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netsmithUK

Experimenting with adverts. Login to hide them.

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Hi All

Lets take it as read that some people will be outraged that I might have adverts appearing on the site and that I should give everything away for free, my time, my money, my first born child etc. Back in the real world I keep looking for ways to take the site forward and keep it growing. This costs money. TC was born out of an era of mega pop up ads jumping out of your when every you visited any website and that was one of the reasons we never did it and went down the subscriber route, which has got us this far but now I want to take it up a notch.

All that said I don't like ads any more than any of you, so from the get go, if you are a logged in member of the forum or the main site (regardless of wether you are a subscriber or not) you should never see any of these adverts. The simple process of logging in will turn them off. The only people that will see them, are new visitors (or unlogged in members) If you do see any appearing then, don't panic, just shout out here, as that is a bug rather than my intention.

Just to be clear on that.

LOG-IN MEANS NO ADVERTS.

Its quite possible it will not happen anyway, as, for security purposes, we host the site behind Cloudflare which acts as a firewall among other things and if that doesn't play nice with google I will always pick security over a few adverts.

Cheers

Chris

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And feel free to use adblockers, no hard feelings :) I personally use "uBlock Origin"

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Will these be related adverts from forum sponsers or at least advertising to do with the hobby or randomly generated ads? Just curious as im a suscriber so potentially wont affect me. 

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The thing I'm trying is just Google Adsense, which is supposed to make logical placements based on content, but in all honesty I think it would struggle with our content to find a match. Its all part of the test, if it doesn't work or it looks really bad etc I just wont do it. I've not worked so long on the site for google to come in and screw things up. Like you said though, as a member or a subscriber, just login once and assuming you have cookies turned on you'll never see them anyway.

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I think i just got an advert!!! Are you running it now? I just had a google ad for maths tuition on the home page.

Will try again see if it happens next time

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Yes I am logged in. Just got another one.

My maths is absolutely shocking - that was a very well targeted advert :lol:

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Mmmm - logged into the main site, so your name appears in the top right hand corner like this?

Screenshot 2019-09-13 at 15.20.32.png

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I cant see at the moment - the advert banner at the top of the screen hides the login screen on my android phone. And when i click the 'x' it hides the advert itself but leaves the box in place with a google voting button re' the advert. 

Screenshot_20190913-152844_Chrome.jpg

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The box to enter email and password then gets squashed between the keypad and advert. Is there anyone of disabling ads on the login screen but leaving them on the homepage?

Screenshot_20190913-153219_Chrome.jpg

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ha - well thats a bit rubbish. Give me a few minutes to see what my options are.

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I think I've turned that type of advert off now, but because of the way caching works it might still appear for a few minutes. Thats what happens when you let google do something 'automatically'

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OK - its terrible. I've turned it off.

This was my mobile view of the home page. Apart from the logo and the menu none of the content was mine. Can't believe anyone runs this junk.

IMG_8900.PNG

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Yeah :blink:  thats what it was like on mine - i tried looking at some showrooms as well - the entire main picture and description was completely covered by an advert. It wouldnt be so bad if the adverts sat within the content - not over the top of it so its invisible or even when you click the 'x' the advert box actually dissapeared so you could see the content but it doesnt do that either as it leaves the empty box in place

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I'll read more into the options and maybe give it another go another day, but to be honest, i don't really like the looks of it

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I think lots of forums struggle with ads as most of them end up screwing up the site from a viewers perspective. They also seem to often cause various functionality problems which could well lead you to spend more time trying to sort problems than is worthwhile!

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@netsmithUK, what sort of plans were you contemplating to grow the site, and how much extra cash did you need?  I think the last time I renewed it was about 20 USD for the year, which is pretty inexpensive to have a showroom and take a shot at some competitions.  Maybe you could sell the paid members on a vision and a moderate price increase to get there.  We could all benefit from some growth due to network effects, so paying a little extra to fund a strategic expansion plan might be ok.  Wikipedia asks for donations periodically, and it's "free."

I think the time is right for certain sites to ask people to subscribe in lieu of showing ads.  People are being conditioned to subscribe to multiple streaming services in place of cable TV to get exactly the content they want; to me it seems logical web media might follow in the same direction too, and the highest quality sites should expect to do better than lose money or break even.

I've thought about starting a magazine-style site (not RC) with long-format articles written by a core group of authors and making it subscription-only.  The quality of the content would justify the asking price, and profits after costs would be shared with those authors.  I read some articles in the last year about some of the hottest sites being subscription-only; the communities are smaller than the "free" services out there, but the quality of the content is higher with zero ads to boot.

It's not my intention to upset anyone; I just recognize the costs of running a media/community site and if it was mine I would not want to lose money from my household budget to keep it running.  At a minimum it should sustain itself, but ideally it would grow in new directions based on what the subscribers want to see, and the contributors who make it happen would share in some of the rewards.

Just my observations and opinions.

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@speedy_w_beans - Basically I want to get the club back to where it started, the more I use facebook, instagram and twitter - it make me realise, as much as I love them for continual feeds of all sorts of contents, they are not the the places to really show your models and archive your collections with like minded people. Facebook is basically post it and forget it - great for a quick bit of feedback maybe, but terrible to ever go back and look or search for something later, and virtually impossible to then explore other sensibly related content.  I want to do a lot more work around

  • reducing subscription costs
  • The showrooms, making them a real reference place for the owners and those visiting
  • finishing the TC app I've had in the pipeline for quite a while now
  • Beefing up the server and storage required

We've not increased subscriptions since we started charging and we've been fortunate that the income has basically always balanced the outgoings - adverts were just me exploring different funding models, possibly actually leading to more people paying a lot less. I wont be be raising pricing for subscribers and never will. We all owe them for funding the club all this time :) 

It's not a problem, I only posted the thread so people didn't panic if they suddenly saw an advert. I've got a few more options to try and the club is not going anywhere, even if nothing changes. :)

Cheers

Chris

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my 2 cents for what its worth. I am tighter than a fishes bum when it comes to money, but personally I think the subscription rate you charge is not that much really, and I would even wear a slight increase. 

If you do go down the ad route, I know you are thinking as a subscriber I wouldn't see ads, but if I were to see ads, I would prefer to see ads that are relevant to Tamiya or RC users (so probably sponsored ads). Another option is if you sell limited ad spaces and actively push those products on the front page somehow. A site I regularly read called Daring Fireball has a model like this. But I get that may not work for you though. 

Having tried adsense for a customer and seen it in action personally when trawling the web, I think it's next to useless anyway. I've never seen relevant ads come up for me, and anything that is relevant is usually after I've bought a product anyway.

Options like patreon seem to be coming more popular too, where select users pay more because they like the site and what to see more content/development. Or you could go the Tested route and offer a premium version (don't ask me how that would work though!)

Ad the end of the day, you'll have to try lots of options until you find something that works for you and us users, but I think most of us are on board in helping you figure that out.

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My 2 cents, just echoing what others have said that the subscription is really very cheap, most years I recoup more that than with the 10% off that Fusion Hobbies give to subscribers of TamiyaClub.  

Perhaps the model shops that have small ads on the main site page could be persuaded to contribute a little extra in return for having an ad. space somewhere on the forum. Just speaking personally, I spend most of my time on the forum rather than the main site, so ads there would be more likely to grab my attention, and RC related ads are going to be a lot less annoying than those from the google random ad generator :)

 

 

 

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Another two forums I would frequent require me to log in to not see ads, I loathe the fact I have to log in if I just want to browse the forum and not post.

As others have said, TC subscription is cheap, I would rather pay more and have no ads at all.

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