Is it just me or is SO starting to become a Times Square type of place with advertising everywhere in the form of sponsored tags? I wonder if there is anyone else who feels the chilling effect this has on the site.

  • 1
    There are ads on StackOverflow? Commented Dec 26, 2009 at 11:11
  • I edited to make it more obviously about the sponsored tags, not general adverts. Feel free to revert if I missed your points
    – dbr
    Commented Dec 26, 2009 at 19:40

11 Answers 11


Is it really so bad?

  • None of our ads are ever Flash or animated in any way; this is our permanent policy.
  • Earn 200 reputation and the leaderboard ads are suppressed, as a courtesy to active participants.
  • Some of our ads are donated to further free open source projects.

I think our site is quite restrained with ads compared to, say.. this.

  • Can't say I like the adds (and you may consider this a re-grumble about [[logo]flex]), but as more have been added I have found them more ignorable and less distracting. Commented Dec 25, 2009 at 22:37
  • 4
    With > 200 rep, it's pretty fine to me but the anonymous experience looks a little scary. That's how it should work though. Otherwise, who's gonna pay the bill?
    – mmx
    Commented Dec 25, 2009 at 22:56
  • 4
    Methinks he is only complaining about the "ads"/icons which stick to the tags, like the Adobe logo. Commented Dec 25, 2009 at 23:36
  • It isn't bad compared to other sites, but it is bad compared to Google's sites which only use text-only ads whenever I'm on the site for a while. Wherever there may be graphics, I'm not on there for long (relevant search results). Commented Dec 28, 2009 at 13:32
  • Also, with an overload of graphics, my brain can easily filter it out. Stack Overflow is in the uncanny valley of having the appearance of an ad-free site. Commented Dec 28, 2009 at 13:33
  • 1
    -1 It's not really bad YET, but it sure-as-s**t is heading that way. You have to have a revenue stream, I get (and agree) with that. Banner ads: fine. Side bar ads: fine. 'Natural' sponsored tags (Adobe>>Flex): visually crap, but if you must. 'Non-Natural' sponsored tags (RG>>email/performance/etc): an open portal to advertising hell, I mean Times Square. And yes Jeff, that bit of exaggeration right there was meant to get a rise out of you. Sorry for the ad hominem, but you bite every time ; )
    – Dhaust
    Commented Mar 24, 2010 at 1:38

These days ad-based income is the bread and butter of most sites on the internet - those that aren't are either backed and funded by some other means (for example online stores or govenrment websites etc...) or require users to pay some sort of free. StackOverflow certainly isn't covered by the first category, and I am very glad that it doesn't subscribe itself to the second!

Personally I find the adverts currently hosted on StakcOverflow to be fairly unobtrusive - the hosted ads on the side-bar are unoffensive enough (in no small part thanks to not being animated), the most obtrusive of these (the bar at the top) disappears at 200 reputation, and the small icons next to tags are also easy enough to ignore.

I think StackOverflows attitude of "responsible advertising" is leauges ahead of most of the rest of the 'nets, and far better that any alternative that I can think of.

UPDATE: If you read the blog there are some interesting articles on advertising on StackOverflow - in particular I find the second one on experiments with amazon based advertising pretty interesting: It shows that a fair amount of thought has gone into balancing the "evil" vs the gain when it comes to advertising on the site.

https://blog.stackoverflow.com/2009/03/responsible-advertising-feed-a-programmer/ https://blog.stackoverflow.com/2009/11/our-amazon-advertising-experiment/ https://blog.stackoverflow.com/2009/12/free-vote-based-advertising-for-open-source-projects/


I feel a chilling effect, you are right. Too much snow on the other side of that window...

  • 3
    Can't be snow. It's been nearly 40C outside.
    – pavium
    Commented Dec 25, 2009 at 22:52
  • Sounds like the sun has you burnt down under, pavium. Commented Dec 25, 2009 at 23:29

If you use Firefox and have installed/are willing to install greasemonkey, you can hide all sponsored tags, add more sponsored tags to some open source projects and some propietary products. Also you can hide the sponsored tags in the tag pages or only from the ignored tag list.


It doesn't bother me... I appreciate the sponsors who help Jeff&Co pay the bills.

And besides, I miss my Woot badge!


You could always add those sponsored tags to your Ignore list if you don't like seeing them. You'll need to check the Hide Ignored Tags box on the prefs tab on your profile page.

I personally don't mind seeing them, since I'm using a service that's totally free to me.


Actually, while the Adobe logos were a sore thumb when they first emerged, the more logos we get the more it looks like that's an intentional, integrated part of the design.

The only thing that bugs me is the white background color on a non-white tag style. It makes my facial tic act up, but that's about it. This is more egregious with e.g. the Android and Redgate logos than with Adobe. Everything would look that much more coherent with a consistent background color.

  • Agree on background. Other than that, I don't find them annoying. Commented Dec 27, 2009 at 21:05

I strongly recommend a sweater. Or a nice tentacle scarf. Much more practical than depriving the inventors of this entertainment of their living.


I can understand how SO needs money and would feel pretty cheap to not accept those adds after all the help I have gotten from SO. Heck sometimes i'm like: "wish there was a link to donate money cuz i would". The only add that got on my nerve a bit is the one disguised as a question, it makes me feel tricked and I dont like that(though it was effective for the first click, i never clicked on it again after that).


On the contrary I think there isn't enough tag ads right now, now the ones we have really stick out as out-of-place and strange. So please sponsor people, buy tag ads!


If the ads are such a problem, why not just use greasemonkey to remove them?

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