Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Washington Post/AOL Ads

I found this morning in Theresa Williams' Journal. thought I would post it here. I would like not to write anything more about AOL, the ads or the Boycott in my Dancing in the Rain International Journal. Hopefully I will be able to find a shred of creativity to begin posting there, at least until the International Software is updated to include the distracting, intrusive banner ads :( 

AOL Journals: You've Got Ads Move Draws Protest From Some Longtime Subscribers

By Yuki NoguchiWashington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, November 23, 2005; Page D04

As America Online Inc. turns more toward advertising dollars to offset the shrinking number of subscribers who pay a monthly fee, the company may be upsetting the longtime customers who have remained faithful over the years.

Virginia Heatwole of Rockville, for example, has been a paying customer since 1993 and turned to AOL when she decided to start her own Web log. One of things she liked about AOL Journals was the absence of advertisements on her blog page.

America Online and Time Warner

America Online Inc. is trying to find ways to keep customers coming back to its Internet community while parent company Time Warner Inc. seeks ways to expand its Internet empire.

 Now, her personalized Web page that includes her thoughts about nature and spirituality has become a platform for Netflix DVD rental ads.

"They're flashing and screaming at the top of my blog," she said.

The change came last week, when Dulles-based AOL started posting ads on the pages created by AOL Journals, which had been ad-free for two years. Back in May, the company opened the free service to nonsubscribers, saying that those blogs would contain ads but that blogs by paying customers would be ad-free.

The company, which is quickly losing subscribers to broadband service providers, switched to an "audience strategy" earlier this year, offering free music, video, blogs, and other services and features with hopes of increasing the audience and grabbing more online ad dollars.

"The decision to implement banner advertising on AOL Journals is consistent with our business and advertising practices," AOL spokeswoman Kathie Brockman said in an e-mail. The company, which hosts about 600,000 blogs, received several dozen complaints about the advertisements and is taking suggestions into consideration, she said.

"We have advertising on the portal, in email, instant messaging, and across our network," Brockman wrote. "It is also consistent with the practices of other major blog providers on the Internet."

Some users of AOL's instant-message service are also dealing with the automatic arrival of new "buddies" on their buddy lists: AOL services called Moviefone and ShoppingBuddy. The links allow users to search for movies and products by typing instant messages, which automatically generate a reply message.

Users were notified of the change through a posting on and were given an option to remove the new listings by going to the set-up menu to delete them, the company said.

However the new ads cannot be deleted from the blogs, and that has other bloggers such as Armand Thompson, a Tacoma, Wash.-based U.S. Army sergeant, steamed. In response, he created a new blog at Google's rival blog site, Blogspot, and is trying to move his older entries to it.

His form of protest: keeping his AOL Journal open to speak out against the ads on it.

"It's using their platform against them," he said.


jeanno43 said...

Yes, I saw that.  I wonder if it will spread further and other papers will take it up maybe even the t.v.  AOL will not like the bad publicity.  I see they are going to let everyone put a disclaimer on about the ads, does not solve the problem of them being there for you in the first place.

luvmort said...

It's about time!

astaryth said...

I get some 'alerts' from the Washington Post... mostly their tech stuff. This was in my e-mail when I checked this afternoon. Glad to see that we are getting more media coverage. Very interesting. I like how AOL has gotten 'only a few dozen' complaints. Heck, I know some people who have done more than a few dozen just by themselves <LOL>

suzypwr said...

Armand had a big problem before, didn't he? Wasn't his journal deleted by TOS at one point? I just find the ads annoying. They don't make me want to leave. I had blocked them, but the bleeping noise was more annoying than the ads, so I put them back on.

sanforized6 said...

Nice to see the publicity, BUT, in this wonderful world of Big Money Talks, ain't nuthin' gonna change!!! (OOPS, no grammar check?) rich

kristeenaelise said...

"several dozen complaints"???  Talk about fuzzy math - try hundreds!  I don't know why they don't want to acknowledge that there is a problem.  It frustrates me beyond all reason.

Thanks for posting this, at least the word's getting out (sort of ).

=) kris
still here:

verypinkinside said...

Interesting isn't it? Here's a source for more info:


ng2000news said...

See also: