Partnering With a Peer to Peer Advertising System, Would It Work for Steemit?

in advertising •  5 months ago

I've ranted and raved about my desire for such an advertising system in a prior post and several comments over the past several months. Please bear with me as I take another run at presenting it in a bit more depth. I'd love to hear thoughts and comments from more technical minded people, and if this post lands in the lap of someone of authority who loves the idea and can do something about it... all the better!

Huge Potential in Anonymous Ads (

Screen Shot 2018-06-15 at 9.21.09 PM.png

A potential Steemit (and Busy, dLive, dTube, etc...) partner that I think often about is Anonymous Ads. I've played around with them a bit on my personal sites and overall like what I see. They're a crypto (bitcoin) based advertising service that pride themselves on privacy.

Users can create traditional banner ad slots, or bid to host their ads in other slots. Going along with the privacy theme, theses activities don't even necessarily require any form of registration or account creation, although doing so gives better reporting and tools.

It reminds me very much of another ad service I used in the past when publishing webcomics, known as Project Wonderful. Unfortunately, just a few days ago that service announced it was shutting down. Anonymous Ads was most likely always a better fit for the Steem ecosystem due to its roots in crypto already.

If you try to place an A-ad on Steemit currently, it looks like this...

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This is the lightweight embed code they supply

Screen Shot 2018-06-15 at 9.19.53 PM.png

As far as I can tell, it's not much different from embedding a YouTube video. I could be wrong on this, so some of you techies please jump in... but I've always assumed it's just a security measure and a simple "whitelisting" of their domain/code could potentially make their ads work on Steemit (or other Steem based sites) relatively easily.

If it was working, we'd be seeing this...

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A simple banner ad. Not too obtrusive, no popups... maybe someone goes too crazy with a flashing gif...

But see that in the top right of that empty banner slot? Imagine if instead of going to a bid bot to gain visibility, you could click on the banner ad slot that a fellow Steemian places in the header or footer of their posts. You're trying to build a following and you can go to the most followed and popular author in the niche you're active in, and put a banner to your blog or recent article right in their post.

The amazing side effect is it creates a whole secondary revenue stream, one without a 7 day day time limit. Steemians buy and sell ad inventory with other Steemians. And while inter blogger promotion would be one big use... it would also draw ad revenue from advertisers outside of Steem as well.

A look at the dashboard of an ad

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Here's a dashboard for an ad that I created and played around with. This kind of information is visible when you're shopping for ad space to buy or selling your own. Posts that choose to use advertising slots could potentially earn a secondary long term income based on their actual readership, not relying on a big upvote to stumble across them in the first 7 days.

Suggesting it at both ends

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I went ahead and submitted a brief idea to the suggestion box on the Anonymous Ads site. The hope is that either side, Steemit Inc. or Anonymous Ads could get inspired and reach out to the other to get the ball rolling.

Let Me Try To Summarize & Pro/Con This...

  1. Whitelist Anonymous Ads code to work on Steemit... could it be just that simple?
  2. Anonymous Ads moves to transact in Steem as well as Bitcoin, making it simpler for everyone. Plus it's faster and cheaper of course! They're incentivized because Steemians could almost double their ad network in a day... not to mention future growth opportunity.
  3. People place ad slots in their personal blog posts if they choose, and bid to advertise their blog/site/service on the posts of other Steemians.


  1. I think this beats the heck out of the current inbuilt promotion system and gives a very attractive and potentially more ethical alternative to the bid bot market.
  2. Incorporating ad slots creates a secondary income stream that does not have a 7 day time limit. These funds are also much more aligned with actual readership than voting power concentration.
  3. Easily brings outside advertising money into the Steem ecosystem, with a service that is already fairly entrenched in the crypto space and aligns pretty well with its core values of privacy and decentralization.


  1. Yeah, it's ads. But I think it would largely be self policing. Users who go overboard with advertising spaces will risk alienating their readers and receive less viewership or outright flags. I envision fairly minimal and tasteful uses to be the norm.
  2. ??? Can't think of many... probably because it's my idea! Add your own in the comments!

Thoughts? Ideas? Debate pros and cons? Think this has been considered before?

Like with any kind of creative endeavor, I'm just trying to make what I would want to see/use. In this case, I have zero ability to create this on a technical or business level... so all I can do is scream into the ether and hope maybe wishes will come true... because I would use the heck out of this system on Steemit.

-Bryan "the Imp" Imhoff

no idea how to tag this for good visibility, please feel free to suggest tags for me to edit in... and resteem at will if you think it's something you'd love to see happen!

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Basically advertising will always be a good way to invest, the more people know what you do most interested in being part of that and that is where the gains and recognition in different places

If I put myself in the shoes of Steemit Inc., like if I pretend this is my company, I probably wouldn't sign off on this. Of course as a user on the platform who would use and monetize this it's mostly pros, but on the larger scale from the company perspective I think it might be a net negative, let me explain.

So I think we can all agree that no matter how unobtrusive, nobody likes ads. No one goes to a site like, they've got some really nice ads here! Ads are going to be there when they NEED to be there. Basically when you don't have other options for monetization, you turn to ads.
I don't know this, but I think based on the way things have played out so far, Steemit isn't trying to go down that road, and I think for good reason if you think of what services Steemit is trying to compete with. I think it would lose a large selling point by even adding a single ad.

I think the equation to figure out if you should put ads on a platform is simple and goes something like, "can this thing make money without ads? If yes, don't add ads, if no, add ads".

So I guess the question is, CAN this thing make money without ads? How much money does it even need to make to stay afloat? I have to wonder with more and more money going in, and only content coming out, is this sustainable? Because if it's not, then maybe they'd have to add ads, but in that case, it would be an all in move and again, pretending this was my company, I'd be looking for big brands, and trying to onboard large campaigns. Banner ads would be more of a last resort.

Sorry if it seems like I'm pooping all over your idea, not my intention, just my random opinion from one powerless user to another :)


No, not pooping at all! Just the kind of discussion I’m looking for.
On the one hand, I totally agree, and everything you’re saying fits with the big con... but it’s Ads!

On the other hand, the core virtue of something like this is the decentralization (albeit run through a central broker software). I don’t approach this from the sentiment that Ads are needed to bring in revenue and make the site sustainable. I wouldn’t see Steemit Inc. needing to plaster brokered corporate advertising anywhere. Plus I think it’s more in line with the philosophy of Steem to put the monetary attention value of advertising into the hands and pockets of the end user directly.

This concept is approached more from the perspective that we are decentralized, advertising exists, and the cats out of the bag! Right now advertising takes the form of bid bots & paid resteems. I think user generated & controlled banner ads are a less obtrusive alternative to those, that also leave the rewards pool and trending algorithms acting more naturally than the present paid vote environment.

It’s also interesting to think that something like allowing in post ad code like this is at the site level, not blockchain. If Busy, dLive & dTube all rendered the ad code, but Steemit blocked it... would I put it in my posts knowing it would display on 3 out of 4, but show an invalid message on Steemit? I’m not sure. But user controlled advertising slots could be a differentiator between front end sites, allowing users to choose where they view their content based on their own feelings about advertising.

I think right now, this proposal would make a ton of sense. The big question is if upcoming design changes and features naturally render bidbots and buying your way onto trending obsolete, therefore making the alternative of ad embeds superfluous as well. In either case, the big pro of creating a more “evergreen” payout window for good content still stands.


Hmm, yea I guess I hadn't really thought about it from the decentralized perspective. Basically, it's "our" platform we can add what we like sort of deal. In all honesty I don't really understand the nuts and bolts of how this works. Like as users what say do we have in the direction of features? Or is that one of the things witnesses do? Still not super clear on all that.


In a sense, enabling code like this on the site is kind of a matter of if Steemit wants to support that "convenience" or system. But overall, there's no way to stop me from saying, "For 5 SBD I'll put your banner on the bottom of my next post... it'll be there forever!" Big influencers will no doubt do such a thing, just as they're paid to write a tweet about an ICO or post a picture wearing a certain piece of clothing on Instagram. This would just allow for a more dynamic ad inventory that stays more relevant over time, and democratize it so smaller users could benefit as well without the need or means to broker direct deals for a few pennies!

As to the system... I can give my take. Steemit Inc. will always have control over, all it's interface, upgrades, etc. That's their private site. But they have no control over any of the other Steem front ends or how the Steem blockchain is used in general.

Steemit Inc. is however the primary developer of the blockchain right now. It's their mission and they have a big interest because they own a substantial amount of the originating Steem. However, anyone can create new code and features for the blockchain, but it has to be agreed to and ratified by a large number of the elected witnesses.

So the best comparison is to politics. Yes we can suggest blockchain changes and features, I've even seen an interesting recent post by someone talking about hiring a large and well known development team to tackle some Steem issues independent of Steemit Inc. and work direct with the witnesses. (Wish I could remember who wrote about it...)But to implement those changes you'd also have to make sure you're voting for witnesses that have a similar vision of the future and would implement them. Here too, since Steemit Inc. has a large stake, they can heavily influence the elected witnesses right now and steer things in a direction of their choosing. But ultimately, if Steemit Inc. disappeared tomorrow, Steem would go on. There are online roleplaying games I played 15 years ago, long since discontinued by their publishers that have passionate fanbases running servers they set up themselves and keeping them alive. I can't imagine witnesses and the community wouldn't step in to do the same for Steem! Despite Steemit Inc's clout, the Steem blockchain itself is not their property anymore, it does belong to and is controlled by all stake holders.


Ahh, I see, THANKS for the schooling lesson :) Lots of gems in there I didn't know. I already had a lot of faith in Steem, but this actually gives me even more. This thing would be really hard to kill :) Also if Steemit Inc. at any point and time just royally screws the pooch someone else can come along and take over without a bunch of corporate shenanigans.

I don't want adds on steemit. Just sounds annoying and something that gets worse with time like adds on YouTube.

I like that steemit doesn't need ads, but if they can be done in a sensitive way I'm not totally against them. It would be nice to earn something from older posts.

This seems viable. The pros seem to balance out the cons. It would make sense not to go overkill with it. I will check this out. Thanks @bryan-imhoff! Resteemed

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What would be more useful is an Ads service based on STEEM which could drive external dollars into the system.
But good luck getting traction on this. People selling votes are making a killing on Steemit right now.