GFF might have ads! - We're breaking the oath that we have sworn so many times. GFF needs money and might soon start having ads. - Global FlyFisher

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GFF might have ads!


Published Jan 21st 2014

We're breaking the oath that we have sworn so many times. GFF needs money and might soon start having ads.

By

Update: We have turned off ads again. They were not exactly the cash cow we dreamed of, and it wasn't worth contaminating the site with ads for a meager income. We're now considering what to do - if anything - to get a bit of money in to run the site.


GFF with ads

We have promised several times during our long history that the Global FlyFisher would never go commercial and start having ads, but reality might just be catching up with us.
We have been paying for the hosting of GFF out of our own pockets for 20 years. At first in the infancy of the site it was Steve Schweitzer who shelled the money, but later I have personally both bought and paid a physical server as well as hosting it. We ran it into the ground and it finally broke down, so the last few years I have been paying for a so called Virtual Server (VPS), which is the next best thing to running your own physical machine, but probably also the second most expensive way of hosting a web site.

The expenses have been growing, and even though it's not breaking the bank or keeping me from paying my bills, it's quite a lot of money to pay. Somewhere around 1,500 to 2,000 USD a year at least - and now we need to upgrade to keep things running smoothly.

So we're breaking the solemn oath that we have sworn to each other and you on several occasions about keeping the site non-commercial and ad free, and will soon start running Google ads.
But fret not!
Because if you are a regular visitor and despise online ads (like I honestly do myself), you can simply opt out and turn off the ads. There will be a settings page where you can turn the ads on and off for the whole site. We will remember your choice and leave the pages ad free just as they have always been.
We do of course kindly ask you to consider your choice, and see whether you can stand looking at the ads, since they will after all be paying for serving the content. But if you decide against it, and turn them off, we won't think badly of you, and you will see the exact same content as everybody else, just without the ads.
But fret not!
Unfortunately we can't control the content of the Google ads, and might consider doing something along the lines of hosting our own fly-fishing relevant ads from advertisers who want access to our large and premium audience /yes, that's you!). We'll see what the reactions are and how both you the readers and potential advertisers react.

My hope is that we can entice the industry to find us interesting as a media. I have the mechanics ready to take in custom ads and replace the Google ones.
I'd much rather have relevant ads for sure!
Another option might be joining an ad network, which usually provides hand picked and relevant ads, and a third one could be select sponsors.
But I'm just dipping my toes here and trying out the whole thing out to see whether it's worth the effort and the "compromising" of the site.
I personally don't like ads, and will definitely shut them down if they are too obtrusive or unpopular.


I don't expect us to make a profit. Heck, typing our domain into one of the revenue calculators online tells me that we can make somewhere between 10 and 200 USD a month. 200 would be really nice (like REALLY!), 10 would mean goodbye to ads right away. It's not worth fouling the site for 10 bucks a month.

Let me hear what you think about this whole idea.
- Is the ad free environment on GFF the reason you come?
- Will you love us less if we have ads?
- Will you still visit if we have ads?
- Will you forgive us if you can turn them off?
- Are we selling out?
We want to hear from you. Add your comments below, and if you're a potential advertiser, feel free to drop me a mail, and we can talk about it.

The server

Just to explain the motivation for this move, here's a quick rundown of the background for the decision:
The Global FlyFisher is a gigantic site and a huge success and that can be felt on the demand the site puts on its technical environment. We are currently using 95% of the disk space we have at our disposal and often surpass the CPU resources that's included in our hosting plan, which is actually pretty hefty as it is.
We need an upgrade, and it might not surprise you that an upgrade means more expenses.

So why don't we simply get one of these "unlimited" accounts that many hosting companies offer? Just pay 9.99 per month and we'll get unlimited space, bandwidth and all that jazz.
Well, reality is that unlimited isn't really unlimited when you start to utilize it.
A site like GFF will not run willingly in a small slot on a server shared with hundreds of other sites. We simply eat disk space, memory and CPU from everybody else, and will have the hosting company on our neck before the first day ends.

No, GFF needs power and flexibility, and that costs.

We did try buying our own physical server as mentioned, but that's a lot of work and the hardware is expensive - it cost close to 2000 USD back then and hasn't become less expensive.
The virtual server is the way to go. Such a server is run by the hosting company and ours has done a great job for us the last few years. We just need a bigger one to accommodate the site growth. It's nothing but a few settings that needs changing, but it costs.
And we hope we can finance that with the help of an ad revenue.
GFF needs power and flexibility, and that costs.


User comments
From: Carl Chambers · Bigthompson1976·at·gmail.com  Link
Submitted January 31st 2014

Martin, I'm a big fan of your site and will continue to visit with or without ads. If the ads don't work out, a 'donate' button, as suggested by others, would give me a way to support GFF.

Carl


From: Joel Ditto · ditto3628·at·charter.net  Link
Submitted January 29th 2014

I really like the idea of content related ads. I don't mind ads as long as they don't interfere with the use of the site. Hope you can continue for another 20 years.


From: chris - Full name and email anonymized  Link
Submitted January 27th 2014

I don't mind the ads the way they are now, they don't detract from the information. I hope it works out for you and you can recover some of your costs.


From: Tom Biesot · biesot·at·nlo.nl  Link
Submitted January 27th 2014

Hello Martin,

No problem at all with the ads, it is good for the site.
It already has cost you and the other owners a lot of money the last 20 years.

Best regards,

Tom Biesot


GFF staff comment
From: Martin Joergensen · martin·at·globalflyfisher.com  Link
Submitted January 24th 2014

Good GFF people,

As you can see I have taken the consequence of the positive feedback on ads and started rolling out Google ads on our pages. It will slowly go though to all pages as the pretty hefty caching system gets emptied and refreshed.

Thanks for your support!

Martin


From: jur606 · jurgen606·at·msn.com  Link
Submitted January 24th 2014

I really don t care about ads,
I just love the GFF site and it's contents, And i have absolutly NP with ads.

Mabey you should make order some caps and sell them with GFF on the cap (i would love it :P)
If you make only 1 of 2 bucks on a cap I think your bills for the site are payed for a year to come?



From: Janw - Full name and email anonymized  Link
Submitted January 23rd 2014

Martin,

it is completely up to you, but the donate button idea sounds good for me too.

Jan


From: Mike Clark · sowbugger·at·suddenlink.net  Link
Submitted January 23rd 2014

I would prefer a subscription say $2.00 dollars a month drawn out of my debit account like I do with Netflix. I never miss it. If 200 site fans would do this that 400 per month or 4800 per year to help with expenses. Love the site have no problem helping.


From: Richard Katzman · Rikatzman·at·live.com  Link
Submitted January 23rd 2014

Martin, ideology is a wonderful concept, but the real world doesn't work that way. You can't walk into a restaurant and eat for free. I understand your dalema and I will still be a supporter of you and your site no matter what your decision is. When I post my videos to You Tube, I chose to allow them to include their advertising for the same reason even though I hate ads. A few dollars helps out each month. Unfortunately You Tube doesn't start paying until you hit 1,000 subscribers, which I don't have and may not have. My feeling is, if the ads will help you support GFF, then I will bite the bullet and put up with them. I do understand business and I applaud your efforts to keep ads off your site all these years. Best regards. Richard


GFF staff comment
From: Martin Joergensen · martin·at·globalflyfisher.com  Link
Submitted January 22nd 2014

Everybody,

Thanks for the support!
I have yet to hear from someone who downright says no, but I have heard from a couple of people who suggested donations as an option. I toyed with that idea a couple of years ago, and may revive it, allowing you to donate money to the site.

But for now I think I will slowly start rolling out the ad system and see where it leads in term of revenue and user reactions.

Thanks again

Martin


From: Allan Overgaard · surferallan·at·gmail.com  Link
Submitted January 22nd 2014

As much as i hate internet adds i would be very sad if i wasent able to check the latest news on GFF.
Love the site.


From: Simon · simon.kearns·at·lewisham.gov.uk  Link
Submitted January 22nd 2014

Go for it......its the GFF content that matters after all

Regards


From: Michael Nicholas · mrnicholas007·at·yahoo.es  Link
Submitted January 22nd 2014

Your mag is really excellent. if you have to include ads, go ahead, I promise to read them and if required when buying any of the products advertised to tell the advertiser that I saw the product on your page. A small price to pay for an excellent magazine.


From: John LeJeune · jrlejeune·at·gmail.com  Link
Submitted January 22nd 2014

A tongue and cheek "advertizing" metaphor. . .

Waders - $399
Wading Jacket $299
Fancy space age material based rod - $795
Anodized aircraft aluminum reel - $325
Backing, line, leader and tippet $110
All that other junk that clangs and clatters on your vest $????!

Global Fly Fisher Website - Priceless.

Martin - Whatever you do will not deter me from coming to this wonderful site. Thank you and the team for all your hard work and monetary outlay. You have gone above and beyond what many other sites do. I too would like to donate to the site. Please tell us how to do that. (PayPal or other. Maybe an Amazon wishlist where we can buy and ship you books and videos that are difficult to get in Denmark) Could we get a critical mass of donors to keep the site going? An interesting thought. You are only asking for the same amount a weeks stay for one at a destination fishing spot would cost.

Thanks again GFF team for all that you do!

John



From: Yalcin - Full name and email anonymized  Link
Submitted January 22nd 2014

Hi... I have been following the site for about a year or a bit more. I do not remember exactly but anyhow I am a new boy. I am new to fly fishing too (and a bit old to start) and trying to learn it by myself since no instruction facilities in Turkey or really experienced fly fishers. The sport is not very popular in here.

GFF is my favorite fly fishing source I follow regularly, a few times a day mostly. Wathing videos of fishing and tying and reading articles... We have a small forum site in here for general angling and although I am not a manager I know the difficulties to have it running. That should be 100x more serious for a site in GFF size and traffic.

I'd like to thank you for your efforts to have me such an invaluable source, free, and your efforts to have it survive.

Unless having a good financial backup, such social sites with rich content are difficult to survive. There are just three options as far as I know and no other alternative: a rich and generous site owner, paying followers, advertisements.

I want the GFF continue as a learning and -may be in the future- as a sharing source for me. If you think having ads is a necessity to have GFF survived I do not mind although I do not like to see ads on internet sites. And I will not turn advertisements off in such a case.

I may also like to contribute in small figures if you think paying membership is a feasible alternative.


From: Lars - Full name and email anonymized  Link
Submitted January 22nd 2014

It's simple enough, really.
GFF is a free site, and if you and we want to keep it that way, then you can either keep digging deep in your own pockets or bring in the ads.

I fully understand why you do this, and yes, I'll keep coming back and I won't turn off the ads - especially not if they're for bikinis with nice models :-)

Lars Bentsen


From: Korrie Broos  Link
Submitted January 22nd 2014

Ads on the side will not bother me.
I think most have become so "blinkered" that you don't notice the ads on most sites, in any case.
How about one of those little "donate" boxes as well, that you find on some of the sites?


From: muskmd · idiudemess·at·yahoo.com  Link
Submitted January 21st 2014

hey guys !

maybe you should put an donate button somewhere ;) i m sure that a lot of us would like to contribute.....


From: Vincent - Full name and email anonymized  Link
Submitted January 21st 2014

Ditto to what Jan said. I don't mind those ads if it can support you to keep up this amazing website. I hope it will cover some (or even better all) of the expenses.

Vincent


GFF staff comment
From: Martin Joergensen · martin·at·globalflyfisher.com  Link
Submitted January 21st 2014

Jan,

Thanks for the input. Much appreciated!

Martin


From: Jan - Full name and email anonymized  Link
Submitted January 21st 2014

Hi Martin,

my answers to your questions:
Is the ad free environment on GFF the reason you come? - No, the gorgeous content.
- Will you love us less if we have ads? - No
- Will you still visit if we have ads?- Sure
- Will you forgive us if you can turn them off? - there is nothing to forgive
- Are we selling out? - No, I can't imagine that

I am not a fan of ads, but living with them on GFF is a very simple way to support you and your amazing work.

Cheers

Jan



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