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?


  1. I’ve actually been looking for a replacement to MDN lately because of the ad volume. A small column of text surrounded by furiously animated ads (even with all plugins and autoplay off) gives me a headache. I would be happy to pay a small fee per month (couple dollars, at most) for no ads; I do the same with other sites I frequent that offer the option.

    My other choices are to stop reading or install an ad blocker. Either way you’d get no revenue, but these ads have gotten WAY out of hand.

    1. machash is an aggregate Apple news site, without the political commentary. It also shows you multiple sources for stories, allowing you to gain further perspective if you like.

  2. I would pay $2/month or $25 a year.

    I don’t mind the ads on your site, except for on the mobile app, where they take over the screen and cannot be closed. I really don’t mind ignoring them.

    I would purchase future macs/iphones/etc from a link on your site so that you get a percentage. Perhaps set something like that up and make the links prominent?

    That’s all I’ve got. Thanks for the transparency regarding your efforts and your invitation for us to write in.

  3. Count me in – I would contribute a regular monthly fee – that’s what I do with Phillip Elmer DeWitt on his Apple 3.0 site – it’s $9.99/month. I’d gladly do that with MDN.

  4. Ads: I don’t mind ads if they don’t jump in front of texts and articles. On a few sites I frequent that were ad supported, the ads were linked to my likes and I tolerated them; here, they have nothing to do with my potential purchase interests or news interests.

    BTW, I discovered recently that when a link hijacks me as it does many here, there is a cookie added to the browser that lets it keep on hijacking. I am sure many of the guys and women here know it – but at the same time, I am sure that more than 50% of the folks here do not realize that a hijacking link establishes a cookie that keeps on hijacking over certain sites. Clean/clear the cache/cookies regularly or look for cookie links that you don’t know and delete them.

  5. I have been a happy visitor since day one I’d guess. I love the content and the pro Mac stance. I have stood with Apple/MDN thru all kinds of sh_t and enjoyed the journey. That being said, I have felt the site is so ad filled as it has a grasping and greedy feel. I dont know the ad names but I have been loosing control of my phone browser and have to leave the hijacked page thru annoying means. There is probably something I am missing to click. I dunno, but I dream going to the articles beyond the home page on my phone, no prob on my Macs I can deal easier. I’m sure this web site costs money to run, but this is the only site I visit regularly that I put up with anything close to the anoyance level of using this site. At least it shows your content is good but it’s effecting my desire to visit.

  6. I have been visiting MDN almost everyday, pretty nearly since its inception, I think. Although I don’t know for sure when that was, it’s been so long. Late 90’s? It was and still is my favorite, most often visited site. Over the many years, I have really, really enjoyed the often humorous, and often insightful MDN “Takes”.

    Being a proud, 100%, SJW, weed-smoking, snowflake, liberal, though, I feel pretty much unwelcome here, as you can imagine. In the beginning, MDN seemed apolitical, but in more recent years they have gone from a tech site, to a site with a polarizing political agenda that despises my world view.

    Additionally, most commenters here, if they have read my input, would likely characterize me as a blind Apple fanboy. I think that perception is false, I have found favor for most of what Apple does only after careful consideration. In recent times, however, MDN and their vocal echo chamber have turned into dark, rabid critics of Tim Cook’s leadership. Personally, I see this viewpoint on Cook’s failings as fanatically overblown and probably fueled more by the hateful political agenda here than by actual management issues. I would ask, if Cook were a staunch supporter of Trump, would you still be as negative toward his stewardship of Apple?And I would ask, who would you choose to replace him? Regardless, the constant, ugly, antagonism toward Cook, you will likely be happy to know, saddens me and tend to spoil my enjoyment of the site.

    So basically, even though I am a long, long standing fan and patron of MDN, and even though I haven’t, over the years, changed politically or in my admiration of Steve Job’s amazing juggernaut of a business creation, it seems I have become, by default, an unwelcome contrarian, here.

    But here is the thing, when MDN is not waxing political, or grinding Tim Cook under their heels, they still have whatever that snarky, insightful mojo it is that has kept me here over the years. So beat me up and vote me down, I am staying. And yes, I would regularly pay a small, reasonable amount to support MDN and ditch the ads.

  7. Paterson sounds like a plan if it will eliminate the frequent MacKeeper and Adobe highjacks, not to mention the Amazon gift card ones that overtake the app.

    Personally I find the political rants/insults in the comments more offensive then any title an article might have.

  8. I don’t know how or why the popups happen, but they’re the worst of any website I go to, ESPECIALLY on my iPhone. So whatever the contrived reason for these popup adds, why not just do what every other website does and have adds that don’t cause horrendous popup problems on iOS and safari?

    Simply stop your current adds, and find another (more common) way to get adds on your site. If you’re using the most common add platform already, maybe there’s a virus in your website itself. Perhaps it’s a problem with wordpress.

    Get it together MDN, you don’t need users telling you HOW to run YOUR add business. You just need to hear your users telling you that your adds are terrible (which is the point of this thread), and fix the issue. It’s NOT a case by case problem, if it were we would have these problems intermittently on any website that uses adds. Instead, I get NONE of the same problems from ANY website except yours.

  9. I would gladly thrown in a few dollars a month for the likes of SteveJack and your commentary. You clearly run circles around me, and I’d be glad to pay my way!

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