RE: Advertisement - content continues bellow

#24
Just another opinion here, ignore the shiny badge.

The ads are not a problem for me personally. Though marking them distinctly enough for the mid-page ads would help greatly in differentiating them so that I can better skip over and continue reading.

Anyways, as it was already said, the world is a give and take. Servers need money, money is made from ads, ads create a minor distraction and annoyance, then we deal with it. It's not that much of an issue so I'm fine with however it turns out in the end. Thanks for the continued work for the site guys.

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#25
08/17/2016 14:45:55donkeymonsterz Wrote: [ -> ]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.


The problem wouldn't be rrl taking a scanty portion of the donations and the monetary loss that would follow. That assumes people would think about it rationally. People don't think about things involving money rationally. RRL could announce doing this, and for a month not take a cent, and people would still moan about all the money they lost, or how that's not what they were donating that money for. Some would lie that more was taken that was promised. Some would say they donated but it dissappeared into the evil coffers of the shadowy RRL cabal. Even with just an announcement and not a cent taken, it would turn into a shitshow. That's how people's minds work. That's what the outrage culture is about. No substance, but a ton of baseless emotion and whining.

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#29
Thank you for your comprehensive post to my last post. I have given this issue some thought, hopefully enough to make a meaningful contribution to this issue.

The main issue at hand is how to develop revenue. For the short term this can easily be covered by ads. The problem with ads is that they impact the overall quality of the site. The more ads the harder it is to pull people to use the service of the site. At the moment the dissatisfaction rate is very low, since the admins are very open and the site is unique.

The problem comes over a longer period of time when attempting to grow and pull in new people to RRL. This requires a monetization strategy that is more comprehensive than just ads. Based on prior comments, while it is possible to charge authors for donations the possibility of a backlash is too great to risk such a strategy.

You need to sit down and lay out the front page very carefully and set up various levels people can advertise at. You also need to offer advertising for people's books on Amazon and other publishing services directly to have clear front page ads. If you want to grow the revenue of this site it just can't be 'The site with those free stories.' It needs to become the one stop shop for people launching public fiction works on the internet.

The admins need to have someone sit down and layout the front page and work out a clear monetization strategy. Then you need to send e-mails out to various authors, editing, publishing, and other writing services who want to enter into a contract for a spot on the front page. I am sure many people who have published books would want a chance to advertise on RRL and link to Amazon.


To summarize this focused advertising would require the following:
1) Front page that is designed with monetizaiton in mind, it doesn't all need to be sold out and care would need to be taken to balance this out
2) Set up a page on the site to direct people to buy ad space on the front, possibly sell a promotion banner like you used to link to this page
3) Make a press release about the relaunch of the site and send out e-mails to various sites and invite them to buy ad space at a discount in the initial re-launch

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#33
08/17/2016 12:05:12kanadaj Wrote: [ -> ]
08/17/2016 11:35:12PeliusAnar 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

08/17/2016 11:35:12PeliusAnar 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.

08/17/2016 11:35:12PeliusAnar 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.

08/17/2016 11:35:12PeliusAnar 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.

08/17/2016 11:35:12PeliusAnar 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.

08/17/2016 11:35:12PeliusAnar 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

https%3A%2F%2Fpuu.sh%2FqEsD0%2F80a861092f.jpg

https%3A%2F%2Fpuu.sh%2FqEsKd%2F5bc35a9d21.jpg

https%3A%2F%2Fpuu.sh%2FqEsM1%2F296dc5a5cf.png

https%3A%2F%2Fpuu.sh%2FqEsRN%2F88e1b835fc.png

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


Try and get some funding (Look towards angel investors). I am pretty sure you guys have the traffic to do so. You might want to change some of the models you guys are currently operating with, but its certainly doable.

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#34
I personally wouldn't mind if, when i first came to the site i had to watch a small advertisement video, kinda like watching a youtube ad, before being able to read. Maybe preface it with a small "you watching this video supports the team and the site greatly" message. how much would that help? you could even make it a separate page like Http://www.royalroadl. com/support_us_ad or something, for those people with very crap computers who use ad block to keep their computer from freezing up when 3+ video ads collide in the website.

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#35
08/18/2016 21:25:09lynxprowes Wrote: [ -> ]Try and get some funding (Look towards angel investors). I am pretty sure you guys have the traffic to do so. You might want to change some of the models you guys are currently operating with, but its certainly doable.


If we wanted to allow investors to butt in and say what we can and what we can't do to improve the site and to make it better for our users, we'd have found them long ago. And that's how investors work. Plus all investors we've met intentionally undervalued the site's worth by far.

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#36
I took the time to read it all before posting. Let's go.

1. I couldn't find the mid-content advertisement. What I do suggest, though, would be something like this.

http%3A%2F%2Fi.imgur.com%2Ffod5qtS.png

(Ignore the "Media heading", just stole if from Bootstrap website)

It's right there, clearly an AD, right in view, but doesn't stop the flow.



2. People will not stop reading if there are ADs in the middle of stuff. Not if they are really interested in keeping reading that specific content.

Immersion breaking sucks, but RR is too popular for authors or readers to ditch it.

If you DO notice people accessing RR less because of it, THEN you remove it.



3. Monetizing on authors work wouldn't be so bad IF you did something along the lines of Patreon. That would actually be very cool. But I think it would also be very complicated to pull legally-wise.

I mean, dealing with other people's money requires a whole different level of care. We are talking almost a new company here.



4. Invest more in in-site ADs.

When a reader gets to the end of a Fiction, he needs to look for more stuff to read. Use categories, favorites, whatever, but provide him with more options as soon as he is finished.

A "people who read this also read" thing, like on Amazon, would be perfect.

When you keep the user in your website for longer, he usually sees more paid ADs than you get by putting a single out-site AD at the end of a content.



5. Make fiction chapters' links og-friendly.

People like to share new chapters on social medias. By making the link more attractive, you get more traffic. With more traffic comes more money.



6. More options for authors ADs

Not everyone can pay $20 minimum to put their stuff in there. In my country's money, 20 dollars is a lot of money.

If I could invest $5 first, to see if it works, then I'd be interested in investing more.



7. Shenanigans

RR has a lot of stuff that could be done better.

What I mean by it is that instead of trying to launch a perfect website, you should just what you already have and add stuff as needed.

That way you can prioritize what people really want and/or balance it with things that give money.

Let's be frank: this layout sucks. If people I divulge my work weren't already used to RR's layout, I don't think they would be very interested in reading my fiction.

That can also affect the said undervaluation you spoke about. I wouldn't put much faith in RR if I were an investor. It's not just traffic numbers, it's wanting my brand to be associated with that horrid main page.

(I think I just kind of rambled here. Sorry.)



8. Premium Membership

Someone already said this, but people would be willing to pay for stupid things. Like a golden frame on the avatar.

Or even non-stupid things (yes, people sometimes know how to invest their money) like being allowed to put youtube videos / music on their chapters.

The reason I talked about shenanigans is also because of it. Make the website look prettier and people will be more willingly to pay for stuff in it.






To be sincere, I feel like there is a lot of potential in RR, you are just looking at it in a non-optimal way, insisting on Google ADs.

Have you tried to make a media kit available for people who want to announce directly in RR? I saw some very shitty websites (which RR is not) live on this in my life.



Ps: Sorry if I sound a little too douchebaggy. I swear I'm just trying to help, but when I feel exited about something, I can't stop to think about my words too much. I must simply go ahead and say it.

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#38
@edwardcastle In theory that's all fine, and believe me if I said we've already went through every single one of those options. We are working on our issues, but we're still having to deal with the core issue - we need money to hire more team members to make more money. See the problem there?

We can't simply release partial updates due to how the site currently works. We have to finish rewriting major parts before we can release anything because there are enormous dependencies in play.

We don't insist on Google Ads; we've working on implementing premium features WITH the next update. But we gotta replace things for it, because those premium features simply don't work out at all with the current site engine. It's a nightmarish 2+ million lines of 3rd party code we're talking about, code we can't easily touch without breaking it.

No, I'm not making up excuses here - we're working on a premium membership, more advertising options, an official publishing service.

Also, to answer your #1 point, we have no control over what the actual content of the ads are, and we lack the means for a good system for custom ads, nor would we be able to reach a satisfying fill rate.

Also, $5 packs are not nice simply because we'd be talking about 5000 views at most (which is just about nothing) whereas the transfer fees for us would be the same as a $20 transaction. So, suppose 4000 views. At our highest CTR, which is a crazy high 6.3% way above the average, that's 252 clicks on the in-site ad without even reading a single chapter (as they might stop at the review section). Conversion rate afterwards depends on the fiction, but honestly, at such a tiny sum the effects are negligible.

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#39
08/19/2016 01:41:17kanadaj Wrote: [ -> ]@edwardcastle In theory that's all fine, and believe me if I said we've already went through every single one of those options. We are working on our issues, but we're still having to deal with the core issue - we need money to hire more team members to make more money. See the problem there?


Yup. Why not get volunteers? If you are worried about tech steal, you could consider making the code open source.

As long as the new website is coded over a well-known and well-maintained framework (like Cake PHP or Symfony [if you are PHPing]), it shouldn't become a security issue.

I'd volunteer for some PHP/front-end coding.


Quote:
We can't simply release partial updates due to how the site currently works. We have to finish rewriting major parts before we can release anything because there are enormous dependencies in play.


Well, that sucks. Good luck with that, then.


Quote:
We don't insist on Google Ads; we've working on implementing premium features WITH the next update. But we gotta replace things for it, because those premium features simply don't work out at all with the current site engine. It's a nightmarish 2+ million lines of 3rd party code we're talking about, code we can't easily touch without breaking it.

No, I'm not making up excuses here - we're working on a premium membership, more advertising options, an official publishing service.


Well, if you say you can't do it now, you can't do it now.


Quote:
Also, to answer your #1 point, we have no control over what the actual content of the ads are, and we lack the means for a good system for custom ads, nor would we be able to reach a satisfying fill rate.


I'm not sure if I didn't explain myself well or I didn't understand your answer. Sorry!

What I meant on #1 was that an ad might get to the side of the text, left or right. CSS can be a pain in the ass, but I'm reasonably sure it can be done.


Quote:
Also, $5 packs are not nice simply because we'd be talking about 5000 views at most (which is just about nothing) whereas the transfer fees for us would be the same as a $20 transaction. So, suppose 4000 views. At our highest CTR, which is a crazy high 6.3% way above the average, that's 252 clicks on the in-site ad without even reading a single chapter (as they might stop at the review section). Conversion rate afterwards depends on the fiction, but honestly, at such a tiny sum the effects are negligible.


It does seem too little for an already established fiction, but these fictions don't need much advertising in the first place.

Focus on the small people. I'd buy 250 clicks for $5 without a second thought when I first released my fiction. I'd even buy 500 clicks for $10 these days.

If you get the same for a $5 sell as a $20 sell (I didn't understand it that well, but I think it was a "it's not worth" speech), then it's an issue of finding out if more $5 ads would cover the losses. Well, I guess it doesn't, or you'd already have done that.

I think it's a little sad. New authors would kill for space when they are starting.

I'd suggest you save some money for a few months (just in case) and try the $5 and/or $10 options to see how it works out (if you already didn't).



Anyway, if you are having money problems, just put the ADs where you want and focus on releasing the new website ASAP.

A few weeks of immersion breaking won't kill anyone. And as long as it's worth it, people will forget and forgive.


Hope everything works out for you guys!

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#40
08/17/2016 10:54:59Ultrabenosaurus Wrote: [ -> ]
08/17/2016 10:28:40kanadaj Wrote: [ -> ]
08/17/2016 10:12:06ShiftyCake 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.


Ok, I will be upfront. I do use an adblocker. But usually I disable it on sites that I like and frequent to support them. Not so with RRL (yet).
The thing is: I do not have an adblocker on my mobile, when visiting RRL on it the ads hijacked my browser - so instead of just seeing the ads (that were quite stupid ones regardless and seemed to be always the same (shark about to eat a person, I think) next to same one again) I got forced into the ad-link and was prevented to go back with the browser back function - I had to close the tap and reload the RRL page I was looking at which was quite annoying and happened more than once. That was already some time ago, though. So because of that I keep the adblocker switched on for RRL on my computer.

For placing the ads I agree mid-text is a bit annoying - except maybe if it is a small one (like two or three lines high) - have to try that out. So I agree before the story and after the story (before the navigation) sound like the most reasonable places to place an ad. But please make sure they are not too high (too much scrolling is annoying, too).

I agree with the quotes above if it is not too expensive (e.g. about 1$ a month) I would prefer to have ads removed when logged in when paying the fee.

Please if you place ads make sure they are not blinking or moving - that is really annoying.

Thank you.