What About the Developer?

Our goal with the “Meet the Developer” series is to give you access and insight into individual developers, like Fiodar Sazanavets, so that you can learn firsthand how they perceive your content and advertising.

We are pleased to introduce you to Fiodar Sazanavets, a developer who is active in his developer community, Simple Programmer.  In addition to his day job, Fiodar has his own technical blog, Scientific Programmer: Magazine. Meet the person behind the code, and learn how he views and uses advertising in his profession. When we interviewed Fiodar, he revealed that advertising in context appeals to  him most.  Learn more about Fiodar and his experience with developer advertising in our interview below.

Tell us about yourself and what you do for a living.

I am originally from Belarus, which is one of the countries that became independent when the Soviet Union collapsed. My parents and I immigrated to England when I was a teenager, and I have been living in England since then. I have been working as a software developer for a while now. I am now in a senior role where I am able to  influence other developers.

Why and how do you participate in your developer community? 

I participate in the developer community primarily because I like to share my knowledge with other developers. It makes me happy when someone in the industry finds my advice useful. I have found that involvement in the developer community is a good way of building a personal brand and earning money on the side. I have actually received several job offers because somebody has read my blog posts!

I like to participate in the global developer community in different ways. I have my own blog, which is available at https://scientificprogrammer.net. I also occasionally write guest posts for other websites, such as https://simpleprogrammer.com, and I participate in discussions in various forums and on social media.  I also film video courses.

What is the newest technology you are using, learning, excited about, or curious about?

I primarily work with Internet of Things (IoT) and Cloud technologies. In my work, I mostly use the Microsoft development stack, which includes the .NET platform. Because of this, the main toolset I use is also from Microsoft. For example, Visual Studio and VS Code are my two primary code editors.

I am very excited about containerization technologies, such as Docker and Kubernetes. These platforms allow you to isolate your applications in consistent runtime environments which are also extremely easy to deploy and manage. What might take days to deploy in the past can now be done in minutes with these technologies. It’s really not the newest tech, but I still find it exciting!

Where do you go for information about developer tools?

Because I primarily rely on developer tools provided by Microsoft, I stay current by visiting web resources that are maintained by Microsoft, or sites that support their products. If I need to learn more about a specific technology, I will visit the official website of the vendor to read the documentation.

I also tend to use Google a lot to look for relevant technical information while I’m working. I constantly receive many suggestions from Google on good software development articles that I wouldn’t have come across otherwise.

What ads attract you?

To be honest, I wouldn’t say that any ads particularly attract me. In my opinion, the best ones are the ones that contextually fit into their environment, such as an advertisement for an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) on a webpage about a programming language you can use in that IDE.

The worst ads are the ones that interrupt you with information that is completely unrelated to the content that you were in the process of consuming. The worst of the worst are video ads with audio that is set to auto-play on a textual webpage.

Do you click on the ad or search the product/advertiser you see in the ad in a separate browser instance?

If I see something that I genuinely like in an ad, I sometimes open another window in incognito mode to search for the product. The reason I do this is because there are some companies that seem to be doing excessively aggressive ad campaigns.

I have been in situations where, after clicking on a particular ad, I would see an ad for the same product everywhere. For example, there was a flower delivery company that I used once to buy some flowers for my mom. After that instance, an ad for that company, which I don’t intend to ever use again, interrupts almost every YouTube video I watch!

How do you feel when you visit content or another site you are interested in, that was advertised to you, only to find that you have to give a phone number to get what was offered?

It depends on the context. For example, if the product is some unique coaching course and it was mentioned up-front that it would consist of daily coaching instructions that would be sent via SMS or WhatsApp, then it’s acceptable. In most other situations I would not go any further with it. If it is a non-unique product or service that is offered, I would just go to an alternative provider of it.

How do you feel about the same scenario as above — except when asked to provide your credit card info?

If something was advertised as free, and then I have to enter my credit card details — it’s probably a fraud, and I will stay away. If I understood that the product is not free and the page to enter the credit card details looks secure (protected by proper encryption certificate, it’s a reputable site, etc.), then I will provide the information.

At what point do you navigate away when you visit content you want, but encounter a lot of requests for personal information? Email? Name? Phone number? Credit card? What is your limit?

I tend not to share more personal information than is necessary, and I feel suspicious when commercial organizations are asking for too much. Anytime I’m asked to provide more personal details than necessary and the product or service in question is not a necessity, I navigate away.

I don’t encounter this often because there are strict data protection laws where I live, and it is illegal for any private or public organizations to ask people for more personal information than necessary. They are also forbidden to share it without the subject’s explicit consent.

If this happens, how do you feel about that brand or product?

It depends on the manner in which the request for personal information was made. If I was requested to provide my full name and address for some product or service that wouldn’t possibly need my full name and address, I would just stay away from that brand. It could be that they intend to sell my information to third parties without my consent. Or, even if they don’t, it’s a security risk. If their servers get hacked tomorrow, then my personal details will end up in the hands of people with malicious intentions.

If I get asked for personal information for no reason, such as credit card and passport details, I will not only never use the brand, but I will also write about it on public platforms to warn others of a potential fraud.

Have you ever found a technology and purchased it based on an ad run in your developer community? Why or why not?

I haven’t purchased anything based on any of the ads I’ve seen in the developer community. I would also never recommend anything to anyone based solely on the description that was provided in an ad. I would only recommend something that either I have had personal experience with, or someone I know and trust had personal experience with and made a recommendation.

For example, I have recommended a relatively unknown IoT device from a small niche manufacturer in the community. This device was purchased by my then-employer as an experimental IoT computer for one of our R&D projects. It ended up being so good that we ended up buying a quantity of it.

I was personally so impressed with the device that I have decided to share information about it with other developers. At the time, nobody was talking about that particular device anywhere, even though that device was way better than the market leader in that category.

In another instance, I saw an ad on a software development website that helped me to influence the decision of my employer. 

The advert was for an Integrated Development Environment (IDE). The description of the IDE in the ad led me to believe that it was more user-friendly and advanced than the industry-standard products, but it was also more expensive. I convinced the CTO of the company to let the development team give it a try. After that, he allowed the developers who wanted to use it to purchase the license. I was attracted to this ad in the first place because it was strongly related to the rest of the content on the page.

Is there anything that we didn’t ask about regarding the developer advertising and marketing experience that you’d like to add?

I would add that most of the adverts I’ve seen on developer-specific websites and forums are not aimed at individual developers. They are aimed at businesses that hire developers. As a developer, you probably wouldn’t be in a position to make the decision on buying any particular product, even if it’s good.

That’s a Wrap

Like most developers, Fiodar recognizes the value in an advertisement when it is promoting something that interests him, and is displayed in a context that is consistent with what is being advertised.  He does not appreciate ad retargeting, pop-ups,  or auto-start video ads.

As with other developers we’ve interviewed, Fiodar  will only provide personal information if he trusts the brand, or the security of the site meets his standards. When he was part of a team of developers, Fiodar may not have been able to make purchase decisions, but he certainly had the ability to influence those decisions. Determining the impact of advertising is tenuous, but its power cannot be underestimated, especially when it incorporates content that resonates with the developer.

For more details on how to create successful advertising campaigns in D2D communities, check out our ebook, “D2D Marketing: An Advertising Guide.”