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BPL has Ads now ?
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Donna Chester
(leadfoot) - M

Locale: Middle Virginia
Re: Ads on 10/27/2013 09:30:22 MDT Print View

I would really hate to see this site end. What other ways would there be to keep it going?

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

BPL on 10/27/2013 13:45:17 MDT Print View

BPL's going to be fine - especially with the new revenue model.

Consider the situation with membership fees. BPL has relatively fixed costs of creating interesting articles and they need to sell enough memberships to pay for that. If the membership drops too low, it may not possible to pay for articles and the site could fold. With membership fees, it doesn't work to scale the content to match the subscribers (ie. write less articles if less subscribers) because you hit a negative feedback cycle where if you drop the articles then even more people will leave, so you have to drop the articles even more, then everyone stops paying and then you're out of business.

Conversely, the ads monetize a portion of the site that costs relatively little to maintain (or should cost relatively little), thus with Google Ads the forums are almost guaranteed to be profitable, whereas before the forums were unprofitable because no one wants to pay membership fees for a forum. Thus in some form, BPL is almost guaranteed to be around now - even if it is just the forum. Rather than the forums being a drain on BPL, they'll be a profitable part of the site and actually enable BPL to generate more content. And of course with more quality content comes more subscribers, and thus you hit a positive feedback cycle where the site gets way better as they can invest more in content.

Not that anyone asked, but here's what I think BPL should do:
1) Make forum membership free. You'll get more lively forums with free membership and an overall increase in revenue because more ad clicking will go on. I know there was some spam problems with free memberships but those are easily solvable with other techniques (ie. incorporate a question during sign up that requires intelligence so computers can't do it).

2) Optimize ads so they're more profitable and less intrusive. For example, putting an ad at the bottom of the page is more profitable than in the sidebar, because no one looks at the sidebar while they are reading. When people get to the end of a page they're looking for something to click on, so an ad there does very well.

3) Consider making all the articles free. This might sound crazy, but it's how 90% of websites do it. With free articles there would be a huge increase in the number of readers. It would take a little time, but readership would go way up. Another option is a hybrid approach where membership is reduced to say $10 and members can read the articles immediately, while after a month they become open access. In the long run this seems way more profitable, as the vast majority of BPL's excellent catalog of articles is sitting there barely being read because it's closed access and most of the members who are going to read it already have. By opening it up, search engines would direct traffic to these articles for years and they would all chug along generating a few bucks a month each, which collectively can be a lot and thus support new content.

Ultimately, BPL's got an awesome website going. The contributors are awesome and if BPL can monetize it ideally so they're able and excited to generate top notch content then it could become better than ever.

Edited by dandydan on 10/27/2013 15:06:12 MDT.

Ryan Smith
(ViolentGreen) - F

Locale: Southeast
Re: BPL on 10/27/2013 14:19:39 MDT Print View

I think those are great ideas Dan. The internet business model today is traffic, traffic, traffic. Do everything possible to generate visits. With BPL's huge archive of quality articles, it could dominate the internet's backpacking traffic.


Edited by ViolentGreen on 10/27/2013 14:31:41 MDT.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
"BPL has Ads now ? on 10/27/2013 15:23:56 MDT Print View

BPL started charging to use the forums because of truly horrendous spam attacks, which appear to have ceased since. That was cheaper than upgrading the ancient software. The $5/year is not significant revenue but is evidently enough to chase the spammers away, and that is its real purpose.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Forum Fees on 10/27/2013 15:48:48 MDT Print View

Forum fees chase a ton of potential users away also.

Edited by dandydan on 10/28/2013 06:27:12 MDT.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Ads on 10/27/2013 22:53:15 MDT Print View

Dan, a lot of useful information. Thanks for taking the time and educating us.

Gregory Allen
(Gallen1119) - M

Locale: Golden, CO
Ads on 10/28/2013 21:14:48 MDT Print View

I hate all these ads. I can't stand it any longer.

Ad image

Ian B.

Locale: PNW
Re: Ads on 10/28/2013 21:17:20 MDT Print View

Funny but I'm about to pull the trigger on the "Misuse of literally makes me insane figuratively" t shirt.

Edited by IDBLOOM on 10/28/2013 21:59:54 MDT.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Ads on 10/28/2013 21:42:14 MDT Print View

Got this today.

Dear BPL Lifetime Member,

I'd like to invite you to participate in a strategic planning survey that is specifically targeted to identify if MLIFE's are either supportive or opposed to seeing third-party advertising when they are logged in at with their MLIFE user account.

There is a brief introduction, followed by two questions. Thank you for participating - your feedback is incredibly valuable to me.

Please take the survey online here:

******I did not include the link as it is meant for MLifers only.************

Best Regards,
Ryan Jordan
Founder / CEO
Backpacking Light

It's a 90 day test period. We'll see.

(KalebC) - F

Locale: South West
Ads on 10/28/2013 23:08:13 MDT Print View

If you don't like ads, don't watch TV, don't go on the internet or leave your house. BPL finally wised up to make as much money as possible, first got membership, then ran ads.

Donna Chester
(leadfoot) - M

Locale: Middle Virginia
Re: Ads on 10/29/2013 03:42:26 MDT Print View

Honestly, I am so bombarded with ads on other sites that I barely notice these. It's become a fact of life...sadly. We are no longer considered people, but consumers.

Van DeWald

Locale: Midwest
Don't See Them on 10/29/2013 04:39:01 MDT Print View

I have an ad blocker through Firefox, so I don't even see the ads on most websites. And if I did see them, I don't pay attention to them. Ad dollars are wasted on me.

Peter S
(prse) - MLife

Locale: Denmark
Re: Ads on 10/29/2013 04:48:17 MDT Print View

K C, that's a very simplified way to look at the situation.

It doesn't take much effort to be able to live in the real world without being bombarded with ads.

- Internet ads is extremely easy to avoid with a plug-in for your browser.

- Buy/rent the TV-shows, and the Movies you want to watch instead of just being a slave to regular TV-transmission. Ditch your cable and save the money while you are at it ;-)

- As for public ads (billboards, flashing signs) - get involved in local politics and make a difference - get the ads down to a tolerable level. Public ads can both be an eyesore or it can be done very tasteful. There's a lot of diversity in cities around the world on how this is being done.

Peter S
(prse) - MLife

Locale: Denmark
Future on 10/29/2013 04:59:14 MDT Print View

I don't think the future belongs to ads. They will probably be a part player.

Pay for your information/entertainment, and avoid most ads (the annoying ones anyway).
It has worked for me for a long time now (8 years)

Right now i pay for my Radio-shows, TV-shows, Movies, News, Books, Music, and the ad-level is low to non-existing.

I have not owned a TV in 8 years - a projector was i wise investment in my quest for quality movie/tv-show watching. Just a choice.

Christopher *

Locale: US East Coast
New catch phrase on 10/29/2013 11:10:11 MDT Print View

I hate to contribute in an openly negative way, but I think in all seriousness part of what gets me is the seeming inconsistency. It is not just the advertisements themselves that I find coarse, but rather their context as a whole.

My impression of BPL is that it is a community that encourages hiking and backpacking and getting away from the hustle and bustle.
My impression of BPL is that it is a community that espouses packing light and bringing less "stuff".
My impression of BPL is that it is a community that teaches one to practice and develop skills rather than develop a false security in purchased goods and gear.

But with startling number of new members who have only ever posted into the now dominant forum Gear-Swap and the rest of the site swimming in blinking advertisements demanding attention and money for disposable "stuff", I cannot help but think the espoused philosophy of the community and the actual management of the site have become mis-aligned ... and every PlayStation4 banner and cotton T-shirt advertisement seems to twist that point home a little more.

Perhaps a new catch phrase is on the horizon:

Backpackinglight. Pay less. Buy more.

Edited by cfrey.0 on 10/29/2013 12:18:48 MDT.

Billy Ray
(rosyfinch) - M

Locale: the mountains
Re: New catch phrase on 10/29/2013 11:21:05 MDT Print View

I resent paying a membership fee for a site that used to be ad free.
And now I have to suffer the ads taking up half of MY screen real-estate.

Seems to me if you pay a fee it should be ad free.
Conversely, if there are ads, then the site should be free and they should refund our membership fees.

Bill D

Valerie E
(Wildtowner) - M

Locale: Grand Canyon State
Custom and Usage on 10/29/2013 11:44:09 MDT Print View

The mere fact of paying for something doesn't mean it *must* be ad-free...

Have you been to the movies in the last 15 years? You pay a lot of money for a ticket, yet there are dozens of product ads, movie trailers (i.e., ads to procure future ticket dollars) -- and, in case that's not enough, during the movie there are countless "product placements" (i.e., ads) stealthily woven into the story line! And yes, you paid to get in! So there is certainly a precedent in being subjected to ads, even where you pay for content.

Current custom and usage on the internet has developed to a point where ads are a "given". If you don't like that, perhaps you should be trying to make sweeping changes to our current social/commercial order...maybe we all should try much harder.

Dan proposed an alternate business model for developing BPL in a different direction. Of those who are complaining, do any of you have other constructive suggestions for BPL's future fiscal health?

I have only been on this site a few months (and just bought a forum membership to try it out), and so far, I see lots of value in keeping this site around. For whatever reason, BPL seems to have much more of a "community" feeling of involvement and helpfulness than many other "free" sites that I have browsed, and that's a rarity.

Tim Zen
(asdzxc57) - F

Locale: MI
Re: BPL has Ads now ? on 10/29/2013 17:49:33 MDT Print View

Lov'n the advertisements. More Moosejaw please.

Willie Evenstop
(redmonk) - F

Locale: Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
BPL cost money ? on 11/02/2013 19:10:28 MDT Print View

It might be worth while remembering that it costs quite a lot of money to run BPL

Prove it, live up to the MLIFE contract and share the information that was promised to be made available.

Edited by redmonk on 11/02/2013 19:16:05 MDT.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: New catch phrase on 11/02/2013 20:50:53 MDT Print View

Hi Bill

> I resent paying a membership fee for a site that used to be ad free.
That was the initial concept for the Forums.
But then the S/W the spammers use was upgraded to a new version which had figured out how to create hordes of spamming accounts on BPL, so I was deleting up to 50 spam postings a day.
The $5 Forum membership was not meant to be a money-raising exercise. It is there to stop the spammers.

Access to the articles always required a paid Membership, to help defray the costs.