In the SO spirit, let's have a little up/down vote block for the ads, so we can rate the quality. Obviously, there doesn't need to be any rep attached.
I'm so StackOverflowed now, that I hate not being able to vote for everything.
We've been working on this, and will start testing a feature that will allow users to up or down vote ads. This will be rolled out to a small, randomly selected, percentage of our users initially, but if the test is successful we'll roll it out to all (and properly announce it at that time :). Stay tuned.
One of the problems with this is that if you don't like an ad, you're going to downvote. If you don't like any ads you're going to downvote. If you get offended by ads, or this ad, you'll downvote. If you do like an ad, you'll upvote. If you don't care, you won't do anything.
Voting on ads will be canted towards downvotes. The only way you'd be able to uncant it would make it a rep cost I think.
Besides all that - what would it actually accomplish? Give feedback to the advertiser that we didn't like their ad? That might be useful, but I think it's one of those "The only people who will give you feedback will be the people complaining" scenarios.
Although the audiences are very different, I can speak from some experience running hundreds of millions of ads per day on Facebook. The "thumbs-up / thumbs-down" voting on ads ended up providing very little useful data.
Almost all ads had the exact same up-to-down ratio (5%-to-95%). This seems to suggest that people either like ads or don't like ads, and vote accordingly. The actual ad copy has negligible impact on the voting.
However, there is one very important difference that thumbs-up, thumbs-down buttons provided: when allowed to vote on ads, users clicked ALL advertisements more frequently. Presumably this is because the users feel more in control of the process, and are less likely to ignore the ads altogether.
So, in that regard, voting on ads makes sense, and I suspect this is something that we'll eventually see on StackOverflow.
I have noticed a lot of interest/care about ads lately. I am not sure why people care so much. They are just ads. The only people that I would think that care are advertisers. I think that is there own responsibility to research and market there own ads correctly and that should show through their click numbers and ad success.
I guess it is kind of an ok idea, but I just think it will clutter things even more. I think only if Jeff and his team made more $$$ from a feature like this, otherwise I would say it's not worth it.
Voting on ads gives me a way to express my opinion. Even if it does absolutely no good, i.e., makes no difference in what ads I see, I'd still like to be able to weigh in on ads. I confess that I hadn't really thought about this until I saw the new Woot ad, but I seriously want to downvote that one -- and anyone who is associated with it, or clicks on it, or even looks on it kindly. Yuck!
Interesting idea. Worth considering, IMHO, as a possible way (along with clickthroughs and actual purchases, of course) to get feedback and help guide advertisements towards more relevancy.
The UI for this should be pretty inconspicuous though — it shouldn't draw attention away from the ads or the actual content.