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.
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).
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:
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.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?
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.
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:
(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.)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.
ADMINS: If you decide we should never discuss this subject, please delete the post entirely.