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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  • Hi Scarlett,

    Just a thought.. have you considered earning affliate commmissions for sales on items your site recommends? You could have a page of items your members recommend -> link to where they can be purchased -> you get commission for the sale. Not sure what seed suppliers offer affiliate programs, but lots of book sites would.

    Each item recommended could include a blurb by the member as to how and why it was succesful for them, or what they loved about it etc. This would be really handy for people here in Brisbane who want to know what grows well here, how to do it, and where to get it.
    • yoiks no, I didn't even know such a thing existed! hmm, it's an interesting idea, i'll give it some thought.

      and it looks like the google ads will cover the ning subscriptions costs and probably the seed saver subscription too - so at least everything works out, after that it's just a bonus
      • Good to hear that you won't be out of pocket Scarlett.

        Personally I would prefer to encourage members to save their own seeds rather than purchase using an affiliate program. There are already a few discussions that include lists of suppliers for different gardening needs - including seeds, that are very useful when you are trying to find a specific variety. Mind you, I am obviously a bit biased about this - having a seed saving group and all ;)
        • The reality at least in the short term, is a mix of self-saved seed, swapped seed and bought seed. The mix of places the seeds come from give us a chance to trial different varieties and make more broad-based selections to suit our individual needs.
  • 'Not for profit' means that if you make a profit it gets sunk back into your organisation - if you are talking seed sieves for organisational/community use wouldn't it still be not for profit?
    • What would be ideal, as far as I'm concerned, is for the site to produce enough to cover all fees and subscriptions, a living wage for me (so I could do a full time job on the outcome of growing food in cities - i.e. heaps more than I do now, when I spend my energies on an unrelated day job - I could get back to being a professional horticulturalist which would be lovely! I could provide administrative support to community groups - do permablitzing - I dunno, make myself useful) and to provide social enterprise and contribution funds for local community activities (garden groups, events etc). Meanwhile, the site is likely to generate enough money to not even cover the ning fees ;)

      I just know that saying it's not generating money in any way isn't true any more, so I had to let people know.

      What's important to me is seeing the outcomes - edible, sustainable landscapes in our living environments. I'm going to do the best I can, and what I want is to see people grow lots of food in cities, and really enjoy it, and to help people who don't know how to go about it to have a go and achieve good results.
  • I would be interested in paying $30 per year to place "Miessence - Australian Certified Organic: " on the site.
    • OK, thanks Josephine, I'll add you to a list of potential subscribers and send something out soon - someone sent me some info today on how this might work - have to get my head round the applications etc...
  • 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! )
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