Baseball Toaster Fairpole
Site Changes: Ads and Search
2005-08-15 16:55
by Ken Arneson

I'm currently making a few changes to the page templates. Expect the look of the pages to change from minute to minute as I fiddle with this for the next hour or two.

I'll let you know when I'm done.

If you see something that looks way out of whack, feel free to comment below, but I'm probably all over it.

Update: I am done, for now. I added a Google search box to the sidebar, and a Google ad on each page. I also moved the login/logout information to the upper right corner of the page.

This layout will probably change in the coming weeks and months. We're going to experiment with different styles to see how it affects revenues.

Note: the page layout breaks if your window is too narrow. I'll fix that soon...

Update: I fixed the window-too-narrow problem. Unfortunately, I fixed it with HTML tables, but I don't have time to fiddle with the fickle behaviors of CSS right now.

Speaking of CSS, if the site looks weird, just reload this (or any other) page. If your browser is using a cached version of our CSS files, you'll need to refresh it.

2005-08-15 23:43:43
1.   Linkmeister
Ken, check my comment at 23:41 on Dodger Thoughts.

No, don't bother. I'll repost it here:

YIKES! What happened here? The background is now same as the sidebar, the text is smaller, and when I log in I get my profile screen and have to click on the DT sidebar to get to the post.

Yo! Mr. Programmer! What you did?

The comment preview is the same as it has been for months, however.

2005-08-15 23:44:14
2.   Linkmeister
Oh, I'm using Firefox 1.06 and WinXP, if that matters.
2005-08-15 23:45:52
3.   Linkmeister
And now I do a refresh at DT and it goes back to the way it has been for months. WTF, over?
2005-08-16 00:08:41
4.   Ken Arneson
Linkmeister, you probably needed to refresh the CSS file for the site, because I changed it.

Your browser was probably trying to render the page with the old CSS file from its cache, and it didn't turn out right. When you hit reload, it refreshed the CSS file, and everything was fine.

2005-08-16 06:26:37
5.   DXMachina
Yup, refreshing the page brought everything back to normal for me. Good job!
2005-08-16 07:00:18
6.   Loogy
Good job with the ads.
I do notice them but they don't seem intrusive.
2005-08-16 07:06:35
7.   graciebarn
I apologize for my immature idealism, but what benefit is gained from the ad revenue?
2005-08-16 07:43:28
8.   Marty
Seeing your profile after logging on instead of being on the thread you were previously on is annoying. Ideally, after logging on you should be at the same number in the thread you were looking at when you logged on.

Also, the point size of the font is a little small for us older, sight-impaired fans. But I can get used to that.


2005-08-16 08:22:29
9.   Chris H
The formatting looks much better on my mobile device now. That may have been unintentional, but thanks either way!
2005-08-16 15:42:04
10.   Shaun P
I have no problem with the ads - they are certainly unintrusive. And the search box is a great feature!

I just wonder what info google is using to target those ads. For example, the two ads I just saw at Bronx Banter were Red Sox related. However, on the current front page for the site, the words "Red Sox" appear three times (not including the ads), while the word "Yankee(s)" appears almost fifty times. Not important just curious . . . the targeted ads I see in gmail, for example, are usually spot on.

2005-08-16 16:20:30
11.   Ken Arneson
For one, it costs me $50/month in ISP costs to host the site. If the traffic grows, that price will also grow. It would be nice not to lose money on it.

Second, the writers here spend a lot of time on the site; it would be nice if they could see some return on that investment.

That said, we do still want the site to look good. We'll try to strike a balance between revenue and aesthetics.

If you log in using the link at the bottom of an article, it will kick you back to the original page. But the new link at the top right doesn't do that, you're correct. I'll fix it so that it does, but I might not be able to get around to it until early next week, though.

I suppose I could also bump the font size up a point on the login link in the upper right. I noticed it looked pretty small on one of my browsers. It's 7pt now, I could make it 8pt. But I have to make it a fixed font size, because otherwise it would run into the image below it.

2005-08-16 16:24:51
12.   Ken Arneson
Shaun P:
Google decides which ads to run by a sort of combination of keywords and instant auction pricing. So if Red Sox ticket ads show up on Bronx Banter, it's partly because the Red Sox ticket broker was willing to pay more.
2005-08-16 20:41:01
13.   Eric Enders
This doesn't have anything to do with the most recent site changes, but anytime I hit "refresh" to check for new comments in IE v6.0.2, I lose my place on the page -- I either get transported to the top of the page or to some other random place within it. This is especially unfortunate when you're in the middle of reading a 500-post thread but neglected to note which post number you left off at.

I think this has something to do with the post caching system, since it started happening at the same time. The caching system, by the way, I still find to be intensely annoying even after several months of getting used to it. Might there be a way to allow users to set their own preferences on that?

These are relatively minor complaints, however. Overall I think the site is pretty easy to use. Thanks for all your work on it, and I hope the Google ads prove lucrative, at least as much as is possible considering they're Google ads.

2005-08-16 21:29:30
14.   Shaun P
Thanks for the info, Ken. Given how hard it is to get a ticket to Fenway, I'm not surprised that Sox ticket brokers would be willing to pay more - they're probably raking in the dough right now.

On that note, I'll echo Eric and hope that you guys see some ROI and rake in some dough yourselves.

2005-08-17 10:59:41
15.   Ken Arneson
Eric: thanks for the feedback. I hope to overhaul the game threads soon. I'll take your complaints into consideration.
2005-08-17 11:39:39
16.   Eric Enders
A question, Ken: Can we help you guys out by simply clicking on one of the Google ads and hitting the "back" button, or do we actually have to spend money on the advertiser's site for Toaster to benefit?
2005-08-17 16:33:54
17.   Ken Arneson
It is against our terms of service to encourage or entice anyone to click on the ads. Not only that, Google haff vays ov finding out if ze click iss gut. If the click isn't legit, they won't count it anyway.

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