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Sooo ... some bad news. As many of you know, we made a full 120% recovery from our battle with Google Panda a couple months ago. Unfortunately, *something* has struck again. Whether another iteration of Panda or something else, we once again lost more than half of our traffic overnight.

I've fully documented just about every change imaginable over the course of 2011 as we worked hard to make DaniWeb a better experience for the end-user. There was just one thing I was too scared to try -- and that's making DaniWeb ad-free. Well, at least just temporarily.

We are currently running a one-day long test in which DaniWeb is an ad-free experience for everyone, not just sponsors and moderators. We will be closely monitoring whether the bounce rate, pageviews per user, and time on site are significantly changed as a result of an advertising-free experience.

If they are, a lot of effort will be put into making the site profitable AND keeping the improvements. At least this will give us an idea of what discrepancy, if any, exists between all ads and no ads, so we can find a happy medium.

In the meantime, enjoy your one day being ad free!! :)

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Last Post by Dani
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    Dani 1,665   6 Years Ago

    Firstly, it's the last day of Q3, so it affords us the opportunity to do this before Q4 campaigns start tomorrow. Secondly, while we're sacrificing an entire day worth of income, it's worth the test to see if our advertisements are negatively affecting the site in any way. Read More

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Holy shit I must be dreaming


*pinch

Not to ruin this moment, but don't you kinda need the advertisers for, you know, cash?

Edited by Nick Evan: n/a

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Firstly, it's the last day of Q3, so it affords us the opportunity to do this before Q4 campaigns start tomorrow. Secondly, while we're sacrificing an entire day worth of income, it's worth the test to see if our advertisements are negatively affecting the site in any way.

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Agree that is good opportunity to make some findings
agree
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Confirmation by Google that it is, indeed, another Panda iteration that we got caught up in.

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Ive tested this and found ads make little differene to those metrics. Id still be interested to know your results Dani. FYI i removed ads from my popular forum 2 months ago after a Panda hit and saw no recovery when they pushed the button a few days back. :(

Edited by hybr!d: n/a

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Well in our case the advertising significantly hurts our page load time, so I'm hoping for a decreased bounce rate directly correlated to a decrease in load time. So we shall see what happens tomorrow.

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It hurts everyone... The changes I made, ads included reduced my GWT pages speed times from 9s to 2s.

Result after 60 days = Nothing. No increase in time on site/bounce/page views per visit etc and no increase in traffic.

20k a day audience.

Still, YMMV.

Edited by hybr!d: n/a

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Sorry, i wish i could be more upbeat.

I was floored today when i heard you got hit again, if you fit their target criteria, then i have no hope.

Edited by hybr!d: n/a

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I was just wondering if I could get some feedback from people with how they like the ad-free DaniWeb experience. So far, I have been thoroughly disappointed in that there is no decrease in bounce rate, no increase in the number of posts or the time spent on the site. I was really hoping there would be some more community engagement considering the pages load so much quicker.

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Dani, why not make ads only show for guests, that way the members are happy and you should keep the revenue for the most part, many forums operate this way.

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Well, the test is over, and unfortunately I was very disappointed in the results. There seemed to be no increase in user activity on the site at all without the ads. That being said, I did take the opportunity to make some changes to ad placements yesterday, so things should be slightly different for you today.

We don't make the ads only show for guests because our pitch to advertisers is the opportunity to reach our great community. With social media the latest craze, marketers are all about wanting to reach and engage online communities. It wouldn't fly if advertisers were only able to reach one-time passers-by and not community members.

However, you can donate for an ad-free DaniWeb :)

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Well, the test is over, and unfortunately I was very disappointed in the results. There seemed to be no increase in user activity on the site at all without the ads.

I'm curious as to why you feel a single day test would show different user activity. Who would have been aware of the "Ad Freedom Day" so they could log on and enjoy no ads? And how many new users would be enticed for one day? No ads would do nothing for the users in a single-day test.

IMO, all you tested was your backend timings and such.

Edited by WaltP: n/a

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I did not mean to test anything related to members. It was simply a study of 200,000 random people who all came to DaniWeb as a result of a Google search, landed on a forum thread, and had not previously been to the site. I wanted to see if their behavior was at all different with ads versus without.

Of course, the study wasn't perfect because it was only one day, but all I had was one day, and so something was better than nothing.

It turns out that their behavior WAS very different. It just took Google Analytics over 24 hours to play catch-up in the reporting, so I didn't realize it during my previous post. There was actually 25% more activity among the sample group without ads than with ads.

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Whoa! 25%? 10% wouldn't necessarily be significant but 25 doesn't seem to be chance. So what's the next step to see if it wasn't just an anomaly?

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Well we made changes to the way that ads are displayed and actually have fewer ads on the site now, to try to retain some of that increase.

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> Well we made changes to the way that ads are displayed and actually have fewer ads on the site now, to try to retain some of that increase.

Unfortunately that didn't work. Even with half the number of ads, the activity per user bounced right back.

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Have you come to any theories / conclusions yet as to the key factors in the latest drop in traffic?

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Our traffic has made a complete recovery today, after less than a week of being hit.

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Google formally admitted that DaniWeb should not have been hit by Google's algorithm, and then we made a recovery a few days later. We were the only site that Matt Cutts (head of Google's webspam team) made mention of.

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We were the only site that Matt Cutts (head of Google's webspam team) made mention of.

That's commendable

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Brilliant news. Methinks there is a news story in this about DaniWeb beating Google Panda for a second time. Just have to wait for Dani to wake up and get some exclusive quotes :)

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