View Full Version : A discussion on advertising, the inevitable.

02-25-2012, 10:23 PM
Ladies and gentlemen of the Cartographers Guild,

As you all may know, we currently have some minimal ads on the site. There is currently a text ad bar across the top of every page, and a larger ad banner at the bottom...We have at our disposal MUCH more ad space, and I've been loath to utilize it...But of course, for the site to grow, it needs to be supported just like most other websites, through paid advertising.

So I wanted to open this up to you all to find out how you all feel about ads? I have been working on a new ad system that will allow us to continue using the adsense ads in conjunction with selling our own ad impressions to companies (and industry professionals) that are related to the site and its content. This new system does not allow for the minimal text ads like in the above bar. It will probably have to go away in exchange for a standard banner ad of some sort. By using standard ad sizes, I can have sold ads and random ads from adsense intermingled, and this will benefit you all by allowing us to grow our server and resources to something a bit more robust.

What I'm interested in from you all is discussion on tolerable ad placements. Here's some topics:

larger banner ads in plainer view and their impact
more and larger ads for guests (not signed in) and members who haven't yet posted 5 posts
Paid membership (annual or monthly) to bypass ads
Interstitial ads (periodic full page ads that require you to click to continue to content) (note: I hate these, but they may be effective, especially for guests)
Places you hate seeing ads and places you don't mind seeing ads

Rest assured, I will NOT allow any ads that have popups or malware or annoying vibrating blinking animations. This is a mature community, and I'd like to keep te ads as relevant and useful as possible. That would be profitable to you as members as well as to the guild's support income.

Thank you all for your time and consideration on the future of the guild!

02-26-2012, 07:15 AM
My only concern was somthing you already laid to rest, and that would be the pop-up ads that can contain the hidden code. Not that they should work on me anyway, with NoScript running I hope I am reasonably safe from such things.
As for the rest then I really have no problem with anything you see fit to do. For the most part we are all here on your goodwill anyway and so can't see any attempt by you to get some revenue back in a bad light. The interstitial ads sound like they would indeed be the biggest ballache but the rest just sounds like any other site and who hasn't learned to live with those?

If you were to target specific areas with ads then I would guess the prime candidate would be the tutorial section? I would say that the forum least suited to adds would be the challenge forum, which would be nice kept clean of potential problems for people who are basically helping expand the site.

02-26-2012, 08:39 PM

That is a tough one. To be honest using Firefox I pretty much don't have to see any adds. I have ran them both on and off on this site and the little strip of links we currently have don't bother me. In fact, I have gone to some of those links and poked around a bit. What I can't stand are ads that I can't scroll past. In other words they eat up a portion of screen all the time. I paid to have my widescreen monitor and it makes me want to pitch a fit when I have to loose a bunch of viewing pixels because a website is built in such a way that you can't view a picture without an inch across the top/bottom/side of some ad. Browsers with a whole bunch of buttons bug me too. I only have the bare necessities.

I don't know how much it costs to run a site like this and since we stopped showing the donation bar it does sort of fall into the lost crevices of my mind. That really should be a bar that is reset each month based on what we have and need. Unless we want the site to actually generate some profit (nothing wrong with that)? A few non-eyeball busting advertisements wouldn't bother me but with that said...I would quickly disable anything that did bug me. I have to actually enable ads to run the way I have my browser set up now. If that is the same as everyone else then I'm not sure what revenue we can generate from even a plethora of ads because so few people see them.

Is it worth it compared to just having a monthly donation goal? If all I needed to do was kick in a small amount every month I would probably prefer that. At least right now when I have a few dollars in my pocket. If it meant I needed to donate a large chunk of dough then ads would have to be the way since I'm not daddy warbucks.

The appeal of this site is the tutorials, the artwork, the advice from the community and that is what we are selling to these advertisement companies because that is what creates the traffic. If I don't feel like I'm being pimped out to some jack-wagon pop up obnoxious inverted video image company I won't care.

We must remember that just like social networking sites, "if you aren't paying then you are not the customer, you are the product." It can't be done for free unfortunately.

02-27-2012, 12:52 PM
Popup, interstitial and expanding ads are pretty annoying since they interrupt the flow of the site. But other than that, I think more ads is the way to go - servers don't run on good intentions and we're all grateful for the free community we have here. Ad-free paid memberships or removing ads for donors might also work You may also want to look at some affiliate opportunities if you can find products that would be valuable to the community - affiliate revenue would likely outperform CPC or CPM rates. And maybe sponsored advertorials for advertisers who would like to reach your audience directly with long-form appeals and special offers. Point being, I think there are plenty of ways to offer ads that also have some value for the community and therefore don't feel "spammy."

02-27-2012, 02:34 PM
I'd also second affiliate revenue. For example, we have many folks here who sell RPG products or books - using (requiring?) affiliate links to amazon or RPGdrivethrough etc. products would help.

-Rob A>

02-27-2012, 07:29 PM
first run of new ad system is now active...most of you will only see Adsense ads...but I have currently sold a run of ads to Enderra (bartmoss). If you see the ad, be sure to click on it! lol

Also, let me know if you see any problems.

As for affiliates...I'm open to that as well...I can even add other networks to this system. I plan on having house ads, and offering special rates to freelancers if possible.

02-27-2012, 07:32 PM
Also let me know if you see any problem ads or annoying ads.

02-27-2012, 07:50 PM
Looks like Enderra is getting a straight run on the footer ad. It's because the ad server doesn't yet know what my average pageviews are yet, so its trying to meet a quota...Don't worry...bartmoss isn't going to lose all his impressions in a day or so. It's a test run. ;)

02-27-2012, 09:07 PM
I see hexographer at the footer...

02-27-2012, 09:14 PM
I see an ad for a software company I visited recently (not related to RPG industry), so I'm pretty sure that your ad serving is allowing advertisers to use site retargeting features.

02-27-2012, 09:34 PM
I know hexographer was using adwords to target our site...I actually spoke to the guy a while back. I'm probably going to talk to them about perhaps buying direct.

02-27-2012, 09:39 PM
btw...I paused Enderra's order to give the software a chance to pace itself.

02-28-2012, 02:48 PM
I despise all ads!

02-29-2012, 10:30 AM
Transferring data from:


My browser tab displayed the 'page loading' animation for about 10 minutes while these files loaded. There may have been others, I'm not sure.

03-02-2012, 04:09 AM
first run of new ad system is now active...most of you will only see Adsense ads...but I have currently sold a run of ads to Enderra (bartmoss). If you see the ad, be sure to click on it! lol

Really just donating money to help out the guild. Actually, if you see any ad, just click on it if it interests you. No point in artificially inflating click rates, especially on the test run - we'd want to see what a "realistic" CTR is, no?

03-02-2012, 10:11 AM
Yeah, I guess I did kinda botch that one huh?

Although...I've seen many sites encourage "please visit our sponsors".