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Google ad test

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Ok, so you regular members probably didn't notice this, since they were only be shown to visitors who were not signed into the forum, but the web ads were running on the site for an additional 30 days beyond the original plan (from May through July of 2013).

They are now gone.

It's been an interesting experiment.  Some observations:

Google apparently has some arcane rules and about sharing any details publicly about ad revenue, etc.  Which to me tells you a lot about how shady the whole google ads thing is.  So I guess i can't reveal how much revenue the web ads were bringing in, beyond saying it was somewhere in the range of $100 to $200 per month.

Experimenting with Project Wonderful as an alternate way to choose ads was fun, but the revenue could not come close to google ads.

I know people are becoming accustomed to seeing ads on web pages, but personally I still find them distracting and distasteful.   But the worst part about showing them on the DonationCoder site was that they were frequently made to look like official/recommended downloads.  You can see some of the images above.  There was a time when google would have disallowed such things under the rubric of "don't be evil", but nowadays we all know that saying doesn't mean what it used to.

Having said that, showing ads on the forum wasn't the worst thing in the world -- and I think the solution of not showing them to logged in members basically solves the most seriously problem with ads on the website, which is the annoyance to the people who spend the most time here.  I don't think it's totally unreasonable to ask drive-by-visitors to view ads.  So that was an important realization.

Nevertheless, I think we are better off going back to not having ads on the website, despite the revenue they generated.  I feel better about asking for direct donations, and i think it's healthier for us to put our financial fate directly in the hands of the donors.

So we're back to normal.  Carry on.

The range you mentioned is nothing to be frowned upon, for any non-profit site of any size.
FWIW, I find myself having less and less of a problem with ads online, if a time comes when it is a necessary evil then so be it.

Kind of wanted to bump this topic for a couple of reasons.

I didn't really look at this thread last year when this all happened, but as for blacklisting those big download button ads and such, they can all be blacklisted pretty simply through the Google control panel.

On another note, a better way to moderate what ads would be available on the website, is to not use such operators as Google.  Instead, one could simply be more selective by having an internal Ad Panel, where members could pay $X for Y Impressions/Clicks for their banners.  These ad accounts would be setup through DC itself and moderated by the DC Gods.  You can also then choose how, where, and when these ads appear.

As an example of the above, this is how I would see that happening:

1. A user visits DC for the first time and would see (instead of an ad), a little banner saying something like "Advertise on our website"
2. They then click-through to see what is involved, and they notice that they can choose literal sections for where they are shown, or be allowed to be shown anywhere on the website.
3. They may also see that because the ads shown on DC are very selective and must go through an internal approval process before being shown, they know that their legitimate ads won't be shown against unscrupulous advertisers.

Those 3 steps alone would be a big selling point for most companies.

If you then offered promotions for people to advertise their offerings, such as "Place a link to us on your website and earn $X in impressions" and such things, then this would also improve DCs backlink quality, which obvious improves things such as Page Ranking.

You could give Supporting Members the option to disable ads on their account so they will never be shown, which would then give people more of a reason to donate to get that tag on their account, which would then mean that those who don't want ads, have already donated to the site, so their possible ad revenue from clicking things, would no longer be something to worry about.

Seeing as DC already has an internal currency system, I don't think doing something like this would be too difficult to do as advertisers could use DonationCredits to purchase Advertising Impressions/Clicks around the site...and unlike other advertisers...they don't have to purchase a specific amount of credit...instead they could simply deposit $100 for DonationCredits, and if they don't feel the ads are doing very well after $30 of spending, then they can withdraw the remainder...donate it to other developers....or donate to other people on the website.

The last time we tried ads, I set up the Project Wonderful service, which showed occasional messages on the site like "Your ad could be here" and people could, if they went through the Project Wonderful service, have their ads shown on the pages.  Just didn't happen in any meaningful way.

Like most things in this world, I think if we wanted to make real money on ads on this site we'd have to devote considerable (and continuing) time and effort to the endeavor, having someone try to reach out and find people who wanted to advertise, etc.

That's just not how anyone here wants to spend their time.  But even more so -- given how common ads have become on the web, it's nice to have a place where we can get some respite from them.


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