The 2008 page layout was trial tested with our Stakeholder group. This is a collection of about 20 volunteer members who help us with site planning, issues and trying out new features and content. We have actually been looking at this format for over a month, and no feedback was made concerning the column side the ads appear on.
When the new feature went live, those of us who had been looking at it weren't even aware of the change until this thread came up. We should have probably given a day or two of notice to be prepared. After considering the comments in this thread and discussing them with the partners and web site designers, Nolo explained to us in the stakeholder's forum, that we have a contractual obligation to move forward with the new site design, and re-working the site template to change the design to display ads on the right would be time consuming and expensive. Unlike the good old days, the web pages are authored by professional web designer, rather than a volunteer, who was incidentally a very appreciated and professonal, but overworked web design guy.
In view of the cost and obligations, the side that ads display on is a preference. And we hope the members have the ability and desire to adapt for the time being. Based on what we have been previewing, the community has some very exciting changes to look forward to however; as Nolo informed us:
|Let me be perfectly clear, without outside income, we don't have the money to make those improvements. No virtual mall, no deals for members, no video library, nothing but the forums.
The ability to insist on more relevant ads was also checked, but there aren't many ski-related products being advertised at this time of year and if we want to get paid, we need to advertise other products that are relevant to the skier demographic. We can refuse ads, but we won't make money is the bottom line.
EpicSki continues to rely on its supporters and sponsors to deliver most of the site content free to members. The portion of supporters to free members is a bit disappointing and doesn't pay the bills. This site is subsidized by ESA, by requiring attendees to be supporters of the community. Those of us who vounteer time and effort, appreciate every supporter we have who values what this community and this forum means to us, and our comittemnt remains to the community rather what some have characterized as a corporation. It is a business and can't go on forever without generating enough revenue to grow and meet the needs and expectations of members and supporters. So I hope you will all help, by supporting this necessary change and continuing your generous support of this place, to ensure it remains our gathering place for snowsports, even in the summer heat.