Stay Away from In-Text Advertising

By Daniel Scocco

This is going to be a polemic topic given the wide spread in the usage of such advertising networks. In-Text advertising refers to networks like Vibrant Media or Kontera that place advertising links on your content. The links are placed inside your text (hence the name), and they come with a double underline to differentiate them from normal links. Once the user rolls the mouse over the link the advertising will pop. Should the user click on it the site owner will make some money.

At a first sight this advertising method represents a good way for online publishers to generate some money from their websites. Why should you stay away from it then? Simple, because it is one of the most intrusive forms of advertising and it also goes against the principles of web usability.

The hyperlink navigation structure is one of the most basic and most important features of the Internet. You should think twice before messing up with it. Check out the words of Jacob Nielsen, a web usability guru:

One of misery design’s most insidious recent examples is the idea of embedding links to advertising on the actual words of an article using a service like IntelliTxt. By sullying the very concept of navigation, such ads not only damage the user experience on the host site, they poison the well for all websites. Such links make users even less likely to navigate sites, and more likely to turn to trusted search engines to guide them to the next page.

It is not a surprise, therefore, the fact that virtually no mainstream website is using this advertising approach. Sure if you are a small blogger it could generate some extra money at the end of the month, but are you willing to put your credibility at the stake for it?




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134 Responses to “Stay Away from In-Text Advertising”

  • Chris B

    Very true, I’ve experienced a traffic lost when I added Kontera on one of my websites. It’s hard to get your credibility back once you lost it.

  • Rich Owings

    I couldn’t agree more. Thanks so much for validating my thoughts on this.

    Keep up the good work. I enjoy your daily tips and find many of them quite useful.

  • Daniel

    Another point is the fact that those in-text ads do not generate that much money. Usually its like 50-100 bucks for the average blogger.

    Even for popular blogs with multiple revenue sources it stays somewhere around 5% to 10% of the overall revenue

  • Ashish Mohta

    I agree to the points. But with kontera they show a popup with hover affect one the links. That can give readers a chance weather to click or not

  • egon

    I agree completely, I hate the IntelliText ones. I get so frustrated when navigating sites that use these sometimes I’ll just leave without finishing my reading. Please stop using these, people.

  • Daniel

    That is true Ashish, but I also find it intrusive. Most Internet users are not familiar with that type of advertising, so they tend to think that those doulble-underlined words are just normal links. Then they see an ad popping up, its quite confusing.

    Additionally while I am reading the content I don’t want distractions, if an advertising window pops up if I accidentally roll my mouse over a link on the text it will annoy me (to say the least).

    My personal opinions obviously.

  • Ashish Mohta

    I agree with u on that. Even dont like it but guess I had been experimenting with it for sure. Most probably I might stop using it as soon as I get my minimum payout.

    My Kontera earnings are not good. One of the major reason is I link my tags or posts on major keywords. Sometimes I think its wrong too…

  • Mike

    I’m instantly turned off if I find a site using this method of advertising. I don’t understand why savvy webmasters are still using it.

  • Vincent Chow

    I’ve been using Kontera for a few months and I’m only half way before payout. Would remove it once I reach the payout as even I myself hate seeing them around.

  • Mike Panic

    I’ve been running Kontera for a few weeks on my site after John Chow pulled some strings to get sites approved that wouldn’t normally meet their requirements due to volume. I’ve been happy with the click through rate and the money earned thus far, but admit they are not my favorite type of ads.

    I wouldn’t rule out never using them, John admits they are a decent part of his income. Right now, they make more sense to me then adsense for my site and the people who read it.

  • Daniel

    Mike, if I am not wrong the Kontera ads represent 8,5% of John Chow’s income for the month of April.

    Personally I would rather earn 10% less and provide a good user experience.

    Additionally, what if the in-text ads also have a negative impact on your traffic? Then you would be gaining from one side but losing on the other side, so the effect could be neutral.

  • Armen : : iffect.net

    I hear you Daniel. I posted about this yesterday on my new blog.

    I tried it for a while on my personal blog, but I really wouldn’t recommend it.

  • Ashish Mohta

    One more thought that came into my mind is…..If we should not use Kontera like service as it distracts users then i guess even using Adsense is same. The ads might take them to places which can be absolutely b*********. So thats not ecthical too. Why not just let them read the information what u posted about and be happy….

    What do you think ?

  • Daniel

    Armen, glad you posted it. I had read your article, then today I could not find the blog where it was coming from!

    Here is a link for the people who want to check Armen’s article:
    http://iffect.net/2007/05/01/web-usability-guru-says-contextual-text-link-ads-are-disgusting/

  • Daniel

    Ashish, I agree, in fact I am also not so favorable of Adsense units placed “inside” the content. Units on the sidebar, header, above or below the content are fine. But inside the content tends to be annoying.

  • Mr.Byte

    I never liked it in the first place and I didn’t even think about signing up for one such campaign….Its too obtrusive…

  • Mike Panic

    I’m planning on keeping them on the site for at least the rest of May. No one has complained about them yet and traffic and RSS subscriptions have stayed the same.

  • Andrea

    I just saw these ads in the posts on a cooking forum. So if the thread was on woks, for example, every time the word wok was used it was double underlined with an ad. It was very annoying to say the least.

  • Sahil Gupta

    Kontera shows targetted links.. User will click it only when he wants to ( i mean after reading the text on the link ). Take it in positive way.. we are actually doing good for the user by letting him know about a new site of his interest… and for this if we get some $$, whats the problem..??

  • Daniel

    Sahil, thanks for the comment it is always good for the discussion to have different views.

    I do not agree with your opinion though.

    “User will click it when he wants to”
    -Not all users know what those links are, some might think its a normal link, and they are being deceived to click on ad.

    -Even if I dont click it the ad will pop up if I run my mouse over it, and this will annoy people.

    “we are actually doing good for the user by letting him know about a new site of his interest”

    -You need to think why readers are going to your site. On DBT most of my readers come to read the content, to get that information and apply it on their blogs. They are not looking for “relevant links”. They can find those on digg, delicious or google, which I am sure will provide much more relevant links.

    – Even if your readers are looking for “relevant links” it would be better to place them on a special section, and not inside your text.

  • egon

    I agree with Daniel 100% on this. Every time my mouse accidentally hovers over one of those, an annoying pop-up comes up. I don’t think these are always relevant, and if there are relevant ads that the author believes you should look at, he will rovide them if necessary. These are much more of an annoyance than anything.

  • Britt Malka

    It might be true, but I would give it much more credit, if it came from anybody else but Jacob Nielsen.

    He has way long lines of text on his own website. More than 150 characters. They are absolutely onreadable, and certainly not according to what I would call web usability. How he ever became a “guru” at that, I’ve never understood.

  • Ashish Mohta

    Here is one code that can make things easy.


    <?php
    $url = parse_url($_SERVER['HTTP_REFERER']);
    $sites = array('google','yahoo');
    $show_kont_ash = false;
    foreach ($sites as $site) {
    if (stristr($url['host'],$site)) {
    $show_kont_ash = true;
    }
    ?>
    <?php if ($show_kont_ash) { ?>
    Kontera CODE
    <?php } ?>

    You can make it available for only people coming from yahoo or google like search engines. Its not working on mine for some reason…if somebody can test…it will be great

  • thepaperbull

    Kontera was disabled on my site after a very short stay. Turfed it after a stupid ad suggesting findstuff.com after picking up the word “blind”.

    http://thepaperbull.com/rip-rest-in-peace-kontera-april-7-8-2007/

    I saw equally stupid ads on other sites that had far passed the optimization period.

  • Chris Baskind

    I don’t like to be critical of other people’s sites — each is a labor of love, in its own way. But in-text ads really turn me off as a reader.

    They look spammy, which speaks to credibility. They’re also inconvenient when coupled with pop-ups. No naming names here, but there a few sites I used to read regularly that I just don’t go to much anymore, thanks to in-text adverts.

    Couple in-text ads with Snap previews and the thoughtless use of menu pop-ups, drop downs, and animations, and you have an unreadable site.

    c

  • egon

    Good point, Chris. I hate those stupid snap previews. The idea is nice, but in reality they’re just as annoying as the in-text ads.

  • Rick

    As a blog reader for several years now, I have to say that In-Text Advertising is the most intrusive and annoying form of advertising created. In my opinion these text link ads take away from your content and really discourage readers. I have unsubscribed from several great blogs that started using this form of monetization.

    Blogging is about writing content for your readers so why would you put distracting pop-up ads throughout your content? This makes no sense to me.

    Keep your advertising at the bottom of your post not throughout your content or in your template sidebars. I would discourage any blogger from using In-Text Advertising.

  • Vinod @ VinodLive!

    Relevant ads?!.. Yeah.. If Sunil Gavaskar’s interview relates to a post on Microsoft’s village connectivity plan and If “XXX wants to know” type of popups relates to everything on my site.
    They’ve got limited inventory I guess.
    Took it off.

  • sourcer

    Daniel you have a point there, kontera ads are intrusive and many people don’t like them, I am trying them for a few weeks on my blog and I don’t have very big earnings but I have to say that there are big bloggers that use them and people still read their blog not to mention that I’ve seen Kontera on big forums and still there are people posting…

  • Daniel

    Sourcer, the Self Made Minds blog posted a list with the top 100 blogs on the net with the biggest rss subscriber base.

    http://selfmademinds.com/200704/which-blogs-have-the-most-feed-subscribers/

    How many of those use Kontera ads? I havent checked all, but I guess it is only John Chow.

    The same story should repeat if we check Technorati top 100.

  • sourcer

    Well I really don’t have time to check them all, I didn’t say that you are not right I just wrot that there people that are using them and they still have popularity.

  • Daniel

    Yeah there are exceptions I agree. They are not the ultimate evil hehe don’t get me wrong. Just a very intrusive form of advertising.

  • George

    I am testing out Kontera ads on a few of my blogs and I both like them and dislike them. I like the money they are making. It’s not as much as Adsense, but it’s not affecting my Adsense revenue.

    However, I think they are hurting my affiliate commisions on my Internet Marketing blog. I find they get in the way of the REAL links in my post. So, I am going to remove them from my Internet marketing blog and for the time being keep them on the other blogs I am testing (they are making more money on those blogs anyway).

    I think that just like with ALL advertising methods there are going to be people (mostly webmasters and techies) that hate the ads and others who don’t care.

    I do think that fairly big sites use Intellitext, since one of their requirements is your site needs at least 500,000 page views a month.

  • George

    I just took the ads off my Internet marketing blog, I am happy I did. I really didn’t mind them on the other blogs as much.

    PS. I just recalled a big network of sites that uses intellitext, the developershed network (seochat, devshed, etc.)

  • Investing Blog

    These are wonderful points. I have ditched the Kontera Ads for good. Finally, I understand the true power behind internet marketing.

  • Amanda

    I have to say I heard nothing but complaints from people when I put kontera on my site, and the fact that it was based on CPM before clicks was annoying, but it wasn’t worth the hassle vs the little money i was getting, and most people said they were accidental clicks.

  • Court

    I haven’t had anyone complain at all! Maybe that’s because my readership isn’t large enough, but I haven’t seen anyone complain at JohnChow.com either. I think that people will get used to it. Of course, this will probably make it less effective.

  • phd

    im not really sure what’s wrong with kontera, but i think they make a site look really clean, without those big horizontal or vertical banners that i dislike even before adsense came…

  • inanc

    i think in-text advertising much more cool than banner ads. it’s relevant to the content (mostly) and does not annoy noone otherwise you hover on them. the only thing that i dont like is that when there are many intelli text against the page content size.

  • egon

    I think as long as banner ads aren’t the annoying flashing ones that give me convusions, then I’m ok with them. The problem with the in-text ads I see is that when I move my cursor over the page, it always hits a couple of these ads and I get an annoying pop-up every time. I would much rather see a (non-flashing) banner ad.

  • phd

    @egon

    oh just like those snap previews i see at some sites often… im using a dial-u connection, i have a lag for 2-3 secs whenever i accidentally hover at those things.

  • egon

    @phd: Exactly, those stupid snap previews are just as bad or worse. Good idea in concept, but terrible in execution.

  • Daniel

    Yeah I agree that Snap preview is just as bad. I wonder why TechCrunch is sticking to them.

  • Pallab

    I just hate those hover ads. I have them blocked out via Opera’s built in Content blocker. As you said, it becomes hard to distinguish a real link from a hover ad keyword.

    I was one of those who tried snap previews when it was launched. But, remove it soon after realizing how annoying and useless it was.

  • Genevieve Netz

    Speaking as an internet reader, I absolutely despise those double-underlined ad links. I hate having an ad pop up right in the middle of the content I am trying to read.

  • Me

    I get sick and tired of seeing ads by google. I almost have a phobia, and I will surf away from pages with ads by google. I have nothing against google, but I am just tired of seeing that on every website I go to.

    These ads I like. I am aware of what they are. If I don’t click on the double link, I don’t see the ads. I have a choice. I like that.

    I also like these ads. They are interesting to me and they facinate me. I actually go looking for them. It’s entertaining. Mini videos out of a text link. I think with more and more sites, powered by or sorry ads by google, this will be refreshing for some people.

    Intrusive, evil, I think not.

  • iskopaj.net

    That Jacob Nielsen ideas are death long ago.

  • Gus

    IN-TEXT ADVERTISING INTRUSIVE!! I kept thinking, Damn! I thought my popup blocker wasn’t working, and that’s all it is, a way around your popup blocker! I’m trying to read something, and these adds keep blocking my reading, and I have to x-it-out, finally I get frustrated, and just leave the site. I hate it! Is there an IN-TEXT-ADD-BLOCKER? We need one bad! It shouldn’t be too hard to develope one. Mabey they already have, i’m going to search for one, and if it’s not available yet, someone please develope one, you can charge a small fee, and i’ll bet you’ll make more money that those sneeky S.O.B.’s getting around our popup blockers. Seriously, if you come upon a site useing this form of popup, show them your patronage by LEAVING IMMEDIATELY, and never returning!

  • Britt Malka

    Hey Gus

    How come the in-text ads popup? In my browser, they only do that when I place my mouse over them, and I guess you are not using your mouse while reading?

  • Me

    I don’t want to be mean, but how inept do you have to be, to be interupted by those ads? I mean if you don’t want to read them, don’t click on the clearly visibly highlighted double links. Simple yes?

    I hate the google ads and there is nothing I can do about them. They are not really intrusive, but too much of a good thing. Every site I go to now has them.

    I guess to each their own, but unless you read with your arrow button, then the text link ads are very easy to avoid. You probably have trouble with real links as well I would guess. Those darn clickable things.

    I for one will be using sights with the intext ads, vs sites that are powered by google. The intext ads for me are like a stumble upon. I learn about a product I might be interested in. (I for one routinely place my mouse over them to get them to show what they are offering. I find I still like the experience and it’s been a couple of weeks now.)

    Again nothing against google, really good stuff, but just too much of a good thing.

  • Anonymous

    I hate the in-text advertisements. Banners on the top and sides don’t bother me because they just sit in one spot and I don’t have to worry about accidentally mousing over anything and having something popup and obstruct my view of what I was reading. Also, you can just adblock the banner ads on any sites that you go to a lot. There’s no way around the in-text ads. They’re worse than popup ads in my opinion and there’s nothing you can do to get rid of them besides just going to another site.

  • RosieB

    QUOTE[I’m planning on keeping them on the site for at least the rest of May. No one has complained about them yet and traffic and RSS subscriptions have stayed the same.]

    No one has complained but you can bet your life that you have lost traffic – new traffic is probably just keeping the balance.

    I find these ads the most intrusive on any on the web. I steer clear of any site that uses them. I come to the web for information and these are not helpful.

    If you were reading a book would you expect adverts in the middle of a paragraph?????

  • Jermayn Parker

    What about the Amazon ones when you mouse over the book???

    see example: http://germworks.net/blog/2007/09/17/excuses-for-not-going-to-church-by-charles-r-swindoll/

  • Jen

    I get so irked by these kind of links. Not hating on anyones ability to make money but those links just add to confusion to the visitor.

  • Andy

    Money are more important than “the principles of web usability” 🙂

  • Jack

    I completely agree with everyone’s post that the in-text contextual ads are very annoying and it takes away the navigation and user-experience from the site.

  • Richard T

    It’s interesting that everyone seems to be down on “Contextual” ads. They’re intrusive. They’re !@#$%^. They’re this and that.

    But Google’s Adsense is ok. Clickbank ads are ok. Not!. However, it is a way of life and the internet. You put up with all the junk mail in your mail box. Why? Because it’s there.

    People are trying to make a couple of bucks. What’s wrong with that? What about the mass of ads shown on TV? What about all the junk ads at every major sporting event?

    Are these ok?

    This is the internet. It’s time to wakeup and see the forest for the trees. Quality is not a quantity on the web. The Internet is a sounding board and nothing more.

    You want quality? Open a private site for members only.

    BTW. I don’t use Kontera, ClickBank, or Adsense.

    Okay, I’m off my soap box.

    Everyone live happy.

    RT…

  • traffic act

    I just started to use Kontera because i need a way to support the sites minimum costs. I found that from the first day the ads did start to get clicked. My only problem with kontera is that they pay pennies!

    I dont really care if it interupts the user experience, because by now online surfers should be used to ads already. So stop complaining about ads. Its how websites stay alive!

    I just dont like how the pay out is and how kontera pays you in pennies. Atleast adsense you can earn like 30 cents minimum.

    Intext ads are in my opinion a waste of time as they dont pay anything, BUT they do have a higher CTR than adsense.

  • andy

    money are more important than user experience. sorry.

  • Lowell

    All of the points regarding in-text advertising are valid, the balloon or bubble that covers the content and interferes with the text is intrusive and affects the user’s ability to enjoy the site.

    BrandClik is an in-text advertising company that does not use any intrusive balloons, but rather direct hyperlinks that allows Content Providers to monetize their content and Advertisers to generate direct, targeted traffic for their brand names or products.

    BrandClik is a Beta program but we would appreciate your feedback and feel free to register for the service or learn more at http://www.BrandClik.com

    Better ads, less intrusion!

  • Dee

    Hi –
    Boy am I glad I stumbled upon this thread! I was just in the process of signing up for Kontera after a local blogger in my city wrote up an article about it in the newspaper. It sounded good, but I didn’t realize those annoying popups I’ve been getting lately on sites I’ve visited are in-text ads! Like a previous poster, I just thought my popup blocker was not working. But no one in the posts above has addressed another issue with Kontera in particular…that of security.

    When I went onto their site, my program which watches for insecure sites told me their site certificate was broken/insecure/didn’t match. I took a risk and continued on into the site anyway. I started to sign up and got to the application page where you had to give your personal information like social security number and name/address/phone and I realized that page was not a secure page. They have Verisign but recently it has come to light that this is not a guarantee of security (getting more hacker friendly) and Verisign has instituted a new layer of security, which somes sites have updated to, but not all.

    Anyway, I abandoned my application process at that point mainly based on no faith in their security. I e-mailed their support people to see if there was a way to apply securely. They replied prompty (that was good) and just told me to go ahead and complete the application (this didn’t solve my problem with their application process).

    Now after reading this thread I’m glad I did not complete my application for the additional reason of not wanting to subject my visitors to that popup annoyance.

    Thanks so much, Daniel, for writing about this subject.

    P.S. Maybe someone could comment if they have had any experience with the BrandClik business which I see they posted about in a post just above mine. Sounds like it may be a step in the right direction if a person still wants to use in-text advertising.

  • China Trade wiki

    wow I was just about to sign up at clicksor and decided to do a little reasearch. The last thing I want is to ruin months of hard work to get loyal frequent visitors, in return of few cents per 1000!!

  • Lowell

    Dee-
    We just sent you a message regarding BrandClik to the Juno e-mail address that is on your site. Please feel free to contact us regarding our services.

    Thanks,
    BrandClik

  • Sinisa

    I am looking at this form a consumer point and as a media buyer.
    I could not disagree more with the premise of this article. I would say this is the least intrusive kind of advertising. Hyperlinks are underlined twice so no one can mistake it for a regular link. If consumers don’t know what the double underline means – Fool me once shame on me, fool me twice…- well you get the picture. Also considering that these ads are graphically non demanding it seems to me that they would reduce your bandwidth use. The only downfall is that it can sometimes make the website look ‘cheep’.
    The most annoying type of advertising are flash banners that spread over 50% of the page when you mouseover, and many times mouseover you must in order to navigate. Same with in page popup and animations that run across the screen as you are trying to read the article. I also hate ads in the middle of the text which you can “skip” by clicking on the link that takes you to the bottom of the ad.

  • Lowell

    What do you guys think of this in-text advertising

    http://www.stjoenews.net/news/2008/mar/26/primary-slates-set-buchanan-county-races/

    See “Buchanan County” in the article and how it is linked to Buchanan County’s website. Thoughts?

  • BrandClik.com

    I work with Lowell at BrandClik and I think the fact that some newspapers are registering for our service while not registering for the others mentioned above means that the newspapers feel our opportunity is the least intrusive format to date with the highest return.

    Anyway, 2 more newspapers to report:

    http://www.NKCNEWS.com

    &

    http://www.WNPApolitics.com

    Thanks!

  • Katherine

    Hi All,

    I am a business development associate at Kontera and appreciate your comments. In-text advertising is becoming a very common way for publishers to monetize their sites (seen on sites like Shape.com, JohnChow.com, Britannica.com) and users are getting more and more used to it. The expansion of the ad on mouse over is so that people do not confuse our ads with a normal hyperlink as they may services that don’t have an expanded ad on mouse over. If your site is seeing lower CPCs that is probably because you have a lot of international traffic which we pay for compared to other networks that dont pay for it at all (take into account the overall revenue rather than the just the CPCs). You can always request to just have your US, UK traffic monetized so that you will see much higher CPCs. Please contact me at katherine@kontera.com if you have any further questions.

    Thanks,
    Katherine

  • SEO Genius

    I absolutely hate in text advertising!!! aghh it drives me insane, it looks so tacky and stupid and its just annoying. grrr gets my angry just thinking about it 😀

  • Claude Gelinas

    I’ve tried in-text advertising in a (serious) “business tips” web site with roughly 100 very interested users a day for three (3) months.

    The visitors were 90% based in the United States and read 4.2 pages, on average. My revenue for the entire period with Kontera was 19 cents.

    I wanted to give some time to my users to get familiar with this new type of advertising but after 3 months, I decided it was enough and this type of advertising wasn’t going to work for me.

    In-text advertising is probably good for other web publishers because I see it here and there but obviously, it didn’t work out too well for me.

    This being said, the support people at Kontera were nice. Useless in helping me generate more revenue but nevertheless, quite nice. It’s worth noting.

  • Breck

    Ashish, you had a typo in your stristr function. It should be strstr, not stristr….

  • Personal Debt Adviser

    Thanks very much for this. I’m setting up a new blog and was seriously considering using the intellitext advertising for what I thought might be a good experience for the end user. I’ll go with the masses on this one then.

  • Article Alley

    I’m going to be controversal and say that Kontera can work well and be valuable. It depends on the type of site you have and why people use it.

    I run an article bank 99% of visitors come from searching a phrase that matches either the title or content of the article pages. The CTR of Konera and Adsense are about the same – and Kontera does not impact at all on the Adsense earnings.

    Most users are actually looking for a service or product matching the content they read and actually find the links both Kontera and Adsense of value because in general ( OK mostly ) the links take them to somewhere which offers them a solution.

    If your site’s aim is to build regular visitors then I agree that in link services are not a good idea.

  • Joshua

    I work with Lowell and Dee at BrandClik and want to chime in and provide a few of the many reasons advertisers should also want to participate.

    Advertisers can…

    1) See the pricing structure of all the participating newspapers, bloggers, and social network sites we have in our database prior to putting any money into an account. Registration is completely free.

    2) They can opt in or out of anyone of the content providers or all of them or none of them at will.

    3) Since our program is not a bidding system like Kontera and VibrantMedia all corporate trade name or brand names are completely protected. Even if Kontera signed up with BrandClik no one else in our system can bid on that keyword since they own that trade name.

    These are just a few of the reasons advertisers are registering with us.

    Thank you,

    Joshua

  • Alfie

    How about the adsense link units? Would it be also an intrusive ad? An unaware reader might assumed that it is part of the navigation links.

  • DnDCorner

    Thanks for posting this article. As a new blogger looking for the best ways to increase traffic and revenue this was very informative and certainly gives me something to think about.

  • Credit Helper

    Sounds like in-text links can be useful if your intent is to get users to a specific page rather than to get them to focus on your content.

  • Ahsan

    Right now Kontera does not seem to have enough ads.
    Can somebody explain the difference between AdBrite’s in text advertising and Kontera?

  • arshad

    so is there any disadvantage as far as seo is concerned ? i hope not .

  • Cwd

    In-text advertising slows down page load times. It may also hang browsers of users who have slow internet connection.

    I used them on my site until I went fed up with load times and removed them altogether.

  • Mikael Rieck

    Personally I think it is a great way to advertise and I find it a lot less annoying than banners and 125×125 ads (animated is the worst kind).

    The only thing that goes against the in text ads is that a lot of them really aren’t relevant. With Kontera more than half of them are for Web Dictionaries and has nothing to do with the topics.

    If there was a way to make 100% of the ads relevant I would definitely use it on most of my sites.

  • Dee

    I just checked in on this forum again and saw that “Joshua” wrote on August 27, 2008, “I work with Lowell and Dee at Brandclik.” I wanted to refute that. After I posted on March 21, 2008, someone named “Lowell” posted on March 27 saying he was contacting me at my e-mail address, apparently to give me the benefits of using Brandclik over other in-text networks. I did receive an e-mail from him but I never responded to it, and never signed up for Brandclik, nor have I have ever worked for or had any connection with Brandclik.

    It’s definitely misleading of Brandclik “employees” to say that I work with them, and by inference lead readers to believe that I endorse them. I haven’t changed my opinion of in-text advertising and I still do not use it on my web site.

  • Joshua

    We had an employee who worked with us who’s name was Dee…

    Nothing misleading about the same name is there?

    Good luck and if you change your mind we would be happy to help you at BrandClik.

    Take care,

  • Bang Kritikus

    What are different about in-text and text link ads ???

  • nico

    I wonder what is the average CTR compared to the average CTR of adwords (for the same keywords)

  • Joshua

    I can tell you that our CTR’s vary based on the type of publisher.

    -Newspapers can expect = .5% – 8% depending on the article and the words in it

    -Social Networks = .75%-3% – depending on the location of the ads

    -Blogs = .5%-2% – again depends on the content and the blogs popularity.

    We have seen with some publishers who white-label the service double digit numbers consistantly

    Thank you,

  • Joshua

    I think adwords usually gets 1/10th of a percent to about 1 percent depending on the venue but you will have to ask Google to chime in… 🙂

  • Nick Niesen

    You should put in-text ads on this page, it would be hilarious.

  • Essay Writing

    Ah, now I am really confused at to what to do here, as I too was about to sign up to kontera, moments before I read this blog.

    Possibly I will try one of them like brandclik first and report back with the results.

  • Joe

    Hi, an interesting thread but what about your thoughts about the reputation of the Advertisers – would you think less of the company/organisation or, in my case, not-for-profit using in-text adverts?

    I run a website for a UK NGO. We already have a Google Adwords programme but I was interested in experimenting with in-text ad’s to drive more people to our site. I think it could work really well as not many other NGOs are doing it and many of our key words will not be taken yet.

    Would it put you off making a donation, for example?

    Thanks,
    Joe

  • Dave

    Wow I disagree with this post. I own a “mainstream” discussion forum. We use in-text ads for guests only, not members, and generate about $5k each and every month from about 1 Million monthly users. Depends on the size of your site, type of site etc but don’t discount the whole model because you have a tiny blog that makes $5/mo from in-text — that’s not always the case for all publishers.

  • Julius

    This is quite an intriguing article, and quite helpful, especially for novice bloggers like me. This is something that kept me thinking because I use infolinks on my site. I’ll be thinking this over and thanks for sharing this.

  • I Love Free Software

    Hmmm.. quite interesting article. I have recently implemented text link ads on my website, and want to give them a fair chance for a couple of months. I am not sure if they are obtrusive, but agree that they can dilute the website navigation. One change I made is to implement these only on single post pages, and not on home page, or category pages, as they have all the hyperlinks, and don’t want those hyperlinks to be confused with in text ads.

    Let’s see how do my links perform 🙂

  • Alan Bleiweiss

    Daniel

    Thanks for the blog post. I’ve been seeing in-text ads for a while now and think it’s a very negative model. Polluting the concept of hypertext is surely the first issue. And as others have said, it’s intrusive and obnoxious to say the least. What’s worse, the contextual relationship between an article’s focus, the word that becomes a link, and the offerings are quite often stupid.

    Like today I came across a tech article on GPUs and CPUs. One of the words highlighted was “drivers” (like in computer system drivers) – and the ad linked to an environmental company page talking about annual emission reports for vehicles.

    OMG that disgusts me.

  • I Love Free Software

    Here is a small update that I wanted to share since my last comment. I kept Infolink on my blog for 2 days. Surprisingly, I did not get even a single Adsense click on those 2 days. Absolutely zero. My personal conclusion is that even though such in-text advertising is claimed to be non-obtrusive, it still gets attention because such text is formatted differently (double-underlined). This draws the attention away from the main article ads.

    This is my purely personal conclusion – but the findings of those 2 days were enough to convince me to get rid of in-text advertizing. I wanted in-text to earn some money in addition to Google ads – not to reduce earnings by Google ads themselves.

    I might still use Infolinks on longer articles, when user is watching some portion of screen which does not have any other ad (by using conditional in-text advertizing on and off), and see how do the results perform then. Will again share the findings here.

  • Stephan

    What an interesting article. I’ve seen in-text ads in a variety of places and I always thought that those types of ads were somewhat ineffiective. After reading this article and the comments, it seems in-text advertising is more than ineffiective, its danergous.

    Thanks for the warning.

  • Jai Sharmy

    Where is Daniel’s reply to Katherine’s(of Kontera) comment?

  • Daniel Scocco

    @Jai, there isn’t much to say. She is just arguing that they pay good rates. So does popup ad networks, so it is up to the web publisher to decide how far he wanna go with monetization.

  • Master101

    Hmmm, I just try using INFOLINK. So i donno yet how it would effect my blog. I dont even know whether they approve it or not. I think i am gonna give it a try myself, before I can start saying:”Ho ho, it’s bad idea!”

  • danielM

    I am using infolinks and had no problem with it, but lately my stats were zero in my infolinks account. I emailed them and they told me that it’s one technical problem that they are used to and will do something about it. 2 weeks after that and 3 emails after, no more repies and problem still unsolved. I’ll wait for another week before I’ll decide on removing them.

  • David

    I would like to get people’s opinion.

    I just read everyone’s comments and it looks like most people are against the inline text ads that are currently out there.

    I am a web developer and I have just developed a similar but different idea to use words on your website to generate revenue for the website owner and would like to get people’s opinion’s if they feel the same about my idea as they do about the typical inline text ads.

    My idea turns your interesting words into a link that performs a web search on a search engine which then generates the website owner some revenue and provides the reader with additional, useful, and relevant information to the word they asked to know more about.

    I am trying to follow the principle that we (I know I do) love clicking links on Wikipedia when I am reading an article to get more information and learn more about what I am reading about and I am applying the same principle to words on people’s websites.

    Okay, that is the basic idea – Let me know what you think. Good and bad opinions.

    You can check my site out at WordLink360.com

    Thanks

  • Alan Bleiweiss

    @David (word link 360 guy) no no no. One of the biggest flaws in inline ads is the complete disconnect between the article’s focus, and the ads. Grabbing any single word from within an article or other content and attempting to “know the intent, relationship or specific reference” of that is not possible.

    The complete and entire reason to have links inline it for the content writer to provide specific, spot-on dead-accurate additional content that is purely and completely for the sole purpose of providing exactly related additional content or resource reference. To attempt anything else is to butcher the nature, reason and purpose of hypertext links within content.

  • how to format a computer

    I’m about to try intext advertising on my site, honestly I don’t find intext advertising annoying (maybe a bit, when I accidentally mouse over a link).

    @David I think the user would “waist” too much time while searching for the answer with the web search ? The point is advertising with google’s I’m feeling lucky function, but then again where will the revenue come from ?

  • Gouri

    And I don’t think the return is encouraging either..

  • Jeff

    There is something about the double line that seems to disturb design continuity. I think internet users are aware of it and mouse over when they want and skip when they don’t. The design element looks bad, in my opinion.

  • Muxx

    I have to agree after doing some testing over the last 2 months.

    After playing around with Adsense, Chitika and other ad programs it just doesn’t do anything for the end user – the reader.

    The main problem is that most of the text-link ads are completely irrelevant, it would be better if you could target words as part of an ad group but what often happens is they are attached to completely random words for totally unrelated products.

    I blog about DJing and I would get text link ads for insurance, really?

    I don’t think it really gives my readers any sort of benefit either. I work hard to write quality posts and then I send them away for a few pennies? Not on my blog, not anymore.

    I do keep a small google ads on the very bottom of the post which generally does give me relevant ads but they’re not there to disrupt the flow of the article.

  • Ash Blue

    I hate it when websites use this advertising technique. I click on links expecting relevant information and end up in an unknown website.

  • richard bel

    ive tried kontera and its terrible. i never want to put readers through that on my site ever again! Ads i believe are just ads and should be as unintrusive as possible . If they offer something users want ..they will click . no need for all this placing ads in the middle of content nonsense

  • Shad Vick

    Vibrant requires you to have 500,000 pageviews for the domain you wish to place the intext ads on. They know that if you don’t have a lot of good content – that neither of you are going to make money. Anyone with 500,000 page views hopefully has a credible site and wouldn’t want to tarnish their reputation with a bunch of “fake” links in their articles. This in text ad linking is for the junk sites that happen to have a lot of content. IMHO.

  • Matt

    With google adsense paying pennies, websites are looking for all the pennies they can muster.

    Remember we put hours and hours into our sites and even have writers we need to pay.

    A few text ads isn’t too much to ask – especially when you are viewing our sites for FREE.

    🙂

  • Rex Dixon

    Anyone try any in text advertising A/B Testing? I’ve heard that Info Links is the best, but the only text advertising that works for me is TextLinkAds.

  • brian laig

    i had to block all ads because of in-text ads. i mouse over everything i read and intext ands are so frustrating. to the point of nearly screaming or leaving the site. there needs to be an ad block just for pop over ads.

  • David

    I think the intext ads will be very annoying to the reader when trying to navigate the website

    It is better to have banner ads after every 2nd post

Comments are closed.