Friday, April 22, 2011

What ads mean for Trial By Ordeal

At Trial By Ordeal, we believe in a philosophy of transparency in what we do on the site. There's too many sites (metal-related and otherwise) which keep their inner workings secretive and pseudo-classified, which leads to too many questions, too many opportunities for exploitation, and too much distance between the site and the people it claims to serve. In the interest of total transparency with our readers, I've decided to write a quick post on exactly how ads work for us, what they mean for you, and what they could mean for the future of the site.

Trial By Ordeal is staffed by precisely two people: myself and Pavel. Between the two of us, we are responsible for all content which reaches this page. We established this page and run it out of love for metal and other extreme music. That being said, it is one of our wildest dreams to be able to sustain ourselves on our passions instead of making those part-time pursuits carved around day jobs. Is it a big possibility that we'll one day be able to make a living off writing, music, and the other things that interest us? Probably not; we're very aware that we cater to a niche of a niche with this site and the other sites and projects we're affiliated. However, if there is a chance of us being able to make a living, however meager, off what we actually want to do, we'll pursue that as far as we can go without derailing our lives entirely. We do that well enough on our own.

If you look at the bottom of the right-hand toolbar, you'll see that we have Google ads on our page. As time passes, those will grow more and more relevant to the interests of you guys out there- as it stands, I've seen ads for everything from CD manufacturing companies (pretty relevant) to car insurance (not so much). In time, they should always be contextual and relevant to what you're reading.

We make money off these ads through a combination of page impressions (your browser 'viewing' the ads) and clickthroughs (you actually clicking on the ad in question). Unsurprisingly, clickthroughs are what actually generate income. More precisely, there's an algorithm at work (that we don't have access to) which calculates earnings based on both gross page impressions and clickthroughs as well as the ratio of the latter to the former. Unfortunately, we don't know how exactly these earnings are calculated- if we ever do in the future, we'll let you know.

Any revenue gained from these ads or any others (more on that in a bit) is shared equally between myself and Pavel- no percentages, no ratios, just right down the middle between the two of us. As to my usage of 'any other ads', it is true that we will likely add additional advertising in the future. However, we will be operating on a strictly ethical basis with these ads, and we will not use any form of advertising that interrupts your reading of the page or lessens your experience overall. Here's some examples of forms of advertising we are and are not willing to include:

We are willing to include:

Contextual Google ads
Banner ads
Amazon, Ebay, or other distributor referral links

We are NOT willing to include:

Pop-ups
Interstitial ads
Text-embedded ads
Any other ad which might slow down or bar your access to content on the site

We can promise you that the latter forms of advertising will NEVER appear on Trial By Ordeal, no matter how bad our financial situation might get or how much money they might make us. Financial concerns when it comes to this page are a distant second to maintaining our reader's trust and support.

So what do these ads mean for you? Well, it's simple: if you like what you read here, you can do us a massive favor by simply deactivating Adblock when on our page and clicking a couple ads. We don't expect you to buy anything from Google or banner ads, and it does not give us any revenue if you do. However, you will be contributing to the funding of the site. We feel this is a much better alternative than a donation button, as clicking ads doesn't cost the readers any money. If and when we put in Amazon and Ebay referral links, your purchases WILL factor into revenue for the site. If you click on one of our referral links and make any purchase on Amazon, Ebay, or a related site, a percentage of that purchase will be given to us, regardless of whether or not it's the item you originally clicked on. In short, if you're planning on buying a condo, definitely do it through one of our links!

In the future, we'd like to make our ads much more relevant and less scattered by offering advertising opportunities for distros, labels, bands, or other businesses connected to the metal or extreme music scenes. When we start offering those opportunities, we'll give you information on them, but we'd like to wait until the site grows to an appropriate level where it will genuinely help those who purchase advertising space, not now, when the site is still small and relatively unknown.

With any updates to our advertising situation on this page, we'll write a similar post to this one telling you all the details of it. At Trial By Ordeal, and as members of the underground music community, we believe that it's only fair and right to let you know exactly what our ads mean for you. We refuse to lie to you, scam you, or trick you into advertising you don't want to be a part of.

So, with that said: if you like what you're reading, do us a favor and click a couple times. If enough of you do it, it could mean a world of difference to us, and more and better content for you.

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