Ads, ethics, and subscriptions revisited

I used to like this site, but now the ads look just like how endorsements used to look, and there’s just diminishing value here. I get the need for money and stuff, but I can’t understand why people here would endorse such crap. It calls into question their standards and ethics to me that the editors contribute. I know they’re good people, but people just coming to this site that I’ve introduced have told me their read is that the editors here are scamming them in the “shop sales.” That’s sad that I have to say “No, they’re just doing that for money.”

I’m conflicted :frowning:

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ditto here too

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i get needing to keep the lights on, but partnering with whatever shitshow entity the ‘boingboingshop’ actually is, feels like an abuse of the goodwill that’s supported this site for so many years. the amount of contempt it shows for the readership is really surprising and sad. i keep hoping that someone will address it and say “hey we fucked up, when the contract is up we are switching to a more legit market partner instead this skymall reject bin been we’ve been using.” i won’t be holding my breath

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It’s Stack Social. Stack Social has convinced many otherwise credible websites to be “affiliate” stores for Stack Social under their own brands. Stack Social uses the good reputation of those sites to prop up it’s own reputation, and as part of it’s massive SEO operation. The affiliate sites are, to varying degrees, letting Stack Social use their reputations as a consumable.

To find other Stack Social affiliate stores all you have to do is google any product in the Boing Boing Store. Stack Social’s SEO is so pervasive pretty much all the top hits for that product will be Stack Social stores.

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I wonder how it’s decided what should be posted?

Since there haven’t been many actual posts over Christmas, I’m seeing six store posts on the first page of https://boingboing.net/grid

It’s a fair amount of garbage overload, really.

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So @boingboing,
you ready to address this?

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Doubt it. I’ve stopped tagging the BB people on these store posts because they have never engaged. Not even a peep. The best we could do is get someone at a public appearance and pose the question. See if they squirm and give non-answers like all the politicians do.

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If only there were a method wherein a large number of people could contribute a reasonable amount of money to a website on a monthly basis which could enable them to run fewer skeevy possibly-cancer-ridden ads :roll_eyes:

Yeah, I know orenwolf has said that they’ve considered alternatives and turned them down before, but this really ought to be up for consideration regularly between the scams and the sketchy products like this one.

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I too have mentioned that I’d be up for paying for a subscription. Anything. But I also fear that if that doesnt’ work well, I’ll have scammy ads as well as a subscription fee that really doesn’t differentiate me and has me watching as people just sell out their principles.

Sadly, if BoingBoing can’t make it without compromising their ethics to shit, I’d rather they stop trying. It’s illogical to see stuff about EFF and Net Neutrality and data privacy on a site that is contributing to the problem.

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I would so take advantage of a Patreon option, if it existed, to get rid of ads and the shop for a buck or two a month. Thank goodness for the blog and grid views, the front page is otherwise horrible.

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+1 for patreon or some other option and fewer/no spammy store posts. Maybe if we start mentioning this in other posts someone will listen.

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The one time I tried mentioning a problem with an ad that was actually automatically redirecting me away from the site, the comment was silently deleted (presumably because it was off-topic).

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I 100% understand the need to keep the doors open and support things through advertising, and it seems that Stack Social does the heavy lifting of posting items and supplying advertorial copy.

But BoingBoing has always been more or less the spiritual successor of the Whole Earth Catalog, posting Cool Tools and Wonderful Things they’ve found. I feel like diluting that with crappy SkyMall castoffs peppered through the site pretending to be BB-recommended “cool tools” is a lousy way to make a few dollars and a real insult to readers. A Patreon would at least be an improvement.

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Every enterprise needs money, and one does what one needs to do. Boingboing is a good thing. I just stop looking at anything that has the words “star,” “tabloid,” “Disney,” or “store” in it. Everything else is good.

I admit that I do get a little mental whiplash when I see “Amazon is awful!..Buy this thing on Amazon!”

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True, they need money to operate, which is one reason I question the economics of the whole arrangement Stack Social has with various sites. They run a store which sells second-hand or remainder products at a discount, and run fake stories on sites pretending to be product recommendations. So BB is getting a percentage off of each sale (likely 2% or 5% or something). They’d need to sell quite a few discounted products every month to make even a small amount of money.

So instead of funding the site by somehow engaging its community, they’re making tiny margins while throwing away the integrity of the site as a cool-stuff-recommendation spot. That seems like a crappy tradeoff to me.

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I’m actually finding it more and more difficult to read articles without page constantly jumping due to vids, or ads.

Pluse, yes, more content that’s actually ads…

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Maybe it is because I’m older and grew up with basically all entertainment media ad-supported, but I have no problem with the BB Store ads. We’re not forced to buy the product or even look at the ad, and sometimes the product leads to an interesting discussion. (For example, I’d never heard of the silverpoint pencils until this thread.)

Like others here I’d also be comfortable with payment for the site (I also subscribe to two newspapers and to local public radio), but I think there are many regular posters who wouldn’t, either because they can’t afford to or because they object to that model. I’m not sure I’m willing to subsidize their participation. (Maybe if you only get flagging rights if you donate, but I expect that would immediately come under fire as well.)

Mammoth skyscrapers of stone thundering across the earth!
Here’s the place where they mine the lead:

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A buck or two probably won’t get it. At that level, Patreon (or similar) will cover their operating costs, but BB will get pennies. And then I’ll start getting those dire emails from Doctoro saying that this is my last chance to support BB, al a Wikipedia.

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I guess my problem with it is that they portray themselves as being pro user and pro internet, especially Cory… talking about all these net rights and privacy and protecting yourself and all that… and then have a site that has become more and more tracky, fingerprinty, data-selly, and outright malicious in some ads than ever. This site’s literally become more malicious in what it loads up and it’s really sad knowing that if I turn off privacy badger or firefox’s anti-tracking or any number of other things (I used to leave this site whitelisted in ad blockers until it started getting malicious ads) it will result in me opening myself up to risks.

EDIT:

Just to clarify… I turned off privacy badger, and ublock origin for this site, reloaded it , and watched it load up.

It made 1300 requests to over 500 domains and ran 7 different javascript ad softwares that were doing this. That racked up around 20MB of traffic in the first minute. Many of the requests were to outside trackers containing pretty much everything my browser would give up. These weren’t just tracking pixels, they were basically everything that my browser would give up to numerous, numerous different sites both inside and outside the US. Some of this was third party cookie setting , no doubt to be picked up by other sites.

I set my stuff back up.

88 requests to far fewer domains, 3.4MB of traffic.

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seconded. I used to have BB whitelisted as well, because I didn’t want to rob them of their ad-money. Not anymore. These days it’s on the strictest blocking possible, even if that means I’ll have to manually approve a lot of images and movies.

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