Meta-freakin-omics April 30, 2006 8:01 AM   Subscribe

How do the economics of MetaFilter work? I know this may be kind of rude to even ask, but it seems to me that this is an awful lot of coding and maintenance to be financed only by five dollar donations and small non-intrusive ads. Speaking of advertisements, does it cost Matt money if I use adblock to remove the ads before I even see them?
posted by crazyray to MetaFilter-Related at 8:01 AM (53 comments total)

The MetaFilter economy is primarily sock-puppet driven.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 8:09 AM on April 30, 2006


Social capital, baby.
posted by mediareport at 8:26 AM on April 30, 2006


No representation without taxation.
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 8:29 AM on April 30, 2006


How do the economics of MetaFilter work?

far better than the coding and maintenance do.
posted by quonsar at 8:34 AM on April 30, 2006


that was a joke, son.
posted by quonsar at 8:35 AM on April 30, 2006


oh snap
posted by wakko at 8:41 AM on April 30, 2006


Subliminal porn advertising.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:52 AM on April 30, 2006


1. Snarky comments
2. ???
3. Profit!
posted by Gamblor at 8:57 AM on April 30, 2006


Quartermass...paging Quartermass...
posted by cortex at 9:13 AM on April 30, 2006


banninantion...is made of people!
posted by Falconetti at 9:28 AM on April 30, 2006


The $5 is relatively new -- in the beginning there was nothing, and then there were ads. But that's how large chunks of the web work. MetaFilter wasn't built to generate revenue.

That said, the $5 thing adds up pretty fast. I joined a year before you did, and there's 8000 user numbers between us.
posted by mendel at 9:46 AM on April 30, 2006


I'm kinda interested, too. How much does hosting this thing cost a month? How has Matt been paying for it so far? Out of pocket? Adwords?

Just curiosity, of course. If matt doesn't want to talk numbers, that's coo.
posted by Bugbread at 9:56 AM on April 30, 2006


it was either 500 or 1,000 dollars a month, I don't remember which
posted by matteo at 10:13 AM on April 30, 2006


probably 500
posted by matteo at 10:14 AM on April 30, 2006


Actually, Matt's answered this before in MeTa; just search for 'money' and you'll pull up the threads.

the $5 thing adds up pretty fast.

Not as fast as you think; Matt's mentioned that only a fraction of those 8,000 actually pay their $5 after registering a username.
posted by mediareport at 10:36 AM on April 30, 2006


(There are, like, four tries where PayPal fucked up on me, thus leaving me unable to register the name that I wanted but still knocking away another user number).
posted by klangklangston at 11:07 AM on April 30, 2006


I get paid by the word. Not sure about you guys.
posted by bardic at 11:28 AM on April 30, 2006


I get paid by the vowel. Which seems unfair, except for a little trick I like to call ...

AAAAAAAAAEEEEEEEEEIIIIIIIIOOOOOOOOOUUUUUUUUU.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:37 AM on April 30, 2006


matt gets paid per metatalk thread about dios
posted by keswick at 11:48 AM on April 30, 2006


Everytime you block an ad, a fairy loses her wings
posted by allen.spaulding at 12:20 PM on April 30, 2006


Matt would get enough money to run the site really well, had I not hijacx0red his Paypal account months ago. As it stands, here we are instead.

Kidding. Except about the hijax0ring part.
posted by Mikey-San at 1:17 PM on April 30, 2006


You could pay him a million bucks a month but he's still just one coder.

So I guess the real answer is: he gets paid enough to support one coder but not two.
posted by furtive at 1:33 PM on April 30, 2006


MAKE THE LITTLE HAUGHEY LEARN TO CODE.

DO IT MATT!!!
posted by sveskemus at 2:59 PM on April 30, 2006


I very rarely see ads when I'm logged on, and I don't have any sort of adblock installed.

I think most of the ads are shown to non-logged on users.
posted by delmoi at 3:13 PM on April 30, 2006


Matt's said in the past that he makes about $1,500 a month in new-user revenue.
posted by delmoi at 3:14 PM on April 30, 2006


My guess is that AskMe is the gold mine. Instead of just reposting what other sites do, like the main MetaFilter page, it is a source of new info (provided gratis by us). Since it's a valuable resource, it gets incoming links from a variety of sources for all sorts of topics. Incoming links lead to google search results, and that equals page views and google adsense money.
posted by smackfu at 3:16 PM on April 30, 2006


"does it cost Matt money if I use adblock to remove the ads before I even see them?"

No, not if you set Adblock to "Hide Ads" instead of "Remove Ads."
posted by NortonDC at 3:29 PM on April 30, 2006


NortonDC : "No, not if you set Adblock to 'Hide Ads' instead of 'Remove Ads.'"

Unfortunately, if you use the infinitely better "Adblock Plus" (allows the blocking of divs, yay!), you don't get that option, which kind of sucks. So, er, it's infinitely better, but not perfect. It's little omega, not big omega.
posted by Bugbread at 3:33 PM on April 30, 2006


Didn't there used to be a voluntary donation thingy on here? That's how I paid my dues. Maybe Matt still gets donations there too? I would totally donate again but I don't see a link.
posted by MeetMegan at 3:42 PM on April 30, 2006


How do the economics of MetaFilter work?

One word:

Volume.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:05 PM on April 30, 2006


Donations to Metafilter
posted by shoesfullofdust at 4:32 PM on April 30, 2006


Answer: Kickbacks to me....

Just kidding.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:51 PM on April 30, 2006


Rockin'. Thanks for that, shoesfullofdust.
posted by MeetMegan at 4:57 PM on April 30, 2006


Don't go by the donate page - it hasn't been updated in about 3 years. Lots of people have donated that aren't listed there.
posted by iconomy at 5:00 PM on April 30, 2006


Two words.... Money, laundering.
posted by R. Mutt at 5:30 PM on April 30, 2006


I have a feeling Matt's been helped by Metafilter more by the other opportunities (writing for the NY Times, etc.) that it's afforded him, rather than the site itself. That said, he did post once in MetaTalk that the new ads were why he could concentrate on MeFi fulltime.

As far as blocking goes - you may be a cool individual, as am I, and we may both block ads. But neither of us are the center of the Universe, and as such our ad-blockage means fuck-all in the greater scheme of MeFi ad revenue.
posted by Ryvar at 6:40 PM on April 30, 2006


....Just to clarify.... my question about adblock usage really centers around whether the ads pay per impression or they pay per click.

Also... Ryvar, although I certainly see your point, I suspect that the MetaFilter community as a whole may have a higher percentage of Firefox users than, say, some other website.... so I would suspect there are quite a few Adblock users as well. After all, Adblock and Filterset.G updater are both in the top ten most downloaded extensions for Firefox.)
posted by crazyray at 6:52 PM on April 30, 2006


Here's Matt's announcement last October about ad revenue allowing him to leave his job. Here's his announcement from Nov 2004 that new signup money helped him pay for a year's hosting. I can't find the exact post where he talked about the percentage of new user numbers that actually convert into $5 payments, but I remember it being significantly lower than half. It came up when someone snidely calculated that Matt was raking in tens of thousands of dollars monthly, or something like that. Maybe someone else can find it, or Matt can clarify if he feels like it.
posted by mediareport at 7:22 PM on April 30, 2006


So, tell us, crazyray ... how much money do you make?
posted by crunchland at 8:46 PM on April 30, 2006


However it comes in I hope he's making shitloads.
posted by Carbolic at 8:56 PM on April 30, 2006


Google ads pay per click, fmpub ads pay per impression. I don't care if a few users enable ad blocking, as I strongly suspect it'll never be enough people doing it to cause problems. I myself have never run adblock and I used to hate flashy ads with a passion and aside from other mefi members that constantly mention it, no one I know runs ad blockers. I think it's too much work to actively block ads from certain servers and certain sites for most users to keep up with it.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:12 PM on April 30, 2006


Matt sells energy and exotic products on a market. His goal is to make energy thing such as weather into a commodity that can be bought and sold due to the new deregulation in industry. No one is quite sure how it works, but it's really innovative.
posted by geoff. at 9:12 PM on April 30, 2006


The adblock extension for Firefox makes it surprisingly little work (if any work), Matt. You should try it if you haven't checked it out.
posted by scarabic at 9:26 PM on April 30, 2006


I've used Admuncher for a few years. I have to add a new filter string to it maybe once every 3 or 4 months. It's damn near perfect with little to no user input required.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:38 PM on April 30, 2006


Matt's said in the past that he makes about $1,500 a month in new-user revenue.

I don't know about you, but I couldn't live on $1500 a month. Maybe $2000 a month, but that would be living lean.

Matt needs to learn to code downloadable designer LSD. I'd print out a 8X10 sheet for $100 easy. There's gotta be a way...
posted by Balisong at 10:10 PM on April 30, 2006


Yes AdBlock from FireFox and the FilterSet.G updates automatically. I've never touched either since I installed them.
posted by geoff. at 10:48 PM on April 30, 2006


I don't know about you, but I couldn't live on $1500 a month. Maybe $2000 a month, but that would be living lean.

Cost of living vaires widely throughout the United States.
posted by cellphone at 12:44 AM on May 1, 2006


varies
posted by cellphone at 12:44 AM on May 1, 2006


crunchland : "So, tell us, crazyray ... how much money do you make?"

Well, crazyray isn't asking Matt how much he makes, so I don't see why you're asking crazyray how much money he makes.

Regarding adblock: again, I strongly recommend adblock plus. Adblock allows the blocking of images, and, I think, flash. Adblock plus allows blocking of images, embeds, iframes, backgrounds, scripts, and, most importantly to me, divs. That means that blocking ads doesn't necessarily result in a blank square (the div that contained the ad), but often removes the whole space where the ad used to be. Looks much, much better (and often easier to block).
posted by Bugbread at 4:47 AM on May 1, 2006


Matt does also run PVRBlog which probably also pulls in a few dollars in ad revenue. So $1500 from MeFi, maybe the same from PVRBlog and then a little extra from some other work... pretty soon it starts looking like real money.
posted by GuyZero at 7:16 AM on May 1, 2006


Also, he has that recumbent bike that makes me so mad.
posted by Mid at 3:05 PM on May 1, 2006


Matt, how does your relation to federeated media work?
posted by |n$eCur3 at 6:03 PM on May 1, 2006


Bit late here, but if you're running AdblockPlus and probably vanilla AdBlock you can exempt certain sites from having their ads blocked.
posted by Skorgu at 11:45 AM on May 2, 2006


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