Take a moment. Look around the website. Notice anything different? Perhaps you suddenly feel less inclined to buy jewelry at low low discount prices. Perhaps your unreasonable urge to play mundane puzzle games while wearing an eye patch is at an all time low. Perhaps your eyes are not grossly distracted by gaudy and jittering animation playing at the peripheries of your awareness.
It is fair to say that we were reticent to move to an advertising supported model when we originally did so, but the realities of going semi-pro in the webspace demand certain influxes of revenue to keep the lights on. So goes the conventional logic. Putting up with the flashy and disconcerting ads were just part of the expectations, the bitter in the medicine that keeps you healthy. But, I can assure you that if you ever looked at an ad of GWJ and thought, “man, I hate those things,” then it was very likely a thought you were sharing with us.
But, as we spin down a ridiculously successful donation drive, where our community has proved once again why it’s a glorious beacon in stormy seas — and, I only go for nautical metaphors when I’m feeling really sentimental — we are able to re-evaluate our available resources versus our needs. And, we’ve come to the conclusion that for now we can move back to the user supported model.
That’s right: we’re pulling advertising from GWJ.
If you’re interested in the particulars of this decision read on, or just jump into the forums and enjoy not having to look at Puzzle Pirate ads for a while.
To answer the many question you are likely not to have, we offer a brief FAQ to talk a little more about the decision to remove ads.
Q: Why pull ads? Why not just keep them and add that to the total revenue available to the site?
A: We hate money.
That’s actually a lie. The real reasons are threefold:
1) We believe in rewarding our readers, and it is increasingly hard to justify having our cake and then shoving that cake down your throat until you choke on it. The outpouring of donations from the community looks like it will meet our needs, and hosting an advertising campaign that doesn’t necessarily match the products we would choose to endorse seems unnecessary. We have the opportunity to be different, to continue to stand out and follow a path others may not choose or have access to. We like being able to do that.
2) The quality of the site is diminished by the presence of many of these ads. I realize they are standard in webspaces, and most people don’t even notice them any more, but I always feel like ads about jewelry make a gaming website look ridiculous and tawdry.
3) These often aren’t products we endorse.
Q: So, what you’re really saying is that the ads didn’t actually make you any money.
A: Well, that’s not really a question, but in truth the ads were very successful for us. I’m hesitant to give much in the way of specific numbers, but it’s fair to say that ad revenue accounted for 40% of our resources since the last donation drive.
Q: You’re giving up 40% of your revenue! Are you crazy?
A: My God, you’re right. We’ve made a horrible mistake.
So, let’s be totally transparent here. We are hoping that removing ads works for us in a number of ways, and it’s certainly an issue we may have to revisit at some point. We hope that removing ads reinforces our commitment to quality with our existing readers. We’re hoping its clear that we strive to reward your loyalty to the site, and that we will keep your interests in consideration for site decisions. We hope that removing advertising will make the site more appealing to visitors. We’re hoping it moves traffic forward while setting a tone for the site that more reflects our vision. We’re hoping that the donation drives continue to be strong in the future.
Q: So that’s the end of ads on GWJ, then?
A: Sorta. The biggest issue we’ve had with our advertising is that it doesn’t match the tone we want to set or the products we would want to support. That said, if we can partner with the right people, you may see ads again at some point, but they will be of a different sort. We will be much more conscious of who we associate our site and content with, and what kinds of ads they will be able to provide.
And, should the needs of the site outstrip the resources at hand, we may have to go back to a model that worked.
But, for now, our intention is to phase out our site advertising as we complete our agreements and move to a user supported model.
We are excited to have the opportunity to go back to the user supported model. But, all glory in this decision has to go to you, the community that has stepped up to support us and let us put this option back on the table.
On behalf of the entire GWJ staff, I want to say thanks!