WordPress.com: Ads On or Ads-Off?

WordPress.com bloggers are reporting “PopPressed”and “EcoPressed” advertising is now appearing at the end of their posts.  It all began with FreshlyPressed which led to FoodPress which led to PopPressed and now EcoPressed. WordPress.com (Automattic) and Federated Media partnerships have been formed, and sites powered by WordPress.com aimed to redistribute content published on WordPress.com blogs and beyond are popping up all over. WordPress.com Partnerships: Popping Up All Over

I just started a wp.com class and for homework wrote 3 posts…rss feed, privacy settings are not open to SEO yet. I mean I am just starting.So it’s the luck of the draw. To date, I have somehow acquired “pop pressed” & “eco pressed” advertisements with thumbnail images which repeat across the bottom of all 3 posts. – Source

Scroll down the Features page to Advertising and you will see that WordPress occasionally runs Google Adsense and Skimlink advertising on our blogs to help pay for all the personnel, datacenters, servers and bandwidth required to host 15,000,000 blogs.  Although they aren’t named in that page or in support documentaion  I assume PopPressed and  EcoPressed advertising is now part of the WordPress.com monetization scheme. If you don’t want the ads at the end of your posts you can purchase an annually renewable  No-Ads upgrade ($29.97).

The other side of the coin

It’s an interesting scenario here at WordPress.com. Let’s look at the blogger’s side of the equation. There are many different types of blogs being free hosted at WordPress.com. In a nutshell free blogs from and being free hosted by wordpress.COM cannot be used to drive traffic to third-party sites by means of advertising and/or affiliate programs (see “Affiliate marketing blogs below for more clarity”).   No blogger initiated advertising, retailing or reselling the work created or services provided by anyone other than yourself is allowed. E-commerce transactions cannot be conducted on WordPress.com blogs.

The only advertising exceptions are for high traffic free hosted blogs that qualify for and are accepted into the Ad Control program, and extremely high traffic blogs in the paid VIP hosting program.

The only exceptions with regard to affiliate links are found here:

Affiliate marketing blogs: Blogs with the primary purpose of driving traffic to affiliate programs and get-rich-quick schemes (“Make six figures from home!!”, “20 easy steps to top profits!!”, etc). This includes multi-level marketing (MLM) blogs and pyramid schemes. To be clear, people writing their own original book, movie or game reviews and linking them to Amazon, or people linking to their own products on Etsy do NOT fall into this category. Here is a thread in the support forums that talks more about which affiliate links are OK or not OK.

If you do require an ecommerce site, advertising and/or affiliate links on your blog, you can hire a web host and undertake setting up a self-hosted WordPress.org install or you can pay Staff for Guided Transfers to .org (Note: The theme you are using at WordPress.com will be installed and configured on the new site with the exception of premium themes. Premium themes purchased at WordPress.com are only valid here at WordPress.com.)

Discussion

The cost of business blogging on a free hosted WordPress.com blog is paying for upgrades and/or a premium theme. Are you prepared to buy a domain, domain mapping, a theme and/or a CSS editing upgrade and a No-Ads upgrade and renew them all annually?

Updated with links to related forum threads
How to get rid of “poppressed”
strange things poping up
Unacceptable Spamming BY WordPress
The Other “Poppressed Ads” Problem – The Shock of Seeing Actual Ads
Placement of Ads on the Page

35 thoughts on “WordPress.com: Ads On or Ads-Off?

  1. Just been checking some of my wordpress.com sites using someone else’s computer. Adverts now appear on every page, every time. Not so “occasional” then.

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  4. Hi Timethief, Up to you whether to post this comment or delete it and maybe address the issues in a post … that last Forum thread of mine http://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic/placement-of-ads-on-the-page?replies=21#post-600125 – the explanation was, due to formatting of photo placement in the blog post, the ad text got drawn up into the body of my blog post!!! The fix was they put in HTML code which basically tells the advert “down boy!” and keeps it below the end of the text. I am hugely depressed that advertising is actually appended to blog text, which means at any time it could float upward into the middle, if I make some unwitting error or choice in formatting that might allow that. At this point, certainly for this commercial blog, I feel forced to recommend we purchase the no-ads upgrade, at least, and ask if we can muster technical support for a self-hosted blog at some point, as I do not have the expertise to do that for them myself. For my personal blog I think I will have to purchase no-ads upgrade, since I consider that blog a professional calling card. USD 30 is a lot to me too, personally (that’s a week’s grocery money), but the loss of professional credibility would ultimately cost an awful lot more. I am having rather uncharacteristically bitter and cynical thoughts that they are making this ad thing so prevelent and so obnoxious in order to drive us all into paying for something, somewhere – upgrade, self-host, any option whatever that will generate certain cash vs. the uncertain cash of adverts. And, by the way, you will notice they did not directly answer your questions… precisely because they don’t want to commit (they admit that!!), they want to leave wiggle room to do as they please later on. Too discouraging for words, I actually feel a little physically sick.

    • I know exactly how you feel. :( I agree that you ought to purchase the No-Ads upgrade and I’m sad that this is the case.

  5. Since I don’t go to my site unless I’m logged in, I didn’t see the ads until yesterday. That’s pretty slimy behavior in its own right.

    And don’t tell me I can pay (thoughtful of you). I don’t have any extra money. $30 may not seem like a lot to you, but to me it is.

    The ads that are on my site have nothing to do with my writing and since I’m trying to look professional, I wouldn’t like them even if they weren’t occasionally offensive.

    As soon as I find an alternative, whether it’s moving to another site or creating my own, I’m leaving.

    • Janet,
      I’m in the same position. I cannot afford to pay to take the ads off my 2 blogs here. :( I’m so distressed and depressed about this. I’m so sorry you are leaving. :(

  6. ps… just made the ‘offending/offended’ post private for the time being.
    Any idea if the advertising is permanent on the post or does it all rotate and come and go?

    Notice, too, that the advertising is not visible when logged in, so unless you look at your own blog while not logged in, you would not know what might be advertised.

    Thanks for all this.. a good way to discuss things and work it all out,

    BETSSI

    • I don’t believe any advertising is permanently situated but I don’t know that for sure. Only Staff can answer that. I do know that Google Adsense advertising is contextual advertizing so the ads are triggered by key words and that means they can be in alignment with your POV or completely contrary to it. WordPress.com has been ruinning ads on free hosted blogs since 2006 and we have never been able to see ads when we are logged in. We also cannot see them when we use Firefox with AdBlockPlus even when logged out and our visitors using FF cannot see the ads.

  7. It’s a bit of a shock to see a product ‘advertised’ on your blog that is the very essence of what your blog is so clearly against.
    For example, imagine a blog about not eating pig products that finds it has ‘eat more bacon’ advertising on it.
    Or perhaps a blog explaining all about the benefits of eating healthily and avoiding ‘junk-food’ that has advertising for well known softdrinks or other known unhealthy stuff.
    Or perhaps a blog where someone is sharing about the pains of rape and having advertising for slinky underwear or sexy fashion extras.

    Basically, while advertising is now a part of what wasn’t, surely the directors of this whole wordpress.com thing could have some decency, please, to allow their users to have some choice of exactly what NOT to advertise on their blog?

    BETSSI’s blog is mentioned on other sites like Youtube and Facebook, and so WordPress.com is getting ‘advertising’ already. BETSSI decided to use WordPress.com as a result of seeing it in action and of course one thing that was striking was the lack of adverts….

    and now?

    Seriously offended by the specific advertising and just as the blog has fianlly been set out as wanted it appears that BETSSI has a choice to either allow products advertised which are in complete opposition of the whole theme of BETSSI’s blog OR, close account and move elsewhere?

    Sad, when WordPress.com is otherwise so very good.

    • What I did was include an Advertising notice on my sidebar in a text widget and also on my About page. The choices are three in number (1) accept what is (3) purchase an annually renewable No-Ads upgrade (3) or hire a web host and get a freee software install from wordpress.org.

      I believe that if you see inappropriate ads you ought to report that to Staff. They may choose to make a change so it’s worth asking.

      • Thanks for the reply and your comments, timethief.

        WordPress.com is a good place to blog and having a free everything is not something to scoff at. I had been thinking of doing a page just for WordPress.com as a way of saying thank you.

        Yes, I see your advertising disclaimer. Might do likewise, but the principal remains that if the advertising is contradicting your page, what will readers think?
        Have you ever been to a site and being impressed by what you see, find they appear to support something that you just wouldn’t expect from them? It makes you wonder and the frail old human nature whispers, “hypocrites!”.

        Life in the fast lane.

        thanks again,

        BETSSI

  8. TimeThief, this is interesting and thought-provoking. I am a relatively new “business” blogger (I’m writing in a niche legal area). I felt that I did need my own domain, and I’m coming to think that I should also get rid of the pesky adds.

    If I’m willing to pay those costs, and if I don’t really have an interest in trying to monetize my blog (my goal is to develop a reputation for expertise in my area, not to generate revenue directly from the blog), why, exactly, should I be looking at WordPress.org? The one reason that comes to mind is that it would be nice to have a slightly better-looking theme. Is there anything else I should be thinking about?

    Thanks!

    • In a nutshell no blogger initiated advertising, retailing or reselling the work created or services provided by anyone other than yourself is allowed on free hosted wordpress.COM blogs. E-commerce transactions via shopping carts and the like cannot be conducted on free blogs from and being free hosted by wordpress.COM

      The advertising exceptions noted in support documentation are for high traffic blogs that qualify for and are accepted into the Ad Control program, and for extremely high traffic blogs that qualify and are accepted into the paid VIP hosting program.
      http://vip.wordpress.com/
      http://en.support.wordpress.com/advertising/

      I suspect that most bloggers who are objecting to the advertising wordpress.com runs on our blogs do not have high enough traffic flow to their blogs or lack the “suitable content” required to apply for and be accepted into the AdControl program. Many bloggers seem to have bought into the notion that they will make big money from advertising when in fact most will be lucky to make enough to cover their web hosting costs.

      A lot can be done to customize any wordpress.com theme without CSS editing and many of the themes do have features to provide for this. All blogs on the wordpress.com multiuser blogging platform wearing the same theme are using the same underlying templates. The CSS editing upgrade allows for changes in appearance but not in functionality. Many bloggers seem to desire to be able to customize their themes in a manner that requires editing themes and the underlying templates which cannot be done on wordpress.com ao they move self hosting. Others desire or require plugins and there is no FTP access to wordpress.com blogs so we cannot install individual plugins into wordpress.com blogs.

  9. Hi Timethief;

    I do understand WordPress.com’s need to cover the cost of doing business. I do have some questions, though. Are the ads content and site sensitive? Inspiration Point is a site devoted to encouraging and inspirational stories with a Christian worldview. Should I be concerned with junk that has nothing to do with my site? Or, ads that are totally contrary to what I’d care for?

    Or, are the ads blindly placed on our site? I have AdBlock and don’t get to see these things. I am also wondering “How ong before they let bloggers use AdSense and certain affiliate programs?” I am currently paying for my domain name and may consider a self hosted approach. It’s because of some possible good items coming and I may want to do my own ads.

    For now, the above is down the road and no point in making a decision; if I’m not near the fork in the road. :)

    • Hello there,
      You ask: Are the ads and content senstive?
      My reply is how sensitive are you? I ask that beacuse I have seen Scientology ads on Christian blogs.

      You ask: How long before How ong before they let bloggers use AdSense and certain affiliate programs?
      That’s actually stated in the support document. It’s not based on time it’s based on pageviews and suitable content.

  10. Hi TT,
    I have seen a couple of those. I havent seen them on mine but I have seen Google ads on my blog before. I was wondering about those as well, I had no idea that the Google ads were also from WP –until now. It’s too bad I cant really afford to buy the upgrade.

    • Hi Jayme,
      The ads are “occasional” and what that means no one really knows. Like you I can’t afford to purchase and No-Ads upgrade, and I don’t have the time or inclination to hire a web host move the blog onto a wordpress.org install.

  11. I’ve noticed ads popping up even on a new blog that only 35 students read. Irritating. I’ve though about paying the fee, but WordPress.com’s à-la-carte pricing can really add up quickly. It seems to me that TypePad’s pricing scheme makes more sense for those who have more than one blog. Of course, since I’ve had little time to keep posting, a switch is still just talk, but WordPress.com has not convinced me that the fees à la carte for several blogs are worth it. (Self-hosting isn’t an option right now. No time.)

    • Hi Mark,
      I’m not aware of Typepad’s pricing scheme. Yes, the wordpress.com upgrades can add up very quickly to a sum that equals hiring a web host and self hosting your own install. As you point out though managing an install takes more time and I’m short of time as well.

  12. I hate advertising on blogs but have to admit to having Firefox ad blocker so I don’t see any. Even when logged out, and before I had Firefox (when I had IE), I didn’t see any. However, even if I can’t see them, doesn’t mean that they’re not here and if this is the direction WP.com is moving, then I shall probably get an Ads-Off upgrade as I don’t want to ruin the experience for my readers. I don’t have a business blog, I’m not bothered by not having my own domain and haven’t, as yet, felt inclined to get one (actually, one good reason for not getting a domain if one’s a personal blogger, is to be supportive of the bloghost and I do like WordPress.com), but I do really want to stay here at least for now. I can’t get my head around a self-hosted site either as my brain just isn’t up to working it all out or keeping track of everything that would need doing (even with the new guided transfers thingy).

    Thanks for this post, TT. You’ve explained things very clearly.

    Slightly off topic, I wish WP would be more transparent about payment options for their upgrades. Do you know if paypal can be used?

    • Hi Val,
      I’m trying to give all those who want a clean professional looking free hosted blog, especially business bloggers know that the No-Ads upgrade is available. I’m not trying to create trouble. lol :D

      I published this post because I know that if some of my regular readers of this blog and of my personal blog stopped using Firefox with AdBlock Plus and logged out, and viewed their own blogs and other periodically with IE on which ads are “occasionally” displayed that some would be surprised and perhaps not pleased with what they see.

      P.S. Yes, we can use PayPal or a major credit card to purchase upgrades.

  13. Many thanks, timethief, for pointing out this Ads thing. Never seen one though. As you say, this must be because I use Firefox and Adblock. I also control which cookies I allow, I have ghostery too which blocks so-called web-bugs and such like. I’m like you, I loathe ads especially on blogs and non-commercial websites.

    A plateform is far from being ideal yet I think blogger is much worse as Google has no ethics whatsoever and very ugly on top of it all. The ideal thing is to host your own server and your own WP or other libre CMS.

    If we all protested to support perhaps our voices would be heard. Yet only a minority, I suspect, dislike this Ads business.

    • I don’t think many members are aware of either the ads or of the No-Ads upgrade so I decided to publish about it. I accept the ads. They come with the territory and $29.97 per annuam is not much to pay to be shed of them.

  14. Thanks timethief. I was curious about this. I noticed yesterday that I had “pop pressed” ads under all of my posts, but when I checked my blog mates’ pages none of them had any ads at all. I was surprised as my blog only has a small audience. I thought they would only be interested in putting advertising on the bigger, more well-known blogs.

    The ad read, “Featured on Pop Pressed’ with some text under it. For a minute I thought it meant that my blog been featured. Which would have been great! But, no.

    I don’t mind the idea of a few adverts on our blogs if it keeps WP.com free to use. How else will the WP staff be paid for keeping all this going for us? I will probably uprade to self-hosted one day, but for now free blogging (with just the occassional ad) is fine.

    • Hi Eleanor,
      If you are okay with the ads then you won’t be purchasing an Ads-Off upgrade. Advertising on blogs is very common now and the demographics indicate that the youth even find them appealing. I don’t. For me they are a total turn-off. So you can guess which demographic group I’m in ie. I’m over 50.

      August 23, 2010 – Only 17 percent of Internet users find online advertising to be appealing and most people considered it to be “intrusive, repetitive, unappealing and cheap,” a study conducted by Connect Insight revealed, NewMediaAge reported.
      * 24 percent of the 16-to 34-year-olds do think this type of advertising is appealing
      * 50 percent of those over 55 years old said they avoid websites where ads would pop up and “interrupt their online activities.” — Study: Internet users dislike online ads

      • I am just inside the 16 to 34 age group but I actually really dislike internet ads. I definietly don’t think they’re appealing – I use a Firefox add-on to block them (it was on my husband’s computer that I first saw the ads on my blog) – and the colour and design of the Pop Pressed one did nothing to help the appearance of my blog which is quite monochromatic and calm.

        I was just making the point that while we are using a completely free service we should not be surprised if the providers of that service try to make a little money (to pay the staff, developers, help centre, etc). It’s that old saying, ‘You don’t get something for nothing’. Things that are offered for free are very rarely what we would ideally choose for ourselves. But it’s good to know about the ‘ads-off’ upgrade, something to think about in the future possibly.

  15. Yes those new WordPress.com ads are annoying. I can’t complain too loudly, since I was featured in Ecopressed.

    Why don’t they simply create permanent links/ads for popressed and ecopressed on freshly pressed?

    Annoying..and when you think about it all, stupid. No one wants to look at the same day at the end of their WordPress article daily.

    • Hi Jean,
      I don’t have an answer to your question.

      Federated Media (FM) is a next-generation media and publishing company that connects the highest-quality conversational content with leading brand marketers. FM works with many of the top blogs, websites and social networking applications on the Web as well as some of the world’s leading brands.

      FM does banner as well as text advertising on a CPM (cost per impression) basis. Pricing varies per blog property and can reach upwards of $30 per thousand impressions. FM also specializes in custom, highly-integrated conversational marketing campaigns.

      Popular blogs using FM include TechCrunch (VIP hosted by WordPress.com) , boingboing, Digg, GigaOm (VIP hosted by WordPress.com)and others. From > http://www.crunchbase.com/company/federatedmedia

  16. Interesting question, as I was in that exact same situation two years ago.

    I consider myself a business blogger and when I first set up my blog fours years ago, I migrated from a 10-year old website that had my own AdSense. The natural choice for me then was TypePad, in order to keep my ads and to keep the look and feel that I wanted.

    After a year, and not 100% happy with the customization options at TypePad, I decided to give free-hosted wordpress.com a try, was pleasantly surprised with the user experience, and moved my blog to wordpress.com. I didn’t mind that I could not have advertising, as I wasn’t really making any money apart from enough to cover my hosting and domain.

    However, I soon discovered those gruesome and supposedly only “occasional” ads, which I avoided by buying the no-ads upgrade. Needless to say, I also needed to buy the domain mapping, as I already had a domain, and the CSS upgrade, to allow for at least a little bit of tweaking and customization. After all, as a business blogger I wanted to stand out from the average blog, even if just a little bit.

    In the end that began to cost me a lot, without having any real power over my blog, and two years ago I moved over to self-hosted wordpress.org, found a great theme that I liked and could do with exactly what I wanted, and re-installed my AdSense, and made a bit of made money again, enough to cover hosting and enough to have some petty cash on the side.

    That said, if you look at my blog today, you will see that there is no AdSense. Why? because it looks more professional without. Yes, you will see “banners”, but those are selected sponsors and partners from my blogging network, some of which pay to be on my blog, I have to admit that.

    Back to your question, I don’t think a professional business blogger should be on wordpress.com in the first place. I know some in my niche who are, and it’s always a bit annoying to visit their blogs and see the glaring ads.

    • Hi Jan,
      Thanks for sharing your experience. It’s my opinion that if a business person wants to begin blogging from scratch and has the long term goal of having their own WordPress.org install that WordPress.com is the place to learn how to use WordPress software.

      If you are an experienced WordPress.com software user, and have the skill sets required to set up and manage your own self hosted WordPress.org install then the instructions for making the move are easy to follow. But if you are not skilled at WordPress.com blogging, and also lack the skill sets required to self host your own WordPress.org install then acquiring those skills first is recommended.

      Serious bloggers, especially business bloggers, will require a domain and domain mapping and they do not have to leave WordPress.com free hosting for that. If they use Feedburner for their blog subscriptions and also run a third-party stats program like Sitemeter then the move to a WordPress.org install will be smooth. No subscribers will have to be contacted and asked to re-subscribe. No stats will be lost.

      Purchasing a No-Ads upgrade from WordPress.com will remove the advertising and their site will have a clean and professional appearance. But remarkably, what I have found is that many WordPress.com bloggers have never seen ads on their blogs. The ads are occasional and exactly what that means in terms of frequency of display is unknown.

      When WordPress.com bloggers are logged in they cannot see ads. If they use Firefox browsers with AdBlock plus as 42% of those surfing the internet do, even when they are signed out they will not see the ads. However, if they log out and begin to visit sites using IE they will then be able to witness the advertising. And, once a blogger has seen the ads I believe many will be motivated to purchase the annually renewable Ads-Off upgrade.

      The most common reason for bloggers to move their content out of a free hosted WordPress.com install and into a WordPress.com install is so they can make an income from advertising. Yet, most have never seen the ads running on their free hosted site! ( Can you hear me sniggering?) What’s more is they fail to realize that it takes from 6 months to a year before their new WordPress.org install attracts enough ad clickers for Google Adsense to issue their first check, which doesn’t happen until their earnings reach $100 US. Thereafter what they make may or may not be enough to cover their hosting and domain costs.

      To you and I advertising looks crass and ugly but advertising on blogs is common these days, and the youth demographics point out that the younger bloggers are not repelled by advertising the way we are.

      August 23, 2010 – Only 17 percent of Internet users find online advertising to be appealing and most people considered it to be “intrusive, repetitive, unappealing and cheap,” a study conducted by Connect Insight revealed, NewMediaAge reported.

      • 24 percent of the 16-to 34-year-olds do think this type of advertising is appealing
      • 50 percent of those over 55 years old said they avoid websites where ads would pop up and “interrupt their online activities.” — Study: Internet users dislike online ads

      The second most prevalent reason for moving content from a WordPress.com blog is to gain complete control over a template which means the ability to edit themes and hack templates that is not available at WordPress.com where we cannot access those files. Only Staff can access and edit them as all blogs wearing the same theme on a WPMU are using the same template and every edit made will affect all blogs wearing the same theme.

      I’ve spent close to 5 years watching bloggers fret over what I consider to be inconsequential changes that have very little if any effect on visitors and their ability to naviagate the site and read the content in it. Among these are changes to exotic fonts that will not be displayed unless the visitors have the same fonts on their operating system. Some use TypeKit fonts and others edit the CSS to change fonts. The bottom line is the same.

      The TypeKit fonts are not transferable as the selectors used are specific to the theme versions themes running on WordPress.com software. The CSS editing is not transferable to WordPress.org installs either for the same reason. We can all change fonts size on any site we visit using keyboard shortcuts. Worse still many don’t get it, no matter how many time Volunteers answering support questions say it.

      “Your browser and your visitors’ browsers can only use the fonts installed in the same computer. If a reader does not have a specific font installed on his / her computer, the browser will determine which font is displayed. And there are a very limited number of fonts (in English/Western languages) which are common for most operating systems/computers/browsers.”

      If a blogger purchases a Premium theme at WordPress com they will find the version of it running on WordPress.com software cannot be used on WordPress.org software. The version of Premium themes running on WordPress.com software can only be used on the WordPress.com site as it’s coded to run on WPMU (wordpress mullti-user) software.

      It’s the same when it comes to purchasing the CSS editing upgrade and editing the stylesheet for the WPMU version of the software — it’s not transferable to a WordPress.org install either.

      IMO the minimum that a new business blogger with no skills who starts blogging at WordPress.com ought to ne prepared to lay out for blogging is a the $17 per year for an annually renewable domain name and domain mapping upgrade, and the $29.97 for the No-Ads upgrade.

      If they buckle down and learn how to use the software and how to create content and traffic to their free hosted blog it will take about 6 months to a year to become independent enough to move their content to a WordPress.org install.

      Thanks so much for making the time to share your experience in a comment. I appreciate it.

  17. Not so happy about the monetization. I hope that this is not the beginning of the end of what I love about using WordPress.com, but I think it is. $30.00 a year is reasonable for the privileges of being a WordPress.com user, but geesh, this seems slimy, and way below WordPress ideals and previous incredible product.

    • The web hosting costs for a WordPress.com install do cover a range but I found that the cost is about $50. per year. Then you get total control of your blog as your are self-hosting. You do have FTP access and can upload themes and edit theme and plugins as well. So the restrictions that come with blogging at WordPress.com plus purchasing a $30 per year Ads-Off upgrade is less costly than self hosting. However, if you add a domain name and domain mapping ugrade then the costs are the same.

      Also note that many WordPress com bloggers are not aware that WordPress.com has been running advertising of fee hosted blogs since 2006. Here’s some historical reading for you that I don’t think many of the new bloggers have read:

      “In our previous post, What’s your favorite feature?, a few of you listed “no ads” as one of your favorite features of WordPress.com. This made me uncomfortable—it’s not accurate, and I want to clarify.” — Matt Mullenweg in http://en.blog.wordpress.com/2006/09/06/on-ads/

      Read also:
      http://en.blog.wordpress.com/2006/07/27/testing-ads/
      http://en.blog.wordpress.com/2008/09/18/go-ad-free/

      Thereafter the Support documentation entry and the features page entry were created.

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