Ginning up some interest every Tuesday

Remember last week, when I overhauled my ad model? At the same time, I placed bids for advertising on the Little Gamers and Joe Loves Crappy Movies comics, so at some point people from there should start trickling in to watch the Sandsday boys in action. For all I know bidding could be high enough to shut out my ad entirely, but if my ad ever does show up in the rotation we could get a few loyal fans for the future. At most it’ll cost me about sixty cents earned from previous advertising on Da Blog, and probably much less, but we’ll see if bidding for Sandsday’s ad space (and the every-site ad space) makes up some or all of the difference.

(Hey, this is my first time writing one of these advertising posts. Give me a break.)

A major change to the ad model

After giving it some thought, I have made several important changes to the ad model. Two primary concerns are leading me to adopt an alternative strategy to the one I was considering. First, my sidebar is too narrow to accomodate a skyscraper ad, so the largest ad size the sidebar will accomodate is a square ad. Second, my plans for a square ad were originally to have four a page – but I’ve recently started wondering if that’s exactly the best approach for a site with basically no visitors.

Those concerns, plus the fact that my attempts to let people know they’re better off bidding on my premier ad have mostly resulted in depressing bidding on the Standard ad without increasing bidding on my Premier ad (which STILL isn’t topping the Standard ad’s rates), have led me to change my ad strategy for Da Blog as well. So on the right side, you will see space for two square ads. Those are NOT in the same ad box. One of them is an ad that also appears on the rest of the Morgan Wick sites, the other is technically the same ad box Da Blog has had since August, only it’s now a square box. If you have previously bid on the standard skyscraper box your bid is now null and void and you must bid again with a square ad. To get the best bang for your buck with your square ad, you should be bidding on the top Morgan Wick box, but if you have a lower budget and can’t afford the top box you can still reach most of the same people with the bottom Da Blog box (although the top Premier box will still be a better investment in most circumstances, and now it’s bigger!). I’ve also put advertisements for Sandsday in both of the Da Blog-specific boxes that will run if there are no bids otherwise.

If that’s a bit confusing, don’t worry. I’ve created an advertising FAQ on the Web site that aims to put the answers to any questions you may have – and links to every one of my ad boxes – in one place. That includes not only the ad that appears across the Web site, but a new ad I’ve created just for Sandsday. I’m still debating what to do with the rest of the site, including possibly committing the forbidden act of using Google Adsense.

While I’m at it, I’ve also added a new item to the Around the Horn Drinking Game, fixed some buggy links on Sandsday, and updated the NFL Lineal Title. I’m starting to think I should study Javascript more too… PHP doesn’t seem to work on Freehostia for files whose extensions aren’t .php, so I can’t use it to create a dynamic sidebar unless I rename all my files, and it seems to require the use of Javascript to obtain the user’s screen resolution, which would be nice for fixing one of Sandsday’s biggest problems, the inability to be viewed properly at 800×600 resolution.

This always happens. I start writing a post for a position, and I start coming towards the other position as I write it.

I recently had a lively e-mail conversation with support at Project Wonderful regarding what I should do to advertise on the web site. Well, not in so many words; I spoke of a hypothetical web site with a number of different sub-sites that were all approved, but with a main page that wasn’t. Their response was to simply take the ad box from one page and put that on the main page, and I wrote them back saying this didn’t solve the problem of which page to take an ad box from. Their response to that was:

You can do the following in this case. You can put different ad boxes on each page if you wish. That way advertisers in different industries can bid on pages that apply to them.

However, I wouldn’t advise doing this due to the following reasons

1) advertisers have to start selecting specific pages which may be a problem for them

2) By dividing your ad boxes into specific pages means that potential advertisers are
now dividing their possible exposure against all the other advertisers. Their piece of the pie will become dramatically smaller.

Theoretically, you want as many advertisers bidding for ad boxes across your whole site, not specific pages.

They make this point elsewhere, and I certainly see it. But they only pay lip service to the idea that “advertisers in different industries can bid on pages that apply to them”.

I’ve been approved for ads on Sandsday, a video game webcomic. Yesterday I applied for ads here, a sports site with an emphasis on American football. Specificly, nerdy esoterica relating to American football. Those are two very different constituencies, and an ad that appeals to one may not appeal to the other. Check that: almost certainly will have little appeal to anyone reading the other except me.

(Okay, I know that doesn’t sound like it’s that incompatible, but I imagine a future where I also have a site pertaining to politics, and another pertaining to history. I already have the 100 Greatest Movies Project and the Street Sign Gallery, where the only reason I’m not applying for those sites is because they don’t fit the design of the rest of the site.)

Isn’t Project Wonderful supposed to contain tools to make it easy to bid across several ad boxes at once? Instead of appealing to a+b and only getting some of a and some of b (or alternately, all of a and none of b), shouldn’t there be some people appealing to a and getting all of a, and appealing to b and getting all of b? So they can take advantage of the full value of a+b, and not just a some of the time and b the rest of the time? Doesn’t this negate some of the advantage PW has over, say, Google Adsense, and even give it potentially a disadvantage, because Adsense’s context-sensitive ads can present only the most relevant ads while PW’s preferred model requires you to appeal to however broad an audience is served by the whole site, even if it’s ridiculously broad?

Food for thought. Leave your responses in the comments.

Still tweaking my ad model

I’m strongly considering changing the dimensions of the Premier ad box, increasing its size and thus its value. Even though some non-webcomic-related ads are starting to show up, Standard is now occasionally topping 20 cents while Premier remains mired at one or two. I’ve changed the description of Standard to let people know that Premier is better, and will reassess on Monday.

Ads should be coming to the Web site by Monday as well.

Odds and ends

To the extent Blogger really has much of a feature request, it appears to be inaccessible other than people going to the help group and reading threads pointing to it (has the “wish list” been replaced by Blogger in Draft?), and it doesn’t really support requests that require some description or explanation that aren’t among the defaults. So: When Blogger introduced the ability to autosave posts, it ditched the “recover post” feature, where posts in progress were automatically saved to a cookie on your computer, and if your browser crashed you could open a Blogger window and click “recover post” and your post would, mostly, return. I can see that it would be unnecessary when posts were being autosaved as drafts on a regular basis anyway, but that only works when you’re online for the duration.

I would like to see it made easier to work on posts offline, perhaps by bringing back a variant of the recover post feature. That would be useful for people who are working on posts that don’t require a lot of checking of web sites, so they can be worked on on a laptop that’s not connected to Wi-Fi, or people on Internet connections that aren’t always on. Working on posts in an external text editor isn’t really practical, especially with some of the wonkiness of the current main post editor. In Notepad, you essentially have to hand-program the HTML and paste in Edit HTML mode, and even then who knows what the post editor will do. I haven’t tested working on posts in Word, but considering Word 2007 defaults to inserting spacing as though you’re writing a double-spaced essay, I’m not optimistic.

My dad called me earlier today and wondered if, if he wanted to advertise on Da Blog, if he had to go through Blogspot, apparently mixing up Blogspot and Project Wonderful. They have nothing whatsoever to do with each other. Speaking of which, don’t expect much in the way of non-Sandsday web site updates until a ways into the week, because my conversation with PW on my ad strategy seems to have stalled. Also, I see I appear to be getting some non-webcomic ads, which is nice.

Why I may not be as productive today as I would have hoped

Shortly before I was to begin writing a post, some woman came in to the library with two kids and gave one of them some sort of toy, ostensibly to distract him, but it makes too much racket for its effect on me to be lowered and his voice isn’t completely quiet anyway. Meanwhile, there are kids near the kids section and I can’t move there either, the only other place in the library with a table near a plug. The library in general is a bit more crowded than I’d like, but I’m not moving anywhere where I have to pay money.
I’m just looking longingly at my PW account, which shot up from about 9-10 cents, what, yesterday? to 15 today. I suspect my standard ad more regularly hitting two cents instead of one, and increased activity on the Premier ad, has something to do with it.
Ads should come to the web site on Monday.
Oh, it looks like the woman and her kids have left already…

At some point down the line, I’ll go into more detail about this. Not right now though.

Project Wonderful’s top 30 highest bidding sites are all webcomics. That’s essentially every site that’s going for more than 10 dollars a day, and all but one of the over-$9 bidders. This being the exception.

In fact, every one of the top 10 is either a “skyscraper” (like my sidebar ad) or a “leaderboard”. (Somehow #11 Menange a 3 manages to get impressive bid results from a banner, when my banner comes nowhere near competing with my skyscraper even though the former is in a far better position.) That’s got me thinking about potentially changing my “premier” ad to a leaderboard.

I know the really popular sites can afford their own ad services, and that webcomics often need advertising more than other sites, and such, but… damn.

(A skyscraper ad may be coming to Sandsday by the end of the week, though I still need to figure out how I would go about having both a master site and subsites.)

My ad model is fluctuating by the minute.

Hmm. My premier ad has a prime position at the top of the page. My standard ad is buried waaaaaay down underneath Da Blog Poll on the sidebar.

Yet, last I checked, the premier ad is showing the “your ad here” default image, and hasn’t yet even made me a cent, while the standard ad is going for three cents and has made me a nifty two cents so far. Admittedly, the premier ad isn’t showing up on the feed like I intended for some reason, but for future reference, chicks dig the tall ad.

Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised; I’m getting a lot of comics- and webcomics-related bidders, and it’s rare that I’ll see a webcomics site put up a banner ad.


I haven’t been able to get a job (and not for lack of trying, as I have had no less than four interviews, but there really is very little in the way of real job search engines for students). Despite my money being incredibly tight and Mom pressuring me to get some sort of job if only for the work experience.

The battery on my laptop is virtually nonexistent, thanks to, from what I have read, being seemingly designed for obsolescence.

I can’t put it on standby or hibernate if just about anything is open, lest it fail to do so and force me to completely shut down, which defeats the purpose of putting it on standby or hibernate.

(If I could change standby or hibernate in any way, I would make it so there is always a way to get out of it right up until it actually finishes entering standby or hibernate, or alternately, until the “Preparing to hibernate” screen disappears. Barring that, I would make it so that Windows inserts a marker the instant it’s done saving the computer’s state to disk; the next time Windows boots up, you have the option of loading from that marker, so if something goes wrong and you have to turn off the computer, you can recover from the marker anyway. If it doesn’t detect the marker, you know the problem came before Windows finished saving the state of the computer, and the end of any escape should come after the marker has been saved. But for reasons I describe below, I now suspect the real problem may be the fact that Windows turns off the keyboard and mouse at all.)

I have no real internet connection, not even one I can steal from inside the house, so I have to run outside a few paces to get anything done online if I don’t want to run about seven blocks (a 10-15 minute walk) to the library. That includes every single night I post the strip.

Which requires the use of my nonexistent battery.

On Saturday I was told I was being kicked out of the library until Thursday because I had been in the library late on Wednesday, the result of my laptop going into a coughing fit (as I described in my Savidge v. Obama post) and me not wanting to take it away from an Internet connection.

So for the next three days I’m going to have to spend some of my precious, sparse dough to use the Internet at a cafe. And walk for a longer distance.

I have a ridiculous backlog of posts I need to get written. My usual Tuesday webcomic post will probably be late this week.

And then last night I head outside to use the Internet, in the act of trying to post the strip, just trying to verify that the strip actually got posted before I created the page (Freehostia’s new file manager is a bit unacceptably slow and had a bug when I tried to post something, but the word is it should be fixed when I reboot), and as I head in the computer starts going on hibernate.

It’s slow enough in doing so that I can plug it back in and hit Esc a lot and get it to stop hibernating, but my jubilation is short-lived. My touchpad and keyboard stop working.

And they don’t come back when the computer mostly ends its latest coughing fit. Among other things, this causes me to lose two of the posts in my backlog (as well as my planned challenge to my “exclusion” from the library). One of them wasn’t going to get posted until after my Truth Court announcement anyway, and required a lot of expansion, but the other is time-sensitive, was all but finished, and is due to be posted at the end of this week. And it presages more posts that will add to my backlog.

It’s enough to cause me, an agnostic-athiest, to want to start screaming at the heavens. WHY ME! WHY SHOULD ALL THESE PROBLEMS STRIKE ME! WHY HATH THOU NOT BLESSED ME WITH WORK ETHIC SO I COULD GET A JOB! WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Maybe I can answer part of that question, actually. One reason I haven’t been working as hard as I probably should at finding a job is that I’ve spent so much time on Da Blog.

In some sense, Da Blog has been my job this summer, so I might as well make money off it.

So effective immediately, advertising is coming to Da Blog, courtesy Project Wonderful. (I also applied to have advertising on Sandsday and the web site in general, but the latter was rejected for “lack of content”, and I want to have a uniform look across the web site, which means no ads on one part if there aren’t ads on the other part. On the other hand, I also have such a breadth of stuff on the web site that I’d like to be able to split it up across several “sites”, but I don’t really know how to work that. I could put a horizontal ad space below the strip instead of in the sidebar as I was intending…)

PW essentially uses an auction model for ad space; you stipulate the most you’re willing to pay per day, for how long, and how much you’re willing to pay total. Because you’re charged by the second if your ad is the high bid (and you’re only charged just enough to beat the second-highest bid – so if you’re the only bid you get advertising for free), you could say you’re willing to pay less than you were willing to pay per day. Ads aren’t served up semi-randomly like Google Adsense, which means I can screen the ads, so no porn ads or anything like that. My income isn’t dependent on people clicking on the ads, which makes it easier to make money (and recognizes that just having people be able to see the ad is valuable). And if I make, say, ten dollars in Project Wonderful, that’s ten dollars more than I would see with the equivalent level of activity in Google Adsense, where I wouldn’t be able to see one red cent until I made $100.

There will be two ads on Da Blog, at least to start: one “premier” ad at the very top of Da Blog and also appearing on the RSS feed, and one “standard” in the sidebar. For the first week, the ad space will advertise the ability to advertise if there are no bids; if there still aren’t any bids after a week I’ll put up something of my own. If you’re really interested in advertising for the long haul, subscribe to the new “advertising” label and stay up to date on traffic spikes and changes in the ad model. As soon as I clear the backlog of posts I’ll have a short FAQ on the web site for people wishing to advertise.

I would ask you to donate to me to fund anything to help my situation (I’M REDUCED TO BEGGING DAMMIT!) – a new battery, perhaps, or books for my upcoming return to school – but I have heard a LOT of bad things about PayPal and I don’t know of any competition for it.