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Last post Author Topic: Ideas to make DC even better  (Read 12132 times)

Veign

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Ideas to make DC even better
« on: December 26, 2007, 03:42:44 PM »
I had a couple ideas on how to make DC even better and though I would share them and get feedback

1)  Create a Work/Consultant Profile section for members.  This special profile section will contain information like: Company name, Status (if its your own company or you are working for someone else), skill set (not a listing of what you can do but a listing of what you are considered highly qualified in, URLs to sample work, hourly rate range, willing to sign an NDA/non-compete, location and general comments.  These are the things that I look for when spec'ing someone out for work.

What really brought this to light was the mention of Gothic going out on his own.  Knowing that he is highly skilled as a Linux Server Admin means I can use him (and have) if I have a client looking for a server admin.  I found out after I turned down some work earlier in the year and it would have been nice to know.

The hardest part would be a special search feature where someone could locate a member based on the special profile section.

Just a thought and it would be nice to 'keep it in the family'

2) Google Ads and ad sharing revenue.  It seems like a touchy subject on DC but I think DC could greatly benefit from non-intrusive Google ads on the forum.  Placing ads inline with posts are common in forums and help to offset the costs.  Since DC's membership and post counts are up, it may be the time to give them a try again.

How to make the DC members happy about having the Ads?  Let members add their Google Adsense account ID into their profile.  When ads are disiplayed pull a member's id into the ad (do this on a 75/25 split with DC's id showing 75% of the time).  What this does is earn revenue for DC and for its members.  win win...

Of course there has to be some logic that will never use the ID of a member who's viewing the post.  This ensures that a member could never click an Ad with their ID which is against the Adsense TOS and could get them kicked from Adsense.


Just a couple thoughts....

cranioscopical

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Re: Ideas to make DC even better
« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2007, 05:02:09 PM »
Interesting ideas, and certainly valid in a lot of situations.

I hope you won't be offended if I say that I feel associating these with DonationCoder seeems a bit of an awkward juxtaposition of the commercial with the determinedly non-commercial.

Veign

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Re: Ideas to make DC even better
« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2007, 05:08:54 PM »
Not sure how #1 does that.  Its just a way to expand what we know about the members.  Kinda like how Gothic was mentioned in the newsletter.  Probably a lot more members that are skilled in different areas and it would be nice to know in what way.

Veign

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Re: Ideas to make DC even better
« Reply #3 on: December 26, 2007, 05:17:47 PM »
Actually thinking about #2 - I would also not classify that as making anything commercial.  If you look at the sheer volume of websites posting Google Ads and the classifications and philosophies behind the websites, I'm not sure I could classify a website posting Google Ads as being (or becoming) commercial.

I just don't see it that way and will have to respectively disagree  :)

mouser

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Re: Ideas to make DC even better
« Reply #4 on: December 26, 2007, 05:21:07 PM »
I think #1 is a great idea.
Especially for coders who have written and shared their programs on DC, it seems like a perfect idea.

#2 is more tricky.. we actually have tried google ads in the past, and probably will occasionally experiment with it just to see if it ever becomes a viable thing.  Past experience has been dissapointing.. from my standpoint the revenue that ads brought in (which was from $4 to $15 a day) just did not seem to me to overcome the the detrimental effects of having ads on the site.

In general i just am really uncomfortable with the way the entire internet and software world are becoming advertising-driven, as i've written about before.. My worries would carry over to the advertising revenue sharing idea -- i would worry a little about people making posts for the main purpose of getting hits and therefore advertising money.  Note that whenever we provide webspace for someone we make clear they are welcome to put google ads up on the page and try to make some revenue -- it never seems to be worth it though so no one does.

in summary -- i'm not dead set against putting ads on the site.. if the ads made it possible for me and other coders to spend significantly more time coding and less time worrying about getting donations, then it's definitely something i would at least consider.  but there would have to be a really compelling economic reason to do so.

i'd so much rather get funding from real users who can take pride in funding the site.

Veign

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Re: Ideas to make DC even better
« Reply #5 on: December 26, 2007, 05:29:24 PM »
Far enough about Ads but I will keep trying as I think the revenue from Ads could greatly benefit the DC community  :D

kiwi2b

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Re: Ideas to make DC even better
« Reply #6 on: December 26, 2007, 05:51:09 PM »
I think Mouser could be persuaded if adwords were more obviously financially worthwhile.

So why do you think you are right Veign, and Mouser is wrong? How would you do it differently to what has been done before? And in a way that is acceptable to DC?

Veign

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Re: Ideas to make DC even better
« Reply #7 on: December 26, 2007, 06:06:32 PM »
I go by the numbers I see with my Adsense account and how many impressions produces how many clicks.  I monitor my Adsense account to know what domain is doing what and what happens when certain changes to ads are made.  Also, based on the traffic, members, quantity of posts and some general philosophies of ad placement and look, I think DC could do well with the ads.

I respect the views and position Mouser has taken but have always felt that things could be a bit easier for him with the Ads (probably less man hours in managing that over other methods).

The thing I really never understood is why some of the DC members are so dead set against the ads.  I vaguely remember one member saying if the ads were placed on DC they would no longer visit or be a member.  Why?  What am I missing?   I bet you can't visit 10 websites without seeing ads.  If ads are so bad then do you not use Google, which displays their own ads?  What about the top blogs that had been posted here.  I bet you they all have ads and 95% of them have Google Ads.

mouser

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Re: Ideas to make DC even better
« Reply #8 on: December 26, 2007, 06:10:17 PM »
I should say this isn't really about pursuadeing me as much as it is about making a decision as a community.  Some people really hate ads with a passion, some don't mind them at all.  I don't think they are pure evil but i'm definitely on the side of the spectrum that doesn't like them.

However i completely understand that they are an important way that many sites raise enough money to be able to finance the site, and i would never begrudge anyone for putting ads on their site in order to make a little revenue so that they can keep working on the site.

In the case of DC, let's remember that the goal is not to maximize profits at all costs.  The goal is to make a site we can all be proud of and excited about, and which raises money to fund the stuff it wants to do.  Money helps a lot because it means I and others can spend more time coding stuff and doing other stuff for DC, but we *will* make sue and continue soldiering on regardless of how much money the site raises.

So really these kinds of decisions are up to everyone who makes up the site.

Financially the site is in a kind of weird position.. We raise enough money from donations to pay the server hosting costs every month.  There are no paid "employees" on this site.  That means that there is no danger of this site going away and we can continue like this forever, without any ads etc.

The other side of the coin however, is that the site does not take in enough money for anyone to work on DC as their full time job.  I come close to it sometimes, and i really was working full time on DC for the first year or two.  But I have to take "real" paying work in order to pay for my rent and food, and student loans.

It would be an amazing thing if the site had enough income to actual make it something i could work on full time without having to worry about taking other real jobs.  There are so many programming ideas and additions to the site, and web services that i would LOVE to work on for DC as my full time job.  There are probably others here who feel the same way.  When the site started i didn't for a minute dream that could ever be true.  It's still not something i can imagine happening in the near future, but perhaps one day DC will receive enough funding that it might be possible.  I don't know.

But anyway, the point is that right now we are not in the situation of NEEDING to raise X dollars per year and looking for ways to raise it (ads, etc.).  But rather we are in the situation of using the money we raise to allocate time and resources to the site -- the more we raise, the more time i/we can work on it.  So we as a community have the luxury of pursuing only the funding options we feel we want to.

mouser

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Re: Ideas to make DC even better
« Reply #9 on: December 26, 2007, 06:14:41 PM »
Veign,

I actually don't remember any strong opposition to the ads, maybe one or two people who had a negative reaction, but most people took a middle of the road stand.

Also don't forget that i already wrote code that lets supporting members turn off all ads on the site.
And in fact we could easily let anyone (supporting member or not) turn off ads for themselves and it wouldn't have a noticeable difference on any ad revenue.

In short -- if we put ads back, we can very easily let anyone who doesn't want to see ads turn them off.

So the only question then is what psychological effect it has on visitors to the site.  My gut feeling, and one of the reasons i've never left ads on the site for long, is that people might be less likely to voluntarily donate if they see the ads and think we are making money from ads.. And i'd rather have more supporting members who are vested in the site and feel good about funding it, vs. anonymous ad-supported clicks, even if the ads bring in a little bit more money. i just though that the community as a whole would be healthier.  But it's a tradeoff.

vegas

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Re: Ideas to make DC even better
« Reply #10 on: December 26, 2007, 06:35:04 PM »
If people don't like ads, they should get an "Ad Muncher"  :P   I say give it a try again.

Veign

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Re: Ideas to make DC even better
« Reply #11 on: December 26, 2007, 06:46:17 PM »
Really quick - I am not trying to persuade and have always respected your views and the way you run DC.  So, I appreciate the explanation of things - this is what makes DC so different is that we see the inner workings of mouser's brain when it comes to DC and its roadmap.

One option that may work and fit into DC is have Ads go after a goal.  Basically you leave ads turned on only long enough to reach a goal.  Like $1000/month to cover server costs and admin costs.  This lets you run ads in a way that it becomes another donating member.  Google changed their TOS so you can talk about how much you make.  You could have a page and say how much is brought in from Ads and where the Ad money is going.  Overage money goes towards the contests and other events you hold where everybody gets something.

I think the future of DC has to be growth beyond the forums and into establishing the DontaionCoder philosophy.  Think of it like Open Source.  Open Source is a concept and philosophy.

Maybe, someday DC could raise enough to buy DonationWare.com and really start pushing the concept into mainstream.

Veign

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Re: Ideas to make DC even better
« Reply #12 on: December 26, 2007, 06:49:01 PM »
Oh, and sometime I may come across as critical but I am really not.  I am opinionated, but open...

mouser

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Re: Ideas to make DC even better
« Reply #13 on: December 26, 2007, 07:14:10 PM »
I am extremely grateful for any advice, suggestions, critiques, etc. about ways to improve DC's financial health -- i'm not good with such things and i'm very thankful to have any help in thinking about such issues.

lanux128

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Re: Ideas to make DC even better
« Reply #14 on: December 26, 2007, 07:29:49 PM »
this is an interesting topic and thanks to Veign for bringing this up.. i'm not sure what i have said previously about ads here in DC (actually i don't recall any) but if it is going to be done as Veign suggested - the "go for goal" idea then i think it would be a nice try since we're not going from self-sufficiency (member donations) to advert-driven overnight. i've come across sites that do this and if everyone has no objections, we can have an experimental run. just my 2ยข. :)

housetier

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Re: Ideas to make DC even better
« Reply #15 on: December 26, 2007, 07:34:06 PM »
How about, members must opt-in to have ads displayed? They have to consciously decide "yes I want to see ads". That way, visitors won't see em, and thus won't be driven off.

lanux128

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Re: Ideas to make DC even better
« Reply #16 on: December 26, 2007, 07:39:43 PM »
How about, members must opt-in to have ads displayed? They have to consciously decide "yes I want to see ads". That way, visitors won't see em, and thus won't be driven off.

there is an option that says that in the "Forum profile info" but not sure whether it does anything..

ws-dc-ad.png

Lashiec

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Re: Ideas to make DC even better
« Reply #17 on: December 26, 2007, 07:52:14 PM »
I don't care too much about ads, as Vegas says it's ad blocking and... poof!, they're gone. Of course, I don't mind setting up whitelists for those sites I care about :). Besides, it seems I can't fulfill my donation promise by some reason or other :(, so this would fit that hole.

Thinking in the ads between posts proposition, maybe you could do something similar as what Ryan set up in the CyberNet News forum, with ads being displayed for non registered members. Such idea could be extrapolated to donations, like showing ads to non donating members, but of course this could be bad for the site reputation, with people thinking: "Wha, it's one of those 'pay to remove ads' kind of site. No way I'm going into here", I suppose it's a matter of testing it during a period of time.

mouser

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Re: Ideas to make DC even better
« Reply #18 on: December 26, 2007, 08:08:20 PM »
Quote
maybe you could do something similar as what Ryan set up in the CyberNet News forum, with ads being displayed for non registered members

this is indeed exactly what we used to do.

again my instinct was that this was not helpful.  for 2 reasons:
1) it was yet one more thing to have to explain, and just made things more complicated for people to understand.
2) i think it was counter productive.  the ads weren't annoying enough to get people to register to remove them, and i think they therefore thought "well if i don't mind the ads then i shouldnt have to donate"

f0dder

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Re: Ideas to make DC even better
« Reply #19 on: December 26, 2007, 08:17:21 PM »
I'm not too fond of ads, but if they're subtle (google adwords-style) and opt-IN, I'd even go as far as add donationcoder.com to adblock plus exception list (ie, "don't filter this domain") :)

The #1 idea sounds good, if done right... emphasis being on in-house respectable people, rather than "programmer dating service" :)
- carpe noctem

PhilB66

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Re: Ideas to make DC even better
« Reply #20 on: December 26, 2007, 08:33:52 PM »
I share f0dder's thoughts about this topic but would rather have the ads displayed only on pages with coding snacks / programing work to support the author and DC.

lanux128

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Re: Ideas to make DC even better
« Reply #21 on: December 26, 2007, 08:42:41 PM »
another appropriate place would be the "Found Deals and Discounts" section.

p3lb0x

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Re: Ideas to make DC even better
« Reply #22 on: December 26, 2007, 09:15:33 PM »
I wouldn't mind ads if you have to choice of saying no to them (I would let the ads be shown tho)
Stop mousering people so much - Mouser

Perry Mowbray

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Re: Ideas to make DC even better
« Reply #23 on: December 26, 2007, 09:45:49 PM »
I'm not too much against ads either. I live with them on other sites and on google. But what I really love about DC is that it is Ad Free: it makes it feel much more like home. So for that reason (selfish as it is), I'd hate to see Ads everywhere.

Thinking about things that would help people donate, your How Much To Donate page is helpful, what's missing maybe is a statement of need (selectable currencies would be good too  ;) ).

Veign suggested a goal, which is sort of a statement of need. I think something like that would be helpful, as I'd think for most people, need is part of the equation: amount = income * appreciation * need.


cranioscopical

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Re: Ideas to make DC even better
« Reply #24 on: December 26, 2007, 11:40:47 PM »
Quote
Veign: I'm not sure I could classify a website posting Google Ads as being (or becoming) commercial.

Well, I must respectfully disagree with that.
Raising revenue from advertising is, by definition, a commercial venture.
I make my living from advertising and there is just no other way to describe it.
What do you call those intervals between TV programming that tout products and services?   :)

Whether or not that commercialism is inappropriate or discordant is an entirely different matter.

For me, the very concept of DonationCoder is tightly bound to a stated philosophy that eschews commercialism,
and that concept is very much a part of the unique standing that DonationCoder enjoys. Remember, once something
like that standing has been compromised there is no guarantee that it can be repaired.

If the objective here to is make profit (nothing wrong with that -- we all do, I hope) then that aim seems out of step
with the stated ideals and goals of the community. It is the misalignment between advertising and the
DonationCoder philosopy that strikes me as dicordant. 

Perhaps the issue is one of context. The whole idea here is that this is a sharing community and it worries me
that the spirit of altruism that pervades it will be diminished. I submit that how people perceive this community
will not be enhanced by the advent of advertising.

Veign, I must add that what I say here is in no way meant to denigrate your obvious desire to create a benefit for DC.

Edited to correct a mistake with italics
« Last Edit: December 26, 2007, 11:44:04 PM by cranioscopical »