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    Ruin us, please

    Ruin us, please

    Anne forwarded this depressing Advertising Age article to me, As Ad Rates Sink, More Websites Explore Ad-Free Business:

    This is web publishing in 2013, when declining ad rates and the sense that each buck is harder to get than the last is leading increasing numbers of publishers to strip out the ads and ask readers to pony up. Even The New York Times has at least contemplated the idea of an ad-free version, asking readers about it in a recent survey about potential new products. Its sibling The Boston Globe already operates two websites, the free, which is packed with all kinds of traditional ads, and the subscriber-only, with far fewer, and much less intrusive, ads.

    But ad-free experiments are taking root faster among smaller publishers and blogs, for whom the economics of digital advertising can be particularly punishing. You wouldn’t call it a sea change, but there is a lot of splashing in the waves.

    The article goes on to discuss how various websites, including Andrew Sullivan’s Daily Dish, have tried various models with varying success.

    We will be expanding our research and activism assets here.  Consider everything we have done to date just a test drive, working out the kinks, figuring out how we can be most effective despite our small size and the fact that no one actually works here.

    We’ve taken a few small steps in that direction, but it’s going to require that we do better at generating income (turn-off your damn ad blocker!) than we do now.

    But I’m also a firm believer in the “free information” model.  I’d rather have more people read us for free than fewer people read us for a fee.

    So expect a Legal Insurrection Building Fund campaign soon, as much as I hate having to do that.

    That flood of money which is ruining politics hasn’t made its way here yet … so when the Legal Insurrection Building Fund starts, ruin us, please.


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     0 | March 30, 2013 at 11:45 am

    The question that I asked for people who use adblockers and never click on ads at sites they like, is how do you expect those sites to generate enough revenue to stay in business?

    Why are people supposedly bothered more by third party ads than by subscription fees? It seems to me that advertising is a painless way for readers to enjoy the content.

    I try to post new, original content on Cars In Depth every day. At least one or two posts. There are lots of car enthusiast sites competing for readers so you have to give readers a reason to come back. The content has to be worthwhile. That means you have to spend a significant amount of time creating that content. Going to a car show and shooting 800 image pairs takes time. Also 60-80% of the content on Cars In Depth features 3D photos and videos that I mostly shoot myself. There’s some processing and cropping involved which takes additional time, as does uploading the photos to the site’s server and the videos to YouTube.

    That’s just for the graphics. The text takes more time. Even if I put up just a paragraph about a particular car model or a specific vehicle, that has to be researched and put into some kind of context that is both more in depth, more reliable and more entertaining than what’s on Wikipedia or the other sites on the first page of search engine results.

    I happen to like cars so some of it’s a busman’s holiday, but it still takes time and it’s nice to be rewarded for one’s effort. I’m trying to take the long term perspective and regard that effort as sweat equity in an enterprise. Now I happen to have gotten at least one regular freelance writing gig in no small part due to what I’ve done with my own site, so there’s been some reward, and Adsense revenue covers the ISP rent and related internet costs, but much as I appreciate the freelance gigs and the bylines, I’d rather be that Adsense revenue be considerably larger and that I was the one paying freelancers.

    My business plan is to focus on a niche that I think will become the mass market standard. When most sites have 3D content, we’ll already be established as the 3D car site. In the meantime, though, it’d be nice to make a little money, so please visit Cars In Depth and if you like what you see (if you think 3D is a conspiracy to get you to buy yet another new TV set, all the photo and video players there can be set to 2D as well as the most popular 3D formats) click on an ad or two.

    Ronnie Schreiber

      JerryB in reply to | March 30, 2013 at 12:49 pm

      Good luck Ronnie. I appreciate what you say. My feedback is a pushback that I hope you and others will pass onto the trackers. Tell them that your visitors don’t like being tracked from site to site. If the ads only tracked me at the site I visit, that would be perfectly fine with me. In other words, when I visit you, your ads guys can source their material from your URL, place all the cookies they want on my machine, and tally my every click on your site. If I trust you, I’ll trust your site.

      My problem is that they want to track me everywhere I go and build a profile. They want to use your site to put cookies on my machine that will read out when I visit other sites. They’re paying you to help them ride me around like a donkey. In other words, they’re using you, too.

      To reiterate what I said earlier, I’ll pay rather than be tracked. But I won’t buy much.

     0 | March 30, 2013 at 11:46 am

    “The question that I ask”
    Preview is my friend.

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