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Ads suck. What else is new?

There has been a lot of hubbub about the mommy blogger rant that’s gone viral in the past few days. I credit Dia for bridging it into the miles and points world (at least out of the blogs I read). Apparently it was in Time magazine or something? I only read that at the doctor’s office and that’s only after I’ve done all the searches in Highlights magazine.

Commence rambling!

I enjoyed the rant. I enjoy TBB’s rants. I think they are important and remind us to keep everything in perspective. More importantly, they are reminders to us that we need to be intelligent consumers. Shady schilling and shameless promotion definitely get me worked up from time to time.

But let’s be honest here: advertisements and promotions have been around since, I don’t know, the birth of capitalism? Why single out sellout mommy and point bloggers?

The Philadelphia 76ers just announced that they are going to be the first NBA team to place advertisements on their jerseys. Outrage has ensued on Twitter. But European sports leagues have had ads on their jerseys forever. It’s only a big deal to us because we haven’t seen it in the NBA before. But it’s not like the NBA and its affiliates haven’t been trying to sell us on products all this time.

Do people get outraged about ads on TV? Billboards? The subway? Those new monitors they put in at gas stations talking about products?

This is the realization I came to when reading the momrant. Everyone is trying to sell something! I’m too old and too busy to get mad about it anymore.

Now, I wish this world were more ideal. That people would get paid to talk about products they love and that those connections would happen organically. If someone (Disney) paid me to go somewhere (Disney) and write about how much I loved it (Disney) I would happily take that money (Disney gift cards are an acceptable form of tender). Would what I write be objective? Probably not! But my writing about Disney is already subjective. It would be whether they let me into their parks for free or not. It would definitely change, but since it’s something I already love, maybe not that much.

I also wish this world were ideal in the sense that, when people no longer believed in products, they would no longer promote them. But that isn’t the world we live in.

Do all these podcasters really use Squarespace? Or buy mattresses? Or order from Blue Apron? I doubt it (though Blue Apron is great in a pinch). But I’ve spent my entire life not getting mad about freaking 1-877-KARS4KIDS commercials, why am I gonna get mad about a 2 minute spot in a podcast?

Podcasts cost money to produce. The Saverocity Observation Deck runs at a loss every year because we don’t have ads. We’re okay with that (for now, at least. We’ve never even brought up the idea of looking for sponsors, for the record).

There is a podcast I really enjoy, and one day they were like: “We really enjoy making this podcast, but it’s becoming a bit of a burden. We’re looking for a sponsor, we’ll charge $20/month, the amount it costs to run this thing, e-mail us.”

The next episode they had two sponsors, and you know what, I don’t begrudge them at all for it. Some people won’t listen to podcasts that have ads, and that’s cool. But it’s possible they are missing out on a lot of good content just because they doesn’t feel like fast forwarding two minutes.

The internet has tricked us into thinking we can get all this information for free, but we can’t. And the information usually isn’t created for free, people are putting a lot of work into things. Every time one of Freequent Flyer’s tweets sends me to Wikipedia (though I should have remembered the Turing test), someone at that company had to put in work to make sure there is nothing egregiously wrong on the page. Gideon himself works off a subscription model, which I think is great – he has cut out the middleman and we pay him directly. He works for us! But everyone putting content on the internet has got to pay the bills somehow.

I guess my point is this. For me, personally, ads are annoying and can be offensive when they are particularly devious, but they have always been. Like since I was 5. Blogs and “new media” have just found a new way to make them annoying.

But just like I learned to go fix a snack or fast forward through commercials on TV, just like I learned to switch the station when 1-877-KARS4KIDS comes on (did you know it’s a 501c3 charity they don’t repeat it a million times in their spots at all no sir), there are ways to get around ads on the internet and in podcasts.

If you don’t like ads, install an ad blocker. But if you don’t mind them and you want to support sites like Saverocity and especially a guy like Matt who made a decision not to try to sell credit cards to you for personal gain; then let the ads stay and take that small annoyance as the “cost” of the great work Matt has done into creating the forum and our network.

(Aside: 80% of the ads I see when surfing around Saverocity are for Disney. Hmm.)

(Aside 2: Just inserted an ad into a post complaining about ads. The new meta.)

If you don’t like “influential promotions”, bloggers writing about stuff that in a way that is trying to sneakily sell you something – don’t read those blogs! Decide for yourself whether the good content outweighs the bad and then move on. Make your own “Blogs to Ignore” list and then enjoy all your new free time! Vote with your dollars and clicks, and don’t worry about the rest.

People have been selling snake oil since Biblical times. Just don’t buy it.




Leave a Comment

  • HG May 19, 2016, 11:33 am

    “Do people get outraged about ads on TV? Billboards? The subway? Those new monitors they put in at gas stations talking about products?” Emphatically YES.

    You’re not speaking to your audience. We’ve been jaded by our purchasing habits for so long that we want a business to pay US for the pleasure of swiping our CCs. This, combined with the frugality that comes with personal finance means that mainstream ads do absolutely nothing to influence our purchasing habits. If the ad campaign provides an out of the ordinary, outlandish discount, MAYBE. But that’s not going to come thru Adsense- we’ll find that on Slickdeals or some other avenue.

    And regarding Podcasts with minute or 2 minute ads- this is why you get a media player with a button that a predetermined interval in seconds to skip them. Now that’s an app worth purchasing.

    Reply
    • Joe May 19, 2016, 12:17 pm

      You make good points. I guess I’m speaking mostly for myself. I find ads super annoying, but I’m not gonna smash the gas station monitor in. I mean every once in awhile I find out the weather at least?

      I also think if mainstream ads have less effect on this audience then maybe we should care less. They are more a nuisance than something that is really going to affect our lives. Just my two cents.

      I told Trevor that the Apple Podcasts app, while sucky in many ways, can fast forward via Siri. And it’s freeee(TM)

      Reply
      • HG May 19, 2016, 4:56 pm

        The billboards on what would otherwise be a scenic drive are more than a nuisance imo.
        In general, ads bother me for 2 reasons:
        -They remind me that they exist because they’re effective on the general population of idiots.
        -If a product is good, it will sell itself. The money spent on marketing could instead be used to pay employees or decrease prices.

        The app I use for Android is Doubletwist. I do have to manually add the podcast via URL when I install a new ROM. Have you guys tried to add it to the Android directory? Abroaders is in the directory. Perhaps you could reach out to them to find out how they were added.

        Reply
        • Joe May 19, 2016, 9:19 pm

          should be pretty straightforward. didn’t know there was an android directory haha. will put it on the list

          Reply
  • Jamie May 19, 2016, 12:08 pm

    TBT – Joe reminds us of when we used to read printed magazines, like Time Magazine; and when gas pumps didn’t try to sell us mortgage refi’s. Man, remember those days?!

    Reply
  • MickiSue May 19, 2016, 4:18 pm

    Hmmm. I never see Disney ads. I always see either: the shoes I looked at before I bought different ones, or the thing I pulled up on Amazon for the fastest way possible to see who had the buy box, and what they were charging, and if it was worth my while to match it.

    IOW: useless data mining on me.

    Reply
  • Ang May 19, 2016, 4:55 pm

    I don’t mind ads for the most part, but I noticed some bloggers are inserting ads in the middle of their posts and the ads show up in the emails. (Your ad at the bottom of your post didn’t show up in the email). It’s very annoying since the screen on my phone is small and for the ad to pop up in the email, it’s wasting a lot of data/time scrolling. The whole point in subscribing to someone’s blog is because we can’t access their site for what ever reason and that’s why we subscribe, so we can keep up with the blog.

    Reply
  • Kenny May 19, 2016, 8:25 pm

    Since I wind up constantly searching Amazon before listing stuff for FBA, I see mostly ads for stuff I sell! I haven’t been persuaded to buy anything from myself yet.

    Reply
    • Joe May 19, 2016, 9:17 pm

      that. is. awesome.

      Reply
  • Jamie May 20, 2016, 7:29 am

    I wouldn’t say that I get outraged about ads (though I do find the gas station ones really loud and annoying), but I try to avoid them when possible. It’s great to say that we are not affected by advertisements if we’re smart enough, but that’s almost certainly not true.
    I don’t mind banner ads and don’t necessarily mind podcast ads, but I do dislike it when the podcaster sounds like they’re endorsing the product “hey don’t you hate long lines at the post office? I know I do… go to postage.com and print your own stamps at home” bleh!
    (Unless it’s about mattresses, of course, in which case I want a personal recommendation from the podcast host)

    Reply
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