Open thread: About ads on MacDailyNews

First off, as per the pop-over ads some visitors have encountered of late: We’ve been fighting this most recent battle for weeks now. These are rogue ads that come from third-party ad networks that do no follow the ad network rules. We try to ban the URLs to which these ads resolve, but it’s ineffective. Basically, we notify all of the ad networks (since we don’t usually know from which one it’s coming) and then have to wait until the ad networks ferret them out and ban them. Regular reader know we’ve been fighting these rogue ad battles for years. Thank you for your patience.

Secondly, a couple of years ago, the model that had worked since our inception (put some ads on your site, get paid enough to keep running it) cracked. The ad rates dropped significantly. Many sites’ revenue was cut dramatically. Some sites (like the long-lived MacNN) didn’t make it and closed up shop.

As our regular readers know, and as we’ve discussed with many longtime readers behind the scenes, our stopgap measure was to put up more ads to make up for the shortfall. And, it worked to the point where we can keep financing the site. But, it’s certainly not optimal. In fact, it’s a mess. We know it’s a mess. You know it’s a mess. And it makes us sad, along with and many of you from whom we’ve heard.

We long to go back to the old days of fewer, better, more relevant, and less annoying ads making for a much less cluttered site. Being freed, even partially, from dealing with “The Ad Situation,” as we call it (maybe with an additional adjective or three), would also give us more time to concentrate on content.

A good number of our regular readers have suggested we try something like Patreon. Basically, we’d be asking readers to patronize the site (as opposed to patronizing our advertisers) by contributing a few dollars each month. Most Patreon sites offer something extra for patrons and we’d certainly do that (readers who patronize MacDailyNews would get extra articles written by SteveJack, for example, that would only be available to our reader patrons), but, if we did this, we’d also like to offer a twist that benefits all visitors:

Eliminate ads as the income they bring in are offset by Patreon.

So, not only would our patrons be getting something extra, they’d also be purging the site of ad positions. We’d simply remove ads as each ad position’s average monthly revenue is offset. Theoretically, we could get to the point where there would be no ads on the site at all. But, even along the way, everyone would benefit, thanks to the patrons.

Anyway, what do you think of that idea or do you have a better or additional ideas?

75 Comments

  1. My main work machines are a Macbook Pro from 2010 and a 27in iMac from 2009. Considering how you brag all the time about having or getting the newest iPhone X, Apple Watch, Mac etc I would say part of the problem is that you spend too much.

    1. WordPress.com VIP Hosting, which this site uses, costs between $5,000 to $25,000 per month.

      New iPhones each year are nothing compared to the hard and fast costs of running such a site.

      1. And don’t forget that a new automobile costs between $25k and $250k. So obviously MDN cannot be held responsible for the shitty ads it pushes onto its users, while hypocritically whining about Google in its commentary. Suuuuure……

        1. MacDailyNews has explained why there are Google ads on the site repeatedly:

          Imagine if your livelihood depended on one company that had not only monopolized web search (and, thereby, basically controlled how new customers find you), but also controlled the bulk of online advertising dollars which funded your business and which they could pull, simply threaten to pull, or reduce rates at any time? Now also imagine if you believe this monopolist basically stole the product of another company that is the very subject of your business? How much would you criticize the monopolist thief’s business practices?

          You might guess that it would be a tough road to walk. (We’re only imagining, of course!)

          That would be a good example of why monopolies are bad for everyone.

          The U.S. government has utterly failed to police Google. Because the people with the power to do so currently are corrupt. Follow the money. Hopefully, the European Union will help to correct the situation.

          In the meantime, stop using Google search and Google products wherever possible. Monopolies are bad for everyone.

          MacDailyNews, July 14, 2016

          1. Weak excuse. Google doesn’t have a monopoly on advertising. Nor does MDN get a free pass for all the trackers it uses while it rages on about how Apple cares about user privacy. Self serving conservitard hypocrisy here is easily outclassed by reliable objective Apple websites. The only reason to visit mdn once in a while is to get an occasional security advice from Derek or a bit of wise FACT BASED perspective from people like TXuser

    2. Not a nice reply at all. MDN is asking for reader’s input and this is the best one can come up with? Shame.

      Here’s my 2 cents on MDN. I would have long preferred a model that would allow people to pay and then see no ads, and still allow for a “fremium” experience where nonpaying members have to sort though the mess that the ad-encrusted site has become. I wouldn’t be enticed though just by more articles from Steve-Jack (no offense to him, but it’s not an inducement to pony up cash….not having to see advertisements is plenty worthwhile in its own right).

      Two things have weighed negatively on my enthusiasm for this site, first is all the ads and how slow it loads as a result. In short, it’s an annoying experience every time I come here for what I hope is useful information. The second thing is that my “oomph” for Apple products is waning of late. This isn’t anything that MDN can do anything about directly as it falls squarely on Tim’s shoulders. Unexciting. Half-done products. Missed deadlines, missing features, etc. I don’t look forward to all things Apple anymore (though I remain interested nonetheless). In this dynamic, I might be less inclined to pay for access to the site than I once was.

      Does this help? Dunno. Seems MDN missed a good opportunity to monetize by having a pay version some years ago and could now be a little too late to the game to have it matter much. One man’s opinion so take it with a grain of salt. I do appreciate the effort to ask our thoughts/opinions though. Well done on that front MDN. Seriously.

      1. Agreed. Apple products are so boring, so uninteresting, that it’s almost impossible to get excited about them anymore. Especially the Mac. I’m a 30+ year Apple user and so the Mac will always be #1 with me. I use my Mac EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I love it. I wish Apple loved the Mac as much as I do.

      2. My enthusiasm for this site has also waned, but it’s not due to Apple’s product line. It’s the right-wing tilt to the posts, especially those with only the flimsiest connection to Apple.

        As many others have said before, we come here for Apple news and the shared Mac expertise when it comes to figuring out why things aren’t working the way they should. The only chief executive I want to read about on MDN is Tim Cook (and only when nothing refers to his sexuality, okay?).

        1. So, you’re blaming MDN when Apple and Trump intersect? You want MDN to ignore when Cook meets with Trump? Pretend it didn’t happen, so that your warped little worldview isn’t disrupted?

          I’d rather have MDN report ALL of the Apple-related news, not try to ignore some to make little pajama-boys and girls feel comfy.

          I didn’t see you complaining when MDN covered the fact that Obama was a confirmed iPad user (below) TWICE. That’s because you’re a hypocrite.

          U.S. President Obama confirmed Apple iPad owner (with photo) – April 25, 2011

          U.S. President Obama confirmed Apple iPad owner – March 28, 2011

        2. Funny, I was going to say my enthusiasm for this site has also waned, but it’s not due to Apple’s product line. It’s the left-wing tilt to the replies of posts, especially those with only the flimsiest connection to Apple.

          You have to endure Trump.

          I had to endure Obama.

          To each their own, I guess.

        3. Soooo basically it’s a right wing tilt with issues and comments you disagree with that irritate you. Ummm ok I see we have an adult in the house here people.

          How come if someone says something you don’t agree with you liberal left always get up in a tizzy? Just another typical leftist ideology. They can’t handle another persons viewpoint that they don’t agree with.

          1. Sigh. I don’t have a problem with political opinions that are not my own. There are plenty of political blogs for that. I’m just saying I find it distracting that many of these political discussions (arguments) are completely unrelated to Apple.

            When the President — any President — makes Apple related news, of course I’d like to see it here. But that’s not what I’m talking about… but I’m sure you are already aware of that.

    3. Hosting costs $5,000 – $25,000 per month?!

      Holy shit! I take back my previous comment. I had no idea of the actual costs to run a widely read website like this.

    4. I certainly know what it costs in money and man-hours to run a website.
      And I don’t think for a minute someone should lose money on it.
      But here’s my problem. I make good money, but I’ve $9-a-month’d myself to death.
      With all of my online storage, apps, video, etc., I am literally spending too much on all of this stuff and have to once again, start eliminating these things.
      To pay another $5-$10 a month would not be possible for one website for me.
      I wish you guys luck, it’s a tough one when you’re not selling product like many sites do.
      Speaking fo that, maybe you could do that? Dunno, it’s a tough economy all around, and there are no easy answers.

    1. Me too.

      I wonder though why most other legitimate sites don’t seem to suffer from “rogue ads that come from third-party ad networks?” I haven’t seen it anywhere on legitimate sites except here. Possibly others have better site protection in place?

  2. The ads are annoying and offensive, but the rightwing bias and commentary particularly by SteveJack are definitely something I would not want to pay for. We “libtards” are not amused. Should have kept “politics” as some call it out of the equation.

    1. Please provide specific examples (links) of “rightwing bias and commentary particularly by SteveJack.”

      Failing that, I’d hope MDN will simply delete your comment as it is not factually based.

        1. True, but these few extremists you highlight are hugely outnumbered by the trumpist dittoheads who blindly support the stupid shortsighted stuff the potus is attempting to do. Trump is not conservative nor does he stick to principles. He lobbyists he has surrounded himself with are not draining the swamp. But that’s fodder for a political siite. Mdn proports to be a Mac discussion and news site. It fails miserably on that even if a reader had the patience to negotiate the horrible Google ads. That is why it’s not a worthy daily news site, it’s a one a month time waster now.

          Partisans are blind to their huge biases. This has also ruined mdn for good. This site and people like you go out of your way to attack anyone who questions the incompetent potus carnival barker that is setting America back a couple decades while other nations work together to reform their issues. But you just can’t stopat Apple discussion, you make anyone left of you the scapegoat for everything your narrow little brain doesn’t like or understand.

          More to the point: the fact that your every post is political, has nothing to do with Macs, and flies a partisan icon, tells everybody that you’re not here to discuss Macs. Ever.

          1. See there’s your problem. You say America is being set back a couple of decades. I don’t see that happening and think you are just plain nuts.

            You say other nations work together to reform their issues but what you mean is agree with us on our values, to Hell with your values and if you don’t then you are a racist, xenophobe, sexist, homophobe… you get the picture.

          2. MDN should change its name since it spends so little screen space on Mac related subject matter, and its biased selective policing of its discussion sections. MDN has no values, other than the almighty dollar. If it did, it wouldn’t support Google profit. It wouldn’t praise stock games while making snide personal attacks. It would have enough class to properly spell names and terms. But no, the lowest common denominator towards ad profit is the only goal, and it if it takes non sequitur politics and religion to pump up readership, then that is what happens. Too bad because this used to be a site where one could learn new things about the Mac.

            1. Google ads are the only game in town. MDN is discussing Patreon as a means to STOP using GOOGLE ads which is exactly what you want. So, how much will you give to patronize MDN per month?

        2. No sir, the “both sides do it” argument is not accurate.

          I do not mind Conservative opinion as long as it is factual and respectful- In fact it can sometimes be quite interesting. Then there is the whole stream of stuff that cats anyone not a rock rib Republican as a person who does not love their country, etc.

          Some sites (Ars comes to mind) where they have places for discussions that are not directly related to the material posted. Maybe MDN could set up something along those lines.

          Just remember, the truth has a liberal bias.

      1. As a known conservative on this site, let me simply point out that you have missed two salient points:

        1) “Libtard” has no ‘e’. If you can’t spell, the effectiveness of your message is significantly reduced.

        2) Such ad hominem responses (as are unfortunately common from both sides on this site) do nothing to advance the discussion – in fact, they TERMINATE the discussion and thus the flow of comments, because they generate so much “noise” that those here to learn turn away.

        To both left and right: the USA needs both sides, because neither side will learn anything living in an echo chamber. I value the insights of my liberal neighbors, EVEN WHEN I DISAGREE, because at the very least I learn where they’re coming from, and sometimes I even learn things which alter how I view an issue.

        Perhaps if we all started with the assumption that we all have at heart what we believe the best interests of all to be, and started discussing rather than attacking, we’d all be better off.

    2. I know, auramac. I know. I wish I can turn on TV and watch a sportscast, the evening national newscast, some evening sitcoms and dramas, then relax to the late night shows without having to be bombarded by Leftwing innuendos of what’s wrong with me and my political ideology all the time. Don’t get me started with the internet or college academia professors and students.

      Well, I can always go see a Broadway play. Hmm, I wonder what this “Hamilton” is all about? I guess there is always the Jesus in a jar of urine Fine Art. Then again, I’ll hang with my gay friends who always go to Christian bakers for their cakes, but never go and disturb Islamic bakers. Curious, curious…

  3. I deleted your iOS app because unable to see article because of add that refused to go away without restart of app. Your webpage today TWICE auto downloaded a Flash upgrader package not fro Adobe. Sorry, can’t stay. Loved you guys but I can’t/ Im not tech savvy enough to know difference between spam, hack or an infection. Good luck, fell free to contact when resolved as I trust none of your current advertisers because of issue.

    1. Agree. MAGA hats and other Trump merchandise might be big among some fans on this website. Bumper stickers might sell, too. Orange tanning formula. Toupees. Condoms. Links to “Philadelphia” lawyers for when you may just need to shut people up. Maybe sell shares in shady money-laundering hotel deals and Miss Russky beauty pageants. Pee-pee Anne dolls. Etc. Great idea!

  4. I really don’t like recurring charges. I do like MDN, mostly for the humor. I might cough up some bucks but to really make a decision, I need some real numbers: let us know 1) how many employees you have 2) what their aggregate salary is 3) how much hosting costs you 4) the number of readers/visitors you have 5) how much you get for ads on each page and 6) how much your total expenses are and 7) How much you get paid for all the ads. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out #7 is way less than #6.

    Now I am going to be blunt: I’m going to take #2 above and divide it by #1 above and if that number is greater than my annual salary is greater than mine, there is no way I’m going to sign up for any recurring charges. Bluntly, Apple news and MDN are fun and MDN makes it convenient but what I hear about here, I hear from other sources in a few weeks.

    Whatever you decide, keep up the good work.

    1. Yeah, I’m sure MDN, like any other company, will get right back to you with all of that confidential information lickety-split.

      Sheesh, some people are friggin’ out there!

      1. OK, fair enough. How about doing it just generally?

        1) 12 2) $1.2 million 3) $600,000 4) 50,000 5) $0.05 6) 2.5 million 7) $2.4 million.

        Am I off by a factor of 2 on any one of those numbers?

  5. The type of ads have been bad for a long time. The ads are intrusive, overwriting the screen and then a string of AMAZON sweepstake ads you can’t get rid of other than to leave the site or kill the app. These ads don’t appear on the other sites I visit, just MDN. It doesn’t reflect well on MDN. I hope MDN shut down these types of ads on it’s site.

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