Revenue, Ads, and Team Switching

Three years ago, I became a Happiness Engineer at Automattic, focussing on I had a lot of fun with my colleagues, helping folks learn to use the greatest free blogging platform ever. Fun fact, is both free and a business, we have bills to pay, and businesses need money to operate. A few months back, I made a big switch from our Happiness Engineering team to a team we call Rads (Revenue and Ads), so that I can both have a hand in the financial stability of and keep the terribly horrid, tasteless, and distracting ads that have become all too common elsewhere away from your free blog.

Rads is led by Jon Burke and features the talents of Egill Erlendsson, Marcus Kazmierczak, Derek Springer, and our celebrity designer shared amongst teams, Joen Asmussen. As part of the team, I provide support for WordAds, our advertising program for bloggers, and work directly with ad networks for a variety of things. That last bit is fun and worth a whole post itself. Let’s just say that some networks are very good at what they do, while others have absolutely no clue.

Part of the work I do with ad networks is handle bad ad reports. We strive to provide only family-friendly advertising on, and we have contracts with our ad networks to provide just that. If we ever receive a complaint about an ad that is not family-friendly, I make sure that the ad (and sometimes the ad network itself) is immediately removed from

Now, I know some of you who are reading this, and you’re going to ask, “Hey James, didn’t you just tell us how you never use ad blockers last month? Are you trying to trick us into viewing the ads on” Goodness no, and shame on you for asking. You should know me better than that. I have never used ad blockers, because there are free sites that I rely on whose only source of revenue is from ads. I want them to stay in business, so I don’t block their ads, or I purchase some sort of ad-free subscription if available. Anyway, there’s also an advantage to this for my job now. As a daily “consumer” of ads, I know what kind of crap is out there, I know how annoying that crap is, and I can make sure it never winds up on I can also immediately investigate the possibility of running newer less-distracting ads on as newer ad technologies make themselves known.

So, now you know where I am. I spend every day working with these awesome people to keep free and to keep lame ads away from your free blog.

Rads 2013
Photo by Jeff Bowen

12 responses

  1. Getting paid to look at Ads – such a deal 🙂

    However someone needs to do it – I remember many problems with shady ads that show up in the help forum – best to never have the “dating” services showing up on travel blogs that mention certain areas of the world

    Good for you – however you are missed in the help forum from time to time – drop by any time – we will save a “modlook” just for you-

    PS – this comment box is bouncing up and down at the bottom mostly – makes it very had to type when my cursor is three lines below the bottom of the box – no right side bar to scrol up and down – maybe send a gripe to the Theme people – this comment box sucks big time – almost getting seasick with all the bouncing

    1. Uh-oh, if you’re getting seasick, we have some serious problems here. 😉 Which browser are you using?

      As for the forums, I’m sure you’ll see me popping up from time to time. 🙂

      1. Firefox – what ever the current version is –

        Sort of like the way old bouncing ball with “sing along with Mitch” (black and white TV days – ask your Mom) except with sing along the only thing that moved was the ball – the comment box on your web site – the whole thing bounced up and down – this comment is done with the notifications thing

        the first comment I left was done on your web site – not from the reader

        1. Cool, I’ll test it out in Firefox tomorrow, thanks!

          1. You be welcome & good luck

            I do need to keep up my reputation here! 🙂

            1. So, I tried this out in Firefox 25.0.1, both with no add-ons enabled, and right now with my favorite add-ons enable, and I’m not seeing any problems.

              Perhaps there’s an add-on on your end causing the problem? If not, maybe they fixed it in Firefox 25.0.1, which came out this morning.

              1. Well lets see if things bounce around this time – using the reply to a comment here (but then you can see that – this part seems to be stable –

                I will also try in the regular comment box – but that takes more typing – OK some bouncing after I get down a bit here 25.0.1

                No extensions – but do have a few plugins but just the standard ones such as Adobe Reader & such – I will do a screen shot and send it to you or a link to it with the Plugin’s and extensions pages – after getting down around here things jump quite a bit

                1. That’s so strange. I’m trying this again in Firefox 25.0.1 and still not seeing any sort of problem.

                  Not even if I make the comments larger by adding a bunch of text like this, or commiserating on the pervasiveness of unicorns in fiction or, more to the point, the pervasiveness of articles and papers and discussing the possibility of unicorns having control over magic, whereas the real question should be the existence of a horse with a horn in the first place.

                  Ok, now it’s bouncing around a lot, looks like the magic number 7 lines. This is crazy, like a bounce house or something. I’ll get this reported ASAP, thanks!

                2. For the record, this happens in Chrome and Safari too, you just have to make it past the seventh line. On the eighth line, it starts to get weird, and just gets worse after that.

                  I’ve filed a bug report, thanks!

                  1. You be welcome & thanks for filing the report

                    I did not count the lines – good catch

  2. Still missing you. That is all, except, of course, best wishes to you and the Rad Ad Team.

    1. Thanks! Missing you folks as well, but I’ll stop by the forums occasionally. 🙂