Early this Tuesday morning we rolled out some additional changes to our ad serving system. Some of these changes affect members and all of them affect guests. Our bottom 728x90 ad (visible to guests) has been removed and replaced with a browser game suggestion box similar to the recommended MMO box we deployed yesterday.
Because ggFTW focuses primarily on MMO games, we thought browser game suggestions should be the last thing people see on our pages.
Also, our 160x600 towers (visible to members and guests) have been replaced with a "Random MMO" box to augment the recommended MMO box. Games that are not rated highly enough to appear in the "recommended" box can appear in the random MMO box. This box is not for browser games.
The most immediate benefit of this change is a better user experience and more relevant banners. The average size to serve our 160x600 ads was ~250KB. The new banner averages 20 KB, an order of magnitude drop and requires 1.3 requests (average) as opposed to 13, again an order of magnitude drop.
As such, these locations are no longer advertisements per se and cannot be targeted or bought. In the spirit of keeping with our premium program, the two new features are not visible to premium subscribers.
We want to send a very clear message to advertisers with this move. We are here for our members; they are why we exist. Although we want to help you reach our members as this is how we pay our bills, we have repeatedly asked that the ads remain relevant and interesting to our visitor base. There's also no good reason why serving a 160x600 ad should require 250 KB of data and 13 requests to remote servers. None.
Intruding on our members' experience hurts everyone. A better user experience keeps everyone happy and coming back so we can show them your relevant and interesting advertisements. Kinda like how lowering taxes actually encourages people to make more and thus pay more taxes.
Your "I fight for the USERS" ggFTW Staff
(bonus points if you can identify the above reference)