And Now a Word From Our Sponsors

Starting tomorrow, Wordie is going to runs ads. Standard Google text ads (no images), at the top of each page.

But ads will run only on Tuesdays. Kind of like casual Friday, but for ads. And on Tuesday.

I’m curious to see what the Google ad-matching algorithm does with Wordie’s all-over-the-map content. Chained_bear’s Journey of a 300-Year-Old House list is going to bring up ads for roofing and home depot–even I could write that algorithm. But what about lek and waxed paper? And I’m scared, but curious, to see what it does with this.

The decision to run ads is part joke, part curiosity, but mostly it’s economic. I cover Wordie’s costs, and it’s adding up. And as traffic rises, so does the expense.

On other sites I’ve built, like Squirl, the fact that the site carried ads led some people to believe we were minting money. Let me disabuse you of that notion. Here are the numbers.

On a good day Wordie serves around 7,000 page views. You’re doing pretty well to earn $1 per thousand page views from Google, so Wordie might make $7 per Tuesday†, or $28 a month. Wordie is served on a 512MB slice (from the inimitable Slicehost), which costs me $38 a month. So, I’m still in the hole $10 every month, much less paying myself anything (though socializing with you Wordies is, of course, reward enough–*smooch*). These limited ads will defray my costs, that’s it.

I’m a little sad about ending Wordie’s commercial-free phase, but hopefully this won’t be too intrusive. Over time, I hope to refine the way ads are presented so that they’re maybe even a bit amusing–like build a system where, say, Ikea could run furniture ads on all the furniture words. Credenza, brought to you by Ikea. I’d insist on writing all the copy, of course*. Sort of like a 1940s radio soap opera, or Sesame Street: Today’s episode is brought to you by the letter N, and the number 3! Except that the number 3 was getting a free ride.

In any case, this is, as always, a work in progress. Let me know what you think.

† UPDATE: The results are in, and after one Tuesday of ads, I can say that my initial back of the envelope calculations were wildly optimistic. We did indeed get around 7,000 page views. Cut all the rest of the numbers in half. The final take: $3.45.
* Actually, if anyone wants to buy advertising space directly, and is willing to let me write the copy, you should have, you know, your people get in touch with my people**.
** Uh, I don’t have any people. Not those kind of people, at least. Email me: john[at]

6 thoughts on “And Now a Word From Our Sponsors

  1. Ah, what the hell. Give it a try. And for what it’s worth, I’d be more than willing to pay a subscription fee, should you choose to go that way. I don’t do that often, but it’s too late for me now and I must keep feeding my Wordiebeast or it will destroy me.

    Besides, it’ll be fun to see what it does with all the poop lists.

  2. Sounds good to me, I’m sure we’d all like to see you recompensed for your hard work. Have you considered alternative ways to generate income? Like, maybe, Wordie merchandise? I’d love to have a quality hoodie. Or maybe (and I say this, hesitating) a premium service with additional features and no ads?

  3. The idea of a premium service kind of turns me off–part of my pleasure in doing this is building stuff and then seeing people enjoy it, and I don’t want to limit the audience. Merch, I can do that–I’ll look into Cafe Press and places like that.

    Thanks for being understanding. I don’t mind advertising that much, as long as it’s not egregious, but I know it really turns some people off.

  4. I’m generally ok with non-obtrusive advertising, and it would be interesting to see what Google suggests for various words.

    There was a time when Google constantly suggested Alcoholics Anonymous for me while reading emails from my college friends. I enjoyed it thoroughly.

  5. The way I see it, if having sponsors gives you, John, more personal bandwidth to enhance Wordie, then everyone benefits. And a PayPal donation button wouldn’t cut the mustard.

  6. I think you should do what you have to do to keep the site going without it costing you money. If you lose even a small amount of money on it, eventually that will cause you to make decisions about the site that you might not want to make. If you at least break even that is a good thing for everyone. I think therefore that you should expand your ads if that helps you break even or turn a small profit. There is nothing wrong with getting paid for doing work. Web usability reports indicate that most people are fine with Google’s ads – that is why they are so successful. And I think they can be fun – this is often true in my gmail account. Also, I agree with uselessness who suggested merchandise – your type of site lends itself to that kind of thing. Who among us would not be proud to wear a shirt emblazoned with “Honeywagon of Nightsoil”, or indeed any one of the items on the poop list?

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