Friday, July 08, 2005

Feed ads? Let your readers choose

Tim Bray doesn't like InfoWorld's graphic feed ads. Others are complaining too. Chad Dickerson has a different view:
I'm biased because I work here, but I'll put a stake in the ground and say that mixing advertising in a full-text feed with content produced from a staff of writers and copy editors seems reasonable.
Well, not necessarily. Google makes a fortune from ads that are clearly marked, unobtrusive, and relevant. These graphic ads are really annoying and distract from the content. For the top news feed, the signal noise ratio is completely out of whack for me, and I've unsubscribed. If there are lots of folks with my reaction, how will these ads be a money making proposition?

I do appreciate getting full text on the columnists feed, since I don't have to click open a jillion tabs to read them. There, I'll put up with the ads because it provides an overall better experience.

Why not let your readers choose? InfoWorld says "we should probably offer an alternative feed for those who prefer the old version. Will add it to the to-do list immediately," but frankly, I don't care enough to see if they've done it. I will rely on other sources.

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