Forum Advertising

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Forum Advertising

Postby fbenario on July 5th, 2012, 10:10 pm

Personal

With this topic and post I am NOT in any way suggesting we begin accepting advertising on the forum. The potential for loss of editorial control of content can never occur. Metaphorically at least, I hope the admins agree that such loss of control will only happen "over my dead body".

I trust I have made my position on this issue unmistakably clear.

So here we go. I have a lifelong love of numbers and statistical analysis. At age-8, I learned to read upside-down as quickly as I can otherwise read, and retain that skill today. Why did I do this? My father read the newspaper's sports section, aka 'athletics' section, first thing at breakfast. I couldn't wait until he finished eating to read the box-scores of the previous day's baseball games.

Value of Advertising

As an academic question, this morning I spent a good bit of time researching the value of blog page-views with respect to potential advertising revenue. It won't surprise you to learn that the question is very hard to answer, and the calculations of prospective ranges of value are quite imprecise, especially given the vast difference in types of unpaid blogs and forums and the intellectual quality of posts therein.


Industry Metrics

I emailed two questions to a friend who sells internet advertising. After reading her fairly technical response, my best estimate is that each CPM would provide revenue to us between $2-4. The internet-advertising industry generally uses cost-per-thousand page-views (CPM) to determine revenue to the website of the site's advertisements, while less often using cost-per-click (on the ad itself).


Forum Page-Views

Our current statistics-counting service apparently started counting forum page-views in November 2010, after the transition from our predecessor Reality Shack to Clues Forum was completed the last week of Oct. 2010. We thus have no numbers for the first year of the forum's existence from October 18, 2009-Nov. 2010. In very broad terms this is what we know:

Nov 2009 -2010 = ????
Nov 2010 - 2011 = 1.4 million page-views
Nov 2011 - June 2012 = 1.7 million = 200,000/month, so adding another 800,000 will give 2.5 projected million page-views for the Nov 2011-12 period as a whole.

As you can see, the forum as of July 1, 2012 had 3.1 million page-views since Nov. 2010.

I asked my friend how many page-views she would estimate we had that first year, and described the forum as follows:

How much in advertising revenue is a single page-view worth on an "unpaid blog forum", meaning all content is voluntary on the part of contributors, and all comments in response from the public are permanently archived and immediately available to review at no cost?


Her analysis, based on what little information I gave her, was that 300,000 page-views for that first year was a reasonably conservative estimate. Adding this 0.3 million to our known 3.1 million page-views gives an estimated 3.4 million page-views since we began.


Estimated Forum Revenue

At $2 revenue per CPM, we can estimate that our current 3.4 million page-views would have produced revenue from blog advertising of $3,400 (2,600 Euros ?). This would have supported the forum's total costs so far, and also funded a lot of out-reach to the world.

Conclusion

Food for thought. The best decisions and plans usually result from using the best available information. If collectively we can figure out how to guarantee permanent continuing control over editorial content we might look into this further. My friend ended with the advice:
Also I am not sure why you are asking all of these questions, but if it is research as you consider monetizing a blog, I will say that it is probably going to be more time consuming and challenging to sell ads directly than if you work through an ad aggregator/network. They will be able to sell ads on your site for more money than you can because they will be able to bundle your site with hundreds, if not thousands, of other sites to get enough volume for a big advertiser to be interested.

I am not sure how that side of the business works, but I think you could look into becoming a publisher on Advertising.com, Right Media, or x+1... or you could sign up to be an affiliate through Commission Junction. I believe that when you sign up for Commission Junction, you get to go into the system and choose which ads will show on your site. You get to decide which ads you think your readers would be interested in seeing. I am not sure if they pay you on a CPM or CPC (cost per click) though.

(I have spent no time at all researching any of these providers to determine how controlled they are. My head hurts from dealing with all these numbers, so I'm stopping now.)

ADMINS: If you decide we should never discuss this subject, please delete the post entirely.
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Re: Forum Advertising

Postby simonshack on July 5th, 2012, 11:27 pm

Dear Fredbenario,

I will certainly not delete this post, on the contrary - I'm very glad you brought this issue up. To be sure, after many years of self-sustained efforts, I am beginning to scratch my head over how to keep this ship afloat... So for now, let me just encourage anyone with particular knowledge of how these ad schemes work to submit their advice on how to make - this forum at least - self-sustaining. To be quite honest, I have always been a disaster at salesmanship and raising any sort of monies to support my endeavors - and that includes my music making. Yes, I do need assistance with such things - and will warmly appreciate everyone's help and suggestions. :)
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Re: Forum Advertising

Postby Farcevalue on July 6th, 2012, 2:37 am

I think that advertisements may have a positive ripple effect into the world at large beyond simply funding the site. There are probably a great number of people who have questions, doubts and suspicions regarding 9/11 but keep their thoughts to themselves in the name of preserving the "business as usual" status quo. Demonstrating that questioning (and seeing the evidence presented here in opposition to) the official story, doesn't detract from, but actually promotes some business or enterprise, could lever those questions into the wider business community as a whole. It could be a great opportunity to offer additional components of legitimacy to the Clues Forum besides the research itself.
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Re: Forum Advertising

Postby MrSinclair on July 6th, 2012, 3:53 am

Thank you fbenario for raising this issue. I find that advertising detracts from some of the sites I visit. Some end up plagued with pop-ups, high volume video ad's and other junk about all kinds of crap nobody will likely want. The ads may be sleazy or annoying and may cheapen what is now a very distinguished site. To me it makes more sense to keep a clean ad-free site and at least solicit the users for donations as an alternative. We've all seen how annoying some of the monetized Youtube vids and ads here may be as bad or worse. I have contributed and will happily do so again. I suggest that a fund raising effort to support the site might be a better approach.
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Re: Forum Advertising

Postby brianv on July 6th, 2012, 11:59 am

"Get your Green Card" between every post? The latest propaganda/war movie "blockbuster" with Brew Swillis or some other asswipe?

If perhaps it was kept to the chatboxes and away from the general research areas, might be a compromise worth investigating!

But speaking as an "ad hater", I have every conceivable ad-blocker installed in my browser!

:typo
Last edited by brianv on July 7th, 2012, 1:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Forum Advertising

Postby fbenario on July 7th, 2012, 1:39 am

brianv wrote:If perhaps it was kept to the chatboxes and away from the general research areas, might be a compromise worth investigating!

But speaking as an "ad hater", I have every conceivable ad-blocker installed in my browser!

Totally agree with both points, Brian! I also have AdBlock on my IE, Firefox, Opera, and Chrome.

I also agree with Sinclair that I would like to see a fundraiser posted on the forum, I suggest every 6 months.

I would also suggest that nearly every one of us donate $10.00 2x or 4x yearly. I have little, if any, extra money, and no desire for more - and even I will gladly contribute such amounts (and actually do have a very irregular, and very modest history with Simon, of doing so).

By the way, has any member noticed Chrome slowing down some in the last week or so? In its beginning it was sold to us as faster than Firefox. I still use mostly Firefox, mostly for its massive offerings of add-ons and extensions.
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Re: Forum Advertising

Postby whatsgoingon on July 7th, 2012, 4:02 am

a
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Re: Forum Advertising

Postby Farcevalue on July 7th, 2012, 10:11 pm

Image
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Re: Forum Advertising

Postby fbenario on July 8th, 2012, 1:25 am

Farcevalue wrote:Image

I don't like having all the TV logos on the shirt, since the casual viewer will think we are supporting those stations as 'telling the truth'.
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Re: Forum Advertising

Postby messdup on July 8th, 2012, 3:43 am

fben, you make a good case. Look, I'm just an arsehole living close to the gutter.
However, I do have a number of years working as a salesman. And, the sales 'pitch' can not be underestimated !
I think it a great idea. For the simple reason that the most important thing is that 'minds' out there are awakened.
Of course, you can not lose the info integrity,because, if you lose it that would defeat the whole purpose. But, it is possible.
To make $, compromises have to be made. The trick is ( that is, getting the info you want out, without that info being manipulated) making deals that profit all parties.
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Re: Forum Advertising

Postby Farcevalue on July 8th, 2012, 4:51 am

fbenario wrote:
Farcevalue wrote:Image

I don't like having all the TV logos on the shirt, since the casual viewer will think we are supporting those stations as 'telling the truth'.


Just spitballing...thinking of an SC merchandise shop with bumper stickers and the like. I just lifted the site logo, but left out the most critical "Exposing Media Fakery" tag line. No comments on "Get a clue..."? I thought I was having a real Mad Men moment.
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Re: Forum Advertising

Postby fbenario on July 8th, 2012, 4:52 pm

Farcevalue wrote:
fbenario wrote:
Farcevalue wrote:Image

I don't like having all the TV logos on the shirt, since the casual viewer will think we are supporting those stations as 'telling the truth'.


Just spitballing...thinking of an SC merchandise shop with bumper stickers and the like. I just lifted the site logo, but left out the most critical "Exposing Media Fakery" tag line. No comments on "Get a clue..."? I thought I was having a real Mad Men moment.

Farce, I agree 100% with your idea. A black t-shirt with three lines of text, saying:
Get A Clue ...
Exposing Media Fakery
cluesforum.info

is what we need to do. No more words, no images at all, with the exact same on the back.

I have no way to handle this. Would someone please volunteer to research costs, determining placement and style on the forum's Home/Index page, and appropriate means of filling orders? Thank you.
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Re: Forum Advertising

Postby fbenario on July 9th, 2012, 1:36 am

fbenario wrote:I emailed two questions to a friend who sells internet advertising.
...
My friend ended with the advice:
Also I am not sure why you are asking all of these questions, but if it is research as you consider monetizing a blog, I will say that it is probably going to be more time consuming and challenging to sell ads directly than if you work through an ad aggregator/network. They will be able to sell ads on your site for more money than you can because they will be able to bundle your site with hundreds, if not thousands, of other sites to get enough volume for a big advertiser to be interested.

I am not sure how that side of the business works, but I think you could look into becoming a publisher on Advertising.com, Right Media, or x+1... or you could sign up to be an affiliate through Commission Junction. I believe that when you sign up for Commission Junction, you get to go into the system and choose which ads will show on your site. You get to decide which ads you think your readers would be interested in seeing. I am not sure if they pay you on a CPM or CPC (cost per click) though.

(I have spent no time at all researching any of these providers to determine how controlled they are. My head hurts from dealing with all these numbers, so I'm stopping now.)

PROPOSAL

ADMINS! We need to act. We've seen over the last few days that the forum as a whole generally agrees that 'something should be done' to raise funds for Simon's forum maintainance.

So far we have two options, (1) hold a 2x- or 3x-yearly fundraiser among ourselves, or (2) introduce limited ads to the forum.

Somewhat humorously, I would suggest that, any time you see apparent agreement between Brianv and me (other than on media fakery), what we agree on is worth your consideration and trust. I'm basing this conclusion, not on PMs or emails with Brian, but rather on our vastly different life experiences, psyches, mentalities, and methods of thinking and communicating. WIth this I mean no disrespect for Brian or anyone else, and I am not currently patting myself on the back. (I only do that over my lifetime partnership with Keith, and my ability to analyze and identify certain media fakery.)

(Brian, please understand that, for better or worse, you are one of only about a dozen people on the entire planet whose judgment and worldview I trust without question. They are all on the forum, and their identity is obvious. I mean no criticism of you with any of this.)

Fundraiser

At the top of the Index/Home page, for one week at a time, might be a clearly-identified link to Simon's existing paypal account, placed just below the top-most Clues banner. I think it is reasonable to conclude that sufficient funds will be raised every year to more than support the forum's annual maintenance costs, and thus a reserve fund will also begin to build. I alone will contribute $30-$40 annually, and I have extremely limited spare funds to contribute to anything at all.

Advertising

Please consider asking for a volunteer to analyze all the ad companies mentioned above in my friend's post, and any others that come to mind, to determine costs, appropriateness, and likely 'controlling' nature and/or likelihood of forum censorship. I don't trust my own judgment on this proposed research, because I've already concluded we should run ads, and my Deep-State research skills are not as finely-honed as certain other members' skills.

I'm sure all of you will laugh at this, but I don't actually think huge, controlled ad-seller-conglomerates will censor or delete our posts. Of course I could be wrong, but I don't believe TPTB see us as a threat that must be squashed ASAP. (I understand the censorship we suffered on Reality Shack was by the blog-hosting entity, not by a huge ad seller making money off the forum!)

Finally, I would suggest ads with no moving/flashing parts, or anything else distracting or computer-resource-hogging. I don't want them in general areas like The Chatbox, since many visitors may have decided long ago not to view that thread on an ongoing basis. How 'bout a one-inch-square ad on the Home page itself, for variety changing itself every 5 minutes, also placed just below the top-most Clues banner.

Since adblocking software permits identified exceptions, each of us can tell our adblockers not to block ads on the forum!
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Re: Forum Advertising

Postby brianv on July 9th, 2012, 2:15 am

Gosh, I'm just a visitor here and I don't deserve such consideration or need be consulted regarding board matters!

If Simon decrees it, then so be it!
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Re: Forum Advertising

Postby Makkonen on July 9th, 2012, 8:55 am

I don't know if one possibility would be a Kickstarter-style campaign, wherein you get a small reward/rewards based on your donation level. So, for example, a thank you - e-mail for $10, a sticker for $20, a postcard for $30 and so on...
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