Real talk: Why Offbeat Home & Life is joining the Dark Side with fugly in-photo ads #Site News September 29 2014 | Megan Finley Horowitz meggyfin I'm either pointing at an ad or my awesome "Empire" shirt right now. Oh hey, Homies. So, are you seeing the really fugly ads at the bottom of some of our photos? Most of us in the US probably are. [Edited to clarify: the ads are geo-targeted and only shown on 50% of page loads. It's expected that not every reader will see an ad on every image.] Yeah… Ariel's been doing some real serious end-of-year entrepreneurial soul-searching, and she's come up with the conclusion that — get this — Offbeat Home & Life has gotta be a profitable subset of the Offbeat Empire. Or some shit. I'm like, "Oh look at me, I'm Ariel, I have employees depending on me, and I want my business to make money. Blahblahblah…" *fart noise* Some of you longtime Offbeat Empire readers may be like, "But I thought you guys tried and decided against in-image ads back in 2012?" You're right; here's what Ariel had to say about that then: After giving it a shot for a couple weeks, here's what I've decided to do: Remove in-image advertising from Offbeat Families and Offbeat Home & Life. (So many Offbeat Families posts are simply too sensitive for in-image photos to feel appropriate, and Offbeat Home & Life doesn't have enough traffic to make the intrusiveness of the ads feel worth it.) So, what's changed? That, my friends, is a bit of a good news/bad news thing: Offbeat Home & Life finally has enough traffic (yay!) but it's still not making enough money (boo). Related Post Offbeat Home & Life: new family, new header, new Tugboat (…wait, what?) Holy shit, you guys. It's a big day for site news. We're welcome another editor (and readers!) to the site, adding a new character to... Read more As you know, we tried taking donations . And as much as we have appreciated and love (no seriously, LOVE) your donations, there just haven't been enough of them for us to bring in sustainable revenue. At this point, we'd need 200 of you to sign up for the monthly $5 supporter option to keep Ariel from shitting ads all over your favorite website. As of right now, we have 28 monthly supporters… so 200 feels pretty far fetched. I started realizing how often I would have to be writing posts to remind/beg/threaten y'all into donating, and I felt like I'd rather serve you up the posts you love, peppered with lame in-photo ads, than continually hound you for money. So let's talk it out: Did I make the right choice? I mean, there's always the chance that we can miraculously get 200 of you to donate $5 a month. But I feel like the in-photo ads are a necessary evil to keep my (and your?) favorite site up and running, and pleasing to Darth Ariel. In other words: I'd rather see those ads than see Offbeat Home & Life go the way of Alderaan (or Offbeat Families). What about you? Reporter Name * Reporter Email * Original text Enter the original text here. Edited text* Enter your suggested copyedit here. Notes You can add a note for the editor here. * Required information. Fix Typo Megan Finley Horowitz When Megan's not writing, traveling, and sleeping, she's eating like the fate of the world depends on it. (You're welcome, world!) You can snoop into her personal life over on her website The Dash and Dine! @meggyfin @thedashanddine @meggyfin PREVIOUS Wear your insider nerdisms on the outside with these subtley geeky designs from Jordandené NEXT How do you get into LARPing? Show/Hide comments [ 63 ] I think the ads are a great idea, as long as they don't start becoming like those crazy sketchy sites that have ads that are clearly viruses, but I have faith that won't happen here. Simple math: we love Offbeat Home & Life. Offbeat Home & Life needs to sustain itself. Ads are an easy way to sustain Offbeat Home & Life. YAY ADS! =D Reply D'aw. Your simple math made my day. Thanks, Colleen. 🙂 Reply Not in the US… so I see your awesome t-shirt, Megan! (Also, very adorable spectacles.) Of course, we international Homies want OBH&L to survive too. I'll happily donate some eyeball-on-screen time to your financial upkeep, trusting that you folks will curate your ads with the same sensitivity you have shown in other marketing areas. As Colleen says, YAY ADS! Reply Sigh, I love those glasses, but they're my old ones. I had to break them out after I misplaced my newer bigger ones: Seriously, does anyone know where I put them? Reply It's probably because your new ones have those light translucent frames. Harder to see amidst the wash of colours/textures in your house. Camouflage. *nods solemnly* Maybe they are in your pile of towels in the bathroom? That's where mine always are. They get lost in the towels when I set them aside to wash my face. Reply From a UX POV – the ad doesn't show in the blog post preview on the main page, but when I click through, it does come up on the single post page. It wasn't terribly intrusive, but I don't really (right now, at this moment) recall what the ad was for, though I just saw it a second ago. I don't find them all that intrusive, so if they help the Empire, I am in support of that! Reply I don't mind them on the computer, but is there any possible way to have them removed on mobile devices? It's really hard to click the little X with my big fat thumb, and accidentally clicking on the image or the ad instead of the little tiny X uses my limited data by going to whatever it links to, then having to come back to the page again. Leaving the ad in place isn't really an option either, since on my little ol phone the ad tends to take up half the image. I really really would love to see OBH&L profitable (and am a little saddened/surprised it isn't!). Is there anything we can do besides becoming a monthly supporter? I know not everyone can afford to do so, but so many of us would love to make the site profitable. In other news, I noticed your little Octopus Ad Block Guy Thing on the side isn't there anymore. I'm on a different computer with adblock, and completely forgot about it until just now because there wasn't a friendly reminder! Edit to say I don't see ads yet in Oregon Reply Octopus Ad Block Guy Thing is still totally showing on my browser. What browser are you using? Reply I'm using Mozilla Firefox. Reply Ah, Firefox. Octopus Ad Block Guy Thing is cute, but honestly pretty hacky, and I wouldn't be surprised if Firefox has decided it doesn't want to play along. It works in Chrome and Safari, which account for 75% of our readers… but I'm not surprised if it doesn't work for the 10% of you use Firefox. :/ Reply That makes sense! I didn't think twice about the browser, since it's what my family uses as well. I have Chrome on my own laptop, but I typically just use my husband's, which has firefox. Thanks for clearing that up =] Bahaha, you're pointing at a baby 😛 Reply Haha, mine's a beer. Reply Ha! Mine's a picture of a terrified-looking woman holding what I assume is a positive pregnancy test, advertising for some new TV show called Jane the Virgin. I can't decide which of these ads is more hysterical to be matched with a picture of Megan! Reply Mine is vitamins! Reply This is all making sense… baby = beer + terrified woman with a positive preggo test + vitamins Well now I feel self conscious about the fact that all I see are AARP ads :/ Wamp womp. …you 'n' me both, Kellbot. The algorithms are onto us old ladies. We're all about AARPing and LARPing today: http://offbeathome.com/2014/09/how-do-you-get-into-larping I'm in the U.S. and I don't see the ad. Not that I'm complaining but wanted to flag it so Ariel knows. I'm in Washington, DC if that matters. We're not a state so maybe that is it — you may laugh but DC not being a state has totally messed a few online things for me (like ordering cloths online with a dropdown window for billing address *Grr. Argh.*). Reply The in-image ads are geo-targeted and only show on 50% of pageloads to avoid feeling overwhelming. This in mind, you may not be seeing an ad on this page because A) there are no campaigns currently targeted to your region, or B) you're on the "right side" of that 50%… you can try clicking around to several posts to see which one it is. tl;dr It's expected that not every reader will see an ad on every image. That's intended behavior! 🙂 Reply Not in the US, so not seeing the photo ads. So, to try and make up for it, I've just removed ad-blocker for all the Empire sites. Reply Aw! 🙂 Reply On my cellphone in California, USA no advert. I tried clicking on the pic, still no ad. If that's what keeps your site profitable and online so be it. I love OBH&L as well as it's sister sites, good luck I hope it covers it. Reply I love Offbeat Empire. I'm broke (but I sometimes do buy great products!) and can't be a sustaining member. Show me all the ads! Make money! Acknowledge that we live in capitalism, and do what makes sense and is ethical, and thrive! Love to you. J Reply Yay for making OBH&L profitable! Wow, only 28 subscribers?! I feel so special! Reply …we're now up to 29, thanks to a Homie named Josette coming on this morning. 🙂 Reply Yay Josette! Welcome to this very exclusive club. 😉 Reply Come to the dark side…we have cookies! Reply I'm happy to see the ads and to know that my favorite community will live on! Reply Clicked through Facebook app (so I still have the Facebook blue borders) and not seeing an ad Reply Ditto. I'm in Oregon on an iPhone. No ads, just that obnoxious social media sharing thing at the bottom of the page. Reply Do what you gotta do guys. Advertising is a necessary evil. Reply I was inspired by this post! Live on offbeat community! Also what everyone is saying, ads are a necessary evil. Reply For anyone who wants to know how the ads are performing, head on over to the Offbeat Empire blog: http://offbeatempire.com/in-image-ads-offbeat-home Reply I'll be waiting over in the corner to make out with or give a high-five to every single person who's like "this is okay!" Reply "This is okay!" *waits patiently* Reply THIS is okay. 😉 Reply Cool. High-five! Reply YEAH! Reply I'm so fine with this! I contribute monthly at a level that I can afford, but if this means that OBH&L will be able to continue to pump out the content that I love and crave – bring on ALL THE ADS! Reply I feel a great disturbance in the Force… as if a million comments sections suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. Seriously, if ads keep ^that from happening, bring on the ads. Wait, does this make this a diplomatic mission to Alderaan? Is Megan Princess Leia? Reply I usually think of myself as Salacious B Crumb. But today I am TOTALLY Princess Leia! 😉 Reply I am totally cool with the ads! You guys are always awesome about making sure the ads are true to the feel of the site (as least as much as is possible!), and as many others have said, I can spare a little eyeball time for ads that support a great site! Reply RE: Tugboat… I've tried to give you monies 3 times… but Tugboat no like my Canadian credit cards 🙁 But I had an amazing dream about OBH last night, where Ariel created some sort of Homie Conference out in the Washington Wilderness (I believe my brain concocted a location in Spokane, but having never been there, I don't know if that's legit). Anyway, the concept was that you could buddy up for accommodations with other Offbeat Homies in a dorm / book a double if you had Homie friends, and there were all kinds of sessions about neat things hosted by readers themselves, coupled with nature retreat. People came in via road trip and I personally chose to cross-country Amtrak. It was amazing, and I didn't want to get out of bed, because then the dream would be over, I'd lose all the dreamland friends I'd just made, and I'd have to go to work. Offbeat Home & Life Conference and Retreat 2015….??? Reply OMG I would so go to that!!! Reply Funny, I was just commenting about something related over on Offbeat Bride: http://offbeatbride.com/2014/09/offbeat-vendor-meet-ups/comment-page-1#comment-486817 Sadly, at this point, I don't know that I see an Offbeat Home & Life Con being financially viable. If only 29 readers are willing to fork over $5/mo, how many could possibly be willing to fork out hundreds of dollars for a con? That said, lots of folks use the Lovesick Expos as defacto Offbeat Cons. Advantages: they happen all over the country, only cost $10, and there's booze and boobs! Reply Here I was always thinking "damn, I wish lovesick expo was a thing when *I* was wedding planning!" but it never occurred to me to go just for the hell of it! I DO have more vacation time than I know what to do with…. *begins planning* Reply OMG, that sounded amazing. *I* would go to that! Seriously. I WISH we could pull something off like that. But… as Ariel said, Lovesick Expos are kind of the alternative, indeed. It's where you can come and get drunk and watch burlesque dancing with us. Reply It was a glorious dream…I've been really stressed at work lately, so I chalk it up to my brain taking me to a happy place — OBH in beautiful northwest nature 🙂 But burlesque also sounds amazing, so, Lovesick 2015 (because I'm too late for this year)! Reply Oh. Ok, cool. Reply I'm sorry it took this post to get me to give my 5 bucks to the Homestarmy (props if you get that reference), but at least now I can revel in the monthly warm fuzzies AND give revenue to you guys with my pageviews. Long live OBHL! Reply I'm not getting ads (yet) but, honestly, the free internet is so ad-laden I probably won't even notice them when they do come out East. If it keeps the site up, running and profitable, I'm all for it. Unlike other places, you never promised to be ad-free and that you're cluing us into it builds respect from this (do I count as long-time now?) reader. Reply I'm not seeing them – probably because I'm in Australia and also because I have adblocker turned on. Adblock is semi-okay with this – I can add in things I think are ads that it doesn't think are. But I can't select ads to allow? If I could I would block everything animated (things that pop up when I scroll, things that get in the way, they are my nemeses and I hate them) but allow the sidebar/friendly octopus ads. But I can't get that to work. So all ads are blocked because some ads interfere with being able to use the site easily 🙁 Reply I completely understand adding ads. I want ya'll to be profitable to I can keep getting my OffBeat fix everyday. On things like the luggage post today though, having it on every picture almost seems overwhelming. On the other hand, those are probably great revenue generators. For me I would scroll, get to new image, load ad, scroll to new image, load ad. It made it seem like it was loading slower. That was probably just perception though. Reply I give you full permission to enable your ad blocker on posts like that. 😉 Reply 🙂 Nah, then I would forget to turn it back off and completely defeat the purpose. I've looked at it a couple more times since the first and I think I just hit an unlucky roll on the 50/50 chance of getting an ad. On first looksy it hit on 6 of the images right in a row and a couple others spread out, but hasn't been that bad since. Overall, I think being able to, in some small way, contribute to revenue is more important. Reply I was just coming to comment about that too, but for this post from a couple months back. Ariel/Megan, is there a way to set a maximum number of ads that will open on the same page? You know I love you guys, but I had an ad pop open on every single image, and it was really distracting. I'd probably forget to re-enable AdBlocker too, so I don't think that's a solution for me. Hopefully that can be tweaked, but regardless, thanks for the transparency and making a site so great that I willingly let ads show to keep it around! Reply Yep, this was actually a bug — the tool was supposed to be set to throttle at ads showing on no more than 50%, but wasn't. It's been fixed now! Reply Not gonna lie, my new favorite internet game is "Does this ad match the article?" My favorite was the Ore-Ida tater tots ad on a healthy eating article! Reply I fell in love with offbeat families about 10 days before it went into eternal slumber 🙁 so I am 100% for ads if it means we get to keep Offbeat home and life awake and kicking. Reply Not sure if this is supposed to happen, but there are ads that are popping up outside of the pictures (they stay in the middle of the page and it's a two-click close process). I'm using Chrome. Reply Aww. Only 28 monthly supporters?! I feel like I'm in some kind of special kick-ass club now. (But seriously, it's only $5 a month people!) I'll always support the Offbeat sites, even if it's been a month since I've been online and I have to binge read five pages of posts in one afternoon. Love you guys! 🙂 Reply Join the conversation Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Subscribe me to your mailing list No-drama comment policy Part of what makes the Offbeat Empire different is our commitment to civil, constructive commenting. Make sure you're familiar with our no-drama comment policy.