Whatsthatbug.com was started in the late 1990s as an insect identification website. Since then, it has morphed into a blog where you can read about the wonderful world of bugs.
During all these decades, we have used ads to part-fund our efforts. These ads pay just a fraction of the costs and time that it takes to run the website and whatsthatbug.com remains a labor of love.
We use Mediavine, a leading programmatic ads company, to manage our ads. They do their best to tailor the ads to our content. But many times, it also depends on many other things like the visitor’s browsing history, demographics etc.
Over the years, we have received some feedback on our ads, not all of it positive. Here are some of the letters that we have received.
Letter 1 – Some Google Ads are for Extermination Companies
Google Ads confliclicting message August 11, 2009 Hi Bugman, I love your site and have it as one of my home pages. I noticed today that your google ads section had a number of exterminators listed. I don’t know if this is something you wanted to discuss with them or not, but it does look odd. It could have been like this for a long time and I just never noticed. Bugs are so much more interesting than ads. 🙂 Joeleo Texas Dear Joeleo, Thanks for your concern. Though we do not endorse extermination as a solution for every situation, we do understand that sometimes it is necessary. We do not give out extermination advice nor do we dispense medical advice.
Letter 2 – A Reader's Complaints
what happened to your site August 13, 2010 8:57 pm Your site used to be a pleasure to browse. Now it is filled with ads, related links, and so cluttered you need to click 5x vs usual to see the same number of bugs. I hate it. Jon Dear Jon, We are not certain exactly when your displeasure with our website began. Were you with us in 2000 when we were a column on American Homebody? Did you start to browse our site in 2003 shortly after we launched our own domain and we might get five letters a day while we had free web hosting? Real estate on the internet, like all other places, costs money. There was a time, between 2004 and 2006 when our popularity began to grow and we needed to pay $250 a year just for web hosting to cover the amount of traffic we were generating. Even with that cost, our site was only active until we exceeded our bandwidth, and during the summer when more people needed bugs identified, that might only be a week. So, in July 2005, had you tried to browse our site on the first of the month, you would have been able, but if the urge to browse our site struck you on July 10, you may have been greeted with a “site unavailable” notice because we had exceeded our monthly traffic allowance within the first week. Then you would have had to wait until August 1 when the count refreshed and we went live again for about a week. Things changed for us in 2006 when we kicked our old web host to the curb and started to run advertisements that were discretely placed so as not to really interfere with our content. Visitors to our website who click on ads help to generate the cost of running the website, which is currently in excess of $1000 a month. We do not have pop up ads to clutter the viewers’ screens like many websites have. Our ads continue to be discretely placed, but again, if each time you visit, you click a single ad, it helps us generate the revenue that it takes to run and maintain our website. The related links you refer to are leading you to related postings on our own website. For example, if a reader is trying to self identify a beetle, and that reader encounters a photo of a California Prionus, the reader can also choose to easily read about other Prionids from our own archives by clicking on related links. Many people who visit our site are still running on dial-up connections. A web page that has numerous large photographs takes longer to load which is why images are kept small. We offer an option allowing our readers to click on the photo from a posting and the photo enlarges in a new window so that those fine details like the veins in the wings or the hairs on the legs of the insect are more viewable, but the size of the image does not negatively impact the size of the page itself. We have also reduced the number of postings on our homepage because we know that everyone who visits our site is not lucky enough to have high speed internet connectivity. We are also trying to be forward facing. Many people now visit our site on mobile communication devices, so we have changed our formatting to accommodate how the public reaches us. Not all of the changes we have made in the ten years that we have been on the internet have agreed with everyone. We hope that your hatred has not driven you away. The bugs are all still there. Popularity has a price tag, and in our case, the free service that we are providing on the internet may require a few more clicks from the readers, which is a small price to pay. Fans of Lady Gaga, on the other hand, have gone from seeing her up close in the local pub for the cost of a beer to having to pay high ticket prices to sit in the back row of a stadium. Cost is relative.
Letter 3 – Comment about the Ads on our Site
about those Google Ads… Website: http://mycologista.blogspot.com/ February 21, 2011 12:55 pm Hey, I love your site (although I haven’t visited for what seems like eons, since I haven’t been hikin or finding bugs because it’s WINTER). I see those Google Ads, the big ones with your proviso above them saying you do not endorse extermination, and I’m wondering if you know about Amazon Associates. I started my little mushroom blog, and got excited about Google Ads, and found what they posted to be entirely inappropriate–“Rid your house of mold!”, stuff about the heartache of nail fungus, etc. And of course no one who visited my blog was remotely interested in that. Amazon Associates has a much more specific way to define the ads (not that any of my 50 readers ever clicks on or buys anything. Well, okay, I’ve had 8 clicks. In a year. But, I have HOPE). I told it to post BOOKS, told it key words like “mushrooms”, “field guides”, etc., and I am pleased. And I could play around with the colors! Do you get any response from the exterminator ads that show? If not, I’d tell Googls Ads to get lost. Actually, now that I think about it, you MIGHT actually get results from those, as people find your site while trying to ID bugs they think are a nuisance…it just seems like an awful lot of ads for something you don’t actually want to endorse! I am in no way benefiting in any way from Amazon Associates, not employed by them, haven’t made a cent from my ads (but, like I said, I have a very tiny audience at this point), etc. Just passing along my blogger experiences. Google Ads frustrated me, and Amazon Associates satisfied. Signature: lisa Hi Lisa, Thanks for your letter. As What’s That Bug? became more and more popular, we had to deal with the rising cost of site maintenance, hence the addition of the google ads several years back. We cannot control the traffic to the website, and many people who visit hate insects. We hope that we can share our enthusiasm for the lower beasts with the folks who stumble upon us while trying to find out about the creatures that have wandered into the home. We know that most household visitors do not do any damage, and while we do not endorse extermination, we realize that there are situations when the advice of a professional may be required. We will pass on your suggestion to our webmaster and he may be able to find a way to incorporate Amazon Associates into our advertising arsenal.