Author Topic: Keeping the Lights On  (Read 1762 times)

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Offline nCogNeato

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Keeping the Lights On
« on: July 24, 2011, 02:11:45 AM »
Over the past year, I'm proud that our little site has seen a dramatic increase in traffic.  Over the past few months, it became obvious our web host was not capable of providing the bandwidth and reliability we need.

When our site was down for the 100th time a couple weeks ago, I decided to move our site to a web host that could actually deliver what they promise.  So far so good.  Unfortunately, you get what you (don't) pay for, so our rent is understandably higher than before.  This has forced me to actually think about what I've been avoiding these past couple of years ... money.

Until now, I've happily paid the bills and simply considered it a hobby cost.  But we've reached my limit of "hobby" funds, and I'm going to try a few things (in phases) to hopefully offset the extra cost.

  • Phase 1 (2011) - Guest Advertising
    This is the ideal situation, so let's hope it works.  I've set up our very own Google Adsense account.  If you've visited our root domains (360df.com or 360fahrenheit.com) this past week, you may have noticed the 3-second redirection page that brings you to the forum.  On this page, you'll see the ads that will keep our lights on.  These ads will also be visible to "Guest" visitors on the forum.  As long as you're signed in, you won't see any ads.  I'm going to leave this system in place for 1 year and revisit the 360DF checkbook to see if we're breaking even.  If not, we'll move to Phase 2 ...
  • Phase 2 (2012) - Optional Member Ads/Donations
    Last resort.  If by August 2012 I'm still paying more out-of-pocket than I was in 2011, I'll make Ads visible to all members.  This means you'll see an ad on every page while browsing the forum.  If (big if) this happens, members will have the option to "upgrade" their account for a minimum donation (1 $/£?) per year which will disable the ads and give you a unique badge/icon on your profile.

There's a good possibility that Phase 1 will be enough.  360DF has been ad-free for years, and I want to keep it that way.  Hopefully our increase in traffic and search engine exposure will draw enough Guests to our site to pay our bills.  If/when that day does come, the money I would typically put into the site will go towards funner things, like consistent monthly prizes and other goodies for members.  The money our site makes through ads (or possible donations) will all go back into the site.  The more money we have, the more fun we can have with it.

If you start experiencing any issues browsing the forum because of these ads, post here and let me know.  The beauty of having our own Google Adsense account is we actually have control over our ads.  This isn't like those "free" sites you see that force annoying ads on you.  If you see an annoying ad that makes a bunch of noise or popups, let me know and I'll blacklist it.

Also, if anyone happens to have any alternative ideas, I welcome suggestions.   :)

Offline Lukehi

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Re: Keeping the Lights On
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2011, 08:18:34 AM »
Great way to keep the site advert free and not burden you with all the costs.

My only worry would be that 'guests' may be put off when they see the ads. 
Is there a way to put a message stating something like "once you sign up for a full account the ads will be removed" or will that just mean we get more accounts that are never used?

Guess we can monitor the situation and react accordingly.



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Offline GamerMan316

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Re: Keeping the Lights On
« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2011, 08:37:28 AM »
I don't see ads on any site on the internet, gotta love Firefox add ons!   :)


Offline nCogNeato

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Re: Keeping the Lights On
« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2011, 10:49:48 AM »
My only worry would be that 'guests' may be put off when they see the ads. 
Is there a way to put a message stating something like "once you sign up for a full account the ads will be removed" or will that just mean we get more accounts that are never used?

Great minds think alike.  If you logout of the forum and view it as a Guest, you'll see "Welcome, Guest. Login or Register to disable ads and view all discussions in this forum." at the top of every board.

Concerning unused accounts, our site's Registration Agreement for new members was also updated with the latest site upgrades.

Quote
  • A valid email address must be used to confirm registration.
  • Unregistered accounts will be deleted 14 days after creation.
  • Registered accounts with zero (0) post count will be deleted 14 days after registration.
  • If your account is deleted for one of the reasons above, don't worry.  You can always create a new one.

 ;D

Offline MacheteMable

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Re: Keeping the Lights On
« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2011, 11:59:44 AM »
I don't see ads on any site on the internet, gotta love Firefox add ons!   :)
oh god, i love you. Didn't know something like this existed until now and it is AWESOME


Offline Windedprism

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Re: Keeping the Lights On
« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2011, 04:43:39 AM »
I don't mind adds, I dont think many will be turned away by them. I mean they're everywhere anyway and tbh can give that extra impression of professionalism as long as the adds are appropraite. It is 50/50 however so yeah firefox add on if  there not for you :)

As phase for 2 I can't speak for anyone else but I'd be more than happy to chip in.

Keep up the the superb work Neato,and all the contributers that keep the site rolling rolling rolling  ;D
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Offline nCogNeato

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Re: Keeping the Lights On
« Reply #6 on: July 25, 2011, 04:20:13 PM »
It's still far too early to tell, but I have a good feeling about Phase 1.

I can't discuss the specific details since it violates the ad's TOU, but we are definitely seeing a lot more unique visitors than I would have suspected.  Now it's just a matter of how much advertisers are willing to pay for the exposure we're given them.

Regarding Windy's comment about ad relevance, Google and adBrite are doiing a pretty good job of this.  From what I've seen so far, we're getting the usual ads that are seen on other gaming sites (Netflix, OnLive, GameStop, etc.).

I even saw an ad for a good deal on the Astro A40 headset.  Unfortunately, I'm not allowed to click the ads myself, so I guess I'll have to just do my own shopping for headsets.    :P

Offline Windedprism

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Re: Keeping the Lights On
« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2011, 05:28:15 AM »
lol a lot more adds on the site as I was coming in.  Remember as well though with more traffic comes more opportunity for things like keylogging. That's a nasty business altogether. Been done once , but the site I was affected from was riddled, except I didn't know that! security up- check, vigilance up- check! regular checks for virus' at the doctor - check!  ;D

rabies - check! eh I mean uncheck, eh checked!
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Offline Mr Moshi Moshi

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Re: Keeping the Lights On
« Reply #8 on: August 03, 2011, 08:12:35 AM »
Dont mind adds at all. I mentally block them out these days.
To be honest, £1 a year is nothing, but I can see how it would put off possible new members.
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