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Important Announcement: TGP and ads

Discussion in 'Interactive Administrator Threads' started by Brian Scherzer, Nov 22, 2013.

  1. Brian Scherzer

    Brian Scherzer Staff Member

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    TGP has continued to grow beyond anyone's expectations over the past 11 years. Costs have risen as use and growth have evolved. We know that how we address those costs matters to us and to our members. We have to face the fact that TGP needs to add a financial resource in order for us to put some improvements into place, including:

    • Replacing our servers with the latest servers
    • Introducing new member requested features:
    • Adding a feedback system for emporium deals,
    • Adding a totally new software package to handle business ads that are currently in the emporiums so that they are in their own area
    • Making an archive of sold items from the emporiums to help members research prices (adding hardware for storage of these archives)
    • Adding a new user review feature

    After much discussion of how to afford these improvements, we are both opposed to placing the burden on those who are already helping TGP through their supporting memberships. We do not want to pass those increased costs onto our members. Instead, we have decided to try out two banner ads. One at the top of the forum in the header and one at the bottom in the footer. We have resisted doing this for years but times and needs change. We expect that the ads will cover the expenses and members can expect a roll-out of the new features before the end of the year.

    This was a decision that was not taken lightly. Although we have resisted the idea of advertising banners for over 10 years, we need to address how to keep up with the cost of increasing traffic growth, without increasing supporting membership costs. We realize the magnitude of this decision, given our reluctance to consider this option over the years. Speaking frankly, it is time to try this as a means of keeping the costs down for those members who already support the forum.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2013
  2. CyberFerret

    CyberFerret Member

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    I am not a fan of ads, but can see the sense in going down this path, as other forums have done.

    As long as the ads are in a defined place on the page, I am fine with it. I cannot stand those 'inline' ads that other forums intersperse within the list of posts etc.

    I like the way that the Acoustic Guitar Forums has the ads down the right hand side only on the main page. Unobtrusive, yet still fairly prominent, and don't get in the way when I want to follow a thread in depth.

    Perhaps another option is to do the same as the AGF and have manufacturers as 'Sponsors' for TGP. i.e. they pay a bit more than a supporting membership, but get the rights to post in a specific section to highlight their wares?
     
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  3. Brian Scherzer

    Brian Scherzer Staff Member

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    Placement was considered and we are aware that some forums allow banner ads between the first post of the thread and the responses. That will not be our choice! Scott and I agreed that, although this is considered the ideal (for the advertiser) placement, it breaks the continuity of the thread. Doing that does not fit with what we think is best for readers. Also, we won't be accepting direct ad requests. Doing that could compromise our ability to remain neutral with competing businesses.
     
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  4. Blanket Jackson

    Blanket Jackson It's Time For Action Silver Supporting Member

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    "Ads" means more than just a nice picture and some words - it means tracking and analytics as well, correct?

    While I am not averse to ads on a website, I kinda think that someone not affiliated with TGP collecting info about my choices is .... well ubiquitous these days isn't it? I just hoped we might have a haven from all that here. Nonetheless, we do what we gotta do. Still the best such site on the interwebz.
     
  5. Jiffy_Jeff

    Jiffy_Jeff Playin Tunes and Having Fun! Silver Supporting Member

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    Brian, Scott and the other MODs have been doing a great job and have stayed away from cluttering this site from ads and I thank them for that.

    The day of letting advertisers/banners on TGP was going to come at some point. I believe they will handle this with the members in mind and not overburden the site with advertising that takes away from our enjoyment of one of the best forums on the web.

    Good luck Brian, I hope this change will not be too much of a pain for you all.
    I will still be here and support the site.
     
  6. John Coloccia

    John Coloccia Cold Supporting Member

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    FWIW, it's somewhat traditional to allow supporting members to turn off banner adds...that's generally how it's done on most sites I've seen. Is this something you'd consider?

    There's one site I belong to that went through that transition also. For members that have been supporting anyway, it was business as usual, and for non-supporting members, they still get to access the site for free, so it's sort of win-win for everyone.
     
  7. Brian Scherzer

    Brian Scherzer Staff Member

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    John.....We have a lot to look at before we actually have ads appear on TGP. My inability to answer is only based on my ignorance at the moment. We wanted to announce our intentions before doing anything else, so I have some learning to do!
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2013
  8. JDJ

    JDJ Supporting Member

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    Why not publish the expenses and suggest a donation amount that absorbs it. Maybe with the right price and contribution rate, this can be avoided. Information is a good thing.
     
  9. Rusty G.

    Rusty G. Member

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    Brian, the Les Paul Forum has a place to click onto four advertisers at the bottom of the page.
     
  10. mcdes

    mcdes Member of no importance

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    Guess its not the end of the world.

    But some good suggestions have been presented ie, block ads for supporting members etc

    Being a business man myself. At the end of the day, if it costs too much to run something, it ain't viable, no matter how cool. So you gotta do what you gotta do. And it will be worth it. It's a great resource.
     
  11. stealthtastic

    stealthtastic Supporting Member

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    I could care less about ads, they dont bother me at all so long as they arernt pop ups. Does this mean emporium will be free to use now though?
     
  12. progear

    progear Silver Supporting Member

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    Do want you need to do. I'm sure everyone will understand, if not oh we'll
     
  13. RogueGuitarShop

    RogueGuitarShop Member

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  14. MasterEvan07

    MasterEvan07 Supporting Member

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    Some very interesting changes coming...I'm behind you on them. I'm looking forward to seeing their implementation.
     
  15. Dave Orban

    Dave Orban Gold Supporting Member

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    Ya gotta do what ya gotta do.

    And thank you for all that you guys have done to maintain this place over the years. It IS appreciated!
     
  16. padavis

    padavis Member

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    Thanks for providing this awesome forum. I trust your leadership and I will be supporting again soon.
     
  17. frankencat

    frankencat Guitarded Gold Supporting Member

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    You have to do what you have to do. All I ask is that we explore some of the options already presented here before you flip the switch. I am a proponent of no ads for paying members myself. If this is a cost that could be absorbed by donation then I would be open to that as well. Stuff costs $$ and we have a membership that will support the site so let's have some discussion and figure out the best solution. Thanks for your time and effort guys. From someone who builds and manages large websites every day, it is very much appreciated. -Frank
     
  18. Empros

    Empros Supporting Member

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    I'm a supporting member, and would gladly pay a bit more if it meant no ads. But like many have said, you got to do what you got to do. Good luck!
     
  19. Tone Loco

    Tone Loco Silver Supporting Member

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    Bummer. Like others above, I'd be into some way to avoid them all together.
    But it was great while it lasted in any case. And all those things you mention do sound like nice improvements. To me probably not worth ads on every page but it's not my call, hopefully it won't be as cheesy as I am imagining.
    :D
     
  20. GasMask

    GasMask Member

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    Just a thought... Some other online forums running vBulletin allow users to upload photos. Providing this feature for a certain level of membership might create an additional revenue stream. Members wanting to "show off" their gear, or those wishing to sell it in the emporiums, might upgrade their memberships to obtain this benefit. Of course, there are other online services that provide this service- but the simplicity and ease of use of being able to do this directly on TGP would be attractive to many members. Perhaps this has already been considered....

    Good luck with the changes regardless of how you proceed!
     

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