New Black Diamond Ad, What Do You Think?

Post by blogger | September 20, 2010      

It’s a dilemma. When you publish a website that’s mostly original content, how much of the “other” websites do you sprinkle in? When it comes to blog posts, I don’t mind embedding the occasional video or quoting another article, but I’ve always felt uncomfortable going farther.

Adding a wrinkle to such issues, a while ago Black Diamond began a web publishing endeavor that’s fairly major, and they’ve changed their advertising strategy from basic banner ads to that of teasing their own website content in ads placed on other websites such as WildSnow. Content arbitrage, or something to that effect.

If BD’s ad is working correctly for your browser setup, check it out just down a bit in the right sidebar. If you can’t see it, let us know.

BD has been one of my most valued and helpful supporters ever since the Wild Snow book project. Thus, even though their new online ad strategy has the purpose of luring readers away with the promise of more content, I figured I’d give it a go and see how it flew. They have some good stuff over there, and much is backcountry skiing related.

What do you guys think of this type of advertising, and how about BD’s content?



50 Responses to “New Black Diamond Ad, What Do You Think?”

  1. Paul S. September 20th, 2010 6:27 am

    Frankly, I think it’s one more thing that clutters up the layout. I love the info that I get from Wildsnow, and I’m not going to stop visiting any time soon, but it is starting to feel a little crowded with the four-column layout, and the BD story reel doesn’t help. I guess I would be a lot happier with the ad if it just listed a couple of stories and didn’t keep spinning.

    Thanks for a great blog!

  2. Rogier van Rijn September 20th, 2010 6:40 am

    agree with Paul S.

  3. Lou September 20th, 2010 7:03 am

    Rog and Paul, good feedback, thanks. I specifically ask all our advertisers to give me ads that stop flashing/scrolling after a short period of time. Believe me, if they had their way WildSnow would look like Vegas at night.

    The scrolling ads do need to stop fairly quickly. I think BD’s does stop after a while, but it appears to go on too long.

    Once this comment thread runs its course I’ll get with BD on that.

    I’m working on the clutter issue. First step is to re-arrange and consolidate advertising. That’s the stage I’m at now. I eventually might be able to go back to three columns, or stick with 4 only with better design…

    Keep the comments coming.

  4. Jack15T September 20th, 2010 7:25 am

    It’s obnoxious.

  5. Jesse September 20th, 2010 7:27 am

    I agree that the scrolling is annoying. I also wonder if you could cut down on the clutter by just removing some things altogether – do you need to have a complete list of both ‘tags’ and ‘categories’ on every single page? I think I’d also remove the ‘recent comments’ widget.

    Whatever you do, this blog is still going to be the best thing on the internet.

  6. Ken McKean September 20th, 2010 7:59 am

    It doesn’t really bother me at all; in fact I think it might add some synergy to your other sponsers. I was unaware of the BD ad space until you pointed it out, and even then had to scoll back and forth to locate (I was expecting something much more obnoxious). I clicked on the Drew Stoecklein Brooks Range vid, and if anything it was a stoke inducer. While I suppose I would prefer just your content in a less cluttered format I am able to pretty much block out your advetisers and concentrate on the blogging. You need revenue and we need the blog so keep up the good work for both us and your sponsers.

  7. Tuck September 20th, 2010 8:29 am

    Doesn’t bother me at all. If it keeps you skiing and your site going, I’m fine with it. πŸ˜‰

  8. Dave Field September 20th, 2010 8:43 am

    I had to scroll way down on the right side of my screen to even see it. Apparently my work’s spam filter doesn’t like it as I can only see file not found or is not accessible.

  9. CDawson September 20th, 2010 8:43 am

    I would rather not see the movement on their add, it detracts from your site, but I tend to agree with Tuck, I understand how many “purists” would like to see the blog with little or no advertising or “hype”, but that IS the world we live in. Also tend to agree with a few of the comments above, things are getting a little “cluttered”.
    We have all enjoyed this site for years, and hope to enjoy it for years to come, BUT the only way that Wild Snow will remain viable is to keep the advertisers.
    I think that finding a balance is a good thing, and the fact that you can work with the advertisers to get them to create the ads that work better with your site is a testament to how proud they are being a part of such a great thing. I appreciate the fact that you even consider what your readers want and work very hard to keep the content and the look, while still balancing the fact that we all know there is not allot of $ in the business, you do need to find a way make some $ doing this, and the advertisers are a big part of that.
    So keep it up. If I had a product that catered to this demographic, I’d been on the site in a second!!

  10. JMski September 20th, 2010 8:45 am

    Doesn’t bother me much because I have my browser set to not load flash automatically, I need to select (click on) flash to load them.
    After loading it, it does appear to be quite distracting. Thumbs down.

  11. Nate September 20th, 2010 8:46 am

    I second Ken.

  12. Bryan September 20th, 2010 9:00 am

    Honestly Lou, I don’t even notice the BD ad. There is so much over-saturation in online advertising (whether animated, static, or otherwise) that it all just becomes one amorphous blob of non-sense.

    Do you have a weekly / bi-weekly email that you send out to opt-in subscribers? My engagement with an email (and sponsor of an email) would be much higher. Of course, if you’re still concerned about web-traffic an e-mail may or may not help.

  13. Ben September 20th, 2010 9:10 am

    Looks fine to me.

  14. Jordan September 20th, 2010 9:17 am

    Doesn’t bother me.

  15. Kevin September 20th, 2010 9:19 am

    Windows vista- right sidebar does not appear until I scroll below the last comment. I found the BD ad, and it doesn’t bother me at all. Personally I pretty much ignore any content on the margins. Left margin works fine, right margin definitely needs to tweaked to appear correctly on my computer.

  16. Matt Kinney September 20th, 2010 9:29 am

    Thanks. Looks fine.

    If you want Monday am hilarity, click through to BD’s site and check out the video on David Hasseloff in Alaska and of course the Poodle Workout. πŸ˜† πŸ˜†

    Nice is to see some off -the -wall humor on a gear site.

  17. Nick September 20th, 2010 9:54 am

    In all honesty Lou, though I love the content of Wildsnow, the ad placement and management is unorganized and cluttered. I dont even notice ads to the far side as I dont even open your site to its full size, but rather just display the middle column were the stuff I care about is.

    However, that said, having done a bit of web design and running sites on WordPress myself, I understand that its much easier to say than it is to do.

    But like someone else said above, at this point, I dont mind much what BD or any of the other companies ad’s look like as long as it keeps you skiing and posting content.

  18. Tom Gos September 20th, 2010 10:33 am

    I don’t really notice their ad, or really any of the others for that matter. I guess my brain has become trained to ignore all the advertising on web pages and focus on the content. I’ll get annoyed when I can’t distinguish the content from the advertising, that’s when I’ll stop visiting a website. I will add that I think the four column layout is less than desirable. Its starting to appear that most of the real estate on your site is devoted to links and advertising rather than the content of the posts (kind of like some porn sites, not that I would know). Of course I understand that a man has got to make a living. I would suggest eliminating the “Your Comments” column – I never really pay attention to that one.

  19. Clyde September 20th, 2010 10:45 am

    Working on deleting the ad now. Aside from the lame content, I abhor anything that blinks or moves on a page. Their web site is still one of the worst for browsing too, incredibly slow for finding information.

    RE: spam question.

  20. The Grudge September 20th, 2010 10:53 am

    I read the articles on this website all the time. I’d say I come about 3 times a week generally. The actual content is quite wonderful, and I thank you for it.

    The layout however is anything but. I’d say this is easily the most cluttered and disorganized looking website I can think of. The multitude of ads is annoying, and there’s crap all over the place that has nothing to do with whichever article I’m currently reading. The BD ad adds to that sense of clutter and lack of focus. There’s too much scrolling and flipping of images all over the place. To be honest, the site reminds me of those early personal websites people were making in the late 90s/early 00s with those “under construction” banners flashing all over the place. If you know anyone who designs websites I would suggest you employ their services and clean this whole site up.

    That being said the point of coming here is to read things, and I do. I will continue to put up with it because the content is generally very high quality.

  21. Nathan September 20th, 2010 12:17 pm

    File not found

  22. Rick September 20th, 2010 2:19 pm

    I like the moosejaw ad better personally 😳

    but then again… i don’t generally come to Wildsnow for the ads.

  23. Tyler September 20th, 2010 2:36 pm

    I hadnt noticed the BD ad, but now that I do I find it somewhat odd. You really have to study it to learn anything. I guess they are selling their culture vs. their Factor boot for example. Its almost hard to tell that it is BD. The scrolling ad doesnt bother me, but like I said, I dont even really see it. The Facebook “ad” shoves the BD ad down too far. I think you can get rid of the facebook ad if you are on a “cleaning” mission.

  24. Ben 2 September 20th, 2010 2:53 pm

    Like many here I’m a big BD fan and the links to their puff look pretty interesting – if they keep up the quality ,then it’s a nice adjunct to wildsnow. The spinner stops after clicking a link or leaving the page up for a while, and to be honest, I didn’t even notice the moving BCA Tracker ad at the top until just now.

  25. Lou September 20th, 2010 3:29 pm

    You guys are the best. I pretty much agree with the crit, am working on it but I think it’s going to be a slow evolution rather than a big blast change all at once. In fact, I’ve already done a bunch of small stuff but it happens so gradual that it’s hard to notice.

    Basically, I’m getting ready for another BIG winter of backcountry skiing blogging, so laying the foundation so I don’t have to dink around with this stuff in November…

  26. bryantp September 20th, 2010 3:33 pm

    You need to make money. It’s no big deal. Run the ad and keep the good stuff coming!

  27. Dan September 20th, 2010 4:50 pm

    The good content has a way of making up for any visual flaws.

    I liked Alpinist before they took ads, and I still like them now that they do. It was MUCH more of a bummer thinking I wouldn’t see another issue than getting the new version and it having a few pictures from brands that I already buy from.

  28. Steve September 20th, 2010 5:42 pm

    Didn’t even notice it. I had to look a second time to even pick it out. But then I tend to ignore all ads unless I’m looking for a particular product. So I’m o.k. with it.

  29. Mark September 20th, 2010 7:18 pm

    I think all the ads should be Moosejaw girls. But that’s just me.

  30. Jed September 20th, 2010 7:27 pm

    I don’t buy toys from arms-dealers. I don’t think you should take money from them either.

    Thats my two cents. You asked.


  31. John Gloor September 20th, 2010 7:34 pm

    Jed, can you give an example of what you are talking about?

  32. Terry September 20th, 2010 8:43 pm

    I don’t even see banners anymore on the web, Lou, unless they take over the screen and I need to click to close them. I only pay attention to content and ignore most everything else. That said, it’d be nice to regain some space on your site and have less ads so the content could be wider . And I realize a popular site costs something to power and maintain. No real complaints from me. What’s happening is fine.

  33. John S September 20th, 2010 9:58 pm

    Hey, Lou, do whatever you need to keep this site up and running and delivering the superb content that have made it one of my top go-to locations.

  34. Randonnee September 20th, 2010 10:53 pm

    Looks like some interesting content. No big change in the appearance of the website. Advertising obviously funds Wildsnow, good for you Lou. Not like you are going to get a Gov’t grant or some Obama stimulus money- you earn yours! Keep it up.

  35. Griff September 20th, 2010 11:03 pm

    I’m a Mac user. The BD scroll is Flash. Flash is kind of a dog on Macs so I have software to block it. Just comes up as a blank square. If I click on it, it will activate. So I did. Yawn. I question the ad campaign more than it being on your site.

    But if it’s putting jet fuel in the Batmobile, go for it.

  36. Bar Barrique September 20th, 2010 11:09 pm

    I’m fine with the BD ad; there is far worse stuff everywhere else in the modern “web world”. Ads that follow you down the page, and/or open up on the article you are trying to read. I keep the sound on my computer “shut off’, as a defense against ads that have sound components. I think that this site represents a (very) reasonable “trade off” between commercial ads, and, quality content. Keep up the good work!

  37. John N. September 21st, 2010 9:05 am

    Amen Mark W…it’s a fine bikini. By the way, I sit next to your bro at OPG.

  38. Nick September 21st, 2010 7:25 pm

    how does your advertising work? do sponsors pay per click (like google ads) or are they paying for the space?

  39. Mark W September 21st, 2010 10:27 pm

    Seems there’s more than one Mark around here! I’ll have to echo the notion that I come here for content and rarely pay attention to the ads. I would add that my cursory impression is that the new multiple columns might be too much.

  40. Lou September 22nd, 2010 6:25 am

    Hi Nick, most of advertising is flat rate for the space, like magazine or radio. I don’t have the manpower to manage the tracking and billing for pay-per-click. Exception is that sometimes I’ll stick an ad banner up that pays a percentage of sales based on click-throughs from my site. That’s what the Moosejaw ads do. I put those up because there are way too few women around this corner of cyberspace.

  41. patb September 22nd, 2010 6:23 pm

    Lou, Sorry this is a little off topic, but on the topic of your website, I think it would be smart for you to make all links that take a visitor away from your site, open in a new tab. I click your ads sometimes and it takes me away from your site, but I was still reading something! I know I can right click on the link and open in a new tab but it’d be better for your site traffic to open a new tab.

    Anyway, a little feedback for ya, hope it helps.

  42. Lou September 22nd, 2010 7:10 pm

    Pat, that’s a good idea! I spent so many years without tabs I didn’t even think of it…

  43. S1am September 23rd, 2010 6:00 am

    The advertisements have become annoying and distracting enough that I simply block them all. I realize this doesn’t help you fund the site or help me get info about your sponsors which I might appreciate, but your layout is completely overwhelmed with non-content. Sorry if this offends but I very much appreciate the content you produce and doubt I am the only regular reader who feels this way. If it where my site, I’d want to know.

  44. Lou September 23rd, 2010 7:12 am

    S1, I’m working on it. The new design actually brings more content up and centered, as before I didn’t have the area to work with where the recent comments are now located.

    Trust me, I’ve even been turning down advertising because I don’t have room for it.

    As for the advertisers, if they can make ads that are attractive and don’t flash in you face, then for most people they’re simply not a problem. Especially since I don’t pop them up over the content.

    Oh, and another thing, if you look at the two right-hand columns and what is in them above the bottom of most computer screens, you’ll see that considering the Black Diamond ad is an index to their content, there is really only one conventional ad visible in those two columns. Also, the upper ad bar has one fewer ad now that I’ve moved BD to the right hand column. I guess what I’m saying is it’s a process, and though imperfect I think we can give the advertisers their space and still have a content area that’s viable.

  45. Phil September 23rd, 2010 9:35 am

    I agree with PatB, links to external sites (advertisements) should open in a new window as you’ll often want to maintin browsing the originator website. As for the BD ad, doesn’t offend me – if its a significant way to monetise the site, then good for you and don’t worry too much – people have the option to block them as S1 says. If it helps keep the site live, stick with it.

  46. S1am September 23rd, 2010 4:41 pm

    No offense intended. I realize that the balance is a tricky one. It is clear that you are trying hard to find a workable manner to deliver your (great) content. I’m probably more sensitive to busy design and loud advertising than most.

    For me adding a fourth column tipped the balance in terms of page busyness and overwhelming advertising. For what it is worth I don’t think it is crucial to show recent comments/post links in their own column on the front page. Whether your goal is user access or SEO, this could go under the left column ads (above the keywords).

  47. Lou September 24th, 2010 6:22 am

    S1, agree I don’t need the post links and they’re probably not necessary for the search engines, but I’ve been told by numerous people that they like to see what’s going on in terms of comment action, and that seeing that up front and obvious is really nice. So that’ll stay.

    Two things about the comments. 1. Sometimes a person makes a comment on an older post. Unless the comment excerpts are obvious, those comments get missed. 2. Some days the comments are actually the greater part of the blog, and I spend more time on them than I do posting regular blog posts, so for that reason as well they need to be obvious.

    At this time there is no more advertising on the site with the new design than there was with the old design, and there is actually more room. I think part of my problem is I just don’t have wide enough borders nor enough separation space. That’s making everything look crowded. That said, I will be trying to consolidate the advertising over coming months, and separating it with content such as the Facebook box and my Twitter feed.

    Thanks everyone for understanding that we do need to include advertising. If it’s any consolation, you might want to look at the amount of advertising and how it looks in the latest issue of Backcountry magazine. I don’t have anything over them in terms of crowding or quantity. I of course don’t begrudge them that, as just like me they have to make a living — but they are no less crowded with advertising than I am.

  48. Paul B Denver September 25th, 2010 9:55 am

    Black Diamond makes the best gear period. And no I don’t have ANY affiliation with them.
    My point is, they make hard core mountain gear and I have nonproblem with making an exception for the company because I need them to stick around for the next 50 years without being bought up by spyder or Columbia if you know what I mean. Not that I really know much about the impact those purchases have had on those companies, but BD is amazing the way it is so I want to support them no matter what. I know it sounds like I want to have an intimate relationship with one of their camelots but there aren’t many companies out there that make so much amazing gear. I support them and don’t mind you pushing the boundaries a bit for them. Not for everyone.
    My one cent.

  49. Tom Umberger April 24th, 2011 5:44 pm


    You have mentioned that in your younger days you recieved training from a NOLS instructor Don Peterson. He lead an Outward Bound group into the depths of Cow Creek in the Uncompahgre wilderness back in 1975. He was able to technical climb out near its headwaters. I have trying to reach him to get some Beta on the climb out of the canyon.

    Do you have any idea how reach him? Thanks in advance for any help.

    I admire your your accomplishments and love for the outdoors.

    Fellow Mountaineer,


  50. Lou April 24th, 2011 6:05 pm

    He he, Don was a few months ahead of me as a climber when I first met him at a NOLS instructor’s course, but we were soon peers and did some good trips together. Last time I looked, you could get in touch with him on Facebook. Last time I saw him was at an AAC annual meeting some years ago.

    FYI, back in those bolder days of OB, I led one course down Matterhorn Creek (or was it Wetterhorn Creek), and one down Difficult Creek. They were both excellent canyoneering adventures, though quite tame by today’s standards. Consider those as well.

    As for Don taking you down Cow Creek, are you sure you didn’t leave a few students up there? Back in those days, OB record keeping was pretty haphazard (grin).

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