People are pissing and moaning about the SDMB putting Google ads up, and I’ve got to admit that the implementation (don’t consult the readership, nah) and the ads themselves (Katrina! Katrina!) are lame as fuck.
At the end of the day, however, they just don’t visually bother me that much. Which is not to say that the reality behind the ads doesn’t trouble me. I like the SDMB, and I’m sad to see how shit-for-brains management is flushing the board. Am I the only one who perceives what a bad sign these ads are?
First, and less seriously, they demonstrate moronity. We knew that morons run the board (I’m not talking about the mods, but the Reader tools), so this is no great edifier. Moronic at a basic mathematical level, as people are pissed off and some will definitely quit because of the ads, and unknown others will turned off of joining in the first place.
How much does a click pay, and how many clicks would it take to add up to the yearly fee of $14.95? If clicks are $0.05 (max, surely), then you will need 299 clicks to make up for every quitter and non-joiner. My guess is that, considering the ad-savvy/averse population of this board, that’s a losing proposition right there, just eyeballing it.
Another angle. Let’s be extreme and say that the total population of people likely to click on an ad is 100,000 (all those lurkers!). Let’s be generous again and say that they are all going to click on one ad once a year. Holy shit, the SDMB just made $5,000!
Some of you know Internet marketing; tell me if the numbers above make any sense.
Even at ten times that amount, though, I hardly think that $50k is going to save the poor, poor Reader from the burden of this bad, bad board. If paying membership is 7,000 and the peonage is paying $10 on average, that’s $70k. Plus they are getting some banner ad revenue, coffee cups and tee shirts. Let’s say that’s $80k all told. My intuition tells me that $50k isn’t the savior figure they need, considering just, you know, the burden that we are.
Which leads me to my second, and more serious, point: The Google ads are going to serve as a psychological/political excuse: “Well, we tried, didn’t we? We tried paid membership. We tried ads. We did our best.”
Like hell you did.
The Reader Beavers know that they’ve got one of the hottest message boards on the WWW. It’s in the top 100 for traffic after all, right? They also know that they have neither the talent nor the inclination to turn this board into a real money-maker. And that’s why they don’t just shut the board down tomorrow: They’ve got no excuse for their failure; they really even haven’t tried to succeed.
So it comes down to this: They can’t live with themselves if they fail without trying, but they can just barely stand themselves if they fail with a vague gesture toward effort.
The upshot is that the board is toast–unless someone comes in and does something enlightened. Here’s my advice to the Reader: Spin off the SDMB board and coffee cup store and let a motivated company run them. Someone out there can do better than you.