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djpretzel

Discussion: Google Ads on forums

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I know most people are going to read this thread topic, jump to all sorts of assumptions, and come in with guns blazing, but please remember a few things:

  • We had google ads on the footer in the later days of PHPBB; one option being discussed is to reinstate those less annoying ads, since the site footer for the rest of the site already has them.
  • A lot of sites wouldn't even discuss this on their forums, they'd just do it; I realize that things like this tend to rub people the wrong way when they just show up one day, without any input being solicited.
  • We're doing a little bit better than breaking even with our current ads, but every time we do something big - a big shirt run, album promotions, etc. - it wipes us out or puts us in debt, where I end up funneling a lot of my own money in to tide us over, then funneling it back out months later. I'd like to have more financial headroom before we do things like bumper stickers, posters, etc., and to stop taking large amounts from my personal account (which is rather low these days) to temporarily keep us afloat.
  • Only google ads or other non-pop-up, non-audio ads are being discussed. I hate pops and audio ads and that crap as much as any of you. On the other hand, I can easily tolerate text ads, and sometimes find things I'm actually interested in.

Please don't respond to this thread with instructions on ad blocking... this site literally would not exist without some form of revenue, and currently our google ads provide 80-90% of that. Donations and shirt sales alone would NOT pay the bills, by a longshot, unless some very generous millionaires showed up.

So, there are a couple options for integrating ads on our forums:

  1. Footer (consistent with rest of the site, least obtrusive)
  2. Between initial thread post and first reply

  3. Vertical ad on user profile pages (far right)
  4. Some combination of the above
  5. Other ideas (??)

One option, apparently, is to enable the most obtrusive option - between the initial thread post and first reply - for guests only. Meaning that if you're logged in, you don't see it. I see that as a best of both worlds scenario and think that, in combination with footer ads (like the rest of the site) and perhaps a vertical ad or something else on user profile pages (which we intend on sprucing up a bit), we'd be bringing in extra revenue with minor impact on the community.

But, hey, what do I know... share your thoughts. There's only so much I can do to assure you that my motivations are for the best interests of the site; recently we've been accused of being "businesslike" or "corporate", which is laughable in one sense since fiscally we'd have the worst business model imaginable, giving everything away, etc., but we ARE trying to get more exposure, pursue conventions and events, etc. in an orderly fashion, which takes both time and money, unfortunately...

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I wouldn't mind.

I don't think the footer ads would bother anyone.

Between initial thread post and first reply for guests would give people more incentive to sign up to the forums, which could be good or bad, how you look at it.

Vertical ad on user profile pages (far right). If you look at the profiles, the second column seems like it could take a little squishing.

Maybe for threads that are longer, there could be a banner ad to the left.

<------ There is a lot of space over there.

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I think you nailed it with a combination of an ad between the first post and initial reply for guests only and a footer ad for everyone. That would be the best way to do it, and it wouldn't mess with the layout too much.

I honestly don't see too many people freaking out over this, but maybe I am too optimistic. Any site even a fraction of the size of OCR will have some decent bandwidth usage, and it's not free.

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I think you nailed it with a combination of an ad between the first post and initial reply for guests only and a footer ad for everyone. That would be the best way to do it, and it wouldn't mess with the layout too much.

I honestly don't see too many people freaking out over this, but maybe I am too optimistic. Any site even a fraction of the size of OCR will have some decent bandwidth usage, and it's not free.

I agree with OA. Having the ads come up for guests would bring in quite a lot of ad revenue *assumption*, considering how many lurkers we get that don't have an account. The google ads on the bottom were completely harmless back when we were on phpbb, so they would have a welcomed return if we could get rid of that "DONT CLICK HERE UNLESS YOU ARE 18" ad.

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The stuff you said sounds good. They seem like they would be pretty unobtrusive at that point, and even if they were a bit, having text ads only will alleviate that. I'm for it.

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no prob for me either as long as they don't product sound. because it's annoying when you listen to mix.

someone pointed the blank space on the sidebar, but unfortunately there is too much way to remove it, so yeah a well integrated footer can work.

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I like the footer and after-first-post ideas. I think the sidebar is barren in long threads, and ads would fill it out nicely.

Also, has any consideration been given to selling ad space? OCR gets a lot of pageviews and it's a fairly specific demographic. I could imagine certain companies wanting to advertise. Of course, we'd have to have specific policies in place as to what ads we'd allow, i.e. no flash, we'd have to approve the content, etc. I think it might be worth persuing, in addition to Google Ads. Just a thought.

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Footer ads are fine with me. I see a problem though with ads between the original post and first reply for guests: they won't necessarily know that by registering, those ads would disappear. If you go that route, which is fine on its own, I'd add a note that registered users don't see those ads beneath the ad itself.

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Footer ads are fine with me. I see a problem though with ads between the original post and first reply for guests: they won't necessarily know that by registering, those ads would disappear. If you go that route, which is fine on its own, I'd add a note that registered users don't see those ads beneath the ad itself.

Such a note is indeed a good idea, imo, as we do want more folks registering and participating.

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My vote...

* Footer ads for everyone

* Ads at the bottom of the sidebar

* Ads after first post for non-registered users

* Allow people to buy ad space at a certain monthly rate for a certain spot - maybe use Project Wonderful

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My vote...

* Footer ads for everyone

* Ads at the bottom of the sidebar

* Ads after first post for non-registered users

* Allow people to buy ad space at a certain monthly rate for a certain spot - maybe use Project Wonderful

I agree, especially with the non-registered users thingy.

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Hmmm, there's another issue I forgot to mention... probably more important for some users: in addition to ads, there are a couple other reasons why disabling the default vbulletin theme and making the OCR theme mandatory would be beneficial. Namely, we could then do minor template variations on certain forums (remixer specific info on remixing forum, links to mixes on remix reviews forum) and have them automatically override the default OCR theme.

I need to do a little research on how many are using the default theme currently, but given the issues of ads and of sub-templating per forum, both of which are big issues, I'd really like to do this...

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I can live without a couple bells and whistles. I'd rather not have a sidebar.

Footer ads are fine though. It'd be nice to leave it at that, but if that's not possible, I'd favor the scheme zircon's proposed. Dunno how the default vB skin will affect the sidebar ads though.

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I like the footer and after-first-post ideas. I think the sidebar is barren in long threads, and ads would fill it out nicely.

Also, has any consideration been given to selling ad space? OCR gets a lot of pageviews and it's a fairly specific demographic. I could imagine certain companies wanting to advertise. Of course, we'd have to have specific policies in place as to what ads we'd allow, i.e. no flash, we'd have to approve the content, etc. I think it might be worth persuing, in addition to Google Ads. Just a thought.

I agree, I would be surprised if game companies wouldn't want to advertise on OCR.

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I really haven't got that much to add.

I don't mind unobtrusive advertising, so anything without sound, popups, offensive content or seizure-inducing flashing colors should be fine.

As others have mentioned, there's plenty of unutilized space to the left below the navigation sidebar that could be used as ad space (on both the main pages and the forums).

As for the in-thread advertising between the first and second posts, I'm completely okay with that, as long as it doesn't appear when I'm logged in.

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One thing I'm not entirely sure about is why enabling multiple skins would preclude having stuff like remix links in the review threads. I remember those were implemented in phpBB without much of a problem, it's just that the people using different themes couldn't see them. I wouldn't mind a similar arrangement with vB.

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Yea ads are a decent idea. Anything that isn't those freakin Smiley adds that make noise when you roll over them is fine by me. Man those things are annoying.

Do what you have to to pay the bills, and keep a little financial reward for yourself if need be ;)

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One thing I'm not entirely sure about is why enabling multiple skins would preclude having stuff like remix links in the review threads. I remember those were implemented in phpBB without much of a problem, it's just that the people using different themes couldn't see them. I wouldn't mind a similar arrangement with vB.

I think there's a tighter integration planned with remix pages and review threads than just a link back. I don't have any details, but I believe Dave mentioned something to the effect a few days ago in the j-chat.

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Zircon is (as usual) on top of the ball with this -- I wouldn't mind the left sidebar ads either, which is what seems to be the main debate at this point. As long as there's no audio / flashing video, people won't mind at all...most of us understand that running a site this big eats lots of money.

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I don't mind left sidebar ads, we have a bunch of empty space to the left anyway and it's no more in the way of anything than the footer ads would be. Go ahead and put ads on the footers and below the side bar on the left. And I think as some other OCRers mentioned, try to get some deals djp! Anyone can get google ads on their site, but OCR could most definitely get ads from companies that make games, whether commerical games or free online mmorpgs, with as much traffic as this site gets I'm sure some companies will be quite interested in advertising with OCR considering how everyone who goes here more or less loves video games.

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