A New Door Opens

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thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
Advertising supported content doesn't work, at least no longer for SmallNetBuilder. So we're taking a different path.

Continue reading on SmallNetBuilder
 

Mokers

Regular Contributor
Snb and snbforums are great resources and will continue to be. You’ve built a great community!
 

XIII

Very Senior Member
Congratulations (I hope)!

What does this mean for this forum?

(Shut down? Continue as is? Less ads?)
 

ColinTaylor

Part of the Furniture
Here's wishing you every success in your new ventures. All your previous hard work and investment has been very much appreciated. We never take it for granted.
 

hedly

Regular Contributor
I'll keep coming by daily. Hope you're able to get back into the reviews.
 

ccl13

Occasional Visitor
Congratulations!

Honestly I have mixed feelings about this. But the most important thing is to know you, the talent and key behind all these great contents, are finding a way to live on and likely free of life's trouble. So it's good news in general.

On the other hand, why not some payment wall? Like the currently standard, Patreons gets to view contents early sort of things. I would think it's probably a good model for SNB.

Thank you for all the knowledge shares you've done!
 

Zirescu

Very Senior Member
It would be nice to be able to contribute money directly to SNB similar to how we can contribute to @Rmerlins firmware.
 

thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
Paywalls and contributions for small sites are ok if you are looking for beer money. This is how I make a living, which would not be possible even if those sources were added to Google ads and Amazon affiliate payments.

A (paid) subscription only newsletter would be the next logical step. But, for now, octoScope has come to the rescue.

I appreciate the thought behind the desire to make small contributions, I really do. But it just would not move the needle enough. Make a donation to a favorite charity instead, or to Merlin if you use his firmware.
 
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Klueless

Very Senior Member
It's a damn shame that one can't always monetize value. Here's an example of what Yahoo passes off as Tech News. BGR (boy genius reports) can't compare to THiggins / SNB!

(BTW; have you ever considered a "buy on Amazon" button, as a part of your review, that would send us to the exact purchase page for that product review?)
 
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thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
(BTW; have you ever considered a "buy on Amazon" button, as a part of your review, that would send us to the exact purchase page for that product review?)
They are included at the bottom of each page of most reviews. I've tried to do them in a way that isn't blocked by ad blockers, but I may not have succeeded...

buy_from_amazon.png
 

Klueless

Very Senior Member
They are included at the bottom of each page of most reviews.
Well a big duh-oh to me (and I even checked a couple of reviews before I posted that). Very well done by the way.
 

Dave Parker

Senior Member
I would be OK with a yearly paid subscription. SNB has been a free education for me. Any one else.
 

sfx2000

Part of the Furniture
Some thoughts....

Like many web publications, we have two sources of revenue: advertising and affiliate payments. But to make any sort of decent money, you need lots of traffic. For a niche interest site like SmallNetBuilder, that ain't gonna happen, at least not anymore.

For the traffic we do get, revenue has been declining due to increasing use of ad blockers and decreasing rates for the ads that do manage to get shown.

I think the ad business is really a challenge of the race to the bottom in an extremely competitive space, and ad-blockers are perhaps part of that problem - throw more ads out, and perhaps 1 in 10 actually get displayed...

Some block ads because they want a cleaner view and a faster page load, others like myself have concerns with privacy and security, as ad providers are sweet targets for customer profiling for the providers themselves, and big targets for those who have alt purposes in mind like sending over malware like crypto-miners and the like...

In many ways, the ad biz on the web is a broken business - both for the web site operators, and the users that visit the sites...

Affiliate revenue is also highly dependent on traffic, so it also has been trending downward. While I have to give Amazon credit for having the most generous affiliate terms I've found, declining traffic is shrinking this other half of the revenue pie.

I think Amazon is at the point where they don't need the affiliates as much as they did in the past... it's still a good business - for them - but they're working hard to be the primary source...

The bottom line is that I can no longer make a living doing what I do, supported by these revenue sources.

Understood - and many perhaps do not see the costs of keeping things up and running - whether self-hosting, or running on the cloud, every page view has a cost associated with it... There's fixed cost per 1U in a data center - and that's just to keep it powered up and connected - more traffic, and the cost goes up... and with Cloud Based Serivces, that can run up things even more...

So at some point - ad and affiliate revenue runs into a problem - decreasing revenue on ads vs. the costs of running the site (hosted or cloud), and the margin is the money that runs the business and pays the owner and contributing writers...

(along with the other costs of running a business...)

So I've taken on a new gig. octoScope has been one of my key test partners over the years, generously providing test gear at no charge so that I can do the in-depth testing that SmallNetBuilder is known for. Over the past year or so, they've become my sole test partner and now I'm working for them as a paid consultant.

Kudos to the team at OctoScope - they've been a key contributor to the reviews here, but I'll also mention that they've been key to many device developers and manufacturers - as a test equipment provider, they're one of the better ones.

Your efforts, and perhaps with contributions from the forums, have helped them improve their product...

@thiggins - with your insight in the the industry, and experience with testing and reporting to the public - it's nice that you've got a consulting role, but IMHO, it should be a full time position...

Anyways - looking back - while you might mention a "niche" website - it's one of the comprehensive ones with strong editorial backing - you call it as you see it, and back it up with verifiable data... I've never seen a back door pay for play here... sponsored content, yes, but it was always clear there, and valuable...

I wish you the very best for 2019 - you've accomplished much - a valuable catalog of content on the main site, and you've been able to build and sustain a strong user community on the forums.
 

thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
Thanks for the kind words, SFX.

I agree with your points on both Amazon and the internet advertising business in general. Too many trackers, too many bad actors trying to slip malware into ads, too many obnoxious ads.

I understand why ad blockers are on the rise and why browser makers are building them in. But the system continues to work well enough that advertisers aren’t demanding something better. And (I know it’s ironic for me to say this) but not enough people are running ad blockers to make the industry change its behavior. Just think of the reaction if even 50% of users blocked ads (or left Facebook, or deleted Twitter).

To another of your points, this decision is not prompted by not being able to cover the cost of hosting SNB and SNBForums. The two revenue streams more than cover those costs. The issue is being able to make a living doing something that pays more than the equivalent of minimum wage. My skills are worth more than that.

Finally, I didn’t seek full-time employment with octoScope or any other company. The agreement and working relationship with octoScope suits both of us very well. I could not ask for a better group of people to work with.
 

Dave Parker

Senior Member
I've been reading all the comments here and it just dawned on me, I'm using ublock on Firefox so I've been blocking your adds. Apologies for that. I have white listed SNB so now the adds show up. I'm a little slow, but I do have an excuse, I'm 74 years old. Also a question about Amazon. I know SNB gets a commission on sales to members, does that include all sales, not just networking items?
 

thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
Also a question about Amazon. I know SNB gets a commission on sales to members, does that include all sales, not just networking items?
Thanks for setting the whitelist on ads.
We get a commission on anything you buy at Amazon, Dave. But you need to click on one of the links either here or on the main site first. This sets a cookie with our affiliate code, which lasts about a day or so.

The box shown below is at the top of the right column on each page. You can click on the logo or the Go button. You don't have to enter anything in the search box.
supportsnbforums.png
Thanks for your consideration.
 

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