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Talk:Advertising policy/Archive 2008

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Continued discussion on Ads location[edit]

PLEASE - not on the right! It scrunches up the article. On the left, it can work fine (see for my implentation on my wiki) or above the article you could put the one line ads called "Link unit"s so that they are very thin and not full ads. Or both. But please, not on the right! It's ugly and intrusive, unlike (in my opinion) the other two choices. The left side is also where people gravitate to navigate the site anyway, so they're looking there already, and all the articles are long enough that nobody will miss the ad if its not at the absolute top left. --Raffikojian 00:52, 31 March 2008 (EDT)

+1, and below the toolbox and anything existing there now. --DenisYurkin 11:31, 31 March 2008 (EDT)
As you may or may not have noticed, there has already been a lot of discussion on this matter, and the link to this discussion has been on the RFC page since 13 September 2007. We reached a consensus on ads placement a long time ago, and the objections and suggestions you are bringing up now have already been discussed.
If you would like to discuss this further, it is incumbent upon you to address the existing arguments and to advance new ones, in order to persuade the community to move away from the existing consensus. But I'd suggest it's not terribly fair to bring up these objections after the tech team has thrown themselves into the coding, based on the long-established consensus already here. --Peter Talk 21:26, 31 March 2008 (EDT)

Ad preferences[edit]

Google's own advertising policies have always amazed me with their openness and good faith assumptions. Google mail actually allows its users to turn off text ads in their preferences menu. Granted, many users probably never bothered to check for this and remain unaware, but I myself keep them turned on since they really are unobtrusive.

I think it would be an excellent show of good faith and of confidence in the quality of our ads and ad placement to extend a similar option to Wikitravelers when ads are placed on Wikitravel (any reason why they haven't been yet?). The only reason I can see that would propel users to turn them off would be if we get the ad locations/size wrong, and they become obnoxious. And having the option available would nip in the bud any complaints of rampant commercialization and whatnot (except of course, from one regular buffoon). --Peter Talk 20:35, 5 November 2007 (EST)

This is an interesting suggestion. I'm interested in other people's thoughts on this. Redondo 21:48, 7 November 2007 (EST)
I like the idea, but based on a quick chat with Evan, it's not technically feasible to implement until we get the Squid caches in place. Jpatokal 22:06, 7 November 2007 (EST)
Nobody told me there were squids. Get those catchers in place right fucking now. Gorilla Jones 23:15, 7 November 2007 (EST)
Yeah I just noticed the ads, and then went looking for the 'Preferences' option to switch them off. 99% of site visitors probably would not act in this way, but for those of us with a keen eye on corporate behaviour, displays of good faith, and openness, we look for these things.
Although having said that, I guess companies do that kind of thing as an easy way of swatting away criticisms from that vocal 1% of people who care. Any criticism, and the first response is "you find it annoying? so turn it off" (which of course doesn't address the point that the other 99% of users will still find it annoying, but won't think about fixing it) So providing the option can also be viewed cynically, but on the whole I'd say at least it shows that "the company" cares about answering criticism from the community.
-- 12:46, 2 April 2008 (EDT)

Yet another new version[edit]

The ad code on has been updated once again. Comments welcome; if there are no major bugs, we're hoping to finally roll 'em out Real Soon Now(tm). Jpatokal 06:44, 21 January 2008 (EST)

Looks good to me in Firefox & IE7. --Peter Talk 03:56, 22 January 2008 (EST)
The problem with this is the screen real estate it uses through all height of the article.
Maybe put it on the left, between "relatedpages" and "In other languages" blocks? --DenisYurkin 04:32, 1 February 2008 (EST)
Ah, there is a problem. The right sidebar is forcing all right aligned images to display floated below the bottom of the sidebar (often causing the image to then cover article text). This has happened with all the Chicago articles' lead images (example). While we could adjust the format of these particular articles (and I'm not sure we should), that would hardly be practical if/when a sitewide right sidebar is introduced. Any technical solutions to this problem? --Peter 10:40, 1 February 2008 (EST)
Looks fine on my browser (Mozilla), if a bit skinny. Can you upload a screenshot? Jpatokal 12:07, 1 February 2008 (EST)
Sidebar fmt problem.PNG
Here's a screen of the problem. The problem is essentially that the right sidebar is affecting image placement on the vertical axis, which I don't think it should. --Peter Talk 13:50, 1 February 2008 (EST)
Ah, OK, I see what you mean — and yes, I'm getting that too. It's a little fugly, but IMHO not a showstopper. I'll see what the CSS gurus can do. Jpatokal 00:05, 2 February 2008 (EST)


Internet Brands wants to begin displaying Google AdSense on Wikitravel, in the right-side column of the new layout that has been on Review for awhile and will be going live shortly. This brings up the broader issue of Wikitravel's Advertising Policy. I have posted a draft policy here for community review and discussion. Evan reviewed this previously and provided input into this policy. Please provide your thoughts on this...thanks! Redondo 22:53, 19 March 2008 (EDT)

This looks like a great start, at the very least. I'm looking forward to actually seeing the ads in action—could we put some up on Review? I know that the right sidebar is currently causing formatting issues for the Chicago articles by forcing right-aligned thumbnails below the horizontal terminus of the sidebar, and I'm hoping that won't be an issue. --Peter Talk 01:26, 20 March 2008 (EDT)
I added "no animated ads", per previous discussions that there wouldn't be any "punch the monkey" style ads... if one of those dancing insurance characters showed up I'd start shooting people :) – cacahuate talk 02:04, 20 March 2008 (EDT)
Great suggestion, Peter. We'll get an example posted in the next day or so. Redondo 19:11, 24 March 2008 (EDT)
I find it kind of strange that no admin of the other languages was informed about this add-move prior to the start. I'm admin at the NL site and had no idea until I saw the lay-out of some of the pages screwed up. 3wisemen 00:42, 6 April 2008 (EDT)
Shared is supposed to be the central contact point for all language versions.
I do agree with your point though. The Wikitravel admins mailing list should be resurrected, so IB (or others) can send notifications of important changes like this, site outages, software upgrades, etc. Jpatokal 05:40, 6 April 2008 (EDT)
Thanx for your swift reply & support. I indeed liked that admin mailinglist; despite the fact that some domains thought it to be spam ;-) 3wisemen 08:56, 6 April 2008 (EDT)
In the past we've been encouraged to limit communication to on-site posts, rather than by email. If some admins would prefer email communication, we're happy to do that as well. How is this list kept current? Thanks! Redondo 13:42, 16 April 2008 (EDT)
Obviously the site is an should remain the primary means of communication, but the mailing list comes in handy when it's important that everybody gets the message. I think the list was previously maintained by Evan: approval required to join, and the software handles unsubscriptions. Jpatokal 05:10, 17 April 2008 (EDT)

Ads Arrive[edit]

After much discussion, the ads have arrived. Thank you to the Wikitravel community for all the input and conversation. I hope you'll see that you've been heard. There will likely be some early bug issues and we ask your help, again, in tracking them. I will be watching Open bug reports and this page. Thanks for your help in this. JuCo 20:16, 1 April 2008 (EDT)

We have moved the ads from Review to the live site. We are going to be making some further tweaks, and please make any suggestions you feel are appropriate. It will take a couple days to get the ads coming from Google in the various languages other than English, but we are working on this. Redondo 21:32, 1 April 2008 (EDT)
I'd like to ask you that you are working on the problem, affecting image placement which Peter pointed out above.[1][2] If not, do I have to submit a bug report?
As to the ads in the various languages, some ads in Japanese have arrived to my user page on ja:.[3] Unfortunately, they are not relevant to travel at the present time... ;-) -- Tatata 23:18, 1 April 2008 (EDT)
Bug: Tech:Ads push down edit box when toolbar enabled. This is really confusing for those users who haven't disabled the default toolbar. Jpatokal 02:26, 2 April 2008 (EDT)
the image placement should get fixed quick, that's annoying... at the moment when I look at the en:Flaccid Peninsula National Park the map that should be at the top of the page shows up so low that it cuts off right near the pubes! Argh – cacahuate talk 03:53, 2 April 2008 (EDT)
Just my 2 cents worth, but I think the google ads are terrible. 09:18, 2 April 2008 (EDT)
I've suggested that signed-in users could go adless → Tech:Disable AdWords for logged-in users. Jpatokal 10:39, 2 April 2008 (EDT)
Yeah, in case I wasn't clear before, I thought that the image placement problem is a show stopper, and should be fixed before introducing the ads sitewide. It's a bug that affects virtually every page on the site. By the way, though, I'm not actually seeing ads at all. Just a little stubby sliver of a right sidebar at the top right of every page. (I'm using Firefox 2.) --Peter Talk 11:11, 2 April 2008 (EDT)
Got it. The image placement problem is the result of a couple different issues that the tech team is going through and actively fixing. You should already be seeing fixes. [4] And as the cache times out on these pages (or if you purge cache on the pages) you will see that many are back to normal (with ads...). But, as I mentioned, this is the result of a couple different issues and addressing them will be a process. I've reported the other two issues noted here to the tech team, too. Thanks for all your feedback and keep it coming. JuCo 13:00, 2 April 2008 (EDT)
If possible, you might want to filter out "wiki" from the AdWords. Currently most ads seems to be about wikis, not the destination in question! Jpatokal 13:56, 2 April 2008 (EDT)
Per Jpatokal's suggestion, we are working on providing the option of signed-in users not seeing ads. We are also looking into suppressing the ads from edit and preview pages, in case that seems desirable. Redondo 16:58, 2 April 2008 (EDT)
Ah, I just figured out why I'm not seeing ads—my ad block program is perhaps a little too good ;) --Peter Talk 15:05, 3 April 2008 (EDT)
Just a quick update...we hope to launch the option for users to opt out of viewing ads by the end of next week. Redondo 14:50, 16 April 2008 (EDT)

Opt-out is now available for signed-in users! The option is in Preferences, under the last tab on the right, "Wikitravel". We've also removed ads from edit pages, as you've probably noticed. Thanks as always for your input on this one. JuCo 18:29, 22 April 2008 (EDT)

Yay! Thanks for getting this rolled out. Jpatokal 07:21, 23 April 2008 (EDT)

Mid-section pushed down[edit]

Is it just me, or... I might have missed out on something. The thing is that some/most of the pages on shared and sv: looks just fine (I assume, as intended). But some important pages, like recent changes, are "out of order" in the sense that the entire mid-section including most of the edit toolbar, gets shoved down, forcing me to scroll to read/use. Is it a related issue to the one that Jpatokal mentioned before? Or is it a new problem? Or is it me...? Riggwelter 14:29, 2 April 2008 (EDT)

Thanks for highlighting this. The page layout is surprisingly complex, and we are working on some formatting issues including this. Redondo 16:53, 2 April 2008 (EDT)
The tech team has fixed this and is manually purging the main cache so that we'll see this fix across all pages over the coming days.

. JuCo 17:47, 7 April 2008 (EDT)


Swept in from en:pub:

I very disappointed by Wikitravel... Whose decision is to add a Google advertising? -- Sergey kudryavtsev 03:31, 2 April 2008 (EDT)

It has been in the works for a loooong time... see Shared:Advertising policycacahuate talk 03:39, 2 April 2008 (EDT)
Why do some entries have ads and others don't? I echo my disappointment, and expect I'll be less willing to contribute with that Adsense bar staring me down. Padraic 10:51, 2 April 2008 (EDT)
Please take a look through the talk page for the ads policy, there's a lot of discussion behind this, and this is not, I expect, the end point. We're likely going to have an option for logged-in users to disable the ads. By the way, could you give some examples of which entries have ads and which don't? --Peter Talk 11:27, 2 April 2008 (EDT)
Rail travel in North America does; Rail travel in Canada does not. Padraic 15:54, 2 April 2008 (EDT)
As Peter and Cacahuate indicated, Shared::Advertising policy is the place to discuss advertising, and Internet Brands did a good job of listening to feedback before incorporating ads. It's obvious that everyone prefers an ad-free site, and that some contributors might disappear with the appearance of Google ads; such is life. Reality is that revenue is needed to buy more servers, support, and bandwidth. When choosing how to generate that revenue, if the choice is between constant pleas for donations, some form of advertising, or shutting down the site I think that Google ads are a reasonable thing choice. -- Ryan • (talk) • 11:34, 2 April 2008 (EDT)
I'm fairly certain I'm having problems related to the ads, although, such problems don't interfere too much with the pleasure of operating on Wikitravel. I'd like to confirm this, so I politely request anyone to look at my user page and tell me if they see ads or are having problems finding the edit boxes or the log in form. Maybe it's just this computer. Thanks. -- Sapphire(Talk) • 17:28, 2 April 2008 (EDT)
Sapphire, FYI, your user page renders nicely on my mac (Safari), and your talk page is ad-free.--Wandering 17:53, 2 April 2008 (EDT)
Same result here, with Firefox on XP. User page has ads, talk does not. But there's only one edit box, none for sections. Pashley 19:45, 2 April 2008 (EDT)

Complex page layout[edit]

Please have a look at sv:Barcelona. Two images, intended to be on top of eachother, now seems to be floating all over the page. If the image links are listed on top of eachother, they end up NEXT to eachother. Look at the page history if you need any clarification - I have left it as it is now. Riggwelter 15:13, 6 April 2008 (EDT)

I'm getting this too, and it's happening on English pages as well. See Texugo's bug Tech:Images are double-parking. 02:02, 7 April 2008 (EDT)
Cheers! I have added my remark to the bug report. Riggwelter 04:04, 7 April 2008 (EDT)



Paddy cake paddy rice paddy chili paddy cake paddy rice paddy cake paddy rice paddy cake paddy rice paddy chili paddy chili paddy chili paddy chili

I think we've almost fixed the problems, but infoboxes are still looking a bit funny: the text is flushed right at the edges, with no padding at all. I added padding-left: 0.5em;padding-right: 0.5em into the content style, how does the box on the left look on y'all's browsers? Jpatokal 07:28, 8 April 2008 (EDT)

Fine in FF 3.0 beta 5 and IE 6.0. --DenisYurkin 15:54, 8 April 2008 (EDT)
OK, I've plunged forward and added padding to infobox and disclaimerbox. Please replicate the change to other language versions as necessary. Jpatokal 23:56, 8 April 2008 (EDT)

Hmm, it's not just the infoboxes that were affected: see Multilingual statistics. Apparently the changes to the CSS are now overriding the cellpadding parameter of tables? Eg. the stats tables are supposed to have cellpadding=3, but they're getting drawn with zero padding now. Jpatokal 14:01, 9 April 2008 (EDT)

I see what I did. Give me a day or so and I should be able to get it fixed. KevinSours 15:09, 9 April 2008 (EDT)
Update. I have a fix for it, however I need to implement part of it (done yesterday) and then roll cache (in process) and implement the rest (I can hopefully do this today or tomorrow). There won't be any visible changes until the last bit gets done) KevinSours 11:44, 10 April 2008 (EDT)
Is this in place now? Wikitravel:Multilingual_statistics is looking a lot better than it did yesterday. Jpatokal 05:44, 11 April 2008 (EDT)
It isn't. Its possible that some other fix updated. I've made a number of little tweaks in the last couple of days and the cache is still catching up. I'm trying to balance getting that pushed through with site performance.
Its mostly up at this point. The css file is still cached at Alkamai (which is the last bit to update). I'll get that fixed soon. In the meantime I added something to the html to work around that, so purging cache on a particular page will fix it. Let me know if there are any further problems. KevinSours 20:14, 11 April 2008 (EDT)

Google AdSense sensitivity... or not?[edit]

Our ad policy clearly states that the ads should only be travel-related. This works fine, most of the time, but sometimes it gets just silly, probably because of Google's filter settings. Today, sv: has had ads for language classes of little or no use to a swede, ads from companies offering to restire your hard drive, how to give away a brunch as a gift, and, perhaps the most ridiculous of them all: ads linking to an online directory with search criteria for stock brokers! This needs to be looked into ASAP, because it is a breach of our own policy and is completely counterproductive. Riggwelter 09:48, 11 May 2008 (EDT)

Why is this a problem? I've also noticed that ads on fi: are often marginally related, but that's probably just because there are less ads to choose from. Google does the best job it can, and to me it makes virtually zero difference where the links lead. Jpatokal 11:08, 11 May 2008 (EDT)
It is a problem because it violates our policy which clearly states the ads shall be travel-related. To many contributors, it is bad enough that we have to accept ads, but now we have them and have to deal with it. But, we should stick to the policy or loose our credibility. If there are so few ads to choose from, then the Google service should be cancelled altogether, or IB should approach Google and have them deal with the text filters. Unlike you, I am not at all convinced that they do the best they can for us. I have no problem with ads as such, and I have no problem to see the same four ads as long as they are travel-related, but I do not want to have ads without any relevance at all. There has to be SOME quality requirements and I'd love to hear IB's view on the issue. Riggwelter 11:36, 11 May 2008 (EDT)
The policy does says "Ads will be relevant to travel (though this may be dependent on the relevancy achieved through ad networks such as Google AdSense)." Jpatokal 02:18, 12 May 2008 (EDT)
Exactly. So it must mean that we should question ads when they get out of bounds altogether. This cannot be much of a problem to fix and still retain the ads - through contact between IB and Google. Frankly - ads which isn't travel related at all, but totally irrelevant, makes the site look silly and just like some other aggregator site. We should protect our reputation by questioning it. Riggwelter 10:29, 12 May 2008 (EDT)
I don't see why this is a problem... the only downside is that IB is likely to get less clicks on the ads which means less revenue... why does that concern anyone but them? I can't imagine that more than 5% of the world actually looks at Google ads any more frequently than I do, which is never... I really don't think this concerns us. But to address your point, is it on all pages that they are way off target, or is it worse on pages with little content? wouldn't they get more targeted when there's more info for them to go from on a page? – cacahuate talk 18:57, 12 May 2008 (EDT)
Thanks for the feedback. The way this advertising works, the ads will become more targeted over time. We have seen improved targeting over time on other sites. I see your point, but I think that our Ad Policy does a good job of explaining that while we aim to attract mostly travel ads, there will likely be some less relevant ads, too. This will get better over time. Remember, too, that if you don't want to see the ads, every logged in user can choose to turn them off under "Preferences", last tab on the right "Wikitravel". JuCo 19:24, 12 May 2008 (EDT)
Excellent feedback, which also stated what I was hoping for, i e that ads will be more targeted over time. What can you, as in IB, do to make Google increase their work on the targeting of ads in various languages? Do you have any ongoing discussions with Google? Riggwelter 09:34, 17 May 2008 (EDT)
Good questions. I think I should clarify...these are not human negotiations that are getting closer to a clearer understanding on both sides. These are automated shifts in reaction to how many people click through and what relevant words are added to the content. So, over time, as content fills out and irrelevant ads are ignored, the advertising will get more targeted. Hope this helps! JuCo 20:57, 19 May 2008 (EDT)

Travel booking ads[edit]

Hi guys.

My name is Ron Mertens from TripTouch, and I'd like to discuss something with you guys... We have a platform which aggregates travel content and services from many sources - we choose the best source for any content type (and also each country). We have travel guides (from wikitravel - the best we could find!), photos, accommodation, events, restaurants, activities, and more. We already cover over 5,000 destinations.

Anyway, we have started to work on a travel widget - to be added to web pages (we already have a widget for iGoogle/netvibes). The idea is that we can offer revenue-share on booking done via the widget.

We would like to approach the community (which was suggested by JaniP, thanks!), and suggest placing our widget in wikitravel pages. We feel this will be better than AdSense - it includes relevant and interesting travel content to the location (which we feel will enhance WikiTravel), and will only carry a revenue share if someone book something (event ticket, accommodation, transportation, restaurant booking, activity, etc).

You can check this 'mockup' of the ad and how it will look like

Although we can obviously make any cosmetic changes you wish.

The implementation will be quick - as we already know wikitravel's urls (for our own content aggregation), we can automatically find the location from the URL. It's just a matter of javascript - same as AdSense.

I'd love to hear your opinions!


We have never discussed with the Wikitravel community putting any sort of booking capability on the site. We're not opposed to such a notion if the community sees value in the functionality. But we want to be cautious about not having too much advertising on the site. If we were to pursue such a direction, Ron, we would research all of the available options. So I would ask you to refrain from lobbying on the site for partnering with your particular service. Thanks! Redondo 16:16, 27 May 2008 (EDT)
"Lobbying"? This page is meant precisely for discussing advertising policy, and when Ron contacted me, I suggested he post it here for community feedback.
My two cents: I like the event listings, which something that Wikitravel does not and (realistically speaking) will not support in the foreseeable future. If this can produce a stable revenue stream as well, then even better. Obviously I'd like to see this as a replacement for Adwords, not just additional advertising. Jpatokal 13:28, 29 May 2008 (EDT)

Display ads[edit]

Internet Brands will be expanding the ads offering by Adsense to include graphical ads. We recognize this is a shift for frequent users and have found some ways to minimize the change for registered users. Signed-in users will still see only text ads that have been in place now for several months. And the "opt out" option on the tab in "Preferences" will still allow logged-in users to choose to use the site ads-free. Nothing else is changing in terms of placement. As you saw with the initial Adsense rollout, we unfortunately can't specifically control what ads are served to us. I will make the adjustments in the Advertising policy. Again, any help in tracking bugs during this transition is much appreciated. We will be monitoring Open bug reports and this page. JuCo 18:30, 1 August 2008 (EDT)

Wow, that's shady. Any thoughts on discussing before adding something that the community has said in the past it vigorously opposes, and that IB had promised wouldn't happen? For the record, I'm not against them because I don't want to look at them, but because I think it turns off new contributors and users. When I go to a website for the first time, I'm almost always inclined to close the window without looking around further as soon as I see annoying picture/animated ads. Instant turn off. The ability to sign up, log in, and then turn them off is irrelevant... you would have lost me by then – cacahuate talk 16:50, 2 August 2008 (EDT)
Please do not alter policy pages without consultation with the community. -- Cjensen 20:46, 2 August 2008 (EDT)
Agreed, please do not alter policy pages without consultation with the community. I'm glad to have an organisation paying the server bills, and maybe there's a compelling financial argument for display ads. But I volunteer my time here in part because it's a community project. Please don't take actions that look like IB is treating Wikitravel as a corporate property, where policy gets changed by corporate decision, and the community is only notified. JimDeLaHunt 23:59, 2 August 2008 (EDT)
Yeah, this was several steps beyond ballsy, especially as the community, along with IB, has already established a consensus regarding this matter. I'm now choking on a really harsh (and lengthy) IB denunciation, but I'll give you the benefit of a response first. --Peter Talk 02:37, 3 August 2008 (EDT)
Aye, 'tis crap. We're trusting IB to know the deal here. Are you still ramping? -- OldPine 22:14, 3 August 2008 (EDT)

Thank you for weighing in here and for your patience in waiting for a response. Our intent is to adhere to the current advertising policy and not allow animated advertising. Our understanding is that current policy allows image advertising and we were concerned the word ‘animated’ would be confused by some readers. Hence our effort to reword it. We recognize that we should not have changed the policy wording without dialogue with the community first. We know that policy collaboration is an important part of this site and critical to the users who have built this community. Our intentions are not to undermine the community. Moving forward we will discuss changes to policy wording with the community before making changes. JuCo 21:24, 4 August 2008 (EDT)

A third type of advertising was added, which is different than clarifying the semantics of the policy. The current policy denotes two types: Wikitravel Press, and "Context-sensitive text ads from Google Adwords" – cacahuate talk 22:38, 4 August 2008 (EDT)
Agreed with all of the above. The very least you can do is put up a demo site and show us what this is going to look like. Jpatokal 01:45, 10 August 2008 (EDT)
We’ve put up tags for display ads on Review for you to take a look. The ads may not be there immediately, but over the next few days, they should start appearing. We are filtering them to minimize the occurrence of the kinds of images you’ve mentioned in these advertising discussions. We won’t allow Flash ads, widgets or any other kinds of interactive advertising. As you’re aware, though, the ads become more targeted over time. If there are specific ads that you’d like to see blocked from the rotation, please let us know. The best way to do that is with a screen shot that you can post here or email to IBcommunity1 at JuCo 18:22, 18 August 2008 (EDT)
The image ads are displaying on Review. We are looking to roll these out soon and would like to hear your feedback about what you see on the test site. Thanks! JuCo 15:52, 22 August 2008 (EDT)
It was my understanding that we did not want image ads. Could we please have a discussion of why they are needed first. Open discussion of these types of issues are critical for maintaining the general feeling of openness and trust that a Wiki needs. --Peter Talk 17:42, 22 August 2008 (EDT)
I see no ads. -- Cjensen 02:10, 26 August 2008 (EDT)
They're not on the main page, but other pages on review do have them. See eg. Singapore. Jpatokal 09:53, 26 August 2008 (EDT)
I just used the opt-out button, I have no ads. I prefer it that way. Out of sight, out of mind. 2old 16:04, 26 August 2008 (EDT)

We want to continue working with the Wikitravel community to minimize any adverse impact of advertising on the site. We are supportive of the feedback that has been provided opposing Flash ads, widgets and interactive advertising, and we concur with this. We invite your assistance in identifying specific ads you think should be blocked from display on the site, and we can get these blocked. We support providing users with a choice to opt out of seeing any ads. An increasing portion of AdSense advertisers are running display ads rather than text ads. Our thought is to let Google include both display and text ads for non-signed in users, and to limit the ads shows to signed-in users to text only (if the user hasn't opted out of ads altogether). JuCo 13:19, 27 August 2008 (EDT)

We will be pushing the ads that have been up on the review site onto Wikitravel. As you've seen on review, we took your feedback about the kinds of interactive ads you didn't want to see seriously. Now, we are looking to the community to help us identify specific ads you would like to see blocked from display as we continue the discussions about growing Wikitravel.JuCo 13:12, 29 August 2008 (EDT)

Gotcha, fait accompli. No explanation. Understood. --Peter Talk 14:13, 29 August 2008 (EDT)
Note to IB: that was sarcastic. You still haven't explained why you find it necessary to put up graphic ads in the face of community opposition. Jpatokal 01:17, 30 August 2008 (EDT)
Our site looks like a bad joke
Our site now looks like a joke. And IB has clearly shown its disdain for working with the Wikitravel community by unilaterally placing display ads on Wikitravel in violation of our policy and cornerstone principle of working under consensus. It is a shame and embarrassment to our site to have our servers owned by a company that does not respect the Wikitravel community and our practices. IB has not so much as explained why they deem display ads necessary, or even desirable. That is what is called a dick move, and is just plain disrespectful to all the people who work on this wiki and who have worked with IB in good faith.
Moreover, there was no indication on this page that anyone actually opposed display ads in theory. Rather than work to build a potential consensus for display ads, IB displayed their disdain for the site, and their utter incompetence in working with the Wikitravel community by violating our policies without so much as a discussion. These antisocial and antiwiki tendencies at IB have been obvious from the start of their involvement with Wikitravel, in their neglect of work on the site; in their outrageous, unexplained, and even unacknowledged refusal to release data dumps (this threatens all the work we do here, were the servers to go down); and in their spotty and dishonest communications with the Wikitravel community.
I vote no confidence in Internet Brands as the host company for our servers. I will no longer contribute to this project as long as this remains unresolved. --Peter Talk 15:57, 11 September 2008 (EDT)
Yep, that's pretty much what we DON'T want the site to look like. That ad takes over the entire page, making the article look like an afterthought. Why are display ads necessary? Are they significantly more lucrative? Are text ads bringing in little to no money? Are they at least covering the operating costs yet? Are display ads then being implemented so that you can afford to devote more of your tech teams time to fixing and improving the site even during calm times when users aren't threatening to leave? – cacahuate talk 22:27, 11 September 2008 (EDT)
I'm just going to quote Evan's original announcement here:
There's no hidden agenda; the business model will be extremely transparent. The current plan is to have unobtrusive, targeted, well-identified ads on the pages of Wikitravel.
IB, if you have to break your promises, you need to convince the community that it's necessary. You're manifestly failing to do so, and I find this an even bigger problem than the ads themselves. Jpatokal 08:48, 12 September 2008 (EDT)
Did they promise to keep the ads text-only forever, or did they just say that was the "current plan", which clearly implies that it's subject to change in the future? (Obviously, though, that change should have been discussed with the community before it was implemented.) As for this specific ad, seems like one that should be blocked purely for aesthetic reasons. Unfortunately, logged-in users, the ones most likely to know where and how to complain about a specific ad, won't see these graphical ads at all. LtPowers 09:09, 12 September 2008 (EDT)

We are trying to find an appropriate balance between Wikitravel as a community-driven site and business requirements we have in running the site. We are trying to be a good partner in the community and respectful of the consensus process (though we're aware some members would favor little or no monetization of the site).

Including display ads for visitors who have never registered isn't intended to sidestep community dialogue, as this seems within the scope of advertising that has been contemplated in the ad policy discussions to date. The policy states that for the time being, Internet Brands will deliver text ads on all content pages. The policy also states that Internet Brands will not deliver pop-ups, ads which open separate browser windows, and animated ads. The policy did not state that only text ads would be delivered. And since display ads were not excluded, we believe the policy allows for image ads. We think the current ads are consistent with the spirit of targeted and unobtrusive. All ads remain on the right side, separate from and not interfering with the site content. While we rely on Google to deliver relevant ads, we can also block particular advertisers if their ads are poorly targeted, garish or offensive. We continue to be dedicated to working with the community to help craft this experience. The screenshot posted above is a great example of the way you can tell us what you don’t like. We can pull any ads –offensive or otherwise -- from the rotation. We've pulled the ad you've indicated.

Most major travel web sites show display advertising. While this is the norm, we support a more limited approach to running advertising on Wikitravel. We've refrained from letting Google show display AdSense ads to registered members, and we embrace giving everyone the option of turning off ads entirely. JuCo 21:35, 12 September 2008 (EDT)

I'm not interested in dodged questions and political spin-doctoring anymore, you need to talk to us eye to eye, that douchey corporate bullshit doesn't work here. I asked several questions above, answer them please. As for your incoherent and factless spin on the policy and the conversations surrounding it, I already tore that argument to shreds further up on this page, but I'll reiterate: you're trying to add a large change to the policy without community discussion. And now on top of that, you're in denial about it.
"Most major travel websites" aren't run off of the free hard work and sweat of volunteers. I know this had to have been discussed at length during the sale of Wikitravel, and now you're seeing (again) what happens when those volunteers feel disrespected. We understand that there are operating costs that need to be covered, and I've tried a couple times now to engage you in a real conversation about that. But as you realize, those of us that work so hard on this site for free don't want our hard work framed by garishness so that some unknown company can turn a major profit, so if that's what you mean by not wanting the site to be heavily monetized, then yes, guilty as charged.
You guys communicate with us as little as possible, and have slowly but surely continued to depart from what we were told was the spirit of your acquisition of our servers. Re-read the quote Jpatokal just gave you a couple posts up... there's nothing transparent about the way you're acting right now. And what we've been trying to get you to realize is that that truly is the only way to conduct yourselves within a wiki community. As Peter pointed out earlier, in theory, nobody had even yet strongly disagreed with anything, all you need to do is come to us openly and honestly and tell us that you aren't meeting operating costs yet. But if your goal is to far exceed operating costs and to achieve that in any way possible (including the current MO of throwing us frogs in the pot of oh-so-cool water on low-but-rising heat) then this site is going to fail miserably – cacahuate talk 01:55, 13 September 2008 (EDT)
I'm not sure what to add that hasn't already been said and apparently disregarded — count me as another major contributor who has a major problem with this behavior, and whose continued free hard work isn't to be taken for granted. Gorilla Jones 12:58, 13 September 2008 (EDT)
Image ads only detract from the volunteer community-based project that this is. It's a turn off for any new editors, as well as for casual contributors, thus resulting in diminished product quality. That's not a good thing for the WikiTravel, and why would Internet Brands want to run a lesser quality site? I also don't think it's a good company strategy. The image ads definitely need to go. It's against the nature of how volunteer-based projects work. Aude 15:53, 13 September 2008 (EDT)
Not to nitpick, since you do have some good points, cacahuate, but I'm trying to understand the situation: To me, the link you supplied showing the change to the policy page appeared to be descriptive rather than an actual change in policy. The section changed (from two types of ads to three) specifically says "Currently"; thus, it's subject to change. I also don't see anything in the actual policy that prohibits graphical ads, as long as they're reasonably unobtrusive.
Obviously, there is a problem that this change was undiscussed. Beyond that, though, is the problem that these graphical ads are not unobtrusive enough?
-- LtPowers 18:23, 14 September 2008 (EDT)
Seems to me the problem here is not the image advertisements. The problem is that people have questions and comments and the response is "we are listening to you and considering your comments and oh by the way we're going ahead as if we never heard a thing and we can't be bothered to answer the comments either." This attitude needs to change. -- Cjensen 20:12, 14 September 2008 (EDT)
Every policy on our site is subject to change, through discussion and consensus. Advertising, and the entire sale of the Wikitravel trademark for that matter, have been controversial and sore subjects for some time now. IB originally approached the subject very carefully, and through a lot of discussion we've arrived at having "content sensitive text ads" on the site. If that's unclear somehow in the current policy page then that's a minor point that can be fixed, but everyone who's been involved in the discussions to date, including and especially IB, are very aware of what the current consensus is, so attempting to get sneaky with the semantics and trying to create and twist truths is where the current problem lies – cacahuate talk 23:23, 14 September 2008 (EDT)
I think something like Talk:Advertising_policy#Travel_booking_ads above would be better than the google ads, especially the display ads. Aude 09:09, 15 September 2008 (EDT)
Concerns must be addressed (not simply "noted") honestly and openly by IB. I take this personally because I've tried to take the lead on working with IB to create a mutually beneficial, long-term relationship between IB and the Wikitravel community, the latter of which (in case IB has forgotten) is responsible for all the contributions and administration of this site. It has become my opinion that IB has been operating in bad faith.
While IB has always been derelict in dealing with the site, I'm unclear what prompted this change to simply ignore and override community input by leveraging exclusive access to the hard code of the site. That goes against everything IB has promised in the past; it seems both dishonest and very worrisome for the future of this site. Has IB simply decided to forgo its long-term strategy here in exchange for a short-term "milk it 'til it's dry" strategy? Are you guys on the verge of bankruptcy? Do you realize that this is already costing the site top contributors? Will you answer any of these questions? At least I can feel certain I know the answer to that last question. --Peter Talk 11:53, 15 September 2008 (EDT)
I have only the highest respect and admiration for the work of many long-term contributors (prefer not to name any, so no one is left out), but take it from an old fart who has been down the road and been screwed professionally more than once. The golden rule is usually defined as, he who has the gold, makes the rules, like it or lump it. The whole personality of the site has changed since Evan disappeared. Be it good or bad, thats the way it is. If you contribute with the expectation of reward, you will be disappointed. I for one wanted to see some form of charitable ads, never happened. But, I think the site is worthy of further contribution, and at some point it will be peerless. So, I will chug along, as I have something to contribute. 2old 13:06, 15 September 2008 (EDT)

We appreciate the passionate response and commitment to taking the site in the right direction. We recognize our mistake in editing the ad policy. We should never have done that. But we never intended to commit to text only ads. Relevant, unobtrusive display ads were never something we committed to not doing.

We've dedicated a lot of resources toward running the site, and the ad policy we committed to offered many protections to the Wikitravel experience. We remain committed to this. However, we never agreed to preclude display ads. We mistakenly used the policy page to communicate our plan to begin displaying them, and this was a mistake. But the policy didn't prohibit them, and our commitment to what was prohibited in the policy was dependent on us being able to recover our expenses somehow, which will entail some sort of display advertising.

We are committed to investing in this site so that we can scale the ability to support contributions and allow Wikitravel to keep its place as a leader in travel websites. We have been working with your guidance to track and tackle bugs, make feature improvements and provide technical resources to the site. We are actively improving the technical support for the site, so that it’s ready to grow. In fact, this week, we will begin public testing of the new server environment and look forward to greater stability and scalability thanks to this investment. JuCo 18:43, 17 September 2008 (EDT)

I appreciate the very delayed response, following a week of wasteful anger and protest. But please do note that the shared language of Wikitravel Shared is English, not Corporatese—I'm not just being snarky, you come across as unopen and untrustworthy by dropping nothing phrases like "we appreciate the response." That's bull anyway—you're either surprised by this response, or you don't care.
I take this very vague statement to mean that you are not recouping expenses on this site. I'd be lying if I said I had enough trust in you guys to take you at your word, but it's nonetheless absolutely necessary to at least state the purpose of why you feel the advertising policy change is needed. That's the beginning of a discussion I would have been happy to have about display ads. We didn't have that discussion; you just decided to implement them over objections without so much as a discussion. I'm not sure it will be possible to regain a spirit of trust and cooperation between IB and the Wikitravel community, but I can only speak for myself.
The argument that we "never agreed to preclude display ads" is transparently disingenuous and offends the intellect. In the past, IB has always been firmly committed to moving forward on contentious issues, above all on advertising, only after carefully seeking input from the community. The fact that there were immediate objections to your policy change could not have made any clearer that we do not have a consensus to add display ads. This is a wiki, and we work by consensus, not by IB's interpretation of policies, which are always drafts due to their wiki nature. And I'd wager 10/10 random guys on the street would agree that the ad I took a screen of above would call that one a violation of our "Ads will be unobtrusive" policy.
You are welcome to change policies, unless people object to your change—that is not the problem at all. The problem is that IB decided to do this come rain or come shine, without community input. You could of started this discussion up at any time, and there would have been people happy to help build a consensus that could well have satisfied all sides. But now, when contributors tell me that they feel suckered and that they no longer want to contribute to a site for someone else's gain, we all stand on far less firm ground in defending the site. Because our advertising no longer reflects an agreement between the community and the server host, it reflects an imposition of will by IB upon the Wikitravel community. And that's not right.
The breakdown in trust that this move entails means that we don't know what you will do next. Will you chop up articles into pieces, thereby basically ruining this site, in the pursuit of short term advertising gains? We don't have a policy specifically precluding that, and we can't write policies for all possible contingencies you might dream up in order to mess up the site.
I can't think of any good ways to repair this damage. Perhaps someone else will have suggestions. --Peter Talk 22:58, 17 September 2008 (EDT)
As we've made quite clear by now, this has nothing to do with the actual advertising and everything to do with open communication and community consensus. The right way to get display ads onto the site is to finally start communicating with us openly and honestly, and ditch the soulless corporate shtick which will never work on a wiki. If you would just take that route you'd find that we're a lot easier to work with, and many of us may have worked with you towards options beyond text ads. Instead you've managed to again dodge every question posed to you.
My honest feeling here is that you guys were testing the waters to see how we'd respond to a bit firmer of a hand from you... our response is clear – cacahuate talk 02:18, 18 September 2008 (EDT)



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