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What's with the ads?

Susan Wise Bauer

Upcoming change to the boards...please read!

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That sounds very reasonable to me, and I wouldn't even mind (what I am sure are very carefully screened) ads while logged in. Add me to the list of people who wouldn't mind seeing a tip jar.

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sounds good to me.  You thought out a way to do it with out bothering anyone.  I wouldn't mind seeing some ads- I'm always logged in, but ads don't bother me as long as they aren't pop ups or float in front of what I am trying to read.

 

I like the tip jar idea, or even an amazon link, I'm always buying stuff on amazon. :)

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I saw lots of ads for Kentucky, sleep number beds, Easy Off oven cleaner, a craft store whose website I visited recently, and a local preschool. Not offensive at all.

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You guys are very kind...thanks for the affirmations and the offers to help out. We'll see how the ads go. We've blocked entire categories and a whole list of websites; I've been logging out and checking the samples this morning, and it seems pretty innocuous.

 

If you're ever logged out and see an ad that you don't think is appropriate for our site, please post in the Site News forum and we'll be sure to take care of it.

 

SWB

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I think it's a great idea, and would also make use of a donation/tip jar to keep the website running. I love this website, and would be lost without the support, opinions, and friendships here.

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I think this is a good idea.  I also want to add my thanks for providing this board.  I lurked for a while before joining, and I have gleaned invaluable information over the years.  I would also be happy to donate to a tip jar. 

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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

 

 

I think this idea is basically fine!

 

One caution I would give is to be aware that some of us rural home schoolers live in places where there is not yet high speed internet access. Whatever messages you give about the ads and how to get rid of them and registering and so on, should thus, in my opinion be immediately present. With dial-up,  each new page to load or thing to click on may take many, many minutes.  If someone is new to the site, and it is taking forever to load, s/he may just give up entirely.

 

Likewise, I would suggest to advertisers that they do what they do in ways that takes limited amounts of ??? bandwidth ??? number of bytes ??? --whatever makes loading slow.

 

Generally, every time a site does an "upgrade" it becomes more difficult for me to use it, or even sometimes to get it anymore at all. 

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I have no objections.  I think it is an excellent business decision.  It is clear that you are concerned about the integrity of the ads you allow and that is also an excellent business decision. 

 

ETA:  I also think the suggestion up-thread to add an Amazon affiliate link would be most helpful in generating you some more revenue to support the boards. Nearly everyone on here is a self-admitted Amazon junkie.  ;)

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Seems very reasonable. A Tip Jar or Amazon link would let people who don't buy PHP curriculum support the boards.

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I'm ok with it. Heck, if you decided to charge a membership fee, I would gladly pay it! I can't live without the boards! Thanks for providing them. :hurray:

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Guest

 

One caution I would give is to be aware that some of us rural home schoolers live in places where there is not yet high speed internet access. Whatever messages you give about the ads and how to get rid of them and registering and so on, should thus, in my opinion be immediately present. With dial-up,  each new page to load or thing to click on may take many, many minutes.  If someone is new to the site, and it is taking forever to load, s/he may just give up entirely.

 

Likewise, I would suggest to advertisers that they do what they do in ways that takes limited amounts of ??? bandwidth ??? number of bytes ??? --whatever makes loading slow.

 

Generally, every time a site does an "upgrade" it becomes more difficult for me to use it, or even sometimes to get it anymore at all. 

 

This is a good point. Those of us in the US/UK/other first world countries sometimes forget that most of the world is on dial-up. Before my kids dragged me kicking and screaming on to broadband, it took me a week to do what takes me an hour or two today.

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This is a good point. Those of us in the US/UK/other first world countries sometimes forget that most of the world is on dial-up. Before my kids dragged me kicking and screaming on to broadband, it took me a week to do what takes me an hour or two today.

The problem [ETA for most WTM board members] is slow US access, not slow international access. The US is not at all tops in the world for broadband access. Many people around the world don't have land lines at all but do have cell phones and access the internet and telephone service via satellite connections. The last time I used dial up to access the internet in my husband's country of origin was in 2002.

 

Anyway, my favorite ad for today is the do-it-yourself pest control. I love it! Homeschoolers must be into DIY termite spraying.

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I trust you to screen the ads for suitability.

If the advertisers were really smart, their ads would include kilts or cupcakes! :)

I do agree that you need to build your own Amazon store.  Have someone take a look at what the top 30 links to Amazon from this site produce (making sure it is homeschool related and not kilt related) and use that as the starting basis for your store.  This site is a huge blessing to me.

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Thumbs up from me. Donation button is a good idea too and if you do do the amazon affiliate link, could you do a Book Depository affiliate link too.

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Your plan sounds good, especially with appropriate ads that visitors won't find off-putting. I like the idea of a voluntary donation option. Xtra Math does this in a very nice manner, and I have enjoyed contributing -- they send you a nice thank you email too!

 

Personally, I would not be in favor of membership fees, however small, because it might keep some people away and one strength of WTM is how active it is.

 

Thank you for these boards!

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Sounds like a good solution. Thanks for letting us know what to expect.

 

These forums have changed our homeschool in ways I would never have imagined. I am so very grateful to the members for their advice, but also to you for giving us this way to connect with each other. Thank you.

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I think the suggestion of an Amazon affiliate link is a great idea.  (You may even consider a Canadian Amazon link, if that's a possibility! ;) )  And add me to the number who would gladly donate to the running of the board.  Thank you, SWB, for hosting us and giving us this virtual space to hang out.  You rock!

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I think ads are a fine way to go. I would prefer banner/footer ads. Any sort of interstitial ads(either before/between pages or  banners within threads) would be disruptive and confusing to the clean user interface. As long as you don't mess with that I think it would be fine.

 

I agree with other posters that you should curate/sell your own ads... using any of the ad networks is asking for trouble if you are sensitive to content and potential reputational damage. Likewise, ads with religious or political overtones could be divisive... religious curriculums would of course be fine... this should be an easy line to draw.

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I just saw this thread.  I had no idea how expensive this board was for you to run.  I just want to say Thank You.  I see no reason not to try the ads.  The ability to make those of us who stay logged in ad free amazes me.  Thank you so much.  I would be happy to pay a fee or give a donation.  I love visiting this site!

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Here is my vote (regarding original post and subsequent ideas):

 

Yes to the ads for those not logged on (since you are seeking to screen them for appropriateness),

yes to a tip jar (I think from the responses here it is obvious that many would be more than willing),

yes to an Amazon link and

yes to trying to keep ads from bogging down any connections.

 

But mainly, I wanted to say thank you, thank you, thank you for continuing this site with free access.  It has helped so many for so long!!!!  Both of my kids are in much better places today because of the information I have received on this site.  I am grateful.

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Susan, are you going to put a donation option out there for us? Paypal linked would be very convenient! I would still like to personally help.

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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!

I agree!!! I still love the ads. Lol! New stuff is always good to look at. I think it is perfectly reasonable to fund these boards with ads.

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I don't actually understand how Amazon links work, but I too often go from this site to Amazon to find something I learned about here, so it sounds like a good idea.

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I had no idea it would cost that much to maintain the boards, so I believe you should do it. This site has been an invaluable part of my homeschooling experience, so advertising even after signing in would be fine with me.

 

Thank you for the sacrifice you've been making in order for these boards to be here.

This. Yes, this exactly. Good grief, that's a lot of cash. Doing a bit of advertising to pay the bills seems long overdue, given the expense. Wow.

 

Thank you. I had *no idea* what a gift you are giving the community when you provide this service.

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I just joined today and but I hardly notice the adds because they are not offensive I just kind of skip over them.  Thank you for a place for the inexperienced homeschooling moms to find the answers we need.

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I have no objections.  I think it is an excellent business decision.  It is clear that you are concerned about the integrity of the ads you allow and that is also an excellent business decision. 

 

ETA:  I also think the suggestion up-thread to add an Amazon affiliate link would be most helpful in generating you some more revenue to support the boards. Nearly everyone on here is a self-admitted Amazon junkie.  ;)

 

I was going to make this same suggestion... there may well be conflict-of-interest or even conflict-of-contract complications with PHP or with Norton, but... the BAW threads alone are throwing literally hundreds of clicks there way every day; and speaking just for myself, here, a rather mortifying percentage of them turn into purchases.

 

Good luck, Susan -- we all appreciate, so much, what you do here.  This forum really is a unique and remarkable space.

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The problem [ETA for most WTM board members] is slow US access, not slow international access. The US is not at all tops in the world for broadband access. Many people around the world don't have land lines at all but do have cell phones and access the internet and telephone service via satellite connections. The last time I used dial up to access the internet in my husband's country of origin was in 2002.

 

Anyway, my favorite ad for today is the do-it-yourself pest control. I love it! Homeschoolers must be into DIY termite spraying.

 

Yes, the US ranking is rather mortifying. And yes, we do DIY termite control at my house! It unfortunately involves lots of digging rather than just spraying. 

 

To stay on topic: I'm always logged in, so I won't see the ads anyway, but the only ads I truly hate are pop-ups and chasers, ugh. I like the idea of an optional membership fee, one that would get the user upgraded storage for private messages and uploads, maybe fun badges or icons, stuff like that. Free users would still be able to read and post. 

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ETA:  I also think the suggestion up-thread to add an Amazon affiliate link would be most helpful in generating you some more revenue to support the boards. Nearly everyone on here is a self-admitted Amazon junkie.  ;)

 

:iagree: :iagree:

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