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Old 30 July 2011, 16:36   #11
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FWIW, there's a very large lurker community. I've been "made" a couple of times in my remote (sorry lads) corner of the world, based on my location and profile. Makes for a laugh at the water's edge though.

Furthermore, I've found the clampers (aka French Maids) fairly enthusiastic, which keeps the quality up, but the fun down. Admittedly, it's not a joke factory, so maybe that's a fair cop.

The increased online profile of the site may have attracted the huge raft of newbies with one question each. If they're lazy, these will tend to wear the "old reliables" down a bit. You can see this happening on other forums - folks get pretty snappy.

The trade advertising is fairly low profile. For non-paying members, the google ads must suck a bit, but that's their choice and the way of life generally. I'd guess that the many non-supporters who were active members must find the site a greatly changed experience.

I don't...

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Old 30 July 2011, 17:03   #12
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Just thinking aloud....what dramatic changes have occurred which could have wrought this significant thinning in decent and regular content? hmmmmmm
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Old 30 July 2011, 17:12   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willk
Furthermore, I've found the clampers (aka French Maids) fairly enthusiastic, which keeps the quality up, but the fun down. Admittedly, it's not a joke factory, so maybe that's a fair cop.
maybe, except the level of moderation has been tiny especially in the last 6+ months.
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The increased online profile of the site may have attracted the huge raft of newbies with one question each. If they're lazy, these will tend to wear the "old reliables" down a bit. You can see this happening on other forums - folks get pretty snappy.
I think that is a reasonable observation. All these things go in cycles too.

I do wonder whether the iPhone and Droid apps actually make people less likely to respond unless they have something worthwhile to say (posting on a touchscreen is not a rewarding experience).
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Old 31 July 2011, 02:49   #14
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CR, can you clarify the overt commercial posts comment?

I've always found ribnet seasonal, with summer quieter.
I think you are right, summer has always been quieter with more people doing rather than discussing. I am not suggesting that it is quieter, just trying to find out if/what figures are available.

A recent re-instatement of a Special Offer post leads me to believe that such commercial posts are allowed when they are in context. I skate close to the edge when not a Trade Member so it is useful to know where the boundary is when deciding whether to renew, not a criticism - just looking for info.
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Old 31 July 2011, 02:55   #15
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I do wonder whether the iPhone and Droid apps actually make people less likely to respond unless they have something worthwhile to say (posting on a touchscreen is not a rewarding experience).
Not that it would have been thought possible, but I find myself reading the forum more now that the App is out. It is a very handy addition and works well IMHO.

Willk's comment re Google Ads is notable, as an advertiser I keep trying to get my head around GA but it never seems to really work for us - perhaps I am just too tight! I recently asked if it was possible to buy a banner slot on RIB.net but was told nope, GA or nothing.

None of this is a criticism by the way, just asking what I hope are sensible questions.
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Old 31 July 2011, 04:47   #16
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Willk's comment re Google Ads is notable, as an advertiser I keep trying to get my head around GA but it never seems to really work for us - perhaps I am just too tight!
its an art. We have a guy working for us who seems to know how to get the most from them. I'll try to summaries his key points for you in an email sometime this week. It does involve continual work to get the best though.

Re the ad you didn't like it was agreed it was a bit cheeky, but also the rest of the content was useful to those on the thread and potential future visitors. A warning was sent and if it happened again I think he can expect a more robust response.
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Old 31 July 2011, 05:02   #17
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I'll try to summaries his key points for you in an email sometime this week. It does involve continual work to get the best though.
Thanks for that, but I am ok - I do sometimes dabble with a "campaign" but I doubt Google will ever be a big advertising spend or indeed a heavy use of time. Facebook Ads seem to work well too.

Another forum that we advertise on offers a simple rotating banner rate, I think RIB.net are missing out by not doing the same. They still get Google revenue, as some of the banners are Google Ads, but regular posters can pay a flat rate to see their name in lights every nth reload.
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Old 31 July 2011, 06:38   #18
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CR,

I think you can achieve this via google using Managed Placements. Its not something I've actually done, but that is how I read the explanation. So you tell Google that you only want your ad to appear on Rib.net (and any other sites you think are relevant). I assume the ad placement is then still based on google's "relevance" and "bid" factors. The good news for you is you only pay when someone clicks an ad. The bad news is that if you structure your campaign poorly google will not prioritise your ads and you will get seen less often than a guaranteed 1:X page loads that you are asking for (on the other hand you won't be paying for people using adblocker etc. who never see your ad). In theory you should get a better click through rate as the ad will be specific / relevant to the type of content on the page.

You can of course set up multiple campaigns. E.g. if you have a deal on VHF radios this month you can set that up as a separate campaign, which should be more likely to show on any thread mentioning VHF / Radio / Icom / Standard Horizon etc. You can either keep a "generic" CR ad going too (perhaps using keywords like "electronics", "channel islands" "alderney" "chandlery" etc [assuming these are in a ribnet context] or you can suspend it.

Finally, with the geographic settings on google you should be able to set up your ads to e.g. offer a higher bid price (more frequent display) for visitors in the Chanel Islands (assuming they are a core target market for you). You may also not want to show ads at all to US / Australian etc visitors.

Ribnet could never offer that flexibility for the price level that advertisers would be likely to pay.

I take your point that the site might be missing out on some potential revenue, but from an admin point of view its probably easier to let google do the job of looking after the ads and accounting than deal with lots of "small" advertisers. Perhaps the owners are really missing a trick by not explaining to their trade members how to achieve the same effect (for potentially low budgets) with the huge flexibility / control that google offers - its a huge leap to assume that a small british marine business will know how to get the best from adwords (from what I can see most can barely do email!).

From a users perspective it should mean that the adverts are relevant - although I think this is not really the case at present. That suggests to me that it should be cheap to get relevant ads placed.
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Old 31 July 2011, 16:38   #19
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Channel Ribs is part of our Trade Member program which provides the best ROI on advertising by simply participating, get to know the members and they will shop from you. We wouldn't be able to keep the light on with that revenue alone. The other ads (Google) provided the backups, smart phone apps, content delivery network, smtp service, server monitoring service, leasing servers, server admins, software development, graphic design, and all the other costs to keep the place running. It's a pretty good combo where vendors who get their hands dirty can reach the members for an affordable price and those who might not have time can do the display ad thing. I am here to help if you want optimization tips for display advertising...

As for posting rates, here are some stats:

July 2010 Member online per day: 231 to 259
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July 2011 Member online per day: 252 to 388
This means more members are swinging by the site on a daily basis this year.
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You can see the posts/month rate does not show any slowdown.
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You can also see we have a very seasonal new membership rate (summer peaks when people are spending more time on the water).
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We are doing better in converting guests to register but they still might remain lurkers. We send them a PM and encourage them to post but many still don't.

I plan to add some features to bring even more value to our trade members. We understand it's a symbiotic relationship and want to help foster connections within the RIB community.

As for the member profile, the community continues to grow and many newbies and tire kickers might join. That does not mean we have to let the signal to noise ration diminish. With more total members also comes more trolls, more pissing contests and other items which are team will handle to make sure RIBnet remains the same ole place everyone knows.
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Old 01 August 2011, 02:17   #20
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My perception is that new threads and replies are slower now than they were and what with overt commercial posts mow being allowed, it may be that renewals need some thought.
We've always allowed commercial posts from trade members where they are relevant and it's rare that trade members abuse this.

There's also a dedicated section for standalone commercial posts which seems to work well.

Many things on forums are cyclic: general activity level and new member registration for instance. There are certain topics that come up periodically too, and "RIBnet is so commercial now, it's not what it used to be" is one of them - although it's usually Rogue Wave that starts this one!
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