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To: Lahcim Leinad who wrote (27378)3/15/2011 8:55:42 PM
From: Cheeky Kid
   of 30345
 
Cha-Ching

Good for them, and Jill, The Webmistress.

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To: Jorj X Mckie who wrote (27385)3/15/2011 9:01:47 PM
From: Cheeky Kid
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iHub is doing very well, free accounts get ads, paid members get no ads.

I could be wrong but I thought I read somewhere iHub did $10 million one year. Mind you they are doing over 30,000 posts per day.

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To: Jorj X Mckie who wrote (27385)3/15/2011 9:12:49 PM
From: Lahcim Leinad
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I think you read too much into what I wrote.

Or...

As Graystone would say,

I did not make myself clear enough.

No, I have no plans to leave here, sorry to disappoint anyone who was hoping for that!

What I meant was, talk to Brad. The man invented this place, loves it, knows how to make it work. I would, in their shoes. Otherwise, I am extremely sadly waving bye bye, in advance.

Because, seems to me, reading between the lines of what SI Bob wrote, not looking like he's about to strike it rich with this place and make it more than barely survive.

Make sense this time around? Hope so!

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To: Lahcim Leinad who wrote (27388)3/15/2011 10:21:56 PM
From: Sr K
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I just noticed that the contest that blared near the Hot button is finally gone. Did someone win?

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To: Sr K who wrote (27389)3/20/2011 9:33:31 PM
From: SI Bob
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No, it became apparent that after over a year, the target that would end the contest wouldn't be reached in our lifetimes. I've moved on to another more direct route to increasing membership numbers and will revisit the MDC (with currently scored data used) later when I think we might have sufficient mass for it to work.

However, I don't think it ever reached target on iHub, either.

I'd just removed it literally a day or two before I saw our pages emblazoned all over "American Greed" in the (hatchet-job) piece about Tony Elgindy, and most of the pages they showed had that MDC link "blaringly" visible.

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To: Cheeky Kid who wrote (27387)3/20/2011 10:01:30 PM
From: SI Bob
1 Recommendation   of 30345
 
That number is much higher than I'd guess it to be, but my guess is the annual ad sales there is 7-figures anyway. One of the reasons I left was my long-running frustration with the fact that ad sales were performing at a fraction of what they did when I did ad sales as but one of many jobs, then between tendering my resignation and leaving, US ad sales were assigned to a young man who has proven nothing short of brilliant at it.

That one individual represented the long-awaited delivery on one of two main reasons I'd sold the sites. And he's delivering in spades.

Ad sales here are progressing painfully slowly. Ever watch paint dry?

A site can have too little or too much inventory for optimum ad revenue. Too little, and you can't do direct sales because those buyers who still deal directly with sites want, at most, 20% of the inventory and that 20% still needs to be several million units or it's not worth the bother. Too much, especially when most of your users see dozens if not hundreds of ads per session (and with each view, become less likely to click) and the value per thousand units plummets.

But when, like iHub, you've got nearly infinite thousands of units, it doesn't really matter how much you get per thousand. It still equals roughly a metric boatload of money.

Unique Visitors (UV's) is an extremely important aspect of ad pricing and performance. 10,000 visitors seeing a total of 1,000,000 ads (100 each) is worth far less than 100,000 visitors seeing the same total (10 each). Stickiness is something we, as website operators like. Advertisers hate it.

A few years ago I crunched the numbers and figured out what the average free member and average paying member generated in daily income. Free members generated substantially more. Not surprising, though, when advertising being 85% of our income is the norm. So a subscription actually costs a small amount of future income. Which is fine. I've never liked such big reliance on a revenue stream that can change dramatically because a butterfly broke wind on another continent. Subscription income, while a comparatively small percentage of the total, is amazingly stable.

One of my current projects is getting our own subscription processing set up, independent of iHub, because then I can whip out some proven methods of ramping it up, receive the funds nearly immediately rather than as a lump sum after the month is over, and take the stickiest users out of the ad pool, lowering the ad impressions per user, increasing the value of the ad inventory on a per-unit basis.

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To: Lahcim Leinad who wrote (27388)3/20/2011 10:26:01 PM
From: SI Bob
   of 30345
 
What I meant was, talk to Brad. The man invented this place, loves it, knows how to make it work. I would, in their shoes. Otherwise, I am extremely sadly waving bye bye, in advance.

Because, seems to me, reading between the lines of what SI Bob wrote, not looking like he's about to strike it rich with this place and make it more than barely survive.


Before responding to the quoted text, wanted to say something about an earlier post mentioning ads for free members, no ads for paying members.

Most dotcoms, unless they're in retails sales, have exactly 1 revenue stream: Advertising. We are VERY fortunate to have 2. It's a beautiful business model.

Actually, I've stayed in contact with Brad since roughly forever. I think he and I are both in agreement that he and I both know how to make it work. That we both love it is a given.

No, I'm not about to strike it rich with the site, though it remains in the forecasts. The revenue isn't real bad. My income needs have been a real load but I've been reducing them, and it's helping. Nearly every month sees a revenue increase and usually a bit ahead of forecasts based on trailing moving averages.

That I'm but one person with too many hands on my time is unquestionably a bottleneck. Projects that would take a week if I could kick into OCD mode on them, completely ignoring everything else, and would result in substantial and relatively quick revenue increases take forever because I simply can't ignore everything else.

Financially, the site is not in any kind of imminent danger. It does alright. But barring a decent-sized no-cost workforce or days suddenly becoming 96 hours long, I have to scroll pretty far to the right on the spreadsheets to reach the "Have struck it rich" area.

Which is something I've been through before. And in the past (borne out by the forecasts as a likely scenario this time around, too), I've been able to afford hired hands as my need for them has finally diminished.

Keep in mind, though, that this time around I'm not going with the old business model of selling at a multiple, buying at a fraction. And though I wouldn't object to striking it rich, that doesn't particularly motivate me anymore. Been there, done that. Better to have good reason to get up in the morning. Climbing the mountain rather than getting bored with the view at the top.

Speaking of money and having been down this path numerous times, Monday starts a really interesting period until the end of the month. The end of the quarter and advertisers are frantically throwing their money at any publisher (ad-carrying website) who will take it so they can use up their budgets. Happens the last 2 weeks of every quarter.

What's changed this time is that January was way above forecasted and past performance and February somewhat so. I'm curious what impact that'll have on the quarterly spewing of money at websites. My guess is that January told us the ad buyers got substantial budget increases, and likely have more of that budget to use up before month-end than they have previously.

Anyway, you might want to hold off on the goodbyes.

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To: SI Bob who wrote (27392)3/20/2011 11:44:30 PM
From: Lahcim Leinad
   of 30345
 
Anyway, you might want to hold off on the goodbyes.

Glad to hear it!

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To: SI Bob who wrote (27390)3/21/2011 12:46:17 AM
From: Sr K
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Is Interclick running history-sniffing technology on SI?

I ask because I clicked the Bing ad on the homepage and saw it passed to and through Interclick. I hadn't known who they are. I was not surprised that Bing lists Expedia first in a list of travel sites, and then I did a search (on Google) of Interclick and found a few articles including

TECHNOLOGY | DECEMBER 6, 2010
Suit to Snuff Out 'History Sniffing' Takes Aim at Tracking Web Users

online.wsj.com

Just wondering. Expecting they are not, on SI.

But pleased that Microsoft is helping pay the bills.

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To: Sr K who wrote (27394)3/21/2011 8:01:26 AM
From: SI Bob
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I'd decided that one of our ad networks was doing that or the ads were being intercepted and replaced by some kind of malware on my machine, as I often do get ads for sites I've been to recently. Seemingly only recently.

I'm only just now becoming marginally aware of history-sniffing and strongly disapprove of it. After all the trouble we had (correctly) convincing users that cookies are our friends and we can't read cookies that we didn't send you. Heck, some sites like Autozone and O'Reilly are making great use of them, remembering what vehicles I've been looking up parts for.

But my history? Ummmmm, no, that's something I consider pretty darned private and would suspect most folks would. Not sure a lot of good can come from Jr. getting on Dad's computer, going to whatever innocuous website he goes to and seeing an unusual-looking ad and landing on a site advertising videos of behind-closed-doors activities that'd make Caligula shudder.

And thanks to cookies and Dad forgetting to log out, he's presented with a list of videos recommended to him based on the ones he's watched most recently.

Kind of like when Meatloaf was ordering something for the company on Amazon and in the area where it showed other things that should interest him based on his purchase, the DVD "Brokeback Mountain" was listed.

I have recently added Interclick to our ad networks on a trial basis. I was seeing the history-relevant ads before then, though. I'll ask if they're doing this here though.

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