July 19, 2007
alternately entitled
"Our Experience With Link Exchange"

You've probably noticed the banners at the bottom of every page of The TP. Don't worry, we're not making any money off them...God no, that would mean we'd have a motive. It's a banner exchange program, meaning we display someone else's banner and ours goes up on another site, probably buried somewhere on your cousin Mark's home page. Anyway, you can update your own banner at any time and the click throughs to your site per banner display are tracked.

So when we were new to the whole on-line magazine game and still starry-eyed idealists about the internet, we made the following banner:

banculo4.gif (2498 bytes)

We thought it was catchy, incorporating our slogans, the name of the magazine, even some almost watery-ish waves to symbolize toilet water. Sigh. Our click thru rate was dismal, something like 180 banner displays just to get one poor sap to click through.

So we came up with the great idea of putting a picture of a woman's behind on the banner like so:

linkad2.gif (7892 bytes)

It is the *Toilet Paper* after all. We thought it was pretty innocent, a tiny little jean-clad tush and the name of the magazine. You can hardly tell what the picture is, but we received the following letter:

Thank you for submitting your banner to this advertising network. Although your web site is acceptable, we are not able to accept your banner into our network at this time.

These banners are displayed on a network of thousands of different web sites. In order to ensure that each banner advertised is acceptable to that audience, we insist that all banners are generally acceptable...

For example, the banner must not contain curse words or inflammatory content. This includes slander towards individuals, public figures or companies. Suggestive imagery such as women in lingerie/bathing suits is also unacceptable.

Etc., etc.

We were a tiny bit perturbed and tad bit perplexed.Of course its their banner network, they can do what they want, but what kind of delusional world were they living in? In our frustration, we decided to let the world know just how generally acceptable the TP is. Here's the next banner we sent in:

link.gif (1886 bytes)

Sure, we spelled, "virtually" wrong, but the word "pornography" must have caught quite a few eyes. Our click thru rates tripled, with a person clicking thru for every 60 banners displayed.

It was an interesting experiment, though hardly a controlled one. Perhaps the yellow background was responsible for the click thru bonanza? Or the misspelling so intrigued web surfers that they were compelled to visit the site. We decided to push the Link Exchange censors, going for a banner that was explicit but too damn innocent to offend anyone:

link_sofi.gif (3016 bytes)

It was a test to see to just what extent sex is driving the web. The response was astounding. Click thru rates tripled again! A person clicked on the banner for every 18 displays, ten times better than our original banner! TEN TIMES! This "Sofi" banner is the one we currently use...in fact, some of you probably recognize it and are slapping your foreheads.

"BASTARDS!" - (that was you yelling 'bastards' at us, by the way, for luring you here based on false pretenses.)

So now we're thinking about taking it one step further:

link_anal.gif (1759 bytes)

Think Link Exchange will go for it? It is a pun after all. Get it, anal action - toilet paper. One can always try, can't they?

The whole click thru bonanza brings up some interesting questions:

  • Is sex really more important than stupid articles about made up news, replete with misspellings and misquotes? Come on internet community, where are our priorities?!!

  • If one in every two people clicks on the "Hot Anal Action" banner, what does it mean about the two guys sitting next to you in the computer lab?

  • Should we just fold up shop and throw up some pics of naked ladies? (Don't fret, we would never do this - making money is way too bourgeois for the TP staff).

Thoughts? mailto:thoughts@thetp.com

Note - in theory the banners at the top of the page make money. And in theory an extra value meal is a realistic source of vitamins and nutruients. We've been unfortunate enough to prove the latter false because in fact the former is false. Still with us? Oh well, it was only a worthwhile point in theory. But don't worry, we are neither bitter in theory nor in practice.

Note: After this piece was published, most of the Link Exchange banners were taken down Why? It wasn't a protest, just that Link Exchange changed their banner format and updating the site was a mild inconvenience. Our time is too valuable to protest. We prefer to give away free dimes. Anyway, here's a little momento:

LinkExchange Member

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