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Old 20th October 2008, 04:53 PM   #1
shayes666
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Is Phil Plait promoting woo!?...

Well of course NO he is not, but I do find some of the ads that pop up at the top of his Bad Astronomy blog to be pretty interesting. Here's the latest one that has been popping up on the main page:

http : //i130.photobucket.com/albums/p260/shayes666/WarningPhil.jpg

Priceless!

Sorry about the jacked up link, but I have not made enough posts to include an actual link. Besides you're all smart folks, I'm sure you'll know what to do

Last edited by shayes666; 20th October 2008 at 04:54 PM. Reason: my grammar sucks ass!
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Old 20th October 2008, 06:03 PM   #2
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Old 20th October 2008, 06:12 PM   #3
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Ahh, excellent! Thank you Alareth!
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Old 20th October 2008, 06:20 PM   #4
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It's a random ad server. It happens. Some of us get used to it.
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Old 20th October 2008, 07:07 PM   #5
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Tim Farley was interviewed as part of a recent Skepticality podcast. Episode #84, I think. He discusses some interesting stuff about advertising on the web, and how we can keep the Woo out. Well worth a listen.

Chris
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Old 20th October 2008, 08:13 PM   #6
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Yeah, I think that was the episode I missed due to various problems. I'll have to go back to the archives.
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Old 20th October 2008, 08:25 PM   #7
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Phil and ppl in comment threads on skeptic websites need to learn how to use

Code:
<a href="anti-skeptical-website.com" rel="nofollow"
If you do this, google does not make a connection between the webiste linked and the website linked from. It should help.
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Old 20th October 2008, 08:29 PM   #8
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Afterthought:

I think all forums should have a feature where you can use bbcode "[nfurl=badsite.com]bad link[/nfurl], so that the bbcode-to-html conversion adds the "rel="nofollow" attribute to the generated link.

This is also an argument against automatic linkification.
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Old 20th October 2008, 08:52 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by shayes666 View Post
Well of course NO he is not, but I do find some of the ads that pop up at the top of his Bad Astronomy blog to be pretty interesting.
I've contacted Phil about this in the past; it doesn't bother him. This lot looks great as well:

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Old 21st October 2008, 02:26 AM   #10
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Jeff Wagg has asked that any such links be sent to him and he will get them removed.
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Old 21st October 2008, 06:46 AM   #11
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Another way to look at this is as follows:

Those woo-woo websites had to pay to place that ad. The payment they made helps support the cost of running Phil's website or this website.

The ads were almost certainly useless given the audience of these two websites. We know better, and Phil's readers know better. The woo's ad budget is finite, and they just wasted part of it.

So essentially, by those ad appearing the skeptic movement has taken money away from a woo-woo and made it work to skeptical purposes by supporting us.

Viewed that way, this is a very good thing.
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Old 21st October 2008, 07:03 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
It's a random ad server. It happens. Some of us get used to it.
Personally, I find such ads detract from the credibility of the site. There must be a better way.


M.
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Old 21st October 2008, 07:10 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Moochie View Post
Personally, I find such ads detract from the credibility of the site. There must be a better way.


M.

Same here.
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Old 21st October 2008, 07:11 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Moochie View Post
Personally, I find such ads detract from the credibility of the site. There must be a better way.
M.
Agreed. Not everyone knows that the ads are random, and NOT chosen by the website creators.

Chris
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Old 21st October 2008, 08:53 AM   #15
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I wonder if that homeopathy ad explains a rant I just got from a woman I stopped dating recently. She called me a hypocrite for supporting Randi (who she insists promotes homeopathy) while being against homeopathy myself.

When I stopped dating her, I explained we didn't have enough in common and cited her beliefs in homeopathy, accupuncture and chiropractic as part of the problem.
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Old 21st October 2008, 10:12 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by krelnik View Post
The ads were almost certainly useless given the audience of these two websites. We know better, and Phil's readers know better. The woo's ad budget is finite, and they just wasted part of it.
I don't agree on the uselessness part from the advertisers' perspective at all.

Members here won't even see the ads, and even then, not all members are anti-. Taking search traffic, how about someone who types in "debunking homeopathy"? This forum appears at #9 on the list. Said punter thinks, "Oh, Randi, I've heard of him, what does he have to say?....... He supports it, he's selling the stuff!"

If I were a homeopathy salesman, I could think of no more appropriate place to advertise than the fools who debunk the stuff.

Credibility for the debunker = 0.

I note that you don't use Adsense yourself, despite supporting then here.

And how about that "Make $400k a year" ad?

How many people will click on that stuff thinking Randi's okayed it? It appears on his site inbetween two pics of the old fella - if I were a n00b, I'd probably think Randi had approved it.

Originally Posted by krelnik View Post
So essentially, by those ad appearing the skeptic movement has taken money away from a woo-woo and made it work to skeptical purposes by supporting us.

Viewed that way, this is a very good thing.
Sure, if money's the most important thing, I agree.

Unfortunately, it's precisely because those things make so much money that they survive.

In return for the little money, I think the balance of lost credibility for Randi and gained credibility for the homeopathy/other garbage purveyor well and truly loses for scepticism. Hypocrisy, which it undoubtedly is, is the very least of it all.

Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
I wonder if that homeopathy ad explains a rant I just got from a woman I stopped dating recently. She called me a hypocrite for supporting Randi (who she insists promotes homeopathy) while being against homeopathy myself.
Hard to argue really.

Just make sure when you have sex with a homeopathy supporter that you tell her you use homepathic condoms.
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Old 21st October 2008, 06:23 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by GuerrillaMagic View Post
Agreed. Not everyone knows that the ads are random, and NOT chosen by the website creators.
I was about to say that people couldn't possibly be that stupid. Then I stopped and whacked myself over the head with a two-by-four.
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Old 21st October 2008, 06:34 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by The Atheist View Post
I note that you don't use Adsense yourself, despite supporting then here.
I never said I supported its use here. I proposed "another way to look at this".

I think you have an interesting point about people drawing the wrong conclusions from the ads. I'm not sure I totally agree, but its worthy of consideration.

I've been doing some research as part of my skeptools project on better ways to deal with this problem. Nothing to report now, but I'll continue the research.
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Old 21st October 2008, 07:04 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by GuerrillaMagic View Post
Agreed. Not everyone knows that the ads are random, and NOT chosen by the website creators.

Chris
Actually, the ads aren't random. It's just crappy context recognition on the account of Google.
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Old 21st October 2008, 09:31 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by technoextreme View Post
Actually, the ads aren't random. It's just crappy context recognition on the account of Google.
It's done by keyword. Adsense searches the site for certain keywords, then feeds a random ad that matches the keyword/s. Not totally random, no, but mostly.
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Old 22nd October 2008, 10:01 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
It's done by keyword. Adsense searches the site for certain keywords, then feeds a random ad that matches the keyword/s. Not totally random, no, but mostly.
Well, not random at all, really.

Being the lucky recipient of lots of Google sales e mails, they harp on incessantly how the ads match the content, and it's pretty bloody obvious by looking at the ads and where they appear.

I search newspaper articles on fuel-savers and the newspaper pages are full of adverts for the worst scams.

Search for homeopathy and the page returns will carry ads for homeopaths.

Run a forum dedicated to debunking psychics, astrologers and homeopaths, you are going to be flooded with ads for psychics, astrologers and homeopaths. As to Jeff Wagg thinking he can King Canute Google Adsense, good luck!

The ads themselves are old news. The question is whether they matter. Personally, I think it's the height of hypocrisy and an admission of defeat, but that's just me.
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Old 22nd October 2008, 02:00 PM   #22
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Thumbs up

Originally Posted by Moochie View Post
Personally, I find such ads detract from the credibility of the site. There must be a better way.


M.
By now just about everybody in this forum has seen the strangest things advertised on the sites our enquiries lead us to.
If some-one can finance their site from the world of woowoo all power to their arm
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Old 22nd October 2008, 03:11 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by George152 View Post
By now just about everybody in this forum has seen the strangest things advertised on the sites our enquiries lead us to.
If some-one can finance their site from the world of woowoo all power to their arm
Really?

That does sound like surrender - there are loads of sites making truckloads off internet advertising of psychics and astrology. If they keep paying for advertising, that should be a dead giveaway that it works.

Funny this topic is current here - only last week I explained to a friend who wants to earn some Google dollars why he should put up some pages about psychics, which attracts both searches and Google psychic ads, which women click on as though the secret to orgasm was at the other end.

Shouldn't the alternative view prevail among sc/keptics? That we won't take and don't need Sylvia Browne's money? (And if it looks like we do need it, at least try to be a little creative and find an alternative means of funding. Aren't we supposed to be the brainy ones?)
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Old 3rd March 2009, 12:16 PM   #24
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Well, the Bad Astronomer was on C2C again last night. It was awesome, especially when Noory discovered that he was the president of the JREF. I was wondering if anyone else listened last night, and if they thought that the whole tone of the segment changed after that revelation? As soon as it was revealed Noory decided to drill him about whether or not he believed in God, or aliens...etc. His answers were good, although I got the impression at one point that Noory made him admit to being an agnostic rather than an atheist...

anyway...
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Old 3rd March 2009, 12:18 PM   #25
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AdSense needs to provide a better service to prevent against this type of thing, such as blocking of topics - in this case, "numerology". The way it currently works is you just have to put the URL's of every ad you don't like on the block list, which is cumbersome.
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Old 3rd March 2009, 12:40 PM   #26
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An unfortunate consequence of giving up control of the code that generates your ads on your blog is, your webmaster probably doesn't have your ideological interests at heart. Go ahead and complain to the webmaster of discovermagazine.com, but there's not all that much Phil can do by himself.
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Old 3rd March 2009, 01:53 PM   #27
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What are these ads you speak of?
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Old 3rd March 2009, 06:48 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by The Atheist View Post
I've contacted Phil about this in the past; it doesn't bother him. This lot looks great as well:

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s...eist/randi.jpg
http://chainsawsuit.com/20090203.shtml
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Old 3rd March 2009, 07:49 PM   #29
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You have it backwards. Cents (or millicents) from the woo ad is supporting Phil.

The irony is fine by me, as long as the checks cash.
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Old 8th March 2009, 08:01 PM   #30
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If you want to blame someone, blame Discover. Phil is using their website and it is hard to expect that he has any control over this. It is kind of a mistake on Discover's part, because if they were using more targeted advertising with regard to Phil's site, they would make more ad revenue.
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Old 8th March 2009, 09:54 PM   #31
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Quote:
AdSense needs to provide a better service to prevent against this type of thing, such as blocking of topics - in this case, "numerology". The way it currently works is you just have to put the URL's of every ad you don't like on the block list, which is cumbersome.
Worse than cumbersome. It's impossible. You're limited to 200 URLs, and there is no way to tell if one you've put on the list is still active or not.

When I first put adwords on my site I was deluged with inappropriate ads. I quickly filled up my 200 URL limit, and they kept coming. So I just put a note on the site about inappropriate ads and left them there. And imedatly started making more adsense revenue.

When you see a woefully inappropriate ad, the best thing to do is click on it. The advertisers pay for clicks, so you're sucking money out of their pockets and giving some of it to the site.
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