Black Viper
Black Viper
Nov 292002
 

Introduction

Advertising has saturated every one’s life, for the better or worse. The influx of media in everyday life has also spawned the explosion of advertising in places where I really do not desire to see them. As such, this domain has not and will not have obnoxious flash, Gif or other ad types. Let me explain the evolution of this decision.

Update September 18, 2007: I have “Google Ads” throughout the domain in an attempt to increase my “income” as my “outcome” is much greater. I feel it is a compromise between not having the domain online and charging people for content. Even though it pains me more then you can imagine to see ads on the domain, it helps keep the lights on.

Free Information

I have always supported and enjoyed the free flow of information. I truly believe that knowledge is power and everyone should have the right to get as much of it as desired. Due to economic factors, this is not possible for many people, but, for pennies a day, someone could access the Internet and fill their minds with everything from cooking to solar energy. Libraries have existed for some time with this process. True that the Government steps in to assist educational programs with fund raising and bill paying to keep the doors open, but they also seem to still be the only place where advertising has not intruded on my life. As of now, many libraries also have free Internet access for educational purposes.

Even though I offer my knowledge on my domains, I maintain my copyrights to “fair use” of it for “non-commercial” use. What that means is: you cannot make money off of the information I spend time and money on. I feel that is very fair. Additional legal stuff is here.

Advertising: Everywhere

I knew the day would come where you could not turn around without being hit in the face with advertisement for something, usually totally unrelated to the particular activity.

  • LCD screen in gas pumps blare the latest news… or credit card applications.
  • ATM screens, once used for interactivity between user and institution are now used for new account solicitations.
  • Billboards, once static and boring, now are flashy, moving, enormous TVs displaying everything from up-to-date lottery status or the latest mortgage rates.
  • Radio ads include screaming announcers promising the lowest prices on cars.
  • TV has 10 minutes of programming with 3 minutes of commercials, if you are lucky.
  • Magazine advertisers disguise “large” 5 page ads as “reviews” of their products.

And then, the Internet

Web sites cost money. No doubt about that. Bandwidth, as of now, is very pricey and the costs may not go down until people refuse to pay it. However, even though some broadband connections can cost a pretty penny, average amount of money that some users would put out for “other” ways of communication would be outrageous.

For example: How much would it cost to make a two hour phone call half way around the world? Big money, unless you are already paying for that type of “calling plan.” What if you joined a chat room with that same person, every day for two hours? Would that make the Internet seem like a “cheap” alternative? How much time would be required to compile a listing of reviews from 10 sources on a book that you would like to purchase? Many hours would be my guess.

If the Internet is so “cheap”, why does it cost so much? Many web sites are advertiser supported as subscription based sites have and will struggle until the general public “accepts” the internet as “just another media” and embraces, not only paying for “access” to the Internet, but content, too. TV has done this for many years with “basic” service to include a few channels and “pay-per-view” channels that cost a premium. Of course, you choose what you want to view. Not that way with “non-subscription based” web sites. You are forced to view the advertisements.

If, for example, people could choose a magazine that is “ad-free” for “extra money” or that contains “additional content”, would they? I have no clue as to the costs to publish a magazine of any size, or if advertising is the only answer for such a medium, but it would be interesting to get opinions on that. Would a $7.95 magazine filled with full page ads “cost” the same to produce as a $9.95 magazine without? However, I am sure the profit margin is “great” since the magazines offer “large discounts” for subscriptions.

Banner ads seem the only way to go for the Internet media. However, the “click-through” ratio for banner ads and other intrusive advertising schemes are pathetic, at best. Why do companies waste bandwidth that could be better used for content if the advertising is not effective, anyway? That question has yet to be answered.

I feel that content and a product drives people to a site. If your product speaks for itself, the rewards will come.

Banners, pop-ups, and plug-ins, oh my!

Broadband of any kind, other than a “dedicated” digital line that is prohibitively expensive from the phone company is not an option in my area. As such, I enjoy sites that load fast, even on a dial up, so I can get in and get out. Huge domains that are all images annoy me more than anything, but when all of that bandwidth is wasted and they have banner advertising to further increase the time it takes for me to get what I am looking for, it makes for a frustrating experience. Usually, I will not return.

If I had unlimited bandwidth and even the most bloated site displayed instantly, I would care very little about 120k flash ads that I would never click on. However, when I must sit through the loading of one just to read a news story, it reduces the happiness factor of the “internet experience” everyone hears about (through advertising, of course).

What about this domain?

In the beginning, I had zero people visiting. There really was no need for banner exchanges, nor any form of advertising as it would take a year to attract just one person with a click-through. In addition, I was not going to pay money to advertise a “personal domain”. With that rather dismal return, it would have been a total waste of my time to even deal with the issues of advertising.

After a few people started arriving at my humble domain, viewed information pertaining to whatever issue brought them here, then commented favorably via E-Mail, it fueled my desire to provide content that people actually want! Viewers enjoy my domains and told others about what I had to offer. I would have never guessed it.

A change of pace for Black Viper

It occurred to me that, with the traffic that is being generated, I could make a little sum of money with banner ads. That thought lasted about 2.5 seconds. I feel very strongly against having any obnoxious advertising on the domain. However, I experimented, rather briefly, with “the dark side.”

Affiliates

I joined up with several affiliate companies to “provide my kind readers an easy avenue for purchasing products that they were seeking information about.” Sounds good, huh? That sentence is how I talked my self into the rest.

The reality came that, even though I only provided text links to a few different companies, I made zero money from it. Could it be that file-sharing programs are taking away revenue? Just checking prices? Did not give it enough time to “settle in”? Who knows, but it took quite some time to get the links created, posted and working to my satisfaction for “zero” return… other than the standard look of “the views are swayed because he makes bank off of the products he speaks about.” I felt that it would be better not to have the links then to give the wrong impression.

Another reason is that, with different link exchanges, the companies desire the user / web site visitor to be tracked. Not only to get feedback on the quality and effectiveness of the data, but to jam more “directed” advertising down peoples throats. This tactic was used via “Web Bugs” (small 1 x 1 pixel images) with one affiliate provider. I did not want to be a vehicle for “spy-ware” or “ad-ware” tracking for other companies. As a result, the links were removed after a short period of time.

Alternatives

I have since added a button to assist my visitors in helping me with my bandwidth costs without resorting to an all time low. I first thought of PayPal buttons as “virtual begging”, as some sites display them in a rather strange manner. However, much positive feedback and a few donations from my kind readers have changed my opinion. Donations are optional and content that I provide will remain free as long as I can afford to keep the site functioning. Even though the information and experience I provide is offered with no conditions on the reader’s part, the domains do take a large chunk of my free time and a portion of my (real jobs) paycheck.

By no stretch of the imagination is PayPal buttons a “get rich on the Internet quick” scheme, but it does help with the (increasing costs) of providing information to the general public… for free.

The result?

So, since February 1999, BlkViper.com and BlackViper.com remain banner and pop-up free. They will remain that way as long as my provider does not decide to pack up shop or start actually charging me an obscene amount for the bandwidth that I am using.

Additional content and cool features will also be added when I am offered the opportunity to “serve” the web site from my home. Still, even though the cost of doing so will be much more than having another company take care of my traffic, I will have complete control over what happens with the domain at every turn. With that freedom will come a much happier “Black Viper” and much more content… of course, for free.

Black Viper
November 29, 2002

Revision History

November 29, 2002: Initial release

March 15, 2003: Included updated web server location status (at home)

September 18, 2007: Added Google Ads throughout the domain