As you all know, advertising is an important source of revenue for Stack Overflow and it helps us support all the sites across the Stack Exchange Network and the resources that go into maintaining and improving the experience on the platform. We are going to be introducing middle sidebar ads, which have been on the main Stack Overflow site for years, to some of the tech sites including Unix & Linux.

The middle sidebar ads have the same standards as any other ads on the platform. Ads are non-intrusive and static. Ads go through a vetting process to ensure they are appropriate for the communities on Stack Exchange. If you see an ad that may not follow our established standards and guidelines, you can let us know by using the "report this ad" functionality. Here is a mockup of what these will look like when two ads are showed (the existing ad placement and the new middle sidebar ad placement):

sample of ads on the middle side bar of the site

This ad space won’t be available for display until May 10 because we wanted to give you a heads-up before you started seeing them. Ads are an essential line of business for us and we’re committed to giving you advanced notice whenever we introduce a new form of advertising on the network sites. If you have any questions or concerns, please let us know.

  • 2
    It might be worth pointing out that these ads will not be visible to users with who have at least 200 reputation. Unless these will behave differently?
    – terdon Mod
    May 3 at 17:00
  • 1
    Will they behave differently? Rosie?
    – terdon Mod
    May 4 at 7:43
  • 2
    @terdon it's the leaderboard ads that aren't visible to people with 200+ rep who have that enabled. Side bar ads would still be visible as they are on SO stackoverflow.com/help/privileges/reduced-ads.
    – Rosie StaffMod
    May 4 at 20:56
  • 11
    So you're saying that we will all now be subjected to ads on the site? That is really not good.
    – terdon Mod
    May 5 at 8:26
  • 4
    @terdon Side bar ads have been on SO for a while and these will behave the same as they do there. They are designed to be not distracting (no flashing, etc) and if someone is using Ad Blockers they won't appear.
    – Rosie StaffMod
    May 8 at 14:49
  • 6
    It's a real shame SO chose to relegate the "Related" questions in this way. My eye naturally stops reading the moment I hit an add, so these adds will inevitably mean I rarely "see" the related question links any more. May 9 at 11:53
  • @Rosie they were not even half the size of the ones that you're proposing to add now, and the example in your screenshot also includes the original side-bar ad, so the surface area of ads is going to go up by more than 200% (according to your example). The rest of your comment reminds me of this. As Phillip correctly mentioned, these ads will certainly be distracting, even if there will be "no flashing". Can you please give us more examples that are currently replaced by your "etc" in that comment? May 10 at 14:47
  • @PhilipCouling which is the point, of course. Welcome to capitalism!
    – user253751
    May 12 at 20:15
  • 2
    Also, @rosie, given SE's track history on this, such as showing NSFW ads, animated and very distracting ads, and privacy invading fingerprinting ads that ignore privacy settings—the latter by the way, the company refuses to do anything about because it isn't explicitly breaking the law—given all this, I hope you understand why we don't really trust that these ads will magically be OK.
    – terdon Mod
    May 13 at 20:15
  • 3
    No doubt that the next up-coming "feature" (in order to raise even more cash) will be full-page ads, with the question relegated the sidebar. Ah, progress... don't you just love it? May 20 at 7:31


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