Bil Browning

Political ads on Bilerico Project

Filed By Bil Browning | October 25, 2010 11:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Site News
Tags: bad advertising, Google, Republican ads

Gang, the silly season is upon us. Political ads are on your TV, the radio and they're all over the internet. In fact, one of the most popular forms of political advertising now comes to us via the ubiquitous Google ad.

donkelphant_money.jpgWe use Google to fill some of our ad spaces. If we haven't directly sold the space ourselves, we use a third party ad service to generate some more pennies for the site. In fact, we use three ad services and Google is the default "If no one else has something better" service that gets what's called "the remnants" - the remaining ad spaces that would go unfilled.

During election season, Google serves up tons of political ads and they target them based on the reader's location, previous Google searches, the page's content, etc. If you're in Oregon, you're going to see local races' ads that someone in Des Moines will never see. This makes it almost impossible for us to know exactly what ads are running since we can serve up literally hundreds of different ads each day based on the different mysterious Google calculations.

So what should you do when you see a Republican ad running on Bilerico Project - especially if the ad is for an anti-gay candidate? The answer is after the jump.

With so many ads running via Google, it's impossible for us to track down and zap them all the last week before the election. We'd spend hours trying to make everyone happy and without some basic information those ads are damn near impossible to spot amongst all the others (like the "Shoot the Apples" ad that's at the top of the page as I write this post). Usually we'll kill offensive ads right away, but this time of year it's almost impossible.

According to the Google Terms of Service, I'm not allowed to tell visitors to click on the ads in an effort to increase our cash flow. That's against the rules.

I will say that these campaigns spend big bucks on Google ads anymore and they do it for a reason. Each click on their ad only costs them 50 cents to a dollar at most and while their ad might be shown a half a bazillion times, not everyone will click though. The ad still makes an impression on the user though so they're getting their message out on the cheap.

The payout for the site owner isn't huge by any means either. We get a few pennies each time someone clicks on an advertisement. You'll see tons of websites that have Google ads everywhere but since the service doesn't actually pay you until you've built up $100 worth of revenue, there's quite a few bloggers and site owners that never get a penny from the service; they never break that $100 mark since they're only making a few pennies a day at most.

Still, how often is it that you can help drain a political campaign's cash supply right before an election? Each time you click their ads when you see them on blogs and other sites, you cost the advertiser money. If enough people are clicking on a campaign's ads, you can really suck down some of their advertising budget.

So when you see a Republican or anti-gay ad on Bilerico Project, click it. Don't do it for us - we don't make much when you do. Do it for the political statement. Do it so it takes some of the money that Republicans are willing to spend so they can fight against us and put it in the pockets of the site owners who are actively working on behalf of progressive issues like LGBT rights.

The payout for the site owners isn't much, but the satisfaction for the subversive political scheme is immense.


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Well. Now there will be a spike in clickthroughs from Bilerico Project. Google's magical data mining algorithms will notice and your site will be flagged for review. The reviewer will find this post, which is clearly against the "don't tell people to click ads" rule, and you will be banned from Google Ads for life.

Which is fine if you have other revenue sources. Just, in case you didn't know, that's what's gonna happen...

Sorry, I do not want to see anti-gay candidates advertised here at all, under any circumstances. I do not visit gay sites for insults from our enemies like that.

Hate to say it but AndreaC is right. Could you afford to just go ad-free for a week?

Funny you mentioned Des Moines since I'm there.Let me inform any possible readers in Oregon what they've been missing for advertising.Lot's and lot's of Sarah Palin and Chuck Grassly so much so I feel like I'm stuck in some weird ass form of reparitive therapy.

Blah. I'm still getting ads about looking at which way the dancer is turning. I'd rather have conservative political ads, because it's not like i'm going to vote for those people anyway.

@AndreaC and Tyler: Personally, I think Bilerico should go one better, and hire a small team of software gurus (Jerame can farm this out quite efficiently, I expect) to develop a downloadable software package that we can all download and use on our Internet clients. The software package is an auto-click-on-the-ad-we-hate-especially-SarahPac.com and it refreshes the Bilerico home page at the end of every page load. Then it scans the loaded page for click-thrus for the ads we particularly hate (SarahPac, are you reading this?) and generates an internal click-thru for each of those ads. When the target page completes loading, the software automatically returns the client's browser back to the Bilerico home page and the cycle begins again.

We can all run this app on our PC's while we are off doing other things, such as going to lunch or getting our 8-hour beauty sleep every night or running out to order a box-car full of rainbow cupcakes. When Bilerico receives a check from Google for thousands of dollars, Bil can send Sarah a nice Thank-You note ... and maybe even a dozen rainbow cupcakes.