Have you seen this message in your browser’s status bar recently? It’s a bit ironic because as far as I can tell the Rubicon Project is all about optimising the earning potential of websites that host third party ads whereas I frequently find that I am impatiently kept waiting for a page to load whilst this “optimisation” is going on.
Surely one of the best ways of optimising a site’s revenue generating potential is to make sure it gets displayed in the first place!
Some of the worst culprits are the UK newspaper websites where there is currently a battle going on between the competing approaches of free content for all, versus content only available behind a paywall. Whilst it is entirely reasonable for newspapers to try to maximise their advertising revenues from sources such as AdSense, it is terribly easy when optimising anything online to overlook the fundamentals: you need to keep your readers happy.
Another area where this often goes awry is Search Engine Optimisation where web masters spend so much time crafting content to attract free search engine traffic that they forget that that traffic has to deliver value when it gets to the site. A highly optimised bit of text that results in a high ranking on the search engine results pages (SERP) is no good if, once the traffic arrives, it disappears again pronto!
Of course technology improves all the time and it could be that web designers who are using services like the Rubicon Project simply need to write HTML that loads content before ads so that the visitor can at least read some stuff of interest before being diverted by “optimised” ads.