As many user have already noticed, the network is apparently undergoing some "Ads testing" aimed at evaluating the various available alternatives for publishing advertisement to the network.
It is my understanding that the test has been silently extended to many sites in the network (The Workplace, Cooking, Science&Fiction, Arqade etc), but I wasn't able to find an official announcement. There are some local announcement made on some specific site (for example on the Workplace), but nothing that seems to list all the sites the test was pushed to.
Following the start of the testing, there have been multiple reports of unprofessional or scam advertisement, heavy load strain on pages and even some rare instances of plain malwertising-level behavior with ads attempting full page redirect and such... I won't go into too much details here but the interested can refer to this question for a quick summary.
Anyway, because of all those issues I was wondering about the actual planned workflow that these test were supposed be following. Let me explain:
The test starts May 21 and our advertising team will be monitoring to see how ads are performing. We don't know how many ads will run on this site. It could be just a few or a bit more. In either case, these ads will be carefully vetted and we'll be keeping watch to continue to provide good content.
This is a small quote of a message posted by Juan M on the Workplace meta site.
The message says that:
our advertising team will be monitoring to see how ads are performing
Don't get me wrong, but I was wondering what kind of data is being gathered to evaluate "how ads are performing". I mean... the tests started on May 21... if it wasn't for a random message from an end-user I wouldn't even have known that there was a test undergoing. I know, some will state that "is fine, you aren't a Workplace user"... but I am a Science&Fiction one, and I didn't see any announcement on that site - still, apparently, the new ads are being tested there too.
I am therefore asking if there is some global announcement lingering around, some part of the picture that I missed... or if user feedback was really somehow forgotten in the plan. It is true that one could just "wait and see how many users will notice and post a rant on Meta/Twitter" but it doesn't seem like the best course of action.
So, again, did I miss anything? How will the success/failure of this test be evaluated?
Update: for some reason, it seems that right now The Workplace is the only site that is somehow being kept up-to-date with the info about the test. Based on a post by Juan the test is expected to last 6 months.
@DavidK The experiment will last 6 months - so most of the this year. We're planning a recap at the end to talk about what we learned. – Juan M♦
Update: At the request of some users, there has finally been an official announcement on Meta: