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Old 6th Apr 2011, 10:25   #1
TWeaK
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Intellitxt adverts

As I've mentioned in the comments of a couple of the reviews, Bit-Tech appear to have started using Intellitxt adverts in their articles. In the past, you guys had a poll on this and it was decided that you wouldn't use them as everyone here was strongly against them.

The comments in the article appear to have been brushed off, with Lizard claiming it was 'a new ad service called Vibrant that replaced Skimlinks' - this is in spite of the fact that the screenshots I took clearly show the ad server as 'bit-tech.uk.intellitxt.com'.

The adverts appear to be intermittant - one minute they're there and the next they're somewhere else - but one thing is for sure: they're bloody annoying and they cover up the text of the article you want to read.

Here's a collection of some of the screenshots I've captured from various articles recently:











Now, in spite of this seemingly being brushed under the rug, I'd like to ask for your comment on this matter directly. Has Bit-Tech's policy on Intellitxt changed? If so, why has it been done behind closed doors, with no consultation of the community?
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Old 6th Apr 2011, 11:29   #2
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I thought the reason we kind of agreed to Skimlinks was that the links themselves were reasonably unobtrusive, and that the pop-ups were relatively small text only jobbies.

Aside from the whole "Skimlinks on the forum" furore, the problem, as I seem to remember it, was that the ads served were all US-based and so not relevant to a UK or European market. I'm guessing they didn't manage to resolve that issue, and so moved back to crappy old IntelliTXT ads instead - despite, as you say, the fact that we'd voted against them on two previous occasions. But that was when Tim was in charge, things are much different now.

I'm not averse to advertising, bit-tech is one of the few whitelisted sites in ABP, but I have a few problems with intelliTXT.

For a start, the sheer obtrusiveness of it - the big, green, double-underlined links, and the large pop-ups that appear when you (inadvertently) hover over the link.

Worse than that, though, is the fact that intelliTXT just looks unprofessional. If you look for other sites that use it, they'll tend to be the cheapest, crappiest, sleaziest websites around. Does bit-tech really want to be associated with those types of site?

Moreover, does bit-tech really think that so little of its users (some of whom, like me, have been visiting this site for years) that they're willing to ignore what we want and think of the site? Has bit-tech gone from being an enthusiast site to being just another cash cow for Felix Dennis?

I'm guessing that nothing has changed with the views of the users, and that we'd still be as vehemently against intelliTXT ads as we were last time they reared their ugly, double-underlined heads. The main difference is that we don't have Tim to fight for our views any more.

I'm not saying that bit should stop all advertising, but what I am saying is that there must be other, better (and more professional-looking) ways of generating revenue...?
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Old 6th Apr 2011, 12:52   #3
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It was agreed in the last thread, that they would stay, but, they would not appear in the forums, as they did last time, and the colours and font would be changed, to make it easier to spot them in a wall of text.

Sam

Edit:
Ok, So it seems i've mixed Skimlinks and Intellitxt, but they both do the same thing from my understanding.

Edit 2:
Bit-tech/CPC are owned by Dennis Group, and not the community. As much as i dislike Dennis, it does at least ensure the Bit-tech community can remain.
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Old 6th Apr 2011, 13:22   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flibblebot
For a start, the sheer obtrusiveness of it - the big, green, double-underlined links, and the large pop-ups that appear when you (inadvertently) hover over the link.
I prefer the fact that they are double underlined and green, as that helps differentiate them from the actual links the author has included in the articles.
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Old 6th Apr 2011, 13:37   #5
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I want to also make it clear that I'm not against Bit-Tech using advertising, nor advertising in general. I don't actually use an ad-blocker, although this incident is making me seriously consider getting one (particularly now that Opera has extension support).

What really bothers me and would lead me to block ads on Bit-Tech is the fact that these adverts obscure the article. I didn't mind the Skimlinks other than the fact they looked almost identical to every other link (they were a slightly different shade of blue). I'm not too fussed about the Intellitxt links being double underlined or green either, but when I inadvertently run my mouse cursor over the link and a popup comes along and interrupts my reading, that's when I get annoyed.

I could care less about the material being advertised alongside the articles as I'm very unlikely to be interested in them anyway. What I take issue with is the fact that this advertising is detracting from the experience I come to this website for.

@samkiller42: Skimlinks and Intellitxt are quite different, really. Skimlinks was just a link to an advert relavent to a word in the text. Intellitxt does the same thing, only when you hover your mouse over the link one of those pop-up adverts comes up and (usually) covers a chunk of text around it.

Last edited by TWeaK; 6th Apr 2011 at 13:45.
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Old 6th Apr 2011, 14:06   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TWeaK View Post
What really bothers me and would lead me to block ads on Bit-Tech is the fact that these adverts obscure the article. I didn't mind the Skimlinks other than the fact they looked almost identical to every other link (they were a slightly different shade of blue). I'm not too fussed about the Intellitxt links being double underlined or green either, but when I inadvertently run my mouse cursor over the link and a popup comes along and interrupts my reading, that's when I get annoyed.
I think the thing most folks (me included) objected to with Skimlinks was that you couldn't discern them from ordinary links - once they were greened up I had no problem.

As far as IntelliTXT goes, why not just avoid hovering your mouse over the place while reading? Fairly simple solution imo.
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Old 6th Apr 2011, 15:36   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Krikkit View Post
As far as IntelliTXT goes, why not just avoid hovering your mouse over the place while reading? Fairly simple solution imo.
But that requires a conscious change to the normal web browsing behaviour that IntelliTXT relies on to generate views. That is the almost disregard many have to where the mouse pointer is when they're reading, or jump scanning the page and then they accidentally activating a link which is like someone shouting "Sucker" at you.

They are unfortunately associated with the more "seedy" side of web advertising as they rely on this "Ha ha gotcha, I bet you didn't mean to bring this advert up" method of delivery compared to the "Look at me me I'm a bloody big side bar advert" method which I think everyone accepts as a necessity.

They generate the same feeling in people as Pop-ups, Pop-unders and on page ads that start maximised, animated, noisy with a "I'm hiding from you" cancel button.

That's why we hate them.
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Old 6th Apr 2011, 15:46   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flibblebot View Post
...Has bit-tech gone from being an enthusiast site to being just another cash cow for Felix Dennis?
That should be a given - it's pretty much a rule of acquisition that anyone paying for a site will do so with the intention of squeezing money out of it.
Quote:
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...The main difference is that we don't have Tim to fight for our views any more.
But you do have ABP - perhaps it's time to give that whitelist a shakeup?
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Old 6th Apr 2011, 16:42   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TWeaK View Post
The comments in the article appear to have been brushed off, with Lizard claiming it was 'a new ad service called Vibrant that replaced Skimlinks' - this is in spite of the fact that the screenshots I took clearly show the ad server as 'bit-tech.uk.intellitxt.com'.
Sorry if my earlier comment sounded like a brush-off - I simply hadn't seen that Vibrant was the new brand name for Intellitext Hopefully you'll see (by my responding here) that we are listening to you guys, the readers of bit-tech/gamer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TWeaK View Post
Now, in spite of this seemingly being brushed under the rug, I'd like to ask for your comment on this matter directly. Has Bit-Tech's policy on Intellitxt changed?
To answer your question directly; yes and no

We (the editorial team behind bit-tech/gamer) would much prefer not to have advertising services such as Vibrant/Intellitext and Skimlinks on our two websites as they are detrimental to the reading experience.

However, bit-tech/gamer doesn't exist in a commerical vacuum.

It takes a lot of time and money to produce bit-tech/gamer and as we don't charge subscriptions to read our articles we have to gather in money in other ways; principally advertising.

And as display advertising (the banners, skyscrapers etc) doesn't bring in sufficient revenue, the suits have decided to use other methods of advertising, in this particular case Vibrant/Intellitext.

At the very least though, you can clearly see (it's double underlined in green) if a link is a staff one (i.e. to another page or article) or an Vibrant/Intellitext ad so you can choose whether to hover over it, let alone click on it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TWeaK View Post
If so, why has it been done behind closed doors, with no consultation of the community?
In short because we were not consulted either. The team that's responsible for hosting bit-tech/gamer simply switched on Vibrant/Intellitext without telling us.

Last edited by Lizard; 6th Apr 2011 at 17:00.
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Old 6th Apr 2011, 20:38   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lizard View Post
...

At the very least though, you can clearly see (it's double underlined in green) if a link is a staff one (i.e. to another page or article) or an Vibrant/Intellitext ad so you can choose whether to hover over it, let alone click on it.
hmmm seemed to only be singly underlined on chrome, until your mouse goes over them, then they become doubly underlined. I say seemed as I've now remembered to block the annoying pop ups again.
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Old 6th Apr 2011, 21:35   #11
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hmmm seemed to only be singly underlined on chrome, until your mouse goes over them, then they become doubly underlined. I say seemed as I've now remembered to block the annoying pop ups again.
Sorry about that, they should at least be in green, whereas editorial links are blue?
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Old 6th Apr 2011, 21:59   #12
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I don't mind them at all and I am glad that Dennis/Bit-Tech is making the required revenue without reverting to skimlinks. At least intellitext is obviously an advert.

I believe Bit does listen to us as proven by the skimlinks fiasco, I thought that the general consensus was to not have the links in the forums, identifiable as ads and different from user inserted links. Intellitext ticks all these boxes.
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Old 6th Apr 2011, 22:35   #13
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That was the consensus with regards to Skimlinks, however long before that Intellitxt was suggested and flatly refuted by the vast majority here. I'm not going to let myself be so short-sighted as to change my opinion based on dealing with a less developed alternative to Intellitxt.

Yes, it may be possible to avoid the links by being more careful where I put my mouse cursor, but then it's much easier to just not read any of the articles and remove Bit-Tech from the tabs that open with my browser. If not, rather than cut my nose off to spite my face, I'll be getting an ad blocker program and not whitelisting Bit-Tech. Either way, the website will actually earn less revenue from my browsing than before Intellitxt's introduction.

I understand the need to find new sources of revenue to keep the website going. I also understand the amount of pressure that can be put on you guys by the powers that be. Surely, though, they must be able to see that it's the people who visit the website who bring in the revenue, and that many of these people are smart, discerning folk who don't want a cheap reading experience littered with pop-ups that every other website and their dogs has. Bit-Tech has a reputation of being a step above the rest, and I'd hate to see that reputation slip.

I get the feeling that you guys here have little say in this matter, which is a huge shame, really. If the management of this website is so disconnected from it's readership I can't see things getting any better in the long run.
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Old 12th Apr 2011, 19:41   #14
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It looked like the adverts had gone since my last post, but now it appears they are back with a vengance. As such, I've installed NoAds and removed Bit-Tech from my exceptions list. As I normally have several Bit-Tech tabs open each and every time my browser is started, this will be a fairly significant drop in views for your ad services.

If Intellitxt adverts are removed, I'll whitelist BT. Until then I won't be supporting Dennis in any way, direct or indirect.

As an aside, just before I installed the ad blocker I had a problem that I remember being a real issue for me with Intellitxt. It's not the fact that I can't avoid a green, double underlined link when moving across the screen, but when I scroll through an article my cursor is usually hovering over an article, and then it scrolls over a link. Either way, as far as my browsing experience goes it's problem solved now, and, if anyone else has a problem with it, there's an easy solution for them too if Dennis aren't willing to oblige.
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Old 13th Apr 2011, 12:14   #15
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this will be a fairly significant drop in views for your ad services.
Out of interest what are you basing that statement on?
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Old 13th Apr 2011, 15:01   #16
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Sorry to hear you're still having issues with the Intellitext ads TWeaK.

Unfortunately, unlike earlier the Skimlinks trail earlier this year which I got removed from bit, the decision on Intellitext is out of my hands.

At the very least though, I'd still prefer to have Intellitext on the site than having to make cuts to the editorial budget, i.e. less/lower quality articles etc...
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Old 13th Apr 2011, 16:50   #17
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Out of interest what are you basing that statement on?
I'm not suggesting that my browsing habits represent a majority or even a large portion of the viewing of adverts on this site, rather that I think my viewing likely contributes more than that of the average reader. I read every single news post and article published on the site, and have done so since I started coming here back during the CPC merger (ignore the join date to the left, that was the result of a run-in with Dennis marketing). I'm sure there are also plenty of others who view more than me.

And Lizard, the last thing I'd want to see is a cuts in budgets or staff, I just really don't like Intellitxt. I actually thought Skimlinks was alright, and that at the very least it had potential. If the links were more obviously adverts and the adverts themselves better targeted, I don't think anyone would have a problem with them.
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Old 22nd Apr 2011, 11:32   #18
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TweaK isn't the only person that's re-activating the adblocker. Sorry, as with any other pop up ads, I won't have them.

edit: well, they will remain until I get back to my computer with my No Script preferences saved on it
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Old 22nd Apr 2011, 13:24   #19
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Heh, weird, I haven't really noticed them yet. Does being in Greece affect whether I see them or not??
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Old 27th Apr 2011, 21:50   #20
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Well I hate this type of advertising and it is a real turn off for me.

Time will tell if I can live with it, or if I can not. I would hate to stop reading.

Thank you though for posting in the thread and being up front and honest about the fact it was not an editorial decision, and was made above your head - this takes guts.

Honestly though I would rather live with any other type of advertising than this, it is just so damaging to the reading experience.

Anyway, hope we can work it out - love the site.
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