JUNE 25, 2009 1:17PM

Ads on Open -- for you, too

Rate: 38 Flag

We're rolling out integrated advertising on all pages today, for Open Salon and its members, to help you start profiting off of all your fine work here. You need to join Google's AdSense ad network to launch the ads and start earning money off of them. To do that, sign up here, or follow the "blog ads" option up under the menu listed under the "More" button at the top righthand corner of the page. (You need to be logged in to do this.)

Our philosophy from the get-go has been that Open Salon is a publishing partnership.  You're wildly generous with your talents and energy; we try to help you find a smarter, vaster audience than you would if you were off blogging on your lonesome. And while certain other organizations  have no plans to ever pay their bloggers, we've always understood that if we profit, you should profit. We'll continue to try other methods to make blogging on Open Salon a more enriching (and profitable) experience -- but this is a big step, and we hope it proves worth your while. 

The basics: We're giving you three spaces (the maximum Google allows) shown below in blue; the square gray space is one we've reserved for Open Salon advertising. You can choose to use fewer than three of your ads if you want. They will be text ads, which we think will perform best for you:


And sure, go ahead. Allow yourself  to be carried away by stories of a click-generated fortune. Don't quit your day job -- that's a pretty rare scenario. But it is a direct way for you to convert your audience into cash. Some of you already have an AdSense account from another blog; you can use that same account here, too.

Let me  try and anticipate some of your questions: 

How do I make money off of Adsense?

Google describes the process this way: "Google places relevant CPC (cost-per-click) and CPM (cost per thousand impressions) ads into the same auction and lets them compete against one another. The auction takes place instantaneously and when it's over AdSense will automatically display the text or image ad(s) that will generate the maximum revenue for a page -- and the maximum revenue for you."

Basically, you get ads on your page that are either making money based on the number of clicks on them, or simply from the number of views of them. You won't know, though, which ones will be on your blog. 

Can I remove ads from my blog I don't like? 

You can remove your own ads, yes. Read more about AdSense's AdSense guidelines (scroll down to "Safeguarding your business standards is our business too"). The ad that Open Salon places on your blog cannot be removed. 

Does Open Salon take a percentage of the revenue from my Google AdSense account like other blog networks?

No. Members retain 100 percent of the revenue from their AdSense accounts.

I'm a member of Salon Premium. Should I still be seeing ads on Open Salon? 

Yes. Salon Premium gives subscribers an ad-free version of Salon. There is no ad-free version of Open Salon.

Do I have to participate? 

No. If you don't sing up for AdSense the three positions on your blog that we  reserved for you will remain dormant, with no ads.

For other questions, check out our FAQ, and again, the AdSense guidelines.  OR: Fire away in the Comments below, and I'll do my best to answer any and all.

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Excellent news! Unfortunately the feature doesn't seem to be working for me yet - have you tested the interface in all browsers?
Thanks for the explanation. I was wondering what this was all about.

I'm going to be rich! :-)
Shit. They don't even make penny candy anymore.
Hey MT -- there might be a bit of a delay as we add it all in to our servers. I'll keep you posted her.
Kerry - you are a tease.

Just kidding. Looking forward to this new feature.
"Salon Premium gives subscribers an ad-free version of Salon."

Whaaa? Then how come I see shitloads of ads when I am signed in to Salon?
Is this why I have this ad which has appeared from nowhere displayed on my blog?

Because I have never written a poem on travelling on OS... LOL.
All best,
I must admit - the placement of the ad in the gray area is a touch horrific. Still... if this is the price we must pay, I guess I'll learn to live with it.

Also, I think it would be less annoying if we could have C show up BELOW our friends most recent posts.
Excellent! I was wondering what was going on when I published my post and seen the ad on it. Shocked me!!
Thank you for letting us know what is happening.
Can you perhaps center the mandatory ad? I find the left justification unsettling.

And the Air France ad appears to be taking its cues from Freaky Troll and is blinking. That's a nice touch.
If this must be done, couldn't the ad be put in the margins?
I do understand the why. I just don't agree with it. I know my humor is at times aimed at you and OS, just as I know you always have my respect. But I feel advertising should be a personal choice within a blog.
IMPORTANT: If you're like me and using Ad Blocker Plus on Mozilla Firefox, you won't be able to see the interface to sign up for this new service. You must disable any ad-blocking plugins you have installed, or the site won't work right. However, once enabled, you can turn it back on and the ads will go away.
I will repeat what I wrote on Mr. Mustard's post: It seems very, very unfair to someone painstakingly creating a vision with their words. Adding a picture/ad that in no way represents the writer's vision may diminish the story's impact.
M_T wrote: "Also, I think it would be less annoying if we could have C show up BELOW our friends most recent posts."

We chose the positions we did to deliver the biggest bang for your buck. But if that placement bugs you, you can always use the other two.

MM: "Can you perhaps center the mandatory ad? I find the left justification unsettling. "

Should be shortly -- there are few browser issues we're resolving.

MrM: "I feel advertising should be a personal choice within a blog."

It is -- up to a point. The three ads you can add are entirely up to you. But Open Salon is a service, we're not a nonprofit; we need to defray our costs, too.
@mad_typist: "IMPORTANT: If you're like me and using Ad Blocker Plus on Mozilla Firefox, you won't be able to see the interface to sign up for this new service. You must disable any ad-blocking plugins you have installed, or the site won't work right. However, once enabled, you can turn it back on and the ads will go away."

Thanks, M_T.
@ Kerry
You are taking a lot of heat already for this. I want to tell you that if it keeps O/S running then I'm for it. Call roto rooter that's the name just flush your troubles down the drain. RotoRooter. Like you said this is a profit undertaking and it needs to self support. Open Salon has a cadre of the, That's AAMCO, best writers in the blogoverse. That it will allow me to claim the title of professional writer is just an added bonus for me. Fly the Friendly Skies of United.
"It is -- up to a point. The three ads you can add are entirely up to you. But Open Salon is a service, we're not a nonprofit; we need to defray our costs, too."
As I stated... I understand business decisions. I love this site. I do my best to bring readers to it. The more readers--- the more they read the advertising outside the blogs. But to placate us with saying we can make money of of Adsense is sad...condescending.
The natives are restless...
So can I officially say I scooped you?! Great news!
For those of you who have signed up for AdSense and -- like me -- have no ads but mysterious white spaces where ads should be, this will continue until our AdSense approval goes through (1-2 days).
I just gave it a few moments thought and decided to sign up for it.

It is not an easy decision for me, I'll explain why-but first let me say that I support OS, the editors and this decision. This has been a very good ride for me for the yeah and a half I've been here so far. If this makes it possible that OS continues, then it's a no brainer for me.

However, my personal choice would have been to pay for Open Salon myself, similar to what I do with Salon.com. I'm not sure that would generate a comparable income, I don't know how to judge that.

Additionally, I usually do something a bit different here on OS than what other members do. Most of my work takes the form of a photo blog. I'm very particular about how my blog is presented, and take pride in my abilities to take the shots and then present it in an artistic way, often with a narrative that I take time and pains to produce--I hope in a way that is perceived as artistic. What is a bit stunning to me, in looking at my blog posts now is that there is an image at the end of my blogs before the comments, that I have no control over. It may or may not coincide with what precedes it, I'm guessing it will usually not fit in with the artistic presentation.

But I'm also a realist, and this is a small compromise when compared to what I get in return. A terrific place to display my work and words, and amazing interaction with friends that I truly love, and in a place where I trust TPTB--Joan, Kerry, Thomas, Jim and the whole team.

So, I'm on board, though I don't like the image ad at the end of my posts, I'm willing to live with it.

Long live OS.
It's fixed.

And I think I have probably complained about every single y'all have made since I've gotten here. This one I think is kinda cool, though, if it helps y'all keep the playground open.

But I am a little disappointed that it's not team-building exercises.
Thanks, bobbot.

Mr.M: I'm not sure I understand why it's condescending. This is the primary way most bloggers make money -- we've been wanting to offer it for some time now. I'm not promsing wealth, of course, but some Open bloggers will make money off of it.

Cartouche: You did and you can.
I'm a little disturbed by the displacement of photos on the newest blog previews on the member pages. With the new ad structure, no photos are shown in that preview on the main blog pages.

For example, my latest blog was a story about going to a 55-year-old BBQ place in Georgia. This morning, the first half of the article and two photos were shown. Now, no photos are shown and only a snip of the first paragraph - just an ad for Air France.

Readers who may have been motivated to click through by the photos now only see a little of the first paragraph. That can't be good for readership. I'm hoping this is just a glitch?
i can't seem to make this work. although i did just book a hotel in Vegas for $29 on expedia.com !
This makes some sense...But I will not sit still for the OS practice of continually rewarding the same people the EP designation...I should not be able to simply look at an avatar and know that there is an EP on the post...Same holds true for front page treatment... You have opened pandora's box with this move and you had best be prepared to handle the very legitimate fall-out from the favoritism that is so painfully obvious...I have counted as many as 18 consecutive EP awards to one writer...no one writes that well and does so for free....Your selection of EP content needs to be revisited. I have reviewed the Beta page, and if we are now to compete for revenue generated by advertising, your topics for the days of the week should be reflective of a broader range of social and cultural interests...Yes indeed you have put your foot in it and with that comes the responsibility to ensure that ALL who participate on the Open Salon platform have an EQUAL OPPORTUNIY to earn....This blog platform has attracted a diverse group of writers the opportunities to earn should be reflective of that. Failure on the part of the OS EDITORS to ensure FAIRNESS in the process of driving traffic to certain blogs by virtue of THEIR EDITORIAL DECISIONS and ignoring or avoiding certain topics and/or writers can have legal consequences...This is no longer a game, not when you put the chance to earn money in the mix.....
@ mad_typist
and what if one uses another browser? I cross post with FoxFire.
It has compatibility issues with formatting that Safari doesn't.
Again... there is a thing called choice. And if we all do install this ad-blocking feature won't it defeat Kerry's idea to help defray costs?
Again advertising is useful... it's the placement that's the issue.
I have an Air France ad on my page. Maybe I'll earn enough to afford a jump over the pond! Sweet.
PEOPLE !!!! What's wrong with you???

Don't you realize you are missing out on a PERFECT opportunity to BLOG ABOUT those advertisers and their products and tell them EXACTLY what you think !!?!?!?!?!?

Haven't you always wanted a way to get directly at the heart of your issues with corporate america? Now Kerry and OS have given you a perfect forum.

Their ad above --^
Your opinion below --v

What could possibly be better than that?
I'm glad you got the humor in that comment.
Maybe a month or so ago I saw you post this concept, then within minutes it went away. (Glad I kept my mouth shut; the thunder’s better when it comes from the source!)

It was exciting news then, and it’s exciting news now. It’s fun and a real pleasure to see OS growing up. Thank you.
I just signed up. It's pending approval. Apparently it takes 1-2 days, so we'll see. This would be great news, if enough people clicked on my ads to finance a trip to Argentina...
What's to keep us from on or clicking through every ad on every post we read (or don't), not out of interest in anything advertised, but merely to promote fellowship and wealth amongst all our brethren starving artist writers?
(I meant clicking on or through) and, of course, sub rosa.
Can I request ads for porn sites? Those will get clicks.
Condescending? You don't think we bloggers are wise to the ways of advertising?
All I am trying to say is advertise away... you run and manage the site, but you don't control what I write. Why does advertising have to be placed within the blog itself?
Well, nothing's free and I'm sure this site costs plenty to run. It was bound to come sooner or later. Thanks for finding a way that it stays free for the writers for now. :) I'll get on with the advertising.
I'm not sure how I feel about this yet, but I'm not incensed as some are nor am I overly excited as others are.

Will have to consider signing up with Adsense - never done that before.

But the placement, directly after the post and before the comment box - ah, seems a tad rude. Any chance it could be moved? Or did I miss something there.....
Damn! I wish you had announced this on Monday when my Simona Halep piece got over 20,000 hits! :)

Someone with time on their hands, how much money could I have made?
Seriously though, I like the idea and will examine it in depth after work.
I am dubious. There's no substantive revenue potential here for me. When I went to one of my posts this morning and saw that ad, it was irritating, a distraction. Is this something I now have to explicitly opt out of? Or, is the "grey square" something I now have to subsequently live with? If that's the case, I will have to think about simply deleting my Open Salon posts and shutting down. I've long been a bit miffed about how Salon.com now routinely forces me to view /click through ads just to log into my Premium account.

I expect this debate to rage for several days before everyone settles down and either 1) leaves Open Salon, or most likely 2) learns to live with the ads.

I'll go on record and say I support this idea. The google ads that we control are largely unobtrusive (save for the terrible gigantic C, which I'll probably turn off at some point). Tech saavy OS'ers probably have already figured out that it's easy to avoid all the embedded ads in the first place (and some of us will probably go ahead and just let the ads through our filters, in order to support this site).

Most people won't make a lot of money. Some will. There are some people with huge readerships here who will benefit (regardless of how many, if any, EPs they have).

My only regret is that we didn't have this in place when my one post went viral :)
BBD and MrsM: Thanks.

Jodi_K: Good question. Let me look into.

Moses: What's not working? Explain and I'll try to help. (Have fun in Vegas!)

Mr. E: "Their ad above --^
Your opinion below --v"
These ads are dynamic. You often won't have the same ad on your blog twice in a row.

D_Decker: Ha! I did accidentally publish this announcement a month ago! It was up for all of 5 minutes, and you saw it. Thanks for your discretion!

constants. . .wrote: "What's to keep us from on or clicking through every ad on every post we read (or don't), not out of interest in anything advertised, but merely to promote fellowship and wealth amongst all our brethren starving artist writers?"

AdSense is pretty sophisticated in being able to tell when someone is gaming an Ad. Probably not a good idea. Also: Some ads get credit for click-throughs, some just from being viewed -- and you don't know which is which. Clever, Google is.
Kerry, it's interesting to see how the ads will be integrated with the pages. I just checked with the chairman of The Designanator Foundation, which funds my blogging activity here, and was told not to sign up for the extra ads as it would run counter to the Foundation's stated mission of white space and aesthetics in all of its online endeavors.
I'm in. The squirrel will be able to start a college fund, tequilaanddonuts can take Freaky to Vegas (or is it the other way around...), and M Chariot can replace his tea set, finally! I'm going to have to find a way to work a pit bull into a post, though ;)
I understand OS needs to make money. I live in Argentina, and if I had to pay to write here, well, I wouldn´t write on OS.
I am very happy with this place and this community and I wouldn´t like to lose it. I think it won´t be a big deal to see OS ads on my blog, no problem about that.
That being said, please OS editors, whoever you are, DO REVISE your EP and cover policy to include in them some writers who seem to be disregarded, who knows why...
Kerry, I already have an Adsense account, so I navigated to the page where you enter your email, postal code, and phone #, but when I click submit nothing happens. And why I try on the original page, entering an email address and then agreeing to the terms, etc when I submit I just go back to the top of the page.
I'm an actor, so I'm already used to whoring myself out. Personally, if it keeps the doors open & the lights on, I have no problem with it, Kerry.
I must say, I'm rather sad. Still digesting as well. But when I saw the first ad, I just cringed. A story about Lisa's dying father and then an ad under it? Just such a poor and weird note to end on.

AdSense makes no money. I read about some guy who worked furiously on a slew of AdSense ads for months and months and only made a few hundred bucks. And this was this guy's self-designated part-time job.

OS, I think you guys are the best. I agree that I'll pretty much stand behind whatever decisions you've made because you've lead us to some amazing places and continue to do so. And I realize that someone has to pay the proverbial piper. But this just makes me sad. Not sure what I'm going to do.

Something to do with sacred space.
Thank you, Kerry, for everything you do to tend this wild and wooly creative garden of ours.
Travis and Mad_T: There'll be other viral hits for you both, I'm quite sure!

Mr. M, Bill and a few others don't like where the fixed ad position, and ask if there isn't another placement option.

Not really. Ad placements on the Web are not that flexible. If you look at enough sites, you'll see that the same sized ads tend to pop up in similar positions over and over. Try it: Surf around on Salon, NYT, Washington Post, The Daily Beast, etc., and you'll start to see the same patterns emerging. Those patterns change -- remember when banners across the top of a site were the dominant form of advertising? -- but when the industry locks into fixed placements, that's what they are.
Oh and may I add, I would have gladly paid to join this group in lieu of ads.
Thanks! I will take advantage of this opportunity!
@Kerry -- "These ads are dynamic. You often won't have the same ad on your blog twice in a row. "

Its okay, we can either make a little game of it-- match the opinion with the ad. Or else press Enter a few times and make a blanket post.

But I think you're assuming all of the commentary might be negative-- which may be a little presumptuous-- I'm sure at least some advertiser has a product that's worthwhile! :) :)

In any case, it sounds like an interesting new twist to OS blogging...
Cindy wrote: "Things will never be the same once the pros get here, and use OS as a means to more clicks. The 'real' writers will gradually disappear as we are minimized by thousands of new, ostensible 'bloggers.'"

I, respectfully, really disagree with that. In the (nearly!) year since Open has been open to the public, I've watched a number of bloggers -- complete unknowns to me when they started -- on Open slowly but surely build solid, reliable audiences that continue to grow. They aren't professionals, and they aren't writing on big ole topics that everyone wants to kibbitz about. They have their thing they do -- and are honing it into a thing of beauty. Their faithful readers keep growing. They will and should make some money off of AdSense.
still no dice. i'm losing money every second I can't make this work! wait, do you need a computer to have adsense?
I don't think there's much risk of me getting rich off the three or four people who are reading my blog posts, honestly.
I wanted to clarify my comment. I certainly do understand the reason for the ads. I just wish they weren't so close to the words themselves, as I may be distracted from the *feeling* the writer is trying to create. Don't know if this helps clarify my intention. :)
Moses -- forwarding you on to the Tech space. I'll blog when I have an answer.

Aaron -- Lemme check.
One more thing here and I promise I'll stop. From the point of view of a disabled and struggleing veteran I could not stay here if I had to subscribe. The money just isn't there for me to do it. Maybe I'm the only person on here in that position. So some of the ads are distasteful like the two flying that a**hole Bill O'Rielly's name so prominently right now. I have to look at this as either accept the ads or lose this outlet. I don't want to lose it. If so many of you go away over this I'll lose the people who make this worthwhile for me. I don't want that. Could you guys just give it a chance? Could we maybe find a way to move the truly obnoxious ad in the middle of the blog itself? I know that for now it is fairly fixed but like you said, the dominant ad used to be the top of page banner, so at some point the option may arise.
Holy smokes, how exciting! What I'd really love next is a way to tailor ads to the content of a particular post. The possibilities are mind-boggling and pretty fun to think about.
Kerry- I get it, I do, but inserting an ad in our content column is intrusive, and becomes part of the message of the content. I'd prefer to choose the center column ad and then OS can have both sidebars, as far as I'm concerned.

And, your ad sales department will be walking a fine line. I had better not have an ad for Big Oil, Detroit, Corporate Food or Big Pharma - and I'll feel free to complain about anyone else I don't like who shows up in the center of my space. That's a promise.
Kerry - I must also assume that you folks do ban accounts of posters who are clearly just here to spam the site.

I'd like to think that e-commerce freaks who register accounts here just to post drivel with key words embedded will 1) never, ever receive an Editor's Pick, and 2) aren't going to get a lot of readership from the real OS members here. You only make money if people actually look at your page. Folks will quickly divine who the invaders are and report them. All we need to know is that obvious trolls will be banned by you and the people in charge.
Cindy: I read the comment, I don't have time read any other posts right now. I'm not sure I follow the distinction between bloggers and writers here, but your essential concern (which I thoroughly understand) that Open would disintegrate when it started to grown was first registered when we had roughly 300 members. We're 10 times that, and things are fine!
I'm a grown-up; I understand the need for commerce, and perhaps I could live with ads in the left or right columns, but this garish intrusion between my post and comments is too much. It may be time to go back to growing my own website. I'm going to miss you all. This is not a flounce -- yet, but color be mortified.
The basic concept of ads is good.

I had a post yesterday with almost 10,000 hits (it's still creeping up, so maybe cross that today) and thought it a shame that anyone was bothering counting them given they were surely generating no revenue. And surely that means Open Salon is one step closer to sliding into the sea. So having a revenue model like this will be a help.

Doesn't AdSense offer a way to say one does or doesn't want certain kinds of ads to fill a particular0 space? e.g., so that Coke doesn't end up with Pepsi ads on its page? Or, more likely here, so that pro-Choice people don't get pro-Life ads or vice versa. Or so it doesn't advertise the use of coal or oil on a page about Climate Change responsibility. I can imagine that if it offers an ad I don't like, I may be quick to want to rush out of here. Others may feel the same. But other than that one scenario, I think this is all pretty good.

But I will feel a lot better about the unconditionally forced add if the word "ADVERTISEMENT" appears above the gray rectangle, so that it's clear it's not my own chosen cause. Does AdSense allow this? I seem to recall they don't allow the reverse, that is, someone saying "Click here" or anything like that. But I just want it clearly delineated that it is an ad, as happens in the text ads where it says "Google Ads" or something like that.
Maybe my attitude about this is tainted because I write on another blog site for actual money, but I think some folks are missing the positive side of this.

On my other blog, which is a local foodie site, we have to *court* advertisers to use our site. I spent the better part of two weeks emailing every restaurant and food related business in Jacksonville trying to GET people to pay to advertise on my blog.

To me, this is someone else doing the work for me. Of course, the money from these ads will not be subtantial. But, you can earn *money* from something you were already doing for *free*.

I hate the "gray box" ad as much as the next guy, but I don't fancy myself too much of a proud "artiste" to have a few column ads if it makes a few bucks. Seems we're just trading the folks fussing about not being paid for the folks fussing about ads.

Did I mention I hate the "gray box" ad?

Long live OS.
Wanna see some ugly ads?
Go check out huffpo.
(Oops, did I say that out loud?)
Kerry, when I click on the link to sign up for AdSense, I get this message: "Web access to Subversion metadata is not permitted"

The "sign up here" link at the beginning of your post doesn't work!
@Ardee -

"...inserting an ad in our content column is intrusive, and becomes part of the message of the content."

I could not agree more. Every time I look back through my posts now, it's annoying. A distraction to my content and look. And, I was given no right or incentive to opt-in.
Cindy's complaint doesn't really fit the OS model as we know it. If some troll wants to start an account here and profit off new readers who accidentally stumble here based on some poor Google search... well, fine. Those readers weren't here for the OS experience in the first place.

The OS model of readership is driven largely by 1) cover/editors picks exposing new work to readers, and 2) writers developing their own pool of "fans" who subscribe via the Favorites link.

The only way that trolls can exploit the new ad-sense system is if you allow them to overwhelm the "new post" feed. Simply, put, they will "spam" the feed by posting rapidly, so that they are the only person who appears in the feed. As long as you take the time to ban those people, you really take away the only means they have of attracting the "regular" people's attention here.
Quick question so I don't have to slog thru all the terms from Google: If we try it and hate it, can we just cancel it for our blog?
All for it. doesn't work for me yet but will keep trying and checking back here.
also, i don't block pop-ups, but use a Mac
"The OS model of readership is driven largely by 1) cover/editors picks exposing new work to readers, and 2) writers developing their own pool of "fans" who subscribe via the Favorites link. "

on this we agree.
Excellent. Thank you.
I knew something was up today when my Big Foot illustration on the cover was replaced by a Canadian Tire Ad! Apparently this is international Adsense.

Looking forward to trying it out. Though I feel for you guys. I'm sure blog pimping will be getting gangster level pretty soon.
Sign up isn't working for me either....... again, MAC.
Clearly I was ahead of my time: http://open.salon.com/blog/steve_blevins/2009/05/08/how_to_make_big_money_by_blogging
I didn't know this was going to happen, so when it did, it upset me.

So I first examined my page's source document to see if I could off the advert there, but not such luck, then I put out a new post -- with some caps so that someone would notice and help me out on it.

And got this snotty, self-righteous message for M.Todd -- who wouldn't you know it is an advertiser by trade, he's in advertising.

He gave me this little lecture about being grateful for all that open.salon provides.

Well I already provide something in return: My writing which entertains and other who do the same bring people to this site.

Here's what I wrote:



Because I'm writing for both my own pleasure and to entertain others -- hopefully -- and I'm not getting paid to do that, nor am I being paid by the advertiser who rudely slapped a chunk of advertising on my blog without my permission -- that I know of -- is it in the fine print or something here?

I don't mind, perhaps, helping Salon out, but I would like to be asked if it is okay with me and if this is a product that I can ethically support!

Thanks for any info on this.


And you can read the whole exchange on his blog and mine.

I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one who was upset by and do not like this.

I saw the thing for managing feeds and adverts, but it's just one more thing to deal with and if open.salon provides so much how about an easy way to use HTML. I taught myself HTML 14 years ago and I have yet to make the HTML editor here work and someone told me I should be using CSS.

I want to write, I don't want to have to go into another lay of learning!

*Whoof!* Apparently I'm PO-ed, 'ey?
I REALLY want access to that SUBVERSIVE metadata that you are holding out from us Safari browser users. Mac users can be subversive too, ya know.
I have now placed the following footer in my current post:

NOTE: I apologize for the embedded ad below, now forced on us on June 25th without advance warning by Salon.com. Not my doing, and not within my power to delete.

Should I decide to stay on, I will place it in all of my posts.
If we have to have ads, can't we put them in the sidebars? I often use images in my blog posts, and I don't suddenly want to see an airline add at the bottom.

Grumpily stomping away.
For those who (like me) are curious what this will look like and what kinds of ads might be paired with your content, check out Barbara O'Brien's current post:


As I commented there, the hilarity of what her post was paired with completely distracted me from the content.
Thanks, Kerry. I appreciate any opportunity to make a few bucks so I'm going to give this a try. Something is currently wonky with the sign up feature, though. Just wanted to alert you.
If OS ended up having 300 000 members, revenues that were off the charts, but had come to seem loud and obnoxious, even if still liberal, would the editors at OS care? My guess is they'd be toasting the times, congradulating one another on their entrprenueurial acumen and evidenced democratic sentiment, excusing/assessing all the noise as democracy in action. EPs would bring in some bucks, feel more like published authors, and show how all--if you look at it the right way--has actually matured and progressed over time ("Sure, we'd all like to live in Utopia, but it's really about time you came to appreciate that compromise comes with adulthood, kids"). You'll lose a lot of the truly decent, the inspiringly hopeful and ethical; hopefully they'll be off to start-up a non-profit, and keep us in the know about it.

Ads in the middle of the page--how obnoxious. "This sticker is dangerous and inconvenient, but I do love Fig Newtons" (Talladega Nights"). "This ad is counter the content and feel of my post, to why I associated myself with my favourite site in the first place, but hints that I might just go big-time . . ." (OS).
kerry, all I want to know is if the airfrance in the center of my page subliminally compels me to buy an airline ticket to the cote d'azure, will open salon foot a percentage of my ticket??
Dana, JK, Lisa and others: There are a few bugs popping up -- apologies. We've tackled most of them; might take a little bit for all the key issues to be resolved on all browsers.

Ablonde: Yikes, thanks!
Kerry--I just posted a quickie HTML tutorial on how people can "pad" the end of their post with white space, so a quiet meditation on the trickling streams of a Japanese monastery or a heart-rending reminiscence about grandpa doesn't end with a sudden flashing Vegas ad.

Apparently they are still having trouble with Internet Explorer. So I won't be getting rich today.
Btw, did anyone read that hilarious post by Moses Mendoza today? Hilarious, heartbreaking, controversial, sexy, all the adjectives. And you for a limited time you can read it with 75% less ads!
Just for today I'm enjoying my ads. Bigfoot yields some pretty amusing links. So what if I actually want to buy a "alpha male necklace" would I be violating the adsense agreement I signed that said I wouldn't click on my own ad space?
How will I get paid? By the number of people visiting my blog or by the number of people who visit my blog and click on an ad on my blog?

How much are we talking about?
Okay, I've signed up...

And now my blog has three AdSense banners offering services related to Sex Offenders, Clergy Abuse, Sex Abuse Legal Defense, and the like. Apparently I have to wait a week for my application to be reviewed before I can say anything about it.

I don't like it.
Marcela, the mere presence of your home city identifies things you write as being related to what the US considers a vacation spot. It's where morally bankrupt officials go to have their affairs...
@ Cindy Ross

" Kerry will need to staff up so that there are actually enough editors to READ everything that gets posted here, and get rid of the crap."

i applied for that position in yesterday's post. I'm still waiting for a response. Still waiting... Stil... Sti...
I guess I'm just a little confused by the purpose of the ads. On one hand, we're being told that OS needs some revenue to keep operations rolling. I can understand that and would support unobtrusive ads to keep the site in the black.

But when did OS become a revenue-generating site for bloggers? I stumbled across OS because of the writing and really thought it was a writer's community. There was already a constant hum of posts about blogwhoring and "fighting" to get editorial attention and front-page status. Now we've really gone and added gasoline to the bonfire!

So that leaves me with a few questions for Kerry:

1. Is signing up for AdSense required? I have no interest in earning money from my posts here, so will my posts be devoid of ads or will OS place ads anyway and capture the revenues?

2. Now that OS is a "paid" blogging site, will that create more costs and strain on the OS system? I think Cindy's made some excellent points - the potential influx of new accounts and constant addition of "nothing" posts seems like it would be a huge drain on resources. OS relies on a very close tie to its editors - are you really prepared to become full-time editors and content managers for this site, should you have to continually battle the junk and spam?

3. A few other posters have commented on the in-content ads versus the side column ads. Why couldn't these be reversed, with OS-selected advertising running in both columns? That would truly leave the center column (and content) up to the blogger.
I hope this is a profitable business model for OS and for us. If people are bent out of shape as some are, I understand. But since you don't charge us rent, I have nothing to gripe about. I've tried to sign up, I'll check later at home. Best wishes.
Kerry - As soon as I make my first $500.00 I am coming to New York to take you to dinner. You can pick the place and bring a friend (then I won't totally bore you to death).

Do you think Shelloil will support my hot strikeout piece, or do I need to learn how to write more interesting stuff?

Seriously, I 'm all up for giving this a try - it might prove beneficial and I'm always willing to try something new. Thanks for being adventurous and we'll all keep our fingers crossed.
i've got an idea. Put my post on the cover next to yours. Continue the debate. Openness?
and my satirical editorial application is now offered seriously.
It's like a Catch-22 sort of thing.

I cannot understand having to sign up for something that basically has the signer agreeing to the whole ball of wax and not getting any choice the fact that open.salon will -- in fact and indeed -- put adverts on our blogs -- regardless and we cannot remove them -- in order to click some internal buttons to get remove the adverts?

How does THAT work?

Please, will you just take the *expletive deleted* thing off my page. Please.

Someday, maybe when I'm getting more than 3 or 4 comments and rates a day -- AND -- have some editorial choice over what will be placed there -- then I may feel differently about it.

But for now can someone just get the ugly thing off my blog.

so to be very clear before I deal with another tippem fiasco,
the big ad in the middle of my writing, poetry, and images is to make money for OS, and the other three generate money for me directly?

Is that set in stone or going to change?

It's a deal I can live with, but I would like to know if this is it, or if there is another shoe about to drop. Cause this shoe hit me up side the head today and I am reeling.
The Editor's Pick comment that Ron talked about was not addressed. If the same person (MARY) gets an Editor's Pick every fricking day, people who do not know better will constantly be going to her site. Now, once they get there, even if they leave in a hurry, damage done. This has to be fixed. Someone with no-fear should be in charge. At least the same person wouldn't get it everyday. And yeah, I saw where you changed the rules a little bit, not much, at least not enough for other "favorites" to be picked. Fairness is all we ask!!!
Oh my lord, it just occurred to me that James Poyner is going to become a millionaire. And even that's BEFORE Hormel signs on.
In fact, I was actually wondering if such a feature would be possible. Perhaps I'll earn enough to pay for my Salon Premium membership... even that would be nice.
Just wanted to throw myself into the pool of people who are good with this idea - I have no dreams of getting rich off of my blog posts but I appreciate the initiative. I think I'll wait a few days to sign-up and see if all the bugs get worked out first.

@ VR- Thanks for the info on creating the white space, good idea.
I have tried to sign up, but nothing seems to be happening. I enter my e-mail address, read the terms and check the two boxes. The "Enable" box turns blue and I click on it. I end up back at the top of the same page, and I haven't received any emails.
I find the position of the OS compulsory ads right in the blog objectionable too. Wouldn't mind as much if they were sidebars (like Facebook). You learn to live with it.

As for the need for OS to raise funds, that's not a problem. I'd probably subscribe too (I had wanted to get a Salon blog but they stopped offering them just before I decided to do it) but if ads is the way then that's ok.

Not so sure about putting up my own ads. Will need to investigate the process.

That preliminary announcement was certainly ephemeral, I don't recall seeing it at all.
@JulietWaters: I recently wanted to click on one of my ads as well. It said "Bulls Trade For Amare". I had to catch myself, as that is against the rules! And apparently untrue to boot! I checked ESPN.com and no dice. Amare is still a Sun.
Help! I already have an AdSense account but for whatever reason it will not allow me to enable it here.... grrrrr
nevermind....... says MAWB in her best Emily Litella voice.
I think this is a sound decision based on reviewing Salon's 2008 financial report. I have taken you to task, Kerry, to be sure. However, this is something I wholeheartedly agree with you on.

And, OS is mentioned in a new book! I'll put it up on my blog, then get signed up for the ads.


thanks to J lee Davis:

"You understand and agree that Salon may, at its sole discretion and at any time, take all or part of the revenue resulting from the placement of User Advertising. Salon will make reasonable efforts to provide notice of any change in how revenue from User Advertising is paid."
That's in the terms of service!
@ Kerry
@Mr. Mustard-

Well, that sucks. They can count me out. Moreover, I now place the following disclaimer at the bottom of my posts:

"NOTE: I apologize for the embedded ad below, now forced on us on June 25th without advance warning by Salon.com. Not my doing, and not within my power to delete."
Stellaa: AdSense account should actually give you good traffic metrics. Mine's not accepted yet either -- will check it out and let you know! I'll find out if there are better third-party plug-ins you could use, but i don't know of any.

MAWB: That's odd. Let me ask Tech about that.


MrM: re: Terms of Service are onerous. They are always sweeping because they need to be -- they need to account for the reality of now, but also whatever we could possibly want to do in the future, whether we plan to do something or not. That said, if we do change the AdSense Terms in a way that makes anyone unhappy, they can always cancel the AdSense account!
Oh gosh - I just set this up. I'm a Quaker and a pacifist and the ads on my page are promoting the military! Is there any way to choose different ones?
it was a shock

then I found this explanation

ok, I can live with it, OS has provided me a free space to try my hand at writing and a pre-rolled community of readers. This deal is better than any of the other free blog spots that I've heard of, gives some control to the writers, and generous participation in the revenues

I never expected to get rich posting here, still don't, but as someone said further up the thread, maybe it'll pay for my Salon Premium subscription

I haven't found it hard to simply ignore what's going on with EPs, spammers on the feed, etc., and I don't expect it to get any harder because of this change

I think this is well thought out, generous, and preferable to paying a fee to be a member of this community, I'd hate to think what kind of club we'd have here if the homeless, the unemployed, strapped single mothers, etc, were barred because they couldn't afford the subscription, I want to hear their voices
I think I might be in love with Roy. :)
Geeze, me too! Nicely put, Roy. Better than I could've.
Tossing a few more cents in:

For all of you rushing to figure out how to lay out your ads, please don't think you'll make an substantial money from AdSense. You won't. Not even with a madly viral post.

Here's a quote from Copyblogger:

"Fake Steve Jobs’ best month came with a traffic spike. His actual identity was revealed in the New York Times, sending more than a half-million people to his site in a single day.

His payout? For that half-million-visitor day, about a hundred dollars in AdSense earnings. For the entire month, he made $1,039.81.

Not quite what he was hoping for when he became a celebrity blogger and earned an impressive amount of attention and notoriety."

@Beth Mann -

Yeah, they're trying to spin this as a worthy potential value proposition for us, but it's really just about making money for Salon.
good frickin idea! I already use it on my blog but I think it'll be way better here since we have a built in community. I think we should get rid of tippem. Does anybody EVER use that?
Thanks Kerry
ok - I see there's a bit of a hullabaloo going on. 10 hours off OS and I'm far behind the curve. I guess tippem is gone anyway. In terms of ads, I don't have a problem. It was much harder for me to swallow my pride and join open salon when I saw the Shell logo. But I did because I thought the content and the community were excellent here. For online content to exist and thrive it has to be supported. Unfortunately, by advertising. unless manna starts raining down from the heavens.
Beth: No one is saying you'll make a lot of money. But as I say in the post -- it's a start.

Aaron: No one's ignoring you -- I don't have an answer yet! A little busy here today, and icons from my youth are dropping right and left!

Members get 100 percent of the ad revenue from their AdSense ads. The Terms language is, as I described earlier, big blanket language in case we decide to change that or anything about the ad programs in the future.
Beth I.: Glad you like it.
Ads. Hmm. I'll be outta' here.
Hey Kerry,

Do you have any way that I can rent out like maybe three quarters of my banner space? I could have your people get in touch with Ric Tresa for the design, if you would like. Otherwise I'm a bit torn right now and will continue to read the comments here to see if I can come to a decision about how I feel about this.

I'm sure I will sign up, that is a no brainer. My problem is with how it might effect the community in a negative way when money enters the picture. Other than that, I will continue to operate the way that I've always done. Incoherently.
In the real world I think that only a handful of OS members will financially benefit from the ads. I comment a lot but post infrequently, so I'd never see any money even if I signed up for an ad account.

My concern is what happens when a financial incentive is introduced in a venue that has been community-based, not financially based. The great majority of OS members are here not because they want to make money, but because they like the community.

Now, when someone posts there will be a question: did the person post because he or she wants to contribute to the community, or did the person post because he or she wants to make money?
Experience tells me that if you aren't getting several hundred looks a day you aren't going to make enough to make the headaches of the tasteless ads worth the irritation of looking at them to start with. For that reason alone I will NOT be opting "in" with regards to the AdSense ads.

That said... and as I said earlier on another blog post regarding this subject: Allow me take you on a journey, a trip into the underworld, where blogs and homepages are assailed with obscene adverts for which you do not get paid, a place where people routinely threaten your children, your spouse, your life and are allowed to do so without consequences...no simple disagreements these, this is PASSION.

Seriously, I can DEAL with ads for Expedia or whatever... it's a HUGE improvement over trying to blog while looking at a plethora of penises and adverts for Penthouse.
Does anyone have a Tylenol? Do I need a lawyer? Every time I feel this way, I'm suddenly asked by someone if I have a lawyer. I don't feel well. I think I'll go make some tea and lay down for a while.
Aaron Rury asked earlier (I think) why our Terms stipulate that we have access to your AdSense data. We won't get personally identifiable data -- it's not accessible to us -- but we'll get general performance data, so we can follow trends on the site.

Mishima writes: "My concern is what happens when a financial incentive is introduced in a venue that has been community-based, not financially based." A thoughtful point. But the truth is, a lot of members (and the vast number of readers) use Open as a blog network. They want to be read, they want to read, they don't necessarily want to commune. Probably the majority of members like both the publishing benefits and the community aspect. The navigation of Open is geared very much to allowing members to easily keep up with their Favorites -- or community of their choice. But for members who are trying to build an audience, and there are a lot of them, a financial incentive seemed pretty essential to us.
@Kerry -
"...for members who are trying to build an audience, and there are a lot of them, a financial incentive seemed pretty essential to us."

Which is why you published that detailed tabular matrix of the enticing earnings potential for OS blogger AdSense signups, right?

OK folks, I'm closing this thread as I knock off for the evening. We'll open again first thing in the morning(-ish).
And thread is again open!
Good move, Kerry. Anything that monetizes Web content is worth a shot.

Nonetheless, I couldn't help satirizing the idea in my blog.


Hoop: "In using [copyrighted] material, are there legal issues with receiving ad money?"

There are always issues with using material that's copyright protected. Members agree to respect copyright when they join -- and I sure hope they do. If you're asking if AdSense has stipulations -- rather than summarize, I'm going to refer you to the AdSense Terms and Conditions.
Cindy: Please flag posts (little flag at the top of a post) when you think you see content that violates the Terms. We'll move as fast as we can.

Stellaa: That's a cool idea. I'll look into.
Stellaa: This is pretty useful: http://fairuse.stanford.edu/
Will you PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE consider putting the fixed OS ad at the top of the blog? Before the post begins? It's breaking up the content and stopping the natural flow that takes us from the writer's post to the reader's comments!

I am even having trouble finding the tiny "post a comment" thingie for replying and commentizing.

I truly believe that the current placement will frustrate people and ruin the mojo.
TGC wrote: "I am extremely angry and offended that this ad just appeared on my blog with NO notification whatsoever."

The most efficient way of alerting members to an announcement, we've always thought, was posting it in the righthand corner of the cover and on my blog (which also shows up on most blog pages, too, as an alert along the righthand column). The next time we have an announcement we'll definitely consider sending a mass message to the entire membership.

Zumalicious: I can guarantee you that many more people would be really infuriated if the ad preceded a post, rather than following it completely. I'm wondering if you're having a browser issue, though, because I have not seen the ad interfering with the Comments line. Can you privately message me your browser/computer information? We'll look into it.
I'm all for this. Unless you are going to get a federal bailout, Salon has to make money. I think that the ads make the blogs look more professional.
Hey, thanks Stellaa.

This thread might be a bit misleading -- I'm getting a lot of positive reaction to AdSense in my inbox, and have seen some nice, supportive posts. But I don't think we're perfect, and I do want to hear the concerns, and answer them if I can. I do encourage people joining this thread late to read my post if they can -- a lot questions coming up are answered above.

I'm also a little dismayed, and want to shoot down, an emerging meme: That we've put "ads" on member blogs. We've put one ad on member posts -- any other ads on a member's blog is placed their by the blogger, who is receiving all of the revenues from them, through AdSense.
Of COURSE OS has the right to place ads on the blogs.

And their customers have the right to leave.

And they will.
A couple of questions:

1) maybe I missed this, but how much money are we talking about? I mean, if I'm going to get a dollar every time someone looks at one of my posts, sure, I'd be interested in that. If I'm going to get 1/100th of a cent, and at the end of the year get a check from Google for 7 cents, then it's not worth the bother of signing up.

2) won't OS members have to refrain from certain kinds of posts in order to remain within the Adsense program policy content guidelines?

For example, I notice that

"Sites with Google ads may not include or link to:

* Pornography, adult or mature content
* Violent content
* Content related to racial intolerance or advocacy against any individual, group or organisation
* Excessive profanity"

I would assume that posts about sex-change operations or getting your genitals waxed would be considered "mature content." And we sometimes do have posts with considerable profanity.

More to the point, all the time OS members denounce various individuals, groups, or organizations. We have posts like "Why OS Member Fred Smith is a Coward," "Why I Hate the Catholic Church," Why Liberals Suck," and so on. Wouldn't posts such as these violate the content guidelines?
@ Kerry
When all is said about this, when everyone adjusts, Open Salon will continue to be the best blog site available. Yesterday we disagreed. Today we continue on our different paths here on OS. I know business decisions are hard to make--not always popular. But we entered into a discourse that proved fruitful. My protesting is miniscule considering the sadness in today's news. I look forward to more go between by you to us the bloggers. You have my respect for the job you do and for putting up with my rants. You have my respect and support as this venture, Open Salon, continues to grow.
Chuck Stetson
Those ads looked really ugly.

I installed on my browser an 'adblock' extension so that I don't see them any more.
how much money are we talking about?

I earned 53 cents today on 147 page "impressions" and 1 click, from about 6:00am to 10:00am. (At that time I turned off my ads, leaving just the OS ad in place.)
You're showing your true colors. Kerry.
Ok I'm trying to buck up and like this - because I know OS needs to pay it's bills....

But, AGGGH! The placement (before comments) and SIZE of the image ad!! The size might be palatable if it came after the comments, but if it is to stay where it is - PLEASE consider to go with the 468 x 60 pixel AdSense image banner.

Please? Pretty please with sugar on top?

I already had an AdSense account so I gave it a whirl. The ads show up with no trouble - but I'm cringing at the same "white space and aesthetics" loss as designanator. I know the colors are adjustable, so it would be great if they could be a less glaring blue (such as the dark bleu in the OS header) that would integrate better with the overall OS design and look.

I will reiterate (see whining in my above comment) that the big ad smack center in the posts, as well as in the main blog page is really overbearing. I do understand the positioning - it is in a prime area to be noticed - but I think that a skinny banner could do the job as well without being so in-your-face.

I also find it disturbing that the right column ad displaces the favorites - I feel as though I'm doing my friends and favorites a disservice by shoving them on down the page. Again , I understand the premium placement for the text banner, but in this instance I think that the favorites cel should be given pride of place. There are so few ways to find people's posts with the new front page format, this seems a rude kick .

I would be interested to find out how others feel about these issues.

I do support the idea and the reasons for integrating ad content into OS, and after musing over the issue I decided to give it a whirl on my blog. My posts are carefully constructed with both images and words, so the ad content and visual appearance is a huge issue for me.

Thanks for this. Fine tuning to alleviate our aesthetic concerns would be a big bonus.
Wait...I really DO need a low fare to Paris. If I click my own post, do I get a kickback?
Mishima: Re: from $1 to 1/100 of a cent. Probably somewhere in between -- but we'll have to see. There's no guarantee with these ads because of the way they work. We picked the maximum number of ads for you to be able to add to your blog, and tried to find the placements for them we think will deliver the best results. But we'll have to see how they do, and look forward to hearing member reports (thanks, Rob.).

As for the AdSense guidelines -- I'm not going to try and explain Google's Terms, in addition to Salon's. BUT: I think it's a safe bet that if it could appear in a newspaper or magazine, you'll be just fine -- and everything you described, I think, qualifies.

Hannu: I do admire problem-solving.

Bobby: "You're showing your true colors. Kerry." I just hope they don't clash with the green shirt I'm wearing today.

Artsfish: Up this thread a bit I explained that we don't have a ton of flexibility with the ads appearance and placement. But we'll register all feedback, and see what we can do.
I'll add one tiny bit of feedback: The decisions AdSense automatically makes about which specific ads get used can be surprising to an OS blogger (e.g. to me). I found that the results were fine at the level of individual blog posts--their context-sensitive choices seemed to work reasonably well--but on my main blog page, which contains snippets from a dozen posts (and over which I have very limited control, except for the ability to write and delete entire posts), AdSense makes a mess of things. If I could have a little bit more control--ads on my main blog page, on individual posts, or both?--I'd be happy. This is probably a low-priority suggestion, though, since I haven't seen anyone else request it.
Thanks, Rob. And to all: don't hesitate to email us the weirder ad results, if they're bad. All feedback welcome. PM me or email: open.editor@salon.com

And with that, I'm clocking out and going to a party where much Michael Jackson will be playing. I'll close this thread, but will post more on AdSense in the next week, as need by. Have a good weekend.
Comments are now closed.