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Story ad improvements, and free trial membership

By rusty in Site News
Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 04:59:23 PM EST
Tags: Kuro5hin.org (all tags)

New stuff! I'll keep this short. Basically, you can choose the location of story ads now. If you're a subscriber, you can choose to show all ads, only index ads or story ads, or no ads. Both of these preferences are on your display prefs page. And I finally got around to enabling free trial subscriptions. You can try out a full premium membership for a month, for nothing.

See inside for details.

Story Ad Location Control:

As mentioned above, on your display prefs page there's an option labeled "Position of Story ads." The choices are:

  • Embedded right: The default, the way it is now for most people
  • Embedded left: Like the default, but on the left side of the text. This is how they first appeared
  • Below story: Ad appears below the story text. This is kind of ugly right now, but I'm working on it.
  • Right column: Ad appears in the right boxes column, below your user box.
Play with it a bit and see what works for you.

More Fine-Grained Member Ad Control

Several people asked for the ability, as subscribers, to leave ads on for only index pages. I added that option, and another for only story page ads, along with the old all and none choices. This preference used to be on the "User Preferences" page, but that didn't really make sense, so now it appears on the Display Preferences page.

Free Trial Subscriptions

On the usual subscribe page, there's now a free trial membership option. Everyone gets to try it out once, for a month, with no charge or obligation of any kind. The trial is for the full premium membership, including ad control, spellcheck, replies, diary watcher and story watcher. So if you were thinking about it, but weren't sure it would be worth getting a paid membership, do try it out and see.

Update [2003-4-16 17:32:35 by rusty]: If you've already had a full membership in the past, the trial offer is not available. Presumably you already know whether you want to get a memberhsip or not, having had one already. :-)


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Story ad improvements, and free trial membership | 101 comments (101 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
Internal server error (4.00 / 1) (#1)
by Ni on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 05:03:17 PM EST

Upon attempt to buy a trial account I get an internal server error. Perhaps it's related to me already being subscriber? I was hoping for a free month's extension will I work on the Burger King plan.

In Soviet Russia goatse emacs' an OS X gui YOU! -- mrgoat
Yes (5.00 / 1) (#7)
by rusty on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 05:10:01 PM EST

There's a bug. I have to figure out how to fix it, but it is because you're a current subscriber.

To be fair, this isn't really for you. You know whether you want a sub or not, because you've already got one. I appreciate the plight of the poor (believe me!) but it'll probably just refuse trials to people who have already had a membership.

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Fair enough. (5.00 / 8) (#13)
by Ni on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 05:16:17 PM EST

Yeah, that's fair.

Also, you should fix that bug whereby scoop adds typos to my posts, as seen in my original post. That sort of thing makes me look bad.

In Soviet Russia goatse emacs' an OS X gui YOU! -- mrgoat
[ Parent ]

Ummm.... (4.00 / 2) (#2)
by ucblockhead on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 05:04:09 PM EST

What's to stop someone from getting a new account, once a month, to get the free trial membership?
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
Nothing (5.00 / 1) (#3)
by rusty on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 05:06:06 PM EST

Nothing at all. I can't see how any of the features, except possibly ad control, would be of any use to someone who got a new account every month.

I figure if you want to go through all the trouble just for that, you're welcome to. I would suggest that it'd be easier to just filter the ads, though. :-)

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Not me! (5.00 / 1) (#5)
by ucblockhead on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 05:09:41 PM EST

Personally, I don't give a fuck about ads, as long as they are not intrusive.

Though I do think you should move more features in the pay zone to get cheap bastards like me to subscribe. Hell, you could make lots of people happy by making the ability to post more than one diary or story to the queue in a day a subscriber feature.
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]

Er, not "you" (none / 0) (#12)
by rusty on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 05:12:11 PM EST

I meant the inclusive "you" as in "whoever would do that" not the exclusive "you" as in "you."

I doubt anything will be moved to being a paid feature if it isn't already, but some new things might be added. I always wanted to, I just haven't had any really good ideas.

What would you think was worth it?

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Themes (5.00 / 1) (#18)
by Glowbit on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 05:24:25 PM EST

Would be a brilliant way of getting me of my arse and paying for a subscription.

[ Parent ]
Ah (none / 0) (#22)
by rusty on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 05:36:39 PM EST

Those are possible now, it's mainly a matter of coding them in. I hadn't planned to make that a subscriber feature though.

Hmm. Maybe there's some compromise there. What do you want themes to do?

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Well (5.00 / 3) (#23)
by Glowbit on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 05:46:06 PM EST

Well to be honest, the only thing I want out of themes is the possibility of a text only page. I don't know how far others would want themes to go.

I feel that it would be entirely justified to make it a subscriber feature, and as I said before, I would be willing to subscribe straight away if you made it possible.

[ Parent ]

yeah, yeah! (5.00 / 1) (#24)
by sethadam1 on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 05:53:32 PM EST

I'm one of the few who could care less about the ads.  It's not like Yahoo, with obnoxious, flashy shit that gets in the way.  No, it's usually some idiot like me who paid ten bucks and is trying to be witty, and I prefer the ads there anyway.  

Themes - as simple as adjusting the colors from the default scoop blue to a variety of other colors seems like an idea.  Maybe the ability to block some user's comments....(I don't think scoop can do that, but there are some users I'd just like to flat out ignore).  

There are features that could be added that would make subscriptions worthwhile to those who don't care or don't mind ads.  


[ Parent ]

I'd like (5.00 / 1) (#26)
by Judas Iscariot on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 05:54:41 PM EST

to turn of the bright white bg.  Yes, I know I can do that myself with a stylesheet, but then images look like crap.

[ Parent ]
Themes (1.00 / 1) (#30)
by Spendocrat on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 06:03:08 PM EST

IMHO you really should make them a subscriber feature, it's probably one of the things that people will most willingly pay for, and at the same time doesn't seem at all unreasonable to hold back from free members like me.

[ Parent ]
Possibly both (5.00 / 1) (#32)
by rusty on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 06:21:45 PM EST

There might be free themes and premium themes. Like I'd like to have a text-only page for everyone. That's just good accessability. But beyond that, there could be other look and feel themes that might be subscriber features.

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
I can't think of any other blog that does this (none / 0) (#45)
by The Terrorists on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 09:52:44 PM EST

Getting a little more interactive with the themes, e.g. the right to create themes, vote-a-theme-in-the-mod-queue, Holiday themes, weekly changing default themes and all that shit, is a good idea. It would make a whole lot of new people come to this site again from a place other than /.

Watch your mouth, pigfucker. -- Rusty Foster
[ Parent ]

Something to consider (4.00 / 1) (#62)
by fluffy grue on Thu Apr 17, 2003 at 02:03:14 AM EST

Allow users to specify which theme should be associated with their story and/or diary submissions (and allow an external CSS link or provide a 'user preferences' field to just paste in a user CSS or something), and whether their theme choice should override other authors' theme choices.

Obviously, that would be prone to abuse (for example, body { background: url("http://goatse.cx/hello.jpg"); } would make many people rather unhappy) but that's what the CSS override option is for, no? :D And it would only apply to the individual pages anyway.

It's that sort of setup that is used on The Conversatron. Basically, users can select a theme (from a list of like 30 or so at this point), and their threads are posted with that theme by default (though site writers/admins can override it), and users can also state that their choice of theme will be used for all Conversatron pages (for the PDA-friendly themes, for example).
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I love you.

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Good idea (1.00 / 1) (#86)
by Spendocrat on Thu Apr 17, 2003 at 03:42:02 PM EST

I heartily endorse this concept and/or division of features.

The text-only stuff especially. I tend to browse from work via w3m.

[ Parent ]

Themes (5.00 / 1) (#61)
by ender81b on Thu Apr 17, 2003 at 01:43:59 AM EST

Perhaps allow subscribers to use there own stylesheet? Upload a Style sheet, link to one, etc. Either that or, perhaps, Hold a competition to design a couple themes to implemenet on Kuro5hin.org. Should work fairly well I would think.

[ Parent ]
American English (5.00 / 2) (#19)
by codemonkey_uk on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 05:26:41 PM EST

See, this is why the dumbing down of language is a bad idea. Had one used the word "one" one would have been able to communicat ones intent more clearly. And got laughed at for being posh.
"The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way." - Bertrand Russell
[ Parent ]
Well, like, totally DUH (none / 0) (#28)
by dr thrustgood on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 05:57:58 PM EST

I mean, like, saying "Had one used blah blah blah" when in direct reference to a person's action is wrong. So there :P

It rather makes one wonder to what levels the quality of language on both sides of the Atlantic is dropping.

Mutter mutter mutter King Crimson Mutter mutter mutter
[ Parent ]

ha! (none / 0) (#97)
by martingale on Thu Apr 24, 2003 at 10:11:48 AM EST

To be gotten laughed at for using got, by a Frenchman no less, oh the irony!

[ Parent ]
"worth it" (5.00 / 1) (#31)
by ucblockhead on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 06:11:29 PM EST

One of two things:

  • charging others to post more than one diary or story a day.


  • A filter, based on author, for stories and diaries.
    This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
    [ Parent ]
  • Diary filter (none / 0) (#44)
    by skim123 on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 08:25:13 PM EST

    A filter, based on author, for stories and diaries.

    There exists a sort of filter right now. No, you can't filter out the crap, but you can filter out the good. You just add people whose diaries you enjoy reading to your Diary Watch and then you can see when they have new diaries out.

    I assume this is a feature available to non-subscribing members, no?

    Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
    PT Barnum

    [ Parent ]
    Heh (none / 0) (#51)
    by ucblockhead on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 10:13:54 PM EST

    No it isn't, actually, unless...uh...you write your own. But I'd much prefer the first solution because the trouble is that if you only have a "good" diary list, you miss all the good diaries written by people you don't know.

    I'd rather not have a filter. I'd rather, instead, have mild limits on how much crapflooding can be done. Allowing one per day, which is part of the socially constructed "good ettiquite" anyway, and allowing you to get around it with subscriptiosn seems pretty mild to me. But I know I'm never going to convince rusty, and that's ok. :)
    This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
    [ Parent ]

    Diarey recommendations? (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by rusty on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 10:48:12 PM EST

    I've actually been scheming to expand the diary watch list into an alternate ("supplementary" would be a better word, I guess) diary page for subscribers. Ones you've got watched would show up, but it would be cool if the system also did some looking for overlap, and recommended other people's diaries to you based on who you're watching. Like if you and I share three people that we watch, maybe it'd recommend my other choices to you, and yours to me. That sort of thing. It could bring in more of that churn that I think we all enjoy from diaries, while still acting as something of a screen. Of course it wouldn't replace the unfiltered version, but be there as an alternate personal view.

    I've been pretty ambitious lately, so you never know. I might actually do it. :-)

    Not the real rusty
    [ Parent ]

    A cool thing to do... (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by skim123 on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 11:40:21 PM EST

    Ok, so you can model the Diary Watch as a big graph. For example, you'd have a node for each user, and then a directed arc between user x and user y if user x has a diary watch for user y.

    Now, you offer some option like "Suggest a Diary I Would Find Interesting." When someone chooses that option, you run the following algorithm: start a "token" at the current user's node in the graph. Have it enumerate the arcs leaving the node it resides on and then have it randomly choose one of them and visit that diary. It continues to do this, not caring whether or not if the node it chooses causes it to backtrack, until some total number of hops it reached. It them increments some counter at the guy it ends up on. Repeat this process many times. Then, you can examine all the nodes in the graph and determine what nodes are most likely to be visited (the highest counter values). Trim away the ones that are already in the person's Diary Watch, and then suggest those remaining.

    It's kind of a cross between Google's approach and some research done on XKeyword.

    Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
    PT Barnum

    [ Parent ]
    w00t! (none / 0) (#58)
    by ucblockhead on Thu Apr 17, 2003 at 12:34:38 AM EST

    I'd pay a dollar for that!
    This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
    [ Parent ]
    blo.gs has that (none / 0) (#60)
    by fluffy grue on Thu Apr 17, 2003 at 01:36:36 AM EST

    Unfortunately, the only people I have hotlisted are babylago and ucblockhead, and they don't appear to have blo.gs hotlists, or if they do, they don't have anyone outside of this little circlejerk hotlisted. ;) I've tried using the "random blog" feature to find something fun, but it has two problems:
    • Hotlisting the randomly-visited blog is a pain in the butt, especially if it has the same name as a few others (there's no sort of namespacing or UID in the visible list)
    • I've yet to run across a random blog I wanted to hotlist anyway :D

    [ Parent ]
    On a sort-of related note (none / 0) (#65)
    by ajf on Thu Apr 17, 2003 at 05:19:25 AM EST

    Being able to view the hotlist/replies/stories/diaries box on a page of its own would be nice. I don't really need or want to see it on every single page, but since AFAIK it's not otherwise available I have to leave the box on.

    "I have no idea if it is true or not, but given what you read on the Web, it seems to be a valid concern." -jjayson
    [ Parent ]
    How about these? (none / 0) (#80)
    by sab39 on Thu Apr 17, 2003 at 10:56:41 AM EST

    1. A diary blacklist feature (you never see diaries from people on your blacklist)
    2. A diary view where you only see at most one diary from a given person per day. Any diary posted within 24 hours of the same person's previous diary wouldn't show up. Actually probably 12 hours would be better, so you don't have to wait until after the time you posted yesterday to post today. If you're really worried about people who post two diaries in a day, 12 hours apart, you could add a check for "not more than one in the last 36 hours" as well.
    Both of these would make for nice subscriber-only features without taking away anything from people who aren't subscribed.

    (But who cares what I think, I don't subscribe and probably won't - this site isn't a big enough part of my life to justify it)

    "Forty-two" -- Deep Thought
    "Quinze" -- Amélie

    [ Parent ]

    Me (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by duxup on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 05:08:29 PM EST

    *duxup polishes his brass knuckles*

    [ Parent ]
    What!? (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by ucblockhead on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 05:10:22 PM EST

    But you said you loved me!
    This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
    [ Parent ]
    It's tough love (5.00 / 5) (#11)
    by duxup on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 05:11:20 PM EST

    [ Parent ]
    -1 Site News (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by duxup on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 05:09:57 PM EST

    You tease.

    Thanks! (none / 0) (#8)
    by dark on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 05:10:05 PM EST

    You've made me a happy man again.

    Goddammit Cartman! (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by gazbo on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 05:10:21 PM EST

    I post this like 2-3 weeks ago, asking for insider tips on when to resubscribe to maximise special offers because I was running out. Well I got no reply so I added 6 months a couple of days ago. Now I find I could've wangled myself a free month if I'd waited 2 days!

    Some tipster you are.

    Topless, revealing, nude pics and vids of Zora Suleman! Upskirt and down blouse! Cleavage!
    Hardcore ZORA SULEMAN pics!

    Probably not (none / 0) (#14)
    by rusty on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 05:16:50 PM EST

    See below, but I think it's going to consider a paid Full Membership grounds for not offering a trial. It's not supposed to be a free month all around, but a way for people who've never subscribed to see if it's worth it. So you probably wouldn't have gotten an extra month anyway.

    I'm going to do another scavenger hunt type thing, like the Left Handed Whopper contest on the near future. That was fun .:-) So maybe you can get some more that way.

    Not the real rusty
    [ Parent ]

    np (none / 0) (#17)
    by gazbo on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 05:20:14 PM EST

    I wasn't being entirely serious anyway - just good timing that it was so soon after that diary entry of mine.

    Can you make the contest something about being the biggest stud on K5 or something? I figure I've got that one pretty much wrapped up.

    Failing that, can you make it based on avoiding work by posting drivel on K5? I'm pretty sure I'd win that one too - I have a long night's work ahead of me.

    Topless, revealing, nude pics and vids of Zora Suleman! Upskirt and down blouse! Cleavage!
    Hardcore ZORA SULEMAN pics!

    [ Parent ]

    Good job... (4.33 / 3) (#15)
    by Run4YourLives on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 05:18:23 PM EST

    I was one of the ad-haters.

    Putting the ads under my user info makes me smile.

    Thank you Rusty!

    It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown

    Kuro5hin: We love to see you smile. [nt] (5.00 / 2) (#21)
    by rusty on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 05:35:11 PM EST

    Not the real rusty
    [ Parent ]
    Good show Rusty. (none / 0) (#16)
    by /dev/trash on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 05:19:38 PM EST

    Question: What does this mean:

    Use dynamic interface elements?

    Updated 02/20/2004
    New Site

    Nothing, yet (none / 0) (#20)
    by rusty on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 05:34:38 PM EST

    That's kind of a placeholder pref. The subscriber box should be getting an update to act dynamically, kind of the way dynamic comments work, and that would affect whether that used dynamic mode or not. I'd also like to add context-sensitive help buttons, which could also behave differently depending on whether you've got that turned on or not.

    But right now, it doesn't do anything.

    Not the real rusty
    [ Parent ]

    Use dynamic interface elements? (5.00 / 2) (#29)
    by Pop Top on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 06:01:43 PM EST

    Use dynamic interface elements?

    You'se Die! You'se all gonna die!

    [ Parent ]

    What?? (4.00 / 1) (#89)
    by clark9000 on Thu Apr 17, 2003 at 07:30:23 PM EST

    Yoosa peepa gonna die?
    Much madness is divinest sense
    To a discerning eye;
    Much sense the starkest madness.
    -- E. Dickinson
    [ Parent ]
    +1 for site news (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by terpy on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 05:54:14 PM EST

    It makes me feel loved.

    Also, I like the new story ads. Err.. Rather, they don't bother me at all, but it's nice knowing that I have the option to turn them off even though I'll never use it.

    The only other features I'd like to see:

    The oft maligned "ignore/kill" list. Just to keep the diary pages reasonable. Though I understand why it will never be implemented.

    I'd like to see a box like replies... except tracking any new comments in my latest epic diary. Because I like to avoid working in the most efficient manner possible.

    " All the Feds are going to drop dead and they'll finger you since you totally match the profile of a libertarian wacko."-

    Seconded (none / 0) (#27)
    by gazbo on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 05:57:48 PM EST

    It'd be good to have the Replies list also display any new comments in any of your diaries/stories. Saves me having to flick between Replies and Stories to check.

    Topless, revealing, nude pics and vids of Zora Suleman! Upskirt and down blouse! Cleavage!
    Hardcore ZORA SULEMAN pics!

    [ Parent ]

    Trial memberships (none / 0) (#33)
    by jabber on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 06:23:28 PM EST

    How do you prevent this from being abused?

    [TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"

    Magic! (none / 0) (#34)
    by rusty on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 06:26:50 PM EST

    No, not really magic. I answered this below, but basically, it's only available once for anyone, and only if you've never had a full membership before. Other than that, if someone wanted to make a new account every month for a new free membership, they'd be welcome to. There wouldn't be much point, as most of the features track stuff related to you, and the ad control could be done for free with a proxy.

    I'm basically assuming that if someone wants to go to that kind of trouble to game it, they wouldn't be sending any money my way anyway.

    Not the real rusty
    [ Parent ]

    Yeah, well, duh! (none / 0) (#35)
    by jabber on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 06:37:52 PM EST

    I figured it would be safe to assume the "once for everyone" bit. I'm just curious of the details involved. And, no, I'm not looking for holes, just curious, because if you're confident that your little scheme works, I can use it in my own special way, for work and stuff. :)

    [TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
    [ Parent ]

    Oh, I see (none / 0) (#36)
    by rusty on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 06:44:17 PM EST

    Subscriptions are tracked in a table, called "subscription_info". This basically stores the details for a user's subscription, like uid, type, expiration, and some incidental details. So when you've had a trial sub, you've got a row in that table. When it expires, an "active" flag goes to zero, but the row remains. So in the future, Scoop can still tell that at one time you had the trial, even if it's not live anymore.

    Not the real rusty
    [ Parent ]
    So... (none / 0) (#39)
    by jabber on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 07:14:54 PM EST

    It's not IP bound, or tied to a cookie, or an email address, or any other magic. Just K5 identity? Or is the devil in the "incidental details"?

    [TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
    [ Parent ]

    As the man said (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by X3nocide on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 07:31:29 PM EST

    Theres no tracking of anything other than the kuro5hin identity. Login is managed by cookies, but the system doesn't use it for anything other than... logging in.

    So there's no protection against a person from creating multiple identities for the trial subscriptions. The incentive to register then is the identity itself. Trusted user status takes some time to build, as does a diary hotlist following, and respect in general. If you don't want to lose this, then abandoning users monthly isn't an option. On the other hand if its not an issue, I don't think there's much that subscriptions offer.

    [ Parent ]

    Yup (5.00 / 2) (#50)
    by rusty on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 10:11:33 PM EST

    It's just tied to your user account.

    Not the real rusty
    [ Parent ]
    Subscriptions vs. Advertisements (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by cribcage on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 06:52:13 PM EST

    If you're a subscriber, you can choose to show...no ads.
    This question has been asked on other sites, but now that it's relevant here: If subscribers can block ads, why should people buy ads? What's the subscribers:users ratio?
    On the usual subscribe page, there's now a free trial membership option.
    Do you expect the number of subscribers to spike for a month, while you offer free trials, making this a bad time to buy ads?


    Please don't read my journal.
    subscribers don't count against ads (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by Delirium on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 06:55:11 PM EST

    First of all, there are very few subscribers as a percentage of total users (I don't know numbers; perhaps rusty has some). But more importantly, you're only charged for ads that actually are shown. So if you buy 1000 impressions, subscribers who have ads off don't count against those 1000 impressions. If there are a lot of subscribers, a smaller percentage of pages will have ads on them, which will just result in your ad running longer. You'll still get 1000 actual impressions to people who have ads turned on.

    [ Parent ]
    Yes (none / 0) (#48)
    by rusty on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 10:09:59 PM EST

    In addition to my comment above, that's an important thing to note. Subscriber page views are just pages that never happened, from an ad-serving point of view.

    Not the real rusty
    [ Parent ]
    % subscribers have ads on? (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by R343L on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 07:26:19 PM EST

    I wonder what percentage of subscribers leave ads on? I'm one and I have them on...some are pretty funny and some are useful, so it's like good superbowl advertisements: I like to see some of them and don't (usually) mind the rest.

    At least we don't have annoying flash X10 ads. shudder

    "Like cheese spread over too much cantelope, the people I spoke with liked their shoes." Ctrl-Alt-Del
    [ Parent ]

    AOL (none / 0) (#64)
    by bil on Thu Apr 17, 2003 at 04:58:19 AM EST

    I'm a subscriber and I quite like some of the ads and the rest are not obtrusive enough to be annoying. While ads retain their current mix of commercial, comedy and community I'll keep reading them, the moment they become flash or animated gifs or popups or commercial only (I can get adverts for IBM or Dell anywhere) I'll turn them off.


    Where you stand depends on where you sit...
    [ Parent ]

    Subscribers to non (5.00 / 2) (#47)
    by rusty on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 10:08:40 PM EST

    There are about 700 subscribers right now, of one kind or another. Many of them do leave ads on, actually. In total, about 400,000 people visit the site in a month (with a margin of error of perhaps 20% either way on that number). So basically subscribers don't even begin to make a dent in the actual number of visitors.

    The better answer though is that if subscribers don't want to see the ads at all, they will not be your customers. And, I think, if they have the option of turning ads off, and choose not to, they're probably the best potential customers you'll ever have.

    As for now being a bad time to buy ads, not at all. So far only 31 people have decided to try out the trial membership, so our ad views are not what you'd call plummeting. :-)

    Not the real rusty
    [ Parent ]

    Feeping Creaturitis (4.00 / 1) (#41)
    by drivers on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 07:26:30 PM EST

    Todo list:
    • user customizable ad colors
    • user customizable ad border style
    • view ads sideways, upside down, or pyramid shaped
    • user customizable k5 icon
    • blink tag support

    the K5 icon (none / 0) (#46)
    by Xcyther on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 09:57:48 PM EST

    has history and meaning to it. taking that away would take an integral peice of the site away :*(

    "Insydious" -- It's not as bad as you think

    [ Parent ]
    Yeah (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by rusty on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 10:10:47 PM EST

    I remmeber the first two times I changed it. I can guarantee that will (probably) never happen again. :-)

    Not the real rusty
    [ Parent ]
    On a related note.. (5.00 / 2) (#43)
    by X3nocide on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 07:35:55 PM EST

    After activiting my complementary membership (hopefully there will be a lot more members in a month, neh?) and configuring some obscure options, I realized, "When was the last time that Topic in Focus: Digital Identity even ran?"

    Well, has the topic in focus idea been abandoned, or have I just missed them all?


    Story ad placement (none / 0) (#52)
    by Siddhi on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 10:35:02 PM EST

    Great idea ! I placed it below the user info on the right, and it looks great.

    Yay, and a question about replies hotlist (none / 0) (#54)
    by Delirium on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 11:16:29 PM EST

    Yay on all counts. I'm trying out the trial subscription now, and like it enough so far that I'll likely renew when it expires. One question though -- is there a way to make the "replies" hotlist only show unread replies (much like the diary hotlist does)? Since about two years ago I've been trying to think of a good way to find unread replies to my posts, and so far my best bet is clicking on the "your comments" and looking for recent ones where the reply count has increased. If the replies hotlist only showed unread replies, this'd be exactly what I want. Failing that, could they at least be sorted by date (so the newest-posted reply goes at the top; right now they seem to be kind of randomly sorted, which is odd).

    You have to load the full story (5.00 / 1) (#71)
    by rusty on Thu Apr 17, 2003 at 06:37:21 AM EST

    This is still kind of a weakness. Basically, to clear the new replies, you need to load the full story page. That will clear all the replies for that story. I haven't come up with a reasonable way yet to do it on a per-comment basis, unfortunately, which would be better.

    The way I usually use it is to look at the reply titles, and then just hit the story page link right off the bat, and look for the [new] flags.

    Not the real rusty
    [ Parent ]

    hmm, alright (none / 0) (#83)
    by Delirium on Thu Apr 17, 2003 at 12:17:02 PM EST

    Now that I know how it works I can optimize it to fit my browsing habits better; at first it looked sort of random, with some old stories there and some recent ones not there. It'd still be nicer to do it per-comment though. :-P

    I have no idea how the scoop database stuff works, but wouldn't it be relatively easy to store a boolean "author of parent has read this reply" to each reply?

    [ Parent ]

    Trial Alternative (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by Arkaein on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 11:40:56 PM EST

    Perhaps as an alternative to only allowing one free trial per account, and only that to users with no previous membership, each account could have a one month long trial after a year has elapsed since the previous trial or end of membership. That way, users can try out new features added to the site in the future.

    It seems like it would be a shame for a former member to be denied a "retrial" when new accounts get one automatically.

    The ultimate plays for Madden 2003-2006

    Re: Trial Alternative (none / 0) (#90)
    by TheBobby on Fri Apr 18, 2003 at 06:35:27 AM EST

    If you want to trial a new subscription feature sometime in the future, create a new account, trial the feature with that account, and if you like it subscribe with your main account.
    -- Gimmie the future with a modern girl!
    [ Parent ]
    Workaround (none / 0) (#94)
    by Kistaro Windrider on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 05:42:06 PM EST

    That will work just fine, but it would probably be better for Rusty to put in such a "restart trial" feature- maybe even give a week every time a significant new feature is added, instead of a month per year.

    If such a system is not put in, people will just create a new account whenever they run out of time assuming they're not too dedicated to their old username and get another free month. The bottom will drop out of the ad market and the subscription market, while greatly increasing the number of "throwaway" accounts created.

    You have a viable workaround from the perspective of users- at the serious expense of the site!
    Yes, it's the same weird guy!
    [ Parent ]

    Goddamn the pusher man (3.00 / 2) (#57)
    by Meatbomb on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 11:45:47 PM EST

    I have a highly addictive personality - that's the new liberal way of excusing my lack of willpower.

    Anyway, I know myself well enough to say "no" when the pusher offers me a free taste. I know smack will feel great, I know I'll want to spend all my money on it, I know I'll die young and broke and in withdrawal.

    What makes rusty's offer here any different?


    Good News for Liberal Democracy!

    There aren't any needles with K5 (none / 0) (#63)
    by tonedevil05 on Thu Apr 17, 2003 at 03:57:32 AM EST

    [ Parent ]
    The needle is inside our hearts. (none / 0) (#69)
    by evilpenguin on Thu Apr 17, 2003 at 06:32:51 AM EST

    I weep.
    # nohup cat /dev/dsp > /dev/hda & killall -9 getty
    [ Parent ]
    no - the needles are inside your brains (nt) (none / 0) (#79)
    by mami on Thu Apr 17, 2003 at 10:56:07 AM EST

    [ Parent ]
    So (3.00 / 1) (#59)
    by marcos on Thu Apr 17, 2003 at 01:08:35 AM EST

    Did you use my idea, or did we just have the idea at the same time?

    Which idea? [nt] (none / 0) (#70)
    by rusty on Thu Apr 17, 2003 at 06:33:23 AM EST

    Not the real rusty
    [ Parent ]
    Aww forget it (none / 0) (#72)
    by marcos on Thu Apr 17, 2003 at 07:29:01 AM EST

    If you didn't even notice the idea in the email, then that answers the question.

    [ Parent ]
    No, no (none / 0) (#73)
    by rusty on Thu Apr 17, 2003 at 08:20:38 AM EST

    I communicate with a lot of people every day, and many of them have similar ideas, and I'm kind of absentminded and forgetful. All these things combine to make me not often remember who suggested what, or when.

    Ok, since you tipped me off that it was an email, I have found what you're talking about. Actually, the free month stuff was built in to the subscription code from the beginning, but I didn't initially enable it because I didn't have anything to actually expire subscriptions at the start. I didn't think it was a good idea to have a non-expiring free subscription. :-)

    The expiration bit has been done for a while, I just finally got around to setting up free trials and fixing any remaining bugs. So I guess the answer is it wasn't your suggestion that did it, but it was a good idea.

    Not the real rusty
    [ Parent ]

    Best... Site News... Ever! (5.00 / 1) (#66)
    by Skwirl on Thu Apr 17, 2003 at 05:24:48 AM EST

    Whoa. Right column ads and a free trial membership without having to embarrass myself in a Burger King? Damn you, now I must wank!

    "Nothing in the world is more distasteful to a man than to take the path that leads to himself." -- Herman Hesse
    kuroswag (5.00 / 3) (#74)
    by wiredog on Thu Apr 17, 2003 at 08:22:15 AM EST

    When are we going to be able to buy the damned t-shirts, coffe mugs, mouse pads, etc?

    Wilford Brimley scares my chickens.
    Phil the Canuck

    Really soon (5.00 / 1) (#76)
    by rusty on Thu Apr 17, 2003 at 10:06:39 AM EST

    Really, really soon. Like maybe next week. I'm faxing paperwork to the people who are going to handle t-shirt sales for us today. So really soon .:-)

    Not the real rusty
    [ Parent ]
    duxup loves you (5.00 / 1) (#81)
    by duxup on Thu Apr 17, 2003 at 11:21:17 AM EST

    [ Parent ]
    trhurler hates you (5.00 / 3) (#82)
    by rusty on Thu Apr 17, 2003 at 11:35:14 AM EST

    Yes, that's on tap as one of the initial designs. :-)

    Not the real rusty
    [ Parent ]
    /me gets out checkbook (nt) (none / 0) (#85)
    by ucblockhead on Thu Apr 17, 2003 at 03:34:38 PM EST

    This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
    [ Parent ]
    Are we going to see (1.00 / 1) (#91)
    by Spendocrat on Fri Apr 18, 2003 at 04:19:58 PM EST

    More of the mediawhore shirts?

    [ Parent ]
    Yes! (none / 0) (#92)
    by rusty on Fri Apr 18, 2003 at 08:29:53 PM EST

    At long last. :-)

    Not the real rusty
    [ Parent ]
    what we need (none / 0) (#98)
    by nodsmasher on Sun Apr 27, 2003 at 01:14:33 AM EST

    is an oficial version of this shirt
    Most people don't realise just how funny cannibalism can actually be.
    [ Parent ]
    dude those shirts are weak (nt) (none / 0) (#99)
    by Run4YourLives on Sun Apr 27, 2003 at 02:16:36 AM EST

    It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
    [ Parent ]
    I hate to be picky, but... (none / 0) (#75)
    by willie on Thu Apr 17, 2003 at 09:05:00 AM EST

    I will pay for a membership when there is an Australian English spellchecking option, not a minute before.

    Strain English, eh? Bonza! (none / 0) (#77)
    by rusty on Thu Apr 17, 2003 at 10:07:37 AM EST

    I don't know if such a thing exists. Does Australian English have spellings distinct from American, British, and Canadian?

    Not the real rusty
    [ Parent ]
    Yeah.... (none / 0) (#78)
    by unDees on Thu Apr 17, 2003 at 10:36:54 AM EST

    ...it changes all the proper nouns to Bruce. :)

    Your account balance is $0.02; to continue receiving our quality opinions, please remit payment as soon as possible.
    [ Parent ]
    Insofar as there is Oz-specific slang (none / 0) (#96)
    by Scrymarch on Thu Apr 24, 2003 at 02:26:05 AM EST

    There are words counted valid by an Oz dictionary but not by say a Canadian one.  Eg lamington, galah, &c.

    [ Parent ]
    Border color (none / 0) (#84)
    by obsidian head on Thu Apr 17, 2003 at 01:38:21 PM EST

    I don't notice the ads.  Maybe a slightly more obstrusive (but cool) color may work, if you notice a significantly lower clickthru rate.

    Problem in the code . . . (none / 0) (#87)
    by ubernostrum on Thu Apr 17, 2003 at 04:00:34 PM EST

    If I select "Right column" or "Below story" for ad placement, I get a slightly screwed-up ad due ot a percent sign that apparently ended up outside of its tag . . . see this screenshot for an example.

    You cooin' with my bird?
    Oops (none / 0) (#88)
    by rusty on Thu Apr 17, 2003 at 05:52:28 PM EST

    Fixed now. Thanks for the report.

    Not the real rusty
    [ Parent ]
    rewarding good ads (3.50 / 4) (#93)
    by loudici on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 11:32:57 AM EST

    i think kuro5hin could improve by rewarding the ads which are well targetted to its audience.an easy way would be, for instance, to give a discount on the renewal to the ads who generated a better than average click through on their last week. this would encourage the sponsors whose commercial message is interesting to the average kuro5hin user.
    gnothi seauton
    I like this. (none / 0) (#101)
    by hobbified on Sun May 11, 2003 at 09:56:04 PM EST

    It's the kind of wacky adaptive-systems stuff that's just nutty enough to work. :)

    [ Parent ]
    Ooh, thanks. (none / 0) (#95)
    by WWWWolf on Tue Apr 22, 2003 at 09:43:10 AM EST

    I was cool with the story ads, but the placement made them pretty uncomfortable with 640xwhatever windows. Anything but "Below Story" placement is work of Evil. =)

    Now, if only I could get back to the discussion one day...

    -- Weyfour WWWWolf, a lupine technomancer from the cold north...

    There is New Site News (1.00 / 1) (#100)
    by thu on Mon May 05, 2003 at 01:07:53 AM EST

    Nice thing to see on the FP.. I'm obviously new around here so let me know if there is any special k5 grammar rules.

    Story ad improvements, and free trial membership | 101 comments (101 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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