After getting some responses to yesterday’s blog post about adverts appearing on my blog, I did some browsing.
The facts seem to be:
- WordPress.com / Automattic have been placing adverts on our blogs since 2006. As they put it: “To support the service (and keep free features free), we sometimes run advertisements, and the agreement for this has been in our terms of service since 2006. We try hard to only run them in limited places. If you would like to completely eliminate ads from appearing on your blog, we offer the No-Ads Upgrade: http://en.support.wordpress.com/no-ads/. … If you see an ad with mature subject matter, please send a screenshot to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can report it to our ad provider.”
- We implicitly agreed to this when we first created our blog.
- Although the ads are supposedly ‘discrete‘ and ‘limited‘, this is no longer the reality, it seems, as many bloggers have complained about very flashy and irritating pop-ups of the “You have won xxxx, click here to claim your prize’-type.
- Adverts are only visible on your own site if you are not logged into WordPress.com. (As most of us bloggers are permanently logged in, it’s highly likely that we’ve never even seen the adverts on our own site.)
- Bloggers have no control whatsoever over which types of adverts appear on their blog.
- If you feel unhappy about the advert, or it is spam, or links to an executable potential virus-file, or is pornographic in nature, then you should take a screenshot and send it to Support.
- If you don’t want any advertising at all, you have to fork out US$ 30 a year. Ouch!
I was curious to see what other WP.com bloggers felt about it.
On the forums:
- Unsuitable Adverts on My Blog
- Ads in Blogs
- Spam Advert in Blog
- Loooots of other, shorter complaints, but these are the most informative ones.
- Halfblog.Net: Low quality advertisements are damaging WordPress.com
- WordPress Tavern: Crummy Advertising on WordPress
- Talk about Local: Advertising on your WP site
After reading all these posts, I got a little worked up, so I checked out my blog using Internet Explorer. I was astounded – and frankly perturbed – to see that ALMOST ALL my posts had an advert running beneath the main body of text. Fortunately, they have now included the faint word ‘Advertisement‘ above the advert, which is an improvement.
World of Warcraft seems to be a popular advert on my blog! Ick! I’ve also seen an advert by the Alzheimer Association inviting me to take a Brain Tour, HSBC Premier who want me to find out more about expats, Adoptuskids reassuring me that lots of kids would put up with me (geez, thanks!), and something about a Smokey hat that you can use to fight fires (?).
So far, I have not seen any of the appalling ads that other bloggers have mentioned, such as frankly inappropriate video clips and automatic file downloads of potentially virus-infected executables, but I guess that the *type* of advert shown depends on the reader’s location, and it is probably only a matter of time before that Sh1T appears on my blog too.
If it does, please send me a screenshot, and I will forward it to WordPress Support.
And I promise to do the same for your blogs.
Although I understand that this is the price we have to pay for a ‘free’ service, we really shouldn’t tolerate crappy, inappropriate, spammy or tasteless advertising!
Or do I now need to end each of my posts like this? Urgh…
Space for WordPress.com-endorsed advertisement – please do not click!