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Removal of the Competitive Ad Filter [Selling Out Part Two]
|| 9/17/2009 || 11:34 pm || 2 Comments Rendered || ||

My previous entry about seeing an advertisement related the very organization I was mocking struck a chord with me. Why fight the tide? As in, why take issue with competing ideas?

Since I added Google AdSense earlier this year, every time I found an advertisement that I didn’t want showing on my website, I would log on to Google AdSense, and add the URL to my Competitive Ad Filter. But who was I competing against? Were the ads merely competing against my own ideology?

Was I saying, “Hey Nikolas, you don’t want your visitors to think you tacitly support [insert company]?” or “Do I want some organization that advocates beliefs contrary to my own showing up here?” And I came to a two-fold realization….

First, by limiting the competition for ads on my website, I was earning less money each time someone clicked on an ad. The way Google AdSense works is that companies bid on keywords and these keywords are triggered by content on my website. When there is less competition for these keywords, other companies pay less for the ads to show up on my website. So why earn less, when I could just as easily remove ALL the ads entirely? Why continue to log into AdSense and add to the Competitive Ad Filter each time I found an ad contrary to my ideology? I began to view this practice as a futile effort, akin to swimming in quicksand.

Second, I actually enjoy seeing something different each time I view my blog. As someone who has spent years compiling this content, I know exactly what I am going to see (within a certain degree) every time I visit. But the ads are somewhat random and this makes the experience more engaging on my end (and maybe yours as well?). I can’t say the same for those people who happen to stumble upon my website for the first time and think they look tacky (sorry!). But I can say that they bring a certain amount of personal entertainment that goes beyond the authorship of this content. They show who is paying for words— and words retain a certain degree of power. Thus I can see who was fighting and winning the war of words right on the top of my website– in real time.


Earlier today I removed all of the websites that I was blocking in my Competitive Ad Filter. As the title of this entry suggests, I have, to some degree, completely sold out. The Part One related to the title of this entry is about the removal of the robots exclusion protocol that blocked web crawlers from accessing the content of my website a year & a half ago. By selling out then, I began a radically new direction (paradoxically, a direction most people automatically start at) and this entry highlights a subtle change of course. The moment I opened the floodgates to web crawlers, every personal opinion, every word, every image, every map, EVERYTHING that I had spent years creating and documenting was placed within reach of a simple google query. Before that moment, it was reserved only to those who knew me or knew of me. While this might seam contrary to the nature of the internet, I did it all on purpose and I have zero regret.

Nonetheless, as Part Two begins manifests itself, I expect to see more ads that go against my ideology, but now I fully welcome them. I welcome these contrasting viewpoints in order to strengthen my own. And maybe, just maybe, earn a few bucks to pay for my hosting and domain names.



Flight & Expulsion – An Interactive Flash Map by Christian Behrens
|| 3/22/2008 || 7:46 pm || Comments Off on Flight & Expulsion – An Interactive Flash Map by Christian Behrens || ||

Every year, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) issues a report concerning the number of approximately 21,000,000 people worldwide falling under its mandate: as refugees who were forced to leave their countries due to war, political, racial or religious persecution, as internally displaced persons, or as repatriates on their way back home.

This interactive visualization attempts to give an insight into the phenomenon of global flight and expulsion, based on the annual UNHCR statistics between the years of 1995 and 2004.

Last year Christian Behrens, a new media designer based in Berlin made this interactive Flash map. While I *really* like the map’s concept, coding, and visualization method, I have some issues with the cartographic layout. Specifically, it’s hard to accurately locate some countries with my mouse and since there is no scaling on the text or basemap, its hard to find countries that are typographically overlapping. Moreover, the country’s dot is the only hotspot that triggers the UNHCR data, so if you are hovering over the words, you are literally missing the point. For example, I wanted to find the Gaza Strip and realized the point where my mouse is located is not on Gaza. This also happened with Sri Lanka, whereas the dot is over water. Just south of Sri Lanka, not far from the Maldives. My favorite country on the map is Stateless (below). With that aside, I found this map to be very informative.

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Al-Jazeera VS. CNN on Banksy’s show in LA
|| 9/17/2006 || 10:22 pm || Comments Off on Al-Jazeera VS. CNN on Banksy’s show in LA || ||

My favorite culture jammer / art terrorist / meme warrior, Banksy had an exhibit in LA this weekend. I posted the info about it last Friday night on MySpace. Since then there has been AP, UPI, and Reuters news releases which resulted in over 370 news stories about his exhbit.

Of note is how the artist is covered in the press. CNN literally attacks the messenger (the elephant) instead of addressing it’s message (poverty, social justice, etc.), while Al-Jazeera using the Reuters report treats the exhibit in a more balanced tone. Few of the articles even reference this similar stunt where he painted farm animals (see below)).

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Nikolas Schiller is a second-class American citizen living in America's last colony, Washington, DC. This blog is my on-line repository of what I have created or found on-line since May of 2004. If you have any questions or comments, please contact:

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  • thank you,
    come again!