temporary.name

Well...it's been fun

24 posts in this topic


I'd gladly pay $10 a year to support the site and avoid these shenanigans.

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Posted (edited)

At one time you could pay for a premium membership that would exclude most of the ads but for some reason the option was eliminated in 2011.  I never payed since I don't mind the ads that much.  Generally they've been for hotel rooms at hotels where I had just booked a room.  For awhile some advertiser thought I wanted to meet Asian women and that was followed up by an ad for a Chinese airline.  Couldn't figure that one out except that I had been watching a few Crane Wives videos on YouTube.

EDIT: just noticed this is my 500th post, that comes out to fifty a year.  I think GRDadof3 probably does 500 a week.  

Edited by walker
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1 hour ago, walker said:

At one time you could pay for a premium membership that would exclude most of the ads but for some reason the option was eliminated in 2011.  I never payed since I don't mind the ads that much.  Generally they've been for hotel rooms at hotels where I had just booked a room.  For awhile some advertiser thought I wanted to meet Asian women and that was followed up by an ad for a Chinese airline.  Couldn't figure that one out except that I had been watching a few Crane Wives videos on YouTube.

EDIT: just noticed this is my 500th post, that comes out to fifty a year.  I think GRDadof3 probably does 500 a week.  

Somebody's gotta keep this crowd entertained! :) 

I don't even notice the ads on there. White noise I guess. They're pretty non-intrusive on this site, compared to Facebook and a lot of news sites. 

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Posted (edited)

This is the direction most sites will taking due to many users putting an blocker on.  These sites do not want to lose the ad revenue

Screen Shot 2016-03-15 at 12.36.37 PM.png

Edited by ctpgr34
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Posted (edited)

I like being able to decide what displays on my computer. That is why I report sites who block adblockers to adblocking companies. Just a cat and mouse game. If sites didn't go overboard with ads in the past, I would be more sympathetic.

Edited by temporary.name

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Posted (edited)

Whitelisted.

Untitled.png

Edited by temporary.name
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2 hours ago, Neo said:

This site takes real money to run. We have license fees for the software we use, we lease two servers (one database server and one front-end server), we pay for backup software, monitoring software, business filing fees, taxes, etc. Ad revenue has dropped significantly because of ad blockers over the last couple of years and I went as long as I could. In December I instituted the ability for users to pay for membership to support the site and avoid ads, but four months later absolutely no one has signed up for membership.

I don't like obtrusive ads but as a site owner and the one who pays the bills, if you use an ad blocker on a site (especially one like this that is wholly supported by ads and requires the revenue from them to continue moving forward) I consider it a form of stealing. We don't sell user information to third parties, we don't use pop-up ads or full-screen ads, we don't place content behind a pay-wall, etc. The ads are unfortunately a requirement for this site's existence. I realize that a large portion of users use ad blockers and I hate to disappoint or anger users, but I have a responsibility to make sure this site stays running and keeps moving forward.

I'm taking a risk here by blocking the site unless you whitelist it in your ad-blocker. I know that there are other sites that offer similar content to UrbanPlanet.org but I also know that we have a great community here and a great history and I'm hopeful that is worth looking at a few unobtrusive banner ads while you browse the site.

 

 

The content on this site is 10x more valuable than what's reported in our local business journal. It's being given out for a steal. 

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I just turned my ad blocker off for UP.  I can handle the little ribbon adds telling me to buy a car.

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13 hours ago, Neo said:

 

Thanks for jumping into the thread and offering your perspective. I certainly appreciate your need to be able to sustain the operation of the site. I visit multiple times daily, and will gladly support it. A few thoughts on the Supporting Membership:

  1. It's hard to find. Before you linked to it, I couldn't find it anywhere on the site. One good place to add a link would be in the block-adblock popup.
  2. You might want to disable the block-adblocker on the Supporting Membership page. :-)
  3. $40/year is a bit steep—it must be at least an order of magnitude higher (I'm guessing) than the ad revenue you'd make for one person over a year. You might get more people to purchase it if it were at a lower price point. (nevertheless, I do think it's worth that much for me)
  4. Most pressing issue: I couldn't get the checkout to work. There were no payment options offered, leading me to get this message: "There was an error processing the payment. Please try a different payment method or contact us for assistance."

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I run an ad blocker for security purposes, not just to avoid obnoxious ad displays (Not that the ads were intrusive on UP). In addition to Forbes, look at the run of targets malware via advertising in the last week:

https://threatpost.com/massive-malvertising-campaign-lands-on-top-websites/116806/

"Big-name websites were hit with a cunning malvertising campaign over the weekend that attempted to sneak TeslaCrypt ransomware on computers vulnerable to the potent Angler Exploit Kit. Top sites running the malicious ads included The New York Times owned NYTimes.com, Answers.com and AOL.com, according three separate security firms that spotted a spike in malvertising over the weekend.
..."

My suggestion is to ensure that a paid option is painless to sign up for - and something less than $40 per year, or I'll have to bid Adieu for now.

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16 minutes ago, organsnyder said:

Thanks for jumping into the thread and offering your perspective. I certainly appreciate your need to be able to sustain the operation of the site. I visit multiple times daily, and will gladly support it. A few thoughts on the Supporting Membership:

  1. It's hard to find. Before you linked to it, I couldn't find it anywhere on the site. One good place to add a link would be in the block-adblock popup.
  2. You might want to disable the block-adblocker on the Supporting Membership page. :-)
  3. $40/year is a bit steep—it must be at least an order of magnitude higher (I'm guessing) than the ad revenue you'd make for one person over a year. You might get more people to purchase it if it were at a lower price point. (nevertheless, I do think it's worth that much for me)
  4. Most pressing issue: I couldn't get the checkout to work. There were no payment options offered, leading me to get this message: "There was an error processing the payment. Please try a different payment method or contact us for assistance."
  1. I agree that it is a little hard to find if you don't know to look. It is an option when you register as a new user though. I will look into adding a link about the membership option to the adblock blocker message.
  2. Maybe...but I figure it is easy to just whitelist it anyway. I'm not even sure it is feasible to allow a portion of the site.
  3. I assume that if you are going to pay for membership to this site that you are a frequent user. This means that the percentage of ad revenue is beyond average for your account. $4/mo is the figure I came up with for a heavy user. I know it seems steep, but when you look around the web at what other companies are charging for services I think it is reasonable. My intent with the supporting membership isn't just so users can bypass ads, but so that they can support the site (above and beyond). I hate the coffee analogy, but I don't think it is a bad one... The last time I went to Starbucks (I rarely go anymore, but I went to get a freebie that I had on my card) the amount I would have had to pay for my grande peppermint mocha with soy was an astounding $7 and some change. I bet we all get more out of this site than I got out of my drink that day (no way I'm paying $7 for a drink).
  4. I couldn't recreate the issue you are having. Check out the attachment to this post as that is what you should be seeing. We use Stripe for credit card processing FWIW.

Screen Shot 2016-03-16 at 7.11.18 AM.png

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2 minutes ago, bikeoid said:

I run an ad blocker for security purposes, not just to avoid obnoxious ad displays (Not that the ads were intrusive on UP). In addition to Forbes, look at the run of targets malware via advertising in the last week:

https://threatpost.com/massive-malvertising-campaign-lands-on-top-websites/116806/

"Big-name websites were hit with a cunning malvertising campaign over the weekend that attempted to sneak TeslaCrypt ransomware on computers vulnerable to the potent Angler Exploit Kit. Top sites running the malicious ads included The New York Times owned NYTimes.com, Answers.com and AOL.com, according three separate security firms that spotted a spike in malvertising over the weekend.
..."

My suggestion is to ensure that a paid option is painless to sign up for - and something less than $40 per year, or I'll have to bid Adieu for now.

I understand that this is a reason for many folks, but such is the web. If you're on the web, advertising isn't the only enemy. We only use two advertising platforms outside of direct sales (which I have 100% involvement in approving and placing on the site): Google AdSense and BuySellAds. Both are extremely reputable networks. The TeslaCrypt crap took advantage of a Flash exploit. You just got lucky that it was in an ad, that thing could have easily been in a non-ad Flash file on the site that was loaded and your ad-blocker would have done nothing to prevent it.

I have made the sign-up process as painless as possible (will look into making it more prominent though). I will look into lowering the $40/year cost as well, but I'm also wanting to avoid shooting myself in the foot.

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Okay, I cut supporting membership in half to $20 a year and got rid of the monthly rate. I also amended the adblock message with instructions on how to become a supporting member for an ad free experience. I can't go any lower than that without having a negative effect. If you have any issues in upgrading to a supporting member please let me know so that I can look into it a little more.

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Thanks so much. A couple of other things:

1. Thanks for fixing the issue with replying that I PMed you about. I notice that the "Like" button seems to still be missing. Not a big deal, really...

2. I suggest linking the "Supporting Member" badge under our avatars to the support page.

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Posted (edited)

I wholeheartedly disagree that blocking ads is theft as the majority of content on this website is user generated and not reimbursed. In actuality, the only reason most of us are here are the other users and not the website itself as it offers no other benefits beyond any other web forum. We could all use the Grand Rapids Subreddit or even make a GR Project Discussion subreddit for no monetary cost to us and still be able to individually decide what we display on our computers via ad blocking software.

 

As I said earlier, I have whitelisted UP. However, equating blocking ads with theft is a road no one with a site that monetizes user generated content would want to willingly go down. At least I hope.

Edited by temporary.name

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As someone that is in the online advertising industry, blocking the ads is taking money out of the site's pocket.  

This site never has ads that do anything beyond a 15 second animation.  I cannot remember the last time I saw an ad that wasn't retargeting me or a simple advertisement, nothing on the shady side.  Advertising makes the world go round, it's not going away.  If it were not for advertising online we would be paying monthly fees to every site we visit.  Imagine the amount of money you would be spending on a monthly/yearly basis because of those ads you don't want to see for Subway or for airline tickets to Florida that you researched.

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1 hour ago, temporary.name said:

I wholeheartedly disagree that blocking ads is theft as the majority of content on this website is user generated and not reimbursed. In actuality, the only reason most of us are here are the other users and not the website itself as it offers no other benefits beyond any other web forum. We could all use the Grand Rapids Subreddit or even make a GR Project Discussion subreddit for no monetary cost to us and still be able to individually decide what we display on our computers via ad blocking software.

 

As I said earlier, I have whitelisted UP. However, equating blocking ads with theft is a road no one with a site that monetizes user generated content would want to willingly go down. At least I hope.

Yes, this site is user-driven...but what you don't see is the time and money that I spend each week on this site. I would be extremely surprised that if the ad blocking trend continues that sites that you love start placing at least some of their content behind a pay-wall or require ads to be displayed. There is no VC money here as you will find with some other sites...but what happens with that VC money runs out? This site has been around since 2003 and I plan to keep it around for as long as possible...but it is only possible if I can continue to pay for it...and that's only possible if ads are displayed or if it is offset by paying membership.

I'm going to pick on your Reddit example for a moment though. I'm unsure if you have noticed or not, but Reddit would cease to exist if it weren't for ads, promoted entries, and supporting members. Do you agree with Reddit monetizing user generated content? I'm getting the gist that you're a fan but I fail to see how this site is ultimately different from Reddit. There is no such thing as a free ride.

Take a look at the following screenshot to see how Reddit is supported:

56e99d92060e5_ScreenShot2016-03-16at1.35

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Reddit is different from UP just based on size alone. The minority of users who use adblocking software don't impact Reddit enough for them to block such software.

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Posted (edited)

This is the least obtrusive site when it comes to ads.  I really don't even notice them.  Now, the sites that have scrolling ads the cover your whole screen while you are reading something, that's super annoying. In the end I would rather have ads then pay to use. I really don't see the big deal, especially with UP.

Edited by mpchicago

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honestly, I didnt even know there were ad's until this topic came up haha

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On 3/15/2016 at 10:14 AM, walker said:

. . .  I don't mind the ads that much.  Generally they've been for hotel rooms at hotels where I had just booked a room.  For awhile some advertiser thought I wanted to meet Asian women and that was followed up by an ad for a Chinese airline.  Couldn't figure that one out except that I had been watching a few Crane Wives videos on YouTube.

Well I was just browsing through so I didn't log in so I got to see the ads that I would have missed now that I am a supporting member.  WOW, I've really moved up in the target advertising world.  A nice ad for a Maserati popped up.  That's going to be a good car to have to impress the Asian ladies when I go pick them up after they get here on the Chinese airline.  Glad I didn't log in.   

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Reasons I run an ad blocker:

1. Ads are annoying. Won't elaborate on that since I'm stating the obvious. 

2. Security. Websites that host ads have little to no control of what ads can do to a user's computer. As said by another here, there are ads in circulation that contains malware. Since my PC is central to my livelihood, entertainment, and socializing, I don't need malware screwing up my system.

3. Conserving Bandwidth: Though I have not been hit by monthly data caps, its only a matter of time that I will. I have Comcast as my ISP and they have been testing monthly data caps in some of their service areas. If a customer goes over the cap, they pay an overage fee. As a user I cannot control how much bandwidth an ad takes up. Its all up to the web master as to how many ads are placed in a website. So if a website has allot of ads, that's more precious data usage I would have to burn through than loading a website with little or no ads. In short when I am hit with a monthly data cap, I'd much rather use precious data usage on content I want to see and interact with than wasting it on ads of products I don't want to buy any way. 

Oh and BTW. To any web master that does not like people using ad blockers, don't waste time with trying to force people to turn off their ad blockers. There are ways for a smart web user to get around ad blocker blockers. 

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