ChessBase news goes mainstream – with new commercial design 01.04.2011– Remember our info banners? Neatly styled
box that appeared the first time you accessed our site. It provided
information on the latest ChessBase products, but also on special events
and services available on any given day. Unfortunately a number of
visitors objected vigorously to the "accursed pop-ups”, which we have
now abandoned, and restyled our page to match other news sites.
ChessBase Tutorials Openings # 02: The Semi-Open Games How do you do your
opening training? Do you try in vain to commit to memory sequences of
moves as far as move 15 or even 20? Do you work your way through thick
tomes in order to laboriously collect the most important information? Or
do you simply keep on playing the same opening, just because by chance
you learned a little about it years ago and because it is in any case
too complicated and time-consuming to learn something new? Or do you
simply not bother with opening theory, but continue to be annoyed about
being at a disadvantage before you really get into the game proper? More...
The ChessBase news page is a comprehensive news service that we are providing
free of charge. Initially we tried to finance it, at least in part, with Google
ads or similar targeted advertising, displayed discretely on the side of the
page. But we decided that they were spoiling the optics of our web design and
not doing very much for us. Naturally we received many lucrative offers from
gambling sites, with extremely clever, aggressive pop-under screens, but decided
that this, too, was not really our style.
So we decided to try to finance (or justify) the news page entirely with our
own products. That came mainly with three little links on the right of the page
and an advert box at the top of each news story. Advertising agencies laughed
at these pitiful attempts and urged us to enter the real world of sales and
Our latest attempt to do this was to use a single info window, which we inserted
on our front page, to be displayed just once – in the first session of
the day. It was carefully positioned below the top news blurb, so that our readers
could simply click that news item without even having to click on the “Close”
button of the info banner.
But even if you had to, e.g. because you wanted to read an older report first,
one that happened to be behind the info box, it was just one click! One click
the first time you went to chessbase.com and never again during the current
We used the info boxes mainly to inform our readers about new products or services
that have recently become available – including the hottest DVDs that
for some reason or other are topical and in the news.
In order to make the arrangement more appealing we made a substantial number
of info boxes non-commercial. Usually they told you about lectures and Q&A
sessions on Playchess.
A good number of info boxes informed our readers about live commentary that
was being broadcast on Playchess. Sometimes there were special gifts, like premium
commentary that was made free for all in the first or the final round of an
Our info banner was created by the professional company that does all our packaging
and web design. It was sober and aesthetically pleasing, everyone thought –
very much in tone with our normal web presence.
However: our experiment with the info banners caused a certain
amount of distress amongst some of our readers – many dozens of them,
actually. They implored us to remove the banners, which spoilt their entire
enjoyment, and swore to boycott our news page until they were gone. We found
this slightly mystifying, since a large number of news portals you visit these
day have massive and aggressive pop-ups. And pop-unders, which hide behind your
current window. Sometimes it is difficult finding the part that is news. Even
YouTube has introduced pop-ups and forced trailers which force you to watch
a commercial message for up to a full minute before you get to the actual video.
In television even paid channels are constantly interrupted by advertising,
and the free ones ride it to the hilt. News shows, like CNN, Larry King, ABC,
NBC, FOX, etc. are interrupted every few minutes for some intensely intrusive
advertising. In films and series they come right in the middle of the most poignant
scene. But somehow people have got used to all that and accept it.
Be that as it may, we have decided to go mainstream and learn from other news
portals how advertising works. Most importantly: we have eliminated the "accursed
pop-ups” and instead redesigned our page in the style of other news sites
we have visited.
Note that you may have to switch off your ad blocker to fully appreciate
our new design. Or you can simply start a different browser where you are not
blocking anything. Do so, it is worth it!