News from Bicycles Network Australia and the Australian Cycling Forums
Many are aware of the issues we had a few months back that left the forum in turmoil - and most have noticed that once the dust settled the forum and site was running very fast and performance has been excellent.
Simply with popularity and traffic hosting costs have climbed and to maintain the site and community I am inviting business sponsorship of the forum.
For the sponsor(s) it means over 800,000 page views a month - excellent exposure within the Australian cycling community.
Are you interest or do you have industry contacts who would benefit - email [email protected] for details.
You are one of the cheeky ones who use a different 'skin'. On the default version of this forum (also much more superior) there are the google ads. I got the site especially programmed so that they are on the side - default is on the top or between posts which I know that nobody wants.
On another forum I visit, for anyone posting on behalf of a commercial entity they have a policy of 1) requiring that they disclose that they are doing so and 2) highly encouraging them to sponsor the forum (ad banners), especially if they become a longer term poster. It is a policy that works very well on these other forums, perhaps as BNA grows you may want to consider a similar policy, especially if more and more users come on and plug their own products.
Good points Philip,
Our policy has been to discourage blatant commercial posting - it is advertising and tends to get a bit murky with disclosure and spam.
On the other hand - members who are in the bicycle industry are welcome to participate and if on topic they can suggest their product / services. There are a number of members who do just this though are sensitive enough to properly disclose themself and simply with their participation can a reputation and recognition. In this case the forum and members benefit from quality / expert input while the 'commercial' members benefit from a rub-off effect for participation.
I accept criticism of not being business minded though we also see the value of this forum which is based on principles set out 10 years ago (and developed over time) with quality ruling over quantity. This goes for advertising - cycling brands/services will get the most value from the forum/site and totally irrelevant advertising requests are knocked back as I feel advertisements for a casino website or real estate lower the value whereas advertisement for a bicycle shop (for example) is in the direct interest of the advertiser and members / visitors.
That being said - I am open to ideas and will raise this with the other mods.
Keep the ideas and contacts coming!
thank blkmcs, did think about that (wikipedia did it) however it may been for a limited period costs are covered though after that the issue arises again.
On a forum that I sponsor (automotive) the members donate on annual basis which gives them access to special technical documents and a private forum. This solves the cash flow problem you refer to. I am not sure what you could offer long these lines but maybe its worth looking at.
I would happily become a donating member to keep the forum free of commercial posting (which sponsorships seem to bring) as it appears to be at the moment.
Thanks for the feedback. This is a good way to look at it though though would have to see what "added value" items could be offered.
Regarding advertising, I have discussed this with the mods and while there would definitely be a level of appreciation and thanks for a main sponsor, it is still not a "get out of jail free card" which would mean that all of the ideas around which this forum is built are then thrown out the door. For this reason the selection of the sponsor is important as it should be a symbiotic relationship.
Split the board. Non paying members get access to certain areas e.g. general discussion, buying a bike etc. Paying members get full access e.g. serious biking and so on.
Afterthought: That was pretty much an example off the top of my head, obviously some thought/consultation would be required to see whether it is feasible and whether a majority of members would be willing to go along with it and if the board was split, which would become paying access and which would become free.
Or alternatively (or additionally) - include banner/inline ads only for non-subscribing members... not sure how this might affect advertising revenue though. Personally I'd be more than happy to contribute to the site's running costs, and am a bit wary of sponsorship for forums... On some of the forums I visit occasionally, sponsors have 'protected' status to bag their competitors and delete dissenting responses, which doesn't make for a pleasant environment... I'm not saying that would happen here, but it can be a slippery slope as sponsors understandably want value for money and don't want to pay for a site only to see their competitors get free advertising.
There are four phases of bicycle commuting; first there's fear, then rage, then self-righteousness and finally, fun.
Or their own brand getting bagged....
This is the approach Geocaching.com take. Premium members get advert free access to the whole site.
As a matter of interest, what do you think about the advertising as it is now.
I have made extra effort to ensure that advertising is included however doesn't interrupt the discussions (eg - trick based inline advertising or every second post an ad or big ads above or below) the page content. The customisation was much more time consuming however I feel suits in that it is visible and you can take advantage of offers however it is well integrated in that it doesn't bother participation.
I have a couple of hesitations about a registration style system - one being that valuable information contributed is essentially not available for others. Can discuss this further and obviously need input to establish the real value added items for a membership style approach.
I think the ads as they are now are perfectly acceptable. Sometimes they can be more interesting than the discussion
"...for many people your life is not worth the effort it takes to pay attention or the extra few seconds they may need to wait before they can safely get around you."-BikeSnobNYC
I have no issues with the current ads either. I know they are there when/if I want them but they do not get in the way of browsing threads, which is something that frustrates me considerably with other forums. Thanks for the extra effort here Chris!
To me the real question is: Are they effective? If not, then you need to change the approach taken and given you are looking for a forum sponsor it would seem the current approach is not working.
For http://geocaching.com they found that their initial approach of low-key advertising + premium membership features did not work, so they upped the ante on the advertising with the intention of driving people to premium membership (US$30) per year. Those that paid the membership didn't get the full gambit of advertising plus they got additional premium membership features. Seems to have worked for them.
Personally I would be happy to pay a small yearly fee that would cover your costs for advert free access to these forums. I think this is the approach also adopted by another bicycle related forum as well. Not sure if it works for the other forum or not but. Anyone know?
+1 I glance to the right and click or ignore as seems interesting, no biggie.
I wouldn't mind a $20-30pa contribution to keep BNA going. I can always claim it in the money pits thread.
...whatever the road rules, self-preservation is the absolute priority for a cyclist when mixing it with motorised traffic.
London Boy 29/12/2011
I'd also be happy to pay a small premium to keep my enjoyment of the forum ad-less.
Oh, and I REALLY think the mods do a fantastic job and should get paid handsomely for their efforts.
Nah only kidding. A small premium is fine by me (even as a mod), rather than ads. Those ones currently there don't bother me - I'm pretty good at ignoring them (sorry).
Thanks for all the feedback.
One important thing is that compared to the main BNA site - the forum is not a commercial operation so the community comes first - certainly the running costs need to be covered however the community and social aspect is the driving force of the forum.
I am not certain if I can make an ad and no ad version. I am glad that everyone is aware of the ads and that they are not interrupting participation. I will play by ear for now... thank you for all of the feedback and support. (Would get back regarding the idea of goodies for premium members).
Problem is, if I am paying for advertising on a forum, I wouldn't want them blocked from anyone's view. What would be the point of advertising then if I knew only a proportion of the audience I'd want to reach would see them?
You pay for foxtel or a newspaper and still get ads.
Fair point, but there will be relatively few members who fork out for the premium service.
Not me. I don't buy either, and I don't listen to commercial radio. I usually only watch commercial TV under sufferance too. The ABC in all its guises supplies me with nearly all I need from the mass media outlets. I guess I'm not representative of the general population though.
Unless you don't pay tax, you are paying for ABC & SBS. And they do have ads. How many products do you think are advertised on an ABC broadcast every day? Lots.
The irony of commercial FTA TV is they are the ones you don't pay directly for. They are wholly funded by their sponsors/advertisers. Whether that increases prices of goods/services you buy is debatable.
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