The Inevitable - Ads

Gamers With Jobs was begun in January 2003 with the idea that it would be a personally entertaining hobby that Certis and I would enjoy for however long the ride managed to last, a timeframe we measured at something like six months. In our very wildest and unicorn populated dreams we imagined a perhaps marginally successful gaming website, though one with daily articles that would be worthy of industry recognition, written by writers good enough to scribe their unique voices anywhere in the business. We imagined a forum of thousands, with more posts than we could hope to read, a tight community, and threads that spanned pages growing better at every turn. We imagined thousands of unique readers per day, and millions of hits a year. It all seemed pretty damn far fetched at the time, and how we laughed at the mere hinting of such nonsense. Well, kids, we're there, have been for a while now, and the question that Certis and I have spent a large portion of the year deciding is: What now?

GWJ is equal parts beast of burden and labor of love. I'd no more abandon or sully this site than I would dip my pets in a tasty batter and fry them up for dinner, but as the site grows, in many ways despite our best efforts to restrain it, the joyful beast consumes more hours, more work, more bandwidth, more time, more money, and more effort. So, considering that we would not begin to think of letting the site deteriorate, Certis and I are faced with the choice of slowly drowning under its weight, or accepting that we must make GWJ a part of our own jobs. You probably sense where this is going, so let's just get this out of the way, and then we can talk about it.

Gamers With Jobs will begin displaying advertisements. Please, I'm begging you, read on before reacting!

According to string theory there are limitless parallel dimension with infinite probabilities stretched across a multiverse that allows for all possible permutations of reality, which means there is, somewhere out there, a universe where Certis and I are extraordinarily wealthy and able to maintain ourselves on wit and looks alone. This is not that reality, though if anyone can fashion a method by which funds can be transferred interdimensionally then we may have an alternative solution. Barring that, GWJ needs revenue to sustain, and survive.

I have several things I want to address, but first let's talk about what sort of positives this change could bring. First, Certis and I are renewing our efforts to grow and improve this site, but we can not do it without resources. Generating revenue means that we can begin considering improving the site technology, layout, and servers. Faster access, better navigating, and, imagine this, a functional search function are just a few of the things we'd like to consider doing. Further, we could focus on generating more content and creating incentives for our personnel in keeping them here.

As it stands now our donation drive provides a nice base to keep us functional and breathing, but it offers no room for growth, and we are stretching the dollars to keep providing the level of content and reliability you've come to expect. It is enough to keep the doors open, but not much else. We have far more potential than we've been able to explore.

Additionally, Certis and I put in a lot of hours in managing and producing for the site. It's time that we love, and were we independently wealthy we'd do it for nothing without complaint. Tragically, we both increasingly find ourselves in conflict about where to put out time. Supporting the site sometimes comes at the expense of supporting ourselves, and it's increasingly easy to imagine a scenario where we have to start abandoning our time with the site to the daily grind.

We recognize that not many of you will feel this is an entirely positive change. I'm sure you will all draw different conclusions as to what this means, and we hope that most of you recognize it for the relatively benign force that it is. We will not be asking our writers, who, as you've certainly noticed, are fiercely independent themselves, to change their voices or styles. And, should there erupt at some unlikely point conflict between what our writers responsibly post and what our advertisers want to be associated with, then we'll stand behind our people. I find that kind of scenario, however, highly unlikely.

Our approach in providing advertising will be to find the least intrusive reasonable ads possible. We will explore advertising alternatives designed not to annoy the reader, but still be effective. We've certainly no desire to seem irksome with gaudy or intrusive ads. I imagine there would be a period of fine-tuning as we find a balance between what generates revenue without getting in the way of the site.

In the end, this is the choice we have made, between stagnation and growth, sustaining on the edge or seizing an opportunity to be mighty. Without this, it is possible that our levels of participation might no longer be sustainable, that we would not be able to monitor the forums or produce content or recruit new talent as much, that we would have to spend more of our time working for someone else than for you and ourselves. We ask not that you take our assurances of continued commitment to unbiased content at face value, but that you have the patience to allow us to prove it.

As always reader comment, which is pretty much known for being vocal, is welcome, and we will be very interested in your responses. We hope you understand our reasons for bringing advertising to the site, and have the faith in us to find that satisfying balance that does not intrude upon your experience or tarnish our reputation. In fact, I think you may find that GWJ will become better than ever.

I know there have been a number of changes that we've asked you all to deal with the past few weeks, and I certainly understand the uncertainty and chaos that brings along with it. This, however, is the last shoe I forsee dropping anytime soon, and hopefully we can get through a bit of turmoil with a better site and a better community in place. Again, we hope to prove this not with words but action.

Let the rampant speculation and wild hyperbole "… wait for it! "… begin.

- Elysium

Comments

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JESUS MAN THIS FUC...

Only joking. Having adverts is a normal thing to do. Doesn't make the site any less independent, nor do I think it'll greatly affect people's experience of it. Nobody should expect you to put any more into this site than you already have.

And you know what? If you had to close GWJ tomorrow because you had to spend time with your family rather on here? Then everyone would applaud that decision. People realise real life impinges on our hobby -- even when all we're doing is talking about playing games.

If that's what the site needs to survive, go for it. I see ads everywhere. It won't bother me to see them here.

Yeah, before I read the first two comments I wondered if it was just me who was going to say "Who cares?", or, as Snoop Dogg more poetically stated, "I don't knock nobody's hustle."

Get yours, GWJ. You earn it every day you be on that grind.

You guys have the biggest resource that anyone could ever ask for. A mostly honest, and willing community. I can only speak for myself but I am willing to donate time, energy, effort, and sometimes money to help out.

No need for lengthy explanations. Anything that keeps GWJ on the air is legitimate in my book.

I'm curious, to what level will the ads be tailored to the site, if at all? Should we expect to see generic ads, like for shoes or TVs or cars? Or can we expect to see somewhat-specific tech ads, like for games, toys and consulting services? Or will it go down to something as detailed and site-specific as, I dunno, those baby slings the Goodjer dads are always talking about? Or is this something that has yet to be worked out. (Or have I asked enough questions in one paragraph yet?)

I sort of expected this to happen as I saw the site grow bigger and bigger and it truly is astonishing how long this site has gone without them. Knowing Certis personally for years, I have no doubt in my mind that integrity is above all else. It is awesome that you guys have been able to find something you love to do, I have no problems with you guys figuring out a way to help cover the costs. There have been a few times where I found myself working on something and thinking I could do this for the rest of my life and I would do it for free if I could. Unfortunately reality often reminds you pretty quickly that free won't pay the bills.

I'm surprised it's taken this long to decide to put ads on Gamers with Jobs; I can't imagine what your monthly bandwidth bills are like! For the shear amount of content I get from this site I almost feel guilty not paying to use it, so ads certainly arn't going to bother l'il ol' newbie me!

Have you decided which route to take? Static/very little motion ads like Penny Arcade does, Google Adwords, or those somewhat annoying double underlined links?

So this is Project Orange :wink:. Adds are fine as long as they aren't obtrusive. I'm confident that you two will handle everything in the best interests of the community.

If Certis and Ely see it as a path to the site's continued viability, then it's definitely not something they should apologize for!

I wonder however: are ads indeed that effective as a revenue generator? Are the ads alone going to help them foot the new bills? I am just wondering. I have no idea. It's definitely better than nothing, sure. I am just not certain exactly how much better.

But if the answer is "yes", then bring them on already! Big huge insterstitials like they have at Salon.com!

What I'm hearing is Certis and Elysium hate us! Just kidding. Actually it's no big deal since I know that Elysium will opt for the hookers and booze advertisements.

I support the change. This is a fantastic online community, and with growth comes more needed resources. I'm sure you've all done everything in your power to keep this moment from happening, and I don't believe this move to be a drop in integrity whatsoever. I consider ads to be a necessary evil in this case. We will all survive.

and, imagine this, a functional search function

SOLD!

As long as all the ads are for pron I see no problem.

Good that you guys will be able to focus more on GWJ and keep the site alive.

The challenge I've experienced in the past when displaying ads to a tech-savvy target market, such as GWJ, is that it's not easy to get us to click on the ads...there are, of course, plenty of ways to get around that, but it also takes time to develop and let the smart marketing people (Yep, there's a few of them out there) figure out how to target an audience so that you guys actually do get some income from the ads themselves. Let me know if you need any help.

Badferret wrote:

As long as all the ads are for good pron I see no problem.

fixed

I've got no issues - just don't do those stupid and annoying link-ads with mouseovers that drive me batty.

Finally I'll know where I can hook myself up with some fine GWJ approved and sanctioned hookers and blackjack! WTG folks!

Can I pay extra to not see ads?

Penny Arcade has advertisements, and theirs reflect their own style (Gabe drawing them (all of them?)). Maybe adds here can possibly (sometimes) reflect the mood and nature of GwJ's. I'd like to see some Elysium and Certis flavored adds -- not just "True" adds with some girls butt in my face (although....hmmm....).

I think anyone that's a member on this site, heck even if they've lurked for more than a few weeks, will support the idea of ads but Magnus has a point. It's one thing to serve them, another to get people to click on them.

As someone who has no problem donating the equivelant of 10$ month to the site during the drives it's slightly irksome but again if the site's search capabilities will return to their previous glory and the server will stay up longer than Leiberman's (not meant in a political way I just think it's funny that a campaign website (any party's campaign) is using a 15$/month hosting site and then complaining when it dies under the weight). I realize my donation is a pittance in the great pool, especially when I look around and see how many bling icons are on the long termers here, but it took a lot of talk to get the wife to agree that first and second year to where now it's accepted as part of my hobby dues.

The PA guys do a decent job of ads, and from the vague mentions of it they do make, they do all right (though they're branching out now as well). They even hand pick and sometimes hand draw the ads they display. If you guys get that level of input then I definately have no worries.

Finally, as someone who is a gamer with job (more job than gamer lately but that's how that goes at times) I don't worry too much of people 'selling out', time is money and if you've got more mouths than your own to feed and they don't or can't live on ramen well sometimes and most times you dedicate your time to where you're going to earn the most for it. This can be done with ethics involved and again, I think the folks that run this site will walk the line just fine.

All that said, if you F'ers get a front loading ad page like Blue's I'll stab you in the face. Which is pretty much the same quote I gave Evil Avatar at one point but I ended up leaving his site shortly afterward anyways due to the changing vibe there (though recently I think that page is on an upswing, I try to catch the weekly comic reviews) but that's just a fun story not really on the point. So get your ad on or something.

I agree with the above posts that it's surprising you guys have held out this long. As long as it's not the inline autolink ads (Intellitext is an oxymoron) I'll whitelist the site. No guarantees that I'll actually see the ads let alone click them but that's just because today's society has finely honed my inherent spam and ad filters.

pandion124 wrote:
Badferret wrote:

As long as all the ads are for good pron I see no problem.

fixed :)

I was just thinking how great it would be to not only ready GWJ but find all kinds of new porn at the same time. It's a win/win scenario here people.

pandion124 wrote:
Badferret wrote:

As long as all the ads are for good pron I see no problem.

fixed :)

Seriously though... I hope these ads are safe for work, and not just in terms of content. Nothing invites inspection like flashing text or monkey boxers.

Anyway, I think you're more than welcome to get paid for the service you provide to all of us goodjers.

if it's good enough for NASCAR, it's good enough for GWJ!

As long as the ads don't offend anyone or are inappropriate then I'm cool with it. Just keep the site running and I'll be happy as a clam.

Oh, and what if they are porn ads? Will the entire GWJ site be banned at our jobs for NSFW material?

A while back we had a good discussion on gas grills, and most of us agreed that Weber offered the most for the money. Maybe they'd put an ad here. Many of us would show that company some love. Since I'm at the outer edge of many target demographics I don't bother reading ads for the most part, but please don't start hocking those Warcraft Gold/Powerlevel services.

I am willing to rent my tag for a small fee.

Given that we're so uptight about ads we decided to run an article about them, I think it's safe to say they won't involve anything that will get you thrown out of work. You won't be punching monkeys, winning $1 million in prizes or shooting space aliens. We'll be doing our best to keep them tasteful and effective, like a ninja butler.

To be truthful, my first reaction was 'bout time. Ads will not delute the spirit of the site. However, there a few types of ads I hope we don't see:

pop-ups
pop-backs
flashing, seiure-inducing ads
Flash ads that appear over site-content
ad-links a la www.firingsquad.com

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