Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

Ning is now going to charge $20 per month to host BLF for us. Please note that we will lose the video function for this (otherwise it would be $50 per month).


Options are probably:


a) just pay the new ning fee ($20 per month) and make a net loss

b) charge flat fee for BLF ads to cover the $20 per month (not sure how I'd collect the money)

c) create revenue using GoogleAds and GoogleSense (advertisers pay to advertise using GoogleAds, GoogleSense places these ads - by keyword - in the BLF ad-banner space - like it does now - and pays BLF about half of the fee the advertisers paid - per clicked on ad - whereas at present ning get that fee). There is a potential (but not a likelihood!) that this would cover the $20 per month and could even turn a profit.  I think you can also ad your own ads (eg in BLF's case this could include subscribers who haven't paid money to GoogleAds but wish to advertise services on BLF). Note that I only think you can have GoogleSense and customised ads at the same time - but am not positive - need more info from ning - which is coming but not available at the moment. 


I've always said that BLF is not for profit. I'm thinking it would be nice if it's not for loss as well :)


Note that profit could be put back into the BLF community - e.g. events, seed saving equipment (e.g. sieves!), etc..  (NB profit is unlikely with small traffic volumes such as ours)


What do you think about these options? What would be the disadvantages to the different options?


(we need to make sure we don't do anything awful I guess)


Note that you, the members, will not have to pay anything.


Help me make a decision please.




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Scarlett, I'd be happy to chip in towards the Ning costs. That said, if I was in your position I'd probably just pay it - not saying you should, just saying that's probably what I'd do. Advertising, selling stuff, etc., all sounds like a lot of complication for little return.
true! (especially for option b - option c i don't have to do anything - but when i created the network i put a box in saying the site was not generating any money or any information....which would change unless i take the ads off completely now - because the revenue would go to BLF instead of ning after July - hence consultation)
True....Im with option C.....adds dont do much for us (do they) and we all go too google or wikkie lol.
and if the revenue goes to BLF all good I say (if your worried about making profit? could always chuck it into the BLF for name tags, free samples, free seeds, etc,etc....instead of going to ning heehee.
but Im up or down for what ever you guys agree on.
yes for sure! I guess the main issue is that I promised that the site wasn't going "to generate money in any way". (note I've changed it now already!)
You're off the hook there, Scarlett. The site is not generating money for private profit but for the benefit of volunteer contributors to keep the site going.

To recap, I guess the major issue is that two years ago I said that this site 'does not generate money in any way', and I'm proposing to change this now (prompted by ning now charging money to network creators for hosting).

I'm thinking that I will allow google ads on the site (exactly as it is now, except that BLF will get the money, not ning - ning used to provide a free service and keep the ad money - now they will charge a fee and the networks keep the ad money). Any money that the ads generate over the ning subscription fee will pay the Brisbane Seed Savers network subscription fees (by donation to Donna). Any further revenue will be kept by the BLF network creator (Scarlett), who will make a regular and generous donation to the Brisbane Seed Savers network and the Garden Events and community gardens (they have insurance costs etc). Note that it's unlikely that the ads will actually generate much money - even though our traffic is higher than I expected! (see the screen capture of the analytics I've just added - it's previous in this discussion). Look, if the ads do generate a net profit, I can quit my day job and start up a market garden social enterprise or similar (I even investigated this recently)!? In any case, if there is profit I'm not going to spend it on consumer items - I'm going to use it improve local food outcomes for our planet.

Also I asked one of the members who has a business if they would pay an add fee and they said yes, because googleads has too broad an audience and represents a bad return on investment (lots of clicks which you pay for, but not much actual business as a result, compared to targeted ads), whereas cheap ads on BLF would be ideal - so I will try to pursue that with BLF members as well as the googleads thing (keeping it cheap and as a service to members - e.g. under $40 a year for an add that's always on the site). I propose to do up guidelines/ policy for this to make it transparent and fair and consistent with BLF values (who gets on, who doesn't) and I'll send out an invite to members with businesses (as per the info in their profile pages).

I'm glad people are OK with losing the video - it more than doubles the subscription price to keep it on - obviously targeted for music etc style networks, but I think it's not worth it for us. Keeping the network free and capping membership at 150 ppl and not being able to use the group function was the other option - which I don't think would be OK, and ppl seem to agree - sorry, I didn't include that, I just thought it obviously wasn't a goer. The other option is to just dump all the content off ning and work out what to do with it - but ppl are saying they love BLF, so let's keep it going :)

I hope that's OK with people. Hopefully we won't particularly notice any difference in the way the site looks and feels. The important thing is that we keep sight of what's important here - this is a free place for people to share and help each other, to delight in the things we love, and to help our local community, environment and the planet :) It's important for us to enjoy using the site and to be getting something back for what we put in - if you feel like it's going out of balance for you please send me a message about your concerns at any time. Happy gardening folks, SJP :)
Thanks Scarlett, sounds great! You have put a lot of effort into researching various options, and being very transparent with the information.

I look forward to seeing some members ads - while the information is on their home page it isn't easy to search.
Hi Scarlett. Firstly, thank you for going to all this trouble to keep this terrific site open.

I've just read your further email about advertising which seems to be option C above - certainly sounds the best with the potential to actually earn. Certainly don't want you out of pocket and trying to get money from group members would be a headache to organise.

You mention clicking on the ads brings in the revenue, is this correct? If we're all aware that just opening an ad (does it have to be for a certain time - sometimes they want 10sec view minimum) will help bring in revenue and pay the cost of the site, we could all make a habit of doing this. Don't have to action the ad, just view it usually .

yoiks no! i've tried to be very careful not to mention anything about the way the revenue from the ads works! please do not do anything to generate false revenue!!! (we'll get disabled by google and you only get one shot!!!) if you're interested in an advertised product then have a look - same as usual - please don't do anything you wouldn't normally do, you'll totally get us in trouble (googlead's terms and conditions are very clear about this! )
Relevant Googleads terms and conditions !!

Encouraging Clicks

Publishers may not ask others to click their ads or use deceptive implementation methods to obtain clicks. This includes, but is not limited to, offering compensation to users for viewing ads or performing searches, promising to raise money for third parties for such behavior or placing images next to individual ads.

In order to ensure a good experience for users and advertisers, publishers participating in the AdSense program may not:

Compensate users for viewing ads or performing searches, or promise compensation to a third party for such behavior.
Encourage users to click the Google ads using phrases such as "click the ads", "support us", "visit these links" or other similar language.
Direct user attention to the ads using arrows or other graphical gimmicks.
Place misleading images alongside individual ads.
Place ads in a floating box script.
Format ads so that they become indistinguishable from other content on that page.
Format site content so that it is difficult to distinguish it from ads.
Place misleading labels above Google ad units. For instance, ads may be labelled "Sponsored Links" or "Advertisements", but not "Favourite Sites" or "Today's Top Offers".
I would be interested in paying $30 per year to place "Miessence - Australian Certified Organic: " on the site.


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