define ‘broke’

OK, well, having launched the one and only wordpress.com photoblog theme I went along to glance at that announcement of extra space which I’m using as a selling point for said theme, because why shouldn’t I too benefit from their meaningless publicity-seeking gestures? (I explain why it’s a meaningless publicity-seeking gesture here, can’t be bothered to type it out again.) Wow. I always forget how brainrotting the comments to those posts are:

This is a dream, isn’t it? o_Ô You guys amaze me, you really do. 3GB storage for free. No limited bandwidth. And still no ads? You won’t make us all pay for our accounts? This HAS to be a dream.

Yes, it’s a fucking dream. YOU DO HAVE ADS. Look! Ads!

ads!

ads!
ads!
ads!

[hits flock of Snow Lovers on head with cluestick, hard]

And, what’s more, you’re always going to have ads. Because lookie here, hidden amongst all the ecstatic bleats is Mr Matt saying:

there are no plans to change our current advertising setup, so don’t worry. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.🙂

If you’re still fielding Adsense queries in the forum, feel free to pass that link on. Or not. It might be a bit too much like volunteering.

73 Comments »

  1. Bloody hell, those ads are hideous.

  2. Ray said

    Not hideous, merely bloody obnoxious. Luckily I run Adblock and don’t see them. It took me a while to realise that and I couldn’t figure out what you were all wiblling on about🙂

    Ah well, I don’t have to see them so I only see content. Does Matt’s personal blog have ads across it or is he somehow exempt?

  3. drmike said

    Matt’s blog doesn’t have adverts on it as, I believe, it’s still hosted elsewhere. I can’t do a lookup from here so I can’t pull up the IP address. The blue bar doesn’t show up at least. Also I seem to recall he made a fairly big deal about removing the adverts why back when.

    I’m sitting here watching over all those “The security certs are still broken” threads myself. I guess that no one on Automattic staff knows how to explain how to clear a cert out of a browser. Matt, I ask yet again but I know you won’t answer since you never have, can you explain how getting rid of those who knew the answers is better then the current replacing them with those who don’t?

  4. um…. i hate to sound retarded, but… am i missing the ads or am i just special?

  5. Richard said

    I think I’m going to pull up all the adsense and advertising threads and post the link to this post in them. I’m feeling snarky today.

  6. I was wondering when you were going to jump all over that 3GB thingy. BTW, what’s the trick for seeing ads on your own blog? I’d love to get a screen shot of my own. Log in at friend’s place I guess would be the quickest, or is there a way to do it from home?

  7. Oh, it’s very easy to miss the ads. They’ve designed it that way. They’re not displayed if you’re logged-in (the main reason so many users are still unaware of their existence), or if you’re using Firefox (regardless of whether you have adblock installed, which I imagine the majority of FF users have). There’s a good article here on the criteria they use (third-party of course; Automattic like to keep this stuff quiet.)

    But to allow people to believe there are no ads at all is pretty disingenuous; ok, so they’re naive in thinking that the site can be supported without them, but that doesn’t excuse staff’s failure to enlighten their users when they start raving about how great it is not having ads. Automattic assume that bloggers only care about what they and their regulars see, and not what sort of first impression a casual visitor might get. All the evidence from the forums when people do find out what’s happening suggests that simply isn’t true.

  8. Aha, now I see. They check user-agent too? I keep trying myself, and still never see any ad. Apparently because I’m always using Firefox.

  9. Kissing Bandit said

    I’ve come across the ads by chance myself — and “by chance”, I mean nuking any and all WP.com cookies, opening Inept Explorer, and searching Google for a term I knew would bring up some WP.com search results — and they do look hideous.

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but the least Automattic can do for the WP.com users is take the time to properly integrate the ads into each theme so that it doesn’t look so appalling to newcomers. Things like floatings and clearing could go a long way toward that effect.

    Random people who happen upon a WP.com hosted blog isn’t going to realize the ads don’t belong to the person running the blog and that blogger comes off looking like an a**hat because they didn’t care about their visitor enough to make the ads look decent. In other words, the blogger ends up looking like a money-grubbing scum-sucker as opposed to Automattic.

    Just my 2 pence.

    -KB

  10. timethief said

    My strongest objection to “text advertising” is where I see being placed. I see 2 -3 advertising blocks inserted under the permalinked titles to blog posts i.e. situated between those titles and the text in the post. I can’t tell you how much this placement peeves me. And, if that’s not bad enough having every post end with 2-3 advertising blocks incenses me twice over.

    If wordpress.com requires advertising blocks then surely to GOB they can create one banner space under my header, stuff the adsense ads into it and keep the advertising out of my posts.

    BTW I have had 4 family members, who are barely computer adept, who asked me how to block the ads. This summer I got lots of hugs and kisses when I downloaded firefox browsers with adblockers for them. Hopefully, they will remember me in their wills … just joshing. 😉

  11. Alan531 said

    I guess you have to be on a Windows machine. I’ve never seen an ad on my Mac using different browsers. And I don’t have a WP.com account.

  12. Dennis said

    I can’t believe folks are still volunteering in the forums.

  13. timethief said

    Brokenness

    (1) Avatars – On the weekend I saw lettershometoyou posting again to the forum about his avatar problem. His old one and new one keep switching. Remarkably, I had the same probvlem awhile ago too but when I registered my wp.com avatars with “Gravatar” it was resolved.

    (2) Tag surfer – There are 3 long standing problems. The first is that the “featured blogs” feature has been broken for many months perhaps even close to a year. Originally it was the blogger with the most posts under a given tag was had the featured blog. Now we see the same blog post being featured for months on end. The second is the problem of being unable to delete tags from the tag surfer. The third problem is the increasing number of spam blogs that are appearing in the tag surfer.

    (3) Inability for users to change admin email addresses on their options page and to receive confirmation emails when doing so.
    Changing an email address on the Profile page does not give rise to a confirmation email but changing it on the Options page ought to. Matt said so somewhere in a forum thread not long ago. I ran into this problem a couple of months ago when I tried to change email addresses on one of my blogs. After going nuts with it I had to approach Mark, who “straightened it out” for me in the backend.

    (4) Domains – Somewhere in a forum thread not long ago Barry said that they had a problem with domains that they were working on and he sent a blogger who had posted to the forum to “godaddy” to purchase a domain. What happened remains a mystery. And why people do not receive renewals in time enough to renew or why they receive them when the domain is not due to be renewed remains a problem that crops up from time to time on the forum.

    (5) Tiny MCE – see http://opposablethumbz.wordpress.com/ for detailed posts on the woes of wordpress software changing the code that TinyMCE produces.

  14. Hi tt – just saw your comment about gravatar – I’d thought I’d uploaded my new pic when registering, but I just checked on gravatar and it’s blank. Going to try it again and see if it makes a difference.

  15. Strange how the day-to-day bugginess of wordpress.com never gets mentioned by the techblogs, isn’t it? Matt even required a nudge to mention last month’s downtime on the news blog. It seems crazy to take on even more new projects when they’re barely able to keep the established ones running smoothly. I know they’ve hired new staff to do the stuff that excites Techcrunch, such as free forums and turning wordpress.com into MySpace, but actually it would be quite nice to see them hire people to do boring things, such as fixing all the buggy themes and ensuring that people who want to buy or renew domain hosting are able to do so. Maybe it’s hard to hire people who are willing to do boring things. Hanni didn’t last very long, did she? Hasn’t been on the forums for two weeks now, not on the staff page.

  16. drmike said

    Matt made mention that all new employees do “support” for the first three weeks. While experience shows and my internal spies have told me that’s not 100% true, maybe Hanni has been moved onto other projects within the company.

  17. Yes, but she was hired to do support. Her forum profile used to claim she was a happiness engineer. It doesn’t any more. It’s possible that they’ve moved her onto something else having discovered that support was not her forte, therefore my point about her not lasting very long still stands😉

  18. drmike said

    Her posts still have the yellow background and she’s still listed as a Moderator.

  19. timethief said

    Automattic claims on their job posting page that all new staff spend 3 weeks working on Support. echo1123 has reached the 3 week mark and the “KeyMaster” notation still remains on her forum profile page. The “Happiness Engineer” label like the one that used to be on hanni’s forum profile too has disappeared. What we see on echo 1123’s forum profile now is “KeyMaster”. In the case of mtdewvirus what we see is “Moderator”. http://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic.php?id=21988&replies=9#post-165209

    Mark says:

    There are planned updates to the faq. Changes that will be arriving soon give the ideal chance for this to happen and we will be using that.
    And more support? Yes there is and more soon on that too🙂

    http://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic.php?id=21526&page=2&replies=48#post-173357

    Raincoaster is the last remaining member of the previous forum “regulars” who is still answering questions on the support forum.

  20. Said ‘changes’ probably consist of unveiling SF hipster girl as Mark’s second-in-command (since she’s the only one of that batch who’s been keymastered and staff-paged), enabling them to open support full-time, revamp the FAQ and shut the forums. How very exciting. Still, it’ll give raincoaster some free time.

  21. judyb12 said

    tga, i don’t have an email address for you, otherwise i would have jjust BCC’ed you on my response to this email that was apparently sent at 8:23AM GMT today:

    Hi Judith,

    There had been a few problems with the domain management system password reset over the last week, everything should now be resolved; could you possibly try again for me?

    Hanni

    Seems nice enough, right? The personal touch and all that? Except it’s in response to a problem the status of which i updated yesterday at 8:08AM UTC (that would be more than 24 hours earlier):

    Well, the page now goes where it’s supposed to, but i never receive the email they claim to send when i ask to reset the password (and no, it is not in my spam filter). I have tried 3 times with no luck.

    Since i never logged a wp.com support ticket, Hanni must have seen my issue in the forum. Why didn’t anyone go back to the original post to see if there was any update?

    Sigh.

  22. Maybe she’s blocked from the forum😉 No, seriously, .org has issues with longstanding forum volunteers getting Akismeted all the time.

    Or maybe she’s just scared of penguins.

  23. drmike said

    .org has issues with longstanding forum volunteers getting Akismeted all the time.

    Which proves that they don’t listen to their users because, if they did, those users would have been white listed a long time ago. (There’s at least one thread on the topic somewhere requesting this.) At least on the *.org forums.

  24. i’ve never gone looking for the ads, since i knew they were there. i spied a couple this morning on SWPL, though:

    i think the most disturbing thing is that the google ads are indeed custom, in that they don’t style themselves, they match the theme styling, making them barely distinguishable from the content.

  25. Thank goodness for wordpress.com ads! How else would we know where to “get great deals and save” on “racist jokes”? Here I’ve been making them up on my own like a sucker!

    I’d never gone a-lookin’ for ads until last month. I logged out, switched to IE6, and did a search for something on site:wordpress.com. I was a little surprised at how quickly I hit an ad. Quickly as in on the very first try.

    Makes me glad I got away from .com.

  26. oh, you found the screenshots of my blog. pretty ugly, uh?!!
    also it undermines the credibility of our blogs. i think about switching to a selfhosted solution.

    this is the answer i got from support about an adree upgrade:

    Hi,
    This is something we have been considering.
    -Nick

    not very reassuring…
    you should also write to support.

  27. […] mentions though that WordPress.com sticks ads on your blog and doesn’t give you a choice whereas blogger does. Digg it! | Reddit | Del.icio.us | […]

  28. For those who have seen adverts on wp.com blogs, could someone provide the adsense account numbers that wp.com is using?

    Thanks,
    -drmike

  29. The ones in my screenshot were pub-3443918307802676.

  30. Thanks. I saw them yesterday on a blog here at wp.com after logging off. (And a VIP blog as well) I wonder if this means this is a change of policy.

  31. Maybe the blog agreed to let them keep the ads in exchange for a discount on the VIP package? Or Automattic offered them an upgrade to VIP status to say thanks for all the traffic (and ad revenue) they bring in, and the blog owners don’t know the ads are still there?

  32. options said

    and the blog owners don’t know the ads are still there?

    I’d guess that is the most probable scenario, i.e. the blog owners still don’t know the ads are there.

    their Adsense plugin actually defines “who can not see ads and how many”, based on the page ‘hawtness’ primarily.

    what is fairly logical: why bother with low click-throughs but possibly whiny folks?

    so, for instance, *every* post on the ‘.com News’ blog itself is ad-laden from 2 to 6 ads per page, regardless of a post size, but depending upon its PR.

    if you don’t see ads on a page, view it’s source, at the bottom there will be a string with the reasons:

    x_noads:'defined,loggedin,notsearch,firefox'

    Mike, would you like to share the URL of that VIP blog with ads?

    i think the most disturbing thing is that the google ads are indeed custom, in that they don’t style themselves, they match the theme styling, making them barely distinguishable from the content.

    yes, that is it.

    since, Automattic is an Adsense Premium Publisher and the GMVP*, so they can do with goog adsense code whatever they want that other mere mortals can’t (because of Adsense Policy).

    including *removing* rather important ‘Google Adsense Feedback’ link altogether (that very “Ads by Goooooooooogle” link) for reporting inapropriate ads and violation of adsense policy.

    /me just wanders why they haven’t removed it yet?

    *) GMVP — Goog’s Most Valuable Partner. *kidding* but just a bit😉

    but seriously, does anyone realise/know for sure how many *millions* of impressions/mo one needs to get a Premium offer from Goog?

  33. Kissing Bandit said

    does anyone realise/know for sure how many *millions* of impressions/mo one needs to get a Premium offer from Goog?

    From my dealings with a few other “Premium AdSense Publishers”, the number is quite high (think high six/seven figures). That program is for the publishers who don’t mess around.

    -KB

  34. To be Adsense Premium, just need more than 10 millions pageviews.

  35. The 10 million pageviews is not a hard number and used to be quite less. I know a publisher who got in it at a million views a month but that was eons ago. He’s no longer in the program but he dropped it himself.

    In case anyone’s interested about the program:

    http://www.askdavetaylor.com/whats_an_adsense_premium_publisher.html
    http://labnol.blogspot.com/2007/04/privilege-of-being-adsense-premium.html

  36. Kissing Bandit said

    The 10 million pageviews is not a hard number and used to be quite less.

    Way back in the stone age, Google wasn’t very up front about it and only gave a convoluted number. Some of the folks I spoke with at some conferences got in with far less (but still difficult for mere mortals to achieve). Basically, you only blipped onto Google’s radar if you had enough traffic to make them take notice.

    -KB

  37. Ray said

    I’m feeling unwanted. I just checked my other blog for ads in IE6 and I don’t appear to have any. Could it be that WP don’t put ads on unless you hit a certain number of page views?

  38. Kissing Bandit said

    If I’m not mistaken, the ads will only display to visitors who arrive from a search engine. So, try doing a Google search which you’re sure includes a page from your blog and visit from IE6 and see if any ads appear.

    -KB

  39. Ray said

    No joy at all, the blog itself isn’t googleable.

  40. Ray said

    Hmm, if I Google the site directly, I get the front page but still no ads. I feel very left out.

  41. If I follow that procedure and view source on the blog in IE, the string that options mentions above reads:

    x_noads:'wrongtype'

    You don’t have any paid upgrades in place by any chance? I get ‘wrongtype’ on my custom CSS blog, but not this one.

  42. So in those blogs that has an paid upgrade, wordpress.com doen’t show ads? I have Custom CSS and Domain Mapping and tried to view adds from IE7 cleaning cookies everytime and can’t see any one; while in other blogs with upgrade could see ads many times.

    My blog always shows:

    x_noads:'defined',x_ads:'no'

  43. Ray said

    Not that I know of. It’s the most bog standard .com blog around – in fact, if I hadn’t needed it for the Akismet code (not that I use Akismet any more), I wouldn’t have signed up for it in the first place.

    Maybe an upgrade has somehow snuck onto it?

  44. Clear your cookies after logging out. One of the other conditions that has been hinted at is that if you had been logged in, the adverts won’t show.

  45. Ray said

    Still nothing – not logged in at all and have never logged in on this PC. Not that I’m complaining – if i have one of the few/only ad free blogs then I’m happy.

  46. options said

    as of today I can see there’s only one post, published a year ago (High Profile – Robert B Parker site:wordpress.com). but no worries, and even this lonely one has ads!

    yeah, this post has just three ads plastered*, which means it’s not popular enough to get awarded with the full six-pack.

    .
    *) yet yesterday there were just four of them. in two blocks: one behind the post title and another one at the the same place as today’s one, but it was in the new format (with the ‘next’, ‘prev.’ buttons).

    also Google Feedback Link was of back colour, thus, being undecorated, it was completely indistinguishable from the normal text and totally not giving visitor an idea that it’s supposed to be a clickable link.

  47. options said

    forgot to mention:

    Ray, yes, your blog is indeed very poorly indexed by Goog; I think you might like to consult with your Google Webmaster’s Tools to get the idea why (and more ads😉.

  48. Ray said

    Now I’m very miffed – I don;t even merit good ads which sucks. I will check out what’s wrong via Google.

    And the whole “we don’t plaster ads” thing is bullshit, obviously. Most ads from Google are in blocks of 3 or 4 and why on earth would nayone agree to one easily missable ad?

  49. options said

    sadly, but BS, essentialy, is a cornerstone of a busness model for many successful corporations who are in the client business on the mass market (albeit even a free one). and Automattic does not seem to be an exception.

    the bigger crowd, the more and easier it’s subjected to the BS*; the bigger crowd, the more BS is needed and the more there usually is; the bigger crowd, the easier it could be sold down the river.

    *) dissentient minority is usually either drowned by the predominant shouts, or marginalized (by various methods) if it’s vocal enough to be heard by the sheep.

  50. Ray said

    Absolutely, though I think it’s more of a “brazening it out” than a deliberate BS policy. If caught just say that that was what you said all along or that it will be fixed in a future upgrade.

  51. options said

    yup, looks like that. although, frankly, I find it rather difficult to draw a clear line between deliberate and brazen out BS — lie is a lie in either way, whether it’s a well-designed one or an impromptu.
    alright, in fairness, not all the .com blogs are stuffed with the six ads per post. as a matter of fact, there are some which have only one. and their ads slapped display is really tasteful, indeed. as much, as its CPC bid is.
    but that’s sorta Silver Star, it has to be a really hawt stuff, which have generated lotta buzz (got dugg, /.-ed etc). not everyone can be honored to carry a lump like that.
    those hit whoring stars, whom the fora moderators gave a life-license to diss forum visitors (as an award for being pretty good at on-message propaganda), can only dream about humping such a bump😉

  52. options said

    damn it.

    WP just ate all my <code></code> tags (an offline HTML editor made) and replaced them all with the <code></code>’s.

    hereby, I officially curse WP comment box:

    * for all the innumerate cases of messing my code,
    * for the lack of a preview,
    * for your paranoid KSES filters,
    * for the forever broken auto_p filter,
    * for your lame ‘texturise’ing of my quote marks,
    * for the lack of Markdown, Textile at al, which you cannot install because your lame undesigned core filtering system sucks so badly.

    SCREW YOU WP, mustdie!

  53. Can I also curse them for their cunning concealment of the admin-side comment editing links? Whoever thought that the logical home for this was the comment author’s name should be barred from any future involvement with interface design.

  54. options said

    yes, linking ‘Edit comment’ action to the author’s name is kinda novelty in the UI design. should be awarded with some prize (no, not Crunchies, rather something like TDWTF).

  55. pKay said

    Damn….. they do look horrible……. hope it doesn’t turn people of too much :(…

  56. options said

    it’s in the advertisement’s nature — it doesn’t have to be beautiful. its purpose not to please someone’s eyes but to sell useless stuff. which couldn’t be sold otherwise.

    good stuff does not need ads, it sells itself.

  57. Root said

    God knows I am no longer an active blogger. But you guys need to get onto a decent platform. TXP is good with a few tweaks. And Habari is coming on. The longer I feel I have left the WP mess behind the happier I feel. It is time to move on guys. LOL.
    Matt is turning into a kind of Social Google. It sucks.

  58. I’m waiting for Habari to go 1.0, then I’ll assess my options. I don’t like the fact that Automattic profits financially from my continued presence here, but on the other hand I am much more annoying on wordpress.com than I would be anywhere else.

  59. timethief said

    wordpress has been hacked: are you protected?
    http://www.searchenginepeople.com/blog/wordpress-has-been-hacked-are-you-protected.html

  60. I’m wondering about wp.com myself. Wank, your site is crashing on those locked down terminals I get to use with IE6 and even kicking out “Some script is slowing down your computer” errors on a normal terminal, also with IE6.

  61. @tt: yeah, this has been getting a fair amount of publicity lately, with technorati refusing to index targeted blogs. The official line is that if you upgrade to 2.5 or 2.3.whatever, you should be safe.

    Known vulnerabilities in older versions are actually not a terrible thing for Automattic, because they force people back into the endless upgrade cycle regardless of their feelings about newer versions. What is bad for Automattic is when wordpress.com users like this guy hear ‘wordpress’ and ‘hacked’ in the same sentence and start to worry. But then if you deliberately conflate your hosted offering with the self-hosted one by giving them the same frickin’ name you have to take the rough with the smooth.

    @drmike: you know, they shove so many trackers into these blogs that this really does not surprise me. We got Google Analytics, we got wp-stats, we got ad-serving code [views source] oh yeah, and I forgot quantserve. And an invisible .gif from Sphere; haven’t noticed that before, probably because it’s invisible. Adblock tells me there are five scripts running on this page, it could be any one of them.

  62. I noted the Sphere line as well this morning. I hadn’t seen it before either.

    I believe the poster is discussing the 2.5 version (that’s the version being discussed in the thread that he or she links to) although I note that they’re still running 2.3 themselves. (Or at least that’s what’s on the the version meta tag.)

  63. […] 2008 at 12:49 am · Filed under bubble, dot com, idiocy, wank Ah, so that’s what the invisible Sphere .gif was for. I did […]

  64. […] money from your blog” is not going to happen any time soon as well. not only because “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it“, but mostly because Google does not need yet another sploggy Blogger. you know, it already […]

  65. […] broke defined a somewhat peculiar video response to: define broke. […]

  66. To make a long story short, AdSense should be made available to all publishers, not just WordPress.com (when they feel like it).

  67. Your logic escapes me as to why “all publishers” should provide Adsense and I believe you miss the point of wank’s post.

  68. Kissing Bandit said

    AdSense is available to all publishers as long as they fall within Google’s Program Guidelines. WordPress.com is a service all its own and dictates whether iits users are allowed to earn any revenue from AdSense or otherwise; Google has no say in that decision.

  69. lolarusa said

    OK, I’m confused. You left a comment on my blog telling me that I have ads on it. I’ve accessed my blog from lots of different computers, using lots of different browsers, logged on or off, and I’ve never, ever seen any ads on it. I have a space upgrade. Does that prevent them? But it sounded to me like you could see them from your machine. What’s the deal?

    chawedrosin.wordpress.com

  70. Actually it wasn’t me who left the comment, it was one of my readers. I see from your comments that sunburntkamel has already taken a screenshot of an ad on your blog ( http://testr.files.wordpress.com/2008/06/nemo.jpg ) so that saves me some work.

    To see ads on a wordpress.com blog, this is what I do:

    1) Power up Internet Explorer and delete the browsing history (Tools > Internet Options > General)
    2) Enter a search term in Google which I know will turn up an entry from that blog. (I normally include ‘wordpress’ in there, it saves time when scrolling through the results.)
    3) Click through from Google.

    Do a search now on ‘gustav dore wordpress’ and you’ll find one of your entries at the bottom of the page. I clicked on that and found ads:

    (full-size screenshot)

  71. […] get some ‘mad research skillz’ you need to find the ‘internal spies’ that drmiike talks about. Strange that no-one called him out on that – maybe they just feel sorry for the old guy… So […]

  72. ash037 said

    this is injustice!….

  73. […] not even going to whine about the facts that a) the ads, when they do appear, are far from discreet (not much point in having them, if they were) and b) they’re not always text ads. If it […]

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