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College Sports in the
Realm of Bonesville


Thursday, July 27, 2006

By Danny Whitford
Publisher & Editor

Scourge of the cyber seas going down


Aggressive digital stow-aways on to walk the plank

While each new day has brought ever-evolving content to for the past five years, there has been another aspect of the site that you could count on being unchanged each time the sun came up.

Pop-up advertisements.

Yep, pop-ups, the bane of every Web surfer’s existence, have become as ingrained in the fabric of as the punditry of the charter members of our staff, Brian Bailey, Ron Cherubini, Al Myatt and Denny O’Brien.

As publisher of the site, I can only describe our stormy affair with pop-ups as a love-hate relationship.

We have coveted the monthly checks from our pop-up advertisers because they have helped us keep the site going without levying a subscription fee on our readers. Yet, we generally detest these dastardly little intruders on our otherwise smoothly-flowing site because they tend to rudely interrupt our visitors' browsing experiences.

Since launching in 2001, we’ve broken many big stories about highly controversial topics and published a number of strong editorial positions that went against the grain of what was “politically correct” at the time. But rarely have these journalistic excursions provoked the kind of vitriol fired our way on occasion concerning pop-up ads.

Some of the smoldering e-mail messages I have received over they years about pop-ups have bordered on unrestrained rage. Seriously.

On some of the occasions when I replied to messages of this sort suggesting that our economic alternative was to consider charging a subscription fee, the counter-reply was filled with… more fury.

It’s enough to make a body consider hiring an entourage of bodyguards…

Or, better yet, developing a new approach to advertising. Which is precisely what we're in the process of doing.

Thanks to Hinton Media Group, owned by Greenville radio and television executive Henry Hinton, we believe we’ve got a fix in hand. Hinton, a regular columnist for, operates East Carolina’s flagship AM station, WNCT Talk 1070, and Cable 7 TV.

The apparent solution began to emerge when, which also publishes The Pirates’ Chest for the ECU Pirate Club, recently entered into an agreement delegating to Hinton’s group the responsibility for marketing the advertising in The Pirates’ Chest and in our own annual football preview publication, Bonesville Magazine.

The results of this new print advertising arrangement have been promising enough to prompt our two companies to strike a similar deal regarding the advertising inventory of

One of the high-priority objectives Hinton and I discussed in planning the strategy for this initiative is to replace the pop-ups placed on by Internet ad brokers with more conventional ads from local sponsors.

The general intention is to remove the invoking of these national agency pop-ups from the front page immediately and to begin excluding them from future articles and features.

If you dig into our older content, many of the articles in our archives will continue to spawn pop-ups because it’s not practical for our coders to attempt to modify thousands of HTML files, but we’re betting our readers will consider that a minor nuisance in comparative terms.

While we're at it, we're also going to attempt to reign in the proliferation on our site of some of the more annoying non-pop-up ads, particularly those that flash like short-circuited neon signs.

Ultimately, we must depend on you, our readers, to help make this updated business model work. You can do this by letting our existing advertisers know that you saw their message on our site and by suggesting as an advertising platform to potential new sponsors.

If you happen to be a merchant catering to the broader East Carolina community in general or to Pirate sports fans in Eastern North Carolina and beyond in particular, we urge you to check out our extensive array of advertising options for any and all budgets. We are unaware of a more cost-effective way to target your message to this demographic than through

Hinton Media Group has indicated that it will also offer bundled advertising packages, allowing clients to mix and match the most effective combination of advertising buys on, The Pirates' Chest, WNCT-AM Talk 1070 and Cable 7.

For more information, please call Hinton Media Group at 252.355.8822.

On a related note, we are considering the launch of some expanded features and one or two exciting new Web concepts that likely will be subscription-based because of the narrowly-targeted and expensive-to-produce nature of the content involved. More on that later.

In the meantime, please be patient as we commence the quest of tracking down the most bothersome ads on our site and dispatching them to Davy Jones' locker.

Send an e-mail message to Danny Whitford.

Click here to dig into Danny Whitford's Bonesville archives.

02/23/2007 01:38:32 AM

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