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I see that a couple of the ads I made up on a couple of the SE sites got past the threshold to be on the normal cycle.

But where do they show up? I thought it was on the main site (scifi.stackexchange.com) but I don't see any community ads at all.

And the only ad I see on gaming.se.com is to follow them on twitter.

Are they randomly shown to users? If so, then why doesn't constantly refreshing the window show any ads?

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I believe they only show up on the main page, not on /questions nor on individual question pages.

They're in the right-hand column, below the community bulletin and your favorite and ignored tags. Three boxes are shown in a random vertical order order: the little box about chat, an ad for the newsletter, and another ad. Depending on the luck of the draw, that ad may be one of the house ads (I saw one for the Google+ thingy), an ad for another site on the network, a link to a hot question anywhere on the network, or one of the community ads.

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  • I think because my adblock etension was on, all ads (even community ads) are being blocked. I turned it off and I can see them now. – OghmaOsiris Sep 13 '12 at 20:09
  • @OghmaOsiris Interesting to know, and probably something that should be fixed. I've never seen a community ad in the years I've been on the StackExchange network, and have been wondering what the point of them is. – Izkata Sep 17 '12 at 3:43
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Constantly refreshing wont help. SE uses various levels of caching. According to Jeff:

The homepage is cached at 60 seconds per tab.

This includes the community promotion ads.

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  • Not in my test, actually. But this may be because I'm a mod and we hit a different cache for some things; I just tested on another site, and I do see that refreshing doesn't change the ad. – user56 Sep 14 '12 at 2:06
  • @Gilles: Actually this answer is more of a "this is how it should be". I tried it myself and found that at first refreshing didn't change the ad for about a minute. But after I clicked around the tabs, refreshing the frontpage would give me a new ad every time. I blame this weird behaviour on unicorn magic. – bitmask Sep 14 '12 at 2:27

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