I'm not at all against ads. I don't block them. I actually pay attention to the advertising on trilogy sites for benchmarking. But, can there be a limit placed on how long a specific ad can be run before the advertiser has to replace it with a new image? The "Free as in beer" Splunk ad comes up on SF on seemingly 80% of my page loads and is getting quite stale......

  • 4
    I agree about how annoying that ad is. Unfortunately it probably stems from having too few other advertisers. It wouldn't be so bad if it only showed up once in every ten pages.
    – Pollyanna
    Commented Mar 11, 2010 at 15:49
  • I don't feel bad about blocking a particular ad, which is borderline abusive. So far on SO it happened only to Splunk beer ad.
    – sneg
    Commented Mar 12, 2010 at 18:16
  • 2
    ... and there's nothing worse than stale beer.
    – AnonJr
    Commented Mar 12, 2010 at 18:29

4 Answers 4


Rich's answer explains one of the big reasons: who's going to build the banner creatives? Quality banners require both skill and time (and, let's not forget the meta-time involved with approving, revisions, etc), and investing that cost (just to reach the high-rotation goal) likely won't bring a return in value.

But then there's also another thing to consider. Many visitors won't notice or click on an ad without seeing it lots and lots and lots of times. I don't know what the numbers are (they vary by creative, location, etc), but since you visit the site a lot more than most, you'll naturally see a lot of the same ad more and more.

To prevent this from happening, we could simply disallow big/long campaigns. Or we could impose more non-industry-standard rules (in addition to no animation, no 3rd party hosting, reduced advertising, etc). Obviously, these would both have an impact on our revenue... so it really comes down to... is this feature/policy/rule worth everyone taking a pay cut?

  • I'm getting bored with the look and feel of SO. Could you guys change the whole site to be different every month?
    – user27414
    Commented Mar 12, 2010 at 18:11
  • @Alex : I know what you're saying. I do amateur graphic design myself and have a brother in the profession so I know what's involved with creating them and the time/effort it takes. If it's that much of a hit to put more stringent guidelines on them then fair enough, an annoying ad is certainly something I can live with (or choose to block). But if the revenue's-a-flowin' then I stick with my request.
    – squillman
    Commented Mar 12, 2010 at 18:42
  • Gotta agree with that second paragraph. I only remember seeing the beer ad once - which is once more than I remember seeing most ads, but still... it can't be that rare if someone's complaining about it here. I'd rather have repetitious ads (that I can ignore...) than more flashy / creepy ads.
    – Shog9
    Commented Mar 12, 2010 at 19:53

Perhaps have new advertisers submit 1 design for each week for the length of their ad slot. So if they buy a month of advertising, they have to submit 4 substantially different ads that are rotated to avoid user annoyance. If they buy one week, and extend it, they have to submit a new ad, and can choose to have just the new ad run, or both randomly.

  • My thoughts exactly.
    – squillman
    Commented Mar 11, 2010 at 15:52

As a user I can see your point, but as an advertiser on Super User and army of 1, I'd find it hard to come up with a fresh supply of ads week on week. I agree that ads should be rotated fairly regularly, both to avoid annoyance and to stop them being ignored over time. Rotating ads is a good idea anyway as you can get an idea of what works well and evolve them to snare more suckers attract more visitors interested in the finer points of home theatre.

It's worth noting that the nice ad weasels here will rotate your ads (I don't think they even do it manually) so there is no technical reason to keep the same one on permanent display. For example I originally had two sidebar ads that were rotated evenly, but dropped one because it didn't perform so well. When I get a chance I plan to create 2 or 3 more and add them to the rotation.

It may also be more annoying if the advertiser has paid for a greater number of views. With my tiny budget I think my ads are displayed about 10% of the time, if someone has bought a bigger share it will be on show more and maybe annoy more.

  • 2
    I hadn't thought about ad performance, but that's true. In a group of ads, one ad will always have slightly better performance than the others, and this can be tested easily. Once that's determined, why would the advertiser continue to show the poor-performing ads? The simple fact is that this ad, as annoying as it is, is grabbing you eyes, and that is probably the reason they are still using it.
    – Pollyanna
    Commented Mar 11, 2010 at 16:22
  • yeah, if you're going to link to something like that you need to note that it shows images one might not want on screen when the boss comes by...
    – Pollyanna
    Commented Mar 11, 2010 at 17:02
  • sorry didn't mean to cause offence, thought I'd put an nsfw mention in there Commented Mar 11, 2010 at 17:20
  • Now I'm curious!
    – perbert
    Commented Mar 11, 2010 at 17:24
  • @voyager, it was a BoingBoing page featuring ads of the kind that Bill Hicks predicted, Google bill hicks drink coke boing boing for the nsfw version or see the description on this page: bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A609563 Like I said, didn't mean to cause offence Commented Mar 11, 2010 at 17:52

I don't think I'd like this.

Currently I tend to notice a new ad. The new ad gets a small amount of attention and very rarely a click to open in a new tab that I may or may not have time to follow up on. Then it fades to the background. If they're changing them up all the time then it's much harder to spot the new ones. I end up having to ignore all the ads and space just becomes wasted - I may as well block them as there'd be no difference.

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