Survey Results VIII: Ad Man

If there is one issue that stands to divide any internet community more bitterly than even the edition wars, it is the potential for advertising to appear on your favorite website.  That is why we decided to get your thoughts on it before taking any drastic actions.

adhereEventually, we want to be able to provide some sort of payment to our writers and one of the ways – perhaps the only way – to do this is by generating revenue through advertising.  The important thing for us to figure out is what sort of advertising is going to be acceptable to our readership.

A few months ago we began running Google Ads on The GSA.  Initially we tucked the unobtrusively out of the way fairly low down on the pages.  This is perhaps why so many of you  hadn’t seen them when we asked (70%).  Of those who did see them, very few have clicked on them (3%) and so they were not terribly effective.  We’ve since moved them, but to judge by the results we can see in the reporting, they still aren’t very effective.  Part of the problem is the relevancy.  Most of the ads that come up, just aren’t relevant to what we do here.  We can adjust this somewhat, but overall, our ability to tailor the kinds of ads you see in the Google Ads is very limited.  It seems that Google Ads aren’t going to be a big money maker for us no matter what other measures we take.

68% of respondents wouldn’t mind seeing advertising that is specifically related to gaming on the site, but over half of you (58%) would not want that to extend to things like themed advertising backgrounds.  Fair enough.  GMDave has got a few things lined up that may be interesting for all of us, but we’ll keep in mind that they should be strictly related to gaming in some way and as unobtrusive as possible.

While there is no strong preference for or against advertising in general we think many of you are going to be somewhat reassured that we have no intention of introducing ad-walls, timed ads, autoplay ads, pop ups, or other particularly annoying and in your face advertising.  These things are the scourge of the internet and only serve to discourage you from going to sites that implement them and prevent you from getting to the content you want when you want it.  Rest assured that you won’t have to deal with that around here.

If we don’t run ads, what other means of funding the site and paying our writers would be acceptable?

PayPal donate buttons are often popular alternate solutions and we see more and more of those on a variety of web sites.  Only 3% of you would object to that, while 29% are undecided and 68% are okay with it.  However, when we asked if you would actually use it, 8% say no, 77% are undecided and only 16% say the would.  Response rates for both questions were substantially similar, so we can safely assume that the same people responded to both questions.  So, while a PayPal donate button may be acceptable, it is unlikely to see enough use to justify it’s existence at this time.

Kickstarter is used to fund a number of different projects including podcasts, various websites like the GSA and other web publishing efforts.  We asked about your willingness to fund a project, but again, responses indicate that it may not be the most efficient means of generating the funds we would need.  Partially this may be because Kickstarter projects live or die on the strength not of the product itself, but on the strength of it’s goodies and extras that entice people to pledge more than they might otherwise.  Since we have no idea at this time what those might be and what additional benefits we could offer our readership and pledgers, that may be a contributing factor to so many of you being undecided (71%).

Just as a double check, we asked if you thought The GSA should be free of any revenue generation regardless of it’s form.  Gratifyingly, the vast majority of you indicated that we should have some sort of revenue (67%).  Only 30% of you were unsure. 85% of you also understood, at the time of the survey, that our writers do so for free.

It seems like we have a lot of work to do to try to earn enough money to even begin paying the writers who generate the content you enjoy.  This isn’t an issue of paying for servers or infrastructure.  Those are, by and large, covered by the subscriptions to d20 Radio as a whole thanks to your generous contributions.  This may also be why some of you are reluctant to see other means of revenue generation here; perhaps the feeling is that you are contributing enough as it is.  That is a perfectly fair and reasonable point of view and not altogether incorrect.  Your contributions make the network run and, as we are part of that network, help us run as well.  For that, we thank you.

We have good writers and we feel that they need some reward beyond your compliments and gratitude. though.  It is all, of course, appreciated and no one is suggesting that those things are not important.  When people do good work, they need to be rewarded in a more concrete fashion if we are to keep making use of their services.  We feel that is only fair.  They could be writing for someone else and making some money (however small that might be), but instead they choose to write for us and share their thoughts with you.  To help rectify that, we are going to start running some more obvious and prominent ads.  That seems to be the least controversial solution so far presented.  They won’t be overwhelming or distracting, but they will be there and you are encouraged to make use of them if they are relevant to your interests. We hope you will be okay with that.  You’ll start seeing some of them in the coming days.


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