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January 17, 2010

Crazy-experiment: Running this blog ad-free (but would need your help!)

9 out of 10 webmasters will tell you this is a bad idea. 11 out of 10 accountants will tell you this is a stupid idea. But this is a crazy blog :) I'm sure many of the regular readers will point out that this blog's loading speed is slower than a turtle sleep-walking while carrying 100 pounds of weight on its back. The most effective way to speed it up is to remove all the traditional banner-ad display-advertising.

As an experiment, we have just removed all the traditional display advertising along with a couple of additional widgets from the main blog. You can now get the aggregate of the latest comments on the latest comments page instead of the bottom of the left sidebar. But we put a link there to point you to the latest comments page.

After removing the above, things seem to load up pretty fast. While not blazing fast, it is a noticeable improvement.

So the big question now is, would you be interested in having this be permanent? If yes, then this blog would become 100%-reader-funded.

Very few people want to pay monthly or annual subscription fees for websites and blogs. Most people follow dozens if not hundreds of blogs, if they had to pay, they would say "thanks, but no thanks" most of the time.

The solution?
Removing advertising, as you can expect, creates a revenue-hole. So here is where you, the readers, come in. We already have various affiliate links on the blog that some of our regular readers use to help us keep going by making their purchases. By removing traditional advertising, more of the regular readers would need to make this a regular habit in order for this to succeed. So this would be in lieu of paying a monthly subscription fee or seeing traditional banner advertising every time you visit the blog.

And by regular habit, we don't mean you would have to buy a new camera or lens every week :) Purchases big and small help, whether you are buying a book, memory card, music CD, camera accessory, consumer electronics, and just about everything else. We already have many retailers at the NoisyMall. If your favorite ones are not there, please let us know and we will try to add them (if possible).

If this goes ahead, we will add options for other markets as well (Canada, Europe, etc). We can barely keep up with one market at the moment.

What do you think?
What do you think? You can vote in the poll, write in the comments, or send us direct feedback using the contact form.

Next steps
We will collect feedback, and decide whether to go ahead or not with this experiment. We will post another update in the next couple of days after the decision is made, providing more details.

Once the experiment starts, we will likely keep it going for about a month (30 days). This should be enough time to decide whether the 100%-reader-funded approach can work financially or not. If it remains, then it will expand to the other noisy special-interest blogs.

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