Open pre-proposal: Advis

Tags: #<Tag:0x00007f7cc5a36530> #<Tag:0x00007f7cc5a363a0>

Update: ~3 months later, revised and submitted as EutopiAd.

Previously mentioned as “a new take on advertising structured around incentivizing openness”, one of “two lean, scalable web-based interventions that have potential for realigning parts of the knowledge economy with openness.”

The sketch below serves as a preliminary high level description of the project, as as a potential proposal. The questions are from the Knight Prototype Fund application.

This proposal was not submitted. Comments, critique, involvement all still welcome: proposal effectively serves as a sketch of a future project.

Project Title

Advis (working title)

What is your project?

An ad network designed to incentivize pro-social behavior by website owners (e.g. open licensing, not enabling 3rd party user surveillance) and by advertisers (e.g. useful ads tailored to website or app context, not user user surveillance).

Remember print publications that used to be read for the ads, eg trade publications and local newspapers? Has anyone ever visited a website or started an app in order to view ads (excepting those in the internet ads business, or researching that business)? It must be very rare, except for two sorts of websites: search engines (e.g. Google) and dedicated ad sites (e.g. Craigslist).

Taking inspiration from print, search, and dedicated ad sites, Advis will provide a platform for associating ads relevant to site context, not user data, with any site that behaves in a pro-social manner. Advis will not work for sites aiming to optimize ad or licensing revenue. But a large portion of the web is not optimized for short-term revenue. We believe that this portion of the web should grow, and can be provided with support and further incentive for pro-social behavior through the Advis platform.

What assumptions will you test?

  • enough advertisers will want to place useful advertisements associated with specific websites (in contrast with ads associated with keyword searches or user tracking/demographic profiles)
  • enough website owners are not committed to revenue optimization
  • enough users would look at ads associated with specific websites (akin to reading a trade publication or local newspaper for the ads)

Where “enough” means first, adequate to sustain a small Advis operation, and second, adequate to make a notable contribution toward de-optimizing web advertising and increasing pro-social behavior by website owners.

Who is the audience/user of this project? How will they be impacted?

  • advertisers will be able to associate ads with specific websites, achieving highly context-specific but not at all user-specific targeting, much like successful advertising in trade publications
  • website owners will have a new option for (some, but not maximized) revenue, while avoiding work and ethical challenge of ad and licensing revenue optimization; the impact would be improved results for website owners willing to engage in pro-social behavior
  • web users/general public will be able to find ads specifically intended for a publication context; further some will be motivated to become advertisers (or even sponsors for pro-social behavior sites) given the ability to place such ads or publishers, given opportunity to earn some revenue without optimizing for such (hard work and encouraging anti-social behavior)

What progress, if any, have you made on this project?

None on this specific project, it is in idea/research phase. I have built ad systems in the distant past (1994 and 2000) targeting publication context rather than users, and prototyped and threw away an ancestor of this idea in 2012 (I decided the ancestor was inadequate as either a for-profit or social-mission startup; Advis leans heavily toward the latter). These past efforts inform the current project.

LIke this, but needs better name using the word AD. Adbuddy hahaha, or ADDAD, which is two as and three smileys, or an Arab last name.

Need to reduce the use of parenths, and compress all by 20-30%.

Looks good, like it.

1 Like

I was thinking maybe a name without ‘ad’ in it, as the word is toxic to some people. FWIW ‘advis’ a play on a few things:

  • advice: ideally ads should provide good information, be sources of advice; either taken as aspirational for the project or as critique of existing ad economy for providing bad info
  • visibility: ad economy should be more transparent
  • invisibility: ads should be invisible, except when reader wants to see them

Not at all settled on name, further suggestions even silly welcome. Dadaad, for example.

Totally right on parens. For now I’m going to focus on other proposal as private feedback so far has been that one is more clear.

agree think the other is both more doable and clear. ad one good too…

adspiration tech

advogato hahaha



add as in ADD

Very interesting, especially because is the AD system seems broken in the sense that it is not about real interest, information and products but about clicks and data…

Yes the ad system does seem broken and ripe for disruption, as it has for awhile now. Complexity doesn’t necessarily indicate such, but this poster which you’ve probably seen still somewhat scary.

Some newer and geography-specific versions at

I submitted the other proposal because it was closer to being complete, but look forward to getting back to this one; just this writeup and some feedback from you and others has been very encouraging!

Another round of proposals to with August 17 deadline. I’m going to iterate on this one over the next few days.

Great! You must have submitted it! Goodjob

I like the proposal and the name. We could really use this!

Thx @rejon and @cxadams. I submitted a revised version which is at Open pre-proposal: EutopiAd

I have decent domains for either name.