TextAds -- more of a good thing? February 4, 2005 12:32 PM   Subscribe

As long as we're talking about non-fleshy non-sucidal ways for Matt to help pay for this place and his services herein, how about some tweaking of the Original TextAds Program? [much more inside]
posted by wendell to Feature Requests at 12:32 PM (19 comments total)

I took out a text ad for 10,000 impressions for $10 on December 12. Since then it has run about 6600 times, or 120-125 times per day (this last week has shown a big bump in traffic - but I digress). The textads info page says "Typically, $10 and $20 worth of ads run for about two to four weeks." So, why is my ad set to run almost 90 days? Because there are so many other ads competing for the one spot on the front page! 109, if I counted correctly, including one that still refers to the "RNC protests".

The one spot on the front page is running well over capacity (and if my math is correct: 120 X 109 = over 13,000 front page impressions a day, earning Matt $13 a day). I think he could easily increase his ad inventory by putting two ads on the FP, and/or putting text ads on the MeTa and AskMe front pages, or even on all the pages that have Google Ads. He could probalby raise the ad rate from $1/K to $1.50/K or $2/K and still get plenty of buyers.

It could dovetail to some folks' support of a "PBS-style" support system, with "MeFi member sponsors" (which I just did by buying an ad that links to my MeFi userpage with the text "wendell user 206 supports MetaFilter"). He wouldn't have to work to promote it any more than a little nag on each user's page right under our 'Homepage URL': "Promote your own site and support MetaFilter with a TextAd". Maybe even a seperate not-too-large 'donors' textad box?

Anyway, that's my $.02 to go with my $10 textad. I don't think it'll be too much trouble for Matt to do, it could easily triple/quadruple the revenue from this source (yeah, I know, $40 to $50 a day isn't a goldmine), and I'm sure allenough of us MeFites can get behind it. Wha'dya say?

*leaves himself hanging out there*
posted by wendell at 12:34 PM on February 4, 2005

he should raise his prices, for one thing, but it sounds good to me...i'd welcome plain text ads on every single page of the site.
posted by amberglow at 12:36 PM on February 4, 2005

i like the way that wendell hangs.
posted by danOstuporStar at 12:39 PM on February 4, 2005

Oh, yeah, the textads aren't counted right, so the 2-4 weeks estimate no longer applies.

Previously, every single time anyone hit mefi, they got an active page from the database, so they got a new ad, and a new impression counted. A year ago or so, it was too much processing to do that, so I started dishing out a flat text file to non-logged in folks. So for them (and it's roughly 75% of the traffic to the front page), everyone gets the same ad for a minute or so.

This does two things. It does skew the click-thru percent, because the impressions aren't all actually being counted, while the click throughs are, but on the other hand it means that an ad is getting many, many more than 10k impressions for that ten bucks. Could be getting 10x as much.

Recently I figured out how I could serve them up via javascript document.writes, so that even flat pages could actively be showing off new ads. I'll likely make that change soon, and I suspect things will go back to normal (lower click throughs, lower # of impressions).

Eventually, I may scrap the whole thing, since it's sort of a wacky little thing that doesn't amount to much money and can be a headache to manage. If I ever get real (non-skin!) advertisers on the site, they could easily replace the income lost on the textads. Also, the textad space could instead become a freebie for members, like "post your url and it will rotate here" or something.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 12:41 PM on February 4, 2005

If ads are running too long, one tweak, unrelated to net income, would be to limit the maximum number of ads in rotation at a time. If that were capped at, say, 30, instead of the > 110 that I just counted, they'll burn through their impressions more quickly, and people will be able to time the impact of their ads more precisely, which I think advertisers would prefer anyway.

Anyway, this does sound like a win-win. Increasing the price/quantity/frequency of textads would have basically zero negative impact of the site, any many people might actually consider it useful.
posted by gsteff at 12:46 PM on February 4, 2005

This whole idea leaves a bad taste in my mouth and I would no longer be comfortable recommending this site to colleagues if there were advertisements on every page.
posted by The God Complex at 12:46 PM on February 4, 2005

TGC: I did say "all pages that already have Google Ads" as the maximum saturation (or did my sarcasm detector misfire?)

Based on Matt's last idea, it could evolve into a "MetaFilter Pro" feature (get a free plug with your MegaMembership!")

Hey, Matt, I've still got a couple bucks left in my PayPal account, just waiting for the Pro Accounts.
posted by wendell at 12:49 PM on February 4, 2005

heh. there won't be advertisements on every page. If anything, the textad system will contract, not expand.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 12:49 PM on February 4, 2005

No way. I'm starting a mini revolution here.

(I was poking fun at everyone who complained about the previous "sucidal" advertisements, actually ;)
posted by The God Complex at 12:56 PM on February 4, 2005

Also, the textad space could instead become a freebie for members, like "post your url and it will rotate here" or something.

Oh, I'd keep it pay. Lots of room for abuse there if there's no barrier to entry. And really, $10 is damn cheap for the amount of exposure MetaFilter gives you. (I'll be submitting a textad shortly.)
posted by me3dia at 1:07 PM on February 4, 2005

Are TextAds specifically for products, or can I take one out that sez like visit my blog!!!
posted by xmutex at 1:13 PM on February 4, 2005

Yep. Take a look here, xmutex -- plenty of blogs among the products.
posted by me3dia at 1:21 PM on February 4, 2005

posted by xmutex at 1:23 PM on February 4, 2005

ARGH! Is there some other way to buy TextAds outside of PayPal?
posted by xmutex at 1:31 PM on February 4, 2005

Hmmmm... based on the static pages adding more pageviews, my click-through is way down on my current ad compared to the ad I ran two years ago. And how are the $800/month-not-visible-when-logged-in-except-for-archive-pages BlogAds doing?
posted by wendell at 1:51 PM on February 4, 2005

It could dovetail to some folks' support of a "PBS-style" support system, with "MeFi member sponsors"

I would totally pay extra to sponsor Turkey Day ;-)
posted by grateful at 2:03 PM on February 4, 2005

Is it too much work to sell the graphic ads for shorter terms? I'd buy a day or two just for shits and giggles.

Or maybe they could rotate like the text ads?
posted by timeistight at 2:21 PM on February 4, 2005

Text ads could also be sold that go to the RSS feed. Not with every post, necessarily (it's annoying to see the same ad 40 times in a row), but may every 15 entries in the RSS could have a text ad.
posted by achmorrison at 2:34 PM on February 4, 2005

Anybody notice that Boing Boing has also stopped running Suiceide Girls ads?
posted by NortonDC at 4:18 PM on February 4, 2005

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