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Last post Author Topic: I want to try an experiment on the site for March 2012  (Read 33388 times)

mouser

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I want to try an experiment on the site for March 2012
« on: February 17, 2012, 03:00:50 AM »
I'd like to try running Ads (google?) on the site for one month, for March 2012 -- just to see what results we get and how it feels.

We last experimented with putting ads on the site in 2007, and then talked about it again in 2010.

From our 2007 experiment I decided I really didn't like it at all.  I am very unlikely to have a different opinion this time, so let me make very clear -- I am not suggesting we have ads on the site permanently -- I just think it would be interesting to see:
  • how much income the ads generate.
  • what kind of ads come up, and how it makes the site feel.



So what I propose is that:
  • I enable ads for exactly one month, the month of March 2012, and then remove them.
  • All forum members will be able to turn them off in their profile if they want and so never see them.
  • I will publicly report exactly how much revenue they generate so we can all learn something about it.



I consider this an experiment.  Personally I really hate the look of ads on sites, and hate the movement towards everything being free and paid for by ads.  And I dislike the idea of advertising someone else's product that we don't recommend.

But I still think it would be nice to experiment for a month and see if there is anything to be learned from it.

What do you say, can I have permission to try it?
« Last Edit: February 17, 2012, 03:52:23 AM by mouser »

jgpaiva

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Re: I want to try an experiment on the site for March 2012
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2012, 03:29:41 AM »
I think it's worth the try, and honestly I'm also curious about how much revenue DC can generate in ads.

[this is pretty obvious and I'm sure you have already thought about it:]
I think this experiment cannot assert the effect of ads on the long term, though. DC already has a user-base which was created partially by its donation-only model, and I fear it might be lost or changed to something totally different because of this move.

mouser

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Re: I want to try an experiment on the site for March 2012
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2012, 03:35:17 AM »
Quote
and I fear it might be lost or changed to something totally different because of this move.

i as well think that the whole feel of the community could be badly disrupted and tainted if we ever moved to trying to run ads on the site permanently.  i think there is a good chance it would make people feel less like donating, leading to less of a community, and less of a sense of participation, etc.  that is why i do not have any intention of continuing it long term.  i just think it's useful to test it out and see what kind of results it has.

i'm just curious about it -- curious to see if the ads bring in less or more revenue then when we tried it in 2007.  Curious to see if it feels as counter-productive and dirty as it did back then.  Curious to see if it changes our position in search engines or search engine analytics. Curious to see what ads are shown.  Just plain curious!
« Last Edit: February 17, 2012, 03:40:57 AM by mouser »

app103

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Re: I want to try an experiment on the site for March 2012
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2012, 03:46:19 AM »
Give it a try if you want. I don't have a problem with it.

Do it permanently and I still don't have a problem with it.

But if you are going to do experimenting, I would also encourage you to experiment with Project Wonderful, as well. You will get much more control over what ads get displayed, and you might even feel good about them. And with the traffic this site gets, you will likely have rather good bids. Plus the site will make money even if nobody clicks the ads.  ;)

mouser

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Re: I want to try an experiment on the site for March 2012
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2012, 03:51:27 AM »
Just want to reiterate something:

More and more I have come to believe in the importance and significance of the idea of users directly funding the products they want.

And more and more I have come to view with frustration, suspicion, and trepidation, the move towards making everything cost free and funded by advertising something else.  I think the distortion this does to everything is harmful.  I think the world is a better place when people contribute directly to fund stuff they like.

So.. trying to fund the site using ads instead of donations is really NOT NOT NOT a direction I want to go.

But I'm not opposed to trying short term experiments to see what it's like.

mouser

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Re: I want to try an experiment on the site for March 2012
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2012, 04:19:04 AM »
ps. The last time we tried putting up ads I decided it would be much more consistent with the nature of this site to "advertise" our own stuff -- since we have so many different things going on hear.  Thus was born "Cody Quote" boxes which you see in the sidebar of some of our pages.  That still seems to me like the best thing -- and 1000% preferable to advertising other peoples stuff!

mouser

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Re: I want to try an experiment on the site for March 2012
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2012, 04:31:17 AM »
Talking to app about different advertising services, it occurred to me that an advertising service that would be really interesting would be one where you could set some fee for showing ads on your site for a day, and then have NOTHING shown unless someone reached that fee.

That might be nice for a site like DC, because we could set the fee high enough that on 350 days of the year there would be no ads, but once a month or so there would be a day of ads for some special event that someone really wanted to get the word out about..  Seems like that kind of thing we might be able to live with..  Interesting idea at least..

rgdot

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Re: I want to try an experiment on the site for March 2012
« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2012, 04:44:21 AM »
One way to emphasis that it is an experiment is to put ads behind a spoiler/click to reveal.

jgpaiva

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Re: I want to try an experiment on the site for March 2012
« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2012, 04:50:45 AM »
i'm just curious about it -- curious to see if the ads bring in less or more revenue then when we tried it in 2007.
Talking to app about different advertising services, it occurred to me that an advertising service that would be really interesting would be one where you could set some fee for showing ads on your site for a day, and then have NOTHING shown unless someone reached that fee.
These sound a bit contradicting, if you want to compare different years, you should use the same format in both, I suppose.

mahesh2k

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Re: I want to try an experiment on the site for March 2012
« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2012, 05:48:09 AM »
Let me share my observations.

One month is very short time period for testing adsense ads. Why? there are two reasons ---

1) It takes atleast 2-3 weeks to adsense algorithm to settle down in terms of CPC/CPM value on your site.
2) In one month search engine traffic fluctuation also changes the amount earned by the website, this by assuming search engine users click more compared to regular users.

Few more reasons - ad placement and areas where you can get more or sufficient clicks for consistent revenue can't be evaluated in one month. Google search team is also manually/algorithmically checking the placement of ads and overall content to ad ratio to weight the websites. Considering the donationcoders popularity for some keywords, It may negatively impact website in terms of SEO if ad placement and ratio of ad/content is not as per the algorithm. One more important point is that most of us here are using ABP and considering the tech savvy crowd in DC and surfers in tech niche, It's hard to figure out the type of people, their location and ad placement suitable for them in small period like one month. You can skip this by enabling ads only to search surfers, this will give you better data.

One more point - advertisers in tech niche are paying very low cost per click, so results that you see in one month are not what you see for entire year in terms of revenue generation. In one month you may get more clicks due to surfers finding ads by surprise and and once settled for more than one month you'll start to fetch less clicks. My assumption is that site is likely to get more clicks if tested for just one month but then again the ads are less likely to be relevant if placed on behavioral pattern ( you can disable it in adsense settings). If you set the ads for relevancy then ads are likely to be in tech niche (may or may not be high in cpc value). So..

All this analysis part aside, main point is  - one month is too short time for testing adsense ads. If you want to test ads that convert better in terms of revenue, try carbon ads or buysellads (similar to Project wonderful but they have high paying advertisers). Another option is viglink, Unfortunately I can't test it for now but I'm sure you can because community sites like DC are easy to pass their approval.

My 2 cents.

mouser

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Re: I want to try an experiment on the site for March 2012
« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2012, 06:04:57 AM »
very interesting points, going to chew them over.
however, i do not want to run ads for more than a month.

Daleus

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Re: I want to try an experiment on the site for March 2012
« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2012, 06:21:24 AM »
No. Don't do it, even for a month or a week or a day.

I swear, if there are ads on this website, I will NEVER come back and all my friends (which is about 99 percent of your subscribers) will never come back either cuz I'll tell them not to!  And I'll bad mouth you all over the intertubes and NO ONE will ever visit again!  And if you KEEP advertising, I'll launch my lEEt haxor-skilz and THEN you'll be sorry - quite possibly more sorry than you are reading this now...lol!

Okay, so there is the radically opposed and most defionitely insane opposition vote, cuz you know, so far everyone has been accepting of the experiment ;) and that's not right!  Every discussion needs an out of bounds, frivolous and slightly crazy response to a reasonable approach.

After all, it's the Internet dammit! (and I have to live up to my Bryon James avatar pic)

I look forward to the result of the experiment (and so do my haxor-skilz).
Daleus, Curmudgeon-at-Large

cranioscopical

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Re: I want to try an experiment on the site for March 2012
« Reply #12 on: February 17, 2012, 07:09:34 AM »
I certainly don't mind if you try it, secure in the knowledge that it won't become permanent.
OTOH, if you are determined not to continue beyond a month, it's a little difficult to see the point of the exercise.

I've been thinking recently that we need to do more to encourage vendors to participate in promotions, and to find some way to demonstate the benefit to them of doing so. Do we have any data on past levels of satisfaction from participating vendors' points of view? (Perhaps I should have put this in a separate topic.)

tranglos

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Re: I want to try an experiment on the site for March 2012
« Reply #13 on: February 17, 2012, 07:18:02 AM »
You should totally do it. I don't have any advice on how, and it's probably all for the better that I don't :-) It'll be interesting to see the results.

Already added an exception in adblock, let me have the ads!

wraith808

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Re: I want to try an experiment on the site for March 2012
« Reply #14 on: February 17, 2012, 07:25:53 AM »
But if you are going to do experimenting, I would also encourage you to experiment with Project Wonderful, as well. You will get much more control over what ads get displayed, and you might even feel good about them. And with the traffic this site gets, you will likely have rather good bids. Plus the site will make money even if nobody clicks the ads.  ;)

+1

tranglos

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Re: I want to try an experiment on the site for March 2012
« Reply #15 on: February 17, 2012, 07:40:15 AM »
But if you are going to do experimenting, I would also encourage you to experiment with Project Wonderful, as well.

Whoa... looking only at their front page:

wonderful.png

they do ugly, animated (!!) gifs with garish colors, which totally make it impossible to read the text they are sitting next to. I don't know, but that seems rather last century. As the person on the business end of an ad, I'll take adsense over this any time.

justice

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Re: I want to try an experiment on the site for March 2012
« Reply #16 on: February 17, 2012, 08:35:40 AM »
I think that your success will depend a lot on where you put the ads. Do you have an example of an textad and where were you thinking of placing them?
For example put them on the right hand side and people will probably ignore them.
Put them in between the opening post and any comments could work very well but is a lot more noticable.
Put them after the thread but before the comment box and that might be a good balance to have eyeballs but not interrupt the reading.

If you want to discuss also similar ideas, you could think about dc member sponsoring a form board using their donation coder credits.

wraith808

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Re: I want to try an experiment on the site for March 2012
« Reply #17 on: February 17, 2012, 09:22:25 AM »
But if you are going to do experimenting, I would also encourage you to experiment with Project Wonderful, as well.

Whoa... looking only at their front page:
 (see attachment in previous post)
they do ugly, animated (!!) gifs with garish colors, which totally make it impossible to read the text they are sitting next to. I don't know, but that seems rather last century. As the person on the business end of an ad, I'll take adsense over this any time.


As App said, you can pretty well control what shows up.  The places that I know that use it never show animated gifs.

AzureToad

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Re: I want to try an experiment on the site for March 2012
« Reply #18 on: February 17, 2012, 09:33:03 AM »
they do ugly, animated (!!) gifs with garish colors

It's for this very reason that it's my preference.  I've been VERY frustrated when I click on a link thinking it's part of the page or article or download I'm looking for, only to find out it's an ad.  At least these animated gifs make it clear to me that what I'm looking at is (probably) not related to the article I'm reading.

My request is that if you do put ads on the page (and I have no problem with that), that you at least make it readily apparent that it is what it is.
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mahesh2k

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Re: I want to try an experiment on the site for March 2012
« Reply #19 on: February 17, 2012, 09:39:49 AM »
Project wonderful ads are ugly and the CPM rate is horrible. Browse the advertising directory and see what typical budget advertisers are throwing up. It's very low and not worth for this experiment. If I'm not wrong then DC views go above 1k+ (Hell, it should be more than 10-30k) per day and for that PW is not at all suitable. Buysellads, Tribal Fusion or Carbon ads will bring much higher revenue if DC's application gets approval from their sales team.

tranglos

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Re: I want to try an experiment on the site for March 2012
« Reply #20 on: February 17, 2012, 09:51:02 AM »
As App said, you can pretty well control what shows up.  The places that I know that use it never show animated gifs.

Do they also do text-only ads? (Does Mouser want text-only ads? I'm just emoting here!) It's ironic that they would bill themselves as "wonderful" and a way to make ads "awesome", while showcasing it with the worst, most universally hated type of ad (well, except the pop-up, that's even worse).

Plus, on top of the front page, they get all crybaby-like about me using adblock. My response is, if your site looks "unfinished" when people use adblock, redesign your site so that it doesn't.

So maybe they really are wonderful, my judgment is admittedly superficial. All I'm saying is that when I look at their front page, the "wonderful" part is not on display.

(Remember OpenCandy? Trust us, we're cool, we're great, we're new, innovative and revolutionary and really nice... Nope, sorry, you're just another adware business, good-bye. I'm getting the same impression here. Maybe what they mean is they are "wonderful" to advertisers, but that too often means "hair-puling awful for everyone else".)

Disclaimer: none of the above is meant to influence Mouser's decision on whether to run with the experiment and how to run it. I'll be keeping dc whitelisted in adblock for the experiment, regardless of the implementation. Above I am just reflecting on how the "wonderful" thing comes across to me as a target.

anandcoral

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Re: I want to try an experiment on the site for March 2012
« Reply #21 on: February 17, 2012, 11:04:57 AM »
Mouser, if you ask for permission, expect to get 50-50 answer. You will not be able to keep everyone happy.

There must be very solid reason why in spite of being against ads, you want the ads (though for a short time). I can only guess, but yes, it is difficult to run longer on empty stomach. Donation alone can not sustain where expenses are high.

Instead of putting my self on any side, let me put my feeling of web pages with ads.

I like GMail text only contextual ads on the right side. It even helped me with local ads a few times.
I hate text or image ads in the middle which camouflage itself as a non-ads.
I hate animated ads (some just pissed me off from very decent image sites).

Since we discuss and the text matter of each page of forum and DC site gets change, the "contextual text ads" will look better and may even add some related information to the page.

Obviously, as noted by others, you will not get the correct result in one month time. But if you continue to have something, which does not hamper our usage and visual interaction with our site then, I think, few will complain.

Regards,

Anand

Stephen66515

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Re: I want to try an experiment on the site for March 2012
« Reply #22 on: February 17, 2012, 11:25:51 AM »
You say you don't want to go against peoples views on donating to the site...so why not show ads for only those who are either guests, or none-supporting members.

This means, those who chose to contribute via donations, do not have to see these adverts, but those who cannot afford/do not want to for other reasons, can contribute in other forums towards the monetary upkeep of DonationCoder and its developments.

Personally, I have no qualms with seeing advertisements on DonationCoder, as I have mentioned to you in private, on several occasions.

The other advantage of only showing advertisements and such to none-donating members, is that, it somewhat gives people an incentive to donate even $1 (Many sites do "Pay to get rid of advertisements", and I have never seen it harm a community in any way that cannot be rectified through some simple adjustments) - You can also use this to your benefit; by being able to directly show advertisements from companies who come DIRECTLY to you; in order to place a banner or other type of advertisement here on DonationCoder...doing it this way, means you get 100% control of what is being shown on the DC website, without having potluck results from an Advertising Platform.

There are several players in the advertising industry that offer much bigger payments, and allow for a much more targeted output.

With Google Ads, I have found, that some seemingly innocuous term, can result in things being shown, which are totally against what you want (I found several banners, which where showing content of a sexual nature)...And, although Google resolved the issue very very quickly, the damage was still done (The image had already been seen by the users).  I'm not saying that this is something that WILL happen to everybody who uses Google, and it was quite awhile ago, so they may have tightened up the system...but obviously, if your not in total control, you have no guarantees!

kunkel321

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Re: I want to try an experiment on the site for March 2012
« Reply #23 on: February 17, 2012, 11:33:38 AM »
I'll agree with everything Anand posted.  Especially how annoying the adds are that camouflage themselves as site content.
Also I'll add that it annoys me when sites have "paid premium" memberships that are add free--just bugs the heck out of me..

tomos

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Re: I want to try an experiment on the site for March 2012
« Reply #24 on: February 17, 2012, 12:36:02 PM »
Also I'll add that it annoys me when sites have "paid premium" memberships that are add free--just bugs the heck out of me..

I always thought that was fair enough...
Tom