Administrative Note

Posted: 9th December 2013 by Quinn Dunki in Hacks

Hey loyal Blondihacks readers,

 

I wanted to take a moment to talk about the advertising content on this site. You may have noticed that it’s gone. I think we can all breathe a sigh of relief about that.

When I first started this site, I signed up with Google’s AdSense in order to hopeful defer a bit of the substantial cost of running the blog. The nice thing about Google’s service is that it’s non-intrusive, and the ads are really well matched to the content in the posts, so it’s actually content that readers might appreciate. Unfortunately, I made the innocent mistake of writing “Please support our sponsors” under one of the ad boxes. In short order, some sort of AdSense validation bot noticed that text, and banned me from AdSense for life. You see, it’s against their rules to “incentivize users to click ads”. That policy makes sense, but you can imagine my shock to find that my off-handed little blurb of text met that criteria. Even worse, there’s no appeals process or customer service available for AdSense. The bot made the decision to blacklist my URL, so I can never again sign up for AdSense without registering a new domain (and possibly setting up a new bank account).

I spent a lot of time and effort trying to reach someone at Google to clear up what’s obviously a simple misunderstanding, but did not get anywhere. Eventually, I gave up and signed up for two other services, Project Wonderful and AdBrite. I hoped one or both of them would be close to as good as Google was for matching ads to my content. Unfortunately, AdBrite went out of business recently. That’s just as well, because they were largely responsible for the “One Weird Trick” type of spam/scam ads that are covering the internet and are really obnoxious to look at. AdBrite allows you to filter out specific ads, and I spent a lot of time going through hundreds of those ads, filtering them one by one to try and keep that crap off Blondihacks. It was a losing battle.

Project Wonderful has been relatively scam-ad free, but the content is very poorly matched to the blog. It was showing signs of improving, so I stuck with it in the hopes it would start to offer more technical content. It started as a service primarily for web comics, which is why there were so many web comic ads coming from it. I knew they were trying to diversify, so I gave them a chance. Well, it just hasn’t happened, and I’m tired of looking at the irrelevant ads covering my site.

Frankly, none of these services every paid me a dime anyway, so it was all pretty pointless. Google may have earned a little, since their content was so well matched, but I wasn’t with them long enough to find out, and now never will (unless I go through the cost, expense, and lost users of moving to a new domain). The punishment just doesn’t fit the crime, sometimes.

The bottom line is, I’m giving up on the ads, and I’ve added a donation button to the bottom of each article. I’ve received generous donations in the past from readers who have gone through the trouble of clicking over to my company site (http://www.quinndunki.com), and I’m hugely appreciative of that. Thanks again to all of you who have done that. With easier access to the Donate button, if a few more of you are feeling generous, click away. If not, that’s okay too- I love that people read the site and take the time to comment. We’ve exchanged a lot of great technical information in the comment threads over the years, and that’s the most important thing to me.

Either way, Blondihacks will keep running. Thanks again to everyone who reads the site. It’s been a great 2½ years, and I hope for many more to come.

-Quinn

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PS. Don’t miss the new Veronica article right below this one- I booted it off the front page with this note, so if you don’t use my RSS feed, you might miss it.

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  1. Alec Smecher says:

    Quinn, thanks for posting. I struggled with the idea of advertising on my own hacking blog and in the end decided that it somehow — IMO — would detract from the “purity” of creating things for their own sake. Really, the yearly cost of hosting is minimal compared to the price of entry for almost any hobby (and certainly compared to the cost of the parts that go into the projects). I hold your blog in high esteem and will appreciate it all the more with the ads gone.

  2. Mike Szczys says:

    Banned for life with no chance of appeal? That seems pretty un-democratic of the Big G. Sorry to hear about the mistake Quinn.

    • Quinn Dunki says:

      Near as I can tell, it seems to be a case of “too much automation”. The whole AdSense system appears to have no humans in the loop anywhere at all. That stands to reason, since it’s intended to handle millions (billions?) of websites as customers of the service. That’s great as long as the system never fails…

  3. Derek Lewis says:

    Hey Quinn, love the blog and will definitely donate, but wanted to give a bit of feedback about it. Even after reading this post, it took my a moment to find the donate button. It’s below the comments, below the comment box, below the couple inches of mostly empty space below that…
    I don’t know about the rest of your readers, but I wouldn’t be offended by a donation button at the bottom of the post, above all the other stuff.
    Either way, keep up the great work! 🙂 I love reading about Veronica and her siblings.

  4. Rob Gray says:

    I have a friend whose daughter clicked a few times on mum’s ads from mum’s computer “to help”

    Bam, cut off for life, same as you and no recourse.

    I do use Adsense, just one at the very bottom of every page, I get $150 maybe 1-2 times a year, not much but it pays for the hosting of a few domains so I’m happy with it.

    Love your retro build BTW, I’m a Z80 man myself, but hey, nobody’s perfect 🙂

    Rob

  5. starhawk says:

    I’d gladly donate if I could… I love this kind of stuff. I’ve bookmarked every Veronica post just to make sure that, IF I ever build something similar, I’ve hopefully got a place to start that’s more than just a pile of parts 😉

    Alas, I’m one of many people in America that falls into the category of “poor folk” and Washington doesn’t seem to care much about us right now. Hopefully that’ll change someday… would be nice… but until then (or if I win the lottery somehow) I’m afraid I can’t do much on the monetary help end, and I’m very sorry to have to say that.

  6. Love your projects, especially Veronica. I designed and built some 6502 powered color graphics terminals (AED512, AED768, Jupiter 7) way back when the 6502 was new, and your articles bring back lots of memories, mostly pleasant, from those long ago days.

  7. Mark Shimonek says:

    I am an Arduino fan looking to get into programming bare microcontrollers. I found your site while searching for information on combining WiFi and the AVRs. I had some success with an Arduino plugged into a TP-Link TL-WR702N travel router flashed with OpenWRT. I was actually able to communicate with the Arduino serial port from my Android tablet using a cross-compiled Socat module. Super cool, but not particularly practical. Have you looked at the ATMega chips with built in 2.4 GHz transceivers such as the ATMega644RFR2?

    One word of advice: Regarding the picture on this page. Its not a good idea to weld while wearing a flammable top. Don’t ask me how I know this!

    • Quinn Dunki says:

      You’re right about welding, for sure- that’s actually a plasma cutter though. I have welded in flip-flops, which I also definitely don’t recommend. 🙂

  8. Rob Gray says:

    At least with flip flops you can shake the slag off quickly, if it goes down your boots you’re in a world of pain 🙂