I mentioned in my review of dict.cc that I loved the ability to turn off ads.
Unfortunately, now that ability is gone. There used to be a large Adsense banner across the top of the page with a link to "Remove Ad". When you clicked the link, the ad would disappear. I guess it used a cookie to remember your preference so that the next time you went to the site, the ads would be gone. Now, there are just ads on the side with no way to hide them.
The ability to disable ads is great from a visitors perspective. People already use adblock software to block ads that they don't want to see and will never click on. Allowing visitors to customize a web site is not only helpful but generous as well. This also solves the dilema of sites which want to make a bit of money but don't want to ruin the experience of their loyal visitors.
On a related note, I'm thinking of bringing back the Adsense ads (with a Remove Ads link) to see how they peform. I had taken them off back in December when I was only making a few cents per week, but my traffic situation has since changed. If anybody has any objections, speak now or forever hold your peace. :)
As you may have noticed, there are no longer ads on this site. I decided to get rid of them for a few reasons. First, they were just a big eye sore, as far as I was concerned. Second, since I don't have a whole lot of traffic (yet??), I was only making a few cents a week. I weighed the two, and decided that it just wasn't worth it. Once my traffic gets to be higher, I might put them back. But for now, you can enjoy the site in it's pure form.
I actually left the Chitika ads on the tools pages. I get quite a bit of traffic through there, and none of the visitors are regular, repeat visitors, so I'm not worried about the eyesore factor. Plus, I'm desperately waiting to earn the minimum payment amount so I can leave Chitika behind. I've been really disappointed with Chitika. I think this is because none of my websites are really geared to people who are interested in buying anything specific.
I've seen websites and blogs around that are just chock full of ads. And, I suspect, these tend to be websites that people just don't go to. I suspect there may even be a connection here, perhaps the ads tend to turn people away. Although it would be nice to be able to have the website pay for itself, that's certainly not why I made this site. It's all about balance. And since I have a day job, I can certainly afford to make this site look a bit nicer for all of you. Maybe some of you with websites can do the same for me? ;)
I'm glad Julian Bez pointed out we don't have to bother Firefox users with Adsense Firefox referals. Just yesterday, Google opened up Firefox referals for International content providers. I immediately added the banner to the Tools page of this site, and to Free Horoscope Daily, but I totally didn't think about showing Firefox users something different. Julian also outlines how to accomplish this easily with PHP. Thanks, Julian.
I started using Chitika eMiniMalls a few days ago on Free Horoscope Daily, as well as on the tools pages of this site. So far so good, it seems like a very promising ad service. The ads can be contextual like Google Adsense, but I suspect you can get them to perform better by specifying keywords to bring up the product you want.
ch_queries = new Array("ipod", "camera", "dvd player", "etc."); ch_query = ch_queries[Math.floor((Math.random()*ch_queries.length))]; ch_sid = 'Channel Prefix ' + ch_query;
This will give you channel names like "Channel Prefix camera" or "Channel Prefix ipod", etc. Of course, you can change Channel Prefix to include more information on the type of ad or location of the ad.
You could also experiment with different ad colors or sizes in a similar way, and build up the ch_sid variable to include all the variables. For example:
ch_colors = new Array("red", "blue", "green"); ch_color = ch_colors[Math.floor((Math.random()*ch_queries.length))]; ch_sid = 'My Website ' + ch_color + ' ' + ch_query;
You get the picture. Of course you can do all this with Adsense too, you would just have to set up a channel manually for every color / size / location combination, then dynamically associate the combination with it's channel ID. Quite a bit more painful though.
Have fun optimizing your ads!