Advertisement - content continues bellow

#1
is there a way to hide the text "Advertisement - content continues bellow" that shows up mid chapter? can we color it to match the background or even better, remove the text without removing the advert itself?

I was really into reading This Chapter when all of a sudden i was ripped away from my immersion and presented a nice big advert mid scene...

i can understand adverts at the top, bottom, and even the sidebars of a chapter... but in the middle of a scene?

RE: Advertisement - content continues bellow

#2
Hi there,

The problem is that we are under-using our traffic and without an extremely wide sidebar we aren't able to properly exploit it. The site requires money to improve; something we sorely lack.

The in-content advertisement is currently in as a test. We might implement a collapse button for it so you can remove it if it's too disturbing, but we have to consult our advertiser about this first. We are honestly trying to come up with a good way to place the ads, but the issue is the following:

  • Putting in a sidebar pushes the content to the side by a massive 300+ pixels, something that doesn't suit a reading interface.

  • Without sidebar, we have no place for our extra ads other than mid-content.

  • The ads below the chapters earn us nearly nothing (it's too far out of vision), whereas we have already capped ourselves with the ones on top.

Any input is welcome; it's really hard to get things right with this and we're currently experimenting to see what works and what doesn't. Sadly, users and ads will always be at odds but ads are what fund the website and development of future features. We have a huge update on the way, and it's mostly done, but we are lacking funds and are severely understaffed. It all comes back to one thing, and we're trying methods to solve that.

Having said that, the in-content ad is NOT final, and, I repeat, any input on the issue is welcome. Also, we are obliged to put a warning above all of our ads, stating that it's an advertisement, because users might thing it's part of the content, apparently.

-Kanadaj

EDIT: As for the sidebar issue, we're talking about something of this size:

https%3A%2F%2Fpuu.sh%2FqEn1Z%2F85899ab848.png

(it might be even more as the screen size is smaller until the mobile layout is reached)

RE: Advertisement - content continues bellow

#5
Have you tried doing a proper recruitment round for the site? I'm sure there are people who would want to help. I understand you wouldn't want strangers to fiddle with the important parts of your work, but if you had some people do the more menial tasks, it would take a load off of you guys so that you could focus on more of the top-level of your projects.

As for money, I have two thoughts on the matter. First, I know you have donations set-up (at least you did), but I never see it and so I don't think about it. And I mean I never see it. I've only ever seen it once, a long time ago. Now I don't know whether it's because you've removed it, or it's difficult to find, but if it is still there you should make it more obvious. People won't go looking for that sort of thing, but if they see it they might just donate.

For my second thought, have you thought of having a paid membership system? Paid membership doesn't necessarily have to mean exclusion for everyone who is not a member, if you're worried about that. It's just a way for people to both contribute to the site, and get something out of it. You could just offer some small things that makes the members life easier like removing ads for them. (also, since it is a small recurring payment, members feel they're giving more then just simply donating once)

I might think of other things later, but these are just my thoughts on the matter. I appreciate all the work you guys (and girls) put in for us, and I hope you don't feel you have to be alone in this. I can't speak for everyone, but I would definitely be willing to help wherever I can to further this site. I really love this site.

RE: Advertisement - content continues bellow

#6
8/17/2016 10:12:06 AMShiftyCake Wrote: [ -> ]Have you tried doing a proper recruitment round for the site? I'm sure there are people who would want to help. I understand you wouldn't want strangers to fiddle with the important parts of your work, but if you had some people do the more menial tasks, it would take a load off of you guys so that you could focus on more of the top-level of your projects.


Most of the work we have issues with requires skilled workforce and often requires access to the database, which is a sensitive topic.

8/17/2016 10:12:06 AMShiftyCake Wrote: [ -> ]As for money, I have two thoughts on the matter. First, I know you have donations set-up (at least you did), but I never see it and so I don't think about it. And I mean I never see it. I've only ever seen it once, a long time ago. Now I don't know whether it's because you've removed it, or it's difficult to find, but if it is still there you should make it more obvious. People won't go looking for that sort of thing, but if they see it they might just donate.


We removed the donation buttons because

  1. We'd be potentially taking money away that would go to the authors

  2. Donations just can't sustain the site at this point. It just costs way too much - servers, software, development full time, and a massive amount of time spent with administration.

8/17/2016 10:12:06 AMShiftyCake Wrote: [ -> ]For my second thought, have you thought of having a paid membership system? Paid membership doesn't necessarily have to mean exclusion for everyone who is not a member, if you're worried about that. It's just a way for people to both contribute to the site, and get something out of it. You could just offer some small things that makes the members life easier like removing ads for them. (also, since it is a small recurring payment, members feel they're giving more then just simply donating once)


Yes, it's in progress. We will start to implement it with the next update along with fixing dozens of other issues. However, we've opted with a reader design that has no room for a sidebar (it's just too wide), hence we decided to try and see reactions to in-content ads and decide how sustainable that is. Apparently not too. But we will see after some fine-tuning, it might work out if we separate it better from the content.

8/17/2016 10:12:06 AMShiftyCake Wrote: [ -> ]I might think of other things later, but these are just my thoughts on the matter. I appreciate all the work you guys (and girls) put in for us, and I hope you don't feel you have to be alone in this. I can't speak for everyone, but I would definitely be willing to help wherever I can to further this site. I really love this site.


Your enthusiasm is noted, we'll probably recruit another round of volunteers soon for community work.

RE: Advertisement - content continues bellow

#7
8/17/2016 9:44:46 AMkanadaj Wrote: [ -> ]Alternatively, we could have a floater on the bottom of the page, but that will scroll with you and seems just as bad a solution (if not worse) to me, considering how big it is.

EDIT: I've moved the ad to over the chapter navigation for now as a temporary solution. But this should lower the value of those ads a lot.


How about a floater at the side of the page that stays with you as you scroll? But regardless, if you use a floater the position doesn't really matter if there's a close/minimise button on it, as you can put ads in really obvious places without them permanently interfering with the reading experience - which in-content ads really do, and tbh they completely ruin the experience.

The first time I encountered an in-content ad in a chapter I thought I'd reach the end of it even though it was clearly the middle of a scene, it was a bit confusing for a moment and I lost my enjoyment for the chapter. Even people who don't mind the other ads are very likely to adopt an adblocker if you keep them in, I think.


8/17/2016 10:28:40 AMkanadaj Wrote: [ -> ]
8/17/2016 10:12:06 AMShiftyCake Wrote: [ -> ]For my second thought, have you thought of having a paid membership system? Paid membership doesn't necessarily have to mean exclusion for everyone who is not a member, if you're worried about that. It's just a way for people to both contribute to the site, and get something out of it. You could just offer some small things that makes the members life easier like removing ads for them. (also, since it is a small recurring payment, members feel they're giving more then just simply donating once)


Yes, it's in progress. We will start to implement it with the next update along with fixing dozens of other issues.


I'd be happy with a paid membership to remove ads. It could also grant membership to a "Wallet Warrior" group with a shiny gold badge, like how authors or those Phantasmal Architect folk have a badge.

RE: Advertisement - content continues bellow

#8
8/17/2016 10:54:59 AMUltrabenosaurus Wrote: [ -> ]
8/17/2016 9:44:46 AMkanadaj Wrote: [ -> ]Alternatively, we could have a floater on the bottom of the page, but that will scroll with you and seems just as bad a solution (if not worse) to me, considering how big it is.

EDIT: I've moved the ad to over the chapter navigation for now as a temporary solution. But this should lower the value of those ads a lot.


How about a floater at the side of the page that stays with you as you scroll? But regardless, if you use a floater the position doesn't really matter if there's a close/minimise button on it, as you can put ads in really obvious places without them permanently interfering with the reading experience - which in-content ads really do, and tbh they completely ruin the experience.

The first time I encountered an in-content ad in a chapter I thought I'd reach the end of it even though it was clearly the middle of a scene, it was a bit confusing for a moment and I lost my enjoyment for the chapter. Even people who don't mind the other ads are very likely to adopt an adblocker if you keep them in, I think.


I'm thinking about trying to 1) make the in-content ads more obvious (giving them a coloured background so it's obvious it belongs separately), and 2) giving them a collapse button to remove the ad, but I have to talk to our advertiser if that's allowed at all. This should, maybe, make it less of an issue. Or not. It's honestly something we need to try and see how it works out.

RE: Advertisement - content continues bellow

#9
8/17/2016 11:00:03 AMkanadaj Wrote: [ -> ]
8/17/2016 10:54:59 AMUltrabenosaurus Wrote: [ -> ]
8/17/2016 9:44:46 AMkanadaj Wrote: [ -> ]Alternatively, we could have a floater on the bottom of the page, but that will scroll with you and seems just as bad a solution (if not worse) to me, considering how big it is.

EDIT: I've moved the ad to over the chapter navigation for now as a temporary solution. But this should lower the value of those ads a lot.


How about a floater at the side of the page that stays with you as you scroll? But regardless, if you use a floater the position doesn't really matter if there's a close/minimise button on it, as you can put ads in really obvious places without them permanently interfering with the reading experience - which in-content ads really do, and tbh they completely ruin the experience.

The first time I encountered an in-content ad in a chapter I thought I'd reach the end of it even though it was clearly the middle of a scene, it was a bit confusing for a moment and I lost my enjoyment for the chapter. Even people who don't mind the other ads are very likely to adopt an adblocker if you keep them in, I think.


I'm thinking about trying to 1) make the in-content ads more obvious (giving them a coloured background so it's obvious it belongs separately), and 2) giving them a collapse button to remove the ad, but I have to talk to our advertiser if that's allowed at all. This should, maybe, make it less of an issue. Or not. It's honestly something we need to try and see how it works out.


I get that you need to make money to fund the site and that ads are a good way to do that, but I think you're missing the point. People come here to enjoy reading, that is the basic premise of the site, so anything that interferes with that is almost certainly a bad decision. If people can't read here with ease and in an enjoyable manner, what's the point of coming here when there are so many other sites performing a similar or identical role without sticking ads mid-chapter? Making the in-content ads more visible and more distinct from the content will only further break immersion and reader experience.

As for the collapse button, if they default to visible, which I assume they would if you give them a collapse button, that doesn't solve the issue of breaking a chapter's immersion and the reading experience. Rather, using the collapse button would break it further as you'd not only see the ad but also perform an action before you continue reading. I really don't think anyone would use it, as it's still in the way and they can just continue reading with or without collapsing it.

RE: Advertisement - content continues bellow

#10
Oh no, I'm not missing the point here; if I was, I would leave the ads right there from the get go. What I'm saying is that, if the ads are obvious enough (but not bright red, mind), very soon you'll be virtually blind to them. The question is, if we are able to get to that point before everyone flips out, which is something I'm very much unsure of. If I wasn't, we wouldn't be having this discussion.

If you think I don't understand the issue, think back to why I'm even here, discussing the problem :)

RE: Advertisement - content continues bellow

#12
I agree with Ultrabenosaurus about how more ads is not the solution. The main issue is there is a slow down on the site and having videos play. It is getting to a point of just too much.

On the other hand this is a great site and one of the few places authors can earn money online. Earning more money is a challenge. I would suggest the following"

Patreon
This is popular now a days.

Merchandise
Sell the loot. T-Shirts, mugs, ect.

Payment system where you take 5% of authors revenue
If authors are earning money, tap into that. Not a lot, but this is a free service you are providing.

Cut back expenses
My guess is that either server or personnel costs are the biggest. Can you make a deal for extended service on a server? Buy your own?

Push for authors to buy more advertising
Remove the top stories on the front page, and offer multiple pay to view front ads. Maybe $5 for a week of having just the title listed. 

Have a fund raiser. 
Many places do this, NPR, churches, ect.. Set a funding goal for the year and ask everyone to contribute. Having a clear goal is much nicer than having an unknown one.

RE: Advertisement - content continues bellow

#15
8/17/2016 11:35:12 AMPeliusAnar Wrote: [ -> ]Patreon
This is popular now a days.


I'm fairly sure a Patreon can't sustain us at all, and at the same time we wouldn't want to disappoint the users. We'd need to offer proper rewards, which is something we are working on as subscriptions with or without Patreon

8/17/2016 11:35:12 AMPeliusAnar Wrote: [ -> ]Merchandise
Sell the loot. T-Shirts, mugs, ect.


That's a terribly inefficient way to earn money, the only one who really earns on it is the creator of the shirts/mugs. The $0.5 or $1 per sale is not a sustainable business model for us.

8/17/2016 11:35:12 AMPeliusAnar Wrote: [ -> ]Payment system where you take 5% of authors revenue
If authors are earning money, tap into that. Not a lot, but this is a free service you are providing.


We have plans for this, but we obviously can't take their donation money. It wouldn't end well for anyone.

8/17/2016 11:35:12 AMPeliusAnar Wrote: [ -> ]Cut back expenses
My guess is that either server or personnel costs are the biggest. Can you make a deal for extended service on a server? Buy your own?


We have 4 dedicated servers running the site as well as a staff of 3 admins working full time to maintain the site. We can't even afford professional moderators apart from this, the rest of the team is made up of volunteers.

8/17/2016 11:35:12 AMPeliusAnar Wrote: [ -> ]Push for authors to buy more advertising
Remove the top stories on the front page, and offer multiple pay to view front ads. Maybe $5 for a week of having just the title listed.


We are working on revamping the front page along with new options for things but again, this is a development process and development is not free. The entire home page (apart from the forums) need a complete revamp.

8/17/2016 11:35:12 AMPeliusAnar Wrote: [ -> ]Have a fund raiser. 
Many places do this, NPR, churches, ect.. Set a funding goal for the year and ask everyone to contribute. Having a clear goal is much nicer than having an unknown one.



A regular monthly fundraising just can't cover our expenses. We are talking about several thousands of dollars each month that we need on top of what we already have. We are re-developing the site from scratch because our current software won't last much longer, we've been abusing it for too long. We need a clean slate but our authors have become increasingly dependent on the great number of features the forum offers, and we need to re-develop these.

We could make a Kickstarter to make the process faster, but making a Kickstarter, again, requires skilled manpower, which again costs money.

And why we need so much money?

Spoiler: Work in Progress

I'm fairly sure you can guess how much all this dev costs, considering it's an entire CMS system, from scratch.

RE: Advertisement - content continues bellow

#16
For those interested in the discussion, here is also a quick list of rules advertisements have to abide by, but I'm probably forgetting a few, just so you understand the limitations we face:

  • Menu dropdowns can't go over the ads (to avoid misclicks) - top menu can't float after the next update

  • Ads can't be too close to each other

  • Ads can't be above the fold on mobile (so if the phone loads, ads can't really be on the first screen you see)

  • Advertisements have to be clearly marked as such with text that tells the users they're looking at an ad / sponsored content

  • We have to do everything in our power to separate ads visually from content

  • Above the fold ads (ones that you see on desktop as soon as the page loads) generate significantly more revenue

Also, a few other rules that we have to self-impose for the user experience:

  • Ads can't be in the sidebar on the reader page (it pushes the content smaller and sideways)

  • Ads can't be mid-content (apparently)

  • Ads shouldn't be videos (which normally pay more), not even soundless, though we have limited control over this, and these ads pay a lot more than other adverts

  • We have limited space above-the-fold on chapters.

  • We should refrain from trying to amass all ads above-the-fold lest we push the content to the bottom too much

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#18
8/17/2016 12:59:01 PMVihyungrang Wrote: [ -> ]This would not go over well with writers or the ones giving donations. Not saying right or wrong, just that it would be a major shitfest.


Indeed, I can't argue with this point. On the other hand, when has monetization of things ever end in something other than an outrage by the users?

Its something we have considered in the past, and put all ideas on hold repeatedly. I'm not saying it definitely won't happen one day if it becomes necessary and viable - we never completely removed it from our list -, but currently we have no plans to do it.

RE: Advertisement - content continues bellow

#19
8/17/2016 10:28:40 AMkanadaj Wrote: [ -> ]
8/17/2016 10:12:06 AMShiftyCake Wrote: [ -> ]Have you tried doing a proper recruitment round for the site? I'm sure there are people who would want to help. I understand you wouldn't want strangers to fiddle with the important parts of your work, but if you had some people do the more menial tasks, it would take a load off of you guys so that you could focus on more of the top-level of your projects.


Most of the work we have issues with requires skilled workforce and often requires access to the database, which is a sensitive topic.

8/17/2016 10:12:06 AMShiftyCake Wrote: [ -> ]As for money, I have two thoughts on the matter. First, I know you have donations set-up (at least you did), but I never see it and so I don't think about it. And I mean I never see it. I've only ever seen it once, a long time ago. Now I don't know whether it's because you've removed it, or it's difficult to find, but if it is still there you should make it more obvious. People won't go looking for that sort of thing, but if they see it they might just donate.


We removed the donation buttons because

  1. We'd be potentially taking money away that would go to the authors

  2. Donations just can't sustain the site at this point. It just costs way too much - servers, software, development full time, and a massive amount of time spent with administration.

8/17/2016 10:12:06 AMShiftyCake Wrote: [ -> ]For my second thought, have you thought of having a paid membership system? Paid membership doesn't necessarily have to mean exclusion for everyone who is not a member, if you're worried about that. It's just a way for people to both contribute to the site, and get something out of it. You could just offer some small things that makes the members life easier like removing ads for them. (also, since it is a small recurring payment, members feel they're giving more then just simply donating once)


Yes, it's in progress. We will start to implement it with the next update along with fixing dozens of other issues. However, we've opted with a reader design that has no room for a sidebar (it's just too wide), hence we decided to try and see reactions to in-content ads and decide how sustainable that is. Apparently not too. But we will see after some fine-tuning, it might work out if we separate it better from the content.

8/17/2016 10:12:06 AMShiftyCake Wrote: [ -> ]I might think of other things later, but these are just my thoughts on the matter. I appreciate all the work you guys (and girls) put in for us, and I hope you don't feel you have to be alone in this. I can't speak for everyone, but I would definitely be willing to help wherever I can to further this site. I really love this site.


Your enthusiasm is noted, we'll probably recruit another round of volunteers soon for community work.


Ohh...community work? 

I would love to hear more of that like what would be needet of those people and so on.

RE: Advertisement - content continues bellow

#20
I'd argue that rrl taking a small portion of donations to authors is in the interest of the authors themselves.
I think rrl is by far the best place to be writing your fiction, as Blaize had mentioned, and rrl having money issues only hurts them.

So though I have no doubt some people would moan about it, it is still beneficial to both the site and the authors who post on it.
Just my opinion though.