Do you browse your own sites with / without ads?

ProWeb

Enthusiast
Joined
Feb 20, 2008
Messages
225
100% of the time I have all the ads turned on for me when I browse my sites, basically the same as my logged-in members. I want to make sure I have that same experience good or bad that they have.

Well, during some testing just now, I browsed my site with NO ads... and WOW was it fast!!! LOL!
 

Lewis3262

Aspirant
Joined
Jan 22, 2021
Messages
15
I personally haven't put ads on any of the sites I've done, and where it's my choice, I don't think I ever will. They're hated by users, are blocked by software, and I think there are better revenue streams.

However if I did have ads, honestly? Hard to say. I'd probably browse mostly with ads disabled because I hate them too, but there would absolutely be times where I do to understand the user experience of those who don't block ads.
 

zappaDPJ

Administrator
Joined
Aug 26, 2010
Messages
8,017
100% of the time I have all the ads turned on for me when I browse my sites, basically the same as my logged-in members. I want to make sure I have that same experience good or bad that they have.

Slightly off-topic but that gets a big thumbs up from me. Forum owners/staff ensuring that their members get the best possible experience by logging in as a member is not the norm but it can be quite an eyeopener if you can be bothered to do it.
 

Zelda

Enthusiast
Joined
Feb 25, 2021
Messages
123
100% of the time I have all the ads turned on for me when I browse my sites, basically the same as my logged-in members. I want to make sure I have that same experience good or bad that they have.
I want to commend you on your code of ethics and perseverance in ensuring your member experience is always an enjoyable one. Like yourself, I, too, make it a straight active point to share their experience. As you say, their experience is my experience.

From personal experience, I fear you, and I are among the minority. Far too many site owners stand from a privileged viewpoint, incorrectly assuming that their members will always let them know if there is an issue. Issues are not always of an administrative, technical nature. Sometimes they can be simply annoyances that nag at you over time. Those such problems are rarely spoken about, and people tend to avoid them by avoiding using the thing that has gotten under their skin (your site). Ensuring the experience is always a pleasant one by always standing shoulder to shoulder with your community speaks to your level of commitment to your member base.

But I digress. Well, played.
 

Zelda

Enthusiast
Joined
Feb 25, 2021
Messages
123
I personally haven't put ads on any of the sites I've done, and where it's my choice, I don't think I ever will. They're hated by users, are blocked by software, and I think there are better revenue streams.

However if I did have ads, honestly? Hard to say. I'd probably browse mostly with ads disabled because I hate them too, but there would absolutely be times where I do to understand the user experience of those who don't block ads.
I cannot imagine anyone who would solely depend on ad revenue in 2021.

Today I could play Hulu videos without paying the extra subscription fee but using a finely tuned adblocker. I can do the same on YouTube and Netflix as well. That is only focusing on the web browser. Suppose I want to get more creative. I can do it through my router thanks to OpenWRT, then reroute through a Rasberry Pi using Pi-Hole, then route even deeper using a DNS, followed by a secure VPN. Ads? What are those? Content restriction? What's that?! 😂

If you think I am playing 'whack-a-mole,' you would grossly be mistaken. The ad blockers won—end of the story. Years ago, perhaps, yes, it was a different story, but ultimately the will outnumbered the able. I envision the people still providing for my ad revenue are people browsing from work. Whose I.T. Department would freak out if someone attempted to install an ad blocker. I also imagine older folk who do not know any better mixed with the few who do not care or do not know-how.

Still, I make sure they are not intrusive or generally annoying for what little ads I provide. Enough, so they get noticed, that is after all the point. But not so much they draw away from your experience or make you feel uncomfortable. A few years ago, I consulted with an advertising agency to work out the correct placement, size, type, and alike that would best fit within my community. Google Ads are not it.
 

ProWeb

Enthusiast
Joined
Feb 20, 2008
Messages
225
Thanks guys!

I used to have all our staff (admins / moderators) default set to have ZERO ads. I actually had to do a lot of tweaking to force my SuperAdmin account to get around that setup so I WOULD see ads! LOL! ;)

Also, my own opinion: I think ad-blocking on sites (at least on ones like me and my friends own/manage) that work hard to have appropriate ads (no spam, popups, etc.) is poor form at best, and theft at worst.

I do make about 90% of my revenue from ads, and I respect that the majority of sites I visit do the same. I don't want people visiting my sites to use ad-blockers, so to avoid complete hypocrisy, I don't use an ad blocker on any other sites.

... again, it's tied to my original post above. I want to have the same experience as my members. I want them to be comfortable with ads, because that's how I keep the service 100% "free" for them and others. Similarly, I want the sites I visit for free to also generate income so they too can keep providing the services I use for "free".
 

Zelda

Enthusiast
Joined
Feb 25, 2021
Messages
123
I do not mean to touch a nerve. That was never my intention, and I am sorry if any of my views have upset you.

But if ads are your goal in the long run, I fear in the long run; you will fail. I'm sorry. I am sure that will upset you, and that is not my goal. I wish for you to consider, as many have chosen social media over community forums who have not adapted, so have they chosen a web without ads. The reality is you do not get a say in the matter. The 'global consensus' has been decided long ago. Today I don't even need to install an adblocker; web browsers include them by default.

But it goes so much more profound. People have proven they are willing to pay more for ad-free content. I mentioned earlier how I could even block the ads on Hulu. I am the minority. Most people dish out the cold hard cash to avoid them. It has become more profitable from a business standing point. Recently my phone (Nokia) had one built-in. It was a developer build, and the final product was not released. But behind that build included the general idea from a corporate point of view. The future is here, and whether you like it or not, it's primarily ad-free.

Please do not see what I am saying as a personal attack. That is not my intention. I know you care about your community and your members. I also know your livelihood is essential. We all need to eat, after all. My words come from someone who would like everyone to succeed. And sometimes, success means learning to accept change. I am glad your current method is working, and I hope it keeps working a lot longer. But I only wish to bring to light that I do not imagine it will last forever, and if you are able, you should consider the road in the future.
 
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ProWeb

Enthusiast
Joined
Feb 20, 2008
Messages
225
I do not mean to touch a nerve. That was never my intention, and I am sorry if any of my views have upset you.
My friend, do not worry at all. ZERO offense to your replies and messages.
But if ads are your goal in the long run, I fear in the long run; you will fail.
I completely understand what you are saying. I'd LOVE to diversify my income so more of it is outside of ads, but for the last 10 years while I've tried every other manner of generating revenue (product sales, affiliate, paid memberships, etc. etc. etc.) nothing even comes close to the revenue I get from advertising. That said, I recognize that each niche and vertical market is very different, and what works for some won't always work for others.

Fortunately, for a decade, ads have worked very well for me, and I've been having a record year with increases in RPMs even though my traffic has gone down.
People have proven they are willing to pay more for ad-free content.
Yes, I completely agree! I pay to have ad-free viewing on YouTube and LOVE it! I offer my forum members the option to pay for a year of ad-free... some love the option, and others are fine with ads.

I think my issue comes back to a person choosing to use a free service while blocking ads that service uses to generate the revenue needed to keep the service free. To me, this crosses a line into unethical. I would rather see people either:
  1. Accept viewing the ads from the free service
  2. Pay / compensate the free service for an ad-free experience
  3. Stop using the free service
Again, I know many don't agree with this perspective... but those are my feelings on the "ad blocker" discussion. :)

... and is again why I make sure I view ALL the same ads my members see. If I can't stand using my site with ads, I can't expect my members to either ;)
 

DigNap15

Fan
Joined
Sep 14, 2019
Messages
679
Slightly off-topic but that gets a big thumbs up from me. Forum owners/staff ensuring that their members get the best possible experience by logging in as a member is not the norm but it can be quite an eyeopener if you can be bothered to do it.
Yes, I bought a better mobile phone and a tablet, just so that I could see what my members UX is.
I made me change some of my forum categories!
 

DigNap15

Fan
Joined
Sep 14, 2019
Messages
679
I cannot imagine anyone who would solely depend on ad revenue in 2021.

Today I could play Hulu videos without paying the extra subscription fee but using a finely tuned adblocker. I can do the same on YouTube and Netflix as well. That is only focusing on the web browser. Suppose I want to get more creative. I can do it through my router thanks to OpenWRT, then reroute through a Rasberry Pi using Pi-Hole, then route even deeper using a DNS, followed by a secure VPN. Ads? What are those? Content restriction? What's that?! 😂

If you think I am playing 'whack-a-mole,' you would grossly be mistaken. The ad blockers won—end of the story. Years ago, perhaps, yes, it was a different story, but ultimately the will outnumbered the able. I envision the people still providing for my ad revenue are people browsing from work. Whose I.T. Department would freak out if someone attempted to install an ad blocker. I also imagine older folk who do not know any better mixed with the few who do not care or do not know-how.

Still, I make sure they are not intrusive or generally annoying for what little ads I provide. Enough, so they get noticed, that is after all the point. But not so much they draw away from your experience or make you feel uncomfortable. A few years ago, I consulted with an advertising agency to work out the correct placement, size, type, and alike that would best fit within my community. Google Ads are not it.
I agree wholeheartedly.
Luckily when my forum took off and my webhosting costs went through the roof, I had to decide on advertising/sponsorship, membership fees, or donations.
I chose donations, and my donations just cover my costs.
If I had chosen advertising, I would be spending hours on Google optismisation and thier stupid algorthm changes, and be subject to their whims and the advertisers whims. Especially after January 6th.
Plus adverts slow websites down.
And many people use ad blockers.
 
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NYCGuy76

Fanatic
Joined
Jul 1, 2006
Messages
1,222
No ads on my forum and I probably never will put but I didn’t throw up my forums for making money. If by any chance my forums get busy I might maybe consider throwing up and ad or two for guests only. For now considering there’s hardly no traffic there’s no point to add ads. It could actually be a deterrent for future potential members too.
 

TLChris

Administrator
Joined
Jan 2, 2020
Messages
368
I always browse my forums as the lowest user group. I offer different levels and even the option for folks to turn off ads for free. Automatic for folks with over so many posts.
 

DigNap15

Fan
Joined
Sep 14, 2019
Messages
679
No ads on my forum and I probably never will put but I didn’t throw up my forums for making money. If by any chance my forums get busy I might maybe consider throwing up and ad or two for guests only. For now considering there’s hardly no traffic there’s no point to add ads. It could actually be a deterrent for future potential members too.
The only type of ads I would consider are the banner type ads that are fixed in a postions and members can click on them if they wish.
No pop up or pop under ads for me!
But getting banner ads is not easy, I tried ten years ago
 

NYCGuy76

Fanatic
Joined
Jul 1, 2006
Messages
1,222
The only type of ads I would consider are the banner type ads that are fixed in a postions and members can click on them if they wish.
No pop up or pop under ads for me!
But getting banner ads is not easy, I tried ten years ago

If your forum is heavy with traffic and ranks well you'll have people coming to you so they can advertise.
 

Avery

Aspirant
Joined
Jun 3, 2016
Messages
28
I haven’t had an honest reason to keep ads enabled for anyone who registered an account with my community. If you are willing to do that, there is no reason to keep shoving ads in your face since you are contributing to the community.

If you are a guest, then yes you will see an ad here and there, but in many cases people use ad blockers which disable them as well (I think of ads as an extra way to just cover server costs, licensing fees for the software, etc.).
 

mime

Aspirant
Joined
Sep 23, 2021
Messages
11
Always want to see the version that a regular user would see, so I def browse my websites with ads turned on.
 

Lewis3262

Aspirant
Joined
Jan 22, 2021
Messages
15
I agree with not showing ads to registered users providing they do actually contribute, but even then, ad blockers are everywhere now, and integrated in to many browsers, including on mobile, by default. Why bother using ad services? I feel like text based adverts or images hosted on the same server would be the only practical way for them to be seen by ad blockers when all of the ad services would be blocked.
 

southernlady

Devotee
Joined
May 8, 2005
Messages
2,454
I don’t need ads…I have a good group of members willing to help pay some of the costs but I never did it for revenue. I run mine for education and I promised my founding members that I wouldn’t put ads unless I could heavily control their content. So yes, I browse mine just like all other members.
 
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