Are page views a net positive thing for the board?

Blockbuster Video thread.

This thread has run from January 2021 to September 2021. It only has 147 posts but has over 10,000 views. Other than one post from a sock, all posts are by longtime members. This makes me think that most views came from non-users and that they were possibly drawn here from a search for Blockbuster failing.

We’ve been told that ads bring very little income and that the page views we get have raised us to a more expensive level of Discourse. Is there a positive side to page views?

Apparently we can still draw in people doing searches, but they don’t sign up and post. To me as a poster, I don’t really care how many page views we get, I care about how many new posters we get. We need a way to get some of those page views to turn into new members.

Yes, I know it’s a sample of one. It just happened to catch my eye.

What makes you think that? 100 * 100 = 10,000; 147 * 147 > 10,000

Presumably most long time posters will rack up pageviews to view new posts.


Because the statistics for the thread are printed at the end of the first post. You could look it up. And I have no idea what your multiplications have to do with the issue.

I mean, 67 users each reading 147 posts is still 9,849 views, nearly 10,000. (I was rounding before)

ETA: I see, I forgot to quote the next two sentences.

It only has 147 posts but has over 10,000 views. Other than one post from a sock, all posts are by longtime members. This makes me think that most views came from non-users and that they were possibly drawn here from a search for Blockbuster failing.


Of course external page views are a net positive, because all visitors without an adblocker get ads served, and that creates income.

Are you sure? Page views increase the cost of running the site, and ads don’t make money, so you’re sure that the ad revenue is greater than the amount owed to Discourse?

That’s like saying that every restaurant is profitable as long as people are buying meals there.

Well, I’m no economist, but I understand that either a restaurant or a commercial website that loses money with every visitor is badly managed.


You’ll probably get no argument from anyone on that.

Are you saying that each post read counts as a page view? My understanding is a view is when someone opens a thread. If we go with your way, my stats show that I have 350,000 views just by myself. If we go my way it’s 8,900. If each post is counted as a view, no wonder our page views go over the limit.

Sure, I said as much above. But we also had to go to one of the highest tiers on Discourse (one which doesn’t publicly list pricing but allows 3 million views per month) and still go over the limit on page views. And if ads make very little money, and I think that’s true, that will get eaten up quickly by price increases.

I’m just wondering if page views are still the measure of success on bulletin boards as they used to be and if that is enough to offset costs. From what I understand, ads don’t come close to covering costs.

I believe it’s one “page view” per visit to a topic, plus per ~20 posts read that visit.


Upon further research it seems to be one “page view” per visit to a topic, unless you have javascript disabled or something. (I filtered requests in the Chrome dev tools by the x-discourse-track-view header, and browsing the whole topic top to bottom only one request contained that header + content-type: “text/html” + 200 status)

Google ads apparently count pageviews differently, as they are spaced out every 20 posts or so for lurkers.


What is this understanding based on? Without actual numbers, any responses will just be pulled out of our asses.

From everything the mods and Ed have said about it. Ed even mentioned that memberships would have to probably be doubled to $30/year in his ATMB thread. That, plus the fact that almost every online business says ads just don’t cut it. Ad revenue for newspapers is at an all time low, hence all the selling and closing of newspapers. ( sorry that part of this sounds like it’s a smart ass remark, I just couldn’t think of a better way to phrase it.)

I don’t think the mods would know exact numbers, but I was hoping they could share if they do have some rough numbers. I know that ecg has spoken about this before in general terms.

I guess I’m not understanding your posts in this thread. What did your 147 x 147 = > 10,000posts mean?

Originally I had rounded to 100 people with 100 views each. 147 people viewing a page 147 times each is way over 10,000 views.

Then 67 posters viewing a page 147 times is nearly 10,000 views. The topic is slow moving enough that I think the majority of posts read by regular members were read individually or in groups of two to three posts. Then add all the scrolling throughout the topic, (I had assumed scrolling through 20 posts or so adds another pageview), and it seemed reasonable that you could reach 10,000 views with 67 posters and 147 posts over eight months, without concluding most views come from non-users drawn in from Google.

ETA: That’s not even accounting for the people who are regular lurkers, or may be regular members that read/track the topic without posting (as I do for many topics). This topic, for instance, currently has >200 views after one day and fourteen posts by six users. You think people are coming to this topic from Google?


The main expense for newspapers is the staff, not the web hosting. SDMB has no expenses in that area, so that’s not really a useful comparison.

As for what Ed said would be needed to cover expenses…well, I don’t really know what expenses he was including in that figure. It might differ from what I think is needed to support the site.

If someone with knowledge of ad revenue and expenses chimes in, great. But random guesses about those numbers are useless.

I find it very unlikely anyone but Ed knows these things. So all is speculation from anyone else, including the Mods. Maybe, just maybe ECG knows a little more. But he is also a volunteer and not an employee.

Lol, remember when I got pissed off at < redacted > and built a hackneyed financial model of how users generate revenues, using it to argue that < redacted > was costing us money and, merely because the poster was an obvious financial drain, deserved to be Perma’d?

Have you guys seen the ads you get when you log in? Do any of these companies seem like they can pay more than a pittance? Just kidding, of course, and I”m seeing Michael Kors ads while I view this in Toronto. The ads appear to mostly be programmatic, which is the lowest cost advertising there is on the internet.

How could I forget?


Of course, but a main line of income to pay that staff was advertising and that doesn’t work anymore. Cutting off a major stream of income has forced smaller papers to cut staff, stop publishing hard copies and try to go all digital. With pretty poor results. Whether it costs the Dope $10 or $1,000 a month to operate doesn’t matter to the question. What I’m asking is if the ad revenue is overwhelmed by the cost of extra page views.

Yes, that’s why I put the question here. I know some mods have spoken about this in general terms before, I was hoping for a more complete answer if they had one.

Well, maybe you weren’t joking about a pittance. I’ve never heard of Michael Kors, therefore they need to up their ad game. :smiley:

Yeah, Jonathan Chance even said at one time that he had many long conversations with Ed about the board and learned next to nothing about finances. Even tho we are unlikely to get hard data, I was hoping someone would have experience running a smaller MB and ad prices. You used to un one, did you have ads?