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.

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    I hate that people downvote questions here instead of answering them. +1 for the question, Lance. – Portman Oct 5 '09 at 21:05
  • @Portman, agreed. the MSO crowd is tres brutal. – Byron Whitlock Oct 5 '09 at 21:24
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    @Portman: On meta, downvotes also mean simple disagreement with the feature request or suggestion. This is only on meta though. – Troggy Oct 5 '09 at 21:25
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    People are much more liberal with votes on meta. Things like "feature requests" are not questions. Jeff and his team use the votes as one small part of thier descision to actualy implement a requested feature. – Troggy Oct 5 '09 at 21:28

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.

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    Nice, people started noticing it. :) – Shadow9 Nov 5 '12 at 13:56
  • @ShaWizDowArd Indeed! Thanks for your answer :) – Korneel Bouman Nov 5 '12 at 14:04
  • Sure thing, good luck with this experiment! :) – Shadow9 Nov 5 '12 at 14:11

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.

  • This has been demonstrated last week when most of the people being vocal about it were the people who didn't like particular ads. – TheTXI Oct 5 '09 at 19:30
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    I'd guess people who get offended by all ads have most likely blocked them already, and will probably soon get tired of downvoting each, choosing to ignore them instead. – Jonik Oct 5 '09 at 19:39
  • Ultimately it doesn't matter if you like the ad or not. It matters if you clicked on it. – user27414 Oct 5 '09 at 20:59
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    Well, not to nitpick on "ultimately", but... Ultimately it doesn't matter if you clicked the ad or not. It matters if you bought. – Alex Papadimoulis Oct 5 '09 at 21:21
  • Who cares whether the feedback you get is all negative or not? The point of SO should be the user experience. It would be immensely gratifying to be able to downvote particularly egregious ads. – tvanfosson Oct 8 '09 at 11:15

I'm not sure what purpose this serves. The advertisers can measure how many clicks they get, so that takes care of them. Who benefits from this?

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    Lance benefits from this. – TheTXI Oct 5 '09 at 19:19
  • Not with that vote rating. :) – John Rudy Oct 5 '09 at 19:34
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    I would like it if I was an advertiser to get customer ratings on my ads, but Tom's post below has a good point that it will probably be skewed. – Lance Roberts Oct 5 '09 at 19:47
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    Me -- when I get the pleasure of downvoting the new Woot ad. – tvanfosson Oct 8 '09 at 11:15

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.

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    So, no data, but "users clicked ALL advertisements more frequently" -- presuming they converted (bought, downloaded trial, etc) as much as they did before... then I like it! Heck, we could just have the JavaScript POST to /dev/null... err, I mean, go to a super-important database that we would analyze. That's right, so users have control. Yes, control. It's not an illusion! Don't look behind the curtain! – Alex Papadimoulis Oct 5 '09 at 21:18
  • Interesting, but how about the reasons given for why you don't like it? Any difference there? – tvanfosson Apr 9 '10 at 15:08

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.

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    It is much more fun to whine about something than to just block them. – TheTXI Oct 5 '09 at 20:17

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.


Why not only allow upvotes? All ads should be considered average. Good ads or advertisers should be voted up. That way Jeff will be able to identify the ads we like.

  • 1
    Only if we can flag as offensive as well. That's also important feedback. – tvanfosson Oct 8 '09 at 11:17

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