Just my 2cents

Discussion in 'Feedback Forum' started by ghost writer, Sep 4, 2011.

  1. ghost writer

    ghost writer New Member

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    I hope you will consider this as someone trying to be helpful, because I am not saying this to be mean.

    I came here today looking for a solution to my mic settings in win speech recognition. I'm leaving now, without sticking around to find an answer.

    Most people use ad blocker software I suspect, but I don't. It is so bad on your forum that I am afraid to move my mouse around the page.

    Hope you find a balance between revenue and usefulness

    Ghost Writer
     
    1 person likes this.
  2. kaos

    kaos Senior Member

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    hi

    Please dont be put off by a couple of adverts at the side of a page? If your wanting help then we can provide it, Adverts exist everywhere its like saying i dont watch the TV as there are adverts on all the time or i dont read the paper as theres adverts and i dont know where to read. The core content is what matters and myself and no doubt everyoneelse that comes on at w7 forums continually strive to provide good honest help to acheivee high satisfaction. If you dont want to have adverts then you are albe to have a subscription that would remvoe these from the page


    if you want to elabolrate on the issue you are having then members can try and help you out.


    Kind regards

    Kaos
     
  3. ghost writer

    ghost writer New Member

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    I appreciate your response. The ads on the side are normal and expected, but the underlined words that pop up an ad when I scroll over accidentally are what drives me away.

    Normally I just leave when sites do that, and I just leave quietly, but your site has been an excellent resource deserving of feedback.

    Feel free to delete the post - it was not intended for your visitors anyway. I just didn't know where else to put it
     
  4. kaos

    kaos Senior Member

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    we apprecaite feedback as much as anyone would as well , maybe constructive feedback if you like which is why we can improve the site based on ideas of feedback given, this site to be fair is really popular hence how long its been running for, the quality of the answers and time spent etc. alot of sites woiuld incorporate different methods of advertising based on the agreements laid out etc or what mike ( the owner ) decided on.... im sure when he read this he may be albe to apply some light to this and explain why he has done it or why its in place..
     
  5. Mitchell_A

    Mitchell_A Excellent Member

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    Thank you for your feedback. Our advertising platform occasionally has to be put into such overdrive if site revenues are too low. Typically you'd find virtually NO advertisements here, but currently we are running a few different campaigns, which we did question the intrusiveness of prior to adding them to the site.

    Be advised that your feedback has been received and is being reviewed by our administrators. We thank you for taking the time to submit your thoughts, and hope that you will come back to our site - even if it's only after we change our current advertisement delivery methods.
     
  6. ghost writer

    ghost writer New Member

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    Well your public relations dept is top notch anyway :beguiled:

    I wish you the best with your ad mix
     
  7. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley New Member

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    The advertising you speak of can be turned off, I did so from the settings pages. They do ask that you reconsider turning the advertising off because it is a revenue for them. However like you, I can not stand the popups from cursoring over text. And like you I am willing to allow the adds from the side.

    My two cents matching the OP.

    Edit:
    Ohh and you may want to turn the WYSIWYG Editor off, it was driving me nuts from lose of control.
     
  8. Mike

    Mike Windows Forum Admin
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    Hello,

    Here is some direct feedback regarding the advertisements:

    One way for us to calculate the overall effectiveness of advertisements is a formula known as eCPM. This is Total Earnings divided by Impressions (the ads you see) multiplied by 1000 = eCPM. The eCPM for this site is very low, because nearly all of our ads are based on the PPC model. PPC means pay-per click. We are paid almost nothing for showing actual ads, but only when someone clicks on the ads. This may help you better understand our advertising strategy. We could show one trillion ads per day, and if no one clicks on them, we get paid just about absolutely nothing. We also measure success in the PPC model by looking at page RPM.

    Page RPM = (Estimated earnings / Number of page views) * 1000
    Link eCPM = cost per thousand link impressions (equal to earnings divided by link unit impressions, then multiplied by 1000)

    The best way we measure success in the PPC model is, obviously, daily revenue, estimated earnings, but also:

    CTR = click through rate (Clicks divided by number of impressions, views or queries)

    A CTR of 1.5% could be considered average for a successful publisher advertising campaign. Our Google AdSense CTR is less than 1%. This is very bad when you consider that something like 30,000 ad units may be shown per day. Now, if you understand that we are today, getting somewhere around 33,000 page views per day, whereas last month that number was around 60,000, you can see that our advertising revenue has nearly been cut in half.

    The annoyance you are considering are the in-line text advertisements from InfoLinks. Google is very stringent about what ads can be shown on a page and from whom, as they seek to limit competition. Any advertiser that places contextual advertising similar to their technology is banned by Google. Thus, every site on the Internet is limited to showing 3 Google AdSense advertisements per page. These advertisements are placed online for advertising by marketers using a program called Google AdWords. When we show advertisements from Google, they use their system knowledge of your search history, as well as the content on the page, to make an educated guess about what ad would appear on the page. In other words, rather than annoy you with ads you would find useless, they seek to use all of their knowledge about your viewing history to find an advertisement that would be what you would actually like to see. This has made them a superior online advertising provider, creating a marketplace that is barely rivaled. It allowed them to defeat other online advertising marketplaces, and put them in the number one spot. Their acquisition of DoubleClick some time ago was a large move, as prior to Google's advertising success, DoubleClick was the advertising program many websites worked with. Google is able to provide many of their services through providing contextual advertising, and this platform has made them billions upon billions of dollars.

    Other advertising programs like AdBrite depend on manually placed advertisements, one by one, by marketers. This makes it difficult to show ads from any other source besides Google for most publishers because we have opted in to Google's system. Larger websites often make use of advertising systems from large companies which have not been acquired by Google, but in most cases, we have not qualified for these programs, tested them, or used them, because we do not receive enough traffic to qualify for these programs. You will typically see these advertisements on the Alexa top 1,000 website worldwide.

    We are able to work outside the Google model of advertising by working with a company like InfoLinks, or their competitor Kontera, because their advertisements look nothing like Google ads. This allows us to show their ads without breaking any of Google's agreements with publishers. In fact, Google execs approved of the use of InfoLinks for publishers side-by-side with Google ads. InfoLinks are the ads you see as double-underlined links within the text. Our click-through rate for these ads is much higher than Google AdSense, but the link eCPM is much lower, on an order of magnitude that is ridiculous. This is because this form of advertising is nowhere near the level of Google. Google's ad marketplace is enormously gigantic compared to InfoLinks. You are talking about a relatively small company compared to Google, which also has significant competition. So whereas Google ad unit clicks provide more site revenue, we are seeing less clicks, and we are getting more clicks from InfoLinks, we are seeing less revenue.

    Thus, we are in a bind. And all of this has to do with a reduction of traffic. The cause of that reduction is something we have debated about hotly, with one of our admins again going crazy when we refuted his claim that it was a seasonal change. The fact of the matter is that a few weeks ago we approached 20,000 unique site views for the day, which was the lowest and slowest day for us in terms of traffic since somewhere around April 2009. So whereas we had been steadily been building up traffic, interest, pages, members, and viewers, this suddenly dropped down to an outrageously low number. If you consider that days prior, we had 60,000 visitors, compared to 20,000 a few days later, this is a loss of 2/3rds of all traffic. This, of course, is a percent decrease of 66.67%.

    As we have seen viewer levels increase somewhat, this is a good sign. The actions we took in this regard were to:

    Reinstate advertisements that even we do not really like. In fact, I would prefer to be able to offer a site with no advertisements whatsoever, that depended solely on user contributions to stay online, but this will never happen, since purchasing power worldwide is on a massive decline, the entire world is arguably still in a deep recession or economic depression. We have debated removing ads many times with other admins and moderators suggesting to keep them online. The primary reason for this, of course, has been their knowledge that it keeps the site online versus my illogical disdain and hatred for all advertisements in general.

    Look for ways to circumvent the traditional advertising model. I have decided to partner with other companies which I feel offer decent quality products. This, in turn, has led us to advertise Uniblue RegistryBooster consistently. However, with loss of traffic, comes loss of commission sales as well. The model of commission sales is not so great when people do not actually buy anything either. But we do work heavily, and extensively, to market this product. The primary reason for this enthusiasm is that despite its detractors, and despite the fact that there are free registry cleaning products online, RegistryBooster is a commercially developed product that also offers customer support that is Microsoft Gold Certified. The product is arguably a bit safer and easier to use than CCleaner, and is effective at identifying system problem areas. It is true that I will only market products that I feel meet out standards of quality. So when looking at this situation, we also been in talks to sell and market TuneUp Utilities, which is a suite of at least 30 high quality applications designed to help improve computer performance. I have used the software and have asked at least one other heavily qualified admin to test it, and it has met our standards. Our ability to sell this product AND RegistryBooster at the same time is questionable. But, Uniblue, the developer of RegistryBooster, has provided risk mitigation in case we can't sell their products well. This has been in the form of payment to run their ads in advance. So where this is concerned, it is safe for us to run those ads without taking on an enormous risk. TuneUp is not, to this date, able to provide us with that incentive. Over time we will work to see if this is possible after we revise and update our Software Updates area and change it into a highly functional Downloads section which will not use the standard forum interface (think Social Groups and Albums). As we have looked to improve this situation, I have also focused on anti-virus products. We look to try to sell another quality product called ESET NOD32. Most computer users are familiar with McAfee or Symantec products, and while advertising those products here directly might help the site make more money, I do not view this as being fair to anyone who purchases these products. I do not endorse these products in comparison to NOD32, which, in my view, is superior in every way imaginable. I have deployed NOD32 in many business environments, and we are able to offer NOD32 on a commission basis to our viewers. This offer provides a 25% discount for the product under certain circumstances. However, this seems to be our least successful offering. Viewers either do not know the quality of the product, or do not have the money to afford the product. We have also looked for ways for provide links for viewers to buy Windows 7 from Amazon.com, and even though we ran an online store that sold Microsoft products for some time, I believe we have made one sale in two years.

    So, most of this stuff does not work. But it is there. We began further marketing through providing link advertising of our own, which includes links to NOD32, RegistryBooster, and other products. Not enough time has gone by to see if this has been successful.

    We have also implemented a small script called VigLink which helps when website members link to a product at an online store. It adds an advertising referral ID to the online store so that if a purchase is made, we can at least benefit in an extraordinarily small way from that. To give you an example of the problem of partnering with large stores like Amazon, even when we refer a customer to buy a $300 product ourselves, with a Windows7Forums affiliate ID attached to it, we receive, traditionally, less than 10% commission. The commission rate is so low, that it hardly pays to advertise anything sold at online retailers or stores, especially since we have an international audience that can not necessarily buy computer technology from US stores. We are still actively looking at ways, however, to partner directly with the Microsoft Store.

    In addressing your concerns, we have already provided an off switch. This has been a difficult decision to make, but it is possible today, as mentioned previously in the thread, to turn all advertisements off in your Settings. Most of our viewers don't register as members, and I strongly believe in providing this benefit for all members today. In the past, we provided this option for Premium Supporters exclusively, but expanded the offering to all registered members. I am still determining if this was the best course of action, but I believe this was the right thing to do. By turning off advertisements, you do not need to see them at all. While Premium Supporters will still enjoy the added benefit of bonus membership, and directly contributing to the website, we have had less and less subscriptions as time has gone by. This means we are depending on Premium Supporters for website financing less and less, and as time has gone by, we have changed the price of the offering to try to encourage contributions. This simply has not worked, so I am left to try a number of options to make up for the massive loss in revenue that has come with a massive loss in traffic.

    What we are doing today about the situation is the following:


    • As stated above, I am trying very hard to partner with other websites and quality software providers to give options to our viewers that would allow them to quickly diagnose and resolve computer problems using commercial diagnostic software. This includes partnerships with Google, ESET, InfoLinks, TuneUp, Uniblue, Commission Junction, VigLinks, and other companies.
    • We are now looking at areas where we can reform the website in a way that would benefit all members and visitors, including phasing out the Software Updates section and turning it into a dedicated download area,
    • To improve traffic, we are working to provide higher quality content, a better search, and review analytic data more often. For instance, before upgrading our search engine to make it superior, we did not know how long it took the average user to make a search on the website, how many searches were being made, or what the situation was. We know now that through our internal search engine, in the last 44 days, 35,133 searches were made with the average query response time being .061 seconds. This is good news, as the search engine is used a lot, and we need to find ways to make the search engine work for all viewers to help them find the content they may be looking for.
    Why do we need advertising?

    Advertising revenue absolutely goes towards the website. The website owns a significant amount of Internet real-estate. This includes a dedicated server that costs over $500 monthly. Further, the site owns around 60 domain names to help drive traffic, pays for content delivery network bandwidth to allow the site to deliver content more easily to remote parts of the world, and pays for multiple software licensing. Obligations in licensing include the need to renew our license for LiteSpeed Web Server, vBulletin, VBSEO, vBulletin Enterprise Translator, the Sphinx Search product, Android mobile application developer updates, and more. We license this software and keep it up to date because it (1) pro-actively removes security threats which are found in all software on a regular basis (2) opens doors for us to provide new features for visitors and members (3) ensures that site outreach and visibility on the Internet continues (4) allows us to reach members that do not speak English (5) increases website speed through the overall enhancement of software in general. There are more costs related to the website than I have even listed here, and members who have complained in the past and run their own small forums on a shared hosting provider do not comprehend the requirements that we must adhere to which allow us to keep the site relevant. I have spent a great deal in time writing this post, which in turn, could have also been spent making money doing something else. So ads are a reality and necessity to keep the site online. During the height of website popularity, we can serve anywhere between 3,000 to 5,000 database queries per second. This is an enormous strain on hardware resources, and these database queries are mitigated through software development. One example is the perpetual lifetime license we have for vBOptimise, which uses our OPCache technology (XCache) and reduces the number of queries necessary to serve pages when we are under heavy load. Eventually, if needed, we have the ability to launch a database server specifically for queries that would be seperate from our web server.. But by investing in all of this technology ahead of time, we have provided the tools necessary to serve at least a hundred thousand concurrent, simultaneous connections to the website at any given time. We anticipate more traffic, not less, and plan for more traffic not less. Our goal is to provide always-on capability, a security-hardened database, and stay up to date with forum features. We will never waiver from this goal. Ever. The site is designed for high traffic and we will add even more hardware, more software, and make any code changes necessary if the need arises.

    This loss in traffic will not be permanent, and may very well be the result of overzealous DMCA claimaints, the removal of a substantial amount of content, our temporary disabling of our translator, the changing of our default forum theme, or a number of other issues. We are looking at it, but we will continue to provide high quality content. The more viewers we have the less ads we need to run. This is the nature of keeping the site online. The current advertising platform is helping us to mitigate the need to reduce hardware software or default on the website's financial obligations which allow it to stay relevant. The "opt-out" feature is there, and certainly, it was not easy to think about providing this feature free of charge. We know of few websites that do this for their members, unless they are paying a subscription. But ultimately, if you want less ads altogether, we need financial help from our members directly. This can be done in the form of direct donation or a monthly subscription purchase.

    We will not reduce website infrastructure whatsoever. We have served over 30 million pages of content in 2 years time, and cannot afford to be in a situation whereas we do not have enough resources at our disposal to handle a resurgence in viewership or traffic.

    We take all member feedback seriously, and must consider your request seriously. Thus, we will talk about this situation again. But I hope I have been able to explain to you the theory behind the current situation.
     
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  9. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley New Member

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    Mike, I can understand why you advertise. The thing is, no amount of advertising will make someone interested if they don't have their mind open to the product from the start.

    I don't trust ads and will never purchase based solely on the ad. Advertising has a way of making someone advertise when they normally wouldn't use the product themselves. I would like to think I am not alone when looking at ads this way.

    I've grown accustomed to following my own links from search results, not the links from websites. I've followed links from website ads before and was bitten by viruses. Since then I made it my own policy never to follow links from ads on any website. I would also like to think I am not the only one that follows this rule.

    Could you by any chance use promotional codes instead of ad links? Promotional codes could prove to be more valuable as they would be tied to an actual sale of the product.

    What software do you purchase for your own use? Promoting a product that you don't use yourself is something that users can sense. I know I would have trouble promoting a product that I didn't use myself.

    I hope you don't mind me voicing my thoughts. I honestly don't know what you have tried, considered, or what has failed in the past. I can only hope that one can understand why clicking website ads can be terrifying to the end user.
     
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  10. Mike

    Mike Windows Forum Admin
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    This is true, and I value your feedback. Thus, the laws of probability must be taken into account. There are people who do click on ads and do purchase software. These people are not operating at a loss, because we will only promote average to excellent software and not poor software. I am talking about our sponsored promotions which include NOD32 and RegistryBooster.
    This is very much your prerogative, but good brands can also directly target this site. Google also regularly monitors their advertising network to make sure that advertised content complies with strict guidelines. It has not been uncommon to see Microsoft or Dell target the site with an advertising campaign using Google AdWords, but if Joe Schmoe outbids them, this is something else and is the nature of providing advertising space. To help you understand, we provide the advertising space to advertisers using Google's system. Google handles all of the transactions. This is better explained here: AdSense - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    We will never intentionally provide any links to viruses. Google also strictly prohibits virus-laden links on their entire advertising network. We are even able to censor certain ads and have done so in the past. While these ads did not contain viruses, they did not comply with the website's own quality standards or objectives at the time.
    We do not provide promotional codes because we do not have any. We can look into it, but it is not part of our advertising platform.
    I use ESET Smart Security, which includes NOD32, on every system I own. I have deployed it to multiple businesses and recommend the software every chance I get. If clients I know were searching for registry cleaning software, I would certainly recommend RegistryBooster as a paid solution. There are also alternatives, but these products are confirmed to be safe. I have met with a Uniblue representative here in New York and they are kind people with a dedication to their work. They believe in their products and do work to improve them regularly.

    But in terms of selling advertising space, please remember that Google uses contextual advertising. You must understand how contextual advertising works and understand that Google controls most of the online advertising market at this point in time.
    I understand that we are in a catch-22 in that you can please some of the people some of the time, all of the people some of the time, some of the people all of the time, but you can never please all of the people all of the time. This is why you can turn off ads.

    The world is currently in an economic depression and purchasing power has decreased worldwide. At the same time, it is very important that we continue to secure the site's operations now and going well into the future. Mitchell's response is adequate and quite accurate. In the past, we required members to pay to remove advertisements, and I had always deemed this to be somewhat unfair. But in doing so, they helped the site pay for expenses. I must say, that for a time, we had at least 70 Premium Supporters. This support has dwindled, and so the result is that any registered member can disable advertising site-wide. In exchange, we hope that members who enjoy the site on a regular basis will also find time to spare 1 dollar or 1 Euro. If even a percent of our visitors did, we would have 10 million dollars and no need to run ads ever again. We provide bonus services for Premium Supporters now, and continue to support this program, but we have extended the ability to turn off ads to all members. This is a win-win for all members. The reality is that the costs of operating the site are very real, and I would be irresponsible to tell you otherwise. The software offers you see which are different from Google Advertisements will never be "horrendous software" and will almost always have a trial run. We are working to provide our visitors with more options in this area that are less intrusive, but since you can turn everything off, it is hard to claim intrusiveness.

    But you must remember that Google determines who can run what ads on their network. They are very strict about how ads are placed, and we are also compelled to adhere to their stringent guidelines. I have seen no other site go into this matter so openly with their members or viewers, but have no problem articulating this information to you. With Google's network, they monitor where these ads lead to, and ensure that redirection or fake links are not placed in ads. We will always be willing to filter ads that may contain questionable content, and the people who do browse ads can always report them directly to Google or ask us to filter them. When we filter ads, however, this lowers the bids that advertisers have to pay to run ads on our site. It is very much like ads in a newspaper, fanzine, magazine, or television station, except it involves clicks instead of views (impressions). It is an open marketplace. I hope I have explained this to you in common terms. We use AdSense because they provide the safest ads, and best paying ads on the Internet. When it is determined that advertising spots are no longer required, they will be promptly removed, especially in-line text ads.

    Don't forget that registration and use of these services is entirely free, and that you may disable ads at any time in your Settings. This service was designed, programmed, and implemented directly by me, with objections placed by multiple members of our staff due to the possible implications it could have on the website's revenue. I have done this specifically for people like you. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with your views. To improve the quality of our ads, we are currently investigating the possibility of partnering with a subsidiary of the Microsoft Store. This is a plan in its infancy, but it is something currently on the back burner.
     
    #10 Mike, Sep 7, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2011
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  11. ghost writer

    ghost writer New Member

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    The amount of thought that went in to these posts is impressive. Guess this is something that has been under consideration for a while.

    A few sites where I contribute content have also recently experienced a drop in traffic - most notably in their feedback/forum pages. The drop may be due to the Google Panda 2.3 update

    For what it's worth, I've added a few links to your site from sites where I provide content, and where that content is computer related. Unfortunately, most of my content is not computer related, but hopefully a few links will help.
     
    #11 ghost writer, Sep 10, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2011
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  12. Mike

    Mike Windows Forum Admin
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    Thank you very much for this reply. It is greatly appreciated. What sites do you operate (if you care to share)? It has to have been some change in Google.
     

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