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I wrote a user script (SO sponsored tag advertisements) to remove the icons from sponsored tags. I found them obtrusive. Also removes the sponsored div block at the top of the tag pages.

This has been tested in Opera and Greasemonkey.


Before

before

After

after

share|improve this question
45  
+1 for effort; but I want the Stack Overflow guys to get paid, so I'm not going to use it. –  George Stocker Sep 30 '09 at 18:47
10  
@Stocker: Normally, I'd agree and I have regular adds displayed. But these new ones just rub me the wrong way. –  Danny Sep 30 '09 at 18:48
21  
I still fail to understand how a relevant logo (that aids the user in quickly getting more context for a tag) can be considered that obtrusive. And the relevant links header only shows up on that tag's main page, which doesn't normally get high traffic to begin with. –  TheTXI Sep 30 '09 at 18:54
1  
@TheTXI: I guess they kind of remind me of Adbrite's adds. Admittedly, nowhere near as obnoxious. problogger.net/archives/2006/05/12/adbrite-announces-inline-ads –  Danny Sep 30 '09 at 19:08
11  
@TheTXI: Sure, which is why this is a completely opt-in script! If you like the sponsored info, don't install it. :) –  ベレアー アダム Sep 30 '09 at 19:09
12  
I don't think the SO guys are going to "not get paid" by a user script removing images and content after it's already loaded. Nobody can tell who or how many people are using this thing. BTW, if you are clicking the links just to get them paid, you've been previous asked not to do that: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/22567/… –  ベレアー アダム Sep 30 '09 at 19:10
13  
Food for thought: Using the script does not effect whether anyone gets paid or not. –  GEOCHET Sep 30 '09 at 19:10
8  
I have to say I am extremely surprised and disappointed at the reaction from users to the new sponsor tags, and the fact is that Jeff and the team is providing sites for free, and trying to make it from sponsorships and adverts. I think it was an extremely creative idea and also shows that SO is being recognized by some companies as a worthwhile resource for support or assistance with their products. –  Diago Sep 30 '09 at 19:12
20  
I just want everyone to know, I WON'T BE USING THIS SCRIPT! Also, please be informed: I WILL NOT BE EATING GRAPEFRUIT FOR BREAKFAST! And lest i forget: NOTICE: I AM NOT BUYING A SNUGGIE! Thank you for your time. –  Shog9 Sep 30 '09 at 19:13
1  
Honestly, they don't befront me none. Long as I get my rent paid on Friday. However, I am against blocking ads that are non intrusive. I don't perceive these as intrusive, though many of you do perceive them as intrusive. –  belgariontheking Sep 30 '09 at 19:14
13  
@Diago: I am shocked and surprised that anyone is shocked and surprised that somebody may want to, at their discretion, opt out of advertisements. –  ベレアー アダム Sep 30 '09 at 19:15
5  
@Shog9: I have to say I am extremely surprised and disappointed at the reaction from you to Snuggies, and the fact is that the Snuggie company is providing Snuggies, and trying to make it from selling said Snuggies. I think it was an extremely creative idea and also shows that Snuggie is being recognized by some people as a worthwhile product for warmth or camouflage in a room full of blankets. –  Hilarious Comedy Pesto Sep 30 '09 at 19:23
4  
@Shog9 YOU'RE NOT BUYING A SNUGGIE??!?!?!?!?!?!? –  user27414 Sep 30 '09 at 19:25
1  
I make my own Snuggies. –  Paul Nathan Sep 30 '09 at 19:32
1  
@Shog9 -- but they have the new stylish Snuggie for you now! ;-) –  Austin Salonen Sep 30 '09 at 20:09

6 Answers 6

I thought that some people might miss the sponsored tag images, so just in case I modified the script to make all of these images 3x larger.

Much better!

Note: I am currently running with this script enabled as penance for my previous unethical behavior of installing the original script in the first place. Sorry, Alex!

// ==UserScript==
// @name           Amplify Sponsored Tags
// @include        http://stackoverflow.com/*
// ==/UserScript==


(function(){
    //Function for finding the window's jQuery variable.
    //http://meta.stackexchange.com/questions/12448/greasemonkey-users-here-is-your-vote-reputation-info-plug-in-for-stackoverflow/12454#12454
    function GM_wait() {
        var daWindow;
        if (window.opera) {
                daWindow=window;
        } else {
                daWindow = unsafeWindow;
        }
        if(typeof daWindow.jQuery == 'undefined') {
            window.setTimeout(GM_wait,100);
        } else {
            jQuery_init(daWindow.jQuery);
        }
    }
    GM_wait();

    function jQuery_init($){
        $(function(){
                $("a.post-tag img").css({width: '54px', height: '48px'});
                $("div.welovestackoverflow img").css({width: '300px', height: '300px'});
        });
    };
})();
share|improve this answer
13  
+1 for general hilarity –  Jeff Atwood Oct 2 '09 at 10:58
3  
Can you make it blink or shake like a bum with a severe case of the DTs?? That would be super-advertisingilicious! –  BryanH Oct 6 '09 at 22:05
2  
+1 Jeff for approving of general hilarity. –  Andrew Keeton Oct 7 '09 at 21:02
2  
+1 Andrew Keeton for approving Jeff's approval of general hilarity. –  Andrew Oct 12 '09 at 2:35
3  
+1 to make this three Andrew upvotes in a row (and because it's funny) –  Andrew Koester Oct 20 '09 at 14:27
    
+1 for "Note: I am currently running with this script enabled as penance for my previous unethical behavior of installing the original script in the first place. Sorry, Alex!" –  The Unhandled Exception May 19 '10 at 0:22

Enjoy.

Stackoverflow, Advertising and the Ethics of a Free Lunch

share|improve this answer
3  
I am awed and humbled by your mention of me in your masterful prose. Please see my answer to this question for how I am doing penance to make up for the error of my ways. –  ベレアー アダム Oct 1 '09 at 16:10

This is a great example of how folks can take a tool like GreaseMonkey and improve the overall user experience on the SO Sites. I personally found the Adobe Sponsored Tags annoying this morning. Maybe its because they were in my ignored tags anyways and the logo showed up and the posts were no longer hidden. Either way though, I don't think that the logo's do the tags much justice.

I'm not going to second guess the team's decision to try it out. Heck if someone pays you for it, why not. But user's will react to these just like they do standard advertisements. To add a point against Cletus's point, if you use AdBlock, is it really any different.

Thanks for creating the script.

share|improve this answer

I don't understand why someone would go to this effort. The sponsored tags aren't exactly in your face and you realize that running something like SO costs money right? So if you're not getting charged they have to make that money somewhere.

Edit: and those who naively think it doesn't matter that you remove these things after they're loaded, you ignore two important points:

  1. If everyone used such a script and noone saw these sponsored links, who would pay for them? Noone. So it's simply a question of degree. This same specious reasoning is used by people who think it's OK to remove ads automatically from free-to-air TV. Of course many people don't watch or pay attention to ads but advertisers are paying for the low percentage of viewers that do; and
  2. SO will be getting paid for placing the sponsored links, for the clickthrough rate or both. If they're getting paid (in part or in full) for the clickthrough rate then by removing them you are cutting off a source of revenue.

And anyone who argues "I never click on ads" is both delusional and missing the point: most people click on ads at some point even though the clickthrough rate might be 0.01% or less and the ads aren't just there for the clickthrough rate. They are also promoting brand awareness and it doesn't take a click to do that.

share|improve this answer
7  
-1: Adam Bellaire made an excellent point in response to this line of reasoning in the question comments: "I don't think the SO guys are going to 'not get paid' by a user script removing images and content after it's already loaded. Nobody can tell who or how many people are using this thing. BTW, if you are clicking the links just to get them paid, you've been previous asked not to do that..." –  Hilarious Comedy Pesto Oct 1 '09 at 2:07
2  
And if everyone made peach icecream, there wouldn't be enough peaches for peach pie! Fortunately, different people make different choices. Unless there's a real chance that a significant number of SO users will actually install and use this script, i don't see how the argument that it costs SO money holds water... –  Shog9 Oct 1 '09 at 2:30
3  
Ad blockers are like the fat bastards at the grocery store who take handful after handful of free samples. If every did it, the system would collapse and everyone would lose out. We know it, they know it, and we all just roll our eyes as they stuff their face with cut-up hot dogs and go "whhaaaat?". When they try to justify it ("it doesn't say only one, not my fault they give it away!"), it just makes 'em look worse. As I always say, at least have the decency to admit you're a bastard. –  Alex Papadimoulis Oct 1 '09 at 2:48
6  
@Alex: with all due respect, there are no rules. Guidelines maybe, social contract perhaps, plain old path of least resistance certainly... but no rules. I didn't agree to any terms of service that would require me to load images or prevent my blind friend from visiting the site. I load non-Flash ads, not because i have to, but because i can live with them loading: i'm good at focusing on what i need, and have CPU and RAM to spare. But not everyone is in this boat, so why would you want to pursue someone so irritated by a bit of branding that they would go out of their way to block it? –  Shog9 Oct 1 '09 at 3:37
2  
@Shog9: I didn't mean rules, I meant "rules". Note the quotes. You know, like "hold the door open for the old lady" sort of "rule". There are no consequences for those who don't follow "rules" (other than disdain from those who do), and obviously nobody expects those who are unable to follow the "rules" to follow the "rules". So, people can block ads all day long for all I care. That's fine. But they do so knowing it's an ad-supported site and that they're breaking the "rules" that most everyone else has to follow. –  Alex Papadimoulis Oct 1 '09 at 4:07
2  
I disagree with "The sponsored tags aren't exactly in your face". I personally find them very "in your face"! I can understand SO needs to make money somewhere, but at least let active users have an option to disable them. I'm sure SO will earn enough from the "daily passers-by" that the active users (which provide the content after all) don't have to be put up with them. –  fretje Oct 1 '09 at 7:51
5  
"The effort" to do this is trivial. The OP says that he thinks these elements are "in his face", and he's not alone. The rest of your argument falls flat, to me, and would apply to any ad blocking. Are you saying you never use an ad blocker? You don't fast-forward commercials on your DVR? I mean, if that's true, good for you, but you've got quite an uphill struggle in store if you're trying to argue everyone needs to follow suit. –  ベレアー アダム Oct 1 '09 at 11:21
1  
Fast forwarding through commercials isn't comparable. Lots of people do this. Advertisers know this. They are paying for the small chance that you either watch an ad or just notice it as you fast forward through it. There is a HUGE difference between fast forwarding and removing entirely. If there were no ads on TV there'd be no free-to-air TV so again it's a question of degree. Anything else is simply rationalization ("but this is ME!"). –  cletus Oct 1 '09 at 12:23
1  
@cletus: "It's a question of degree". What exactly do you mean by that? To me that reads as "I can extend your line of reasoning to the point of absurdity, then point out that it's absurd, therefore I am right." Or do you mean to say that as long as some people see the sponsored ads, then it's okay? Because I agree with that, and it's been adequately demonstrated that plenty of people (like you) will continue to see the ads. Also note that the OP himself stated he does not block the sidebar ads. So... what is the problem? –  ベレアー アダム Oct 1 '09 at 13:10
5  
@Alex: Go to userscripts.org and see how many downloads he's gotten. It looks like it's 13 as of now. 8Uh-oh, system's about to collapse! Is it really worth calling all of us "bastards"? Is that a good PR move? You've said before that the vast majority of traffic on SO is click-throughs from Google. Therefore, leaderboard ads are turned off for those of us who have more than 200 rep. Are you doing that because we are bastards? The OP has more than 200 rep. We contribute to the site. Why are these sponsored ads so special that we need to see them, no matter what? –  ベレアー アダム Oct 1 '09 at 13:30
2  
@cletus: You could summarize it that way, but you would be wrong. My position is "Those who like the ads should see them, those who do not should not." I don't require anyone who doesn't like them to see them. Until and unless you can demonstrate that everyone (or even a large number of people) would rather not see the ads (but do so anyway out of a sense of moral obligation), the problem you propose does not exist. When it does, I will turn on the ads. Either way, my ethics are sound. –  ベレアー アダム Oct 1 '09 at 14:25
5  
@Alex: It doesn't mean it's good manners or bad manners, since nobody asked us about their implementation in the first place. They just appeared one day, and 2 lines of jquery made them disappear again. If it's important for your revenue stream that we do not block them, please say so, and I will gladly unblock them. However, I'd suggest that if many people find the ads obtrusive, you and your sponsors might be better served by changing your strategy. But I don't have to tell you this, you're the ad guy. You know about appearances and good faith and associating your brand with quality. –  ベレアー アダム Oct 1 '09 at 14:40
2  
My position on ad blocking (SO and beyond). You are welcome to block ads if you'd like and it does not make a notable impact on the bottom line. But it's an ad-supported site, and if everyone else who didn't like ads did what you did, there would be no site. On the scale of "unethical things to do" it hardly makes the list, but it's still on there, right below "taking a penny from the give-a-penny-take-a-penny bowl when you needed one, but not giving one back when you had a spare one." –  Alex Papadimoulis Oct 1 '09 at 15:37
9  
@Alex: Does contributing to the site by giving answers and by asking questions that have generated more than ~35k views count as "not giving one back"? I would think that I've personally generated far more impressions through the content I've contributed than the amount I am denying you by blocking sponsored tags. Does that count for nothing? Note: I have turned off this script, showing me the ugly sponsored tag stuff, because I am annoyed and upset by having my ethics challenged. You have won, sir! Please enjoy my non-clicks on your gigantic adobe logo. –  ベレアー アダム Oct 1 '09 at 15:43
2  
@Adam - Let me be clear. Your contributions are greatly appreciated and outweigh any loss from you blocking ads, and I would much rather have you contributing and blocking ads, rather than non-contributing and not blocking ads. I'm speaking here entirely in generalities when it comes to ad blocking. –  Alex Papadimoulis Oct 1 '09 at 16:14

Same as Pesto's script, but future-proof: if Pesto wins the Lottery and is out of here, the following change will allow the script to continue to function long after his server goes down.

function jQuery_init($){
    $(function(){
            $("a.post-tag img").attr('src', 'data:image/gif,GIF89a%12%00%10%00%A5%3F%00%9C%5B%9E%CAJ%23%B3%CE%E8%E6%A5%D0%11%09%24cn%9C%FA%CAL%9A%7C%A7r%89%A8%F6%DD%A8%D5%DB%E5%DD%E2%EA%E4%E5%E8%D5%A6%16%D4o%AC%F8%C52%F9%FE%FD%FF%A4%8C%F3%8Fo-%5E%98%C0S%99%9B%92b%FA%D2d%EA%F7%FA%BE%C5%D7%DA%EE%FE%E9%D5%E5%E1%E7%F4%E4%7B%C1%B4%94%C5%DB%FE%FF%B0%B0%CE%F8%8C%8Fc%B0%D4%EA%B9R%D0%5B%A1%E9p%B5%CE%83%BB%B0%25v%D2%B2P%E9%E3%D7%F3%B5%9F%C8%E8%F8%C8%88%94%F2%C7%BE%DC%D4~%8D%A1%C2%D9%E5%E1%EA%AFs%C0c%9B%7D6%81%E8rJ%CE%7D%5B%BBC%8B%97%BD%DB%ED%ED%E8%EF%EC%FD%CE%BA~%BD%8Av%FF%E8H%D3%E6%EE%DDO%9E%E2%89%BD%FF%FF%FF!%F9%04%01%00%00%3F%00%2C%01%00%00%00%10%00%10%00%00%06%A0%C0%9Fp%F8%9B%94L%83%09%91%E8%9A%CD%7C*%5Emg%40%2C%7F%12%98%04%12%82HD%16%CB2%26%99%7D%148%5E%A2a1%10c%94%88%EE%E2%CAh2%0D%83!'%9C8%06%20%1A%04%04%0A%1B%0B8%15%22%15B%08%23%03%02%2C%04%25%05%0A%0B%1A%02%0FJ%3F%08%0E%24%0B%3C%0B%17%0A%0A%2F%10'V%7D%23%1C*.%0C%0C%2F%0A%10%13%06'%9A%3F%14%24%23%3C%18%18%19%02%18%7DC%13%1D%14%0E%23%13*%0C(.W%3F%1D%1A%0E%26E%086%CD%3F2%07%03%0E%D6K%1C%1D5%DCK%D2%E1D%B6%D6A%00%3B'
    });
};
share|improve this answer
16  
Great, now you've ruined my plan to replace the image at a later date with a version containing a subliminal message commanding you all to obey me. Thanks a lot, jerk. When I win the lottery, you are so not getting any of that money. –  Hilarious Comedy Pesto Sep 30 '09 at 20:51
    
You say that now, but late at night when the sea breeze lightly blows in through your island hacienda, you'll remember this moment when your plans were foiled, and it will EAT AT YOU! cackle –  BryanH Oct 6 '09 at 22:02

Here's a modified version that replaces all of the icons with the head of a My Little Pony:

// ==UserScript==
// @name          SO sponsored tag advertisements.
// @description   Removes stupid sponsored tag advertisements.
// @include       http://stackoverflow.com/*
// @include       http://serverfault.com/*
// @include       http://superuser.com/*
// @include       http://meta.stackoverflow.com/*
// ==/UserScript==

(function(){
    //Function for finding the window's jQuery variable.
    //http://meta.stackexchange.com/questions/12448/greasemonkey-users-here-is-your-vote-reputation-info-plug-in-for-stackoverflow/12454#12454
    function GM_wait() {
        var daWindow;
        if (window.opera) {
            daWindow=window;
        } else {
            daWindow = unsafeWindow;
        }
        if(typeof daWindow.jQuery == 'undefined') {
            window.setTimeout(GM_wait,100);
        } else {
            jQuery_init(daWindow.jQuery);
        }
    }
    GM_wait();

    function jQuery_init($){
        $(function(){
            $("a.post-tag img").attr('src', 'http://bstorer.com/images/so/my-little-pony.gif');
            $("div.welovestackoverflow").remove();
        });
    };
})();

Example:

example

share|improve this answer
13  
I approve whole-heartedly –  TheTXI Sep 30 '09 at 19:48
3  
+1 You have taken my dreams and made them a reality. –  GEOCHET Sep 30 '09 at 19:48
    
+1 I like, though I think it needs a better background. The ponies seem a little hard to see =[. –  Danny Sep 30 '09 at 20:07
    
@Danny: It just so happens that the tag color is very similar to the pony's color. I have uploaded another version with a purple face and a white background to my-little-pony-with-background.gif, if you'd prefer. –  Hilarious Comedy Pesto Sep 30 '09 at 20:23
    
Having now spent a little time with both images, I must say I prefer the original. The similar colors make it far more subtle, and thus less distracting. –  Hilarious Comedy Pesto Sep 30 '09 at 20:49
3  
It would be better if this added ponies to all tags instead of just tags that had ads. –  Super Long Names are Hilarious Oct 1 '09 at 2:46
    
I have to agree with Chris Lutz: the annoying thing about these logo-branded tags is that they are totally different than the other "normal" tags: the eye catches them as something special. Would all tags carry the Adobe logo (just hypothetically), then nobody would notice. Tags are a wonderful approach to categorize things, but I don't think that any tag should be special (unless I as a user want it to be!): just FYI: over at [delicious][1] I've got roughly the same amount of tags as bookmarks (I use the service for 5 years now). [1]: delicious.com –  paprika Oct 5 '09 at 3:49
1  
Just as a side note: this was the reason for me to install Greasemonkey. Although I often considered, I never bothered to use it, but now I see value in it. –  paprika Oct 5 '09 at 4:02
    
Hilarious Comedy Pesto owes me a Jolt, some Kleenex, and a new keyboard. –  Stephen P Aug 11 '10 at 17:25

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