1. User Submitted Map Advertisements

      written by Ray Benefield
      It is Monday folks. And a better Monday than most, from my two hours awake so far. lol... anyways, if you are new here let me welcome you to RP. Today I want to take some time to try to layout some details on this whole User Submitted Advertisements thing that I mentioned at the beginning of last week. You guys are gonna help me decide how this is gonna work and I think I'm going to try to get it setup this week with an order system and everything. So if you want to advertise your map to the THOUSANDS that read this site on a daily basis then read on.

      A little catch up

      Alright so for those who don't know what is going on, let me get you caught up. I was looking for a way to make some money for the site to start running contests and giving out prizes to increase site traffic. I looked into ad revenue and it just didn't seem worth tainting this site with random advertisements just to get a couple of cents a day. I want to be able to provide you guys with a steady stream of gifts. So I came up with the idea of having advertisements that are run by myself and you guys. Basically you "order" advertisement space on a weekly basis. When you order you give me a link to something and an image of a certain size. This link can be to anything; a forgehub thread, a youtube video, the file, etc (I'll obviously check the link). I would accept a certain number a week (we'll say 10). Now imagine two boxes somewhere on the site, maybe below the menu at the top. Each of these boxes would randomly cycle through the ten or so submissions and change every so many seconds. You would pay something like a dollar for a week or something similar. If I set the queue to 10 then that means that the site makes $10 a week that I can use for things like microsoft points or anything really.

      Let's talk details

      Alright so there are some numbers that need to be decided on before I move on fully. First of all the number of ads to show at one time on the page. I was thinking two, but if done right I could fit 3 or 4. The more there is, the more content I can have in the queue and hence the more revenue the site would bring in. Too much would be too cluttered and reduce exposure for each ad individually, too little means that I can't have a large queue or each piece of content doesn't get enough attention.

      The next number is the queue size. This it the number of how many maps get cycled through for the week. I was thinking something like 10 to start with. Again too much means that each individual map doesn't get much exposure since there would be too many to cycle through. And too little means that we aren't squeezing out the systems potential and it slows down the revenue meaning I can't give away as many gifts.

      Another number to consider that is very important is the cost for weekly exposure. This is the main area that you guys have a say in. This can be anywhere from a dollar to five dollars. At first I was thinking a dollar for a week, but then I was thinking what if I want a sale? So maybe $2 for one week of exposure? And sale price for special occasions would be $1. Over time if this system gets popular then I can increase the cost by 50 cents at a time (increasing the sale price by a quarter every time). Of course this increase wouldn't happen for a long while.

      There is one more minor number to consider and that is the amount of time for an ad to fade into another one. At first 5 seconds seemed good, but that now seems a little fast. Maybe 10 to 15 seconds should work fine. This can waver depending on how it feels in practice.


      So this is my attempt at keeping this site strong with some material incentive for readers. This system can work in many different ways. Not only does it advertise YOUR maps, but it also encourages people to advertise this site to bring even more attention, which in turn creates more exposure and creates an infinite loop of growth. So realistically how much would you pay for this weekly exposure? I need to know your thoughts on this system so I can tune it to you guys. Who knows... maybe one day I'll be giving away bigger prizes than just some microsoft points if revenue is enough. Do the math if the cost is $2 and the queue size is 10, that is $20 a week. That means I can host a contest weekly for 1600 microsoft points, or I can host a monthly contest for something bigger that costs under $80. So what are you waiting for? ;)


      Captainpineapple44 said...

      Godly, I think that this is a great idea. I really want to know what the contests would be like, and how the advertisement bar would look. Maybe you could donate a percent of the revenues to Japan relief or something

      Noklu said...

      The thing is, if the ads remained static, then as someone reads an article here, they can't see it at the top...because they've scrolled down. You could do one of those mini-pop ups in the bottom right corner. In effect, you want something that scrolls down with the reader.

      Captainpineapple44 said...

      As long as the advertisements are not annoying. It would kinda suck to have random little advertisements following you everywhere you go.

      MythicFritz said...

      I can't wait to see how this little experiment works out. Haven't seen anything quite like it in the realm of the Halo community. You're really thinking through this and I agree with your thinking so far.
      A link with the image is absolutely necessary. And it's great you're letting us choose any link.

      I would say start with fewer ads then increase slots and speed if need be. If you start small, you can collect two or threes weeks of ads in advance. And if the ad system turns out to be really popular and becomes flooded, you can add more into each week to clean out the queue. Three boxes changing every 10 seconds sounds good to me. That lets visitors see 9 of the 10 maps within 30 seconds. To many boxes and the images might get too small for viewers to discern what they're looking at. We all know how confusing looking at a forged map can be sometimes.

      I was really liking the idea of $1 per ad but I understand and like $2 each with $1 sales. I believe a slightly higher price will make players think twice about the maps they advertise. They won't submit every single Infection Camp City they've thrown together. Price can be a way to weed out the less than serious forgers. Good luck finding the right balance.

      Speaking of weeding out maps, are you going to discriminate ad requests in any way?

      Noklu said...

      yeah that was the only issue that sprang to mind

      Noklu said...

      another possibility is to have two boxes rotating at the top and then a third 'follower' box that also rotates. This opens up the option for multi price ads as well.

      Dj7291993 said...

      I agree with noklu, have some different options for people. Maybe have two "normal" spots, and one "featured" spot. Maybe it's larger, maybe it scrolls, maybe some text with it. Something to make it worth more than the others. Then, you could charge more for that space. Also, you may consider adding a page with all of the ads for that week, in case someone "just missed it." It would also have a spot for a submit form/link. Just some thoughts.

      I would love it if you could give some ideas of what it would look like (pictures, sketches, crayons, ect.).

      the_Jflood said...

      Totally agree with DJ. I am just putting it out there but different options for different people would be pretty good, Different areas have different prices for example a banner underneath the RP banner you have on the top would be one of the most expensive. A scrolling one be the next and then static revolving ones would be another option.

      GodlyPerfection said...

      I think you guys are over complicating it. Remember the lesson on Simplicity. By over complicating it, you push away potential customers and also clutter the site with all this flashy stuff that isn't needed. Scrolling ads and ads that follow the page are annoying for readers. There is a reason why most of the ads you see are static.

      This is a new concept for a lot of people so you want the process to be as simple as possible. Different options in size or space makes it more difficult to complete the process. In the future complexity can be added, but at the start you have to start simple. Hence the ads will be static and both will be the same size. That way the customer focuses on two things. The link and the picture. That is all. While different options are nice, different options can also scare people away. Let's first keep it simple to see if the concept works first. If it works then later we can look into adding options. You should never do more work than need be. This is the same concept behind prototyping. In essence we are prototyping this system so we want it to be as simple and as easily accessible as possible.

      Now first and foremost donations. That is definitely something I've been thinking about, but that is something that has to be considered after the initial purpose is served and that is to use it to create incentive for readers to keep coming back. Also I am HUGE on making advertisements as least annoying as possible. As far as looks go, it probably won't be much different than the ads you see on Forgehub or XForgery in the forums when you are logged out. I'm not much of a graphic artist, but I am a user experience designer so I am putting a lot of thought into the actual placement of the ads and when I think I've got a solid idea for a spot I will let you guys know.

      DJ I did originally have the idea to have a separate page for ordering and submitting your link and image, however I did not think of having all of the current ads on one page. I do like that idea and I think I will definitely be doing that. And Mythic I do sort of want to keep the $1 price tag. I will probably do this for the first month or so while we see how the ads are working and then raise it by 50 cents from there. I want to keep it as cheap and simple as physically possible for the first run of things.

      So what do you guys say now? I know you guys would love to have advertisements that are flashy and awesome to draw attention to your own ads, but you have to remember that the important thing is the site content first. If ads get too flashy then they just make people want to leave and we can't have that. Options are nice, but options can delude an experience as we have learned with complex maps.

      Captainpineapple44 said...

      I agree with mythic. start small, find out what works, then develope featured and scrolling ads.

      Captainpineapple44 said...

      Sorry I didnt see Godly's comment.

      Dj7291993 said...

      Totally get that. I wasn't thinking the flashy scroll-y stuff. I was thinking more of one that was like two spaces or something (although I said the other, sleepy typing not good), but I understand keeping it simple. I think $1 is probably your best bet. As much as it would be nice to, as mythic said, weed them out, you might also have to take what you can get, at least in the beginning.

      Still would like to see some illustration of where you want to put them.

      Simpson Tyler98 said...

      I really like this idea i think a lot of people would do this please put in your vids

      Averagekidd1 said...

      Are we gonna send you the money over the mail or by like credit card?

      GodlyPerfection said...

      @Average Have you ever heard of Paypal? You setup an account with them and through them you would setup your card/bank account. It is the most secure way for everyone to do it.