Site Update: A Few Changes to the Ad System Coming

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Melody Bot, Nov 9, 2018.

  1. Melody Bot

    Your friendly little forum bot. Staff Member

    This article has been imported from for discussion. All of the forum rules still apply.

    One of the biggest challenges to running this website has been figuring out a business model that works, and that allows me to sleep well at night. This website is my full-time job, and the income it provides is how I put food on the table. My goal from the start has been to find a way to make this website the only job I have to have.1 Right now I do some consulting work to make up the difference between what the website brings in and what my family needs. The vast majority of the website’s revenue comes from our readers and our supporter system. It’s because of all the people that read this website and visit our forums that it exists.

    Over the past two years I’ve played around with a few other ways to bring in additional revenue, the main one being advertising. I set up a self-serve adverting system where anyone could buy display ads on the website, and I priced them way under what most websites charge for the number of impressions they would get. Unfortunately, they never sold as well as I hoped they would. So, it’s time to try something different again.

    I’ve partnered up with Advally to help distribute a few more standard advertisements on this website. I did a lot of research and talked to a lot of different people, because I had to make sure I felt comfortable with every step of this. I’ve come to the conclusion that Advally are the best fit because we see eye-to-eye on my vision for this website and the experience that comes with it. (And they work with a variety of other business that I really like — such as Letterboxd.) I could make a lot more money just plastering shitty ads all over the site, but that’s not what I want to do, for all the reasons I’ve talked about before. After listening to David Smith and Marco Arment talk about advertising on their Under the Radar podcast, I know I want to go about this thoughtfully. There will be no pop-up ads, no autoplaying ads, no shitty take over the screen ads, nothing like that. For now, we’re just going to display some standard banners in a few specific places. One or two max per page. I’m also working with Advally to specifically make sure that the advertisements load as fast as possible to not slow down the website. I’ve updated our Privacy Policy to reflect these changes.

    Of course, I want to point out that if you become a supporting member of the website, all advertisements are automatically removed from the entire website. That’s been one of the long running “perks” of being a supporting member. They’re not just hidden; they flat out do not get loaded at all. That means none of the javascript runs and you will not see any display advertisements. This is part of any supporter package. That means for $25 a year, which is basically the cost of a large pizza, you can help support this website, disable all display ads, and get all the other cool perks (dark mode, access to exclusive content, my weekly newsletter/roundup post, and everything else). I think this is a great value and a great tradeoff.

    What does this means for current, supporting members? Basically nothing. You will not see a single ad on the website. Basically, your experience when you’re logged into the website will not change at all. It’s a great perk. Second, I’ll be rolling out a few new changes shortly so that when you login to the forum or via the main website it remembers that you’re a supporter much longer, and removes all the ads on the main site for you too, automatically. Again, they don’t even get loaded. I’m now sharing your preferences for no ads and dark mode between the main website and forums, so everything should stay way more synced up while not sacrificing speed or load times for anyone. I’ve been testing it myself over the past month or two and it works great.

    Also, I also know that not everyone that visits this website every day has the funds to be a supporting member. I get that. That’s why I want to make sure the ads we run aren’t going to ruin the experience for you either. I believe that some combination of advertisements and direct support are the key to this website being a perpetually sustainable endeavor. Hopefully, with this change, within a few months I’ll be able to stop having to take other consulting work, and be able to focus all my time on this website. Fingers crossed at least.

    I’ll start making these changes in the next few weeks. At that time, I’ll be retiring my current ad system and implementing the new ad units. I’m going to continue to sell the weekly newsfeed sponsors myself, and I’ve tweaked what those offer. I want these to stick out a little more since they’re exclusive each week. If you’re interested, you can find out more information here. I still think these are a great way to reach our audience.

    Thanks again to everyone that visits this website every single day and reads what I write. And, of course, thanks to everyone that supports this website and helps make what we do possible. It’s been a whole lot of fun doing this over the past couple of years, and I feel very blessed that I can continue to write about music and talk in the forums each day. I also feel very thankful that I have the chance to play around with different options like this. Hopefully, I can find the right combination so that my passion, and where I spend most of my time, can also be how I make the majority of my living. Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions at all.

    1. The long-term goal was, and continues to be, to hopefully find a way to expand the website into an entity that could support more than one person.

  2. dash64

    This is my design

    I respect and appreciate the way you conveyed this message and the way you treat members of the site. It's what keeps me coming back to this community, in addition to all of the great people here. Things have definitely come a long way from AP and I wanted to say thank you.
  3. Buscemi knows best

    You owe me a Sausage McMuffin

    This is how you run a website, and remain transparent with the community. Thanks for all you do.
    t_papaccio, Mary V, dash64 and 3 others like this.
  4. Snowisfun

    Newbie Supporter

    Thanks for giving us all an amazing community!
    dash64 and Jason Tate like this.
  5. Thank you!
  6. heartsdietoo


    It’s nice to know that there are people out there like you that actually care enough about your community to put so much thought and care into how you set up ads/monetize your website. When you could simply just throw up random ads everywhere and make more money. Truly a stand up guy Jason. That’s why this site (counting absolutepunk) has held a place in my bookmarks longer than any other.
    Jason Tate likes this.
  7. Kiana

    Anyway, don't be a stranger Prestigious

    I will become a supporter if I can stay at ur cute apt/house anytime I visit PDX tbh /have been stalking ur insta stories and am jealous
    supernovagirl and Jason Tate like this.
  8. Hahaha, incredible. I’ll buy you a beer! :cheers:
    heartsdietoo, tyramail and Kiana like this.
  9. hypotc


    Have you considered Brave Rewards? This is a new browser being developed by former Firefox and Javascript creator Brendan Eich, which lets users set a monthly payment direct in the browser using their token BAT. Version 1.0 is right around the corner, and hopefully it will change the whole ad business online.
  10. I'll keep an eye on it, but I'm not optimistic or that interested in anything that revolves around people having to install a third party browser.
  11. CyberInferno

    Line below my username Supporter

    That's some expensive pizza! I'm kidding, of course. Being a supporter is absolutely worth such a small penance. I can't imagine any of your supporters feel short-changed.
    heartsdietoo likes this.
  12. Haha, I guess the pizza near us is spendy. A large pepperoni from the place we go to most often is $24, our second favorite is $25 for a large one topping as well.

    I appreciate that! Thank you!
    heartsdietoo and CyberInferno like this.
  13. slickdtc

    Regular Supporter

    Pretty much word for word what I wanted to say. Posting that the way ads are being delivered / displayed will be changing is a courtesy most websites owners’ never even think to address to the community it depends on.

    I don’t post too often, but I check nearly daily. Love the non-music tidbits outside of the music news that matters to me. Maybe there’s another place like this out there, but I don’t care to find it because I don’t need to. I hope that doesn’t change ever.

    You’ve got a supporter for life.
    Jason Tate likes this.