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  1. #1
    Member Christophe's Avatar
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    Hello all.

    I am not the most regular of regulars, as you know.

    The only thing I don't like about this design is the reply buttons and avatar being at the top of the message instead of bottom. Confusing. Otherwise the overall design only can be called perfection.

    Now I know it's useless to say something about ads, but I am the sort who likes to say what I think regardless. This is what I have to say:

    1. As I recall, you experimented with charging something for ads. (Or was that someplace else?) In any case, I assume your experience with having an advertising section did not go well.

    2. In case you haven't thought of it--it is possible to charge a small fee for ads (must be very small, like $1 for 6 months license in the beginning)--if you put "option icons" (possible with template mod) into the thread titles display of the name of the thread-starter. I.e., these icons can be activated for anyone who pays the fee--then instantly you see if a thread was not started by a subscriber--and also, anyone breaks a rule, his icon leaves. Or actually, now that I think of it--probably there is a setting that limits who can start a thread in a particular section--that would be even simpler.

    Well, more to the point:

    3. Independent forums that do not allow advertising messages inevitably languish.

    4. Once an independent forum decides not to allow advertising, they never change their minds.

    5. And after awhile, they are gone.

    Well, let's hope Web Design will be the exception. This place definitely has the highest quality of discussion. I just do not believe that to ban all advertising is either necessary or very practical--but let's hope I'm wrong.

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  3. #2
    Senior Member filburt1's Avatar
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    You may advertise in your signature within the forum rules. Beyond that, I know that nobody enjoys seeing ads, including myself, so they will remain banned here.
    filburt1, Web Design Forums.net founder
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  4. #3
    Member Christophe's Avatar
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    Hello, Filbert.

    I am talking about a separate sub-forum for advertising, so nobody has to look at it.

    I certainly don't like to see ads mixed in with discussion, or blinking banners at the bottom of every post, etc. But when I need to hire someone to help with my site, or I want to exchange links, etc.---well I don't know about you, but sooner or later for most people, an advertising forum is a necessity.

    So sooner or later, everyone "has to" keep coming back if a forum has a good section to advertise. They come to advertise, and then they get into the habit that this is a place to discuss--also vice-versa. No advertising, no such guarantee.

    When there are other forums with both good advertising and good discussion---well a lot of people just don't want to bother belonging to more forums than they need to. So you can win design awards, have the greatest discussion and all, but this just doesn't count if you might be missing out on something more basic: that is getting members, and keeping members.

  5. #4
    Senior Member filburt1's Avatar
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    When you need to request a service (i.e., hire somebody), you can post in the Service Requests forum. WDF's member base is still exponentially increasing.

    As a side note, the WDF team been somewhat discussing this in private.
    filburt1, Web Design Forums.net founder
    Site of the Month contest: submit your site or vote for the winner!

  6. #5
    Member Christophe's Avatar
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    Glad to know you are growing!

    Also maybe "thinking about" meeting advertising section needs...

    Well, you win this debate! Glad also you are not offended by my suggestions.

  7. #6
    WDF Staff smoseley's Avatar
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    Personally, I value quality of discussion over quantity. Everyone could be BSing or selling their services or only making requests and not offering quality advice, and the forum wouldn't serve its purpose - to help people.

    Many people mistake forums like this as a place to get business or make friends. Those may be consequential circumstances of regular patronage of a professional board, but the primary focus should always remain giving or receiving assistance.

    WDF's community is so great because everyone that makes it past 2-3 posts joins the hand-in-hand culture that's evolved here - that is, they assist others as much as they can. Others see that and want to be a part of it, which explains the increase in membership.

    Despite that, you raise some valid concerns. There are a lot of people (myself included) who would like to be able to have a professional community forum like this one where limited advertising is still acceptable. Of course, "limited advertising" requires some restraint on the part of the users, and encompasses a pretty large gray area. How do we determine what's allowable and what's too much? And obviously a larger member base would be better for WDF, but that takes time either way.

    Filburt's non-tolerance policy is a little harsh, but it's worked thus far. Rather than an annoyance, spammers are seen as amusement here. People's problems get solved quickly. Designs are met with swift and numerous helpful critiques. Hang out and find out for yourself ;-)

  8. #7
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    At first, I didn't totally agree with filburt's tack of banning all advertising. Then I realized what happened with a good number of forums (visit Web Hosting Talk for a good example) that end up dominated by the advertisers, who often spam their services so blatantly and so often that those of us who are moderators would never be able to keep up, the board goes to hell in a handbasket, and no one's happy.

    Now, even though if he did do it I wouldn't object, I am a big fan of the non-advertising "donations" approach, and have in fact chosen to donate myself. This allows me to contribute at a more than reasonable level; $10 US isn't going to kill me, and I can write it off as a business expense for the revenue the contributions of site members and the indirect advertising have helped my business generate, as well as the time saved getting answers to questions I have that would have taken me hours to figure out last year. To put it into comparison, a classified ad in a Toronto daily newspaper for one week would cost me at least $110 CDN (approx. $70 US) and when it's gone, it's gone. I also don't get the benefit of help from colleagues.

    filburt would probably make more money by using the donation approach than he would by selling ad space. The advertising market is a very soft one right now, people are fighting like cats and dogs to run ads for $1 CPM (when $5-$10 used to be the norm, and I used to get $2 CPM for a personal site I ran back in 1999), and filburt hasn't got the time to do this, nor does he have anyone he could slough that kind of responsibility off to. That's not even taking into account banner ad-killing software and the overall pathetic and ubiquitous nature of most banners out there (have we all remembered to punch the monkey to win $20 today, boys and girls? Very good.)

    Let's do the math behind donations, just for argument's sake. There are presently 1132 WDF members (according to the 113 full pages of "Top 10 Posters", plus the 2 on the last page.) Let's say that only 30% of them are regulars and use this board for tips, tricks, etc. at least once per week (not everyone's going to be but 30% seems like a reasonable estimate). That's 340 people. Now let's say only 10% of those contribute $10 US per year for whatever (now I plan on contributing more personally, as soon as some cheques come in for my April work, but still...). That's $340 per year. Now that might not seem like a lot, but that's a growing number (as members grow) and that's not taking into account the general loyal nature of WDFers due to the fact that filburt hasn't sold out to The Man.

    Keep in mind that if he did ever decide to sell this board, he could probably get more for it than he could if he had ads for sale on it just because of the nature of the community, which is the other reason why ads shouldn't really appear.

    I do realize what you're trying to say, Christophe, and there is a certain validity to the argument. There is gold in them thar hills. I'm of the humble opinion, however, that filburt should stay the course as he has done. (If he doesn't, I'm gonna kick his hippie ***. )
    If I've helped you out in any way, please pay it forward. My wife and I are walking for Autism Speaks. Please donate, and thanks.

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  9. #8
    Member Christophe's Avatar
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    Originally posted by transio
    WDF's community is so great because everyone that makes it past 2-3 posts joins the hand-in-hand culture that's evolved here - that is, they assist others as much as they can... People's problems get solved quickly. Designs are met with swift and numerous helpful critiques. Hang out and find out for yourself ;-)
    Yes, thanks for the explanashe, tansio. Very helpful.

    Originally posted by transio
    Of course, "limited advertising" requires some restraint on the part of the users, and encompasses a pretty large gray area. How do we determine what's allowable and what's too much?
    Now this is what I don't get. When my health forum gets underway, the policy will be---one sub-forum for specific advertising that people need. (Job offers & requests---not just "requests." People need to make a living.)

    ...And another advertising forum where just about anything goes. And so everyone knows that, and so just ignore it, let it fester in its own juice. What's the problem?

    Well if a forum owner depends on certain things, like discount vitamins or domain names, this is very "price sensitive" and can not easily tolerate a lot of competion. But web hosting, web design, freelance writing, link swapping, etc.---even though I am involved in all of these, I will welcome a total jungle of various competitors. I have my niche, they have theirs, and it all works together.

    So yes, some people just want serious discussion. But others---and in many cases the same people---really are serious about posting a new ad each week. So long as this is kept totally out of sight for those who don't want it---and this is no problem with the vB subforum design---then I just don't see the problem in catering to it.

  10. #9
    Member Christophe's Avatar
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    Originally posted by TheGAME1264
    Then I realized what happened with a good number of forums (visit Web Hosting Talk for a good example) that end up dominated by the advertisers, who often spam their services so blatantly and so often that those of us who are moderators would never be able to keep up, the board goes to hell in a handbasket, and no one's happy.
    Very glad you bring up WHT. I was wondering about that....

    Well my impression is that WHT is another great place---except, rather ugly design... and in fact, not such a good place to advertise any more....

    Look, open an ad sub-forum that limits "new threads" to listed members. Charge people $1 to put them on that list. If they spam, they are off the list. That's all it takes.

    P.S. -- As for banner ads, forget about it! You're right, of course. Ugly and doesn't pay anyway. But that's not even what I'm talking about.

  11. #10
    JR
    JR is offline
    Senior Member JR's Avatar
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    we used to have a paid advertising scheme here IIRC, but filburt took it off, not sure why though - probably because people were abusing it and he had to put each advert in manually.

    1 would hardly be worth it IMO
    JR


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