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Discussion in 'Help & Feedback' started by TryHard, 2nd Jun, 2006.

  1. TryHard

    TryHard Well-Known Member

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    Advertising on InvestEd

    Hi Sim

    Really like the home page and logo. Looks very fresh, or whatever the arty types would say !

    In the forum threads to my bland eye there is a bit too much pastel, and would happily lose one of the blues or greens (probably the blue ?) but its all good.

    Mate, the only negative is the addition of Google AdSense to the site. It makes InvestEd look like another one of 'those' sites that needs to sell ads to survive. Surely InvestEd is more substantial than that ?

    To me you run the risk of diluting the effectiveness of the forum. If you're going to sell ad space, sell it to high profile proven suppliers to the investor market, and charge a premium, and run it inhouse.

    Getting $0.15 or thereabouts for a click on some faceless advertiser is 'tacky'. I clicked on one and got http://www.caveatfinance.net/ - surely you are giving tacit approval to their service by displaying it on InvestEd ? They might be fine, but have the directors of InvestEd done their DD on who they might be recommending ??

    Just my $0.02

    Cheers
    Carl
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 3rd Jun, 2006
  2. Simon Hampel

    Simon Hampel Co-founder Staff Member

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    Actually you'll find that the majority of large sites use advertising mechanisms similar to Adsense. There are plenty of other choices rather than Adsense, but most of them are targeted at a US audience (and our is almost exclusively Australian), and most require a minimum viewing traffic that is a lot higher than ours is yet.

    With only 250 odd members, we are not that substantial yet. Until we grow large enough, we won't have the volume to make other mechanisms attractive (or even possible).

    This is definitely the plan - but until we get our viewer volumes up, we aren't exactly attractive to most of the "proven suppliers".

    Anyway - it is early days, I'm still tweaking the system, and yo ushould expect changes as I get a feel for what is working and what isn't.

    Actually it is usually a lot more than that if you set your site up correctly. We don't have any direct control over which ads show on the site using Adsense (annoying, but not much choice at this point), and we do explicitly state in our Ts&Cs that we take no responsibility for the outgoing links from the site.

    At the end of the day - you can't have it both ways. You either pay to support the effort that goes into building and running a site like this - or you get advertising.

    You can't read any online mainstream media these days without being bombarded with very large and annoying adverts - sad, but that's the way it has to work when people won't pay for content.

    We are planning on introducing a "premium" personal membership for a nominal annual charge, which will remove most of the advertising from the site for you and make a lot of other features available too.

    The questions is - how much are you willing to pay to not have any advertising on the site ? (serious question - looking for feedback).

    Thanks for the comments Carl.
     
  3. TryHard

    TryHard Well-Known Member

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    Hi Sim

    I do online marketing for a living - I'm not arguing its wrong, I'm saying Google AdWords and random outgoing links are not suited to InvestEd.

    How much do you expect from AdSense with 250 active members - it isn't going to be much unless you have a huge amount of non-member traffic ?

    You do have complete control over which ads to display in AdSense within your site (http://www.google.com/services/adsense_tour/page7.html) - see the "competitive filter" section.

    Relying on your T's & C's is pretty much 'yesterday'. I personally came to InvestEd for something better than the bottom-feeders out there - you are diluting the 'prestige' of InvestEd by sticking random ads from Google on it - if AdSense revenue (probably around $100 per month at best) is crucial to InvestEd's survival, then InvestEd has far more serious problems to deal with.

    No argument with appropriate advertising. Random google ads worth a few cents per click, running the risk of sending your users off to God knows where, is not appropriate advertising.

    The costs of hosting and maintaining a copy of VBulletin isn't massive (should be sub-$1,000 per annum? total), so if there are personnel costs to recoup, maybe the personnel will come up with some marketing initiatives to generate revenue ?

    Personally, I'm prepared to pay whatever the market will bear, assuming InvestEd continues to provide its focus on providing information, education and attention which is better than 'the others'.

    Hope you don't take this feedback the wrong way - just seems to me InvestEd could go from being '5 star' to 'backpacker' and that would be a shame

    Thanks
    Carl

    PS No idea what happened here, but someone hacked my original reply somehow - I did not enter the subject "To each their own" ??? Unless I have been slipped some 'medication' I'm unaware of :)
     
  4. Simon Hampel

    Simon Hampel Co-founder Staff Member

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    Like I said - Adsense is only the first step - we have to start somewhere, and it is fully my intention to get "real" advertising in place as soon as we can. I had to get the new site in place and the system for handling and tracking the adverts as well. Once the site and all the new features are in place, and traffic builds to a demonstrably useful level, then I will certainly be looking to make changes there.

    Well, I'm sure you are aware that it is not the members who are ultimately being targeted for the advertising. There's not a lot of value in that - it will be the occasional visitor who is hunting for something - but they aren't sure what ... these are the people who will mostly be clicking on the adverts. Our members are here because they want something specific from the site.

    Indeed, I will be limiting the amount of advertising of this nature that is displayed to members - it's just a matter of getting the balance right.

    What we need to do is to build up the membership, which builds up the post volumes, and which then builds up the incidental traffic - and that is who we will be making some money out of from our advertising.

    Actually - I'm sure you are aware that this is not actually how the competitive filter works. I know it is pedantic - but it is a very important distinction.

    The competitive filter allows you to control which adverts do NOT display on your site. It allows you to stop particular ads from showing. You have to know the URL of the advert so that you can program the system to not show them.

    What the competitive filter does NOT do is let you control which of the millions of other adverts that you haven't blocked will be shown. There's no practical way to block all the ads you don't like - it's really only possible for us to block ads for sites that directly compete with you.

    Heck, I make close to $100 per month with Adsense on my personal sites, which get a lot less traffic than InvestEd.

    I can tell you have a "chip" about Adsense - most likely because you are in the industry yourself and consider Adsense a lowest common demoninator - and I understand fully that. However, I also hope you understand that this is but a stepping stone. We are still a very new site with relatively low traffic.

    The Adsense adverts are certainly not crucial to our survival - but every little bit helps.

    Yes, the software costs are actually minimal - the hosting isn't much either right now - but it will grow in time ... and having some form of income to cover that is better than none at all while we are ramping up. The personnel costs are mostly me - but there are also accounting costs, bank fees, and other expenses that do have to be paid for somehow in the short term.

    So we are 5 star right now ? What makes us 5 star in your books ?

    All constructive feedback is good feedback - so I thank you again for yours.

    I moved your post from the thread you originally posted it in - since it deserved its own thread rather than being lost in the other thread. Actually I do think you put in a title (for the post, not the thread) of "to each their own" :D
     
  5. TryHard

    TryHard Well-Known Member

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    Hi Sim

    Wasting both our time now so I won't go on unecessarily ...

    1. If the ads aren't targetted at members, perhaps you should just not display them to members ?

    2. I don't have a 'chip' against AdSense, I once again point out I think it cheapens InvestEd in the context its being used. And you can easily use the competitive filter to dramatically decrease the rubbish, with a LOT of effort.

    3. What's 5 star in my books ? - access to quality information without being spammed with rubbish.

    Regardless, good luck with your endeavours - hope you find the balance you're seeking.

    Cheers
    Carl
     
  6. Simon Hampel

    Simon Hampel Co-founder Staff Member

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    Not entirely - your comments are still appreciated - and it is useful to debate these issues.

    Yup, still tweaking the whole setup.

    Would you be prepared to pay $275 a year to access quality information without being spammed with rubbish ? $200 ? $100 ? $50 ? $0 ?
     
  7. TryHard

    TryHard Well-Known Member

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    I'd happily pay $275 p.a. for quality discussion.

    The question is probably :

    {subscription price} x {people prepared to subscribe} > costs of running InvestEd ?

    If $275 is what the market will bear, and will generate the required number of subscribers, do it :)

    Maybe you should run a poll to assess people's view of an acceptable subscription fee ?

    Cheers
    Carl
     
  8. Alan

    Alan Well-Known Member

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    If I'm not mistaken, I think there is more agreement on some of the above issues then disagreement..... :)

    My feelings.........

    - Setup of the Site does look better in a number of ways.

    - I think Carl's points regarding some of the advertising is fair enough but I'm willing to tolerate it for a while if it really does help the viability of the Site during its initial 'startup' period. I too would hope it was phased out as soon as possible and replaced with the current site sponsor type ads as the others would slightly lessen the 'quality' of the Site in the longterm.

    - I'd be targeting certain 'quality' individuals/companies and even offering them a month ot two's free advertising if they'd like to pop in for a couple of 'interviews', thread discussions or whatever. After that they could be offered a paid rate or possibly a decent discount if they were a regular contributing member? Or something like that......

    - Personally, I think the removal of an initial Membership fee is not a bad idea at this stage as hopefully it will encourage more membership and discussion.

    - I think as the Site grows and the services expand I would consider implementing a nominal annual fee, but something more like in the $50 range initially and then review this up or down a bit further down the track. I'll mention why later.
    As someone else mentioned in another post, one of the things that attracts me to a Site such as this at the moment, is the current lack of 'cutting down the tall poppy' mentality. By this I don't mean not asking serious questions, but there is far less circular arguments here that are often perpetuated by certain individual insecurities etc. that if someone is 'high profile'/successful then they must be hiding something and it is the sworn duty of the questioner to try and get everything out of this individual/company before they inevitably leave.
    Then when they get fed up and leave, the questioner gives themselves a big pat on the back and says "See.......it just goes to show I was right. They didn't answer every last, tiny question I put to them. I'm still here. They are not. I must have been right" :rolleyes:
    I hope that level of crap can be avoided here as having seen it too often, I have plenty of better things to do with my time than watch it all over again.

    Again, I am not talking about asking decent questions and having decent debate, I am talking about 'badgering the witness' your honour..... :D

    Some form of 'membership fee' may be helpful in this regard as it may keep out those who really just want to drop in occasionally to stir things up for their own perverse entainment, but at the same time it may discourage some very worthwhile contributors from joining? :confused:

    - I think the 'fee for use' will be one of your most delicate areas. Not necessarily because people are 'tight' but because the Internet has created certain expectations of free access to information and Forums.
    There will be a certain percentage of potentially high quality posters who simply wouldn't participate in a 'paid environment' out of principle? :confused:
    There will be others who feel that if the 'business' of a Site is discussion, and they make a lot of contributions, then perhaps the Site should even be paying them rather than you charging them a fee etc. :confused:

    It's not going to be an easy balance to achieve and I would suggest you 'suck it and see' rather than going too gung-ho in one direction too early.

    Having said all that........I still think the Site has a huge amount of potential. :)
     
  9. TakeStock

    TakeStock Well-Known Member

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    I can understand both points of view regarding this issue. Whilst I would hate to see the site go down the PI forum path (ads after ads after ads), I don't mind a few appearing. In fact, some of them are actually interesting. I can easily live with the current mixture for now, and particularly if it helps cover some of the costs.
     
  10. TryHard

    TryHard Well-Known Member

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    Totally agree with Alan's points. The HUGE differentiator of InvestEd versus, dare I say it, SomerSoft, is that InvestEd has insulated itself from certain vocal detractors who take otherwise innocent questions and answers into long-winded, aggressive, circular and damaging arguments. I realise that is not the 'norm' at SS, but it happens.

    InvestEd also offers people who actually ARE experts in areas other than property, related to investing, rather than grandstanding by people who 'claim' to be experts but to my way of thinking have offered some damaging and unconstructive comment to innocent bystanders.

    Any serious investor should have no problem parting with a fee to access quality expert advice and discussion. I think the way Steve Navra sold it was for $2xx per year you would have access to experts who might otherwise cost that per hour. I would have thought an easy sell, but maybe needs some form of 'viral marketing' campign - maybe members able to send a 1 month free trial subscription to possibly interested colleagues, with a sample of the discussions as a tempter ?

    The advertising on the Home Page now is much more "InvestEd" looking and less in ya face than the Google stuff, and the AdSense being moved to the base of the screen is MUCH less intrusive - well done Sim :)
     
  11. -T-

    -T- Well-Known Member

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    I'd rather pay $275 pa because apart from having a cleaner site, I think the fee is instrumental to the quality of the content. I don't really post on SS anymore because members tend to take comments personally, they find it hard to debate without getting angry and the general contingent doesn't seem interested in thinking for themselves. I'm not saying the people are bad people, it's just the culture, which I believe is a product of having a free open forum.
     
  12. Tzaki

    Tzaki Well-Known Member

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    I agree with -T-, dare I say it, but the level of maturity/sophistication is much higher on InvestED, I havent seen a flamewar yet !!:D

    I think the fact that most folks value something more if they have to pay for it is a big factor.

    While I am still operating on the freebie from my use of Navra Fin Services, I would definately pay $275pa just to escape the Sh*t-stirrers encountered on some other fora.

    Serious discuission and debate is a healthy, valuable thing; argument for its own sake is useless or even damaging (to all concerned).

    The ads are possibly a neccesary evil, however, I like the idea of spamless viewing for subscribers (or more targeted ads - perhaps an option to turn them off?). That combined with, perhaps, posting rights or acess to the articles being limited to non-subcribers would mean that those who wish to lurk and view the discussion would be able to, while those folks who want to be a more active part of the e-community would be able to via subscription.
     
  13. HHH

    HHH Active Member

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    I too would rather pay to join InvestEd rather than have the site splattered with annoying advertising and the like.

    A good point too above about spammers and other annoying posts by flammers. I think only those serious about investing would pay the money to join.

    I like the new look of the forum, but I would much rather pay to join and keep the community tight as it was.

    thanks
     
  14. MichaelWhyte

    MichaelWhyte Well-Known Member

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    Hmmm...

    I can't see any ads so I don't know what the fuss is all about. I see the odd sponsored link header on a post, but then the post has no content so I just ignore that. Maybe that's where these ads are supposed to appear?

    Anyway, if InvestEd needs some advertising revenue to allow it to broaden its user base then I reckon that's a fair compromise IMHO. Love the site, love the content, love the community, not concerned about any of the changes.

    Cheers,
    Mike.
     
  15. Jayar

    Jayar Well-Known Member

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    Hi,
    An interesting thread, indeed, and a lot of good thoughts and valuable input. I guess we all want InvestEd to be the best, and I think it'll be a matter of fine-tuning over a period of time that will result in the right mix.
    For me, personally, InvestEd was always going to be a user-pays forum.....you paid good money, and received top advice from the several well-known identities who frequent the site, as well as those members who might not have their name in lights as yet, but are nevertheless just as valuable. For my money, I would also expect such gems as LOE 1-5, Asset Protection, Do's and Don'ts of Renovating, etc etc. (I think it was also hoped initially that charging a fee would discourage the stirrers.) And I was/am prepared to pay the agreed price for these benefits. I believe now that the number of paying members does not cover the running costs of this forum. At this time, we must have advertising. But I strongly believe we, as members, should also pay a premium for a premium site.....and let's not lose sight of who we ( InvestEd ) are.
    To make this a financially-viable site, as well as a Black Label site, I feel InvestEd must show these ads and must also continue to charge a premium.
    Without charging a fee, we've come back to the field. We're no better than the rest, and that's not how it was initially meant to be.
    Besides, as much as I dislike advertising being shoved up my nose, I really can't see anything that really bothers me on this site. There are no annoying pop-ups, and if I don't want to view the ads, I don't have to.
    I like the look of the new site, and Sim and the others involved deserve a pat on the back. It's a big task to get the hundreds of little things up and running, so that we all can the enjoy the finished product....InvestEd.
    Well done........
    Thank you
    Jayar
     
  16. -T-

    -T- Well-Known Member

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    Well said Jayar. I too (in whatever right I have, if any) am more concerned about the patronage as a whole rather than the use of ads. That's a good suggestion though, a fee (for good content and LOE 5 + more) and the ads to help even more. Anyway, these are only opinions; still a great site Sim' regardless!!! :D

    As an aside, I have a random idea for a site of this type. I realise it may not be viable, but maybe worth sharing nonetheless. Imagine if there were say 10 pre-selected investors, ranging from a net worth of say $1M to $100M, who posted regular structured journal entries. For example, the journal entries could include: outlooks on each asset class, what the investor is doing now, what their next planned investment is, their asset allocation, their bright idea for the week, etc. It wouldn't have to be detailed, but just an insight into the minds of those investors.

    -T-
     
  17. Nigel Ward

    Nigel Ward Team InvestEd

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    T

    I think it's a good idea. One thing ppl need to watch though is being seen to perhaps make a recommendation without being a licensed adviser. We'll certainly take the idea on board though.

    Thanks
    N.
     
  18. -T-

    -T- Well-Known Member

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    Hi Nigel

    Good point. So what's the deal with that, do you need a DFP to be able to give advice? Or is it more than that?

    So is it against some law for me to give my mom advice for example? Or what about a friend, or a business colleague. I'm just curious where the line is drawn, if there is a line.

    Thanks

    -T-
     
  19. Nigel Ward

    Nigel Ward Team InvestEd

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    Under the Corporations Act if you're in the business of providing a financial service, which includes advising in relation to financial products then you probably need to be licensed.

    Just chewing the fat about shares with your family and friends isn't a problem. But say you were to take money from them to advise them or manage their investments then yes a variety of licensing and disclosure obligations probably apply. It's a complex area.

    Cheers
    N.
     
  20. Jenny

    Jenny Well-Known Member

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    Very attractive look to the new site. Thanks Sim.

    Advertising - if there is a need from an economic point of view then so be it, just so long as it doesn't blink, flicker or make a noise, then I can ignore it. ie low level and tasteful (tasteful, now there's a subjective word:) ). Keeping it physically away from the main event - a la SBS.
    The current level of advertising I find easy to not see, so no problem.

    Open free membership to invested? I've been thinking about this and haven't reached a conclusion. It will be interesting to watch the growth of membership and conversation.............Only time will tell if this works well for investEd.

    Do we have more value for that which we pay? Payment of even a modest fee is a commitment of good energy(in this case dollars) towards participating in the spirit of the endeavour. So I guess I lean towards charging a very modest fee to participate in the early times while the forum builds.

    Was anybody aware of member numbers just prior to free membership?? How many have joined since??

    Cheers
    Jenny