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Anyone else think a decentralized banner/link exchange standard is a good idea?

If you want to encourage your visitors to also visit somebody else's site, you should be able to do that by copying a single URL they provide. No third party needed.

That URL would point to a JSON document or something with the info you need to show link banners of various sizes. It could also list other sites you might want to support.

We could replace ads with a free and easy way to support each other.

Project Wonderful's ad network became effectively a banner exchange for most people, where money changed hands occasionally and a handful of people were able to make a living. Now that they've stopped operating, I think it's time to bring back the free banner exchange concept (like the original en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LinkExch), but without a central authority.

@jamey A tangent, but: So much LinkExchange history there I didn't know! They received $3 M (in 1997 dollars!) and acquired a shopping cart and sold to Microsoft 18 months later?

Wild.

@jamey @erosdiscordia wait a second. are we reinventing webrings?! because i’m in

@alana @erosdiscordia I watched somebody put together a reinvented webring at IndieWeb Summit last year (xn--sr8hvo.ws/) and that's cool. But I think the visual approach with banner images, and rotating through a variety of links so they aren't the same all the time, is an important mode as well.

@alana @erosdiscordia aw, it didn't expand the Unicode domain, that should render as 🕸💍 .ws

@jamey What does the URL-to-JSON provide beyond, uh, another URL?

I guess a file that has multiple banner sizes in it gives you more options for responsive design?

@keturn Yeah, if you're going to do image-based links, people need a variety of sizes to fit in different designs. There are de facto standards from the internet advertising industry that people often use, like the 728x90 "Leaderboard" and the 160x600 "Skyscraper", although IAB is now recommending using aspect ratio rather than pixel sizes (iab.com/newadportfolio/).

I also want to let people curate lists of other sites they think deserve more attention, and those lists could go in there too.

@alana @jamey @erosdiscordia
+1. I've thought about this for non-profit/social good purposes, but I like it for independents too. Would be happy to help explore this, even if just as a sounding board.

@zaclittleberry Yeah, I'm coming at it from the perspective of webcomic creators since I've been running a centralized banner exchange for that community for a few years now, but I think lots of indie creators and social good orgs could use help with cross-promotion.

I think the first step is a WordPress plugin, probably, as proof of concept. That should be "simple" but unfortunately I'm not nearly comfortable enough with the WordPress plugin API...

@jamey Cool! I definitely think it should be open source and support smaller instances that are topic focused. That way different communities could run and join what makes sense for them. My immediate thought is that it could run off of ActivityPub (small independent instance subscription) or maybe something with .well-known directory (that feels very manual, and like a discovery mechanism. so, not sure). A WP plugin to make it easy is great, but I also think the arch. is first. @alana thoughts?

@jamey @alana also, just to be clear, I say I think the architecture is first because I think this is something that could be wide reaching. And if it follows an agnostic (vs wp specific) underlying structure, I think a lot more people would be able to jump in and help integrate it for different platforms, including those to integrate with WordPress (like what happened with ActivityPub). Also, I can make due in WordPress, but am not an expert either :P

@alana is it Asitha? I feel like Asitha would agree that I should not write the WP code :P

@zaclittleberry @jamey WP plug-in is a good target — Jamey, are comics folks on WP mainly still using comicpress ? i bet times have changed since i was up to speed on that 😅

and yeah Zac, i agree about arch — sketching it is always such a useful discussion-prompt, and going from ludicrously over-simplified to refined seems to do half the work of the subsequent steps (bucketing things into their own features/functions; flagging areas that smell potentially annoying; prioritizing… blah blah… 😊)

@alana @jamey I'm thinking of this as possibly a pixelfed mod with a wordpress pixelfed integration? will run with that. Time limited story albums with each image being one of a set of sizes. 'Network' accounts that aggregate and re-boost other accounts. The accounts you are subscribed to are the ones you boost/rotate display. The ones subscribed to you are boosting. Some optional rules about follow-back and spam prevention maybe (prevent post overwhelming). I think this could work.

@zaclittleberry @alana Oops, had to wander away from the keyboard for a bit.

I have ~1200 words of my more detailed thoughts about requirements and use cases that I could put up somewhere. I guess a public Etherpad or something? What do you like for collaborative text editing?

@jamey @alana I have a pic of a whiteboard diagram of my create/follow/boost posts concept. I am fine with anything to collaborate. I'm currently failing to get onto Alana's nextcloud ATM. Fine with anything really though.

@zaclittleberry @alana nice! 😄

Here are my notes; hopefully they make some kind of sense.

demo.codimd.org/s_Kw9tGATXqA8g

I am... skeptical that the benefits of ActivityPub are worth its complexity for this, but I'm certainly open to being convinced 😄

@jamey @alana I think the diagram/concept I proposed would fit your first three items under 'Use Cases' with account following, community booster following, and boosting an individual account's content (which I didn't explicitly diagram, but smaller scale concept of a community booster, which would probably be automated). The 4 use cases after those however are more algorithmic/analytics based and I'm not quite as sure about. Also your discovery section aligns with activitypub as well I think.

@jamey @alana Using ActivityPub was to get de-centralization, and federation/interoperability, and I think some existing Instances of activity pub (such as Pixelfed) could be forked/modified to get this working quickly. I also lean towards standardized models for non-centralization/federation vs yet-another-independent-spec.

@jamey @alana I've added comments to your document, suffixed by -ZL to keep track of what I said, vs the original document. Going to step away for a bit. Nice discussing! :D

@zaclittleberry @jamey i wish i wasn’t on the road today 😩 will read thru later!

@zaclittleberry @alana Thanks for your comments! Now that I've had a chance to review and think about them, I've added my own responses, "-JS" suffixed.

That process helped clarify some of my hidden goals, like: if possible, I would like one or both sides of the protocol to be implementable on a purely static web site.

Also now I need to read papers like crypto.stanford.edu/adnostic/ and eprint.iacr.org/2018/323.pdf to see if there are usable privacy-preserving ways to choose the best banner to show…

@alana @zaclittleberry Haha, yeah, it's been a few years since I last checked the "generator" tags of about 900 self-hosted webcomics, but ComicPress was and I'm sure is still around. Webcomic creators, as a general rule, don't like touching their software once it's working. 😅

That said, when I did my survey, a lot of people were transitioning to frumph.net/easel/.

@jamey I unironically love the idea of webring 2.0

@Zuph You aren't alone in that; check out 🕸💍.ws and see elsewhere in this thread. I mean something a little different than webrings though, and I think there's value in both.

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