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Last post Author Topic: Should we experiment with google ads on the site for 1 month?  (Read 19200 times)

mouser

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Should we experiment with google ads on the site for 1 month?
« on: January 03, 2010, 05:40:37 AM »
We have actually experimented with google ads on the website briefly in the past.  Does anyone remember when we did?

We actually have an options in user profiles to disable them.

But I never really liked having them and it hardly seemed worth the ugliness and inconvenience.

However they were interesting as an experiment.

I was thinking maybe we should try the experiment again, just for a period of one month, to see what the results are in terms of donations, ad revenue, search engine indexing frequency (does google index a site more fully if it has ads?), etc.

Thoughts?



ps. in the past we experimented with the idea of having ads and if you were a donating member you could disable them.  i think that's not really a motivation for anyone and instead we should just let any forum member disable ads -- so no forum regular would see any ads if they didn't want to.

mouser

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Re: Should we experiment with google ads on the site for 1 month?
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2010, 06:10:57 AM »
from chat channel:

<mouser> i guess one problem with doing it as an experiment is
<mouser> people visiting will not know about the experiment
<mouser> they will think its how we always are
<mouser> but its still worth a try i think
<lanux128> yeah, that too
<lanux128> and also they'll be thinking that DoCo finally succumbed to adverts
<lanux128> which will send out bad vibes
<lanux128> all over the net
<lanux128> since Doco manifesto is being a "self-sufficient no-ads" site, how best to conduct this experiment?
<lanux128> to show that this is a short-term change to the website..
<mouser> lanux, yes that is a worry
<mouser> we could put a little message under every ad
<mouser> saying something like
<mouser> "dc advert experiment feb 1 - 28"
<mouser> which can be clicked to read more
<mouser> about how we dont normally have ads, etc

y0himba

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Re: Should we experiment with google ads on the site for 1 month?
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2010, 09:31:08 AM »
I understand the need for adverts on an honest site like DC, but in my opinion they cheapen the look and feel of the site.  Not to mention the fact that any halfway competent ad blocking plugin or software will never see the ads, which renders the purpose behind said ads null.

I would add DC to the whitelist and allow the ads to display, probably even click on a few because I know the people and the site.  It would not bother me other than look and feel to put Google ads here, but maybe a better solution would be to brainstorm a unique and classy, fun, or stylish way to generate a bit of revenue.  If I was able I would easily donate $50 to $100 a month to the site, it is a second home to me on the web.  Since the layoff however...welcome to the economy.

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mouser

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Re: Should we experiment with google ads on the site for 1 month?
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2010, 09:54:41 AM »
we're not really talking about adding ads to the site permanently -- that would be something i am NOT in favor of, at least in the forseeable future.  i like the way we do things here, and as long as we are getting enough in donations to pay for hosting, and as along as the fundraisers like we did last year are received nicely, i dont see any reason we should have to put ads on the site.

this is really just a question of experimenting to see how things have changed since last time we tried this, to see what kind of revenue comes in from the ads, to see if we can tell how it affects donations, and to see if it has any effect on the indexing of the site in search engines, and just to get a general feel for what the site feels like with ads.

i am not proposing we do this for anything but a short term experiment, maybe one month.  after which we would remove ads for the rest of the year, until the time for the next experiment in another few years.

i just see it as continuing our tradition of experimentation.

y0himba

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Re: Should we experiment with google ads on the site for 1 month?
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2010, 10:02:37 AM »
Oh I see (said the blind man).  Maybe I should pay attention to the IRC channel more LOL.  I was thinking you needed the revenue.  I was actually sitting here seeing where I could save $10 a month to donate here.  Next step was passing it by the wife.  If you guys don't hear from me for a week notify my parents.  :P
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slowmaker

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Re: Should we experiment with google ads on the site for 1 month?
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2010, 03:11:05 AM »
<mouser> i guess one problem with doing it as an experiment is
<mouser> people visiting will not know about the experiment
<mouser> they will think its how we always are

That danger cannot be overstated; I joined because I was blown away by the incredible sincerity of the site and many of its visitors. Had I read your intro pages and the (2006?) letter that was my entry point to the site a few days ago while simultaneously seeing ads, I would  have simply thought 'yeah, right; nice software collection, but no way I'm donating on top of your ad revenue.'

I would not have thought, maybe I've finally found a home on the 'net.

I would not have thought, maybe I've found a place genuinely interested in pursuing a life financed without crudity, crassness, or desperate grasping greed. Maybe they'll fail in the end, but I'm damned proud to see someone trying it. I would not have thought that, had I seen ads.

Seriously, it makes that much difference. No, I can't speak for everyone. I can only speak for me. But...at least some of the other new visitors to your site will be like me.

<mouser> we could put a little message under every ad
<mouser> saying something like
<mouser> "dc advert experiment feb 1 - 28"
<mouser> which can be clicked to read more
<mouser> about how we dont normally have ads, etc
Would have made zero difference to me. I would just have assumed that either you were lying, or that the original Great Experiment was over and the ads were here to stay. I would not have clicked to read more. Once you see an ad, you already know (or think you know) what you're dealing with. I am sure that I'm speaking for a lot of people there, again assuming we're talking about new visitors.

Please don't do this. Find another way to run the experiment. Run it on another site. Anything but here. Buy the domain 'advertcoder.com' or something, put the experiment there, let it be an anthropological comparison between what kinds of communities grow up in the two places, but I'm begging you not to do it here.

A heartfelt plea shouldn't have to describe itself as such, it should be obvious, but I'm not a good enough writer to be sure what's coming across (and I'm really really sleepy right now, too) so I will state it flatly: this is, truly and sincerely, a heartfelt plea not to change the tone of the site that way, not even temporarily for an experiment.
WinXP Home SP3 - PSPad 4.5.4

Carol Haynes

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Re: Should we experiment with google ads on the site for 1 month?
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2010, 04:09:15 AM »
My 2p - most regular users will switch them off in their profile (if they haven't already) and be annoyed if that preference is ignored.

Many others won't see them because of the use of ad blockers and other filtering technologies.

The only people who will probably see them are visitors that you want to attract to the site and my personal opinion is that a site with Google ads looks more interested in revenue raising than the quality of the site.

I know you need to raise revenue to keep the site running (and food on the table) but I would guess that regular 'events' of different sorts where people can join in and have fun would be more productive.

One of my biggest objection to Google ads is that they are pig-ugly too.

kakarukeys

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Re: Should we experiment with google ads on the site for 1 month?
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2010, 05:44:15 AM »
most people (including me) has developed an instinct to ignore google ads. click-through rate may not be high. To make some money, how about selling some DC T-shirts, mugs, or you could publish a book about DC?
life is short, play hard

Josh

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Re: Should we experiment with google ads on the site for 1 month?
« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2010, 06:19:48 AM »
We have a cafe press site but mousey prices everything above normal spenders pricing because he only wants stuff given out as gifts. I would love to buy some DC Merch, but mousey refuses to ablige to my requests.

Donationcoder.com Cafepress shop

Carol Haynes

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Re: Should we experiment with google ads on the site for 1 month?
« Reply #9 on: January 04, 2010, 06:54:59 AM »
Bit of a mad shop really. I know the main website says it is for superbig donors but anyone happening across the shop must wonder what the heck is going on when a T-shirt costs £100.

Maybe it would make sense to have some affordable products in the shop too for people who would like to buy merchandise.

Is it possible in the shop to hide the products that are used for gifts/rewards? Or at least hide the prices?

nudone

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Re: Should we experiment with google ads on the site for 1 month?
« Reply #10 on: January 04, 2010, 06:57:45 AM »
Perhaps there could be a set of "special" cafepress items that are given out as gifts (with high prices), and then another set of fairly priced items for those of us wanting to "brand-up" with the DC badge.

(i'm not into fussy graphics on my garments (to be honest) so my favourite DC shirt is a black one with the words "DONATIONCODER.COM" on the front - nothing else. i'd actually be happy to design a few "proper" t-shirts if mouser wishes it, i.e. simple graphics and colours - things like the main DC logo text, etc.)

edit.
I see Carol has just posted the same suggestion.

mouser

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Re: Should we experiment with google ads on the site for 1 month?
« Reply #11 on: January 04, 2010, 07:12:37 AM »
Boy this has really thread gone off the rails quickly..  :-\

The original subject of this post was about bringing ads back as a brief experiment for 1 month, after which they would be turned off again for another couple of years.
Just like we did back in January of 2007.

We always experiment with stuff on DC, and the question was only ever if we should try it again for a month to see if we noticed any differences from the last time we experimented 3 years ago (i.e. has the ad revenue changed dramatically? would donations drop off? do people object to them? etc.?)

There never was and isn't any intention to keep ads on the site.  As i posted above, i find them ugly and counter to DC spirit, and we already get enough support from members here that we do not need them in order to keep running the site.  I'm also not a big fan of google, and i think the fact that the ads are normally for software tools makes them almost a kind of conflict of interest.  So the question was never whether we should put ads on the site to raise money.  The idea was simply to experiment and understand what if anything had changed from 3 years ago when we last tried it.

The one person above who made some very thoughtful comments that need to be reflected on was slowmaker, because he was addressing the issue that having ads on the site, even briefly, could very much give a negative impression of the site to new visitors.  That's one thing that really concerns me and gives me pause regarding any experiment, however brief it may be.  

One one hand, it might still be worth doing as a way of letting everyone experience what DC would be without support from donors.  Personally the last time we experimented with ads in 2007 had a very strong effect on me in terms of convincing me that it was something i absolutely hated having on the pages.  On the other hand, maybe doing this even for just a month would make people feel like the fundraising events that we occasionally do are less meaningful, which would be a very bad thing.

Bottom line.. if it's something people think is a bad idea, we won't do it! :Thmbsup:
« Last Edit: January 04, 2010, 07:24:30 AM by mouser »

mouser

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Re: Should we experiment with google ads on the site for 1 month?
« Reply #12 on: January 04, 2010, 07:15:37 AM »
Regarding the CafePress prices -- we should have this discussion on a different thread.

They are priced the way they are specifically to PREVENT people from buying these items.
We give away these things during special events and as recognition of special thanks, and i think the items are all the more special when they aren't things that anyone can just go buy.

We're not trying to make money from selling them.

Carol Haynes

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Re: Should we experiment with google ads on the site for 1 month?
« Reply #13 on: January 04, 2010, 07:49:38 AM »
Sorry if the ads are nothing to do with fundraising I can't understand the point of the experiment?

Strikes me that the only effects of adversing (and especially Google ads which I really dislike) are negative? So why do something that is only going to impact on potential new donators druing the month.

I don't really see an apologetic link under the ads saying 'this is just an experiment for one month' is likely to help alleviate confusion or improve the initial impression the site gives.

Re. the shop - I can see why you have done it the way you have but you have people posting in this thread (me included) who would happily buy a T-shirt for a reasonable price - hell I'd buy a few and give them away. Seems a bit perverse not to let people buy some of the items - hold back some unique items as prizes if you want but a shop which people want to buy from strike me as a great way to raise funds. If it smacks too much of commercialism then perhaps see the low price items as a small donation to the site that people want to mak ;)

Dormouse

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Re: Should we experiment with google ads on the site for 1 month?
« Reply #14 on: January 04, 2010, 07:59:29 AM »
Google ads don't bother me per se, but I do always think it amusing when they are advertising a direct competitor to a website's product; having them certainly says something not so hot about a site's status.

About the shop. I can go along completely with what Mouser and Carol said. It seems to me that having a basic range, and a super extra-good price range can simply enhance the perceived value of the prize range as there is greater general attention to the products. Might also increase site visibility a little.

mouser

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Re: Should we experiment with google ads on the site for 1 month?
« Reply #15 on: January 04, 2010, 08:13:37 AM »
Quote
Sorry if the ads are nothing to do with fundraising I can't understand the point of the experiment?

i suppose i just think it would be interesting to know things like:
how much could the site make on advertising if it did switch to advertising model.  is it less or more than we get in donations?  if it's less or even close, then maybe this is something other sites would like to know so they should consider using a donation model.  does having ads on the site decrease donations? if so, that's something other sites might like to know to.

i must admit that most of why i am curious is just plain ordinary curiosity, the same reason a kid sticks his fingers in a fan.  maybe an apt metaphor :)

f0dder

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Re: Should we experiment with google ads on the site for 1 month?
« Reply #16 on: January 04, 2010, 08:22:37 AM »
i must admit that most of why i am curious is just plain ordinary curiosity, the same reason a kid sticks his fingers in a fan.  maybe an apt metaphor :)
Considering what slowmaker posted, probably not a bad metaphor at all.

Personally I wouldn't mind the google ads (if done in a way that's not too ugly) and I'd even turn off AdBlockPlus specifically for DonationCoder.com... don't expect clicking on any, though, as advertisements almost never catch my interest - even when relevant. But as pointed out previously, advertisements confuse (and possibly even "enrage") new users... so if running the experiment, perhaps it should be opt-in for existing users, and disabled by default, included guest visitors?

That would probably render the experiment pretty useless, though :)
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cranioscopical

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Re: Should we experiment with google ads on the site for 1 month?
« Reply #17 on: January 04, 2010, 01:32:37 PM »
i suppose i just think it would be interesting to know things like:
Try to contain your curiosity!
Try instead,  "how much would it hurt were I to shoot myself in the foot?"

 :)

Tekzel

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Re: Should we experiment with google ads on the site for 1 month?
« Reply #18 on: February 09, 2010, 09:56:01 AM »
I am pretty much the opposite of Carol, the only ads I don't explicitly block are google ads. I don't find them nearly as distracting of offensive as the rest. Granted, though, I never click on ads of any sort.

Adding google ads as an experiment or otherwise wouldn't bug me at all.

netchess

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Re: Should we experiment with google ads on the site for 1 month?
« Reply #19 on: February 09, 2010, 02:22:54 PM »
Yes  :)

Mamoun

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Re: Should we experiment with google ads on the site for 1 month?
« Reply #20 on: February 10, 2010, 04:14:14 AM »
I know I should be testing Bootsnooze right now and comment on it first but I'm posting this from a computer in the university, so it's obviously not allowed and my laptop at home has some battery problems. Anyway...

To be honest even with ad blocking off I usually ignore Google ads, having said that, I found Gmail's 1 line ads found on top of the emails list to be really the best kind of ads I have seen; they are very simple, not annoying at all and (giving that it matches some of the content of the emails, which are tech related) they can be sometimes interesting. Perhaps If we can have some kind of 1 line ad between, let's say every 2 posts in a topic, these ads can also display RSS feed headlines occasionally that the member have chosen in his profile, or even members-posted computer tips, it would be really nice way to have ads here without ruining the forum layout.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2010, 04:17:01 AM by Mamoun »

ssoundman

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Re: Should we experiment with google ads on the site for 1 month?
« Reply #21 on: February 10, 2010, 09:03:27 AM »
I find myself agreeing with slowmaker and Carol - please don't do it. I agree that it would negatively impact how visitors view the site. The analogy of sticking your finger in a fan or shooting yourself in the foot are very good.

I also agree that having some merchandise available at a reasonable cost would be a good alternative source of revenue, while keeping some special merchandise set aside for special gifts and such.

So, in a word (or 6), please don't test the Google ads.

parkint

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Re: Should we experiment with google ads on the site for 1 month?
« Reply #22 on: February 10, 2010, 10:24:35 AM »

I also agree that having some merchandise available at a reasonable cost would be a good alternative source of revenue, while keeping some special merchandise set aside for special gifts and such.

I agree.
Try CafePress and create some desirable 'logowear' items.  We all love coffee mugs and clever T shirts, don't we?

{I have an official DailyWTF mug and stickers from Google.  I am such a geek!}

Bamse

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Re: Should we experiment with google ads on the site for 1 month?
« Reply #23 on: February 10, 2010, 10:49:13 AM »
No you should not experiment but permanently put Google ads in "Found deals and Discounts" forum. Of course not optimal for slowmaker if that is also part of his "home"  8) Personal wishes overrules most things but this match is perfect.

Majority of users would not care about ads since they are on almost every site and blog. A good deal probably expect ads! If they really do care they use Adblocking already = approval of any ad-ridden site. Make so much sense... Some are annoyed if ads are placed stupidly, like in between forum posts and such. Ads take blaim for that though the bad guy really is he who runs the place - and took Googles encouragements a bit too far, heh.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2010, 10:55:36 AM by Bamse »

rgdot

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Re: Should we experiment with google ads on the site for 1 month?
« Reply #24 on: February 10, 2010, 01:30:55 PM »
Experiment or otherwise I agree with Bamse. The way I see it for the majority of the web the time of running away from (reasonably) ad-laden sites is over. It is natural to fear it downloading malware but ad on an established friendly site is either turned off or accepted as a necessity.