New Ad Server
While banner advertising doesn’t bring in a ton of money for me, the extra money I get from it is nice. Well, it is when the advertisers pay, but that’s a different discussion.
For the past year and a half, I was using a free service from a company called Sparklit, which provides a number of free and paid services for website. The service I had been using was free, but they served up 7.5% of their own ads in your adspace. A small price to pay, but I find their ads aren’t necessarily targeted at my site, so some of the ads look a little out of place.
Finally tiring of this service, and taking advantage of the fact I’ve got MySQL and PHP at my disposal, I loaded up OASIS on my server and am now using that to serve up the ads. It provides a lot of the same functionality I was getting with Sparklit, but without the “extra” annoying ads. I also took the opportunity to cull out the ads for people who haven’t paid in a while (or forgot to bill).
The problem with changing ad services is, well, updating your pages. For the FAQ and blog portions of my site, it simply meant updating a template. Unfortunately, TWiki was munging the HTML I was putting in the template. You have do to something obtuse like put <pre>tags in an HTML comment (e.g. <!-- &;ltpre> --> around the code I added. Once I discovered that worked, I was also able to integrate some Google ads into the site as well.
The big thing I have to do is rebuild my FireWall-1 Gurus Mailing List archives. Once I edited the MHonarc template, I had to completely rebuild and update the search index. It's a big index since I currently go back to July 2000, when I started the list.