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What's it Worth? (No seriously...).

RiverDave

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So it's the beginning of the year and I have to redo the "ad packs" for rdp as a whole. It's pretty rare I talk about the back end of rdp or the business side of it with many people, to be honest there just isn't a lot of websites out there like this one. Race-Dezert would probably be the only one I browse that I think would be similar?

So every website owner monetizes there deals in different ways, but one of the more common place ways of doing it is banner ads like we currently have at the top and the bottom of the forum. There's also different levels of "whoring" a site out from non intrusive like mine, to literally putting ads between posts, and even doing things where google Adsense where they have various "floating ads" that are relevant to your searches etc.. (I have no experience with this, but Race Desert is running Adsense)

As far as rdp goes from a advertising financial standpoint I've made some tactical errors. Most "media outlets" especially in this industry will just take money from anybody.. I took the opposite approach, I only took money from companies I truly believed in their services or products. Inversely when "certain" companies came to me to advertise I just flat said "no."

To get to the point though, "rdp" needs to start making it's own money.. So I figured I'd talk to the brain trust here and see what you guys come up with and compare it to kinda what I was thinking.

From the Platform perspective we have the Main Site which runs anywhere from 110,000'ish Unique IP's a month in the offseason all the way up to 150-160,000 Unique IP's during season.

I just grabbed two random months one in winter and one in summer to show the stats..

Feb


Screen Shot 2023-01-25 at 11.21.56 AM.png



August

Screen Shot 2023-01-25 at 11.21.07 AM.png



From a Social Media Platform perspective we have Instagram at 100,000 Users and climbing, with what I'm told is "great engagement".

Screen Shot 2023-01-25 at 11.25.13 AM.png



Then we have a FB Business Page and a Facebook Group Page.

Biz Page has 65,000'ish Followers.

Screen Shot 2023-01-25 at 11.31.54 AM.png


And finally a group page that has 32,500'ish members..


Screen Shot 2023-01-25 at 11.35.06 AM.png




My initial thoughts are price for a banner placement (we make the banners for the customers), they can upload content to a single thread in the lounge or forum applicable (from the mold etc).. Then a price for me to upload the content or create text / pic content for them. Then a price for full on video / photo shoots / article etc..

Some other thoughts - Do we charge members for biz signatures? If so how much? I have never charged for them and honestly thought I never would, but there are a few people that get a ton of work off here, and have never even so much thought of advertising.

What do you do with the social media?

For the FB group to you charge some minimal rate per post? or just a flat rate monthly? Because of the crazy fb algorithms I can't tell you if it's going to get seen at all, or if it's going to go viral?

Biz Page? Flat Rate for a commercial post by our staff every now and again?

IG? I don't even know where to begin with that, if anything at all?



By the way Google Adsense income estimations to install that software put this forum at 260-450,000 a year depending on the categories etc.. I'm not real interested in doing that because I think it detracts from the place, but I am interested in hearing if anyone has any experience with it and how it worked out for them.

Really looking forward to hearing the members thoughts on this.

RD
 

C_J_J_C

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I am completely ignorant on ad monitization but I do know if you have the ability, which is likely because you already have log-ins, I would be willing to be a paying member before I would be willing to tolerate a bunch of ads. Think of Hulu $6 a month for ad free, ect.
 

sintax

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So I spend a lot of my day dealing with this type of stuff.

Targeted marketing (google adsense) is not the end of the world, but i know what you mean. You'd be serving up ad's based on googles leads, so its also out of your hands. Ads at the top and bottom are something we've lived with for a while, if they happen to change from the old static ones, to more targeted, i bet people would notice, but it wouldnt be offensive.

I'd likely POC it and see how it flies, I know the money would be substantial
 

havasujeeper

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Most of the forums I work on has a supporting membership banner for those who contribute to keep the lights on. We've added an ad blocker switch, if chosen, and provides a larger avatar and file storage. It also eliminates the 30 second between post BS.
Oh, and we also provide a highly coveted decal to display proudly for all supporters.
 

LuauLounge

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I may be missing it, but, how about a page(s) listing all of your advertisers, contact info and one/two line description of what services/product they provide. As someone who spends way too much time on this site, the ads don't overwhelm your users, one reason I spent a lot here.
There are so many sites that have become unusable, do to reminding me that I need to buy the last 25 items I looked at on Amazon.
 

Xring01

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First off, Fuck Facebook, I have zero respect for them, I refuse to use it…

As others have said, one of the reasons I frequent RDP, is the lack of ads. There are sites I used to use alot, until the advertising became overwhelming… and I stopped. Bloodydecks was one, several automotive ones, shooting ones… again I rarely go them anymore. Hell mostly just to sell classified type stuff, that I am tired of moving around my garage.

So my advice, is if you have a good thing going, dont change it.
If you need the added revenue to get it to pay for itself, then you do what you have to do.

The key take away… Americans are advertised to every second of every day. Logos on everthing, and some (including most RDPers) are freaking sick and tired of it. So be prepared to lose from monthly IP’s on the sight, if you do advertise more.
 

whiteworks

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Customer selection is very important component of doing business, I always enjoyed working with the RDP members on projects as they were good folks to deal with. As an active poster in the past I worked for quite a few members, tried to give good deals and make people happy because there was a mutual community we both were active in. Working for solid customers is worth quite a bit to me. Don’t know your add rates but when you figure them out shoot me a PM and if it’s works with my ad budget I’ll sign up. 👍
 

Terminal Velocity

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I have no idea how adsource works.
But, Do the ads need to be inbetween posts? Could it be on say the Right side of the window and if so, is there a way to have a user adjustable (like an Excel spreadsheet Cell) that could be slid to the right to minimize how big it is. Seems that'd be best of both, you get ad revenue and we can minimize it to 1/8" of screen/window size and isn't "intrusive" to our time here. And i certainly have no idea how you would do that.
 

yuppie

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I would probably have a couple introductory calls with some internet marketing firms in order for them to get to know you and the internet presence of each RDP profile.

The strategy for IG is probably different from the FB group from the message boards. A good firm should be able to tell you the opportunity of each and advise on specific strategies.

A quick google for top internet marketing firms returned a bunch of results and I can't tell who is best at what, but its a starting point.
 

hallett21

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Not sure what the answer is. However you’ve been in control up until this point and I think it would suck to let Google or whoever dictate your forums layout/vibe. 450k does sound nice though lol.

I think the other issue you run into is that friends, family, businesses etc will act like you’re carving out their liver if you ask them to pay $500-1k a month for a business advertisement. Which is what im sure it would take to get you the same 450k
 

wash11

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RDP and its members have always been good to us. I've tried to do my part by posting quality content and in general being a good member of a pretty bitchin community.

We don't have much of an ad budget but would be interested in knowing more about pay structures and different options to see if we can find something that keeps the ship sailing without changing up the site with a ton of ads (which is why RDP is the last one I log onto).

Annual subscription? Add on to the annual subscription for a signature for the farm biz? Paid write up on our goodies by RD himself with some well-placed keywords?

I honestly don't know shit about fuck when it comes to this stuff but would like to explore this when you come up with a direction that suits you.
 

ltbaney1

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the adds at the top and bottom i dont mind. when they start randomly popping up and blocking what im trying to read or look at forcing you to search for the "X" to close them is when im done. someone here mentioned bloody decks / bdoutdoors and they are right on the edge of the adds becoming intrusive. the lay out and ease of moving around this site is one the things i really enjoy about it, besides the people.
 

bilz

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My email provider has ads in between my on box listings. I can't stand it as it is usually related to things I was looking at on Amazon or Google. I don't want to leave them as I've had them since dial up. But it annoys the hell out of me.
 

bowtiejunkie

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I think Vertical scope, which bought most enthusiast forums starting in about 2008/2009, runs good Adsense on their websites. Nearly all are way down in traffic (however, FB’s rise to fame was beginning at same time). Ads everywhere on these sites. It’s terrible. Customer service is junk (none of the moderators have any real power to solve anything). The faceless corporate owner is no where to be found. I’d go annual subscription before going with Adsense (unless the absolute $$$ is needed or more important to you). You’re the forum owner and very active. People see directly where their member fee goes and helps make up for lost potential from ad serving.
 

sirbob

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I don't have an answer for you Dave, but I can tell you I used to visit 2 forums (actually one was more of a blog) and when they started doing pop ups on every picture and in between each post, I left and haven't been back.

I'm sure you can do better and I want to see you get more $$$ but you will lose at least 1 person if you go that route.
 

DarkHorseRacing

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Be aware if you piss off enough people we’ll all get ad blockers and just strip that crap out and you won’t get much on the ad revenue.

There are site that I will not go to because they demand that I turn off any ad blocker I might run to view them. What they don’t apparently understand (at least among news sites) is that there are other sites not pissing off visitors so they will just go there.

I do not run my ad blocker on RDP because the ads are boating content or related and they are not intrusive or annoying, or spying on me, and I would support most of them in one way or another.

I wouldn’t mind a “premium” pay for membership to RDP that gives more access, more perks, 18 and over content, and less ads etc. over a “free plan” that limits posting, access and content, and gets more ads.

I’m willing to support this site because of what it is and it’s content.
 

Cole Trickle

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RDP is business. I doubt the advertising even comes close to paying for the events/site maintenance. I imagine you make a lions share of the $$$ through swag sales at a couple boating events a year.

Can you do a leaned down ads cense deal plus your own thing so it's not crazy invasive?

This place is a home to a bunch of people. Create a paid membership that gives you something for $20 a year that blocks ad's gets you a special sticker/coozie and perhaps discounts on rdp merchandise and events? If people are to unwilling to contribute and don't like ads to the point where they would leave than what are they bringing to the table?(I don't think anyone is going anywhere) Anyone making $$$ from corporate signatures should have no problem kicking in a tad if the clients/leads are beneficial.
 

RiverDave

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Some interesting replies so far.. So I'll try to explain a little better what I was looking for with the original post.

1. I don't believe in paid memberships to a forum. You will get 100-200 guys that'll sign up for 5.00 a month and that just isn't worth the aggravation and management of it all.

2. The Power of RDP (and most other sites like it) isn't so much in the actual membership as it is in the "lurkers". The lurkers outnumber the members by 10:1 on every thread / etc.. So to market it to the whole package is where you make "real money." Not just to the members themselves.

3. I know there's some guys on here that are on other forums, and even some guys that moderate other forums etc.. I was just kinda curious if maybe there was something out there I was unaware of, or haven't seen before so I was kinda looking to see if I've over looked something.

4. Believe me guys I'm on here more than anyone.. I'm not wanting to look at or sea "pop up" google ads or anything like that either. The only reason I mentioned it was to give an idea of "value" or what the website should be "earning" per year in its current status.


Someone posted our current rate card above.. It's seriously outdated, and most of it was so confusing that people couldn't understand it anyways.

So what I'm trying to figure out or "structure" for lack of a better term are the "packages".

For example
Forum Packages.
Package 1. Banner Ad - 350.00 a month (client is able to upload content to a single thread in the lounge and maintain it for the duration of the ad contract)
Package 2. Banner Ad & Article Once a month - 750.00 (RDP is responsible for creating content relative to said advertiser via an Article and or Thread created by our staff or me, and maintain said thread)
Package 3. Banner Ad & Video Content - (Unsure of $$ on this) RDP is responsible for shooting at least one video a month (3 minute highlight video edited) / posting to our audience and share video file with client so they may use for their internal marketing / sites etc..

FB Group Package
Package 1. User Generated Content - 100.00 per month. Client is able to post on our Group page once a week regarding their products and services (I was thinking this might be good for the never ending VRBO's that are constantly posting on my group page that I'm always deleting)
Package 2. 225.00 per month - RDP posts user generated content
Package 3. ($$???) - RDP generates content for client and share's across FB group

FB Biz Package
Package 1. 200.00 per month - RDP Posts User Generated content regarding their products and services once a month
Package 2. ($$??) RDP Generates content for said business

IG. - I don't even know where to start with this..




The big question is what's appropriate to charge for the forum / social media's... What's the best way to structure and manage that program.. Do you segregate them? Package deals? Menu pricing?

In this thread alone there's members that want to advertise.. One of them does wooden shudders, the other has a local farm that sources the best possible meats / food possible. Would those types of ads be ok with the membership even though they are "off topic" a bit? What would be a good entry price point to attract say HTW or the Accessory House? I was considering actually lowering the price on the banner ads a little to attract more / newer businesses.


I have a "phone book" style software installed running silently in the background right now, but it will actually show businesses based on location / type etc.. I was thinking maybe something like 50.00 a month or 500 annually to be in the "rdp" phone book?

To be clear, I'm not interested in "whoring" rdp out.. I'm just saying now that we have staff on payroll, and we are spending some serious money on content generation, the website needs to start making more $$. I'm over 30K in camera equipment alone just in the last year and a half.. and I just bought a 90+ mph drone for chasing boats this summer.. LOL.

RD
 

Orange Juice

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Structure like the an NFL stadium.

bid for it.

Special sections for big events and Holiday weekend specials.

I also suggest advertising on a few Billboards. I could see one on the I-10 and 40 Freeways. 😉
 
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H20 Toie

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i liked oso idea of if you wanted to see or post pics then you had to pay, not sure how much that would kill lurkers thou. shit i don't even know what the yearly rate is,
now if i could pay to not have to wait 90 seconds between posts i would pony up some cash for that, expecially when i have had a few
 

Baja 252

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Is there a way to have ads, but those that want can pay a membership fee and get the ad free version?
 

hallett21

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That’s a separate business that I’m going to start devoting more time to pretty quick. It’s actually doing pretty well for where it is right now though :)
Almost seems like you should continue that model. Use this as the attention getter and then feed your other businesses through it. I know that’s partially how the real estate is done for you.

RDP I’m sure looks like a loss on paper but you obviously know it’s not.
 

FUN4ME

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I'll admit I am a Lurker, Is there any way to have ads for non logged in people and limited ads like it is now for people who are logged in?

From your first post it appears about 85% of visitors are new to the site.
 

Ducksquasher

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First off, Fuck Facebook, I have zero respect for them, I refuse to use it…

As others have said, one of the reasons I frequent RDP, is the lack of ads. There are sites I used to use alot, until the advertising became overwhelming… and I stopped. Bloodydecks was one, several automotive ones, shooting ones… again I rarely go them anymore. Hell mostly just to sell classified type stuff, that I am tired of moving around my garage.

So my advice, is if you have a good thing going, dont change it.
If you need the added revenue to get it to pay for itself, then you do what you have to do.

The key take away… Americans are advertised to every second of every day. Logos on everthing, and some (including most RDPers) are freaking sick and tired of it. So be prepared to lose from monthly IP’s on the sight, if you do advertise more.
It's a narrow line and I want to support RDP so I get it and dealing with some ads to keep the lights on makes sense. I just hope it doesn't turn into something like NHRA.com! That place is pop-up ad central and it is to the point I am thinking about not even logging on anymore. I hate if when I accidentally hit the banner ad trying to "x" it out and I know have to navigate getting out of that new window.
 

Ol Man

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Personally, I only pay for one other site on a monthly basis and that is AdvRider. I would have no problem paying the same rate to participate here. By the way, AdvRider has started to produce a high quality magazine the last couple of years, with contributions by the members of the forum.
 

DarkHorseRacing

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It's a narrow line and I want to support RDP so I get it and dealing with some ads to keep the lights on makes sense. I just hope it doesn't turn into something like NHRA.com! That place is pop-up ad central and it is to the point I am thinking about not even logging on anymore. I hate if when I accidentally hit the banner ad trying to "x" it out and I know have to navigate getting out of that new window.
NHRA is so pathetic they can’t even make an app so you can skip their junk website. Out of NASCAR, INDYCAR and F1, they all have an app, so no idea why NHRA doesn’t. Maybe they make more money on ads on their website and they don’t want to divert that to an app that just gives out info that would make their fans happier.
 

Bowtiepower00

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I used to be on several forums, I still visit several of them occasionally. Most of them are vehicle/ boating/ off-road related, a few aren’t.

All of the forums that sold to vertical scope/ internet brands, and/ or added intrusive ads went to complete shit and died. They might still exist but they are only useful to read through old posts, as the flow of new information has all but stopped.

All of the forums who tried the membership/ pay for content route lost members and died.

The (very) few that found the balance of non-invasive advertising, and balanced moderation, without charging membership fees to get to the content (like RDP) are doing very well.

The rest are stuck in a sort of limbo, with some participation from the core members but not a lot of activity other than lurkers.

I can’t speak to the economics of running a forum, but I’ve seen some forums that offer an affordable membership option (or member donation for server costs) without severely neutering PMs or the ability to view certain forums are able to find a way to strike a balance of paying and non-paying members vs. mass exodus. The ones that restrict access or restrict PMs seem to wither away once people have to pay for content.

The beauty of RDP is the depth of knowledge the members have. I can get pretty much every question answered regardless of what it is. I don’t need to go to a specific forum unless I have a really obscure or focused need for knowledge on a subject, and am willing to dig through the archives on another site to get it.
 

Bpracing1127

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We already have subscription based everything. I think people are generally sick of it. Paid for membership and I’m out. Not worth it to me and 99% of lurkers will be out. With that said I highly doubt Dave will go that route

Dave have you ever done some analysis and asked your customers how much they are benefitting from ads? What % of their revenue was generated on RDP?
They should have some general idea
Charge according to that data.

Say if “sea deck” received 100k in yearly revenue from RDP. I would want 5% of that so 5k.

Of the current advertisers who currently has the highest yearly revenue and what is that #?
 

braindead

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Some interesting replies so far.. So I'll try to explain a little better what I was looking for with the original post.

1. I don't believe in paid memberships to a forum. You will get 100-200 guys that'll sign up for 5.00 a month and that just isn't worth the aggravation and management of it all.

2. The Power of RDP (and most other sites like it) isn't so much in the actual membership as it is in the "lurkers". The lurkers outnumber the members by 10:1 on every thread / etc.. So to market it to the whole package is where you make "real money." Not just to the members themselves.

3. I know there's some guys on here that are on other forums, and even some guys that moderate other forums etc.. I was just kinda curious if maybe there was something out there I was unaware of, or haven't seen before so I was kinda looking to see if I've over looked something.

4. Believe me guys I'm on here more than anyone.. I'm not wanting to look at or sea "pop up" google ads or anything like that either. The only reason I mentioned it was to give an idea of "value" or what the website should be "earning" per year in its current status.


Someone posted our current rate card above.. It's seriously outdated, and most of it was so confusing that people couldn't understand it anyways.

So what I'm trying to figure out or "structure" for lack of a better term are the "packages".

For example
Forum Packages.
Package 1. Banner Ad - 350.00 a month (client is able to upload content to a single thread in the lounge and maintain it for the duration of the ad contract)
Thats not a bad price
Package 2. Banner Ad & Article Once a month - 750.00 (RDP is responsible for creating content relative to said advertiser via an Article and or Thread created by our staff or me, and maintain said thread)
If the can upload photos or ads to the thread, price is reasonable.
Package 3. Banner Ad & Video Content - (Unsure of $$ on this) RDP is responsible for shooting at least one video a month (3 minute highlight video edited) / posting to our audience and share video file with client so they may use for their internal marketing / sites etc..
So you would be making the ad for the client to also post elsewhere?

FB Group Package
Package 1. User Generated Content - 100.00 per month. Client is able to post on our Group page once a week regarding their products and services (I was thinking this might be good for the never ending VRBO's that are constantly posting on my group page that I'm always deleting)
I need to pre-face I don’t have Facebook so I could be talking out my ass on this
Seems cheap

Package 2. 225.00 per month - RDP posts user generated content
Package 3. ($$???) - RDP generates content for client and share's across FB group
Not sure how these two would work?
FB Biz Package
Package 1. 200.00 per month - RDP Posts User Generated content regarding their products and services once a month
Package 2. ($$??) RDP Generates content for said business

IG. - I don't even know where to start with this..




The big question is what's appropriate to charge for the forum / social media's... What's the best way to structure and manage that program.. Do you segregate them? Package deals? Menu pricing?

In this thread alone there's members that want to advertise.. One of them does wooden shudders, the other has a local farm that sources the best possible meats / food possible. Would those types of ads be ok with the membership even though they are "off topic" a bit? What would be a good entry price point to attract say HTW or the Accessory House? I was considering actually lowering the price on the banner ads a little to attract more / newer businesses.


I have a "phone book" style software installed running silently in the background right now, but it will actually show businesses based on location / type etc.. I was thinking maybe something like 50.00 a month or 500 annually to be in the "rdp" phone book?

To be clear, I'm not interested in "whoring" rdp out.. I'm just saying now that we have staff on payroll, and we are spending some serious money on content generation, the website needs to start making more $$. I'm over 30K in camera equipment alone just in the last year and a half.. and I just bought a 90+ mph drone for chasing boats this summer.. LOL.

RD

that’s a tough one, I’m not really sure any other forms do that type of advertising, i.e. generating the advertising content.

I put some of my answers up top in red
 

RiverDave

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We already have subscription based everything. I think people are generally sick of it. Paid for membership and I’m out. Not worth it to me and 99% of lurkers will be out. With that said I highly doubt Dave will go that route

Dave have you ever done some analysis and asked your customers how much they are benefitting from ads? What % of their revenue was generated on RDP?
They should have some general idea
Charge according to that data.

Say if “sea deck” received 100k in yearly revenue from RDP. I would want 5% of that so 5k.

Of the current advertisers who currently has the highest yearly revenue and what is that #?

I wish I could get 5% of the biz that runs through rdp.. lol. I’d be pulling several million a year! Unfortunately it doesn’t really work that way. Especially in the boating world.
 

RiverDave

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I paid for my viewing by purchasing a shit load of shirts.

Never owned a forum, what is one of this magnitude worth?

Well it’s the old adage what someone is willing to pay.. lol. Some of the big corps have offered me a little over 600.. There’s a guy on the east coast that primarily runs fishing websites and he has a standing offer at 750. To be honest I have zero intention of selling rdp, I love the forum and the community..

Plus they value the sites based on ad revenue. We make the bulk of our money via RE / swag / and ad revenue combined.. RE being the primary driver
 
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