason: as John just said, I’ve never seen an overwhelming reaction to any issue such as this one: very clear: the vast majority hate them with a passion.

    Personally, I’d get rid of them or at best have only one per post.

    Also, I really hope it doesn’t give you guys great click thrus (with all due respect) because you’ll report that here and then you’ll see a thousand blogs going down that road.

  • John – to me it comes down to quality of content on the sites that I know of that have them. For instance I’m a regular of PhotographyBLOG who uses them and I don’t mind them because I value Mark’s blogging.

    I hear what you say though – I’m sure there are some who would unsubscribe/stop reading when they see them – but I wonder if it’d be significant levels.

    Having said that – that’s what this test is about I guess. We’re testing a variety of ad types, placements, sytems at b5 in the hope of finding a system that works both in terms of giving readers a quality experience, fitting with design and looking at income. I guess it’s a balance of finding the place that works amidst them all.

    We’ll see what we find I guess.

    Martin – not really red faced. We’re learning as we go. In actual fact we have 4 bosses scattered around the world (two of which are currently travelling – as I was when this all was implemented). At the head of b5 we have Jeremy, Duncan, Shai and myself.

    We each have our own roles and are continuing to find our way on learning who is good at what etc.

    You’re right about it being an overwhelming negative reaction here in the comments of this post. I didn’t expect anything different when I reported Adbrite’s move. The interesting thing however is that those that have commented are all bloggers (and fairly tech savvy and experienced ones at that. I’d be fascinated to find out what blog READERS think of these ads. I’m not sure how we’d survey them but I did talk to one blogger 6 months ago who was using these ads and he did a survey of his readers and found that they actually preferred them to many other forms of advertising because they didn’t dominate the page and in some cases they were actually helpful to them.

    I’m not sure this would be the case for all blog readers but I do wonder if the feeling in this comment thread is perhaps skewed. Definately an interesting discussion.

    In terms of me announcing results – I don’t tend to reveal everything about b5. What I share here in terms of actual details of earnings, findings etc tends to be more from my own personal blogs and not b5s.

    And now – I’m off to bed.

  • Yay for Safari – whatever is on the b5 samples doesn’t show up, so it can’t be using the same technology as other sites where I do get them – unless they’ve been removed.

  • As a quick not (I’m bad, I’m supposed to be offline), as Darren said this was a test across 5 blogs.

    The parameters were: posts older than 30 days, not for logged in users, and using Kontera’s new contextual engine.

    We’ve had some minor bugs with the code (WVW may not have the latest version, for example) but they should all be fixed now. Also, as Darren said, every reader on the blogs we’re testing on has said they have 0 problem with them.

    And, really, if you’re a regular reader you should never, ever see them anyways. Sorry if folk did, though, that’s my fault as I was doing testing / rollout.

    We’ll be discussing this more once I’m back, though. End of the day the reason we’re doing this is so that search readers and such can be more likely to find info they are looking for (ie: if they searched for “windows vista” or something we want them to go to a definitive page from our blogs even if the post they are on doesn’t link to it).

  • There’s a difference between readers and bloggers.

    Bloggers rarely, if ever, contribute to your income by clicking on an ad.

    Average readers click on ads. Don’t ever confuse the two groups as they act completely different in testing situations.

    Never, ever make a decision based on what you ” think ” a customer will do.

    Don’t even believe him if he tells you what he thinks he’ll do.

    Run a test and ” see ” what he’ll actually do under given circumstances.

    Also, Darren, I had to use your name again. in my latest blog post.

    Hope you can help.

  • It’s even more complex than that, Mike. The Windows Vista blog will have a mainly techie readership, at least at this stage of the Vista game. They’ll be developers or in the trade. Most will be bloggers themselves, but they do click on some of the technical ads that Google serves up. In this case, Adsense becomes part of the info-stream, which is what it does at its best. Being a blogger or reader doesn’t seem to matter in this case.

  • I have tried inline ads but I feel irritated after some time, it disturbs my layout and font settings and make the page look ugly.

  • I agree with most of the commenters, I dislike them on the sites I vist that contain inline ads. Visually, the site design is broken, I have yet to see a site that incorpotrates this type of ad seemlessly.

  • If you guys don’t like them, don’t let them. By this I mean.. and this is helpful for a lot of crap on the internet that slows you down:

    First Get Firefox. Second get an extension called “NoScript.” What this lets you do is allow javascript, java (and other plugins), only for trusted domains. Most of these inline ads run on javascript. Really very few times does this hender your ability to find what you’re looking for. Text isn’t javascript and it also blocks all those annoying flash banners that use your computer’s resources. If you want to allow a certain script to run on a site, you can click the little icon on the bottom of your browser and a convenient popup menu comes up with a list of scripts that are being blocked.

    Scripts come from different sources. So the script that runs kontera or adbrite inline ads you can block, while say for instance allowing a script that runs a flash demo on the same site. It’s very versatile and you should just take my word for it — It’s the best Firefox addon ever created. Surfing is 20 times better with this script.