Open Thread: Advertising Complaints

I realize that Patheos has to pay the bills somehow, but lately I’ve noticed a definite uptick in complaints about the intrusiveness of the advertising on this site. I plan on taking this up with the management, but I want to know what the general sentiment is, so here’s an open thread.

Are Patheos’ ads crashing your browser, interfering with your ability to view the site, or just being egregiously annoying? Let me know. (Or if you like them, let me know that too. Hey, someone must.)

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About Adam Lee

Adam Lee is an atheist writer and speaker living in New York City. His new novel, City of Light, is available in paperback and e-book. Read his full bio, or follow him on Twitter.

  • Talynknight

    My biggest issue was the ads were glitching out on your home page and copying themselves several dozen times between your first post and the next. It made it a pain to scroll down, but it has not happened the last few times I checked in so maybe they fixed that already.

  • MPG

    My biggest bugbear (and it’s not exclusive to Patheos by any means – it happens on lots of sites) is when viewing on iOS devices, merely loading some ads (not even clicking on them) throws you out of the browser and into the App Store. The first time I viewed this very article it threw me to the page on the App Store for Transport Tycoon.

  • Dianne M Leonard

    My major comments: ads replicating themselves between one post and the next. Second: being a pain in the ass. Third: slowing down and sometimes crashing my browser. Do they need advertising for silly shit so much they are willing to lose readers? (P.S. It has taken me 3 tries to leave this comment as it keeps bouncing back to the stupid ads.) If this continues, you will definitely lose me as a reader!

  • Jeremy Shaffer

    Oddly, I never had an issue with the ads before today. They were simply never anything I couldn’t easily ignore and they didn’t seem to effect my system in any way. Today, however, there seems to be a lovely set of ads that slide out from the side of my screen. They’re easy to get rid of but they happen on each and every page I go to, even ones I’ve previously viewed. To make them extra annoying they usually wait just long enough for me to start reading the page before popping out.

  • Highlander

    I was having tons of issues with the ads crashing my browser, playing audio automatically, and generally being a pain. I resolved it by disabling flash except on pages where I approve it.

  • Pat Muchmore

    I agree with MPG, my biggest complaint is when I’m on an iPhone or iPad and I get sent (sometimes repeatedly) to the app store by ads on Patheos. Sometimes I just give up on reading one of your posts, because every sentence or so I get sent to the App store. But as I was logging in to write this comment, one of the ads started suddenly blaring sound and now that’s my new least favorite thing.

  • nfq

    This happens to me a lot, mostly on Patheos blogs, so I’ve mostly stopped reading them on my phone unless I am feeling especially patient (or, impatient to read a particular post).

  • nfq

    I’m particularly annoyed by the iOS redirecting ads already mentioned in another comment, and by the ads that don’t appear until I click somewhere on the page (for example to activate the window in order to scroll down, or to leave a comment). There are enough ads on the page itself that that kind of intrusive ad experience seems unnecessary. Wouldn’t Patheos rather me interact with the page content? Why punish me then with a popup (or, often, a pop-under)?

  • Psycho Gecko

    Patheos sites have been some of the laggier sites to mess with, but it didn’t get really intrusive in my view until they started sliding out from the side too. I never particularly cared for that little six stock image fake article thing up above either, but I guess I don’t feel as strongly about that because I don’t click on the clickbait.

  • Alex SL

    What others said about the replicating ads, otherwise no problems.

  • Eli

    Replicating ads (but I haven’t seen those most recently), autoplay that periodically crashes Flash and then my browser for a few days before each new Flash update (or just sometimes slow things down if I have other tabs open), and these new ads that slide out from the side of the window and push whatever I’m reading off to the side, always while I’m in the middle of reading. If they just loaded with the page like normal sidebar ad, it wouldn’t be so annoying.

  • Azkyroth

    Now that I’m no longer getting a cascade of 10 repeated instances of “FROM THE WEB” stuff between the first post and the rest of the front page, I don’t mind so much. I find the disingenuous buzzfeed headlines mildly annoying, but can tolerate them. To the best of my knowledge, this site doesn’t give me popup ads, which I have no stomach for at all.

  • Wilson Whiting

    A bunch of the ads run little unmuted video clips, and I rush to scroll down and pause all the ones that can be paused. Lately I’ve been seeing the “web offers and articles” advertisement repeating 15 times between your first two blog entries. This is one of the laggiest sites I have been on.

  • Ubi Dubium

    Yes, those new ads that pop in from the side and push your window aside are really annoying. The autoplay ads have been better recently but has been a general problem on Patheos for some time.

  • pRinzler


  • StacyM

    The ads that shoulder over the content are irksome. The obviously malfunctioning ‘offers and articles from the web’ which seem to replace most of the content regularly doubly so. I don’t care for the lack of variety in the upper banner ads, but that’s likely a local to me problem. Everywhere I go online I see the tea party wacko who is my partisan hack congress-critter bragging about ‘leading the fight against obamacare’. I’m gonna sprain something eventually, rolling my eyes so often.

  • Slow Learner

    I find the “offers and articles from the web” intrusive and insulting. I want to read the comments, and they get in the way pretty massively.

  • Nes

    Agreed about those ones sliding in from the left side. Very annoying. So annoying, that I re-enabled Ad Block Plus for this site. (Which had the side effect of disabling the Disqus comments for some absurd reason. I just now figured out that’s why they weren’t showing up, and so my comment comes a bit later than I intended.)

    I haven’t noticed auto play ads, but that’s probably because I also run a Flash blocking add-on. Flash content doesn’t even load unless I click on it. Care to take a guess what prompted me to get such an add-on in the first place, though?

  • Bdole

    The pop-up ad on the left of the screen that pushes the blog content “out of the way” until you close it is mildly annoying. Having to scroll through a looong page of duplicated ads in the middle of the page is also annoying. When I’m on a laptop I just hold down the page down key a few seconds.
    I didn’t see any today, though, so I hope they’re gone.

  • Eli

    Yeah, I use ad-block other places, but not on sites like this, where I want to support the people who’s income depends on ads. I used to have a Flash blocker too because of autoplay, but I had to turn that off because it was interfering with something else, but I now can’t remember what that was.

  • Adam Lee

    UPDATE: I’ve heard this from the Patheos people:

    …the new left-side ads weren’t showing as programmed (they were only supposed to appear for readers coming from search and social, and only once per site visit), so they’ve been shut off until the kinks are worked out.

    I think this was the biggest concern I saw, so I hope people’s experience with the site is better now. I’m still going to talk to the management about the autoplaying ads and the automatic Apple Store redirection. My experience has been that the pointlessly replicating ads are no longer showing, but let me know if that isn’t fixed.

  • Nes

    Okay, I figured out that ABP was only blocking the comments on this page, specifically, and that was because Disqus generated a URL with the post’s title in it, which of course put “advertising” in the URL, which ABP picked up on and blocked. Not that it matters, but I found it amusing.

    And since those slide-in ads have apparently been disabled, I’ll go ahead and disable ABP for this site again. Thanks for raising this issue with the management, Adam :-)

  • 8DX

    Generally ok, except when it borks and displays 8 rows of ads. But I think that was fixed some time ago.

  • Azkyroth

    Well, I’ve got a new one: there’s now a popup-thing from Patheos that has the following:

    Like what you’re reading? Consider subscribing to our newsletters so you won’t miss any of your favorite writers!
    Atheist Newsletter (weekly)
    Pan Patheos Newsletter (biweekly)
    Daylight Atheism Digest

    In the right hand corner, which one must manually click to Hide…every single damn time you load the page.