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Torsten

How do you feel about advertising?

Advertising?  

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The forums and their back up server now cost in excess of $5000 per year as well as a huge amount of my time [even if I don't post much]. The SAB retail business has never made a profit [it just pays for the staff who run it], so the forum costs have always come out of my own pocket. While the first 10 years the costs were much lower, the prevalence of high volume media files has made the growth exponential. Over the next 10 years this might account for as much as $50,000 to $100,000 in value!!! We are the longest running ethnobotany forum in the world now and like any project it would be good if it was selfsustaining. If something happened to me for example, the forum would rely on donations to keep going and I know from past experiencs on other forums that that sort of money is not easy to obtain via donations each year.

I met a forum admin recently who has very similar ethics in running a completely unrelated forum and he explained to me how some minor advertising on his site has allowed his forum to be completely self sustaining. His site is probably a bit bigger than this one, but still a viable option for us.

There are 4 types of advertising.

1) Side bar. I feel these really interfere with readability on small mobile devices, so not considering this.

2) Header Banners. These really dictate the theme and feel of the site and can be really in your face. I am not too keen on them.

3) Banners between posts. I find these quite easily ignored as long as they are well defined as being an ad. It just means an extra click on the scroll wheel.

4) Inline google ads. These shit me to no end.

So I reckon the best option is #3 and to have them restricted to a single position on each page, eg a single ad below the first post only. No bigger than a standard post height and clearly defined so it is easy to scroll past. It would be no more annoying than a randomly stupid post that si easily skipped.

I am also considering setting up a membership level that is exempt from ads. Long term members who take offence to the imposition of ads, and mods who already give so much for the forums could be exempt. There could also be an automatic payment system where you can buy an exemption either annually or for life. I have no experience with these things but am told that they are very popular with members on my friend's forum.

There are no firm plans for this yet and I am only just starting to look into the options. I just wanted to see how everyone else feels about this.

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Torsten, I love my plant collection more than anything else that I possess & SAB has played an enormous role in making it happen. I will support whatever needs to be done to keep this place around.

Much respect mate :)

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I have always said i am happy to pay like a membership or some fixed amount donation towards the Forum (with or without the adds). I don't like the adds, but it may be the best option as you cant rely on people paying a fee annually. People come and go and new members might not join if there was a fee involved, but the existing members know how great SAB is so would be more likely to pay. And then theres the cost, like how much would people be willing to pay. Lets say there was an annual fee of $25, you would need like 200 members to chuck in... would we get that?! I dunno.

It really isn't fair that you (Torsten) have to pay the whole server cost and we just sit back , call it 'our community' but do nothing to help.

The adds are the way of the times and i think you need to do what you need to do. If there is an option for a member to pay to be exempt from the adds, well thats good because they then have a choice.

People are going to complain about the adds, but i am betting they will still come here.

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I tried to vote in the poll but only answered 2 questions so it wont let me vote. I am not sure what add set up would be the least invasive. Be good if it was just at the very bottom of the front page. It might be a trial and error thing to see what works best for us?! :)

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whatever it takes Torsten.

I'd be happy to pay an annual fee, so the add-exemption fee would just be that to me. (probably even claim it on tax :wink:)

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I don't see the harm in side banner or header ads. As long as they aren't ads that you are forced to watch or click or whatever I don't see how it's an issue. People are great at ignoring stuff. So just ignore the banners :P

Plus there could even be some genuinely good ads on there for various resources.

Love the site and don't see ads as taking away from that in the least

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Hi Torsten, i think #3 is probably the best option.

As you pointed out, you don't want them on the header, or side. and inline google ads can be annoying to as i have seen multiple instances were they can be confused for content.

In between posts, at set intervals makes sense.

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Its so nice to look at a website that doesn't have ads. $5 a year sounds well worth it.

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There are probably a number issues that impact on the long-term sustainability of these forums - ongoing financial viability is just one. To that extent, if having ads is what has to happen, then so be it. I'd already been thinking about the donations if not the advertising.

Are there any potential privacy or legal considerations around there being advertising on the forums that we should be aware of?

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I think the content of the advertising is very important.

An add from say Dragibus would be 500x less offensive than an add of equal size for Kronic.

Edited by Foo
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what ever works...........

re high volume media files.........couldn't they be deleted after a certain period?

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Yeah, ad content can get strange at times.

I was a member of a site once where the mere mention of drugs, including legal ones, even Heimia, resulted in an instant ban by a fanatical site owner. What turned the situation into an absolute absurdity was banners on the side advertizing Salvia divinorum and synthetic marijuana analogs, lol

Ability for Torsten to choose the ads would probably be ideal, if at all possible.

I've never even seen a web forum on a mobile device, but even on a desktop comp the side bars squish stuff over too much.

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Ads can be distracting, but if it helps cover some of the costs of keeping our forum running, then I say go for it. But definitely give people the option to buy out of the ads please. I would happily pay a few bucks to keep my screen clear of noise.

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I'd prefer membership if advertising is the go....ads/trackers piss me off :wink:

Got no real issues with parting with a bit of coin to avoid them.

Edited by waterboy
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I don't think ads would really work here. Partnership ads are the only real option if you do go that route but I'm not sure you'd want most of the ads that could be placed here. Ads on such a small forum would almost never be clicked and the revenue would be a few dollars, if any. Further more, as WB said, ad agencies aren't just selling ads, they almost all collect a tonne of data.

If you do end up going ads, my vote would go for partnered banner ads that go in the footer and maybe a random one in topics.

Paid membership is a better option imo. Maybe add a private forum or two for the paid members, a bit of incentive? (other than supporting the site, obviously).

I'm also going to drop you a PM about the costs... $5k/year seems quite a lot to run this forum. I have some more ideas I'll float too.

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Paid membership is a better option imo. Maybe add a private forum or two for the paid members

Second this

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I should mention that i wouldn't even notice if you introduced adds seeing as i use adblock plus.

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I should clarify my vote - the only reason I said that I don't mind whether we get ads on here is because I use adblocking software. I would never see the ads, and this site would therefore never get any revenue from me that way (if i understand how the system works?), making the whole thing a bit pointless. Surveys point to maybe 20% of fellow members using adblockers already, and I reckon the number would jump after the advalanche began. Of course, I can always whitelist certain sites to allow ads, but pfft... does anyone ever really do that?

I'd rather just send you some money and avoid the whole thing. I see it as the equivalent of library fees or something (but far more educational & entertaining!) I am a bit curious to see what kinds of ads would turn up though.

Edit: hah Foo beat me to it!

Edited by Anodyne
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To be honest I just asume ads to be apart of the age we live in, where if you want something nice and to share it you have to involve it in capatalizim somehow. The corroboree has been a nice breath of freash air although the site existing with ads far out weighs no site at all.

As others have mentioned, I like the idea of paying for (superior) membership or adfree browsing.

I really could not care less how much it costs either, this is the only site I need the internet for.

But lets avoid a Facebook marketing approach, that site is EVIL!

Oh and none of this would be preferable, lets my mind wonder too much.....

VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV

post-13691-0-04603500-1404552483_thumb.gpost-13691-0-01786100-1404552689_thumb.gpost-13691-0-37024600-1404552690_thumb.gpost-13691-0-68334000-1404552694_thumb.g

.... where are those sexy singles in my area?

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Absolutely for it! Having a dedicated Server is expensive, and this forum gives members so much value that it is absolutely legitimate to help carrying the financial weight with a little bit of Advertising. In times of Adblock, there is absolutely NO Reason that comes to my mind why someone could be against it. It´s not a secret that almost everyone uses an Adblocker these days and i would appreciate everyone to disable it on SAB if you want to support this forum and make sure it´s still here in a few years from now. Advertising is everywhere and most people are pretty good at overlooking it. As long it´s not some annoying Pop-Up, it will barely be visible.

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Is it possible to cut out these advertising middlemen and just harass people directly using the forum software? Maybe some kind of prominent reminder notice, banner-style, asking them to pay an annual fee. Maybe it's just me, but I would find a direct request for cash to be far less offensive than random (or worse, targeted!) advertising.

Funny you should post those pics Holographic You - girl #2 is the reason I installed adblocks - damn her distractingly jiggly bottom!

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Is it possible to cut out these advertising middlemen and just harass people directly using the forum software? Maybe some kind of prominent reminder notice, banner-style, asking them to pay an annual fee. Maybe it's just me, but I would find a direct request for cash to be far less offensive than random (or worse, targeted!) advertising.

Funny you should post those pics Holographic You - girl #2 is the reason I installed adblocks - damn her distractingly jiggly bottom!

Exactly one of the suggestions I PMed Torsten about :) They definitely can/do exist.

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I'm in for a penny in for a pound.

I'd support whatever makes Tristan's job easiest to keep this joint easy for him.

It's ours to use how we find fit-within the rulesbook - and would gladly cough up abit of dosh to continue doing so.

I'd hate to imagine SAB A DABBA DO going under. I mean, the rate of peppermint pattie abuse would rise dramatically i suspect.

Think about it mates, how much have YOU got out of this website.

?

Plants, friendship, knowledge, maturity, guidance,exposure for your work/creativity........the list goes on.

I use ad block (thanks Frank because i forgot you installed it :P ) but to be honest, i couldn't give a rats arse except for the data collecting aspect to it ...but meh, nothing's truly private anymore. I love this joint mainly because of the people but with that comes the trickle down effect of so many other benefits.

It wouldn't be like i'd have to raid your prison wallet (yes,i'm looking at you buddy :wink: ) or anything like that.

I felt pretty bad when other forums i've enjoyed bit the dust but for this place to disappear because of freeloaders would be a transvestite travesty.

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I love being a part of this forum & the fact there is no adds make it even better. I, like most other members that have been here for awhile would be more than happy to pay an annual fee of $25 to help T, I can see how a fee like this would possibly push away people from joining, to avoid this you could have a three month free trial period & if you like being a member here you can pay to stay. This might also be good in the way that people that join just to grab freebies or cause trouble may not bother if they have to pay a fee.

What ever the outcome I will be hanging around :wink:

Cheers

Jox

Edited by Jox
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