Are page views a net positive thing for the board?

Lol, no.

Of course it matters. You keep throwing out “ads don’t work anymore” but with no actual numbers to back it up. What does “not working” mean to you? If they make more than the cost of Discourse, then I’d say they work fine. Without knowing that cost, it’s impossible to say.

If all you’re interested in is the impact of page views on revenue, you can play around with this revenue estimator here: Website Ad Revenue Estimator | Calculate Potential Ad Revenue | OKO

Using traffic reports from this site and assuming high geographic value and low niche value, it estimates ad revenue at a little less than $13K/month. I have no idea how accurate that is, but if it’s even somewhat close, it does seem to suggest that ads should easily cover the cost of Discourse.

Sorry, I can’t take seriously an ad selling site estimates of how much ads pay out.

Discourse has 3 levels listed: $100, $300 and call us for the price level. According to ECG and others we use the top tier of Discourse which allows 3 million view per month and we go over that. If I put those numbers into that calculator it says the board pulls in almost $400,000 a year.

Since I doubt Discourse charges over $30,000 a month for their services, if those numbers were correct I don’t think we would be told the board was losing money and needed donations or it would be closed.

To anyone that wants to chime in, do ads ever pay for just views or do all of them require clicking thru on them? Because even before ad-blockers became the norm I never clicked on an ad. Since ad-blockers first came out years ago I never even see ads.

For those of you that post from work, do companies usually have ad-blockers?

I wonder if I’m recalling ECG’s numbers right. I could be confusing visits with views, which would make the number much lower, but still several thousand a month.

Going by TroutMan’s linked site, you’re looking at 800k visitors per month, and about 7 pages per visit. So 5.6MM page views a month. I don’t know how many ads you see per page view - it obviously depends on how deeply you scroll. Say it’s 2. 11.2MM ad views per month. CPM (cost per mille, ie cost per 1000) is usually 30c - $2. Quite a range, and we’d really just be guessing. We’re not the bottom of the barrel, as the majority of page views are from the US, which are generally higher value. I’d ballpark maybe 60c CPM. So you’d be looking at $6720 monthly revenue. I’m sure that covers hosting, but it wouldn’t pay even a single full-time staffer.

That’s my back-of-the-envelope math. There a couple dozen other factors that feed into it, for sure.

Is it enough to view ads or do they need to be clicked on?

As far as I know, the only fulltime staffer we’ve ever had, and I could be wrong, was TubaDiva. And I think that was only after the departure of Ed. I could be wrong here also, but I assume Ed draws his salary from his his job co-writing columns for Sun-Times.

It’s against the law for me to use my work computer for goofing around. So I post from my phone when working.

I don’t post from my current job, but they do use a system that blocks malicious domains. That sometimes includes advertising domains.

I use a javascript blocker both at work and at home, so I don’t see many ads at all at either place.

When we first moved to Discourse, I saw ads on this site. Some time later, and I didn’t notice immediately, they went away. Apparently someone managed to figure out how to suppress them for Members, even though Members are not paying anymore. Anyway, put that into any calculations about how much ad revenue this site is raising.

I’ve wondered about that. I think even in the last five or so years there has probably been a large switch to using phones instead of work computers.

I love my no-script. Very useful tool and easy to use.

I didn’t know people saw ads when we switched over. Even tho I am a member, I still use no-script and AdBlock so I never see any ads. With members and ad-blockers I wonder what kind of percentage even sees ads on any site. I think it would be pointless to poll here about it because polls like that seem to be self selecting. It would be interesting to know the answer for the Dope.

Logged in users and anons with adblockers enabled do not see ads. That would be a major factor in calculating ad revenue, as only a fraction of traffic counts towards revenue.


CPM is views. There’s another model, cost-per-click (CPC), and its rates would be much higher. You’d probably pay CPC in a scenario where the click is specifically what you’re going for, like paying for adwords on Google. Most of the industry has figured out that no one clicks on banner ads on purpose, so those tend to more about promoting the brand rather than specific action, and you pay CPM. These are generalities, of course.

Logged-in members don’t see ads (or so I hear.) Those of us who are guests do, regardless of whether or not we’re logged in.

Oh, I wasn’t aware of that.


What is the business model for ads in a place like SDMB? I’m assuming the SDMB admins are not going out and pricing ad space themselves to various various product companies. I would guess that they are just renting out a spot on the page to an ad agency and it’s up to the agency to charge clients. So like if there’s an ad for Acme Sunglasses, I assume SDMB didn’t have anything to do with acquiring Acme as a customer. I’m guessing the SDMB gets $X from Google Adwords for the space on the page and Google is the one who has a relationship with Acme. Is that how it works?

Basically, except that’s Google Adsense (there are a bunch of competitors as well), not Google Adwords. Adwords is where you bid for getting your page for extremely strong acid shown prominently when someone searches for “how to get rid of a body.”



Thanks for the explanation. It seems odd to me that companies would pay for an ad that most people will just scroll on by without reading, but I guess that it’s not that different from an ad in a newspaper. Most people skim right over those also.

I don’t think anyone has ever said. I know many years ago posters lobbied to get Google text ads or ads from Amazon so they could click thru on those every time they needed to order from Amazon.

We’ve also been told in the past that the Dope had no control over what ads were served. If an ad for penis enlargement or something similar showed up you could report it and they would try to have it removed. I don’t know how successful that was, but for a period of time there were a lot of reported ads.

That was another time I wondered if the name of the board worked against us. Ad agency sees name, thinks board is populated by stoners, thinks it’s a great place to run lowbrow ads.

Does anyone know in a general sense how a message board with Google Adsense makes money? Like, let’s say I start a message board called “Filmore’s Follies” and it’s pretty much comparable to the SDMB in terms of users and page views. To capitalize on the popularity, I allow Google Adsense to put ads on the page. What kind of revenue models would I have available to me with Adsense? Is it a fixed $X/mo? Or is it $X per view or per click? Or some combination, like $X/mo plus a cut of click revenue?

Print and TV are very different, so this analogy is limited, but think of TV commercials: some do try to incent immediate action (“call within 15 minutes and get the vooperizer attachment - FREE!”), but most don’t. They’re just trying to fix their brand identity in your mind and give it positive associations so next time you’re in the store, you buy Bud Light.

My guess is that on vBulletin, the powers that be opted to go with a more down-market ad network. It potentially paid a bit more, but you got some super sketchy ads. Here on vBulletin, we seem to be using Google’s network. I haven’t seen or heard anyone complaining about penis enlargement ads since the switchover.

I’m pretty sure it’s always - or at least primarily - CPM.

Looking at ads I get, I do want to expand my comment. I see some sort of golf course ad (these are not well-targeted!) suggesting that I click to book at once, and some specific clothing ads where the brand name is not prominent. I admit, I do find this odd. Everyone knows that online banner-style ads have a terrible click-through rate except in two scenarios. First, if the user has initiated some sort of action, and you’re hijacking their next steps (this is what Google Adwords is all about.) Second, the targeted content offer: eg, you get a sponsored story show up in your Facebook feed about some kind of meme (25 Some Random Photoshop Pro Parsed A Request Hyperliterally!) You click on it, you get a story, they don’t try to get you to buy anything. But they get some data on you, and show you 5000 ads.

For the golf course ad - if they’re paying, say, 80c CPM, and they’re pushing for a million views. That’s $8000. If they get just a handful of earnest clicks, they’re likely to earn that back, since their product is fairly high margin, and their costs are almost all fixed. So that may be an example where they can go for clicks even though the vast, vast majority of folks will just scroll right past their ad.