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substrberry OP wrote (edited )

The overall conclusion drawn in the video is that if you want people to not use ad blockers on your website, the quantity and quality of the ads has to be tolerable.

I want to share some projects and companies worth praising for taking this into account and showing it with their actions, as paying attention to how advertisements work behind the scenes is a very niche topic that generally goes unnoticed.

  • Acceptable Ads Standard is a project laying out requirements and specific measurements for ads to be considered acceptable. Most of what I list below meets their guidelines, and I appreciate what they've done in definitionally differenciating between acceptable and non-acceptable advertising.

  • The now long gone Project Wonderful, which lasted from 2006 to 2018. It allowed website owners to auction ad space on their site, as opposed to advertisers paying for clicks. This model featured incredibly good UX, not only for users, but for website owners and advertisers, too:

    • Because specific space was being auctioned, advertisers were largely intentional about where they advertised. By allowing advertisers to find similar niches to what they were offering, this created a bias towards relevancy, the largest example of which is how with over 5,000 websites for webcomic using project wonderful, the vast majority of the time you went on those sites, you would see ads for other webcomics, which you might go on to read and enjoy :)

    • Website owners could control what bids they accepted, handling quality control in addition to Project Wonderful, and trust that what was shown on their site was acceptable because of that

    • As an advertiser, the time you paid for only ticked while your ad would be shown to users, so it didn't matter if someone out bid you for a while, your ad would still eventually be shown. This, obviously, also benefited website owners, as the price would be driven up in correlation to how valuable people thought your site was.

    Currently, their website is a small memorial.

  • Adrinth, the gaming advertising network counterpart to Modrinth, a community built & open source mod hosting platform for minecraft. They built their own service for ethical advertising on their platform <3

    The arinth page is pretty bare atm, and their ads are discussed in more detail here, which links to the Acceptable Ads Standard mentioned above.

    An example of an adrinth advertisement:

  • Dragonfruit Ads, which requires some background: There is a furry adult content oriented image board named e621, which is owned and ran by certain people in the furry fandom through a company named Dragonfruit. Those people also run a company named Bad Dragon, a manufacturer of fantasy-themed sex toys. Between the two endeavors, they're a massive, if somewhat behind the scenes, presence in the adult furry fandom.

    This brings me to how e621 does ads: similarly to adrinth/modrinth, they made own advertising infrastructure using the domain, with absolute control over ads, and strict requirements for what counts (only jpgs and gifs of certain sizes). The details are on this page; (which doesn't have anything nsfw on it, but be warned that 18+ content is only a few clicks away)

    As with project wonderful, this results in the vast majority of ads being relevant to e621 users, whether they're ads for bad dragon, furry video games, furry artist's patreons, etc.

    Of course, there is some real slop that gets advertised on adult sites, but by doing their ads like this, they've enabled plenty of good advertising too, which is absolutely worthy of praise. Ads can even be meta about common tropes in porn ads.

    As an example of what e621 users may see, the video game Hedon Bloodrite, a retro fps, runs this banner advertisement on e621 (warning for suggestive faces/artwork)

  • Carbon Ads, an advertising company specializing in minimally intrusive ads for technology and development related fields, being ran on sites for those fields. You can see their ads in the bottom left of, for example, though they will be blocked by firefox's enhanced tracking protection as well as ublock origin. Here are some screenshots:

  • Ethical Ads, which is very similar to carbon ads, and has the same business model. I honestly can't remember what site I saw these on, but I enjoyed their minimally intrusive UX enough to make note of them, similarly to carbon ads.

Note that some of these sites may be blocked by your ad blocker or network/pihole filter lists.


jay wrote

This is super interesting! I think the thing I like most about the carbon ads is how, on top of a standard ad graphic, it tells you exactly what the thing being advertised is in a little description.. I know some companies use the "I wonder what this is" factor to get clicks but I think the way carbon ads does it is a lot more ethical and useful for everyone involved haha