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What's with the ads?

Susan Wise Bauer

Upcoming change to the boards...please read!

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Dear Boardies,

 

We're contemplating a change to the boards, and I want to alert our board members before we put it into place.

 

First, please keep this in mind: This change will ONLY affect board visitors who are not logged in. Once you're logged in, you will see EXACTLY what you see now--message boards with selected Well-Trained Mind/Peace Hill Press banners. You won't even know that there's been a change.

 

However, if you're NOT logged in, or if you're a casual visitor just reading the boards for info, you will see ads for other selected companies. Casual visitors who register for a board ID and then log in with will no longer see those ads.

 

Each ad will have a message at the bottom, along the lines of "Why am I seeing this ad? How do I get rid of it?" Clicking on the message will bring up instructions on how to register for board membership.

 

As long-time Hive members probably know, I've consistently refused to put advertisements on the message boards, and I'm still feeling ambivalent about this. HOWEVER...These forums are now costing us well over $2,000 per month, and the hosting costs continue to rise. These ads have the potential to pay for our ongoing forum costs, while only affecting the many, many, MANY Internet users who read the boards without registering. 

 

There will be NO pop-ups. (I hate those things.) And we will be carefully monitoring the companies that advertise here.

 

This will allow us to use our cash for some other things...like developing new curricula.

 

If you have thoughts or concerns, please post them. Thanks for listening,

 

SWB

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I have no issues with you doing what you need to do to fund the boards or your business. I am happy to pay for my access privileges, happy to support you in seeking advertising if that is the path you deem best. I appreciate this online community a great deal and do not think you should have to provide it for free.

 

Thanks.

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No objections here.

 

Susan, if I may, I know you have been mulling this over for a while and it's very obvious you don't want to inconvenience or burden anyone. However, I do think it's time to take a step to reduce the your own burden, and I believe that will benefit many in the long run by freeing things up for other projects. The boards will continue to be a wonderful ministry.

 

I would also very willingly make a contribution for the upkeep of the boards, which have been so helpful to me over the years in many, many, MANY ways. :)

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I don't see anything wring with ads, especially if they're selected carefully. They can even become a benefit all around since they're likely to be for things of interest to many of us.

 

I participate in a hobby forum site that does this, and it seems to work well. They also offer paid membership at a couple of levels (one a nominal $5/year and another quite a bit higher) that come with user profile add-ons, additional private message storage, and access to members-only forum areas. The main content areas are open to all, but people use the members-only chat boards occasionally for topics they want to keep from search engines and casual visitors.

 

I admire your willingness to keep this site free to use. I'm another who would happily pay / donate with or without membership perks.

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As someone who has read the boards for a long time but just recently registered, I think it's a good idea.  Every time I google for an answer to a curriculum question the results pop up with multiple threads from this forum.  I always appreciated that I didn't have to log in to read the threads, but at the same time I was surprised that I didn't have to log in to read the threads.

And I will second (or third or fourth?) the suggestion to add a site supporter or donation option to the site.

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Well as one who remains logged in, the placement of ads will not affect me.  That said, I would be happy to give a periodic donation to help fund the boards.  I realize that not all of our participants are in a position to do so, hence a membership fee would be inappropriate. But how about a donation jar link for those of us who wish to give a little back since we glean so much from here?

 

Exactly what I was thinking - Tip Jar.  I would not be able to do a paypal donation, but I could certainly mail a check to PHP...  In fact, if you say I can, I will do so at once.  I won't even care if I find out you spent it on chocolates for the office.  ;)

 

I would not, however, want to see perks or membership levels tied to subscriptions/donations.  I do think contributions should remain completely voluntary and anonymous.

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I do stay logged in, so it wouldn't affect me anyway. I would highly appreciate monitoring of the ads, though -- many sites with ads (even non-popup ones) allow Malware ads to slip in -- I even acquired one (or would have if my AV hadn't caught it) from a nutrition website's ad.

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I'm fine with whatever you need to do to keep us up and running. I also like the idea of a tip jar. This is the only forum I would happily support with my dollars!

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Makes sense. Thanks for explaining the situation to us.  And a huge thank you to you, to everyone at PHP, and to all the boardies who make this such a wonderful, helpful, and supportive place!

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I also am grateful that you offer these boards for free, especially with such light moderating (and the ability to freely discuss all sorts of curriculum options!). Of course you should generate some ad revenue to help cover the costs--even if members were to see the ads too. I'm pretty new to the boards, but I know this place is going to be a huge help to me.

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I'm a member of  another forum that has been able to continue functioning for years with just anonymous member donations. I think the ads would help, but you may also just make a place on the forum for members to donate as much and as often  (or not) as they want.

 

I think you will be pleasantly surprised at how many will. 2000 a month is a huge expense.

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I am happy with whatever you decide to do in order to lighten the financial load. These boards have kept me sane through the years and I greatly appreciate it. I would gladly pay a fee for this board.

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I think it is reasonable and obviously needed. I appreciate your sacrifices on our behalf, I am blessed daily by these boards. I am also willing to chip in, if that is needed.

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I agree -- extremely reasonable. And I must say that I am so impressed by your obvious desire to serve the homeschool community, rather than simply make a buck off of us. It's one of the (many!) reasons I will continue to support PHP.

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Wow, I had no idea of the cost!    I'm not much of a poster (I'm not much for chit chat in real life either), but I have deeply appreciated the information on TWTM boards since the old boards. I too would love a donation option. Heck, if even half of the people who used the boards donated a dollar each you would no longer have to worry about cost.  

 

 

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I've encountered this on other message boards and it's never been an issue. If I see an ad when I'm not used to it, it's just a nudge to login because I was logged off for some reason. 

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I think you should go for it.  These boards are a blessing to so many people.  I had no idea it cost so much for PHP.  If allowing advertising makes it easier to continue these boards and do other good work, I think it is a great idea.

 

Suzanne

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When I first started homeschooling, I loved the ads. I signed up for all the catalogs I could find to help me understand what was available, the goals of those companies, how it would fit into my budget. I think that defraying the costs of the support you offer the homeschool community by including ads for the benefit of "drive-by" readers is a great idea. Go for it!

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Looks like a prudent way to offset the cost of these boards.  THANK YOU for keeping them up.  They are an amazing resource to the homeschool community and, really, a wider community of educators and families. 

 

Longtime boardie ~

 

Lisa

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It sounds like a very reasonable solution to me. I am also one who would donate to forum upkeep costs if such a link were available to us.

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I think it is a good idea.  I would even log out and see the adds when I am just reading and not typing. That way I would be contributing to the upkeep.

 

I would also be very happy to make a donation to the chocolate fund, er, hive upkeep.

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I was a long time lurker before I joined and I think this sounds reasonable. I am frequently embarrassed by how little I have to throw in the tip jar, but my GNU/Linux distro and my email provider have things set up where I have recurring monthly payments automatically charged to my credit card. That works well for us low income folks, and my $5 a month becomes a $60 a year I can be proud of.

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Well as one who remains logged in, the placement of ads will not affect me.  That said, I would be happy to give a periodic donation to help fund the boards.  I realize that not all of our participants are in a position to do so, hence a membership fee would be inappropriate. But how about a donation jar link for those of us who wish to give a little back since we glean so much from here?

Susan, I too would be more than happy to make a donation towards this. I see NOTHING wrong at all with posting a link for donations, and if you made it paypal linked, that would be very convenient for a lot of people. I understand that you don't want to make this a membership fee only board, however I do believe that most people can afford $5.00 a year and multiply that by the sheer number of members and not just regular posters, that would be a huge help.

 

I think the ads are a perfectly appropriate way for you to generate revenue to help keep the Hive going, but I still support at least a modest membership fee or donation option.

 

Thank you so much,

Faith

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For whatever reason, I am registered and logged in but getting lots of ads. Maybe the bugs aren't worked out yet?

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I have no issues with you doing what you need to do to fund the boards or your business. I am happy to pay for my access privileges, happy to support you in seeking advertising if that is the path you deem best. I appreciate this online community a great deal and do not think you should have to provide it for free.

 

Thanks.

 

:iagree:

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Sounds very reasonable to me! I am so grateful that you continue to provide these boards...as a new homeschooler, the information I have learned here has been invaluable.

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Well as one who remains logged in, the placement of ads will not affect me. That said, I would be happy to give a periodic donation to help fund the boards. I realize that not all of our participants are in a position to do so, hence a membership fee would be inappropriate. But how about a donation jar link for those of us who wish to give a little back since we glean so much from here?

I agree. We love the work you and Peace Hill Press do, but I can only buy one copy (okay, and plus maybe the audio version) of each book without dh thinking I have lost my mind.

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They also offer paid membership at a couple of levels (one a nominal $5/year and another quite a bit higher) that come with user profile add-ons, additional private message storage,

 

I think this is another great idea, if didn't place too big of a burden on the admins and/or server. I would happily pay a small monthly/yearly fee for more PM space or image space (and it makes sense that things like that could be tied to a fee since sever space costs money).
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I'd prefer to see a tip jar instead of a fee, even a small one. The huge volume of visitors is what makes this site so valuable and a fee would reduce traffic. A tip jar on the other hand, allows users who can contribute to do that without pressuring those who can't. Hopefully the new revenue streams will assure the Hive's solvency for many years to come.

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