Should we run ads? June 4, 2001 7:29 PM   Subscribe

Okay, we've discussed it before, but now having looked at the stats for the last couple of months, ADs are a real possibility. Last I checked the average AD payout was $1 ever 1000 page views. Now, with MeFi getting over 5,000,000 a month, that's $5000 a month in revenue. That could keep Matt happy all year round and MeFi up for life. Comments?
posted by Neale to MetaFilter-Related at 7:29 PM (14 comments total)

And when you consider the MeFi audience falls right into advertisers' favorite demographic, it sounds even better.

I am extremely grateful for MeFi, and if Matt decided to go ad-based, you wouldn't hear a peep out of me in protest.

Still, I bet MeFi could pull in more than $5K/month under a subscription model.
posted by jpoulos at 7:39 PM on June 4, 2001

the ads do seem like a nifty option.

but subscription? .... that would cut out all the wee lads that are at home and are on MeFi for entertainment and self-enjoyment?

posted by a11an at 7:52 PM on June 4, 2001

Go for it Matt!

posted by EricBrooksDotCom at 7:55 PM on June 4, 2001

may we please view ads? thank you.
posted by palegirl at 8:05 PM on June 4, 2001

No ads.

I don't like them, and as much as I'd like to get cash for doing the site (and share that cash with the best contributors), I can't ever see doing it via banner ads.

And besides, the site is only getting about 750k page views a month right now (probably break a million in June though), so it's not enough to sustain me sans employment (though I am still unemployed, isn't there *anyone* here in the bay area that needs someone like me at their company? Anyone?).
posted by mathowie (staff) at 8:13 PM on June 4, 2001

Count me as a positive. My paycheck comes via internet advertising, so I appreciate the move completely. It is the least painful of your possible revenue streams.

As to the subscription model, my company checked it out and declined it. Not to toss you off casually, jp. It's just a question of hard numbers.

If we have 310 active thread posters here on the average in any given month (not known- a generalization based on only one month's observation), and perhaps 2-3,000 casual commenters (very liberal guesstimate), we have 7,000+ possible lurkers we would lose the eyeballs of - all of which would have contributed to the revenue stream under a CPM ad model.

I would worry that we may lose better than 80% of those casual commenters under a subscription base, who would move onto other, free, community weblogs. Frankly, I would.

If we imagine an even 1,000 current members that would be willing to pay $60.00 per year subscription to match the 5k ad model, we then vastly cut back on the avenues of new link submission - these 1,000 subscribers would have to provide an adequate link base daily to maintain interest in MeFi as an entity.

If we consider only 10 links a day as an acceptable spread of interests to generate conversation, then each of those subscribers would have to contribute 3.7 links a year to MeFi. That number is predicated on an even spread of links per day: unlikely. That means that either you will have days with only a few posts, or Matt will have to get out and fill the content potholes as needed to satisfy his subscriber base.

In any case, those most likely to subscribe to Mefi are those with the most investment in it - the frequent posters. Last month's 310 posters were more than half single posters (for that month). The rest were multi-posters, with only 16 conspicuous (over 5 posts for that month). In a reduced model, those frequent posters would become more apparent, and possibly a point of increased angst about elitism and cliquishness.

If you remove total access to MeFi to non-subscribers, you remove any possible additions to your subscribership. If you give the public the ability to view but not post, then you may - for a while - keep the eyes of those possible lurkers; in which case, the majority of readers still get a free ride, instead of contributing to the revenue stream as they would in an ad-based model.

More likely, our 3,000 casual commenters are rotating through that larger pool of 10,000 lurkers. And if they are accustomed to placing an occasional comment, they would soon leave when they find themselves only voyeurs to the private discussion. A Mefi reader that posts a comment a month isn't going to pay $60.00 for the privlege. Two comments a month isn't likely to pry open the pocketbook either.

Perhaps a middle path would be to provide two versions of MeFi; one subscriber without ads, one with. That may expand Mefi's revenue stream, while not locking out the lifeblood of the system.

posted by Perigee at 8:42 PM on June 4, 2001

((Sorry, boss - was busy being pedantic when you scotched the idea!))
posted by Perigee at 8:47 PM on June 4, 2001

As far as ads being $1 per 1000, this is an average rate that only includes sold ads. Actual ad revenues are probably closer to .45 per 1000 or less. However a site like MeFi would probably be able to get individuals to pay separate rates outside of an ad serving company to make up the difference.

posted by chaz at 7:58 AM on June 5, 2001

What about a sponsorship deal, ala k10k. Coldfusion seems somewhat fitting.
posted by Mick at 8:27 AM on June 5, 2001

OR, we can let Matt decide when and if he needs any additional funding sources to continue hosting Metafilter. He seems happy to do it for no charge, ad free, which I am happy with. I'd hate to second-guess our host.
posted by daveadams at 8:47 AM on June 5, 2001

isn't there *anyone* here in the bay area that needs someone like me at their company? Anyone?

Dammit, some of us trying like hell, man! :-)

And Dave, I disagree. From now on, I'm going to click on every ad I see and change the referrer to I'm sure Doubleclick will send Matt a check Real Soon Now(tm).

posted by fooljay at 2:05 PM on June 5, 2001

Perigee - Don't mean to be pedantic here, but you weren't using "Pedantic" correctly...

Characterized by a narrow, often ostentatious concern for book learning and formal rules: a pedantic attention to details.
posted by SpecialK at 6:22 PM on June 5, 2001

at the risk of being an ass, (since you've already stated your wishes) I'd like to say that I'd very much like to see advertising on metafilter. the advertising I'd like to see would be similar to the ny times "sidebar" advertising, such that users could size their window to avoid seeing it at all.

matt, even if you were working right now, I'd like to see the site at least pay for its own equipment and bandwidth; further, if you were making $5000/month (or even $3000) you could continue working on metafilter as you always do, and freelance or work part time to make up the rest of your salary requirements.

I remember back to the halcyon days of weblogging, and the dream was always to somehow, someday be able to do this full time. we were all so happy when romanesko got his paying gig, and I'd be thrilled to see you be able to make a substantial part of your income from this site. you deserve to.

barring that, a subscription model of some type; posting privileges for only those who subscribed, or something. (non-refundable, I suppose, if someone gets booted from the site - but what a hassle that would be) or whatever.

or the hybrid already proposed: ad-free metafilter for subscribers.

just my perspective,
posted by rebeccablood at 2:29 PM on June 6, 2001

Look, I'm *addicted* to metafilter, but I wouldn't pay more than 10 bucks a year, because I am selfish and somewhat poor.

I like the hybrid idea, and then a certain amount of selectivity about who advertises and how big the banners are. Really well-targeted ads are ok w/me.

However--money always changes things. I've been participating in a site that I really enjoy. They started paying people 50 bucks for reviews, and put a weblog on the front page. Then all of the internal discussion boards dried up. Just some weird chemistry thing.
posted by mecran01 at 5:55 AM on June 7, 2001

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