Technical requirements for advertisements on this site
To keep the viewing pleasure and efficiency of the visitors as high as possible
the ChipDir is designed with a lot of rules in mind. Advertisements should
use the same rules as much as possible.
The advertisement size (in Kbytes) should be as small as possible. Most of the graphical artist will know the tricks to keep ad's small:
Use the GIF file format for line drawing and simular non-photo pictures and JPEG
for photo like images (with lots of gradually changing colors).
Use a small palette size, like 16 or 256.
Don't use a gradually changing teint in the background.
Keep the image simple.
A lot of people still use VGA cards with only 256 colors. Netscape has chosen
a palette of 216 colors ((0,0,0),(0,0,51) .. (255,255,255)) which fits in the
maximum palette of 256 (leaving room for some colors in the border and the font
and other windows etc. When you use this palette only in picture it will be
shown by NetScape (and probably also by Microsoft's Internet Explorer) exactly
as it's meant by the designer. Otherwise depending on a setting in the users
browser the image is dithered or the colors are substituted.
Dithering to show a color that is not in the native palette means that pixels
of two of the most simular color are used in a pattern so that when seen from
a distance the right color is achieved. From nearby it may seem terrible however
because of patterns that may appear.
Each color that isn't present in the native palette is substituted by the
closest available color in the palette. Although this way patterns are prevented,
dark blue may become black, so dark letters on a dark background may disappear and
subtly choosen nuances may disappear.
Conclusion: It's advisable to use colors from the NetScape palette only.
Links to sites with more info about the NetScape Palette:
Although a lot of people hate animated GIF's they still provoke a better
click through rate than non-animated GIF's even among the visitors of the
Keep the file small.
Limit the animation to about 10 seconds or less, not to annoy the visitor
while he reads text near the ad.
Make the refresh cycle long to conserve CPU time.
Size of the ad
The rationale for banners being wide and not high is to make sure that they
disturb the real content of the page as little as possible.
Making all banner ad's the same size helps the uniformity and therefore
consitent style of the site.
For banner ad providers a standard format is also needed so sites hosting the
banners know what size to reserve for the ad while formatting the rest of the
page while the banner is loaded from the server of the ad provider.
The industry standard for banner ad's is 468*60.
The blue 'I am clickable' border
Normally all clickable items on a HTML page are blue itself of have a blue. This
color normally changes to red during clicking and to purple after the link has
been followed. This is a mechanism that people are used to and are counting on.
Try to honor this and keep this extra border also in mind while designing the ad.
Especially when you also want to put another border around the picture yourself.
What will be the background of the ChipDir
To avoid color crashes with the background of the ChipDir it would probably be
nice to know this in advance, but it may change sometime (to signal to the visitor
that the site is updated). Currently the background color is light green (#CCCC99).
It will always be a light color and perhaps eventually white.
It's probably better not to use transparant as a color since in that case other
parts of your ad may connect to the background or colors may clash.
Can I also have a HTML ad?
Yes, HTML ad's can be very effective. But they can't be served by an ad provider
at the moment, so you'd have different (and uncomparable) campaigns if you would
decide also to use one of those.
One solution is to first make the complete ad in HTML and than screen capture the
picture and convert it to a GIF (or let me do it...).
Especially the combination of pictures and text often renders very ugly on some
systems and the spacing of the text can be fine tuned much better in a GIF.
When using special fonts it's always doubtful if the viewer has the same fonts
How to determine the statistics?
The number of times that your ad has been viewed can be determined quite crudely
from the statistics of the ChipDir.
The number of click-throughs should be determined by your own statistics software
(or that of your Internet Service Provider). Sophisticated statistics software
can determine from what previous page your visitor came.
An alternative for this is to let me link to a special page on your site or to add
a '?chipdir' extension to the URL that I link to, which doesn't effect the base
URL that is linked to. Your statisticssoftware (or some CGI-BIN program) must than
be capable to record this.
During the ad-test period I can also put a 'jump page' between the ad and your site
so we can determine the number of click-throughs from the ChipDir statistics about