Neal Sheeran

Rants, Raves, and Geekery

The Cool Table in the Cafeteria


If I could only read one blog a day, it would be John Gruber’s Daring Fireball. It’s the place for all things related to The Company Formerly Known As Apple Computer. But today he posted an entry that follows an irregular-but-no-less annoying pattern, which can be summarized as such:

I’m a member of a club that is too cool for school and we just initiated some new members. [Deeply buried subtext: You are not one of them.]

What is this “cool club” and who is in it? This club is called The Deck and its members are various web design-related sites that have one other common feature: they sell ads.

Let me start by saying that I have no problems with websites that advertise. Having a house on Internet street costs money and somebody has to pay the rent. For some web authors, ad revenue is a significant portion of their income. And from a reader perspective, these ads are way down on the annoying scale: they are small, unobtrusive and there is only one per page. I’m a regular reader of more than a few of the websites involved and I have even clicked on a few of these ads.

I also understand–and appreciate–why they are selective in which ads they will accept. What I don’t get is why these otherwise excellent sites feel the need to act like some sort of exclusive college fraternity and announce when new members have been admitted to the frat house. This leads to responses such as this from one of the new pledges:

“I feel honored having been invited to join The Deck, a premier advertising network for creative, web and design professionals.”

This is like the Sundance Channel and the Independent Film Channel airing a commercial that they have invited Bravo to air the same ads. Who cares? Again, I enjoy reading these sites and I don’t begrudge them for displaying ads, especially these. But these sites are good for a myriad of reasons: strong writing, and excellent design to name two, but being in the same advertising club isn’t one of them. I hope they make a pile of cash and take a trip to the Bahamas as long as they keep doing what they are doing when they get back. But spare me the updates on who made this year’s cheerleading squad.

Note: I’ve had this filed away for when I got around to writing this post: The Dreck.