Charging for commercial access on Adland® - a short era

Adland had a paywall for some time. When the bandwidth for serving the commercials became too large of an expense for me, I devised a plan. Prior to this Adland had been hosting on Level3 the Dutch backbone internet, and I had no problem with the fees for that as I was paid handsomely at my then job. But as the traffic became unpredictable and expensive I had to figure out something better. I built a couple of large servers to keep at my house, for DNS, mail and web as well as for the film formatting and data storage, and to fund this I put up a simple paywall that used Paypal at first, and later could handle major credit cards via iDibs.

The reason we had to switch to Dibs was that Paypal pulled the rug out from under us right before the super bowl, and froze our assets. It was decidedly not fun at all, and I developed a deep distrust of third party anything at that point. On January 15 2004 Paypal froze our assets (which were meant to pay the bandwidth bill, thank you very much) and cited this:

"After reviewing your site, and in accordance with Section 11 of the User Agreement, your account has been closed."

What is Section 11? Adult content. As it turned out, it was an old article about Tom Ford's Opium ad with a nude Sophie Dahl. Yes, this ad:

Sophie Dahl nude for Opium perfume

The article was posted on Adland® April 24, 2001. Adland had been using the Paypal service since Oct. 17, 2001 and Adland was a Verified Paypal member since somewhere around November of that year.

So, three years later, again right before the super bowl, they discovered the old Sophie Dahl nude and froze everything that was in the Paypal account at the time (which was a lot) without warning. It's enough to make a girl paranoid.

We continued charging for membership, but now with a bonus, you would see Adsense ads if you were not logged in, but those ads would go away if you supported the site by becoming a member. You stayed an adsense-free member even for the months you weren't paying to access the commercials. Our text articles, so to speak, were thus supported by Adsense and drove traffic, while our archive was there to keep the Adland® members - known as "Super Adgrunts" - coming back.


Dabitch

Dabitch

Founder of adland®, sweetheart hell-raiser, tired of writing bios.