Brought To You By You (Ads Pulled from GWJ)

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!

Comments

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I didn't mind the ads but this is certainly a noble move.
Thumbs up.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Smile Train has left the station. Good riddance.

The thanks goes to you guys for keeping this site a significant cut above the rest. Long live the kings!

wow.. it's been so long since I've seen an ad free site that I forgot what a relief it is not to have something blinking in the corner of your eye while you are trying to concentrate on the content. Kudos, gentlemen. Kudos.

Oh the sacrificies we must make.... Sorry Miley.

Puzzle Pirates, May strong winds carry ye away unto foreign ports to pillage. Arrr!

The ads didn't bother me.

The ads bugged the crap out of me, and I'm glad to see them gone. I'm unbelievably grateful for all the support.

You guys are awsome. Now a quick question, you don't have to answer if you don't want to, but are the Google-generated ads making you guys anything? I mean currently mine says the following:

Dutch Bodybuilding Forums | Loans | Loans | Money | Loans

Dutch bodybuilding forums?

No problem with the ads but it always bugged me that the advertisers for the site apparently had no clue what kind of site this was. So many of the ads looked like a missed opportunity.

You guys are awsome. Now a quick question, you don't have to answer if you don't want to, but are the Google-generated ads making you guys anything? I mean currently mine says the following:
Dutch Bodybuilding Forums | Loans | Loans | Money | Loans
Dutch bodybuilding forums?

Those aren't Google. We are obligated to complete our contract with that advertiser which, I belive, runs through the end of the month.

Once that's done, those are gone too.

That's a great move, although I only ever saw public service adverts on GWJ, perhaps because I'm outside the US? The constant drive to use every flat surface to advertise really wears me down.

Have you considered other revenue sources like merchandise or TotalFark-style subscriptions? Or does that go against the donation-funded ethos of the site in the same way as advertising in your opinion?

You guys are awesome!

Brave move guys, hope it works out.

In the meantime may i suggest some tinkering with the header? Big black bar overpowering my puny eyes...

Anybody know where I can play Puzzle Pirates?

Thanks the the update and your efforts. GWJ is great!

Wow, thanks! You've just made it considerably more likely I'll up my donation next year. =)

I didn't mind the ads, but I'm glad to see you can afford to lose them.
I think you guys should follow the Penny Arcade model where you can vouch for every product you advertise - obviously difficult to find advertisers you like who are willing to work with you, but might be possible if you offer a cheap enough deal.

Yay!

Have you considered other revenue sources like merchandise or TotalFark-style subscriptions?

We will be considering a number of options in the coming year, and we have a little list hidden away from prying eyes of things we'd like to continue to improve.

Bah, bring back the ads, make some money!

I run Adblock but have GWJ whitelisted.

Grats!

Probably not related, but are you guys still going to have sponsors on the podcast? They don't bother me any, but I'm just curious if you're extending the same thought process to the podcast. Keep up the great work!

My only gripe about the ads here is when they didn't make sense. There was that Miley Cyrus "What was she thinking?" ad that was here forever, only to be replaced by an annoying Miley Cryus animated ad. The same Puzzle Pirate ad was getting annoying as well. If you could work out something where there are only had non or lightly animated ads for tech and video game related material then you should go for it. I appreciate no ads at all as well.

I never had any problem with the ads, but I am happy to see them gone. If they do come back I would love to see them more geared towards gaming. If I knew that all the games or equipment advertised on this site were endorsed by its creators/members, I would have no problem purchasing any one of those products.

Podcast sponsors will continue when the opportunity arises. Those are a good example of ads we're picking based on a number of factors, including community involvement and relevance.

I'll echo the sentiment that the ads were always placed in such a way that I noticed them but they didn't really interfere with my perusal of the site.

A strange part of me almost enjoys the lack of relevance of the ads, as I was much less likely to buy stuff that I shouldn't be buying ;p

Yoreel wrote:

I never had any problem with the ads, but I am happy to see them gone.

My sentiments exactly. My reasons for donating to the site go beyond a wish to not see advertising, but I'm glad that it enables you to do stuff like this.

In your face, Puzzle Pirates!

I also like the ones at the bottom. "Neopets Cheats, Games and Neopoints "

Certis wrote:

Podcast sponsors will continue when the opportunity arises. Those are a good example of ads we're picking based whether or not they are the pride of the gaming jungle.

fixed?

Edit: Today was the first time I ever noticed the adds at the bottom of the page. Intriguing.

I miss Liongames. Sniff.

Wait? Today at the bottom I have hummer and the link is to worldclasshummer.com. Maybe you guys moved to quickly. I take back earlier criticisms about the ad agency not understanding it's target audience

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