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

souldaddy wrote:

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

I detest ad-links. We would never sully our articles with those. Feel free to quote me on that in the future.

Couldn't you just become male prostitutes instead? What with your firm buttocks and masculine torso...

dejanzie wrote:

Couldn't you just become male prostitutes instead? What with your firm buttocks and masculine torso...

Maybe we could all just have a day where the bulk of the GWJ forum members prostitute themselves out for a day. It would generate enough income for at least 10 years of hosting in one night!

I'm only a newbie but for what its worth you have my support. We are all grown ups here (its great to be able to say that about a gaming website) and we live in the real world. I would far prefer a few ads than have to pay a subscription.

PS. another vote against adlinks your promise on the subject has been added to my scrapbook for future use if needed Certis

What has to be done - has to be done.

Personally, I don't have problem with adverts. I even find them interesting and almost pleasant sometimes, like Eve Online ad on The Escapist, and won't mind at all seeing something like that here.

Looking at ads versus not looking at GWJ is a no brainer for me. Bring it on.

Another vote of support and suggestion that maybe you guys dial up Gabe and Tycho and find out more about their model.

Since longtime posters have, in the past day, been referred to as rock stars, I vote for an optional pay-you-to-see-no-ads subscription model called the GWJ Rock Stars.

GWJ is equal parts beast of burden and labor of love

I hate that cliche - only because when I read it, I hear: "pretty pretty pretty pretty pretty pretty girl" in my head.

Eh, ads are easy enough to ignore. Whatever it takes to keep one of three cracks in my life (Family, WOW, GWJ) running!

I for one welcome our new ad overlords!

I have no problem with Ads being implemented. In fact I am surprised that GWJ has gone on this long without another source of revenue besides the donation drive.

souldaddy wrote:

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

I agree with Souldaddy that these kinds of ads are not very tolerable, though knowing the GWJ management I highly doubt we will see anything like this on the site.

The big question though is:

Who is going to be the first to post the picture of Certis and Elysium flying in the plane with the suitcase full of money?

this is because you couldn't come up with something better than a Golden Weiner Bomb, isn't it?

I am all for ads as long as every third one is the buzzing mosquito one.

Do what you need to do, guys, we're not going anywhere.

Will Goodjers be able to purchase adspace?
A lot of us have websites, businesses, *cough* conventions *cough* we'd like to promote here.. I know I've been tempted to order from Ducki's site a few times but it only comes up once in a blue moon when she links it in a thread.. It would be nice to see membership and community oriented ads in addition to your other prospects.

Ads are a natural thing for sites, and the quality of this site isnt diminished by an ad or two. Hell..that's what all that blank space on the left is for anyway..right?

You know, if they're going to be picky about the ads (which I'm guessing they will given the article), I think these might be the only ads I don't block. The thing is, I come to this site looking for game recommendations, hardware info and all sorts of other stuff. This site has been a magnificent resource for everything from computers to consoles to brewing kits and all sorts of other stuff. I trust in the members, and more importantly, the founders of the site when it comes to their opinions. If certis or Ely say the PS3 is the bee's knees, then by gum, I'm going to think long and hard about getting it. I'm hoping the advertisements will be a reflection of that sentiment.

Alien13z wrote:

this is because you couldn't come up with something better than a Golden Weiner Bomb, isn't it?

I am all for ads as long as every third one is the buzzing mosquito one.

You, sir, can die.

Hey, if you really want revenue, do like Penny Arcade and Gaming Trend and a few others have done: make sure to pick advertisers that will be showing quality things, as that will increase your click-through rate and thus your revenue. I rarely ever click on ads, but I will say that the ads that display on those sites (especially PA) have actually caught my eye and my interest and led to click-throughs in the past.

As long as we don't get to crazy levels like IGN, Gamespot, or other major sites do (and I doubt you guys would want that any more than we do) I don't see an issue with ads. No pop-ups, pop-unders, or Java crap that covers up the page, and I'll be ok.

I imagine this is going to be a multi-step process, having been through it before.

First, you need to get the site traffic up. Chicken and Egg problem here. A site this big needs some kind of ongoing revenue to live with the size it's acheived, but to really make any revenue on advertising, it has to get bigger. Managing growth is a challenge, but I think I speak for everyone in this community that we're all up to the task of doing that. There's no omniscient eye in the sky: the members of this community are the best moderators, marketers, and contributers Certis and Ely could ever want.

The second step is targetting. The bigger are, the pickier you can be about advertising. Having no idea how it's going to work, I suspect we'll see less targetted ads before we see better targeted ads.

It's all good.

Rabbit

I'll throw in with the, "I trust Certis and Elysium to make good choices, and I'd rather ads than see GWJ die" contingent. There's no intrinsic problem with ads in and of themselves, just an overabundance of them.
But I agree with concerns about whether or not they will provide revenue. This is a fairly tech savvy group (as my posting questions about how to work iTunes can attest), so I suspect most of us block ads pretty regularly. It will take a conscious effort to actually see the ads on this site for many of us. I, for one, will be happy to click on them in order to help provide revenue. I hope that you'll see the returns you're expecting.

Ganguro wrote:

Will Goodjers be able to purchase adspace?
A lot of us have websites, businesses, *cough* conventions *cough* we'd like to promote here.. I know I've been tempted to order from Ducki's site a few times but it only comes up once in a blue moon when she links it in a thread.. It would be nice to see membership and community oriented ads in addition to your other prospects.

I had this same question. Many of the community have businesses, and whether or not they really would benefit from ad space here, they may be willing to adverstise. Sort of like putting your name on the little league team's jerseys: it doesn't net you anything, just tells the occassional person who notices that you support the team.

I felt privileged being a member of a community that was self-sustaining so while I completely understand the financial reasoning, it's still disappointing to close that chapter. With that said, I'm sure you guys will implement something that will be tasteful and in-line with our interests.

OMG... OMG... Gamers With Jobs is F-ing DOOMED!

... joking. Ads to support the site will be just fine... and perhaps another Donation drive.

You just watch. Soon they'll be launching their own currency. The Cert? No, the Shon!

souldaddy wrote:

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

Interstitials.
I hate going to gamespy any more for this very reason.
Dear god, no interstitials.

Will there still be donation drives? I want my watch!

Ganguro wrote:

Will Goodjers be able to purchase adspace?
A lot of us have websites, businesses, *cough* conventions *cough* we'd like to promote here.. I know I've been tempted to order from Ducki's site a few times but it only comes up once in a blue moon when she links it in a thread.. It would be nice to see membership and community oriented ads in addition to your other prospects.

I think that's a great idea. Speaking for myself, I almost never click on internet ads, but I'd be much more likely to click through and give business if the advertiser was a fellow Goodger.

Also, does it now make us unsupportive of GWJ if we run Adblock?

Couldn't we just make a hotwivesofgamerswithjobs.com pr0n site and rake in the cash? Some things are more important than personal modesty. Lives are at stake here people! Won't someone please think of the children?!?

Desram wrote:

You just watch. Soon they'll be launching their own currency. The Cert? No, the Shon!

Such a tempting photoshop target.

Couldn't we just make a hotwivesofgamerswithjobs.com pr0n site and rake in the cash? Some things are more important than personal modesty. Lives are at stake here people! Won't someone please think of the children?!?

Does that mean we get to see the Jewbies soon?

As far as the ads go: meh, whatever it takes. This feels like being in a startup company after it has finished with a successful IPO. I fear change but have only really been along for the ride, anyway.

Desram wrote:

You just watch. Soon they'll be launching their own currency. The Cert? No, the Shon!

Maybe we should just start donating our Canadian Tire money to them and they can use that as the currency.

painthappens wrote:

I for one welcome our new ad overlords! :D

Curse my metal body, I was too slow!

In any case, we all know that you guys will do right by the site and community you've built. No big whup.

Ganguro wrote:

Will Goodjers be able to purchase adspace?
A lot of us have websites, businesses, *cough* conventions *cough* we'd like to promote here.. I know I've been tempted to order from Ducki's site a few times but it only comes up once in a blue moon when she links it in a thread.. It would be nice to see membership and community oriented ads in addition to your other prospects.

I'd be willing to take a look at the ad rates and the numbers and compare it to other sites where I do/have advertised. (MetaFilter, Boing, SuicideGirls, IndieClick, etc.)

Who are you going to use as your ad server, and what sort of cross promotion and reporting features have they offered? Keep in mind that selling ads without a networked ad provider is tough, just because you don't have the numbers to give people. (For example; click through rates, sale from click rates, total indie views, demographics, etc.) However, once you have those numbers, it becomes easier to woo advertisers outside of a given network...assuming your contract allows such an animal.

Some sites who have signed with companies such as DoubleClick have found that they are contractually unable to allow indie ads, where as other ad server providers such as IndieClick have no such restrictions. (Note, not recommending IndieClick as a provider for this site, it's not work safe. I mean, they're a great server, but you're pretty likely to see boobs.) Also keep in mind that many ad servers who are egregious about business practices, like doubleclick, have been blocked at the host file by many security software packages.

If you're not going with an push-server provider, then you'll need someone to sell ads, which is a full time job...and a thankless one at that.

Good luck, I hope it turns out to be a license to print money, but realistically, I hope it helps you cover your costs.