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A few days ago I was walking home. I met a young couple on the street. The man didn't get much of my attention -- not an obvious threat, therefore effectively a traffic cone. The woman was a brunette in a nice blue dress that somehow rang a bell in my mind.

I knew I'd seen one like it before, in the media, but I couldn't place it, or recall who had worn it. I cudgeled my brain for a minute or so, but couldn't place it. I puzzled and puzzed 'til my puzzler was sore but no luck. And then I thought "What would e2 do?".

So I imagined a writeup called "little blue dress" and I thought to myself "What are the soft links?" And myself said "intern" Aha! Mentally following intern takes us to a new imaginary writeup. And "What are the soft links there?" Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky. Eureka! (And then an unfortunate mental image of Bill Clinton running naked down the street, a cigar in his teeth. Bad brain! Bad!)

Ah, helpful yet pernicious web site, how you both tangle and untangle my thoughts.

The Toronto Transit Commission has a safety program that allows women traveling on its bus lines during late hours to ask the driver to let them off between stops. This program is regularly announced on the subway system. Unfortunately the recorded announcement has a slight irregularity in it. It goes something like this:

The TTC "Request Stop" program
offers women travelling alone on buses between 9:00pm and 5:00am
<two beats>
the option to ask the driver ...
.. and so on. The strange part is that the <two beats> in the recording are just long enough for the brain to assume the sentence has ended, and parse it thus:
The TTC "Request Stop" program offers women travelling alone on buses between 9:00pm and 5:00am.
which sounds like some sort of escort delivery service. And having parsed it this way once, I hear it like this every time. At least once every single work day. That can't be healthy.

I'd like to address clampe's reply to my last daylog.

First, mea culpa: I got nate's quote wrong. Hand to god, I had it in my head that nate quoted me a price equal to the average advance for a novel; it turns out he quoted me $500 for 24 hours. Serves me right for not keeping better track of my email.

Still, $500 is a lot for some of us, and I think clampe agrees. So, I'll be more specific about the alternative ad system I proposed to nate: Project Wonderful.

Yeah, there's hyperbole in that thar title. It's more like Project Hey-This-Doesn't-Suck. If Google Ads are the Voldemort of Web ad sales, PW is sort of like the Weasley Brothers. Probably 80% of the participants in that system are web comics like Sluggy Freelance, Garfield Minus Garfield, Girl Genius and Sinfest. I first encountered PW on the Greatest Uncommon Denominator magazine site, which runs Google ads as well as PW ads.

Kaolin, GUD's webmaster, told me a couple of things. First, it is possible to weed the most obvious scams out of your Google ad feed ... he does that on a fairly regular basis because he hates the scams as bad as the rest of us and he doesn't want it to even appear that his magazine condones that kind of thing. The trouble is, the weeding-out is not terribly easy. So, E2 could potentially be more scam-free, but it would take staff labor that maybe isn't there.

Banning bad advertisers in PW is much easier according to Kaolin, and there are fewer scammers to contend with (probably this will change as the service gets more popular). Kaolin reports that although he does earn less money through PW than through Google, it's only slightly less and the two are fairly comparable in revenue.

After talking to him, I decided to set up PW ads on the science fiction convention site I webmaster. There was a bit of concern from the con committee about making sure that all the advertisers fit with the convention's goals. The ads were very easy to set up (I can even use them as a kind of content management when I'd rather have an announcement banner instead of an ad in the spot, or I can set the minimum bid high and establish a friend of the convention as the default ad for a period of time to ensure they get page views). I have a very high degree of control over the ads (if I want it; you can set it to automatically approve every bid submission), and I found their system very easy to use. I think it wouldn't be too hard to set up alongside the existing ad system. It doesn't seem to be overly burdensome on page load times. The only downside is it uses javascript. And, obviously, it still serves up ads and not delicious cream-filled pastries.

I've seen it from the bidding side, too, and it's much, much easier to use than the Google ad system. I think anybody who has the savvy to make it to Level 2 here could figure out the system quickly. Furthermore, it's pretty easy to limit your expenditures and enables you to get an ad on even a very expensive site for part of a day without spending too much money.

Anyway. If the management is determined that ad revenue is a good thing, I think Project Wonderful might make a viable adjunct or alternative to Google ads, and would definitely enable fair noder participation. That aside, I do think the management needs to address the issue of scam ads being displayed on E2.

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