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Should we take sponsored adverts on our site?

There's a forum that I contribute to occasionally - Melksham People - which is heavily laced with adverts, and indeed I've seen other people expressing a view that the proportion of advertising is one of the things that puts them off going there and contributing too often. And I've felt the same thing, and heard other similar comments, about other sites too. I usually go to a site to find information from that site, and perhaps follow their recommended links, rather than to spend my time hunting for the wood of real content amongst the trees of adverts, with those trees often exhibiting what looks like a really strong spring growth.

On the various sites we look after, we have chosen (in each case) not to carry third party advertising feeds, nor to sell advert space in other ways. Our Well House Consultants web site - about training courses and with very strong technical content about the subjects taught on those courses - is there to provide open source answers, rather than links to products you may wish to buy. Our Well House Manor web site is concerned with our hotel ... and the information you need should be right there on the site, with links under our own instigation through to local taxis, restaurants and the like. And so on.

It's tempting - very tempting - to take an "adwords feed" or something similar, in the knowledge that anyone clicking through the advert will be paying the adwords organiser, who in turn will be paid by the advert placing company, and who in turn will pay us a few pence. And the few pence will add up. Many "hobby" / service sites actually pay their way / have their financing model based on this income; indeed, I suspect that's the intent of Melksham People, and I know it's the objective (or at least there is an objective of a serious income flow) for adverts in some surprising other places such as the Wessex Association of Chambers of Commerce.

So our "no adverts" stance has become somewhat uncommon - many sites now carry adverts. They can be a good customer service, providing users with links to new products and services which we may not ourselves have heard of, but could be relevant. And indeed a site without adverts can be regarded as very dry. It may be time fo us to rethink - what was a good decision in 2007 and 2009 may need to be revisited in the changing metrics of the world in 2011 - not so much as an income flow, but more as a service to customers, and a stepping in lne with the conformity of current expectations. From my mailbox yesterday evening ...

What I found missing was some ads that you could potentially run on your site. I was really looking forward to click on some but really did not find any at all.

There's no sudden change going to happen - but there's a seed sown. And there are other seeds such as the new Google 1+ / site ranking scheme etc; we may be headed for a gentle drift in the approach and presentation of our pages and the rejigging of some of the links and feeds - perhaps even moving on from "version 8" to "version 9" of our site in due course.
(written 2011-07-20)

 
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Dogs Legs on the Dogleg
Should we take sponsored adverts on our site?
Swindon, Chippenham and Melksham to Weymouth - Sunday Train Service Starts
Blowing our own trumpet - MySQL resources
Melksham Carnival, 2011 - pictures
Cash and Cheque policy - UK Hotel
Upcoming Programming courses ... High Summer, 2011
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This is a page archived from The Horse's Mouth at http://www.wellho.net/horse/ - the diary and writings of Graham Ellis. Every attempt was made to provide current information at the time the page was written, but things do move forward in our business - new software releases, price changes, new techniques. Please check back via our main site for current courses, prices, versions, etc - any mention of a price in "The Horse's Mouth" cannot be taken as an offer to supply at that price.

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