#78: On Web Advertising

In this screencast I discuss online advertising. What it is, how it works, and why it isn't evil (except when it is). I talk about my experiences, the different services out there and the ones I use. Advertising is a symbiotic relationship between content websites and product/service websites. Goes with an accompanying article.


  1. User Avatar
    Thomas Offinga
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    Sweet, finally a new episode. :)

    Keep up the great work, Chris.

    • User Avatar
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      Thanks Chris! I have been curious about advertising on sites recently and this gave helpful clarity!

  2. User Avatar
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    Chris, congrats again, I am still enjoying the WordPress book. Happy New Year.

  3. User Avatar
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    Hi Chris,

    Bit in a hurry, but didn’t wanna leave without saying Hi, so a quick list:

    * 5:08 – A small glitch in the Flash-version
    * Ads on CSS-Tricks are fine. Good positioning, good relation.
    * 30:00 – There was in fact a 125×125 listed on that site xD, second from the bottom at “Banners and Buttons”, above 728×90 px
    * 31:00 – Nevermind :P
    * 39:30 – ROFL at the Bookshelf @Amazon :D :D
    * 44:20 – “They don’t pay me to advertise in the screencast, even though that’s effectively what I’m doing right now”. ;-)
    * 45:18 – “See you later, *hovers Amazon link* “Buy” ;-) (bye)


  4. User Avatar
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    Nice screencast! Shared it with my clients.

  5. User Avatar
    Mike Madison
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    Hey Chris,

    I see your back in firefox? couldnt live with out firebug… thats the same problem I am having switching to google chrome

  6. User Avatar
    Ben Scobie
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    Great screencast! I learnt a lot :)

  7. User Avatar
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    dude you are so fucking real!

    i love the way you talk about stuff, you really break it down and discuss it with yourself so that it’s so easy to learn from you.

    i think is particularly good as it’s a massive area of websites and i agree that it’s not all evil at all. in fact i think it’s almost essential for us to continue making sites for others and working so hard to maintain them.

    gangsta shit dude.


  8. User Avatar
    Bob Kazak
    Permalink to comment#

    Hey Chris, screen resolutions back in the day were a big factor in determining ad size. The BBC’s site from 1997 to 2003 pretty much had the same overall dimensions. My best guess is over the 6+ years that 800×600 was dominant marketers determined those weird ad sizes to be the most effective on those displays. According to W3Schools the resolution was still a big player in 2007. Probably popular with middle-aged folks who are more likely to buy junk affiliate promoted diet products.

  9. User Avatar
    Ben Williams
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    Who drinks pepsi?
    Coke for the win!

  10. User Avatar
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    No problem ,your adds are interesting and related to our needs !I’ve found about some of the greatest product that I now love to use,through your adds .for example (FOXY CART) I LOVE IT!

    • User Avatar
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      ditto here. I found Foxycart through this site too, and now use it regularly. And love it!

  11. User Avatar
    Jon Mackay
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    Chris, your videos are great informative and entertaining .

  12. User Avatar
    Benjamin Mayo
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    Actually, Google does read your JS. It has to, to check for cloaking (such as changing text colour to match the background in javascript) purposes. I believe even if you block javascript files in robot.txt, it’ll crawl it for blackhat purposes.

    Therefore, it is very likely that Google has detected use of BuySellAds. However, it will not penalize for that because Google discounts them, they’re still recognized however.

    Penalized text-links are raw HTML, or inserted via JS, that are not nofollow and are for the sole purpose that others have paid for them to be their. Examples include DIY ways, aswell as things like TextLinkAds in the past and I believe the TLA issue still applies.

    On another note, how on earth do you get that nicer Google layout? Me wantz dat now.

  13. User Avatar
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    thank you Chris

  14. User Avatar
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    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for all the great content and screencasts! I’d have to definitely agree with “@silvers” in that you really provide information in an easy-to-understand fashion. Even though I’ve done design for a few years now, I learned SO much more by just going through your site and reading your posts, and (especially) watching your screencasts throughout the past few days. You truly provide a great product!

    Although this screencast isn’t really heavy on CSS/design like our previous ones, you still present the topic in an interesting way — and I am finally caught up with all your screencasts. Whew!

    Thanks so much for these!



  15. User Avatar
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    Thanks Chris. Definitely enjoy how down to earth and informational these videos are.

  16. User Avatar
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    The screencast actually doesn’t show up in iTunes (Mobile feed). It can be found on the RSS feed but the media enclosure is missing and thus probably nothing showing up in iTunes.

    • User Avatar
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      Hmmm… That’s odd. I watched this screencast in iTunes.

    • User Avatar
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      Which version of the feed? Are you subscribed to the iPhone shows? Didn’t show up for me … maybe there’s something wrong with my iTunes. Noticed weird stuff for other show as well?

    • User Avatar
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      Nothing on iTunes (mobile version) for me too. Hope Chris fixes it…

    • User Avatar
      Chris Coyier
      Permalink to comment#

      I think I just fixed it. Hopefully it’ll pop into iTunes in the next few hours.

    • User Avatar
      Permalink to comment#

      Thanks for the fix Chris! Downloading through iTunes right now. Can’t wait to get my fix of CSS-Tricks screencast ;-)

  17. User Avatar
    Alex Leiphart
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    Very informative. I would use BuySellAds for my tech blog (not personal) but I am more focused on content, though. AdSense provides ease of use. I just don’t have the time to do custom things.

  18. User Avatar
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    Thanks Chris…. Informative stuff

  19. User Avatar
    Video Productions FILMgauge
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    Great video, nice edit and very well explained

  20. User Avatar
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    I dunno how you manage to do it, all these screen-casts are published perfectly in the time, I’m looking for help with something.

    I just applied for Adsense, and voila an advertising screencast.

    Great Job Chris!

  21. User Avatar
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    I enjoy all of your screencasts and have learned more in the few months of watching your videos than I have in 10 years of web design. CSS-Tricks is awesome!

    I share your views on advertising.

  22. User Avatar
    Aslam Najeebdeeen
    Permalink to comment#

    Really cool!
    Thanks a lot Chris!Keep it up!

  23. User Avatar
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    interesting video! thanks

  24. User Avatar
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    I miss your css jquery tutorials here.
    but nice topic on Web advertising.

  25. User Avatar
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    Thank you very much for these screencasts. You have a good way of explaining things.

    Keep up the good work!

  26. User Avatar
    Ryan Bollenbach
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    Another great screen cast!

    The next client project I’m working on will require a high level of knowledge about advertising. I felt this video really pointed me in the right direction to get started.

    I also want to implement some of these concepts into my current sites: ex. google custom search + affiliate books.

    Great work, keep crushing it man!

  27. User Avatar
    Permalink to comment#

    Hi Cris,
    I am writing just to introduce myself. My name is Louie , and I also have a blog in the SEO, Web Develepment and Blog Tips niche.
    The URL is http://www.dreamhousewebsolutions.com
    I found your content very interesting, and I will definitely be recommending it to my readers.
    Your site Rocks!
    Best wishes,

  28. User Avatar
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    (20:00 ish) So your saying we should all just do searches and click on all the ad-sense links to you can make some money? lol Also i’ve never seen google look like that, it’s always so plain, how is this achieved? Anyway, Great vid Chris!

  29. User Avatar
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    Excellent screencast once again. I’m on a mission to watch all of ’em!

    I’ll definitely be checking out the ‘Digging into WordPress’ affiliate thing.

    I can’t tell you how helpful listening to someone talking knowledgeably about this stuff is.

    ps. I signed up to become an affiliate for AMSU but haven’t had a response yet!

  30. User Avatar
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    A little bit of personal question but it will help a lot, how much do you earn from the ads and how much traffic are you getting.

  31. User Avatar
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    Thank you man, there is no problem with the site advertising, you must be paid someway for this great job.

  32. User Avatar
    Johan Nilsson
    Permalink to comment#


    You make a good point for the symbiosis between content providers and product providers.

    I have been a long-standing opponent of plugins like AdBlock, but now I have installed it mainly because of YouTube ads. I feel bad for hindering the content providers I enjoy to make money, but the reason why I block YouTube ads is that they are so god damn loud compared to the video I’m watching.

    Oftentimes I merely listen to YouTube videos in the background (I mainly view discussion panels or debates) while I’m working or doing other stuff. If I wear headphones I dislike to once in a while get my eardrums destroyed by very loud ads. If YouTube was doing some kind of audio leveling, it wouldn’t be a problem anymore for me.

    I also very much dislike animated ads that start playing audio when I mouse over them.

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