Recently, I have adjusted the ads on my sites in hopes of earning more. This has included the introduction of ads on the left side of just the index and forum pages (no other pages, no topics, etc.) on SportsForums.net, KarateForums.com, the phpBBHacks.com Support Forums and PhotoshopForums.com. I adjusted current ads, added new ads and removed others. Overall though, it’s a small increase in ads. The focus was taking AdSense out of my chain and giving it spots of its own, more often than not. So, this is a small decrease in AdSense impressions and an increase of impressions to other networks, like Casale, BURST!, FastClick, Mamma, RightMedia and Hurricane Digital Media.
It’s all about experimentation and that’s what I am doing. Anyway, these ads on the sides, they aren’t bad. They are just ads. I keep myself busy. Ads don’t really bother me as I don’t really like to waste time worrying about them. If they are really noisy, they try to make me download something, or they spawn a popup when you close them, that’s the only things that bother me. Otherwise, cool. Ads need to be on websites.
These ads on the sides have spawned a little bit of negative feedback (only a few people), understandably. And there are people who don’t like them who haven’t said anything, as well, I am sure. No one likes ads. The problem isn’t the ad so much itself. If you looked at all of the pages on those websites (index, forums, posts, profiles, etc. etc.) and then you calculated the percentage of the pages that are ads and the percentage that are not, the percentage that are ads would be a small number. A lot of people serve a lot more ads than I do. And I have my limits. For instance, I decided against serving them on topics as I decided that it isn’t something that I need to do at this time and it isn’t something I really want to do in the future, either. I work with on the page ads because I don’t want to ever serve popups, etc. I would generally have to believe that most sorts of on the page ads are better than popups, popunders, interstitals, etc. and I don’t want to serve any of those. I try to maintain a certain user experience and try not to overdo it, in my eyes. It’s a juggling act that I work very hard on.
The problem with these ads is that they are new and different. People have to get used to them. They are foreign and odd and strange and, hey, not a lot of forums have an ad there. It is becoming increasingly popular, but it’s far from the norm. I understand their feelings, respect them (as long as they respect me) and I keep them in mind. Nothing is permenant. The ads may not stay. They may. I take everything into consideration. What people tell me, how the ads perform, how I feel about the matter. I think about it all.
No one likes ads. I don’t like ads. Who does? But, ads are needed. Ads are needed on my sites. Ads will always be needed on my sites. As I have told the people who have contacted me, this is my life. This is what I do. I have dreams. My life is very important to me. That said, I have many goals. Making money is but one. I need to make money in a way that I am comfortable with. I want to create good websites with good atmospheres. I don’t want to serve popups, interstitals, etc. (That’s a smaller goal, obviously). But, I work hard. Users are very important to me, but my life is also very important to me. If you are in a similar boat, don’t expect much sympathy. :)
Two things have become apparent to me. Greg Bernhardt mentioned the first when we were chatting a while back. He was talking about ads and audiences. The negative feedback on ads has come from the phpBBHacks.com Support Forums and PhotoshopForums.com. Not from SportsForums.net and KarateForums.com. The first is visited by a (generally) more technically internet savvy audience who is more sensitive about these things. Where, the last two are visited by sports fans and martial artists, who are less sensative about such things (generally). So, audience is one thing to keep in mind when introducing ads. I’m kind of a mix of both. I’m a technically internt savvy person who is not sensitive about these matters. :)
The second thing is that if you want to have ads ever that are in what could be considered a “sensative area” – start with them when you launch. It’ll make your life easier. If they are always there, there is never any change. Previously, I have taken the position of “I will ad ads in when it makes sense – when there is traffic and they’ll make money.” So, no needless ads. But, that’s wrong, I think, now. I think you should get ads out there as placeholders, even if they don’t make a dime. I mean, dealing with criticism isn’t that big a deal and it is a part of life, no matter what you do, you’ll get it – but if you have them from the start, they are always looked at as a part of the site as opposed to being added later and being looked at as a negative change.