Semi Protection

UESPWiki:Administrator Noticeboard/Ads

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This is an archive of past UESPWiki:Administrator Noticeboard discussions. Do not edit the contents of this page, except for maintenance such as updating links.

While I've always been against having ads on the site (although I did use a LinkExchange banner on the original site) I've been thinking about it lately and may be beginning to change my mind. The site has grown considerably the past year or two along with the hosting costs. While there is no immediate money issue I'm thinking longer term (2, 5, 10 years) when the hosting cost will be more and I may find myself married with kids (anything is possible I suppose). I would rather look into making the site self-supporting now than to have issues in the years to come which I may not have the time or will to resolve.

Now, before you start worrying about the UESP turning into a mass of blinking ads, don't worry. I dislike (hate) intrusive advertising more than most and if I decide to add any they will undoubtably be subtle. For example consider the image on the right with some Google Ads placed on the left side below the navigation bar.

  • Content First -- Ads cannot interfere with the site content or navigation in any way.
  • Minimal and Unobtrusive -- This isn't about plastering the site with ads to get as many impressions as possible. A few ads in out of the way locations, like the example on the right, should be able to make the site self-supporting. I do not want them at the top of the page, crowding from the right side, or in the middle of articles.
  • Style -- Ads should match the site style as closely as possible to blend in (which is opposite to generally how you design ads).

While I suppose this decision is mainly mine since I am basically the sole supporter of the site (many thanks to those who donated some btw...much appreciated) I still value the feedback of the regulars here. -- Daveh 13:51, 14 February 2007 (EST)

Site Growth: An additional note on site growth. Over the past 6 months the site's traffic has essentially doubled. While I wouldn't expect that rate to continue there should be a noticable increase upon the release of Shivering Isle in the next few months. The site is getting close to exceeding its monthly limit of 1000GB (600GB in Dec and likely 800GB or more in Jan). Power wise we are relatively ok but I fear the server is close to its limit during activity peaks (more tweaks may help some).

Even if we do nothing content/feature wise I wouldn't be surprised to need a server upgrade within the next year. -- Daveh 14:03, 14 February 2007 (EST)

I'm inclined to suggest donations instead, esp Wikipedia style. Do it once a year, and use a thermometer at the top of the page so that people will know how close donations are to meeting needs. When you hit the target, remove the donation meter and end the campaign. This way we can be spared ads completely (most of which would be telling us something stupid like where to buy Oblivion or whatever nonsense the page text search triggers), and know that donations are going exactly to cover expenses. --Wrye 18:13, 14 February 2007 (EST)
Personally, I have no real problem with it, as long as the adds are unobtrusive, as Daveh suggests. I mean, it is unfair to expect him to bare the entire financial burden, especially with the site growing fast. On another note, I'm no sure a donation campaign would help to much. For one thing, it takes time to run, which is something Daveh might not have in the future. The other point against it is our user base, we deal with (at least my guess would be) a much younger age group than wikipedia, so we won't get nearly as much money.--Ratwar 18:21, 14 February 2007 (EST)
Hmmm, this is a tough question.... The bottom line is that Daveh should do whatever he needs to in order to keep the site financially sound, and that it shouldn't require extra time on his part. Up until now, we've definitely all been kept blissfully sheltered from the financial reality of maintaining a popular web site by Daveh's generosity (not to mention the technical reality of hard drives and software upgrades). I'll trade some ads (as long as none of them blink) at the bottom of the toolbar for some security that the site won't disappear in a year. Another reason to anticipate a readership jump in the near future is the release of the PS3 version, so to me that monthly limit of 1000GB looks pretty imminent. (Although that 600 GB in December is kind of surprising given all the server problems we had... I suppose most of the world was still reading the pages as regularly as ever, even though nobody could edit them).
But an alternative allowing the site to continue to operate ads would be nice :) I share Ratwar's concerns about whether UESP's readership would be able to donate enough money. But if Daveh would like to take the time to experiment with Wrye's donation campaign, we could see whether or not it works the first time; that might be better than dooming the idea from the start based on our speculation. --Nephele
Donations so far have been very low probably because of the lack of 'advertising' them (purposefully). I was never really comfortable asking for donations in the first place. Personally I'd prefer funding to come from an advertiser than the users of the site.
I'd also prefer advertising over donations as it is (or seems) to be much less time consuming once it is setup.
The 800GB figure for January is an estimate since the hosting company hasn't yet updated the actual figure could be more/less, hopefully not too much more as the overage fee adds up quickly. There was a considerable jump in traffic in December even with the several days of site outage.
Note that we're not stuck with whatever option I choose. I will very likely try a bunch of things over the next few months, both advertising and donation wise, to get a better feel of things. I'll take feedback during that time and figure out what the best option is in the end. -- Daveh 11:28, 15 February 2007 (EST)


So, how is ad income working out? --Wrye 14:12, 20 March 2007 (EDT)

Thanks for the reminder to update this... While it started out really slow it has picked up a bit this month. Currently daily average is about 9$US in revenue and I should end up with a monthly total of 250$US. Currently monthly costs of the site are 105$CND so it is more than enough to cover the site as well as any upgrades we might need in the near future.
  • I have not played with ad sizes, placement, colors etc... at all. I might try some minor tweaks on a weekly or monthly basis. Looking at the daily variability in ad revenue it will be tricky to track effects of changes accurately without monitoring it for a few weeks (ex: weekday's range from 5 to 10$ in revenue over the past month).
  • I haven't received any 'hate' mail or comments concerning the ads so I'm assuming no one really minds or that everyone is just ad blocking (although we are getting 8 million ad impressions a month, so its definitely not everybody).
  • I'll be discontinuing donation requests since everything is covered nicely by the ads.
  • Note that compared to other sites with similar traffic, ad revenue is really, really low. This is just due to the type of site (game info/faq sites are pretty much at the bottom) and due to the limited size/placement of ads. I'm sure I could get 10x the revenue by putting larger ads in the more visible areas (top, in articles, on the side, etc...) but I'm also sure the site would get less traffic as a result.
  • I plan to start a separate account for the site and funnel any extra money from ads and previous donations into it. This would give a good slush fund for emergencies and perhaps use it for some fun stuff for fans (I've always wanted to do game give-aways or something similar). I'll be adding summary pages similar to the previous expense/donation pages related to this.

I'll try to give continued updates and continued feedback is always welcome. -- Daveh 17:58, 27 March 2007 (EDT)

Well, hard to argue too much about that. (Anyway, I recall suggesting ads when you first started the wiki version of the site.) Hmmm... may be time to start doing ads over at Wrye Musings... --Wrye 20:55, 27 March 2007 (EDT)

I've updated the site financials over the past year or so in the site support page which includes revenue from ads in February/March (estimated anyways since I haven't actually been paid yet). Site traffic has picked up recently and the ad revenue along with it so the site may break 400CA$ revenue in April. Since this is far more than the current monthly site expenses (120CA$ or so) I've setup a bank account and will funnel any extra funds into there for future site use. -- Daveh 20:53, 11 April 2007 (EDT).