Ads in Online Communities Session at OCU 2007

Question: Should there be ads in the community?

  • Some people don't care, some people are really opinionated. The consensus was that "if they are done right". 

Question: What are the different methods of putting ads on new Community Sites

  • owned by Johnson and johnson so banners are injected every tenth post.
  • Big enough companies will have an ad department that sell ad space. These are the most effective ads, but also require more investment to make work.  In these cases you have a high amount of control over the ads.

Topic: Can the community control the ads instead of Google?

  • Ad serving networks aren't sophisticated enough to create a good matches and often create poor or offensive matches. There are hundreds of high profile ad serving networks and not all of them work best.
  • No proactive ad filtering can be bad.
  • What happens when serves Slingbox alternative ads.
  • People have issues with Google. Community for had a discussion on abortion and the ads for abortion clinics came up. This led to mis-trust of the ad filtering from google.
  • Smaller, closed, private communities... could the community control the advertising? Self service advertising that had approval process and ran on a regular basis.   This is non-trivial for smaller/niche communities. 
  • What about Digg for your community moderators where they can mod up or down ads that are relevant for their communities?
  • Another tab in the community could work for this type of service.

Question: Are there ads in the newsletters?

  • Some have no ads in the newsletters
  • Some have different departments to serve ads so there is no tie between site ads and newsletter ads.

Topic: Payperpost?

  • Opinion: This is a horrible idea to allow in communities because it's bound to get out of control.
  • Are larger companies just better off giving their best customers blogs as a reward for their contributions instead?
  • People jump all over shills in discussion forums, but not in the blog world.

Topic: How are the community guidelines established?

  • Does the community want to slap down the "google guy"?
  • Open source community sponsorship ads are worthwhile?
  • Everyone would love a site that incorporates a community controlled ad network.
  • Create a community ad review area.
  • What about digg for community ads?
  • What about people that don't participate in any other way.

Suggestions: Dealing with people that inject ads into your community.

  • Creating an outlet for the "ad-injectors" such as a "show and tell" forum. 
  • Another idea was "Shameless self promotion day"! 
  • Banning
  • Create a rule about not using ads in signatures
  • 3rd party recommendations are a grey area. What's an ad and what's helpful advice and linking?
  • What about letting posters choose who sponsors their post? Then their post gets a theme from the advertiser that's tasteful. 

Question: What is working for ads?

  • Large concern for relevancy.  There isn't a great targeted solution.
  • If the ads match the reason then you can go from .5% click rate to 3-5% click rate.
  • Two challenges:
    • Profiling users to target ads.  Is there integration between the profiles and the targeted ads.
    • relevency isn't that sophisticated.
    • Do logged in users click on ads? Do you want them to see ads?
  • Pop-up ads or ads that extend over the content cause more user complaints than the reward makes worthwhile.
  • People interact via boards via e-mails and then the miss out on the ads.
    • Yahoo groups has done a terrible job monatizing the opportunity they have for niche ads.
  • What is a new model for ads? Who are the innovative ad companies?
    • How can users or companies create the viral content and serve that content through ad networks?
    • Is the limitation technology or ideas for clever ads?
    • 30 Rock and The Office do product placement right... spoofing product placement while doing it... eating at chili's... scrubs does this too.
    • Myspace is starting to do rich content in your ads that pulls eyes in.