JayisGames, Ads, The Future, and You
Last 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.
The big thing, of course, is how much JayisGames costs on average to run on a monthly basis.
Server Cost: $800.00USD
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!