What's Up with All These Frickin' Ads?

Yes, there's some new ads, and there's some new redesign. (Many thanks again to Super G!) "Why?" you must be asking...

Well, we want to expand to better accomodate our readers and contributors...and that's going to take some cash-money. None of us are going to make a profit from this (at least no time soon, and if we do, we'll be up front about it and tell you...). That means, every cent is going to be reinvested back into this blog.

We didn't want to put out a tip jar through pay pal. That seems cheesy to us.

So, this seems the easiest way to collect the funds we need to put together a better interface. If you're going to order something from amazon, go through one of these book links. We still get credit. Otherwise, click an ad and help the cause.

Your thoughts are welcome below. We want to know if this is too intrusive, etc., etc.
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PG, I know you have to finance the site, but that text area for posts is getting mighty thin.... How about a little more space for the posts? How about taking the 3rd column (Contributors, Primers) and putting it below/above the blogroll in the left column?

I don't mind the ads. But then again, I usually argue in favor of the market. If ad revenue is a market-based solution that get me more and better "The Oil Drum", good.

You may want to consider some sort of an ad policy, which I know other sites have done. I can't help thinking that an ad for Exxon or Bush might just hurt yuor credibility wth some elements of your audience.


yes, yes, the irony is not lost on me. however, this is a market where growth is possible...unlike the 84/85 mbpd supply number. According to those in the know, it ain't going any higher. :|

The academic feel of the site drew me in originally and lent an air of credibility (I think it flavors the discussion as well). It said something meaningful about this group. Ads have a way of undoing that. I understand the need, but the all-important first impression is certianly much changed.

GJP: I understand that. But, would you rather we just put out the tip jar and never improve the site?

Believe me, the whorishness is not lost on us either. The problem is that we all are academics, and therefore have limited resources...

The Oil Drum: I can’t pretend to know what pressures you are under here and this is an opportune time to express my appreciation to The Oil Drum and its users for the time dedicated to this effort.

I suppose that if the ads prove to make this forum more sustainable then they are completely justified (they tend to pay off best on very highly trafficked sites). It is simply my opinion and concern that they may prove to do more harm than good here (from PR, content, and usability perspectives). As a communications professional, I don’t really see a need to improve the site in either format or functionality. The caliber of the content has become the hallmark of this particular discussion forum. The Oil Drum’s identity has been scholarly and professional without being at all pretentious or elitist and the site works nicely. It screams credibility for a topic generally viewed as suspect. In my mind, ads threaten to undermine this positive image.

Reviews or discussions about relevant books and resources are potentially very useful to newcomers. Perhaps the ads could be better integrated into The Oil Drum if framed with a link for review and discussion of the publications promoted here. This approach might reflect positively on the integrity of the site and mitigate any negative impact that introducing commercial content might otherwise have.

gjp...no, your words reflect some of the emails we've been getting on the topic all day...you're not wrong. We've decided to go back to the old format for now...we'll figure something out! :)

(and thanks for the kind words...)