Yes, those are ads.
They’re served via Google’s new AdSense program. They’re just text, sans blinking, and they don’t spawn pop-up windows. Ostensibly, Google sends ads that are related to the topics on the site. What’s ironic, however, is that at this writing, all four ads on Daring Fireball’s home page are pitching copies of Jaguar — even though the most recent article is about Panther, Jaguar’s successor. If you haven’t bought Jaguar already, somehow I doubt you’re going to spend $120 on it now.
The upside is that when you click on any of these ads, Google will pay me a small amount of money. Google is quite cagey about how much they pay, but judging from my earlier results after a few hours, I’m getting around $0.10 per click. Not bad, but much lower than the $0.50 per click Aaron Swartz reports.
The downside, of course, is that the ads are hideously ugly. The ads aren’t really “text only” — they’re pre-styled HTML text-only. I wouldn’t hesitate to keep the ads if I were allowed to customize their display via CSS. Nor is there any use attempting to hack their appearance — messing with their display is strictly verboten by the terms of service. But as it stands, they’ll have to pay me quite a bit of scratch to tempt me to keep the ads.
Remember, it’s an experiment. Feel free to send me a dime by clicking an ad, but please don’t game it by clicking madly. Let’s see how it goes.
Update: The only display option you get from Google is whether to display the ads vertically (as I am, at the moment), or horizontally. I’m in cahoots on this AdSense experiment with Dan Benjamin, who’s displaying the ads horizontally on Hivelogic. I think the ads look better on Hivelogic than they do on Daring Fireball, mostly because the color schemes don’t clash as much. It’s humorous to see that Google thinks Hivelogic is a web site about cigars and wedding speeches.
And I’m now getting around $0.30 per click. I can’t figure out why the rate per click is going up. More later; thanks for all the clicks.