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matysekj
January 31st, 2009, 11:16 AM
I updated the forums and blogs this morning with the latest available. The updates were largely bug fixes, but there were a few minor new features.

Forums & Blogs:


I installed an add-on that automatically embeds many different types of media files (like videos) for you. Now whenever you enter a URL (web address) for almost any media page like a YouTube video, that media will automatically be shown on your post. I've removed the YouTube icons for posting, since they are no longer needed. Just copy the web address into your post and the video will be shown on your post.
There's a new "Blog this Post" icon on the lower right of forum posts, next to the quote buttons. This will add the selected post as a blog entry, allowing you to comment on the post in your blog. Not too sure how useful this will be, and I don't want people to be double posting lots of things using this and cluttering up the forums/blogs that way. I will try it out with this post now.
Yes, we have Google ads now.

Blogs:


Comments added by the blog owner are now highlighted in a different color.
The reported problem of calendar links and tag links from within a specific user's blog linking to the global results rather than just for that user has been fixed.

BillS
January 31st, 2009, 05:08 PM
I updated the forums and blogs this morning with the latest available. The updates were largely bug fixes, but there were a few minor new features.

Yes, we have Google ads now.


Oh, goody. Forum life here has always felt so empty, so utterly bereft of meaning, without those ubiquitous ads.

pwolf66
January 31st, 2009, 08:39 PM
Yes, we have Google ads now.



This is a major negative, Jim. IMO, unless there is some sort of monetary advantage gained on behalf of USMS, this is really not a good idea.

pwolf66
February 1st, 2009, 09:09 AM
There is.

Sorry, meant to include the word 'significant'

Michael Heather
February 1st, 2009, 04:07 PM
Sorry, meant to include the word 'significant'

Paul,

If you are going to use an undefined term in addition to a specific one, I suggest you think about what you are saying and why. Your first question was answered, yes we will get money for this new feature. The second, significant, is determined solely by the number of people who click on the links in the ads. The more you click to go to those sites, the more money USMS will make.

Significant money? I guess that is up to you to determine. USMS is always trying to benefit the membership at the most reasonable cost (in this case, free).

If you buy anything on the web, you should first go to USMS.org and use the sponsor links on the first page. We get a percentage of sales from Amazon, not just a per click fee.

pwolf66
February 1st, 2009, 05:25 PM
Paul,

If you are going to use an undefined term in addition to a specific one, I suggest you think about what you are saying and why. Your first question was answered, yes we will get money for this new feature. The second, significant, is determined solely by the number of people who click on the links in the ads. The more you click to go to those sites, the more money USMS will make.

Significant money? I guess that is up to you to determine. USMS is always trying to benefit the membership at the most reasonable cost (in this case, free).

If you buy anything on the web, you should first go to USMS.org and use the sponsor links on the first page. We get a percentage of sales from those, not just a per click fee.


I guess it's a matter of evaluating the additional revenue gained versus the negative impact on the user experience. And I hope that someone, somewhere did that but other than it just appearing one day, there's no evidence of any sort of beta test. Unless of course, this is a live beta. For me, having that block of ads has generated a negative customer experience.

I do not like the look of it there, I do not like that forum links that were visible in my initial browser window, I now have to scroll down to get to. A major inconvienance? No. One that I have to deal with everytime I access the site? Very much so.

As for a benefit as you called it, how is this a benefit to me, a registered paying member of USMS? Will my dues be off set by a portion of this ad revenue? And where is the line going to be drawn? What's next, popups?

RobbieD
February 1st, 2009, 06:10 PM
The way I see it is that when you're a non-profit that survives on whatever money it can raise, you have to take stock of all your options for raising funds. Web traffic is a monetizable asset that lets masters make some money without soliciting it from members. I would imagine the forum generates a lot of traffic, and until just now that was a missed opportunity to generate some income for USMS. Using Google text based ads is a pretty easy to implement and fairly unobtrusive way to do this. It's not necessarily the most profitable avenue available but it is a good way to test the waters.

The forum is basically free for us to use, but a popular forum can be expensive to host. If the forum's traffic can help offset the cost of running the forum we should let it. I think having to scroll a little bit is a fair trade for having access to the forums. I wouldn't be very excited if I started seeing pop-up ads, but there is a long way to go from a text ad to more obnoxious forms of web advertising.

Give it a week and chances are you won't even notice the ads anymore.

Redbird Alum
February 2nd, 2009, 02:02 PM
Give it a week and chances are you won't even notice the ads anymore.

I agree that eventually the ads were going to come... but I seriously doubt that after a week we won't notice them.

The very nature of advertising spend requires a response, or else the ad format/copy changes to generate one. You can expect more colors, more motion, etc as this goes forward...

RobbieD
February 2nd, 2009, 08:38 PM
The very nature of advertising spend requires a response, or else the ad format/copy changes to generate one. You can expect more colors, more motion, etc as this goes forward...

If the forum sticks to just text based Adsense ads don't expect too much change. In Adsense you can choose your own color palate and even block certain unwanted advertisers. Adsense does use pictures and video if you opt in for that type of thing, but you don't have to.The only changes I've seen to text ads in Adsense have been very small but enough to make you notice it again. They've changed things like borders, the shapes of corners, and added the arrows to scroll through ads. The basic text ad has always been the core of this medium and remained relatively unchanged.

Generally the response rate (a click) on these types of ads is very low, like .01% - .1% in a lot of cases because it is so easy to ignore. But if you put it all over the internet it turns into a couple billion dollars for Google and a few bucks for webmasters.

JMiller
February 16th, 2009, 05:11 PM
Hey Jim,

When you post video's now, how do you make the video easy to click instead of just the link? for example, my new video post in "fun and fast"