JayisGames, Ads, The Future, and You


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JayisGames, Ads, The Future, and You

DoraLast year, JayisGames.com celebrated its tenth anniversary. For a site that began as one person's personal blog to have turned into what it is today and survive that long, well... that's kind of amazing. But we're in trouble, because as adblockers become more and more common, it's getting harder and harder to make ends meet... and not take a loss. Please take the time to read this post about how we make our money, where it goes, why we have a problem, and why we want your help deciding what to do about it... (click the link to read more)


Ads, How Do They Work?
Unlike magnets, ads are pretty straightforward. Contrary to popular belief, we do not get paid only when you click on an ad. We get a bonus, sure, but the most important thing is we get paid when an ad loads on your screen. Even if you don't click on it, just by allowing them to load, you are contributing to our site. So if you don't use adblocker, or have chosen to add us to your "whitelist"... thank you, we love you, and your hair is magnificent today!

Adblockers are, then, a big deal. A very, very big deal. Although our traffic has remained consistent, our revenue has continued to decline, and based on numbers, over 60% of you are using some sort of adblock program. Since adblockers prevent ads from loading, we don't get the revenue from them... and you still get to visit our site and enjoy the content at a cost to us.

Do we want ads? Of course not. But they're what keeps us alive. Contrary to popular belief, we make very, very, very little off of affiliate sales for digital downloads... usually almost nothing at all, since many retailers offer only a small portion of the sale (which very few of you use), and many of the most popular ones, such as Steam, offer no affiliate return whatsoever. Even sites like Big Fish Games, whose sales used to pay for the bulk of our costs, have scaled back the affiliate payout to the point where it actually costs us money to write about them... the last month we reviewed them on a regular basis, we made $17.00USD in sales... which doesn't even cover the cost of one mid-length review! People have contacted us about certain content in some of the ads Google offers, and we have worked to eliminate that from our system. But it isn't enough to keep us going.

First, Numbers
The big thing, of course, is how much JayisGames costs on average to run on a monthly basis.

Server Cost: $800.00USD
Writers: $7500.00USD
Taxes: $2000.00USD
Sponsorships, Game Licenses: $1000.USD
TOTAL: $11300.00USD (average) PER MONTH

That's not a small amount by any means, and you can see that, far and away, what costs the most is paying the people who work for us. Each person is paid not only for every article they write (which takes time, talent, and effort), but also for every walkthrough, not to mention the time of our editors, and that adds up. Articles are paid on one of three tiers depending on the length we determine the article should be... which is why you see shorter reviews more often than not. Every month, JayisGames.com gets roughly 1.5 million unique visitors. We get anywhere from 110k to 150k or more page views every single day. This past month, we made less in revenue than our costs, and over this past year and beyond we have struggled to turn even a small profit as adblockers become more and more common.

So, What Are Our Options?
At this moment, we have a few choices, and we'd like to turn discussion of some of them over to you to see what you think of them.

Plea: We could implement a function on the site that checks for an adblocker (detected by checking to see whether ads are loading), and displays a message asking you to please add our site and domains to your program's whitelist, which allows for our ads to load for you. The problem with this is, of course, that we're relying on a large group of people (over a million, remember) being willing to do so. Which means if they don't, we would have to get more aggressive...

Block, or Redirect: This, obviously, would be the worst case scenario. Completely shutting out the site to any visitors running an adblock program with an explanation as to why. This is not something we want to do, since it seems unlikely to win friends and hearts across the globe.

Donations: In a perfect world, this would be the simplest answer. Many of you wonderful people have expressed a desire to donate in the past, but we've hesitated to stick our hand out, and it's debatable as to whether enough people actually would donate (or donate more than once) to cover our costs on a monthly basis, or even a significant chunk of them. If just once percent of our average monthly visitors donated a dollar apiece every month, we could cover our operating costs and get rid of ads entirely! Trust us, we don't like them any more than you do. (I'm thinking we could put pictures of ponies in all that free space. Eh? Eh? Ehhhhh?)

Subscriptions: Hard to implement, but potentially useful. Either as a means to gain access to the site, or to view it without ads on a monthly basis. Both with this and donations, the issue is of course as to how many people would use it... and we'd also like to be able to offer you something in return as a show of thanks for your love and support, be thank a special icon or avatar, or perhaps access to a private forum we could encourage developers to visit as well.

Obviously, there is no one easy choice, but the fact of the matter is that something has to change soon. JayisGames is a site owned and run by people with a passion for games and writing, and the fact that so many of you have let us into your home by visiting us for so many years means a great deal. But now we need your help. We want to continue talking about, supporting, and showcasing all the very best games out there by the indie developers we love. But it's getting harder and harder to make ends meet in the process. We want to find a solution, or several solutions, that can help make everyone happy and keep us going strong for another ten years. Please feel free to discuss and contribute ideas and feedback... without you guys, we can't make this happen!

299 Comments

SonicLover Author Profile Page January 10, 2014 7:49 AM

...
*guiltily adds "jayisgames.com/*" to my adblocker's exception list*

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How about donations with an option to make them recurring? Simpler than subscriptions, and more convenient for people who want to support the site.

I also support the plea idea, as many people just aren't aware of the issue. I never use adblockers, as ads are such a simple way for me to support the sites I use.

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I'd totally subscribe, but I see that may be a difficult option. Newspapers around here are starting to put up payment walls and they scare off quite a few readers.

I didn't think of adblocks being a problem, but of course they are once you think of it. I'll spend my time patiently waiting for the ads to play in the future :)

Suppose one needs to be reminded that content has to be paid for one way or another.

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joelmichaelcastelli Author Profile Page January 10, 2014 8:33 AM

I'd just like to say that I've been browsing JIG for about eight years now and would do anything I can to support it. I would gladly donate some money, and I would certainly sign up for a subscription, even though this is likely the only website I would ever do so for!

Jay, Dora, and everyone at JIG, don't underestimate your fans. There are many people scared to comment who want to help. Look to Wikipedia's unobtrusive and honest campaign for donations recently. Good luck!!

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rookwings Author Profile Page January 10, 2014 8:36 AM

I realise that you are talking about "most people" who block advertisements simply because they are annoying, but I know there are some of us out here who have to use adblockers for different reasons.

Mine is that I have very limited mobile broadband only, with no change in the foreseeable future, so every advert that loads costs me some of my over-expensive download allowance [3 to 7GB per month] which, you can probably understand, doesn't go very far and often runs out before the month is up.

Being "head" of a twenty-person family, though, I usually find that I can offset my "free" use of this site by recommending jayisgames to others who never use adblockers.

So, I desperately hope that, whatever happens, I will still be able to access this fantastic site.

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profilumum Author Profile Page January 10, 2014 8:55 AM

As a site I visited everyday, (and managed to snatch a few gems off the site, thanks to the writers), I would gladly Flattr or donate each month than seeing ads.

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LightWarriorK Author Profile Page January 10, 2014 8:56 AM

I can fully appreciate the need here, and I can guarantee you that I have no problem with ads. My department has to maintain a website out of our budget, and it's a cost. That's what these Ad Blockers don't seem to understand: NOTHING is free.

That said, the VAST majority of my time here is on breaks at work, and I don't have access to modify the settings our network Gurus have put in place. Now, they don't worry about blocking ads, thank goodness, but they ARE worried about keeping the office's bandwidth down, so streaming sites like YouTube are blocked. This causes a big problem when a site uses GoogleAds with YouTube. Case in point: I can't play games on ArmorGames anymore from this computer....and there's absolutely nothing I can do about it.

Now, as to your options, other than Plea:
Block or Restrict
If you do this, please please please allow for some eventual bypass for those who have no control over the blocking. I know it sounds counterintuitive....block, but allow a bypass? However, I feel that if the bypass timer was something highly prohibitive, like 3+ minutes, and during that time you're showing a screen saying why they're in this countdown and how to remove it, those who do have the option to allow ads will do so, while the small number who don't will have to suffer through it. If the games are blocked or restricted, you will likely lose a lot of good will, I feel. JiG goes from a "ad-supported free gaming site," to a "gaming-supported advertising site," and you really aren't providing games for "free" if there is a mandatory ad giving you revenue.

Donate/Subscription
I would absolutely donate to this site...$1 would be very nice, and more would be appropriate as benefits increase. Perhaps at higher donation/subscription levels, ads start getting removed? That's how IGN Prime works, and they do pretty well with it. If you got rid of ads, provided some other perks (better personalization, site recognition), and perhaps provided some periodic benefits (free downloadable games) to those that give you money....I could probably justify up to $5 a month.

I hope you all find the solution that will work best for you, and that it doesn't destroy my ability to play here. Good luck, and Godspeed.

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Hey. I've added JiG to my Adblock+ whitelist for a while now, so I hope you understand that the advice I'm trying to give is coming from an user who's trying to tell you how best to deal with someone like himself.

First of all, I think you should do the plea thing. Try to make it visible but not obtrusive, and please don't do what Newgrounds did earlier when they used to show obscene language to people with adblockers(not, of course, that I think you'd do that.) But IMO, the main thing to do in this case, would be to insert some sort of link that either directly adds JiG to the whitelist or links to a page informing you of how to add JiG to the whitelist. Quite a lot of people don't know this, or can't be bothered to go google it themselves, and this would help a huge lot- most regular visitors should turn off adblock.

Secondly, and please ignore this if I'm wrong, but is there really any downside to asking for donations? Worst case nobody gives you anything, but do you really lose much apart from a few pixels of space?

I really appreciate this website, and I've been here for a long time and come across some real gems. Yes, recently it's a little sad that you've moved away from featuring free flash games(since I'm not overly interested in smartphone games or most of the games you feature), but that's hardly a complaint, since I can just click on the "browser" tab. I really hope you get past this setback and continue!

P.S I might as well take this opportunity to ask. Is there any particular reason you can only search by one tag at once? Surely it'd be possible to implement searching of many tags separated by commas? Or would that be too time-consuming to implement into the system? Thanks!

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Hi Ragneet, you have been able to search by more than one tag for quite some time now. :) All you need to do is put a + between tags. For example, indie+rpg.

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I have adblock, but I have always had it disabled for this site (among a few other select ones).

I would say the first step is absolutely putting a "kind request" to disable adblock for your site and as games load or on the site itself. That's a no brainer.

Second no-brainer is a donate button with an honest explanation (like the one in this post) of what the money is needed for. I'd have no issue with you placing a "please donate to JIG" on the bottom of every blog entry or something like that.

I personally don't have the finances to justify a subscription based service. But if you did pursue such a thing, then the model I could envision would be a secure, separate website that you must log in to, where there are no ads and the hosted games can be played without ads.

Possibly another option would be direct-sale ads ("this space for rent"). Sell banner-ad space on yourself, and that banner ad would link to a page/review that's still on your site. This would prevent adblockers from blocking it. The review/article/page could then contain ID-coded link(s) to the product/service/game that is being advertised. If you really get 1.5 million unique visitors a month, I'm sure there are people who would be interested in a piece of that. But I don't know what kind of restrictions there are on that in conjunction with the adchoices service you currently have on the site.

It seems like lack of traffic is NOT an issue here, so if other sites with high traffic can find a way to make ends meet, I'm sure there's a way you can, too.

Good luck!

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It's nice to know that people care enough to write lengthy reviews, but the reviews generally aren't very useful to me in a practical sense. I'd be fine with just a short paragraph. The fact that a game appears on JIG indicates that someone thought it was worth playing.

If you want to save some money, maybe you could cut back on the review content. Just one user's opinion.

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Hello all,
I'm Jeff, a new person in the JiG team, being in closed contacts with Jay.
I've asked to Dora for launching this discussion because I manage now the costs and earnings of the website and the balance as Dora said, is not as expected and as it was just some months ago.
As I wanted to understand how it was possible to have still around the same monthly unique visitors and a drop in the impressions in Adsense, I implemented some lines in the code to see the % of people who block ads and as Dora said, this % is incredible high, around 60%! I guess this number needs to be linked with the country where most of the visitors come from which is USA and USA is one of the country where adblock is very popular and used.
When you have for instance for yesterday, 170k pageviews in Google Analytics and 99k in Adsense, you can easily understand the big difference and then the loss.
I'm not here to blame anyone or complain, I would want only bring some facts to our readers.
The JiG team is for 2013 around 20 persons working for the website with of course different time of working.
Our work is to play every day, new games and then on our internal forum, we begin by discussing about them. If they deserve a review, a mini review a walkthrough. The decision to release or not a game on Jig is a collegial decision between the persons of the team who have tested the game. Then if we think a game deserve to be on JiG we asked 'Who want to write?' Because we try to keep in the team, persons with different sensibilities, those who prefer RPG, Puzzle, Escape etc.
Of course, the work for the article is paid.
It depends some criterias but an article or a walkthrough can be paid $15 as $150.
Also we have in our daily job, a part with the developers helping them to improve their games.

For me, and it's only my opinion, the use of Adblock or similar programs will affect in the next months all the business model of the websites based on free content and incomes from ads. Because it's absolutely false to say, I use Adblock because anyway I won't click on an ad. Because when the ads are relevants, you certainly sometimes click on them as I do myself.
I'm also in closed contacts with brokers and many websites are now on the market for sale.
Most of them with this business model of free content. It does not mean, all the websites will die but it certainly means, different ways for getting earnings need to be find or implemented.

We have many projects in progress like a new design for JiG online version:
http://jayisgames.com/?preview=jigwt
http://jayisgames.com/games/battalion-commander/?preview=jigwt
And also we planned to work on a mobile one but all the projects are stopped for the moment due to a lack of resources.

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casualuser Author Profile Page January 10, 2014 9:34 AM

I created this account to tell you why I use an ad blocker on JiG. In fact, I installed an ad blocker *because* of JiG.

As a general rule, I don't care about ads. I'm content to see them on pages I visit *until* they become an impediment to my experience, and there are exactly two types of ads that do that: Pop-over/up/under windows/overlays and flash ads.

In your case, it's the flash ads. I don't run a particularly modern computer, yet it suits my habits just fine. Flash ads (can be) obtrusive and they distinctly slow down my machine and individual page loads far moreso than do static or HTML ads, and those are two things I will not suffer from an advertiser.

I briefly disabled my ad blocker upon reading your plea only to be confronted immediately by another flash ad. Unacceptable: re-enabled.

Is the revenue you derive from flash ads sufficient to offset the revenue lost by the HTML ad impressions you're no longer getting?

When flash (and dynamic) ads are disallowed on this site, I'll happily whitelist JiG. Until then: no.

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orihalcon01 Author Profile Page January 10, 2014 9:37 AM

I'm not gonna sugar-coat this: I will never turn off my adblocker. I know you guys do your best to keep malware ads from infecting visitors, but I'm not going to risk my computer on it. (This is part of *why* adblockers are now so common; at this point they can be considered security software, like firewalls and malware scanners.)
Also, subscriptions as the only way to access the site would be a very bad idea. The majority of your visitors would just find some other site that was still free, and then Techdirt would write yet another article about how bad paywalls are.

Having subscriptions as a way to access the site without ads and get various other benefits is probably the best idea.
Whatever you guys end up going with, I hope it works out well for you, and I want to thank you for asking for everyone's input; it shows you really care.

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I just want to point out the problem with casualuser's statement: It might be a legitimate complaint, but if you don't tell us, or ask, we don't know about it, and we can't take steps to fix it or find a workaround or alternate solution. Just blocking ads without trying to open a dialogue with the creators of the content you're still taking isn't going to get anyone anywhere, which is why we've appreciated it so much in the past whenever readers have cared enough to contact us about it. :)

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One more thing: Put up a 'Donate' button already. Like someone else said, worst case no one donates? I would.

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Impossible to deal with just html or text ads, now most of them are in flash.

I don't understand some point of views:
-Ads in flash from adsense have a size of around 88ko so the homepage loads around 500ko for ads when a game can require up to 30Mbs...
-security of the ads: all come from trusted networks like Adsense and Cpmstar, I believe the verifications on the ads by the networks are important. And after all who verify a game still in flash...

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Thanks a lot for the info, Dora- who'd have known, I went to the Support link to ask someone to remove my double-post, when lo and behold I come across Jay's post saying exactly that :)

As for the reviews part, I must disagree a little. The well-written, funny reviews which also tell us exactly what the gameplay is like is one of the reasons I come to JiG. Though I'd obviously understand if you needed to cut down on that for monetary issues. However, speaking as a bit of a writer myself, the difference between a highly edited 100-word paragraph and 1000-word essay ends up being a matter of not too much time.

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I only have an editorial change to give for the article right now. Under the Donations option, you said "If just once percent of", but I think you meant "If just one percent of". This is merely a heads up!!

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Jeff, you should really know by now that Flash is notorious for sucking up system resources despite being tiny...especially since makers of ads don't exactly work a lot to optimising it.

I will say this though that being bombarded by video and audio ads is not a nice feeling at all.

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I forgot I hadn't whitelisted this site on adblock on this computer. I started using adblock because of ads refusing to - ever - allow whatever content I wanted to get to to load (not your site, I forget where now; this was a while ago when my internet was really bad and more likely the actual culprit than the ads). I don't mind turning it off. My main issue is that for JIG hosted games, a lot of pre-game ads won't have a mute option. (The side-bar ads are fine; I can adjust my window size to keep them off-screen if they are annoying me.) On my laptop this isn't a huge problem since there's a keyboard shortcut to mute the volume, but on other systems it's much more of a hassle. I haven't brought this up before since it's not game-specific and I don't think that's really something JIG can do something about, but since this is a post about ads...

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You're right Rangeet and anyway you can't know at which point I would want a website without ads! I've already managed some changes in the pages, I don't know if people noticed that.
But some months ago, the games at the top were games from BigFish. For me this could mislead visitors so I've asked for replacing the box by the 'New Free Online Games' like that people can check quickly the new added games.
Of course commissions from BigFish have melted like snow in the sun. Also, on the homepage, there were promotional games between reviews (still from BigFish) with some content. Same case, I considered, it could confuse the readers with our own reviews so I've asked for removing them too.

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Hey, yeah, put up a donate button. I'd be happy to chip in.

But please don't block access to the site for people with ad-blockers. The ads here are pretty uniformly awful and sexist, and you should allow people to avoid them if they don't want to have to see that.

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casualuser Author Profile Page January 10, 2014 10:32 AM

To Dora re:

> but if you don't tell us, or ask, we don't know about it, and we can't take steps to fix it or find a workaround or alternate solution.

I have told you. Today. I haven't told you previously because there is no obvious feedback mechanism on JiG that doesn't require account creation or an email address. I used a disposable email service to create this account, but I shouldn't have to jump through hoops to remain anonymous on the internet when trying to provide *you* with information that is likely to be of some benefit to you.

It's not my job to tell you what your company is doing wrong. If I do deci de to give you my thoughts on the subject, *do not make it hard for me to do so*.

To Jeff:

> Impossible to deal with just html or text ads, now most of them are in flash.

Garbage. Utter garbage. I just disabled my blockers again and counted: Well over 50% of the ads on JiG's front page are static/HTML. Furthermore, you have the ability to tailor and restrict the types of ads shown on your site.

Also: this is not my problem. I've told you why I block ads on JiG. You're arguing that I'm wrong. Guess who's going to win?

> -Ads in flash from adsense have a size of around 88ko so the homepage loads around 500ko for ads when a game can require up to 30Mbs...

It's not about ad/data size, it's about ongoing resource consumption. I do not want cycles being used by an unoptimized piece of flash code.

> -security of the ads: all come from trusted networks like Adsense and Cpmstar, I believe the verifications on the ads by the networks are important. And after all who verify a game still in flash...

We should blindly trust *any* company to execute arbitrary code on our machines because you say we should trust them? No. Really, really no.

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I think the plea option has some relatively simple implementation that I have seen used over at the Something Awful LP Archive - the pleas themselves show up in the same places the ads normally load, mentioning simply that the funds for the site come from ad revenue and asking you to turn the adblocker off.

A subscriber-only ad-free mode and/or a donate button somewhere is not a terrible idea either. No guarantees it'll help tons, but from what I understand even a few bucks a year from your average user is more than that user would generate through ad revenue, even from 10+ ads/pageload twice/day for the year (730 pageloads -> 7300 ad loads, and from what i understand ads pay out small change per thousand pageloads. Assuming $.25 per thousand ad loads (iirc, that is a very, very high assumption), that's still only ~ $1.75/year.)
Given the subscription option, the question starts to become "What is reasonable to charge the subscribers?" Charge too much and you scare off potential subscribers, charge too little and, while they try to help by subscribing, you don't make enough more off direct subscriptions to carry the load presented by the shaky ad revenue model.

Another option I have seen used, though admitted only once, was when Penny Arcade did a Kickstarter campaign to get rid of the ads on their site. While in their case it was successful, they have several things going for them that I don't think would apply quite as well here - the most immediately obvious thing being that, being a webcomic and having their own merchandise, they have more obvious things to offer in their reward tiers for a Kickstarter.

Completely blocking access to those who don't allow ads should be a bit of a last resort. Not only would it scare off users like orihalcon01 above, who are (with good reason) afraid of malware that can be loaded in to those ads, but it would also put a dent in new traffic. Speaking for myself, if in my browsing I hit a page that tells me I need to allow ads on it to view the content, I go somewhere else. I know I would not be alone in that. A timer wall is less intrusive, but still intrusive. If you go this route at all, try that first.

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To casualuser:

Am I wrong if I say I find your tone a bit aggressive when people only kindly discuss?

And where I told you 'you're wrong'?
I did not tell you that but now yes.
You can remove again your adblocker for checking. Most of the ads are in flash.
I think you confuse, html promotional icons for games on JiG & affiliates and ads from networks like Adsense which bring 99% of the earnings.

If you take part of the discussion it's I guess because you have some opinions to share and it's good. But it's also because you know the website and visit it. So if one day, the website becomes offline, what will you say, you have won or lost?

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Hmm, I'd be willing to add you to the whitelist, but ads that play before the game are a no-go as are anything flashing, interstitials or full border ads. Also I'd like to to say that in general this situation has been driven by a misbehaving ad industry. Pop-ups, flashing ads, interstitials and especially tracking are all behaviors that have led more and more people to install ad blockers. It's a performance hit and an invasion of privacy. They are right in that ads pay for content, but tracking is not necessary.

Anyway I'm going to turn it off here and see how it goes. I will not; however, ever turn off the tracking blockers.

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I don't think this has been mentioned yet but it might be of interest: AdBlock Plus has an "acceptable ad" program. As a user of AdBlock Plus I can (and have) configured it to "allow some non-intrusive advertising". I don't know if this approach would work for JiG but it's something that should at least be considered.

https://adblockplus.org/en/acceptable-ads

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I will say this, and I think it's relevant:
A few months back, blip.tv put in place something that would block the video for 90 seconds if it detected the person attempting to view the video was using adblocker. I consider that bridge officially burned and will probably never disable ads for blip because of that behavior.

Asking for help is completely fine, but being hostile to people who can't or don't want to view flash ads on your site (in the form of blocking/timer blocking) is going to make people very angry, and may do more harm than good.

Personally, I've experimented a bit and looked at what ads show up on this site, and they mostly don't look too horrible to me. If I can figure out a way to turn on the ads on the sides and middle of articles without turning on the video ads blocking access to individual games I'll probably do just that.

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honestly I dont complain about adds often. I dont use add blocker and I dont mind them, usualyl cus I can skip them and move on.

ITs when i'm having to sit through 2, 3, 4 adds in a row I start to feel frustrated enough to say 'Screw it, not worth the effort'.

I've seen games where one add actually interrupts and cuts off a different add, just to say 'HEY LOOK AT ME'. Was amusing but at the same time 'bleh'.

I understand your running a free site and I love you all for it. I've been following since... gods, back before... well at least 5 years or more. I always check to see whats new, and while it is deppressing all the 'buy me' games that get advertised I understand you guys need your income too. Which is why I dont complain.

I would just like to throw in my +1 to the donate. would help some of the costs.

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I can see the writing on the wall. You don't want readers who block ads - whatever technique you choose to try to raise money going forward, you have the fact that you have no appreciation nor desire for readers who don't view ads, very clear! Therefore, I am unsubscribing from this site. No offence to your efforts, but simply opting out of your site altogether is not a very big loss to me since there are so many other gaming blogs out there who do not try to make me feel guilty for the entirely natural instinct of not wanting to watch ads and taking perfectly legal steps to prevent them from displaying.

Put succinctly: your content just ain't so unique that I need to watch ads to experience it, so that's the deal -- no deal!

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I never use AdBlock. :)
I think Donations and some Subscriptions would work.

Curious question, if simply loading the Ads is enough, does that mean repeatedly pressing F5 would generate more money? (a very tiny amount more I guess, but still)

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I second, third or fourth the suggestion to add a Donate button immediately along with a brief explanation of the need to do so. A dollar a month for a site I visit at least once a day is money well spent.

I also agree with idea to shorten some of the very lengthy reviews - I rarely read through the second paragraph and just click on the link to the game if it seems at all interesting to me.

Have you conducted a survey to see what people specifically look for when reading a review?

As always, keep up the good work, I truly look forward to my daily dose of games!

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So I just turned off adblock. 3 animated ads and one quite annoying scrolling ad on the left. Also flash based. Sorry the only way I'm going to turn it off is non-flash based static images. I have bought several games through reviews (big fish, others). Wish there was a way you could get a piece of that pie without compromising editorial integrity.

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@mat oh really. and do you install stuff on your tv to block commercials?

and how do you get paid to afford a computer to play these games? they are making it a business to put these games and these reviews out there FOR YOU. Do they not get a chance to earn their pay for their work?

as I understand it ads pay like, pennies on the 10's of clicks so it takes hundreds of viewers (which this site gets) to generate revinue... even if it is just me clicking 5 times a day saying 'new game? new game? new game?'

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From what I already hear and I agree with that point, the most annoying ads come from ads before the games themselves.
The most stupid in this situation is:
we do not earn anything from the ads displayed before the games or during the load of the games!
We manage the ads on the homepage, review pages and game pages and try to remove ads which are not conform with our codes but in any way those inside the games.
Incomes from Ads in games are generally for the sponsor of the game and/or the developer.
We have no control on them.
Maybe we should now take care more of the ads inside a game while we are discussing about reviewing it or no. But after the question will be, if the game is really good, how to deal with its ads.
Tough dilemna.
Maybe we could ask to the dev/sponsor for a special version without ads but not sure we could have one.

To cams: thank you for the contribution but no it does not help us to do F5 many times!

To Mat: well of course it's your right to not appreciate the work done every day here but sorry the content is unique. It does not mean, you won't find the same games elsewhere but it means, we are not only a website offering games, we select and write unique content for the games which deserve for us, an interest, and it's the value here (and the difference with web portals). Plus, we've never said, we don't like people who use adblock, we put facts on the table and look and ask for other ways to monetize the website.

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@Achiel Yes in fact I do use devices and software to avoid watching ads on TV as is also my right. Notice how TV shows never broadcast shows trying to make people feel guilty for timeshifting on DVRs and using skipping features to avoid watching their ads? They DON'T do pieces like this one above, because they know (unlike some rather unprofessional and shortsighted blogger-types) that more eyeballs is a huge plus for them regardless of whether people are watching ads, and that putting off their own viewers with pointless moralising over *perfectly legal* technology to which they have every right, is just a great way to lose viewers that aren't really costing them anything to carry.

This is a really important point: it is not my responsiblity to make sure that you or anyone has a good business model. That is moral argument that has no place in a capitalist economy. I can assure you that no strangers are out there taking steps they don't really want to take merely to ensure there is food on my table and that I can turn my favourite hobbies into a career. Nobody does this for me, and I am under no obligation to do it for anyone else.

Reading a website is a business transaction. The content here is unique in the sense that it's individual and not ripped off from anywhere, but it is far from unique in the sense of irreplaceable, and therefore this tactic of trying to make people feel bad for using adblockers, while no-doubt garnering verbal support from hardcore fans, is likely to have absolutely no effect, or even negative effect, on the bottom line.

Ads not working for you? Find another way to make money. This is a capitalist society: you get ahead by offering good deals in comparison to your competition NOT by trying to ethically shame people who are doing nothing wrong and have no obligation to keep listening to your moral impositions.

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What I'm about to post has been covered by many other users in this discussion already, so I'll keep this brief:

I added JIG to my AdBlock "blacklist" at some point one year ago because of ads that blocked games from loading, flashy ads that irritate me, and the scam-like ones.

I might remove JIG from the blacklist to try and give some constructive feedback, though.

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But Mat, if nobody watch ads and I'm speaking here more specifically for programs on TV, how the channels can finance the purchase of movies, series, documentaries etc. which employ many persons?
I've understood it's not your problem, it's their problem but I'm curious for your answer.

Btw, I can't let you saying we do here 'moral impositions'.

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I think a donate button is the best option seeing that your traffic is quite high, and the above comments seem to indicate that your loyal users would rather donate than suffer through ads. I visit your site daily and was totally unaware that my adblock program was denying you revenue. Now that I know, I could whitelist JIG which would benefit you and hamper my gaming experience: a win-lose situation. I could also leave my adblock on and click the "donate" button, a small price to pay for my daily respite on JIG: a win-win situation. So, I opt for a donate button!

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Go for Plea and Donate straight away and see what it brings you. I have no adblocker installed, and would see nothing of the Plea tactics, but yeah, I've been visiting this site for about six years now, and I'd be inclined to donate something every once in a while.

It's been asked before (and I haven't read all the comments to see whether it got answered): what do you stand to lose with these two options?

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@Jeff Thanks for the reply, and OK you may not think you are turning away people who don't want ads, but by focusing on a technoogy ("Adblockers are a very big deal!") you are making a moral argument, i.e. people shouldn't use adblockers. This is like peeing in the wind, really, why would you focus on trying to get your users not to use a technology that helps them? Rather than solving your own problems? I just don't understand the way some people think. Rather than trying what is essentially a doomed-to-fail shame campaign, you guys should just assume right now that this campaign will fail to make any significant difference in the long run (due to the fact that you have no actual leverage on the vast majority of your viewers in order to shame them into doing anything), and start thinking about Plan B right now, cuz it sounds like you will need it.

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Well I feel like a $H!#... I confess I use adblocker and love it. I hated having to watch ads before videos or have things pop up or have that ever elusive autoplay audio that used to drive me insane closing different tabs to figure out where it was coming from. The ads on JIG however have never been a problem for me and had I been a right thinking considerate person I would have disabled it here when I installed it. Unfortunately I live in a bubble of ignorance.

However, the situation has been rectified and adblocker is now disabled on JIG for me, for good. I'm sorry I contributed to the problem you awesome guys 'n' gals are facing.

I would also donate to JIG if there was an option to do so. But ONLY if the donation button was Dora holding a sad looking pony. Ok, fine... make the donation option however you want. Just don't do a Jimmy Wales. His tin rattling got old quickly. Seriously though Dora+pony. Think about it.
Also, maybe even a suggestions box or just somewhere people can easily tell you about issues they are having or ideas they have would be good.

I can't help but imagine all the JIG writers sitting around a large round table like the War room from Dr. Strangelove, discussing what to do about adblocker. I imagine Jay to be wearing an eye-patch too.
Maybe it's a bubble of insanity I live in.

A final thought (and I hope I'm not out of line) but where is Jay?? I understand he's busy behind the scenes but back when I first came here he'd write reviews all the time but now his presence is barely felt. It's easy to forget (or to not even know for the newbs) that Jay is a real person. A little 'about' page with photos and/or bios of Jay and other contributors would be a nice addition. I think this site and plight would benefit from having a human face.

Just not Jimmy Wales' face.

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@Jeff In answer to your question, it's not the case that 'nobody' watches ads, though, is it? Nor is that likely ever to be the case. The reality is and always will be, some people don't watch ads, and others do. Can't see that ever changing unless ads are outlawed. If too many of your type of customers don't watch ads, then you need to find another way to capitalise: that's just the facts, ain't it?

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I, too, would gladly donate or pay to have access to an ad-free site, although I don't visit anywhere near as often as I used to. One suggestion I have if you do post a donation link: display a progress bar nearby, showing a monthly goal of donations required to keep the site afloat. See how Reddit, for example, has implemented their Reddit Gold goal.

I try to disable adblock on sites which I find useful, but I've been reluctant to do this on JIG. The primary reason is that the ads here are (to me) very intrusive - flashy, numerous, and ubiquitous (for a while the site background was an ad). The popularity of ad-blockers can lead to a vicious cycle. In order to increase revenue, sites put up more ads, causing more people to turn to ad-blockers... requiring *more* ads on the site to maintain their revenue stream, etc. I suspect this process has been at play on JIG. I realize this may be asking a lot from the crew here, but a promise to scale back the intrusiveness of the ads may help convince people to disable ad-blocking.

(Also, to those who use ad-block primarily to block in-game ads, you can configure your whitelist to allow ads on the review pages while still blocking those in the games. Adding "jayisgames.com/archives" to your whitelist is one way.)

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My guess, there is a very small percentage of readers who will see any attempt to raise money as hostile or guilt-trippy. There is also a very small percentage of readers who would be willing and able to support the site well beyond their "fair share" of the costs. I think you should ignore the former and focus on the latter. Then there's the silent majority in between, who are probably people like me who don't feel they have the means to support the site at the level it deserves or are casual/one-time visitors who won't think any appeal for money applies to them.

No matter what, you're going to rely on a minority of readers to contribute a majority of revenue. Funny enough, you're probably most likely to get donations/subscriptions/etc. from people who are already willing to let your ads load.

The key is giving readers the freedom to make what they see as a responsible contribution. I sympathize with your predicament -- I'm a poor freelance writer myself. I can't afford to donate to all of the content I enjoy (blogs, podcasts, etc.), but as soon as I have that kind of financial stability I will do it. In the meantime I'm happy to let your ads load, and I would count on the small core of readers who have the means and the motivation to carry the weight and keep the site viable.

So: use a multi-prong strategy. Yes, put up a plea for people to turn off their adblockers. Yes, also ask them to donate. $12/year is pretty damn reasonable.

Mutevampire suggested Kickstarter, and I want to second this as it's an option that was not included in Dora's original post. Partner with some of the companies that offer affiliate programs, and reward backers with free games and the like. Do one every year.

Look for ways to improve the quality and relevance of the ads. I was really impressed with the response Dora gave when I complained about sexist content in an ad, and keeping the ads relevant and inoffensive is part of convincing people to whitelist JIG. Maybe there's a way to get more revenue for better targeting, or more prominent ad-space on the site (barring pop-ups/autoplay).

Don't block access or put up a paywall -- that's user-hostile, and I believe the people who've commented saying they would just go elsewhere. I don't use an adblocker, but I'd walk away from a mandatory paywall.

So give me some options and ask me to make what I see as a responsible contribution. I'm not guaranteeing I'll contribute much, or often -- still a poor freelancer over here -- but it can't hurt to ask.

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I really think that JiG deserves our support. So, Donations or Subscriptions could be the best solution.
Buona Fortuna! (Good Luck!)

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jennykd612 Author Profile Page January 10, 2014 12:27 PM

Probably not going to fix all your problems but you guys are on my whitelist now for adblock.

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While I can't possibly respond to every individual comment, I want to assure you all that I'm reading and appreciating every single one of them, regardless of your opinion, because you fine folks taking the time to share it with us and talk about it is something we care a lot about. I have been with JayisGames for over six years now, ever since a sassy comment and e-mail about a game I liked got me a job offer, and it's been my full time job for over four. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for the chance you've given me to share the things I like with you and make bad jokes about ponies, Doctor Who, and Old Spice. Thank you for your time, your talk, and your thoughts on this and everything else you have shared with me.

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@ Mat:
Well it seems you take pleasure and enjoy to know, we meet difficulties in our business model. Ok.

But you did not answer: if one day, everybody acts like you and stop to see ads on TV preferring using softwares and devices, would you enjoy by the poor content of the programs and one day, the dark screen?

You want content, especially from what I understood, even a great and unique content but don't want to contribute in any way for it.

OK. Fortunately we do not share the same values.

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@Jeff You claim I am wrong to say it's a 'moral imposition', and yet conclude by saying it's because we have different values? It's very clear that this whole post is an attempt to shame people like me, and there... you just did it again.

Anyway, I don't know why I am still reading replies. It was all probably pointless after the first; I should've stopped hitting this page then. Sorry to have wasted your time; good luck trying to correct people's values.

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I've disabled my ad-blocker on the page. I'd be ok with donating a bit. I don't have much, but I still pay BFG a subscription fee for some unknown reason, and I play more games I find here than there. I'd rather give you guys a few dollars.

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I say go with the "Plea" option. I'd like to think people are decent enough that it could work. The ads at JiG aren't even intrusive; they're just little banners off to either side.

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black_jimmy Author Profile Page January 10, 2014 1:17 PM

My $0.02:

By all means implement a plea/message for people to turn off their ad-blockers. I've used JIG for quite a long time and am happy to add you to my white list to support the site (although with a little trepidation reading the above comments on the extent/type of ads). As far as a permanent block unless one turns off their adblock; I can't see this being a great idea... surely suicide for getting new visitors to turn into regular reader, no? But as a long-time reader it would not be an issue for me.

Donations/Subscriptions: I guess the reviews that are on here are good, but as mentioned by another commenter, I rarely read more than a paragraph of each (if that). The thing I value more is that the games are collected and presented to me on a regular basis and I know the type of games I am likely to enjoy having been using JIG for quite a while. Sorry to be brutally frank, but I would be unlikely to donate/subscribe as I don't think (for me personally) this site is unique enough for me not to just go to a free site elsewhere. Plus as I don't have a smartphone or never really consider paying for casual games, JIG is not the resource it once was for free PC flash games.

This site has a really nice friendly, indie, feel and it would be a shame if it had to change, but it's obvious that the business model has to be adjusted significantly. I was very surprised at how much the cost for the writers was as this is not one of the main things I value about JIG. If the site could continue in it's current form and there were enough people who value this and are willing to subscribe then that would be great, but to be honest I doubt this is the case.

Sorry, really not trying to offend at all, but just be honest so you can get an accurate gauge. Good luck with whatever option you go for.

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The first ad I see after turning ad block off is this disgusting soft core porn ad for something called League of Angels. Its really hard to white list a site when I know that's the kind of thing I have to see.

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We are working on removing the League of Angels ads. :) As we've said, we are more than happy to work to curate ads that don't offend our players, and within the last few months we have removed multiple sites from Google's ad rotation per reader request. Of course, this can only happen when people take the time to contact us and share their opinion on it, so please remember to send us a note (preferably with a screenshot) when you see something offensive.

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I'm quite enamored of Patreon's system right now, strictly because it allows me to set up a recurring donation that I don't feel is a payment but is actually an optional exercise. I would not, for instance, sign up for this site on a subscription basis - I would instead stop coming here. Similarly, I would happily join a Kickstarter but I don't think that model is a great one here for reasons listed above (a lack of items to give as incentives).

A gentle reminder to disable adblockers is a great idea, independent of everything else. I recently added one to my browser because of a specific subset of websites that irked me, but don't have the civic-mindedness to disable it on sites that don't infuriate me. A reminder, though, was all it took to turn it off.

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If you guys could create something like Reddit's subscription service (Reddit Gold), that would be awesome. Basically, you pay a few bucks a month and gain access to some unique benefits.

http://www.reddit.com/gold/about

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- Have a Donate Button
- Have a Monthly Revenue Counter next to it.

Sometimes it's just a matter of "out of sight, out of mind." If we as the consumer don't know how well you're doing, it's easy to overlook the possibility that you need help.
In addition to the donate button, many other sites have a monthly revenue counter, this might help motivate the guests on JIG to watch those ads, or even donate to come to their favorite site.

Revenue counter:
An active counter that shows how much you need to stay operative.

Show if you're above par:
Monthly goal: +500

As well as below cost:
Monthly Goal: -3000

While a business usually never wants to show it's hand on revenue stability to it's consumer base, sometimes a little communication pays off. Before this, I would never have thought that you guys needed help.

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JayisGames, Ads, The Future, and You Walkthrough now available!

Sorry, you are not a Jay is Games Premium member, so you cannot access the walkthrough until 24 hours after it has been posted.

Really need a hint? Upgrade to Premium membership now! Click here...

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LightWarriorK Author Profile Page January 10, 2014 2:13 PM

A follow-up to my earlier post based upon other posts made since:

Dora: Thank you for reading each of our posts....I'm sure we all know email contacting is out there, but for some it seems, well....pissy. I don't want to bug anyone, knowing they have a job to do. But articles like this soliciting feedback....well you can see how well it goes! I'm largely very impressed with the community responses so far.

As for Mat, ignore him. Those aren't the sort you're ever going to win over. He wants everything for free on someone else's dime. Those people are everywhere, and they're not worth a second thought. Sad to say, but in my experience, people like that should be gratefully shown the door. Those other sites he threatens to visit are welcome to him; let him eat up their bandwidth.

I do like the idea of Kickstarter....possibly have a special deal in your back pocket for donators to an annual or semi-annual campaign?

I absolutely agree with the League of Angles ads, however I think they're just using "Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball" FMVs. It's true that far to many games are trying to feature scantily-clad anime women to entice hormone-charged boys into playing, but there is a line. Wartune also crosses it. No self-respecting gamer would click on them: if a game has to resort to those lure tactics, the game itself MUST be crap.

I also like the idea of refining the ads as part of a "plea." Ensure that ads are not going to be intrusive, and that they are optimized to not hoard resources. Heavy animation ads should not be allowed....even a good computer will suffer game fps lag when it happens.

And I realize that JiG may not have any control over the pre-game ads right now, but if you do donations/subscriptions that would remove ads, you're going to have to find a way to do away with them. I don't know what it would take, but they're critical.

Lastly, if you do go to some non-ad revenue stream like donations or subscriptions, I would encourage you to funnel some of that back into the games, if possible. Namely sponsoring higher-quality games, like Tesshi-e (sp?) Escapes or getting priority releases on some new games, like Gemcraft Chapter 2.

Thanks again and good luck.

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SonicMiddleAge Author Profile Page January 10, 2014 2:15 PM

Talking generally and not specifically about JiG I recognise ads are a trade off for getting free content (I don't use AdBlock). Non-intrusive ads (ie static images) are absolutely fine with me. However, flash ads (especially those with sound) drive me mad and they became so ubiquitous across the web a couple of years ago I decided I'd had enough and installed the Flashblock extension - huge improvement.

Since then the JiG 'game' pages have been pretty much ad-free (and consequently annoyance free). When I remember I click the ads to load them after I've played the game - but I'll be honest, I don't do this every time.

Maybe I'm unusual in that I don't object to pre-game ads - all part of the free-content-trade-off again, but in-game ads are a tool of the devil. I beat a rapid exit as soon as unskippable 'between level' ads appear.

Personally for JiG I think some sort of variable subscribe/donate to remove the ads for X months would work - with maybe some exclusive content for subscribers?

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Long-time listener, first-time caller.

I've disabled my adblocker on this site for now, though like others I am a bit wary of those video ads that play before games. I'd definitely consider donating, especially if there were some perk.

I also appreciate the explanation (I think?) of why the number of official JiG reviews for Big Fish Games have plummeted in recent months. I hadn't seen all the sponsored content posts so it more seemed like a huge void in the reviews than anything else. If you posted even brief updates about the latest installments in popular series without full reviews, that would be great. I missed some Boomzap sequels like Otherworld: Shades of fall, Dana Knightstone, etc. I need my HOG and Time Management fix!

Some other ideas for monetizing:
1. Merchandise (even just Cafe Press)
2. $.99 mobile app on Android and iOS
3. Come up with some awesome new feature and Kickstarter it.
4. Recommendation engine or other perks for registered users (I would totally pay for that, don't know how feasible to implement)

Some questions:
1. I see in the site footer that you're a subsidiary of AKKAD company... what kind of support do (or don't) they provide you?
2. What kinds of links (or links to which sites) provide you with the most income?

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Jay, Dora, Elle, GrinnyP, et al. -

I have been a huge fan of JIG, probably since the site was "born" or damn near close. I have my ad-block set to "allow non-intrusive", and sites like Reddit "thank" me for not using ad-block, so I assume its working here too. That being said, I've added JIG to my white list.

If you would have asked me a year ago, I would have been 100% on board with donating to the site: now, not so much. I have seen this site change from one whose main focus was finding a reviewing games to one whose main focus is generating revenue.

Now, let me just say this: I GET IT. I really do. Especially after you have openly shared your financials with us, I really get it. But I have to be honest: JIG has gone from being my go-to site to #2, due to content. Let me be specific.

Mobile mondays: I completely skip the site. Most content is Apple focused, and I came to JIG because I wanted to play a game on my computer.

Weekday escape: the #1 reason I came to JIG, for years. Now that it is gone, and seemingly the genre too, it has been a huge disincentive to come to JIG.

Overtly placing revenue in front of content: There was a period around 2 years ago(??, maybe 18 mos) when the load ads for the games got out of hand. JIG would load an ad, then the host site, then the game itself. IIRC, there was a pretty big backlash and since it has gotten way better.

Also, I couldn't help but notice that certain "partners" would suddenly get huge run on the site (SoGood comes to mind), and this too was obviously revenue driven. Meanwhile, I'm over at swordsandshield.com because they have recent content. A lot of stuff I see on JIG I've already played over there, and it didn't use to be like that.

All that being said, let me reiterate: I GET IT. The bills have to be paid. However, in order for me to donate I would have to see an improvement in the content back to mostly free, mostly new games.

Ok, enough with the critique of site content. Here is some constructive criticism:

Relevant ads - I have zero interest in anything anime, and my entire right margin is full of that. I know that optimization tools, etc cost, but it may be worth the investment.

Rethink your business model/ hire a business analyst - I know a lot of us think of JIG as a quaint little community, and it obvious you @ JIG do too. However, with 1.5M unique visitors the vast majority of your traffic is of the drive-by variety, and thus if you wish to continue doing business you should structure your site to cater to that traffic.

You should consider hosting a permanent user database that would allow users to save games, mark favorites, build "status", "points" for posting walkthroughs, etc. This could also allow ad customization.

Anyway, I had a bunch more but work is calling. Hopefully you'll find this useful.

Hope this has been helpful.

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After reading your article, I whitelisted your site (as I have done with several others that I support) and reloaded the page. Wow, there were all the ads that I'd been blocking. And the annoying flash ones with the scantily-clad female characters wiggling and shimmying. I didn't miss those, and turned my ad-blocking program back on for the site.
For me, it is less about the mechanics of the ad and more about blocking ad content that I don't care to see. I understand that whatever algorithm the ad-generating companies use thinks that those ads are well targeted to the visitors of this site, or even me, based on the websites I frequent. But I personally do not want to see them.
Hopefully I can continue to support your site through donations or whatever method you employ, because I really do enjoy the games I learn about here, but I won't be turning off my adblocker.

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angelgaidin Author Profile Page January 10, 2014 2:31 PM

Blocking the site for people that use adblocker isn't as bad as you think it is, liek at all. If a site I really like blocks ad-blocker, then I just whitelist that site for adblocker, not a big deal. Not even a little deal, it's a non-issue.

Subscriptions though? I will definitely no longer visit this site if you institute a paywall of any kind. I already have to pay to play some of the better games you cover, but to have to pay something just to use this site? Not gonna do that.

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Back with a few more comments:

I went back into the archives and saw a lot of content that Jay blogged that I think would add value to the site if you were to bring it back.

Having a blog on relevant gaming news, even if it is just summations and links to other sites, would be a huge value, IMHO.

Keeping us abreast on the indy design world would be nice too - JIG was a huge friend to the indy crowd in previous years, but has become a commercialized Walmart of game sites.

Bring back CGD and the indy flavor! Even if it is just its own tab or subsection, it was a nice addition to the site.

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I didn't even think about my adblocker in terms of your site; I got it to get rid of those annoying autoplay video ads with sound I see on other sites. Putting in an exception for you! :D

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bearharry Author Profile Page January 10, 2014 3:19 PM

1. I have not use any adblock or flash block and doesn't seem will use them in the future because I have alresdy "being trained" to omit those ads, and when I open a game, I will switch other tab (eg facebook) and come back later.

2. I don't really need a 1000 essay for a game that is freely playable on web. As if I need over 5 min to read a review, I would rather use 5 min to try the game.

3. For those who are using limited moblie Broadband plans, they may can afford a game of 50-500mb, but will not bear a 500Kb ads , especially he is near to exceed the budget.
So I hope there can be a option for user to choose the maxmize of the ads that will display in his device. Maye also the type of the ads.

4. I will not subscribe or donate because of
i. I am still learning in school and don't have a independent regular income.
ii. the online payment is very unconvient for me, especailly those need a credit card.

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freezairsilvereye Author Profile Page January 10, 2014 3:37 PM

It was suggested way back near the top of the discussion, but I'm going to reiterate it because I think it has real merit: Sell your own ad space on the site and perhaps go directly hunting folks who would want their product in the hands of your readers. One of my favorite websites, which I sadly cannot name here because their URL does, in fact, contain a (cheekily-used) vulgarity, does exactly this. They have advertising deals with various book publishers and authors who advertise their books to the site's readers, the adds run for a month or so, and at the end of the month, they actually run a month-end feature collecting all of the old ads so that people can find them again! Plus, they have standards for acceptability--no Flash, images only, and although they let in a .GIF or two, it's usually never obtrusive. (Unless you're one of those people who can't stand movement beside text to begin with.) I think, if you can find the right partners, it'd be a win-win for the both of you!

And I would gladly donate if there were a nice, visible donate button. A few bucks out of my own pocket over the course of a year is a fair price to pay for not having to deal with the ads... especially the ones that, for a couple of online game hosts, made playing the actual game briefly impossible because the ad-loading was so glitched and somehow refused to let the game itself play.

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We would love, love, love to bring in more news and such, but to be honest, interest and response to it has always been very low to the point where it's rarely worth the time and effort on our part to research and write the articles, when we could be covering the things people seem more excited about... like the games themselves. :) We are hoping to at some point soon bring on more freelancers in the future that might help with that, but of course our site needs to be taken care of first!

As to the comment about us focusing on revenue, well... respectfully, I'm not sure I understand. Our content is the same as it has always been. We focus on quality games we genuinely think you'd like, because we liked them ourselves. The only difference has been that in an effort to stay timely, we don't always restrict paid indie games to the weekend anymore but rather focus on covering this as soon as possible. That has never, ever changed, and WILL never change. The lion's share of the games on the site are free, and the paid ones are there because we think they're good... we don't get affiliate revenue from those, so we're not getting any additional income or revenue from them at all. :)

We are not looking to turn this site into a goldmine. What we're doing is looking to cover our bills, and make it so the people who pay for it are at least getting some small profit in return. To be clear, with regards to a subscription model, we aren't talking about putting the site behind a paywall... more like creating an ad-free version for people who pay a small monthly fee. The question is whether enough people would subscribe to make it worth doing, of course. :)

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I, too, just happily added you to my whitelist - the ads here aren't intrusive at all an I would have done it sooner if I had thought about it.

Personally, banners that say, "please turn off your adblocker if you enjoy this content!" work very well to remind me to whitelist the good guys who serve tasteful, unintrusive advertisements.

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harpnfiddle Author Profile Page January 10, 2014 4:08 PM

The recent malware that came through ads on YAHOO, of all places, means that I'm another person who won't turn off adblockers. :(

Sorry guys. If you block me, I'll miss you, but I'll move on.

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bluesorcerie Author Profile Page January 10, 2014 4:15 PM

I don't use adblockers, but I do use Feedly. So I don't go to the site unless there is a game I'm interested in, maybe once a week. That said, I have Feedly set so that I only see the first few sentences of a review, which makes me wonder why you spend so much on writers. I'm sure I'm not the only one who does a tl;dr and just jumps to the game link. I mostly base what games I try on the tags, and not on the reviews. As for the walkthroughs, I always thought they were user-sourced. If they aren't I think they should be.

I'd suggest a survey or focus group so you can see how people are really using the site. Maybe the revenue that you are bringing in could be better spent in other areas. I know I visit much less than I used to a few years ago when I went to the site directly several times a day. One of the things that turned me off was that there were so many reviews on low quality, derivative Big Fish hidden object games that are pretty much all alike. I wouldn't mind fewer, shorter reviews on higher quality, indie games.

Of the options you suggested, I wouldn't mind donating a couple times a year if it came down to it.

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Dora,
I am sorry that I questioned your integrity, its just that when I see a couple of months worth of games getting funneled through one publisher, and its happened a couple of times, I assumed that there was a link-through partnership of some sort. Like I said, it made sense to believe so: I know you guys have bills to pay.

If that is truly the case, you could see why one would think that your eye may not be as focused on the ball as before.

If that is not the case, I apologize for stating that and putting it into other people's minds, as it truly is not my intention to libel JIG, their integrity, or to any other way harm the site or its reputation. I was trying to be critical and helpful from the standpoint of a consumer.

I appreciate the time and effort that you put into the site, and consider myself a semi-regular contributor (even have a walkthrough or two!)

Again, thank you.

Too bad about the news/ other content, though. Perhaps after I finish school this semester, and if you guys are still around, I will contact you about doing a contributor piece re: news, info, indy gaming, etc.

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kingjulien86 Author Profile Page January 10, 2014 4:21 PM

To be perfectly honest I find the "I will never turn off ad blocker" attitude very unappreciative and extremely selfish. Whether you like it or not, ads on sites are here to stay, especially small sites like this one. By allowing the ads you are supporting small business owners, with out actually spending any money. I really don't see how that is a bad thing. Do I like to look at them? No. But if it means supporting these content creators, I will look at them, whatever the ad is for.

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As others have mentioned, I started using adblockers because I was tired of playing guess which of my fifty tabs on multiple windows was playing video ads that can't be turned off. I have no problem whitelisting a site that I'm guaranteed not to find those on! But honestly I tend to forget that the extension is running most of the time. I would wager a lot of others also forget about it, so I think a post like this bringing it to their attention is a good idea, and a notice asking them to turn it off is not a bad idea.

Even still, if you're looking for a non-pressure way to gain a little extra income for those who still won't turn it off, I can recommend that you look into Subbable. So far, it's only users are Youtube creators, but their application page mentions that they're willing to support other sorts of content creators. It's basically Kickstarter, like some people have suggested, but with a long-term emphasis in that the your users can sign up for a one-off donation -or- a subscription, and you can offer perks and stuff. It's a relatively new service, though, and they're still in beta, but at the very least, it's something to check out!

And I definitely think that selling your own ad space isn't a bad idea, that way you don't have to worry about what Google may be showing users and can also control what type of ads they are (gifs, videos, static images, etc).

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@kingjulien86 -
There are 3 schools of ad-block users:

The first just don't want the annoyance of ads, whether it be the distraction or it bogs their computer.

The second are security driven: not all ads are created equal, and some have been know to have exploits or link to malicious sites.

The third is a combo of the above.

You mostly refer to the first school in your comment, but for the second and third you really can't fault them. Every site has fallen prey to security lapses, JIG included. You cannot fault someone for wanted to maintain their security and protect against cyber attacks.

Further, it costs content providers time and money to keep their sites secure, and even then stuff gets through. This means that even when you go to a trusted site, you are still at risk.

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No need to apologise neo1973! To be frank, whenever you see us linking a lot to one particular publisher... that's just because that's where the audience interest tends to lie as a platform. The lion's share of games are, for example, released on Steam because that's where a lot of the developers make their money... not everyone likes Steam as a client, but their customer base is so enormous if you're a struggling indie developer trying to get noticed it doesn't make sense not to try to get your game on there. We tend to link to digital services people are familiar with (Steam, Good Old Games, Desura, etc) largely because they're simply the most obvious choices based on word of mouth. (And sometimes just because that's where we purchased the game ourselves for review!) Given our druthers, we typically do prefer to link to a developer's site when they're selling the game directly. We are ALWAYS open to feedback and suggestions for other storefronts to include, and whenever possible we provide multiple links to multiple places! :)

In a perfect world we could pay our bills off of affiliate revenue completely and get rid of the ads as a result, but the amount we get per YEAR nevermind per month is really negligible from the few digital providers who do offer a program, and to be frank, people rarely use our links to buy games anyway. :) Which is cool, we understand the appeal of free games, and we love them ourselves... that's why we feature them all! We just want you guys to understand that if there is a paid download here, regardless of who it's from or published by, it's there because we liked it and wanted to talk about it... not because we're making anything off it.

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I'd hate to see this site go away. There are too many casual games out there. Most of them aren't that good, but a small fraction of those new games are excellent and it's getting increasingly difficult to locate them. This site doesn't come close to evaluating everything, but it does a better job than just about anyone else. I'm grateful for the service.

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trepiechick Author Profile Page January 10, 2014 4:48 PM

I whitelisted the site, but ads still aren't playing. Apparently, because I blocked ad tracking, none of the flash or sidebar ads are viewable. I'd really rather not disable that. I mean, if I have to I will, but all of your page ads being trackers makes me wary.

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Okay, I am a marketer and diehard user of both AdBlock and Ghostery on all three of my browser platforms. I find these tools make it easier for me to do my work without distractions and without downloading hidden, random bits of code that gum up my machine and create vulnerabilities.

I understand that ads have been the model of revenue for most blogs and online publishers, but that model is driven by a power relationship that is changing. Publishers are no longer making the decisions about what I see or do not see. I, and I alone, make choices about the goods and services I am willing to pay for, and that means that business models need to adapt to that reality.

Without blogs like these, people do not learn about fun games, how does your service benefit game makers and distributors. Would there bottom line be better without your service? My guess is independent developers and small game houses would be willing to pay, like screenwriters do for Inktip, to get buzz and something to show they have gaming chops.

Why put the choice squarely on your readers? Yes, I'd probably pay for a subscription, but then I would most likely be more critical of your value-add for my limited dollars. Ads are not the only source of revenue. Maybe JayIsGames should rethink its business model a bit more--and this coming from someone who has been visiting this site for Escape Games since the blog first stared.

I am sorry if I sound harsh, that is not my intention, but I work hard to find solutions for my clients that are not dependent on advertising or likes to generate market interest. I do this because online ads are increasingly more expense, invasive and intrusive. The effect has been to turn people away from sites that rely on them or use tools that scrub them out.

If 60% of us are using ad block, then we have found that ads serve us less than they serve you. What do you think this silent majority is trying to tell you?

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I was a bit disappointed to find the donate button on the banner for this post didn't work. Think you could put one up that does?

Seriously, the absolute worst case scenario is that a couple of penny-pinching jerks (who probably use adblockers anyway) turn their noses up at the site when they see it...which would actually bring down bandwidth costs a little bit on you, thus saving a smidge of money, so even the WCS is a bit of a win.

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BTW, not sure if anyone else caught it, but nice ICS reference.

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I kind of want to say a word to all the people who are calling ad-blocking users selfish: Whether or not I agree with your point (and I don't) I think what you're doing is counter-intuitive. Dora is clearly trying to be polite about this issue, while you guys are declaring open hostility to the 60% she's trying to reach, not to mention assuming we're all jerks who hate contributing to society.

Yes, I use ad blocker, but if donations were an option, I'd at least consider it. But if the community wants to rise up and tell me I'm not welcome here, that's an option too. There's a lot of people silently watching this conversation, and you're telling them 'Go away. We don't want you here.' Do you think that's actually going to help this site?

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I don't use adblocker and visit the site just about every day at least once. I mostly think the ads are trashy or useless (although that League of Angels ad is so trashy it circles around to hilarious) but they generally don't bug me.

I might donate a few bucks here and then if you had a donation button up. Admittedly, though, if there was a paywall put up I would be most likely to find someplace else to go. I generally am fussy with games and play less than one of the featured games per week. That's anecdotal, though, you might consider doing a formal poll to get real data instead. I only visit TIGs on my personal time because I don't play games at work (even on breaks), so I may be outside of your mainstream audience.

It'd be kind of cool if JIG had things to sell. I might buy a JIG mousepad or reusable grocery bag if it was offered, but that'd be the extent of my ability to merchandise you for physical stuff. If you sold games, though, I might be more apt to support that. The game dev contests you do are cool, and there's usually at least one really clever title in the mix. If you had a single sponsored game of the month for a few bucks I would be much more likely to pick it up, especially if you used your powers to promote creation of popular browser-friendly games like Eyemaze or Dismantle titles, of if you developed some original titles of your own. Unfortunately, branching from reviewing games to promoting and developing games would be a big jump, introduce potentially complicated licensing deals and might not fit Jay's vision of what the site wants to be.

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I have been a long time user, infrequent commentor, and I frankly love this site. However, I installed ad-block as a result of this site also. One of the ads was preventing me from playing the game, and the others seemed to be getting longer, more demanding, and less enjoyable.

I will not white-list it due to security concerns, and aggravation caused. However, I would consider a subscription or a donation. I think I would prefer a subscription, if there were benefits associated.

Thanks for having a great site.

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Someone has to pay the bills,but I rather don't have a site at all, than a site full of flashing ads. I don't enjoy visiting such sites at all!

Having said that, you can do a kickstarter-like action with some nice goodies for people who donate. What about these:

- original handdrawn artwork from indie games (there mus be enough gamemakers willing to give you something)
- instead of space for an ad, when you make a large donation, you can fill a space on JIG with anything you want. For example a drawing or a picture you made yourself, as long as it is not offensive.
- Donators get extra content in their mailbox, like interviews with gamemakers, or gametips, or discounts.

Ads are the plague of modern society. If almost every bussinessmodel is based on ads, ads and more ads, dont be surprised that people get tired of it. There just has to be another solution for making money.

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julietlouisearentsen Author Profile Page January 10, 2014 6:33 PM

Good to know! I installed adblocker really only a couple months ago after some problems with ads making it impossible for me to access some sites. Jayisgames was probably one of the first sites I disabled it on, because I very much know about the revenue and with the 'lights off'button I'm no longer even bothered by them. I'm happy to know that by just mindlessly opening this site sometimes I can help a tiny bit!

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As an update, Jeff has removed all ads for League of Angels from our rotation. :) Trust us, we don't want that sort of content on the site either, so please notify us when you see it, because it seems like as soon as we weed one out, another one pops up! You can contact me through my e-mail on our Contact page. Just be sure to let me know specifically what the ad is and what it's for, and where you saw it. Screenshots are especially helpful! You may, of course, also e-mail me if you just want to say hi or send me pictures of ponies, or challenge me to Team Fortress 2. (Please don't actually do that. I am so bad at it, just playing a game with me will actually have an adverse effect on your own talent.)

I also want to point out that if you see days where the content in free online games is skimpy, it's not because we're featuring less of them... it's because we're picky! We actually look for games on portals and sites, and evaluate them on a private forum we post to where we discuss the game's merits and flaws. We wind up passing on FAR more than we feature, and sometimes there are days were we struggle to find things that we feel meet our standards. It's just feast or famine, as my grandmother would say, and sometimes we find more than we do on others. :)

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I too immediately jumped to whitelist the site on adblock - only to realise I couldn't figure out how, even with the help of google. It would be great if someone could tell me how, or else direct me to a secure adblocker that's easier to use for the non-savvy.

Being a student, I don't have enough money to spare to subscribe to any website, but I value the content on Jay enough that I could definitely donate a dollar or two a month if that would be any help.

Of all the user suggestions, the two which really stood out to me were:
1. Having a revenue counter to tell us how much you still need per month, possibly with a donation to a popular developer as a reward if you get over what you need, and

2. Merchandise! It wouldn't be too hard to come up with some really fun t-shirt designs etc. - something escape-themed, a detailed picture with a "find the hidden screwdriver" or a "solve the clues to reveal the secret message" would be something I would absolutely buy!

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Since you are actively soliciting feedback, I have one more item.

I miss Jay.
Seriously. I liked his style of review. It is why I started coming here. I realize that he probably has moved on. It has been since ... last April, by a quick search, since he posted an article. That's too bad. I am sure that he has moved on to bigger and better parts of his life, but it would be nice to see his head in the author box occasionally.

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I would vote for:

Implement a sensible polite popup plea. If dismissed, set a cookie to disable the plea for at least a month - you don't want to annoy frequent visitors new or returning. Though maybe instead, some of the HTML templates could enable a small hyperlink like "Please consider whitelisting JIG" in the header or footer.

Add a Donate button, and suggest small repeating payments.

No subscription system please. Well, maybe it would be tolerable if it only does minor things like remove ads and allow a little icon on discussion posts.

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This will be my first comment in months, possible since the site was sold.

See, right around that time I stopped being able to login the way I used to. I used to login as "Username", and had several comments on here like that. I'd try to reset my password, and never got the email from the server. I'd try to create a new account, same thing, no email from the server (I don't have a spam filter).

So I tried shooting an email to Jay, that's when I heard the site was sold, and so much became more clear to me. I also tried sending an email to one of the reviewers on FB, but have yet to receive a reply (probably in her "other" folder and she hasn't seen it yet.)

I think the site has gotten worse.

I get that it's a business and our dollars (and ad views) helps pay for it, but over the past year or so there are FAR fewer games put on the site daily, and those that are are more often for sale, not for free. That's a huge bummer to me, but rather than complain I just surf to other sites.

I am an ad block user, for a very simple reason.....JIG has WAY too many ads. It's enough to choke a super computer sometimes, and it's also VERY annoying to have a moving gif image ad next to a game window I'm trying to play in.

So, not sure I have an answer for you, but I wish you the best of luck.

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Difficult situation. You have to do what you have to do. I got in a similar situation with a website I ran and decided to can it. But it was not the same kind of site, so the dynamics were different.

While I love the types of games you have here, I find myself actually spending money at Kongregate to buy kreds, which I can then use in various games I play. Big Wartune fan here and I will pay for some things on occasion.

Kong gets a piece of that money, even though it is someone else's game. I am guessing their costs are much higher but the model seems to be working.

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hikari no sakura Author Profile Page January 10, 2014 8:50 PM

Belatedly remembers to add jayisgames.com to the whitelist.

Just a note: on Chrome, the AdBlock extension's "Don't run on pages on this domain" doesn't seem to work for some reason. You have to go to options and manually add "jayisgames.com" to "Customize"->"Stop blocking ads"->"Show ads on a webpage/domain"

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maxiesemma Author Profile Page January 10, 2014 9:01 PM

I agree with zxo and neo1973. I too noticed a decline in the quality of the games but never associated it with revenue - I didn't think about it although I have wondered what the reviewers do for a living. I think a donate button is a good way to go,hopefully with paypal (or is that understood?). I white-listed jig also. I am learning more about ad blockers. I do appreciate all your hard work and reviews however, but like neo1973, I would appreciate a reversion to the way jig used to be.

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hikari no sakura Author Profile Page January 10, 2014 9:01 PM

Oh, and PLEASE don't go down the subscription/paid access path. It'll KILL this site. Put a banner up to ask for adblock to be disabled (perhaps with a link on how to do this on the popular extensions). The cookie/popup idea isn't half bad, but getting it once per month would be annoying, especially if I've already turned off adblocking. It'll be fun if you work some html magic to put it in the space where ads are supposed to go - only adblocker users will see them!

And if the subscription is just for ad removal, it may come across as annoying. I don't really like the idea of "private forums". It paves the way for exclusive information and a closed in community and maybe snobbery. If there are any additional perks, let it be a fancy marker when you comment, and leave it at that.

And donation may actually work, it doesn't hurt to try! (Unless opening up donation will cost you significantly)

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hikari no sakura Author Profile Page January 10, 2014 9:09 PM

Oh, and you guys should sticky this at the top of the page. As new posts get made, this post will start to lose the limelight and people will miss it.

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I guess that whole "If I block ads it won't make a big difference" outlook is in the minds of everyone. Thank you all from JayIsGames for asking the users before making a change. You just got one more ad-unblocked member.

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lol JustMe thanks for the kind words and I agree for the business letter in French ;)

Well, you know, for me being complimented for my english speaking, is the most valuable compliment. I love english, I even read books in english. I never use translators (maybe I need?) so I also understand when people say it will be better to shut up but well until Dora does not say to me to leave my keyboard, I enjoy to feel myself being in the community.

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Dora, wow. If you are as offended/irate as you say about the mere concept of charging for a review (a review being what you write for a living and what this site holds as its primary purpose) then I honestly suggest you take a step back and reevaluate your position, which seems to be based on a few false assumptions.

The first and foremost false assumption is your assertion that a paid review has to be in any way a biased review. The fact that you personally don't trust sites with paid reviews in no way changes the fact that nearly EVERY review you've ever read, good or bad, that doesn't exist on a personal blog has been paid for. Go to gamespot right now, look up a really terrible game with below a 5.0 score. I GUARANTEE you that review was paid for, up front, before the review was written, with the express knowledge that the design company was not purchasing a 'good' review and could not in any way affect the content of the review. Am I saying that there are not paid 'shill' websites that will give you a 5 star glowing review regardless of the content for a price? Of course not. Where there is a desired service, there is someone to provide it.

I'm just trying to give you a little insight as to how other successful review websites work. I have been a part of designing and marketing many apps, when I send a review submission to wired magazine, do you think they give me a review for free? Do you think they send me an email that says it doesn't matter if my app is crap, I can pay them to shill it? You think that's how they developed and maintain their massive user base, by writing crap reviews? They absolutely, along with any other major review site worth mentioning, have a disclaimer that clearly states that good reviews cannot be purchased. What you are purchasing is press on a high traffic website. What that press is is entirely up to the writers.

It just seems like there is a bit of a disconnect here. On one hand, you say you need money, the ad support isn't enough. You don't seem to have any problem entertaining the idea of charging the USERS of this website a fee to access content, and you certainly don't have a problem taking advertisers money (in the form of ad space) for your content. You yourself don't mind getting paid money to write reviews. So why on earth is it so unpalatable to you to consider taking money from game designers, the very people who stand to benefit the most from being featured on your site? You in no way have to compromise your journalistic integrity by shilling reviews. You can write openly and honestly as you always have. You can still only write about games you like. My point is that you are offering a service, and you seem to be saying that you are absolutely unwilling and offended to monetize that service, and then you are somehow confused as to why you are not making money.

You just stated yourself that this website was purchased by a business now, it's not just a personal blog. So which is it? Is this your hobby, your baby that you can't imagine degrading by accepting evil offending money for your work, or is this a business, owned and purchased by a business to make a profit? Profit does not = evil intrinsically. You can still make a profit by providing something people want and love.

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And Jeff, as to the taxes, that is very interesting! I assume that, contrary to what Dora suggested, you aren't talking about personal income taxes when you put forward the $2000 figure, as obviously that figure wouldn't be a part of your company costs, that is incurred off the net. I'm surprised that the figure is that high. I don't believe we have anything similar in the U.S., I've owned and operated plenty of websites, and although I am of course taxed on my income (as any person is) and sales(as any business is), I've not had to pay any special taxes or fees to a government specifically to maintain a website. I'm actually interested to know exactly what fees/taxes are assesed and why, and have you considered hosting the site in a country without such taxes?

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CandyCorn Author Profile Page January 12, 2014 8:40 PM

I'm good with the plea and donation options :D I've already disabled JIG from my adblock (that i only recently re-downloaded after an incident that I don't think has to do with this website anyways). I'm also ok with the subscribing option so that you don't have to see the ads anymore.

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CandyCorn Author Profile Page January 12, 2014 9:07 PM

@Corona: there should be a default toolbar on the bottom of your screen that allows you to disable ABP on JIG. (If you don't see it, you can enable it by right-clicking an empty area of the navigation bar and click "Add-On Bar" i believe).

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Hey JIG community! I'm still alive and well, though as Jeff mentioned, I'm not involved with the site much anymore since selling it to him as of May 1st 2013.

I miss Dora and the JIG review team, who always keep standards high and integrity intact and produce fantastic content day in and day out. There's a LOT of work that goes behind the scenes running a site like this, and nobody is getting more money than they deserve, trust me on that.

I miss all the wonderful, thoughtful, compassionate readers (you know who you are!) who contribute in the comments and support this site.

It was a long 10 years for me and it was time I moved on to other things, project(s) that are still in the formative stages and I don't have anything yet to show or to report.

One thing I don't miss, however, are the DAMs, the casualusers, the zzzzzzs, and the Mat Swessingers of the Internet. Reading comments from that type was energy sapping and anger producing when I worked on the site 24/7. I struggled every day to find ways to improve revenue to meet and exceed expenses, while keeping quality and integrity intact, so we could all continue to do what we enjoyed doing, because it IS an enjoyable job when the content is paying for itself.

But things change, and we have seen a tremendous sea change in the gaming industry with the rise of mobile devices. Many (most?) of the better Flash developers are all making mobile games now, and I expect many of the escape game developers are focusing their efforts on mobile as well. The market for free browser-based Flash games isn't what it used to be, and things will continue to change. To expect things as they were back in the early days of this blog is to ignore that change.

There are a lot of really good suggestions here by thoughtful, considerate, inspirational visitors. I like the idea of gamifying the site with user profiles, achievements, icons and such for leveling up or donating, etc. In fact it was something I had long wanted to build into the site, but I didn't have the resources to do a major site overhaul that I felt the site really needed to be competitive for the future.

That's all why I put the site up for sale. I was a bit burned out, needed a change, and didn't have the resources or the energy to take the site to the next level. I believe in Jeff, he has the resources, and I support him whenever and wherever I can.

Hugs to everyone who asked about me :)

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Thanks to everyone for your warm words of support and for all the great suggestions!

I've been a member of the team coming up on two years now after being a long time fan of the site. It may sound sappy, but we really are writing and reviewing for you,(okay, so we do it for us too, but mostly for you!)and we wouldn't be around if it weren't for the wonderful community here.

So thanks again!

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Sorry, Cutty. I refer you to my earlier statement. :) Enjoy the internets.

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Jay, I am sorry to hear you are no longer involved with JayisGames! But I can see why you would feel the need to move on after doing it for 10 years! I hope the website can continue to flourish and grow in new hands. I don't comment a lot, but I am a long-time reader, and I will support the website wholeheartedly. I have donated before, and I would donate again. :)

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Well, despite Dora's attempts to bait me, I'll continue to enjoy this site as I have for the last 7 or so years. I hope you guys figure out how to transition the site into something profitable, or at least supportable. Perhaps you'll get someone in a place of leadership that is a little more open to reason and reality, I'm sure with the large audience you have you'll figure something out!

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So Jay, to recap, you started up a website as a hobby doing something you enjoy. You worked hard on it for 10 years, were able to make it grow, even start earning some money (or at least breaking even). Eventually, the reward stopped exceeding the work. The website started to cost more than it was worth, personally and professionally. You probably realized that to keep it going was unrealistic. You probably thought about shutting down. You probably figured, might as well try and sell it; since you worked so hard on it for so long, may as well get something in return, right? So you put it out on the market for a while, and eventually, found a buyer. You sold your work, made some money to invest in a new, exciting project, and moved on. Close to accurate? You know what that makes you, Jay?

A smart guy!

I'm glad things worked out for you so well, man. I am. I enjoyed this site a lot for a long time. You were the best writer here. I'm sorry to see you go. You may or may not have appreciated anything I posted on here, and that's OK! You may hate me for what I just posted here, and that's OK too. Anything I posted, I did for my own enjoyment, nobody else's. If someone got some benefit from it, great! Honestly, I find it hard to believe that you support what's going on here. I doubt you would admit if you didn't, and I wouldn't even blame you for it.

Yeah, my comment was offensive. It was intended to offend. You know why? Because they needed to hear it. I don't care about their feelings. Me and the few here like me, who choose to be brutally honest to them, are the ones who would actually help them: they need to make changes. They probably won't, and this site will continue to lose money until it shuts down. It will probably suck for you to see that, but at least you know you jumped ship at the right time.

By the way, I don't work in an office. I used to, but one day I decided to run away and follow my dream of being a Broadway star. I moved to the big city with no money, but I worked really hard. Eventually, I made it big, and now I'm that obnoxious jewish girl on Glee!

Seriously though, I'm a firefighter. I also install home theaters and tend bar. I love what I do, most of the time, but not all of the time, and that's ok, because it's work. That's not really the point, is it? If I was a b-boy dancing in a subway station for people's spare change, and I had trouble paying rent, you think I'd inform the people of my economic hardships and tell them they need to do a better job of supporting me? When I'm struggling, I figure out a way to improve my situation. I can't tell my clients to drink more, or buy more expensive crap for me to install, because I'd lose my clients. It's not their problem, it's mine.

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@DAM: I figured I could step out of this one and watch, but I feel I should point out something you're missing here. Yes, you can fall into the ruthless, impersonal pattern of pure capitalism here, but part of what the Internet has accomplished is creating things that people want to support. The model you describe works if there's no relationship between yourself and your clients, or users, but once there's a community established, that community may have a reason to go out of their way to support the site. If JIG has that sort of community, appealing to it seems like the right choice. And if JIG is just a game-delivery service to you, and nothing more, then the message isn't aimed at you. If your point is that JIG should wither and die before it seeks help from its own community, I can't help but think that it's going to be at all useful to anyone.

If someone cares enough about JIG to want to keep it around, then yes, it is their problem to some extent. Maybe it's not your problem. It might not even be my problem. But there are surely people who are sitting up and paying attention, and that very notion challenges your claim that this is JIG's problem and nobody else's.

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Do these people honestly not understand? Look, DAM, cutty, whoever- JiG is the one doing you a service. A massive, massive service, to boot. You aren't a customer- you are a user. They are giving it away for as free as they possibly can and you are complaining that it's not absolutely 100% free. Yes, this might be a business, but businesses have integrity. And each and every person on this website refuse to exchange that integrity, even if it means potentially shutting this website down. And that attitude, that exact attitude, is why I will stay on JiG and if they offer a donation button I will do my best to donate what I can. Because this website has given me quite a lot- from just mindless straight up fun like Mutiny from Nitrome- all the way to games which make you think about life itself, like Bastion, or To The Moon.

It's fine if you think you don't owe anything to the site. But you're wrong. And especially you don't understand the point of this. They want to keep it running, and nothing more. And what are they asking? They're asking you to turn off their adblock. Asking, mind you, they're not saying, yet, that they'll do anything with it. And they're considering it as an option, and we are urging them to reconsider and think about donations.

And you are mad because you think they should not earn any money from giving us a service? You are the ones who don't understand how capitalist systems work.

Anyway, JiG, I hope you will always remain awesome. I might add, by the way, a reference to Project Wonderful, since it really is a reasonably good ad system. And what's more, at least I think so, since all the sites using it I've seen have a plea- I think it automatically sets up some sort of message to request you to whitelist it.

I still think donation is your best option for now.

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I'm happy to unblock websites with ads that I feel are unobtrusive and appropriate. I don't feel that jayisgames is one of those websites. You curate the content (that you produce) that you put on the website very carefully: it's why I keep coming back. But the ads are occasionally loud, often sexist, flashy, moving, and generally really annoying. It's great that you'll take them down when we complain about them, but if you took the same attitude with other content on your website (let us know when reviews have content you find objectionable in them, and we'll review them) it'd be ridiculous.

I'd be down to pay a monthly fee for an ad-free version of the site, or something, but if you're asking people to unblock, pre-screen the advertisements. If there's a technical barrier there, switch ad providers. Content is king, and ads are content.

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LightWarriorK Author Profile Page January 13, 2014 8:25 AM

Dora, Jeff-

I thought you might want to know, League of Angels is still in rotation. I'm sure it's like you said and they're just being sneaky: http://imgur.com/uM8UvDd

Jay-

I'm glad to see you're still around, and completely understand why you did what you did. Good luck with future endeavors, and keep in touch with the site! In big way (as you can tell from the comments) JiG will always be yours.

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Thank you LightWarriorK for this information.
The problem should be fixed now. I've removed the ads from Cpmstar because we have no controls on them. At least with Adsense we can see all the ads published on the website.
And then remove the doubtful ads.

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matt.slaybaugh Author Profile Page January 13, 2014 9:46 AM

There is a site called Games Magazine. The site is in (very) bad shape, but the magazine remains a good one and Games has been slowly emerging into the world of electronic gaming.

Games and JiG seem to be a good compliment to each other. I don't represent either party, but it seems that joining forces could be to the benefit of both.

Games has an established subscription base and a clear need for a better web presence. Games and JiG even have a few game developers in common (the Conceptis puzzle games)

Games and JiG both do reviews, often of the same games.

What if JiG and Games set up an agreement to share reviews (thus reducing costs for both) and JiG set up a subscription-only section of the site, based on the Games mailing list? That way, subscribers to JiG would also get a monthly publication, and Games readers would get access to a good website.

[Link removed. Please do not link to other sites! :) Thank you. -Dora]

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hikari no sakura Author Profile Page January 13, 2014 10:01 AM

Wow, this thread has grown massive. I didn't realize that my adblocker was not only hurting my favorite sites, but also the escape games developers.

I installed adblocker to get rid of those super annoying Chinese site ads. *RANT START* Believe me, they are simply the WORST. You think Evony and League of Angels are revealing? Those chinese sites have invisible link layers (so if you click anywhere on the page you'll click their ad first) that goes to a full page spread ad, LOUD videos of fighting/women, huge floating flashing animated ads that follow you as you scroll down the page, shady "boost" and "cure" drugs and "body part" enlargement stuff. *RANT ENDS*

Long story short, I like JIG's ads. I've even clicked on a couple. That's the thing about Google ads, they CAN be RELEVANT.

Also, maybe you guys actually want to sticky a short, non-commentable post as a plea? Like what you guys always do with the annual votes. Sticking this massive post/thread may scare away some visitors.

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Thanks, hikari no sakura, and I definitely intend to write up a short, informative article like you suggest as soon as I can figure out a way to explain everything as succinctly as possible so people don't wind up with all the same questions repeated here. :) I thought perhaps having the actual article on a separate page with a small stickied "Please click here for more information on how this site is run, especially if you use AdBlocker." link at the top of the main page.

The ads you're describing sound awful. It seems to me like one of those circuitous arguments nobody ever wins. Many sites will increase the number and variety of ads they use to offset the revenue lost from AdBlocker, and of course the people who DON'T use AdBlocker get angry when the ads get heavier or more obtrusive, and the people who DO use AdBlocker continue to feel justified in not turning it off. (For example, one site I frequent has taken to putting short looped video ads on their sidebar that occasionally let out a short burst of sound even if you haven't unmuted them... which is frustrating since when I'm on that side I'm typically trying to watch a video so my sound is always on and turned up!) I am not defending that style of ad whatsoever, I just think more sites need to make an effort to communicate with their users to try to find some middle ground, and that's what we're hoping to do here. :) Obviously not everyone will agree with us and that's fine, but we can't get anywhere if we don't open a dialogue and at least try to inform and hear both sides of the argument.

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hikari no sakura Author Profile Page January 13, 2014 10:17 AM

@matt Um, that magazine looks... VERY niche/obscure/old school/offline-focused and I doubt it'll appeal to most of the people here. It's something I would have loved as a kid, but it's not something I'd want to pay money for now. Sorry if I offended a publication you love, but it looks like it's something that only enjoys regional and dying popularity at best.

For subscription perks, probably nothing tangible that'll cost JIG additional money would be best (for now). I'd love to have a pony avatar!

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Like many others, I'm a long time reader and very, very occasional commenter. I've been visiting this site since 2005 (so I guess from nearly the beginning), and it's been interesting to watch it change over time. I had no idea that Jay sold the site in 2013, but I can't say that I'm surprised. I had lots of thoughts reading through these comments, so I will just list them off bullet point style.

1. What Jay said in him comment is really important. Developers are making less free games and moving onto the mobile market to better monetize their investment. This site was born on free flash games, so if the quality and quantity of those games start to erode, this site will erode without changes. I think you need to think about a long term strategy and business plan to reflect the changing market.

2. I can tell that you are both trying to be positive, but many of your comments come off as defensive. You asked for feedback and you're getting it. Even though it's the internet, the old axiom that "The customer is always right" still applies.

3. Ads. I didn't even know adblock existed, but I would have considered installing it for this site. As many, many people have commented, the ads on this site are a major turn-off. This is one of the parts where you're getting defensive, as you have limited to no control over the content in the ads. While that is true, you're hearing over and over that people hate the ads. If you want to attract the best readers (who are also probably more likely to donate/subscribe), you need a professional looking site. It might mean reworking your whole business model, but you need to solve the ad issue.

4. Review content and voting. I know for a long time Jay hesitated to put a numerical review score on the site, and I think I understood the issue. Once that review number started showing up, I stopped reading the reviews. The principle question I ask myself when I come to this site is: "Is this game worth playing?" With a numerical review score, all I do is scroll down the page until I find a game with at least a score of 4. I'm sure that's not what you intended, but I'm guessing that many, many people do the same or similar. This is probably why so many are surprised that you're spending so much on reviews and walkthroughs--people just don't read them.

5. Final thoughts. This site is at a major crossroads. I think you have two main choices: (1) go toward a simplified compilation site with minimal reviews focused on getting large amounts of traffic with very minimal cost supported by ad-revenue. (2) Go toward a site that is focused on professionalism and quality and a much smaller reader base. There is risk with either approach, but I think you will find it more rewarding to go with the second, even if you fail as a business. Lots of people have given you really good feedback about things you can try to monetize your content, and if I were you I would try all of them (even the ones you aren't jazzed about such as receiving money for reviews). In the end, be mindful that the internet moves very fast and there may come a time when you must admit that the core business of this site (reviewing free flash games) isn't viable anymore because there is no more quality content.

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Coming off Davil's.

2. This. I knew Jay would get ticked off at times, but he never engaged with commenters and personalized it the way you do. Don't. Take it. Personally. That's unprofessional like LiveJournal spats. Have somebody else respond if you just can't handle a neutral reply, I mean, JiG is legion. And there are multiple instances of this, and you don't seem to grasp that the snark is not acceptable in this setting.

3. Like I said, listen to your audience. If you want to give us ads that trump Geocities in obnoxiousness, then no one's turning off their ad-block no matter how big your kitty eyes. Not to mention the younger players whose parents are thinking twice about letting them surf JiG.

4. I think it makes no sense to have so many posts per week, which prompts people to scroll down and look at the mushrooms. The tabs at the top of the site filter (and allow you to expand to several different formats, which I mentioned when Jay implemented it), and yet using that, I still have a flood of posts with games that would have gone into a link dump. And I bet I know why it's because your ad manager told you the site needs more clicks.

You know what happens when you water down the site? Leaving aside whether the quality goes down -- no one reads the reviews. Just load the site and *look* at the wall of text. Read the date of the bottom post. TL;DR. It is ironically anything but casual to catch up on the site after even one week.

Further, the number of beta-testing games you review is appalling. And as I've said before, it hurts the developers, because they have approximately HALF A DAY to make an impression on millions of views, and if one bug makes it unplayable, their mushrooms are gone. I've personally tried to bump several improved games via the "Help Squad" scroll, but to no avail. Thus I've seen several good games become buried. It is a disservice to your viewers and the developers, and quite frankly looks like a money grab if the reviewer is paid by the review. And on top of that, it stinks of JiG trying to be some other site, because that other site is so much cooler. Which is a quick way to kill a niche market.

Call me nostalgic, but I missed when the commenters were the ones writing the walkthroughs. It stinks for your quality control, but again -- why? Since I started reading here circa Submachine 2, there were maybe 3 commenter-written reviews a year that were inaccurate or untimely. Now most of us don't bother, because we know you're going to cobble together a partial walkthrough before any of us have a chance to open a text file. I can't even imagine the time-crunch back there, when you have to be responsible for the review *and* the walkthrough.

And if there is a built-in delay in getting out such a short review, guess what? You can't even claim to be timely. For a quick fix, I'd go to someone else's twitter feed, or someone else's link-spew of all the games released. If you can't even compete in your own niche, your claim to uniqueness is eroded. Even the idea that we come here for a clearinghouse of quality games gets knocked down when the aforementioned half-baked games get reviews.

So honestly, it really does beg the question (since you posted the numbers yourself), why do you have so many people on staff, and why are they being paid that much? It appears like you're wagging the dog, in that you created more work for yourselves, and then are scrambling to pay for all that work. If there was a philosophy behind all those hiring moves, I for one fail to see its cohesion. I understand that there's a lot of back-end work in a site like this, but on this side, I don't see the pay-off besides quantity.

It's quality that people pay for. Few have as much additional income as five years ago. If there's no rise in quality, or at least variety, good luck, because you're not shaking any extra change out of the tree. Before you even start on the financial plan, you have to crystalize what this site does well. Understand what the brand IS. Otherwise you won't be able to evaluate what it needs, or what its assets are, and you won't have a chance to figure out how to charge us for it.

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tl;dr

Don't work against our enthusiasm. Understand why we're here, and why we keep coming here, and why we want you to succeed.

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I have already made my comments earlier, so will not repeat.

What I will add though is that the shear quantity and quality of the replies here must give the JIG team a deal of hope for the future, there is no doubt that there is still enough passion and enthusiasm around for you to run successfully with Jays legacy.

Heck, even the naysayers care enough to put their thoughts down (even if some of them are obnoxious

Being a nosy cow, I for one would love to know how much affect just putting this thread up has on the amount of folks that have stopped using adblockers here :)

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Well, I'm very sad Shudog to read this post from you. Very sad. I like your posts and I read you every day since a long time.

I understand it was better before, things are not going as some readers would want when others seem still satisfy with the content.

We have opened this discussion for knowing the good and the bad, for knowing opinions so can you please give us a chance to take the best of your suggests and see if we have understood well?

Just a chance.

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My opinion:

I have not whitelisted you guys for all of the reasons others have stated. I know that ads end up being the major source of income for websites, but I would much rather pay you guys directly than have a bunch of flash ads distracting me from the content. I have a medical condition that basically causes a brain "freeze" if there is too much information coming at me. I'm sorry; but for me, flash ads make a website essentially unusable.

I would happily donate, on a monthy basis. One great site for that sort of thing is http://www.patreon.com/.

I would also happily subscribe on a regular basis. I understand that you provide an entertainment service, and if I can pay $100 a month for cable, I can certainly spare a couple bucks a month for one of my favorite game review sites. Maybe you could come up with some sort of Achievements or Records for subscribers like I know a few other sites do, in order to provide a reason to subscribe.

And finally, since it seems that few people do, I wanted to point out that I read the reviews, because I really like the writing styles the different reviewers have.

Good luck!

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FYI, I never read the reviews. In fact, the most I'll do is scan them to see how many levels are in a game if it's not in the game menu, and it really chaps my hide when that's not actually part of the review.

I'll say it again, I NEVER read reviews, and never really understood why they were so verbose for such short games at times. I'm getting the sense that puts me in the minority, so be it. I'll miss this site if it goes away, truly, but I can't get as emotionally invested as others have been about it.

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rookwings Author Profile Page January 13, 2014 5:12 PM

Just a recap from the less-rowdy users..

Please don't touch reviews.
Some of us DEPEND on your honest reviews before deciding whether to use limited internet on playing a free game [this may be a minority viewpoint].

By the way, this is the only site left with reliable walkthroughs.
Compared to the few remaining help sites, your walkthroughs don't spoil everything instantly right into one's face.

I never rely on the mushroom number because I don't believe the opinion of the "general public" [Eat poo. Billions of flies can't be wrong!], and I often find I love a game which has been rated poorly.
It has to be worthy of something to be posted here in the first place.

As for the beta-stage games, maybe no mushroom rating for them on principle?
Don't axe the infant games because people are fickle, please.
It could harm new developers.

The "family" feel to this site is more important than so-called "professionalism".
The trustworthiness is what attracts new users.
I know this from recommending this site to others over the years.

Do not feed the trolls when passing through the Troll-petting area, and please shut the gate behind you.

Finally, thank you for opening this discussion, and including us - and for being the way you are for so many years.

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I think this is the most massive discussion I've seen on this site. Well then, best get straight to the things I have to say:

1. I think that a donation system would be a great idea. I think any site that isn't out and out selling a product should have one. It's just too bad such a system wasn't implemented about a year ago, because I could easily have spared some money then, but it will probably be a while before I can again.

2. Let people pay to block ads, if they so desire. I don't think giving people additional incentive to pay can be such a bad thing.

3. Provide other incentives for people to donate. For instance, there are probably people who visit Jayisgames that own a business, or maybe just want to advertise something or another. So, allow community members to advertise their business or something similar for a fee. Except the ad would actually be put together as a brief article, like articles for games on the site. But I think you'd probably only want to accept one or two of these a week, to keep most of the content game-related.

4. A few weeks ago I put an ad blocker on here, but since this article I made an exception for Jayisgames. The ads on this site really don't bother me, unlike some terrible ones on other sites. Once in a while I'll even click on something.

5. I think that you should repost this article on this issue at least once a month, to let site visitors know that this is an issue. Awareness is the first step to a solution.

These are some ideas I have. Hopefully they'll be helpful.

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I love the writing here -- it's why I come here and not to any old portal. There's the curating of games, the sense of community in the comments, the non-spoilery walkthroughs. I'm very happy with the content, and I want to see it continue and thrive.

But I'm not going to turn off my adblocker, because I don't trust the ad services I've seen every time I've tried to do so the last few years. Given that users and staff still have to go through a rigamarole to police the ads, this isn't going to change any time soon.

I'm not opposed to advertising in principle. It's the current execution of advertising I can't abide. No flash ads, sorry.

If the ads were curated, as they are in print media, I wouldn't have a problem with them at all, at all -- and this, I think, would offer the greatest of opportunities, as they could be fixed into the site itself and bypass the adblockers. You'd get less per ad, but more than double the hits. Heck, I'd probably be more likely to click through a curated ad, simply because it's already been vetted, not to mention relevant.

Perhaps JIG needs the equivalent of an advertising person? Seriously, what about other advertising models?

In a previous life, I would have happily donated or subscribed -- now I would unhappily chip in, but I would chip in, because I value the content. An affordable subscription for ad-free content would be acceptable. Or donations; surely there's enough people coming by who would donate periodically to keep the site afloat and the writers deservedly paid, maybe even enough to keep it permanently ad-free (or un-curated ad-free) for the poor huddled masses, yearning to game free.

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I'm getting very frustrated by the people saying "Nobody reads reviews" and "Nobody is turning off their AdBlocker". Speak for yourselves, otherwise I'll have to change my name to Nobody and I'm not the only one.

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Subscription for ad removal is a great idea!

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OK, my turn.

I've been following JiG for many, many years. Probably from nearly the start and yet didn't seem to know much about the site until this post.

Like a lot of people I didn't know that the Jay in Jay is Games sold the site (was there an announcement we all missed?)
Also, I didn't know that that your writers got paid. I've always liked JiG because it seemed like a hobby for you guys running the site and a hobby for us visiting it. I felt we were all of one mind (finding good casual games and chatting about them), but this being run as a business takes away quite a lot of the charm for me.

If it was being run by people doing it for the love of it, I would disable my Ad block right now so the site could pay for itself. If you're doing something voluntarily for others, you should never be out of pocket. But you're not doing this for fun or for us. It's a business and as a business there should never be a lack of communication by the team to their readers/customers, and so I don't feel that at the moment, disabling ad block is the right thing to do.

I have ad block because I don't want to see flashy, distracting, irrelevant ads plastered all over the site. It makes it messy and hard to read. And don't get me started on ads that make noise or demand I interact with them before they'll go away.

For what it's worth, my advice would be to switch to Project Wonderful or similar. Then we can have static, relevant ads and more people (including me) would be more inclined to disable ad blockers.

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fledeye, so you mean, having a company behind a project alienates the project itself?

Well, in the gaming industry, believe me, building a company is not for money but for recruiting other passionate people.

And I understand your point of view about running for fun a blog but I suppose it was something common many years ago when the blogs have begun to be popular and when we could just spend some time on a personal blog. But once you live thanks to the blog as Jay did, recruiting even 25 or more writers(not all at full time of course), you absolutely need to find funds or maybe if you don't need it means you are already rich ;) Which is not our case.

And I don't see where is the bad here?
We are not hedge funds but passionate people who like games like you.
Since the sale, we have decreased the number of ads especially from BFG. We are working on a new design ( http://jayisgames.com/?preview=jigwt ) where the ads from the networks like Adsense would be 3-4 when it's 8 now, so the profit is really not what we are looking for.

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No, I think you've misunderstood me Jeff. I have no problem with businesses as long as it is clear that they are a business and conduct themselves as such.
To me, JiG (until now) has always been run like a group of like-minded people coming together in one place. As I said, I had no idea Dora and the others were paid.
There was no communication that Jay had moved on, which while not essential, would have been a thing to inform readers of out of curtesy. It's his name on the top of the site after all, not yours.
And as others have pointed out, some of the reviews have spelling mistakes and other errors in them. In a blog run by people doing it in their spare time, that is absolutely understandable. But when you're being paid to write, there is no excuse for it.
If I make a mistake in my work, it could change someone's life drastically which is why my employer makes sure that we are all competent at our duties. That's what companies do.
They also know that they need to change with the times and consulting readers is a great way to find out what might work in the future, so this thread is a brilliant idea. More companies should ask customers what they think of their services and make dialogue easier.
Lots of regulars and casual readers have given their opinions and I hope you make a decision that works for you. But you're not going to please everyone all the time and you may find that this is too little communication, too late for some people.

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I'm thrilled to know that Dora is paid. I wish she were paid more!

So I put the adblocker off, just to see what would happen. That lasted seconds, and it's back on again. And I can see why so many are reluctant to trust the site when crap like League of Angels makes it through. Yes, it's back. Sorry, this advertising relationship is not one I can support -- these advertisers violate my principles. It's trash, it's sexist -- if these images were in a game, that game wouldn't be on the site. Which makes JiG hypocritical.

Please, find different advertising partners. Let us know. Curate the ads. Or go with donations, subscriptions, some kind of model that supports the writers. But, frankly, if the site wants a relationship with these kinds of advertisers, I don't want a relationship with this site.

Which makes me angry, and sad.

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@Fledeye:

It was up to Jay to announce the sale.
I suppose he had good reasons to not do it before this thread. And the sale is recent and the team is the same so it should not involve lots of changes. I hope!
For the spelling mistakes I perfectly understand your point. I read myself every day a french blog focused on sports and find all the time spelling mistakes which makes me 'angry' when it's big mistakes. The ones we learnt at school. Well, you will understand my English is not enough good for fixing the spelling mistakes on JiG, I hope I could be useful elsewhere but it's something we will take care for the future.
As you said, we opened this discussion for a dialogue and take all the points. The good points and the worst. And if we don't change the bad points it will mean we did not deserve the loyalty of the readers. But be sure we will do some changes. (sorry again for my English).

@Janie:
Damn! I removed cpmnetwork yesterday! Can you please tell us where did you see League of Angels ads? On the right or left or between the reviews? Thanks in advance.

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The reason I didn't announce the sale to anyone prior to the sale was because I wasn't certain the sale would go through and I didn't want to alarm anyone in the event it fell through.

Once I had the money in my account and the ownership was thus transferred, I didn't feel it was my place to announce anything on the site any longer.

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Manic Sprite Author Profile Page January 14, 2014 3:15 PM

After reading the comments posted here it seems like a no-brainer to me. You've had a lot of people turn off their ad blockers already and a number of people who refuse to do so. So I think the best solution is to keep the site free for those of us who don't mind the ads and have an ad-free subscription for those that don't like them.

Donations are not a bad way to go either, but not exclusively. I'm disabled and on a very limited income and I always feel guilty using sites that rely on donations alone. I'd much rather see a few ads and know that I am making some kind of contribution.

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jason9045 Author Profile Page January 14, 2014 3:20 PM

This has been up for a few days now - how long before you have some meaningful numbers on how many visitors are now browsing with their ad blockers disabled? Did you have some sort of target % of users without ad blockers that you needed to hit, or do you not anticipate ad revenue alone being sufficient?

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Well the % has a bit decreased to be now around 45%. But the ads with sexual content are still the problem although I'm spending hours for removing them one by one (thank you Google, you are not my friend despite the slogan!).
You will see some changes in JiG in the next days hoping they go in the way people expected them. Anyway, the website is and will remain free.

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It was on the right, Jeff, near the top. In a box that wasn't properly sized.

I'd still like to hear about the proposal for seeking out different reliable ad services, and the site taking responsibility for curating ads in advance so we don't have to.

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joojoolum Author Profile Page January 14, 2014 7:51 PM

have you guys heard of subbable? you could have a system similar to that, so that people can donate or subscribe and recieve a small perk in return like maybe a JiG wallpaper or icon or a special thankyou letter. just a thought :)

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I can't help but feel I've witnessed a slight miscommunication between some commenters and Dora here with regard to paying for reviews.

Far as I can tell, the people suggesting letting game developers pay to have a review posted are under the impression that "review" means the same thing at JIG that it does, say, in GameInformer or such--that is, that said review gives an idea of the exact quality of a game, and is provided regardless of what that quality is.

On the other hand, from what I can tell, "review" at JIG refers to an in-depth description of a game that, by virtue of being on the site in the first place, is implied to be of at least relatively high quality. In that case, paying for a review to be posted here would seem like a bit of a breach of quality.

It really does look like you're trying to help with the problem at hand by suggesting paid reviews with a no-favoritism disclaimer, but I think you're talking about two different things here...

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Whoops, I said "breach of quality" and meant "breach of integrity". Sorry, posted while tired.

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I opted to stay out of this discussion earlier as, outside of offering my personal opinion when/if the staff is asked for one, I am not the one running the show. (Picture me more as the girl holding the flashlight as you find you way to your seat.)

But this concept keeps coming up in the comments: that we writers are paid too much for our work and we ought not be. From an outsider's point of view, not knowing exactly the breakdown of those numbers, perhaps it's an easy assumption to make. Without a lengthy defense of the value of my work, I just want to point out: it really is work and not just playing games in the sun, sipping cocktails while Dora cracks jokes and John tends bar.

JIG writers are freelancers: not paid an hourly rate or salary, but for each article or walkthrough that is published we receive a nominal amount. I don't total up my hours spent doing JIG stuff, which includes writing content, vetting games, searching the internet and other venues for new releases (many of which don't make the cut), discussing seasonal features, replying to visitors' comments, and so on. Let me just say, if it's troubling to picture me as a one-percenter clogging up the harbor with my champagne-filled yacht: I'm not getting rich at this gig. It's not my bread'n'butter, either. I actually have to work a "real" job to afford those small things like food to eat and a roof to sleep under. (I'm really kind of fond of those things.)

I joined the JIG team because I love this place. I'm in awe of my colleagues, I love being able to interact with them, and I love the JIG community. (They're pretty cool people.) Since I first discovered the site years ago, I knew it was different—and better than—any other game site out there. It was like the first bite I took of an In'n'Out burger animal style: I just knew this was my thing. I'd always read the reviews before deciding to play a game and I guiltily peeked at the walkthroughs when I was stuck. No place else had quite this vibe or this format. And, honestly, a good part of that was Jay's doing. Even so, everyone here has been doing their best to faithfully continue in that spirit and I can tell that Jeff is very dedicated to making JIG the best it's ever been.

Anyhow, now when I write a review or walkthrough, I think of the way I felt the first time I visited JIG and I write to that person newly discovering the escape game genre or tentatively deciding whether to download some Indie release or just wondering if there is something she's never tried before that's worth trying.

As I look at my wonderful colleagues and the work they do, I think there is no amount that can truly match their worth. Yet they don't do it just for money. They're not writing because they're paid to write; they're paid because they love to write and Jay valued their writing enough to pay for it. From my seat behind the curtain, I can tell the writers here are a dedicated group who do what they do because they care about this community. You're what makes it worth it.

So thank you, dear JIG community, for being the wind benea— Well, maybe I'm getting too gushy. (I really mean it, though.)

(It's also really cool to see everyone involved in this discussion: another reason JIG rocks!)

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I can't really put this delicately: if you guys didn't want us to talk about your salary, then you shouldn't have posted how much the salary pool is.

I did used to freelance for a smaller but widely-ranging site, and I was not paid percentages anywhere in this ballpark. I assure you I did at least as much work and research and sweating and crying over every article. I know others on other quasi-business sites who are paid just as much, if they're paid at all.

My philosophy is no one has to see what I do to get the final draft on the page; I am only paid for what people read. Which is good for my darkest nights of the soul, and bad for my bottom-line. Unless they discover that words can produce antigens or gold, that is, was, and always will be the business of writing. Like, the New Yorker may put food on the table, but 99% of the rest has always been this way. I am also passingly familiar with the going rates for writing in other formats, and honestly that budget just doesn't sound right for what we are receiving on this end. Again, I obviously don't know how much of that is the support/infrastructure. Maybe someone who's been in online freelance more recently can comment on this with authority, but to me at least, it doesn't seem to make economical sense for the market, the format, or the genre.

Again, if you're going to take these comments personally, I have to urge you to be objective about the larger picture. That's what this post is about, ostensibly. Most of us are trying to give you constructive criticism so this site can continue on. I *am* absolutely convinced you put your soul into this site. But the numbers don't care about our souls; they don't care at all. And if that's what keeps the site going, I hope you guys do have the ability to be objective about it.

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elle Author Profile Page January 15, 2014 6:12 PM replied to Shudog

Well, to put it bluntly: I didn't put the numbers out there. And that overall number does not actually tell what we each make. Since if I tell what I make, I'm telling what the other writers make, I don't feel it's my place to be specific. But, we are a team here, so I stand behind Dora's post.

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notawebmaster Author Profile Page January 15, 2014 10:46 PM

(Longtime lurker, first time poster)

THANK YOU for paying your writers. As someone who is pretty adjacent to writing and freelancing, I know how often freelance writers get screwed over. (I do read the reviews and ignore the mushrooms - being able to find out a bit about the game and use a walkthrough if I'm stuck is why I come here.)

Because of that, I did try unblocking, but my eyes can't handle all the blinky flashy. I did set adblocker to allow non-intrusive ads (thanks to whoever in this thread gave that tip!) Hoping to see some text ads or non-flashy ads now.

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colin.d.howell Author Profile Page January 16, 2014 10:52 AM

I myself have disabled Adblock Plus for this site thanks to your plea, since I didn't realize that it was badly hurting your bottom line.

The ad selection and layout does look like it could use some refinement, but for me it's tolerable.

However, I do find it hilariously ironic that one of the ads I'm currently seeing on this page (top right corner, directly beneath the custom search box) is for a YouTube ad blocker. It reads:

    Ad Blocker 100% Free

    Watch All Videos Without Ads!
    Enjoy Youtube & FB Ad Free

    Get It Now!

    BlockAds

It's as if the Internet ad industry has descended into self-parody or something.

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I have been here a long time. I've contributed frequently to the community and have even written a few reviews which have been published (and tons that have never even been acknowledged). I have tried in this discussion to be positive and constructive.

But...wow! League of Angels still advertising here? (found on the comments page for the new JiG Escape game idea). A new one to me, Prime World, not only has a half-naked woman, but unbelievably annoying continuous lightening flashes in the background (found on the home page when I first got here).

It's time to stop chatting us up and start changing the ad provider.

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Lol Colin, it sounds weird!

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To dsrtrosy:
League of Angels do not advertise here, I mean we do not want them! But they are very good to cheat the barriers. Now they advertise like leagueofangelsonline!
I've blocked the url. It should be ok within 24 hours.
I understand the complains of ads, it's mainly the purpose of the discussion. But for the moment we can not deal without them, we simply can not run without ads. But of course for the future, we will implement new ways for monetizing the website and we could see which are the best.
While we run with the ads, I will see how to implement something allowing you, the readers to click on a button when you see an offensive ad and it will send to us directly a screenshot of the website. Not entirely your browser page but just the JiG page.
Like that, I could act faster.

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In my case, I block ads simply because I'm in the minority of people that really don't buy things after seeing them on ads, so, since they are moving/flashing etc, I sure do use an ad-block program.

I may whitelist jayisgames if you put only ads that don't move at all, text-only being the best, but it still wouldn't make sense since, I really know myself and I wouldn't buy anything anyway so in a logic world no one should make any money when ads are displayed on my computer.

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I'm kind of saddened by some people's attitudes. It's one thing to say, "I have my ad blocker turned on because reasons," but to say, "I don't look at ads, period, just because," is kind of entitled.

Since this entry was posted, I white-listed JiG in Adblock Plus and selectively white-listed certain items in Ghostery, eventually blanket white-listing JiG in Ghostery. Why? Because I have my ad blocker turned on for reasons, but I support this site and the people behind it, so I'm willing to bend if it helps them.

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'Entitled' is a pretty strong word. You could say that I block ads 'just because', and sometimes I do feel that way. But the truth is that I put up with ads for a long time before ad blockers were really a thing. And I started blocking ads because I was tired of feeling exploited and manipulated, tired of being made into 'the product' of a website rather than a user.

I block ads because they annoy me, yes, but I also block them because I don't want to be commoditized, and I think people have the right to resist being turned into commodities for advertisers. None of this means that JIG is awful for having ads, but it does mean that the onus is on them to show that their site isn't doing those things, or allowing their advertisers to do it through them.

I think it's up to each individual's judgement on whether to allow it in a given case, and if you think that makes me entitled, then that's fine. I, personally, think that the relationship between audience and advertiser is one of significant power imbalance, not to mention power abuse, and I think each person has should do what they feel they need to in order to distance themselves from that relationship. If that hurts JIG's bottom line, then I'm sorry. That honestly does suck. But I value not being turned into a piece of meat with a wallet more than I value JIG's financial success.

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We are not here to oppose the readers who keep adbblocker and those who don't have it or whitelisted the site.
All are part of the community and it's up to everyone to act like he wants.
I take this discussion to announce a new feature: the 'Recent comments' box with the latest 5 comments. Tomorrow this feature will be improved with a refresh button and the possibility to see the latest 10 (still in the box) and the latest 50 or 100 in a page.

Also, please notice we added 'Scroll up' & 'Homepage' just under the bar of the latest comment.

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Jeff, I'm in the advertising industry. I know League of Angels doesn't advertise directly with you--and that you have to go in and fix it every time they "cheat". I know that those ads come from a provider, because having been in the industry for 20+ years, I have used those providers in clients' web sites.

But MY point was that you have been given LOTS of other options to replace the ad provider you are currently using. Instead of fighting a losing battle, maybe go with a different option. Because I have to agree with one of the naysayers--we didn't put advertising on this site (whether we support you in doing it or not) and we shouldn't have to be the watchdogs of the site.

I do support you and it's why I've never used an ad blocker here. But the problem isn't going away by continuing to do the same thing over and over again.

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First, would someone please update me on the whole "Jay sold jayisgames" thing? To whom? When? Why? How has jayisgames changed since?
Meanwhile, I have a (small) bank draft in US dollars in hand. Please tell me who to make it out to, and where to address it. Ideally, could you please make this information available somewhere on the website? There is nothing under "contact." And "support" is for game support, not for supporting jayisgames.
Thank you.

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Oops, apologies. I did not read through all three pages of comments, so missed Jay's excellent explanation answering all of my questions. Sorry.
I'd still love a mailing address for the wee bank draft burning a hole in my pocket, though.
Thanks.

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To chime back in:

First off, to anyone trying to justify using an ad blocker on this site (especially after the staff has explained why you shouldn't)repeat after me: I. am. a. jerk. Say it and mean it, because you are. No one forced you to come to this site. You are not a champion of freedom because you chose to combat the 'evil advertisers' by blocking their content. You are a leech and a pirate. They (the owners of this site) have given you an opportunity to view this content at no out of pocket expense to yourself. All you have to do is sit through/view some advertisements, an arrangement that has been in place and perfectly functional for as long as absolutely ever in the history of media. Sorry if this is a shock to you. I'm sorry if the occasional animated mammary gland gets you in a tizzy, makes your personal truth feel marginalized. I myself don't care for alcohol consumption, I lost someone very dear to me in a drunk driving accident. This does not mean that every time I see a beer commercial I boycott NBC and stop watching Community. I accept it as part of life, like an adult. (also, before you get angry, to the 100 or so people that have epilepsy or a 56k modem because you're viewing this site from Chechnya or whatever, I'm not talking about you. You're cool. I'm talking about the 1,499,899 other unique visitors per month that don't even blink at loading the paltry few MBs this site requires to view. So calm down.)

Second, take everything Shudog said, circle it with red ink and put a gold star next to his name, because he is absolutely correct and trying to help you guys. Jeff, I'm sure you are passionate about this site and gaming and what not, but this site will not survive on butterfly dreams and fairy wishes, and making a profit is not in any way a bad thing. Quite the opposite, if your revenue is ad based (and therefore a direct function of the amount of traffic you get), then being profitable is an indication that you are doing something RIGHT, that you are doing something to appeal your readers and drive traffic to your site. Posing 3 reviews a day highlighting every two-bit kickstarter project under the sun is not the way to do that. Monetizing the "New free online games" section at the top of your homepage by charging a nominal fee to be featured (rather than randomly featuring recently reviewed games at no cost to anyone) IS the way to do that. Or one of the ways.

Thirdly, there is no miscommunication as to what a 'review' means. The distinction highlighted above is irrelevant. If you think that reality TV is real, you're wrong. If you think that other sites that feature similar content are not being paid for their reviews, even if those reviews are really just in-depth descriptions (excluding of course personal blogs that have in no way made an appeal to their audience to commercially support them), you're wrong. All that you're saying is that some sites/reviews are better at tricking you into believing they are not monetized (just as some reality tv shows are better at tricking you into believing they are 'real')

Fourthly (small point), Jeff, I am baffled by your comment that it was somehow up to Jay to indicate to readers that ownership had changed. The very moment you purchased this site is the moment that you took on the responsibility of informing the readers about everything regarding this site ever. This is your baby now, and you should run with it, not wait for Jay to do the explaining. You have one of the top casual gaming websites on the net. If you don't know what to do with it, I'll gladly pay whatever you paid Jay to buy the site, because I DO know what to do with it.

Fifthly.big breath, guys. I just see a lot of.naivete? Lack of objectivity? Isn't the entire purpose of this thread to communicate the fact that you are not making money? And yet there is this underlying feeling that you believe that making money is somehow wrong at its very core. I love that you love what you do, that's why we're all here. I don't think a single person that visits this site, let alone decides to post a comment, lacks passion. But you can love what you do and still want to be SUCCESSFUL at what you do.

Drop adwords. Curate your adspace, Sell reviews. Sell placement and features. Keep your integrity. You're great, I love you guys, but your existence on the net is not a right, and you're not doing me a specific favor by simply existing any more than I'm doing you a favor by being here and commenting. It's a symbiotic relationship, and unfortunately for you, if you die, we have somewhere else to go. You don't. Don't die, please. Adapt, grow. Survive.

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I don't know what a " " I'm supposed to be, but I'm glad using procon latte to censore myself for ever knowing it.

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From reading your comment a few lines above, you seem to be the kind of jerk that has no idea how website advertising works, since you seem to think that you shouldn't be shown ads because you purport to not be influenced by advertising in any way (not true) and you somehow equate your non desire to purchase products with this website not getting paid by advertisers to display their ads to you.

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Dora, no worries! I understand that on these here internets, tone and intention can easily be misconstrued, and I know that I myself often come off as a touch abrasive or intense when I'm speaking on something I care about. I think what I was reacting to was the idea that I should refer to earlier comments because you didn't want to reiterate what you had already said. I didn't want you to reiterate something you already said, I wanted you to consider my comments and make up new things to say, because I felt (possibly wrongly) that the things I said addressed your position in such a way that it would be impossible to reply with the same statements without basically saying "la-la-la I can't hear you!"

To wit, (and again, take my tone in the lighter sense, I'm not picking fights) I was trying to convey my experience that paid reviews don't have to be at heart disingenuous or contrived; that you could receive money from developers in an honest and open way not for shilling reviews, but for providing the service of press on a high traffic website, which is certainly a valuable commodity. If you had 200k followers on twitter, you can bet developers would pay you to tweet anything about their game, good or bad, just to get the name in the general consciousness. You basically have that same platform here. But again, I get that we probably have an irreconcilable difference of opinion here, and that is perfectly ok. I just want to see this site succeed and flourish!

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Hello Cutty,

Thank you for your long comment. I read it carefully.
You're right on many points, really.
For instance, yes I agree that making money is not my main focus here despite of the fact my company has acquired the website for an amount fair but important. I'm a developer, I met success with my game 'Akinator' and now I like to work with other developers because I value their work. I have no knowledge in marketing or advertising, it's another world for me.
It's obvious that this website in another hands could perform better regarding the incomes. But as I said, I know JiG since a long time, for me it's a kind of reference and I will suffer as owner or reader if the website would be too much monetized.
So let's wait a little to let us analyzing the best options to satisfy the audience and meet our end.

Regarding Jay, I'm in excellent terms with him. Jay is really a brilliant person and I have a deep respect for him. Also, since the sale, Jay has been all the time around for helping with the transition and helping Dora or me for handling all the stuff.
You said, it was more up to me to announce the sale. Maybe. I think we can have different sensibilities from where we live. In France, it's usually, the seller who would do a message. Well, it's not like the sale has been achieved one year or two years ago, only some months have passed and really we do not want to hide anything.

For the reviews to sell. We received every day requests from companies for writing paid reviews. You say, we can do honest reviews even if we have been paid for them. Maybe.
But if you begin to have some relationships with companies, dealing, joking by mails, I can be wrong but at a moment, in my opinion, it will be very hard to say a game is bad or worth nothing!

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Cutty:

If any of that was aimed at me (and surely it must have been) then I feel you're sorely missing my point. Let me put this out here, up front. I will not watch ads. I will donate, if it's an option. Not 'I should donate' or 'I might donate'. I'm committing to this now, because I'm sick of being told I'm a thief or a jerk because I want to make choices about the content I see. If you think I'm not an adult because I'd rather contribute with money than by watching obnoxious ads, then that sounds like your problem, not mine.

Or, I could just leave, since that seems to be what you want. Would that make you feel happier? Would that make you feel justified?

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On a recent review for Urquel: The Black Dragon, I count no less than 5 grammatical errors and a pretty bad spoiler. No surprise, it's Tricky. I wonder, how much do you pay him for a review like that? Is anyone editing these reviews, or even proofreading it?

And finally, to the bunch who thinks that refusing to watch ads is wrong, greedy, makes me a jerk, not contributing to society, etc. Grow up. What a misguided, juvenile view you have. Go join a hippie commune and follow Phish around, because the real world has no place for you. It is not my responsibility or problem to help this site or anything else survive because of their broken business model. Ads are soon to be gone. Realize that. Unless they find a way to combat the adblockers, there will soon be no AdSense, etc. Websites will have to come up with another way to make money. I'm sure some will, and they will survive. And some wont, and they will not. Have a fund raiser or something, in the form of a donate button. I'm sure people will donate. I wont, simply because my money is better used elsewhere. If you don't raise enough and are forced to shut down, I'll definitely miss the site. I've enjoyed it for years. But, I'll simply move on to another, because it's a website on the internet. Would I do any more if a restaurant or store I like closes down because of lack of business? Am I going to donate money to them to keep their business going? Probably not. The difference is, I'm paying to get something in return over there. A website is not like a store: it's more like a channel on cable. If too many people DVR your channel and don't watch your ads, and you suffer and die, well, you'd better figure out another way to make money.

If any of this seems rambling, or didn't make sense, it's because I again abstained from proofreading or editing it in any way. If Tricky doesn't do it, and he gets PAID for it, why should I?

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On a happy note--L-O-V-E the new "recent comments" box. Very bloggy. I always enjoy those. It's fun to see what people are talking about.

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Thank you dsrtrosy and do not miss the 'Scroll Up | Homepage' feature just under the bottom bar of the latest comment to go directly to the homepage or the top of the review ;)
This feature fits perfectly when you see the recent comments.

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Nice! It was actually Jay who taught me how to scroll up with a keyboard shortcut on my Mac, but 9 times out of 10 I'm scrolling up just to hit the Home tab, so this is dandy!

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Can I chime in again? I don't think anyone who is using ad blocker is a jerk for using it.I absolutely understand. I've been part of discussions around the JIG office water cooler re: those same kinds of ads that have been complained about here. But Jeff is always a rock star in responding and working hard to remove them. Please stick with us—good things are in store for the future!

For those who really can't stand the ads and said you won't stop using ad block: would you try again to whitelist JIG, then try the "lights out" on game pages and cropping your browser view as an alternative to adblocking? If you are able to do so, that is.

To all those who are willing to view the ads to lend some support: thank you! Please keep doing that!!

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As Dora said, this discussion goes nowhere if we attack character rather than exchanging ideas. The only derogatory I put forth was 'jerk', and I wasn't just trying to call names, to me a jerk is someone who behaves in a particular way.

Let me ask you this, can you find a real world corollary for your viewpoint that you can justify? If I had an arcade that existed in a physical location, and I said you could come and play any game you wanted in the arcade for free, but all you had to do was sit in a room and watch 3 minutes of advertisement, what would you do if 'you didn't watch ads'? Would you shoulder past me, push me out of the way and go play the games anyway? Of course you wouldn't. Or maybe you would. If you would, then you are someone I would call a jerk. So why do you think this behavior is acceptable online? Is it because you are anonymous, because you know that no one can stop you so you can just behave like you want? That to me sounds like a juvenile attitude.

If this site decides to move to a donation model, by all means, donate! But the model they have implemented is advertisement, and it is audacious indeed to hold the attitude that you have some kind of god given right to enjoy their content and insult their writers, and take as much as you want on your terms and screw everybody who says otherwise.

You absolutely have control of the content that you see. If you don't like a webpage, don't go to it. You don't like the ad content, go somewhere with no ads, or ads you like. For you to say that it is up to this site to cater to your preferred model of content viewing or you'll just steal from them is not a moral position to hold. You couldn't justify it under any other model and you can't justify it here. You can just get away with it because the internet is the land of the script kiddie I can't code but I can download an app and steal as much content as I want aren't I so open and progressive entitled BS, and I as a content creator (in another field) have no time for people that think it's ok to steal hard work and effort of others because they can.

Punk.

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Why are reviews (seemingly) not put through automated grammar/spelling checkers? I've noticed an increase in the number of mistakes in reviews over the years. While DAM's comment was definitely...whatever it was...the question remains valid. I don't want to link to other sites (even though I don't really understand why that rule is in place--fear of pushing business to other websites, or something technical?) but there are good, free grammar/spelling services out there.

Is there a method of screening ads before they're displayed on the website? Have you considered moving to an ad provider that allows this? Objectionable ads (moving, offensive, etc.) are a big deal for me, and for a lot of other people. I tried whitelisting JiG, but it was a bit of an assault on my eyes. Others feel the same way.

Now, for my $0.02. I like the work you do, even as I have less and less time for flash games, but I feel that a business course or two wouldn't be a bad investment. People have said (occasionally offensively) that the main goal of a business, if said business is to stay afloat, has to be to make money. You can be online, have a great relationship with your consumers, and love what you do, but if, at the end of the day, making enough money to stay afloat isn't the MAIN goal, you're doing yourselves a disservice. At the end of the day, major decisions should be decided by 'will it make us money', especially when you have legitimate competition (unlike Akinator, which was the only service of its kind I ever saw). This isn't something that I feel from the site.

I say all this as someone who likes the site, but doesn't love it, who wouldn't be adverse to throwing a few bucks your way, but wouldn't donate on a regular basis (because I don't play games from the site on a regular basis) who won't turn his adblocker off, until a standard for acceptable ads is developed, and the enforcement of that standard lies squarely on the shoulders of the staff of the site, and, most of all, who is interested in having a conversation, not an argument.

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Cutty:

For one thing, I think you're pretty clearly attacking my character. You've called me a thief, a leech, entitled, juvenile, selfish, and a few others I've probably missed. So if you don't mean to attack my character, you might want to re-analyze your points.

That said, your arcade metaphor doesn't work. If you told me I had to watch ads before playing a game in your arcade, I would watch them, or leave. If JIG said I had to watch ads before reading one of their reviews, I would watch them, or leave.

The difference is that the traditional model of ads doesn't ask for my consent. They don't need to, because it's a given that I will see them. If JIG wants to put up a wall in front of their site that blocks someone until they watch an ad, that's their right, but I don't think they want to do that, and with good reason. But the tradeoff is that if I find a way to avoid the ads, I have violated no agreement and stolen nothing, because nobody has required me to look at the ads. This is more like if you let me into your arcade for free and put ads all around, but I put on blinders so that I did not see them.

I understand that you don't agree with my choice to block the ads. That's fine. I don't expect everyone to agree with my choices. But you've done nothing but insult me for my choice. I have elected to not call you a dupe or a sheeple or something like that because you do choose to view them, because I don't believe that's true, and it would be rude regardless. It would be nice to be afforded the same respect.

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Instead of tea and cummerbunds, I would suggest ponies :)
Just a quick note: the 'overflow' 300x250 banner has been removed and replaced by a 200x200 which fits the available space on the right. Also the 160x600 banner on the left has been replaced too by a 200x200.
It's a bit paradoxical to announce we have worries about how to cover all the expenses and in the meantime, reduce the number of the ads and their size but maybe with less ads and without this overflow 300x250 which I hated, people will find the blog more attractive (especially from a laptop or mobile) and the banners will receive more clicks.
For those who use adblockers and did not see how the blog is now, you can take a look here:
http://puu.sh/6pbnn.jpg

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Hey guys--I know you have a lot on your plates, but just wondering if we are going to have Best of 2013?

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First of all, thanks everyone for your work on this site- it introduced me to the casual gameplay world and I have wasted many happy hours over the past few years. So now times are hard...I think there are a number of good suggestions that have been made to cut back a bit on expenditure and increase revenue to make ends meet. And I think it's a case of taking the best suggestions and applying as many as necessary- there's no quick fix I believe.

First cut back on expenditure (we all have to do this right now- I've been made redundant myself recently) I think you could reduce the amount spent on reviews without compromising JiG's raison d'etre- many reviews could be shorter and more succinct- sometimes there's not that much to say about a game- so don't try. Other games deserve a longer review and make for more entertaining reading. Keeping the quality up is important. I particularly like Dora's style in this respect (maybe you get good games to write about :) )

Increasing revenue- hey it was this site that made me install adblock- I couldn't get the games to load on some sites without it. I didn't realise that it was stopping you getting income so while I will still use it to quickly check the site, I'll also leave it running sometimes in another tab after I've finished. I suggest you just keep encouraging folk with this one and doing what you can to keep the ads as inoffensive as possible.

I wouldn't pay a subscription, since it seems that there are less browser games available now that i want to play- I only really check out the room escapes and point-and-clicks and occasional arty ones. But I'd be very happy to donate to a game that I've enjoyed playing- a bit like the old "share-ware" game system. Half could go to JiG and half to the developer..

I hope it works out for you and I can continue to rely on you to encourage me to fritter more of my life away. And that you get the rewards deserved for your efforts. Thanks and good luck to Jay too.

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Hey guys--I know you have a lot on your plates, but just wondering if we are going to have Best of 2013?
Absolutely, all the staff has worked on the lists. Dora will give more details soon.

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youthemannowdog Author Profile Page January 18, 2014 7:18 PM

I think this is the first comment I've left at jayisgames. I feel strongly about any community doing what it takes to keep a good thing going. All of your ideas on how to generate more revenue make sense to me. I think you could have a hard time convincing people to turn off their adblockers, but hopefully a lot more will whitelist jayisgames.

I think a donate button would generate positive cash flow from members like me who want to see sites like this continue to showcase the best free (and not free) games. I also would consider a subscription type system. Maybe you could think of a couple cool perks for those who subscribe to a yearly or monthly fee. Perhaps work with a few developers to give a discount on game purchases or a free premium game once in a while.

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Haven't checked this site in a couple of weeks so I missed this but I want to express my disappointment at many of the views of people on this site. It is not someone's right to be able to visit a site as they please and disable ads so the site receives no revenue stream. The problem today is that ads have had to become more intrusive due to the attitude of people believing they are exempt from having to watch ads online. It's selfishness, pure and simple.

@ffivfan, your scenario doesn't work out. The arcade would have been paid for placing the adverts in the first place regardless if you saw them or not. Not only that, but if the adverts could somehow monitor how many people did see them and the arcade was paid on that basis, it would be inconsiderate of you to block vision intentionally had you known. It is exactly the same in this case.

I really hope this site can continue to run because I find a lot of nice games on here that I would never see otherwise; so thank you Jay :)

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Fanjita: The point is that nobody has required me to watch the ads. Nobody has stood in my way and said 'you have to watch these ads first.' Nobody has made me agree to watch the ads. Even in this discussion, nobody from JIG has told me that I'm required to watch the ads. You and Cutty have told me as much, which makes me wonder what authority you have to say so.

Your point seems to be mainly that it would be more considerate of me to unblock the ads. And I will concede that you're right on that point. But that doesn't amount to an obligation, and it's up to me how much I think I owe it to JIG to unblock the ads. If JIG did run entirely on donations, would you think someone wouldn't have the right to use their site without donating?

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darksilvermoon5 Author Profile Page January 18, 2014 11:02 PM

Please, for the love of all that is good, please don't go the subscription route. I hate it when I go to a website and find that I need to pay to see content that I would have been happy to wade through annoying advertisements for. I enjoy this site, but I do not have the means to help fund the site with money out of my own pockets.

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Interesting that DAM gets flamed for being on a "personal attack", but Cutty got a pass when he practically called anyone that used an adblocked a jerk. No, I'm not championing any particular cause. I just choose to block ads. I am under no obligation to view an advertisement just because you have this irrational belief that I should because its the right thing to do.

If this site fails, it will be because of poor business decisions (if you are going to argue that its a business and not just a hobby). It will be because the people that bought it/run it, cannot make business decisions and want to make emotional appeals. It will be because they won't take steps to bring revenue to their site. Its because they won't make the hard decisions and want to involve the "community." The business model here isn't working. Quit trying to pass the problem on to the user... it gives you a nice excuse if you fail (i.e. "We did what they said we should do.").. but that's about it. Ultimately, its the decision of the business to decide what to do.. To steal from DAM, its not my problem or responsibility (or that of any user for that matter) to solve JiG's revenue problem. Its the owner's problem... the current owner...

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Meterman70 Author Profile Page January 19, 2014 12:55 AM

Longtime reader chiming in.

I appreciate this honest article and I do have an ad blocker installed, but I don't block ALL ads - only from those networks that deliver visually obnoxious ads as well as those that use social engineering to drive visitors to their site (i.e., Drop 300 pounds of belly fat with this weird old trick!).

I will try and adjust my filters to allow more ads to be displayed (but one that currently aggravates me is the one for AdventureQuest. Surprised that it's still around and no surprise that their ad is still as distracting as ever).

Again, thanks for putting this plea up, and I would be more than happy to toss a few bucks now and then into the community kettle.

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Hi, I'm a long time reader/lurker. My personal preference would be to start with a belt and braces approach, ie, a plea to whitelist JIG but with an added message that if you don't wish to whitelist then please consider donating.

I personally don't use adblock, but if I did I would certainly whitelist this site! There are plenty of sites offering links to games, but none of them deliver what JIG does; a friendly site filled with witty and informative reviews for games that come with the JIG assurance of quality! I particularly enjoy reading Dora's, GrinnyP's and Elle's reviews over at weekday escape!

I really hope that the financial side of things gets sorted out for you all, and I really hope that a paywall isn't needed as not everyone is in a position to pay.

However, I've got a collection of Happy Coins you can have! :)

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Billy Nitro Author Profile Page January 21, 2014 11:09 PM

Hey guys,

I'm sorry if this idea was already put forth, but I didn't feel like reading 292 essay length comments. You may look into methods that some institutions use to gather donations. Small things like having a reason can make massive differences. For instance, the 'plea' option in my mind would be best. If an adblocker is detected, you could have a prompt that says something like, "Please add JIG to your whitelist because every displayed ad keeps our site running".

There are several aspects to consider for each visitor to actually see the ads. 1) Do they read the reviews? Do they even speak English well enough to do so? 2) Or do they come just for the games? Do they even play the games? 3) Which games get the most clicks? 4) If there's a game they want to play, do they play it at a parent site or the one hosted at JIG? I could go on, but I hope I made myself clear.

If an appealing motivation gets all up in one's grill, the average person is more likely to agree to it so you may get a significant increase in viewed ads.

I'm sorry I don't have the resources on hand, but there are some marketing techniques I heard on podcasts like Freakonomics that seem 'non-intuitive' or otherwise super simple like the one I mentioned above that can increase revenue.

Going on step further, you may actually want to put some extra money into a marketing department, or hire someone with experience in getting donations by appeal. If the 'donation' is merely turning off an adblocker, then I should think the results will be more favorable.

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Smoothfonzo Author Profile Page January 27, 2014 12:43 AM

I've been whitelisting this site for quite awhile now. But In general, I've been using NoScript for legitimate reasons. We as consumers can't easily trust adservers, and much of the time we often hear of adservers that have been contaminated. I've been an unfortunate victim of malware due to this in the past. This is an area where surfers don't really have much control over and must take precautions. But I trust you guys, so I've whitelisted.

RE Shilling:
Think about this. The FTC recently clarified its rules on paid bloggers, which essentially states that any paid endorsement [u]must be disclosed[/u]. That means that we would have known by now if they had, so case closed.

I don't think any site could reasonably please everyone. That without question is impossible. It may not be up to everyone's expectations, but I happen to feel they're doing a great job in a growing and changing market.

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MrsRavoon Author Profile Page March 1, 2014 1:10 PM

"If just once percent of our average monthly visitors donated a dollar apiece every month, we could cover our operating costs and get rid of ads entirely"

So where's that donation button? What are you waiting for?

As God said to the rabbi, "So buy a ticket already!"

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Sorry for being so late to the table (I am working my way back through the posts after an extended time away), but I'm kind of with MrsRavoon above; I've been looking for a donate button for a couple of minutes. I hope that I will be able to find one in the coming months! :)

JIG has been my main go-to site for interesting indie games for years now, and I'd be more than happy to toss $15 into the pot every year for the privilege of getting to keep accessing this great service. I figure that more than 1% of your visitors would probably feel the same.

With regards to ads and ad blockers, I made a conscious decision not to use ad blockers years ago, precisely because I would like to help sites that I use in any small way that I can. However, I do use Flashblock. I feel a bit guilty when I see lots of Flash frames which are obviously ads, but Flash ads are just so obnoxious, and such a drain on system resources, that I have decided that they are not welcome. Having to sit through a short video or presentation before starting a game is one thing, but having some ad constantly jump around and make noise or grow to take over the screen whenever I accidentally mouse over it, while it also slows down the game I want to play, is another.

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Many thanks Nezuji for your kind comment :)

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Donations are a great way to run a passion site. I happily donate to public radio and listener-run radio stations, and I subscribe to Netflix and Hulu Plus to find great content. So a subscription would be OK too, I guess.

I generally don't read anything on JIG except the links to the games, but I appreciate that for those who want lengthy analysis, it's here.

For a long time room escape addict like me, I have no use for prose-y reviews. I want to see "how hard is the puzzle solving", "how good are the graphics", and that's about it.

I personally would rather read articles like "up and coming room escape developers" or "Whatever happened to IDAC/Gotmail?" A more industry-ish take on things.

But that's me.

Thanks for introducing this thread.

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