HTs on Global/Banner ads

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Keywords: (banner ads)
From: HT-Tjecken (12365932.6) as reply to (?)
To: Everyone 7.1.2009 at 15:22
That's naturally not at all acceptable, since HT is a site one keeps open on the background all the time. That's probably also what the developers want, so you should directly contact GMs and inform that the ad should be removed.

Indeed, use the contact form and provide the GMs with details, ideally the URL to the offensive ad. That's the quickest way to get the information to the HTs, much quicker than posting on Global.
We got a whole bunch of bad ads from the banner networks during the holidays, and we've naturally removed the bad ones as soon as we got information about them. It looks that there are some more around, so as GM-coyotik says - please report them to the GMs.

Keywords: (banner ads)
From: HT-Johan (14542032.12) as reply to (14542032.1)
To: Charles_Darwin 4.12.2010 at 19:32
Almost all our banners come to us through ad networks, actually through an aggregator of ad networks which means we are several steps removed from the source. This does not mean that we have no control over what kind of campaigns that are shown on Hattrick, we do, but it does mean that our control is both indirect and that we seldom can make immediate changes if something unpalatable pops up.

All the obvious things - porn, illegal stuff, scams and viruses - are of course blocked from the networks from the get go. Even so, sometimes things that are inappropriate can slip through, and that is why we have the banner report function.

In my experience, the things that get reported are often virus scares that more often that not are triggered by spyware on the user's computer, which we can't really affect, or that users simply don't agree with a certain advertiser or design of a banner, even though it markets a perfectly legitimate product. This is a vast grey zone and very hard to screen beforehand, but it does happen that we remove such campaigns if they are too annoying.

While the campaigns you quote most probably promise way too much than they can fulfill, I really doubt they are actually scams in the sense that they will install spyware or steal your personal data. That would violate every publishing agreement on the networks, and if any such campaign were posted on these networks, they would be closed down quickly. If it's just a matter of bad taste, then it's another matter of course. That is harder to spot in an automatic process.

Keywords: (banner ads)
From: HT-Johan (14542032.29) as reply to (14542032.20)
To: Charles_Darwin 5.12.2010 at 14:34
But is there no way that you can find a better source of ads where you are in total control of what appears on your site?

Can you not get a marketing guru involved who can manage your ads by directly selling ad space to companies?

We've been through a few phases. We've tried to sell direct - it is really difficult for a site like ours, because while we are a big site "in total", the ad market is local and you basically sell banners country by country, and in that perspective Hattrick is too small to get the attention of high-quality media buyers. We have to bundle up with networks, so that those media buyers can place a campaign across many sites in one go - target "football lovers in Europe" for example.

It also makes sense to do this because we are bad salespeople, and because we don't enjoy sales, and because selling direct would force us to spend a lot of time implementing and maintaining all sorts of costly statistics and analysis software (often certified by third parties) which is quite costly.

We've also tried to forego banners and just find one or a few bigger, but relevant, sponsors in stead - but that has other problems, such as them always wanting "creative" ways of integrating into the site, none of which are too pleasing to us or to our users. We have done a few of those but I have literally turned downs hundreds of proposals over the years.

I'm actually more positive to banners now than in a long time since we recently switched networks to something that seems to give better campaigns overall. The stuff you are talking about is most likely "fillers", campaigns that don't pay too well but fill up inventory when the real campaigns are used up. I think it would be impossible to pre-screen these or to block the,m on basis of "taste", but you should certainly report stuff that you don't think is acceptable, for whatever reason, and that does reach us and helps us make decisions about how to curate the networks we allow on the site. Maybe it is also possible to limit fillers by us placing in-house campaigns as a replacement for them, I don't think they attract much revenue so there is absolutely no reason for us to cling to them. But it all boils down to what is possible in practice, as we don't have the time to keep track of each individual banner or advertiser, we will only ever have time to tweak the rules for that campaigns come onto the site.

No one loves banners and it is not much fun defending them, but we've always had them and I don't think it is unfair that users that play the game for free are exposed to a little advertising.