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Typography and Web Advertising: Making Every Opportunity Count : Comments

By Alexander W. White

June 25, 2007


Brian Artka

June 26, 2007 6:44 AM

Great Article Alex! I am happy to see an article by you on a site I frequent alot. I also want to say that your other books are excellent, especially the elements of graphic design. Thanks for sharing your information with us. I have learned a lot, and I am pretty sure others have as well.

Brian Artka

June 26, 2007 6:47 AM

oh, I forgot to mention. I use your designers Checklist on a regular basis. What a great idea. =)

carsten Jung

June 26, 2007 8:51 AM

Good article – but there is a little mistake:

Figure 2-1: It’s not a

Jakob Stehr

June 26, 2007 9:04 AM

Very good read, thank you! The links will keep me occupied for some time.

Just on tiny thing:
Fig 2_1 shows not a “Basel” Poster (City in Switzerland) but a “Baselitz” Poster (german Painter)

Alex W White

June 26, 2007 11:36 AM

Thanks for the Basel/Baselitz catch. Mistyped when I prepared the MS for this article.

Carolyn Wood

June 26, 2007 11:43 AM

I swear, we’ve got the sharpest readers on the web. Thanks for the correction

Tim Beachy

June 27, 2007 7:18 AM

I apologize for commenting before having read the entire article, but just in the first paragraph my mind was sent off on a tangent…Google Ads.

They’ve always bothered me vaguely, but suddenly today, in conjunction with this article, I realized why.

Disclaimer: These observations are my personal opinion:

1/ They’re ubiquitous, and therefore, transparent – does anyone actually read or follow one? except by accident? I never have…

2/ They’re ugly — their placement, intrusion and domains are unattractive. I realize now that I hardly ever see (the rare times I actually look) a url that looks inviting.

3/ They’re degrading – just feeling their presence makes me feel cheapened somehow. I feel like they’re the shady car dealer that keeps hovering over me, waiting for any opportunity to importune me with his/her spiel.

4/ I know that site owners put them there because they are an easy way to make money. But that knowledge doesn’t make me feel better about them. There is no logical connection between the site and the ad content, other than keywords. Therefore, there is no personalized value to them. I think A List Apart has a much better concept with the Deck. It feels and looks comfortable because it is — the site owners are directly implicated in who their advertisers are and therefore, if you respect the owner for their design and content opinion, you respect their choice in affiliated advertisers.

So, while I’m sorry to use this forum as a rant box, I do so because I find it strange that a well-designed useful, and thoughtful site such as this one, would do this to their cherished, and obviously intelligent, readers (assuming they feel the same way as I do).


Nick Finck

June 27, 2007 9:35 AM

Hey Tim,

Good points all around. I think you are spot on about the connection between the Google ads and the content. I have seen less and less connection between the two lately. We actually kicked around Yahoo ads for a while here before switching back to Google. The main reason was that Yahoo ads were even less relevant. I think it has to do with stock and how many people purchase various keywords.

Lately it seems someone has paid for a buy-out on our domain through Google Ads (i.e. I keep seeing the same ad all over the place on our site).

Rest assured we are looking into the issue and are considering running our own text ads as we have a system we use for our own graphical ads (our version of the The Deck) that also supports text ads.

The big issue is managing advertisers.. not the creative, but the people themselves. I have been talking to one person about assisting with that. More later.

Tim Beachy

June 28, 2007 7:48 AM

Thanks Nick – I appreciate the follow-up.

Ad aggregating services are fine for some sites, but not for well-crafted, content-rich sites such as this one (again, imo). It seems that no matter how relevant a service may try and make their ads, it will never be as good or useful as hand-picking advertisers. Some things you just can’t/shouldn’t automate. Especially for reasons such as the one you refer to : the domain buy-out. What a nightmare.

I understand the business issues (i.e. managers) and hadn’t considered them because I somehow presumed that this was more of mom/pop operation (and I mean that in a good way) with a small team having all the influence and decision-making power.

At any rate, I look forward to seeing your solution.
Great site in all other ways!

Carolyn Wood

June 28, 2007 10:55 AM

Tim, what Nick meant was that we are all volunteers here, and finding someone to devote themselves, for free, to finding specific advertisers and doing all the work involved with advertising, is virtually impossible. Remember, the Deck is run by someone and spread across numerous sites. We just have the one site and a few volunteers. I’m in editorial, thus I have no input on the advertising decisions, but I thought I’d answer this one anyway. His reference to “managers” didn’t mean we have a manager but that our problem is that we don’t have one. Nick is currently trying to rectify this situation, as he mentioned. At any rate, if you have more to say on the subject, perhaps you can use one of our contact forms to speak to Nick directly so that any further comments will be about this article. This isn’t to say that I disagree with you. Not at all. :) Thanks for writing. (Hope you were able to finish the article. :) )

stephen eighmey

July 5, 2007 8:28 AM

we shouldn’t forget the primary differences between virtual and static presentations of content, between the web and print; in a fixed, i.e., print, piece, all elements are present. your informational space is primarily unmoving, you’re guided to its content and meaning by the balance of the elements on the page. with the web, once image, type and space have done their job, the designer has an extra, medium unique element to work with; interactivity. Once you’ve drawn in a target you can provide them content through their interactions. your target can choose the path they take, the message they receive, the information they want. that’s the true difference between the web and print.


July 26, 2007 11:50 AM

One thing on floating ads: they have a higher click rate because in the scramble to get them off your screen you miss the tiny close button and hit the ad instead.

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