Boris Mann

Open Source. Community. Decentralized Web. Building dev tools at Fission. Cooks & eats.


Testing Ad Bard, a FOSS friendly ad network

I'm testing out a new advertising network built by Jeremy Andrews. Jeremy is a long time contributor to the Drupal project, mainly through switching his site KernelTrap over to it many years ago, and then being involved with many other Drupal businesses -- architecting major portions of CivicSpace among other things. Jeremy's current "day job" aside from KernelTrap is Tag1 Consulting, who are Drupal performance experts. He also happens to have built the Drupal Advertising module.

The new advertising network I'm testing is Ad Bard. I'll excerpt the "what" from the about page:

Ad Bard's mission is to foster a friendly and useful advertising community. As a fellow Ad Bard, you will help to ensure that the advertisements in our network are useful, relevant, and non-obnoxious.

I've currently got the ad block running in the upper right hand corner of the sidebar. Yes, it doesn't look too different from any of a number of usual banner ad rotations. The current schtick is that Ad Bard is "Free and Open Source" (FOSS) friendly. It has categories of advertisers and websites in the network related to a variety of open source topics, so at this point both the advertisements and websites should be relevant to people interested in those topics. The whole site / system is

Just to throw another concept into the mix, Jeremy recently put up a post advocating that should join Ad Bard. The Drupal Association has been testing ads on some of the forum pages on for a while now, as a way to generate revenue to support the project. Google ads have been tested and are running now in the right sidebar of the hosting forum (itself now hotly contested because of some of the content from hosting providers). This really brings up the issue of whether ads are appropriate for open source projects at all. If ads do have to be there, I'm much more in favor of daily / weekly / monthly sponsorship ads: they seem to be much less painful to end users, and I think more effective for advertisers, too.

One of the thought experiments / questions that I often pose people is "How relevant does an ad have to be before it is no longer an ad?" One specific example would be someone looking to buy a Canon S5 IS from my review -- is an ad on that page on a place to buy them an ad ... or a useful, in context piece of information? All a matter of relevance, I believe.

If you're an open source advocate (or project), you might want to kick the tires on Ad Bard -- I'll let you know what I think after I've had ads up for a while.

Disclosure: Raincity Studios does work with Tag1, and I'm a big fan of Jeremy. I've also shoved over a boatload of ideas that I have around advertising networks that I've been itching to experiment with. We'll see :P

And yes, I know -- long time no post.