Site Stuff: Ads (and Possibly Other Stuff) Incoming

Spare a Tuppence, Guv'nor?

Spare a Tuppence, Guv’nor?

Hey folks, how are ya? I’m writing because I’ve decided to make a change or two to the site, and I wanted to be as up front and transparent about it as possible. Because I love you guys. A Lot. :) Now, as much as I love working on this site, I’m not able to work on it as much as I’d like because so much of my focus has to go towards work that pays the bills. Now I know I’ve put up a donation button, and I’m thrilled for and amazingly thankful to all those who have donated, but I want to take things a step further and have this site at least pay for its own hosting costs, and hopefully, eventually, a bit more. This is why I have a plan that I wanted to shoot your way.

First Up, Ads

Now, I’ve said I’ve been against ads before, but every time I do, several of you guys are like, “Dude, put up ads, if it gives you more money to make more content, we’re behind it.” So soonish (once I figure out how), I’m going to incorporate simple and (hopefully) unobtrusive ads into both the blog and the forum in the hopes that the ad revenue from these ads will encourage me to create more content to bring in more traffic to get more ads clicked on to bring in more revenue. An upward spiral, if you will. I never want this site to become littered with ads, but I want to make the ads I choose to show useful  at the very least, such as an Amazon search box and the like. Therefore, please forgive the mess as I toy with themes and such that support ads (this one doesn’t seem to) until I find one I feel is clean, readable and usable.

If you have any suggestions, questions, criticisms or concerns about this, please feel free to share them below or happily contact me directly.

Then, An Idea I’m Toying With, Patreon (Which, if Implemented, Would be Optional)

Recently I found out about this service called Patreon, which I’m quite intrigued by. Basically, it allows users to tip a certain amount for specific types of content, which in this site’s case would be reviews, let’s plays, previews, interviews and so on. Users can donate a specific amount for each post, and each tier comes with a specific set of rewards. You can see an example of how this is set up here with Mattie Brice’s profile. I’d still have to come up with the rewards, but you can see on Ms. Brice’s profile an example of how this could work. You can see a video on how this works on the site’s about us page, but here’s how I believe it works.

Say there are four donation levels, $1, $5, $10 and $20. Each level has an increasing set of rewards associated with it, such as exclusive content, a personal video chat and so on. These levels are set up so that each time an original piece of content  – such as an original review, let’s play video, interview or preview, but not news or a post like this, for example — is posted, each person is charged for the amount they set. Let’s say two people chose the $1 level, one person chose the $5 level and one person chose the $10 level. In this scenario, total donation per piece of original content would be $17 from four different donors. Also, donors can set up a budget so they don’t go over a certain amount. For example, a donor could choose the $5 level and set a $15 monthly budget. If I put up four articles, this person would only be charged three times. It’s basically like an ongoing tip jar for content creation.

Now I’ve asked some people very close to me what they think of this, and they also think it’s an interesting idea. Part of me thinks it might seem like begging. However, I’ve been told it’s only begging if the person giving money can expect nothing in return, and you guys would definitely get something in return. This could include exclusive content, a personal Skype chat or something to that effect (I’d have to come up with it, of course). With all that said, I want to know what you guys think. Again, this would be purely optional, as I’d be writing content anyway, but if I could get enough support per article, who knows, maybe I could become more self-sufficient and have more time to devote to this site and to you guys. I would love to hear what you guys think of this idea in the comments, so please be open and honest.

I Hope This Doesn’t Make Me a Sell Out ;)

Again, I’ve been avoiding going down this route because somewhere in my brain, something tells me I’m selling out, that I don’t deserve it, that I’d be seen as a sham doing it for the money and only the money. I hope y’all know that isn’t true. I love working on this site as much as I can, but I’ll be honest, being able to earn some coin from it would help. I plan to keep working on this site for as long as I draw air, but until my work or living situation changes, the amount of time and energy I’ll have to devote to this site will be limited. This is why I hope that, eventually, this site can help sustain me at least part time, maybe even full time, so that I can put as much time and effort as possible into it to keep you guys entertained. :)

Thanks for hearing me out folks, and again, if you have any questions, comments, criticisms or just want to yell at me for selling out to the Almighty Dollar, feel free to do so below or contact me directly. Thanks as always for visiting, and have a great night.

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Comments

  1. aszurom says

    I'd look into Amazon affiliation. You basically get 10%+ of any sale that passes through your click-through. Given that a lot of us are Amazon prime junkies, we could just click through you when we buy something, it doesn't cost us a penny different, and you get a percentage for free.

    If you want unobtrusive ads, go with Google text-only ads and jail them in a box over on the side menu. Very simple to do in WordPress.

    I'd say do both.

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  2. says

    Hey Brian, I honestly feel that those are some great ideas. I really can't believe that you have gone this long without doing any of those, I mean with the amount of content that you add like Info, podcast, reviews, and of course all the work you do with research to keep up with anything and everything space is well.. amazing to me with out any help. As much as ads can be a bother if done correctly can also really help the site get more traffic and support. As for asking for help with a little bit of cash to help make life just a little bit easier for your family is absolutely nothing wrong with that. The amount of work that you do and content that you add to the site proves that the site deserves the help and support, on top of that I think it's wonderful that you would like to design a reward system. I really hope that you do decide to add these additions to the site, I have to admit it's a bit unsettling to hear that you maybe slowing down on the content that you add. I've been going to your site for a long time now right around a year or so now and pretty much visit it everyday. I also look forward to Jim and your podcast every week, i've listen to every single one of them. I just wanted to show my support for your ideas and the site and only hope for the best in the future, I wanted to say thank you for all your hard work and Jim's!

    Take Care!

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  3. says

    I'm not sure if you are already planning to do this, but many (game) developers/studios offer an affiliate program. You're already in the picture for them as they contact you for promotion and you are already sending many visitors to them (for free). Placing affiliate links to games is an unobtrusive way to earn some money that doesn't hurt your visitors. Visitors won't pay more for games but you get a fee for each sale. Just be open about it with a disclaimer, I'm sure your visitors won't mind you getting a fee. Place the affiliate links in your articles where you link to the games.

    Personally I use this method on a few sites and it gets me more income than Adsense. Why? Because you actually send highly targeted visitors to the affiliate program. Fees are often also much higher than Adsense.

    What also works pretty good is a header banner. I know many people think such banners are not-done but it depends on the audience. For this site my guestimate is that it will work pretty good as long as the banner is relevant. Don't do dating/viagra/adult but place a banner that interests your visitors, like new games/hardware/controllers/gpu's, etc. Experiment with it. I have a banner on a site that gets me +$500 a month with just 500 visitors a day. There's no Adsense that can do that for you.

    Next is using your sidebar. Create a widget with affilate links based on the most popular content on your site. This can add up to 30% extra income.

    Think of it this way: Would you but it? Of yes, great, do it! If not, still do it. You are not your visitors, it could still be of value to them. Just be unobstrusive and open about it. Explain why and how you are placing ads/banners/affiliate links and everyone will understand and even be thankfull for you thinking it through and giving your "endorsed recommendations".

    Just my 2cts.

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    • Brian RubinBrian Rubin says

      A lot of great advice, thanks!! Having a banner ad that brought in that much would be wonderful.

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    • Brian RubinBrian Rubin says

      Also, would you mind showing me an example of how you use affiliate links, please?

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      • says

        I use a WordPress plugin called Simple Urls (http://wordpress.org/plugins/simple-urls/). You enter the affiliate link in the Simple Urls admin page and it will create a url like this for you: http://www.spacegamejunkie.com/go/name-of-game/ (or something like that).

        After that I edit a post and add the Simple Url as a link where it is relevant. Content might look like this:

        "Some awesome news about a cool [a href="http://www.spacegamejunkie.com/go/name-of-game/"]game[/simple-url] you need to know about."

        Above looks like shortcodes but you would use normal a href tags / links (chain symbol in the post editor).

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  4. Nes Anderson says

    Put up ads if you feel its necessary, most of us who hate them have tools like adblockplus to deal with the annoyance :3 I won't notice a difference.

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    • says

      Hi Nes, can I ask you a question? I understand many ads are an annoyance and why you use an adblocker. But would you mind affilliate links and banners that are actually relevant to you as a visitor of this site and maybe adds value to your experience? Please be honest, your answer is very valueable to Brian.

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    • insolent says

      Ads are a way in which producers of valuable content like Brian can support their sites. If you value this blog and want to support it, you might consider whitelisting the URL in your Adblock Plus. The ads aren't likely to be annoying, and they may even be relevant to your interests.

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  5. insolent says

    Excellent ideas, Brian, and I fully support them. I'd be happy to chip in a few bucks a month for a service that routinely helps me find awesome space games and news I wouldn't find otherwise. And I've already whitelisted spacegamejunkie.com in Adblock Plus, so no worries there.

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  6. garion333 says

    I've seen too many Patreon campaigns go down in flames. There's a psychological barrier at play or something. I don't know your readership numbers, but out of the readers my guess is 1 out of 100 will donate to Patreon. If not fewer.

    Can't hurt to try and see though.

    Put up ads. It's how the internet works and I can live with that.

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  7. says

    Brian, you might want to look into Flattr. This might be a strictly European thing, I don't know, but at least here I see it used quite often. I think Patreon works just like it.

    Also, does GOG.com offer a bonus if you place a link to a respective game, the way Amazon does? I would gladly buy my GOG games through your site if it means you get a commission.

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    • Brian RubinBrian Rubin says

      GOG does, yeah, but they've switched things around and I've yet to get on the new one. I'll look into Flattr though. Thanks!

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  8. Gorkomatic says

    Go for it Brian. An AdSense placement or two is not much of a bother and it will keep the site alive.
    Although that's coming from someone working in internet advertising biz... Seductive nature of Evil and all ;)

    Regarding this Patreon thing... Could we, for instance, make you do LP of a game of out choice? TOTALLY not cackling evilly, BTW.

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  9. says

    Great! Now, while I am not so much into Let's Plays, I'd Flattr you for in-depth reviews or articles. I think that there are lots of games out there that warrant looking into them, or maybe re-visiting older ones. I for one liked your special about Independence War 2. Can you do the same for, say, Homeworld, oor Nexus:TJI? Or maybe you get to visit Gearbox and get to talk to the people there who are hard at work on Homeworld HD? Well, whatever your time permits.

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