Originally Posted by Cirquerider
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: 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.
I read this last night and am still coming back to it.
How were the "volunteers" selected? Is there a post asking for them? You also refer to them as stakeholders, do they have a monetary interest here as well?
It is nice that Nolo explained to the stakeholders the contractual obligations, but the stakeholders never had an issue with the ads. Maybe this obligation should be explained to everyone, or at the least supporters? You also say that " re-working the site template to change the design to display ads on the right would be time consuming and expensive."
I'm no expert, but IMHO swapping banner sides seems really easy. BTW, my roomate for over 3 years was a web/flash developer and did this sort of thing all the time. He recently graduated, and now programs ads much like what we are seeing.
Why did adding ads change the forum text (the washed-out (lighter) look)? This seems like a mistake on the designers part, and it should be fixed at no cost. Additionally, the ads due block forum features, PM me for a list of what I have seen since last night
(there is a big one that I don't want to give away). Run it this way for now, but get it changed in the meantime. Eventually people are going to catch on about the trick posted in the supporter section and that will go away, and so will a lot of the supporters using that feature.
More needs to be said about these "Special Features". What are they, who will see them, and are they even desired? Why not just make a Premium Member level with a fee that supports these extra features? That way those off us who have no need for extraneous MA videos, instructional vids and on-site hosting can just come here to talk about skiing and have some fringe benefits of being a Supporter.
I think we can all understand that there aren't really that many ski related ads for the summer floatinf around. However, some ad exec needs to thuink for a second that this is a ski forum, we think about skiing year round. Viola, prime target for summer ski ads.
Regardless of how or why there are no ski ads, how about at least sports ads? Universal Sports seems to be plugging Applebees, shoes, iPhones and Mcain more then Golfing, Biking, Boating, Camping, Hiking, Fishing etc.
It seems like the biggest solution that you are recomending to us is to ignore the ads, wether that is just not looking at them or bloking using software. If we ignore them, how are they serving there purpose? Put them in a less obtrusive position so that they are at least still there. That way if a ski or resort ever pops up that I have interest in I might actually click.