Re spark being free, it has always been free as far as I know and the concept has always been to keep it free, so yes the ads support it, and to some extent the premium services, such as Spark Coach, sales of Spark products, etc.
That said, an ad blocker, I have one, which I didn't want to use for a long time because there are ads on other sites I don't mind seeing and some on spark as well. But the ads got very aggressive here, covering content and jumping around with a lot of movement, sound, pop-ups, etc., so I realized to continue using the site, I would have to do the ad blocker. Now I would never be without the blocker.
That said, I would pay a premium subscription for no ads if that were offered, but as it is, the block is necessary.
I have put ad blockers on my computer so all I see is a white screen. That is pretty much all you can do, because the ads on Spark People keep it free. There was a time when spark members had to pay a fee to join. It was before my time.
I don't have ad block on my tablet or phone. So I do have to put up with ads there. It is the cost of keeping Spark free.
While your ideas are great. It may cost money to implement them, possibly.
If you find an ad doesn't meet Spark Guidelines then you can take a screen shot of it and send it to the appropriate moderator.
I want to support SP, and keep it free for those who (like me!) simply don't have the money to pay to use it, but like some others on here, found the ads irritating. I've now worked out a way to both support SP, and yet not see so many that I end up getting agitated! If you find them so annoying that you are thinking of leaving the site, try doing this:
1. Set up the internet tool to stop the ads, but allow them on some of the pages you use on SP. This way you are not constantly inundated, but you are still supporting SP. A drop-down menu will give you the choice to 'allow on this page only', so you can allow ads on individual pages of your choice.
2. You can be selective about which ads you see. Look for the 'x' in the top right-hand corner of the ad, click this and the ad will not only disappear but will not be shown again. I think the ad people/software learns your preferences and you begin to see ads for the type of things you are genuinely interested in.
3. If you have any ads coming up that you find offensive, take a screen shot (on most computers just press the top right key that says 'PrtSc Sys Rq'), and contact SP to let them know.
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