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The Digital Bits - Good Grief

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86 replies to this topic

#1 of 87 OFFLINE   Neil White

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Posted December 02 2005 - 04:39 PM

Hi DVD fans. I'm a long-time member here but due to other hobbies and commitments I've not been around much over the last year or two but lately I've been lurking around again here and a few other DVD sites. What has really struck me is how much advertising is now all over the sites. HTF seems to have it under control and not too obtrusive but The Digital Bits is just awful. That site is now a mess and as for the Flash ads, well, I think that site is coming off my favorites list (where it has been for at least 6 years). I do understand the economics of running these sites so don't flame me but does anyone share my opinion of TDB? Neil

#2 of 87 OFFLINE   Mike D

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Posted December 02 2005 - 05:18 PM

No kidding. If it wasn't for Bob and Barrie I'd have stopped visiting that site long ago. Firefox extensions can help with the ad problem.

#3 of 87 OFFLINE   jim.vaccaro


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Posted December 02 2005 - 06:09 PM

Doesn't bother me in the slightest. I look at the articles, not the ads. Much like looking at the movie, not the black bars. Posted Image

#4 of 87 OFFLINE   Colby


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Posted December 02 2005 - 06:24 PM

I didn't even realize they still had these ads. Needless to say, Firefox and the Adblock extension can work wonders. Posted Image

#5 of 87 OFFLINE   Andrew Bunk

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Posted December 02 2005 - 08:30 PM

^^^^^^^ Posted Image

Firefox rules!
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#6 of 87 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted December 02 2005 - 09:48 PM

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This type of discussion has come up many
times before in the past but as we get an
influx of new readers here I suppose it
becomes necessary to address your concerns
once again.

As someone who is part owner of this forum,
understands the economics involved in website
advertising and has a good understanding of
what is happening over at The Digital Bits,
let me offer my two-cents....

First of all, if you would believe my honesty
in saying this, I think The Digital Bits
is the leading DVD related informational website
on the Internet. I read the site daily, and
hands-down it provides some of the most current
up-to-date newsbreaking announcements and rumours
that you will find anywhere.

Bill Hunt, the owner of The Digital Bits
is very well respected inside the DVD community.
I know for a fact that the studios and DVD
producers entrust him with a lot of information --
some of which he won't even discuss in public
until he is permitted to do so.

As far as his website's advertising tactics are

The Digital Bits is no different of a
situation than any other DVD website out there --
including Home Theater Forum

There is very little money to be made in online
advertising when it comes to DVD sites. The
studios who should offer the most support to
these sites generally do not as they feel their
audience is already built in. You will notice
that generally the same one or two studios will
advertise and half that profit is split with an
advertising agent.

The reason there are so many advertisements on
these sites is because most of them are "affiliate"
related advertising whereas the owner of the site
only gets paid every time a user actually clicks
on that ad. It's an extremely unfair practice
since sites should be paid for exposure based on
readership in the same manner that TV and newspaper
media are. Instead, we must rely on members to
click on these ads. Most do not.

Which brings me to a very important gripe....

Nothing burns me more than reading about adblockers.
I don't know how many times before I have talked
about the damage all of you are doing to sites like
ours by activating adblockers in your browsers.

Sites like The Digital Bits and Home
Theater Forum
(and countless others) provide
a wealth of information to you on a daily basis
at absolutely zero cost.

Plain and simple, every time you block our ads
you take advertising support away from us. If
you want to sit here and encourage everyone to
use adblocking software sooner or later that
forces us to charge a subscription fee or close
up shop.

I am going to say quite bluntly: What is the
big deal about websites being littered with
advertising when readers are being provided
with a valuable service at no cost to them?!

In his post above, Jim made a very good point
of comparing advertisements to the black bars on
widescreen movies. After a while you forget about
them as your eyes concentrate on the valuable
information that is being provided in front of you.

There is so much time and effort that people like
Bill Hunt put into The Digital Bits (and
other related sites). All of you are being
provided with a valuable service at absolutely
no charge. Don't you feel it very unfair that
that the burden of paying for the cost of running
these type of sites should come out of the owner's


Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner


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#7 of 87 OFFLINE   RickER



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Posted December 02 2005 - 11:44 PM

The ONLY thing i hate are the pop up ads. I can be 1/2 way done reading Bills story for the day, and THEN have the pop up show. Once again it usually isn't a problem unless i have to chase the thing around the screen just to close it. But i also LOATH pop up ads on TV. Causing me not to watch much TV. Pop up ads on TV or the internet are from Satan himself, i have no doubt. Posted Image

#8 of 87 OFFLINE   Alex-A


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Posted December 02 2005 - 11:55 PM

I know this will probably offend you, based on what you just posted, but I feel like sharing my opinion anyway. I despise advertising. It drives me insane when I want to read or watch something and am bombarded with ads. If I go to watch a short video clip of something on some web site, several commercials will play before you get to what you really want to see, and you cannot skip them. Flash ads are becoming the new norm in online advertising, and if I may also me blunt, they just piss me right off. They won't load until the entire page is loaded, so I am usually already reading what I want when all of a sudden some stupid ad comes scrolling across the screen. Makes me want to put my fist through my monitor. Now before you go off and tell me about how site owners are supposed to pay to run their sites without advertising, hear me out. On any given day of the year, I would rather pay a reasonable subscription fee for a site that provides news, such as TDB, rather than having to deal with so many damn ads. Look at what the makers of DVD Profiler did with their program. If you want the free version, you get ads. Not a whole load of them mind you, just one simple ad bar within the program. If you pay the one-time fee, ads are GONE. This is how some things should really be done. It saves people so many headaches. On a side note, I feel I should mention that advertising offers me absolutely nothing. I do not buy ANYTHING based solely on ads or commercials. I make purchases based on my interest in something, not because of some quick 30 second clip of some completely fake looking actor telling me how great some product is. When I am interested in something, I'll do my own research. I won't want to be inundated with advertising. I have never once clicked on an ad, not here, nor over at TDB, nor anywhere else. Sorry, but that's just the way I do things.

#9 of 87 OFFLINE   ZackR


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Posted December 03 2005 - 12:30 AM

Well, since this has come up again, I must say that I generally agree with Ron on this one. Popular sites such as TDB, HTF, etc can be massive financial black holes. The owners and operators of such sites often do end up paying out of their own pockets. No one forces anyone to visit TDB or HTF. There is no implied right to freely browse any website without being "annoyed" with advertisement. As someone who has moderated on a large forum (and several smaller ones) in the past, I know this is true. The Internet has created (in some people) an attitude of entitlement. Many individuals seem to see it as their right to browse the web, freely absorbing all the information and entertainment that is provided...yet pay nothing in return. Please understand me - I am not referring to any individual on this forum or any other directly. I am speaking to an attitude in general on the Internet. The advertisements really do not bother me. In fact, I try to visit the advertisers of a site that I enjoy in order to support that site. Are some of the popups annoying on some sites? A little, maybe, but that slight inconvenience of having to "Oh my God, click an X to close it or whatever" is far outweighed by the enjoyment and information I gain from visiting whatever site it happens to be. Now, onto the subscription issue... If such an option were ever made available at HTF or TDB, I would immediately participate. Immediately...not so much to eliminate ads (though that would be fine with me) but primarily to support the site in question. HTF holds a fund-raising drive every year. Think about it. Maybe if just a small percentage of the people who use this site on a regular basis and take advatage of what it offers contributed just a few dollars, the whole advertisement discussion would be moot. Regardless, is it too much to ask individuals to put up with some advertisements in order to have access to the vast amount of information that is freely available on sites like HTF or TDB? I sure do not think so. Just my two cents.
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#10 of 87 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted December 03 2005 - 12:43 AM

Rick and Alex,

You will both be surprised that I am
actually going to agree with you.

We hate pop-up ads too. You don't see
them here do you? This is despite the
fact that we have been offered a lot of
money to carry such ads on our site. Truth
is, we have refused such advertising because
we felt A). We have enough advertising
support that we don't need to supplement our
advertising with those type of ads and B). We
know that these type of ads will garner complaints
from the membership. I am not speaking on behalf
of The Digital Bits, so I can only guess that
there was no other choice but to accept the intrusive
advertising. I am certain there are other websites
out there that just don't care because the money for
such ads is so attractive.

I also agree with you 100% that any type
of web advertising doesn't necessarily make
or break a buying decision for an individual.
However, that being said, you can't deny that
what these companies do get by advertising on
our websites is exposure. Most certainly
their ad will be noticed at least once by every
person that frequents this and other forums on
a daily basis.

I appreciate the fact that people would rather
pay a subscription fee to HTF or other sites in
order not to deal with advertising. Consider
yourself amongst the minority. The day we start
charging a subscription fee is the day we lose
3/4 or more of our membership to the other websites
that offers the same information for free.

The bottom line is this....

Without the support of advertisers there would
be no Digital Bits or Home Theater

If everyone started using ad-blocking software
to block ads you can bet that sites like us
would never survive.

Things don't work here the same way it does for
TV or newspaper advertising. Networks get paid
despite the fact people use Tivo to skip through
commercials. Websites rely on click-throughs
and how many times their ads get drawn up by
unique visitation.

I honestly don't think I am going to change the
minds of any of you currently using ad-blocking
software. I am sure you are already enjoying
a luxury that you are not going to give up. I
just hope that I have educated some of you as to
the reasons so many websites rely on a massive
amount of advertising in order to survive and
why it is important you tolerate and support that


Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner


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#11 of 87 OFFLINE   Neil White

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Posted December 03 2005 - 01:56 AM

I respect all of your opinions and to some degree, I regret dragging-up what is obviously an old subject. But it is interesting to read your opinions so thanks for replying. Ron, I mean no disrespect to HTF or TDB. You and Bill do admirable work. I would subscribe if it went that way as I do at other sites but I also agree that you would lose a good proportion of your members which would dilute the value of this site. However, I am a member at one site where it's optional; those that subscribe have zero ads, those that do not get the ads. As others have said, it's really the pop-up/Flash stuff that irks me. And when you have to chase down that X to close it, it's even more annoying. It's almost like a goading or a trick. I know I should get over it but... I'm not sure if TDB still does this (have not visited enough lately to know) but several times at work I have opened the site and some loud pop-up ad has come on the screen making my co-workers wonder what the heck is going on in my office... ;-) Do we really need sound on these ads? Thanks again for a great site Ron. Apart from more static ads on the pages, this is essentially the same site I used to live on years ago.

#12 of 87 OFFLINE   Travis Brashear

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Posted December 03 2005 - 02:16 AM

A suscription fee? Yeah right--I'll take 20 popups before I have to pay for DVD release news, thank you very much. He he...for a non-theist Democrat living in the Bible Belt who thinks that RETURN OF THE JEDI was the best STAR WARS film and never saw what the hell was so funny about "Seinfeld", it's good to be part of the majority for a change!
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#13 of 87 OFFLINE   ZackR


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Posted December 03 2005 - 02:53 AM

Just out of complete curiosity, is it possible that HTF could do an "optional" subscription? For those who do not wish to pay, the site would remain as-is, completely unchanged. However, if there were those willing to pay for the convenience or whatever, they could login to the site and it would be add-free. Again, just curious. As I have said, the ads really don't bother me...especially considering what I get in return. Keep up the great work, guys. HTF is one of the best there is. Posted Image
You'll Believe A Man Can Fly

#14 of 87 OFFLINE   Mikah Cerucco

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Posted December 03 2005 - 02:55 AM

I think you guys missed Alex-A's point. What's he's suggesting is an ad-free skin for people who pay for the right. Those who don't want to pay would be able to continue with the ad supported version of the site. Those who want to pay wouldn't be subjected to ads if they don't want to see them. The only drawback to that is the work required to implement it.

EDIT: ZachR beat me. Posted Image
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#15 of 87 OFFLINE   Scott-S


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Posted December 03 2005 - 03:05 AM

I like Zack's Idea.

The main issue I have with the shear volume of ads is that not everybody has broadband. Is sort of sucks having to wait over a minute before you can see the content on a page.

The page you get when you visit http://www.hometheat...um.com/htforum/

takes forever to load unless you have broadband. 23 ads is a lot of kbyts to load.

I suposedly do have broadband, but in primetime hours my dns service gets bogged down and the ads take forever to load. But I endure it because I love this place.

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#16 of 87 OFFLINE   TravisR


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Posted December 03 2005 - 03:09 AM

Exactly. No one likes pop ads and all that but it's more than worth the 'trouble' if I can get lots of info for absolutely nothing. With all the effort put into the sites, I think all those guys deserve to make some money and the only way they can is through advertising.

#17 of 87 OFFLINE   Sam Favate

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Posted December 03 2005 - 05:27 AM

There are plenty of sites on the web that have very intrusive advertising. The Digital Bits is not one of them (nor is HTF).

#18 of 87 OFFLINE   Tory


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Posted December 03 2005 - 06:02 AM

There has been this Circuit City ad on some sites I frequent that has a banner ad much like the one on this page but when it first comes up a figure of a person and some giant words I ignore block out the text of the page I am reading. This happens over the text and not in a separate window and though I think it is meant to be a quick thing, sometimes it stays on over the text for a long good while and freezes the page. This happens in Firefox, and it is more of a bother than other ads. I do not mind advertisements on websites but some are obnoxious and really miss the point of good advertising. These type of ads make me likely not to purchase anything from these stores. Alot of the advertisers here however have traditionally been unobtrusive and clicking on their links display some great items but their sites are super slow to load.
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#19 of 87 OFFLINE   Adam_WM



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Posted December 03 2005 - 06:08 AM

Guys, Home theater and DVD sites have nothing on wrestling sites or porn sites. Talk about obtrusive ads.

Here's one. This is one of my favorite web sites for wrestling news, but holy crap, POP UPS BEWARE!

Run for the hills on that one!

As for THE DIGITAL BITS and HTF, they are two of my favorite sites and will continue to be so for a long time. Even if there are a few ads.


#20 of 87 OFFLINE   Jason Hughes

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Posted December 03 2005 - 07:05 AM

I have no problem with the ads. I just ignore them. Great site, why trash it needlessly??????
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