My primary concern is that ads not affect the actual content of our travel guides. That means that all advertisements be located outside the article space. That basically leaves three possibilities: underneath, to the left, and above the guides. I think the best location is on the left navbar, so long as it is at least beneath the "navigation" box. Bottom-of-the-page would likely bother no one, but they would also be less desirable to advertisers since they would be so far out of the way. Perhaps spaces above our articles, such as the area now used for site-wide notices and even perhaps in the area just beneath the personal links (Username, Usertalk, Preferences, etc.) could be used for one high-bidding text ad.
I think the left navbar is the top candidate: it's clearly visible, it doesn't affect the content, and it's technically fairly straightforward to do (or so Evan tells me).
Wikitravel Press will probably also get some page on the Main Page to plug its offerings. I'm not sure about the exact location though: possibilities include to the right of the Discover box or within the (enlarged?) "Featured Articles" box, with the latter probably a better fit: "here are some of our best articles online, and you can buy this one as a book too!". Jpatokal 22:20, 12 September 2007 (EDT)
Wikevent shows one example of left nav bar advertising. I agree it would be nice to keep them out of the actual article space. IB has said they favor non-intrusive ads, but obviously that depends on your definition of intrusive. I find this a little intrusive. – cacahuatetalk 02:06, 13 September 2007 (EDT)
Left nav sounds good, although way back in the day en:User:Mark was working on a new Wikitravel skin that created a right navigation bar. The demo site is gone now, but some of the discussion is available at User:Mark/Archive#My attempt at site redesign. The advantage was that left nav was used for navigation, while right nav collected additional content, making for a clear delineation. Right or left, it would be great if ads were non-obtrusive and also targeted by section, for example putting hotel ads next to the "Sleep" section and taxi service ads next to "Get around". That may be too much to ask, but it seems like it would offer the most value to both travelers and IB. And I'm envisioning Google text ads - unobtrusive is good, but flashy "punch the monkey" ads would be an unforgiveable evil. -- Ryan 02:15, 13 September 2007 (EDT)
Agree on the left navbar, the obtrusiveness of that World66 ad, ethical treatment of animated monkeys, and having no problem with text ads. Gorilla Jones 17:01, 14 September 2007 (EDT)
Types of ads
There are two types of advertisements that I'm aware of, that have already gained a good degree of acceptance from Wikitravelers both affiliated and unaffiliated with Internet Brands : Google text ads and Wikitravel Press ads. I certainly support the use of these specific types of ads and would be open to other types, if anyone has additional suggestions. --PeterTalk 14:17, 12 September 2007 (EDT)
I would like to see one square inch or say 200px of charitable ad space. Like "Contribute to Doctors Without Borders Here" - Other than that, I think ads are fine and necessary to support the site. 2old 14:29, 12 September 2007 (EDT)
I think that would be a pretty cool thing to do. And that's not (I think) something we'd need to wait for IB to do, I'm pretty sure that if we agree on it, we could just put up a link ourselves. --PeterTalk 02:42, 13 September 2007 (EDT)
Umm, I hate to sound cynical, but I don't really see the connection to WT here...? What are you hoping to achieve with this? Jpatokal 12:40, 13 September 2007 (EDT)
Well, you do sound cynical. But to answer your question. You have found this site to be rewarding, in as you are now selling printed books using the work of others. Some others may like to see their work be rewarded in other ways. This could be one example. As with this site, "Dr's Without Borders" have no borders. There is a lot of white space to the left going unused at this point, this could benefit many in need. Not doing it does not make any sense, and could be considered quite selfish. What are you hoping to achieve? Maybe restoring sight to one person as Windhorse suggested in a previous discussion, before he and some others dissapeared. Or helping a child to walk. Who knows? Please tell me why you would object, maybe I am missing something. 2old 13:09, 13 September 2007 (EDT)
I think 2old has a good point in that contributors work on wikis mostly for altruistic reasons. If our work benefits a good cause like Médecins Sans Frontières, that benefits WT because it gives contributors another reason to feel good about their work. Oh, and Windhorse will be back, as I understand it, he's traveling right now and doesn't have internet access. --PeterTalk 18:25, 13 September 2007 (EDT)
Being a mean old Scrooge who eats babies for breakfast, I'm going to object on three grounds.
1) Commercial cost. The more ads we have, the more they compete for the viewer's attention and the less they're each worth. So putting up a charity ad will indirectly reduce any ad revenue for IB (and, yes, WTP).
2) No added value. Any money contributed would come directly from the users of the site, and people who contribute to charities will generally do so without prodding from Wikitravel. Unless you can convince IB to (say) put up matching donations, you're not making a net difference.
3) Implied community endorsement. Any charity selected would have to represent everybody on Wikitravel, which is near-impossible. I've contributed to Planned Parenthood Int'l, which I'm sure would raise a few hackles here, and even something as notionally inoffensive as MSF has caused controversy over the years. Here's a real-life example: last year, WikiHow went carbon-neutral, which means they put money into offsetting their carbon footprint. This stirred up a lot of debate about whether doing so was appropriate (did WikiHow have any business sticking its nose into what some viewed as politics, whether this money should have been used for upgrading the service instead, etc), to the extent that some long-time contributors left.
So there. Shave the whales and pave the earth. Jpatokal 23:44, 13 September 2007 (EDT)
Well stated Jani. But, let's look at each one.
1) Commercial cost. At this point there are no ads. If Peter is correct and we could do this now, it would be a test of responses, would not cost anything, and may do some good.
2) No added value. You are correct, the money would come from the users. I do not think it would be a good idea to ask IB to give up space and match funds.
3) Implied Community Endorsement I really do not think this is an issue. The parties making the donations, likely would not donate to upgrade the service, that is what the ads are for, and if there is a lot of debate, that is fine, and if there is a lot of objection, it can be easily dropped.
A) One of the advantages to Wikitravel, may be the exposure this may generate for the site, and with Dr.s without borders, you could attract just the type of contributors to Wikitravel that we need. (You give, you get theory.)
B) One of the conditions, of providing an ad to a charitable user should be keeping track of actual $$$ donated and that should be reflected on the ad itself, if possible. Like "to date Wikitravers have donated $******* to ABC Charity"
So my vote is to Endorse such an ad, run on a trial basis for 6 months, with Windhorse being the negotiator with said charity, once he shows up. I hope he is having fun!
So, we are tied and shall move on with comment and voting (please vote only one time), unless IB puts the hammer to the deal. So there. Give sight to the blind and let the children walk. 2old 09:52, 14 September 2007 (EDT)
I am inclined against, because I think it's unfair to IB (in line with #1). If they begin raking in cash hand-over-foot, we can ask that space be set aside for something like this, but not before it's even begun. They need to be given a chance to get a return on their investment here, and raising the bar for them to do that will, in the long run, be deleterious to this site. Gorilla Jones 17:01, 14 September 2007 (EDT)
I see your point, but I think if we offend them, they will be quick to let us know. And, that is a good thing. 2old 17:13, 14 September 2007 (EDT)
All other issues aside, I just wanted to add a reminder that majority-rule voting is against the general Wikitravel practice of making all decisions by consensus. And that's something I'm 100% behind, although oddly it doesn't seem to be enshrined in policy anywhere... --PeterTalk 17:21, 14 September 2007 (EDT)
Just want to comment that IB's not commenting on this thus far is not out of a lack of interest, but more being interested in whatever consensus arises from this discussion. Redondo 19:17, 14 September 2007 (EDT)
To Peter. Thank you for pointing out the concensus issue/defintion. Again, I learn and I appreciate. To Rodondo. I am not trying to offend IB, or anyone else for that matter. And, I am glad you are paying attention, regardless of the outcome. I feel that I have taken away from Peters original question and that was not the intent. At my age (60), my goals, reward and thoughts may be a little different from the younger contributors. But, a relationship with organizations like DWOB, could likely provide benefit to both parties (For Wikitravel - Good exposure and the possibility of attracting addittional quality contribution). This thinking is probably generated from my role in real life as a negotiator with an obligation to treat all parties fairly. Usually, negotiators do not have the burden of "treating all parties fairly", that comes with my territory. 2old 11:55, 15 September 2007 (EDT)
Do we really have a say?
This page, seems to have lost it's appeal for discussion. But, another question has entered my little mind. What happens if/when IB decides to sell the site. Due to their lack of maintenence of the site (lack of interest?) and upgrades that have been proposed but never implemented, I get this uneasy feeling about it. 2old 11:27, 6 October 2007 (EDT)
Here's the thing, 2old: you do have a say, because you, and everybody else on WT, can vote with your feet. If IB doesn't do a good job of running it, and somebody comes up with a better option, then WT will die. But as long as IB, or anybody they choose to sell it to, keeps the community happy, then the site will keep chugging along.
...but this discussion has nothing to do with advertising anymore, and probably belongs on Talk:Internet Brands. Jpatokal 14:57, 7 October 2007 (EDT)
While I appreciate your views Jpatokal, I think the suggestion that one "vote with their feet", is a poor one. It's like the "if you don't like it leave" attitude (which is nothing but childish).
I was expecting someone to say that, but no, it's not that. See, if you decide you don't like (say) Google anymore, you really don't have a choice -- it can't be duplicated. But everything on WT is CC by-sa licensed, so it can -- and has been -- copied, mirrored and forked. The only thing keeping people on WT is that, to date, it's better run than any of the copies. Jpatokal 14:04, 8 October 2007 (EDT)
And, the discussion is about advertising also. It seems when one wants to "discuss" something, your first repsonse is usually something like this. This sort of forum or disussion, should be encouraged for the betterment of the site.
There are places for this. You want to bitch about IB, do it at Talk:Internet Brands. You want to bitch about a bug, do it at the bug's talk page. But nobody is ever going to find this if you're doing it at "Talk:Advertising policy" because, well, this has nothing, zippo, nada to do with advertising. Jpatokal 14:04, 8 October 2007 (EDT)
Personally, I think Wikitravel is a great project, consisting of some excellent contributors with a lot of talent. Judged by the spelling, most are better educated than me. I think, I have noticed a drop in contributions on a daily basis in the past year. I know several of my favorite contributors have disappeared. If they had any questions or reservations, I would never suggest that they "vote with their feet". I am a big boy, I understand that I have little or no control over any contributions that I may make, and that is fine. However, I think it is appropriate for others and myself to question things like "why is this site so darn slow"? Why can you not fix the Message waiting indicator? You would think that a responsible party like I imagine IB to be would simply answer or fix these minor problems which are bugging the contributors that add value every day to IB's site. By ignoring these issues, It shows lack of interest on their part or they just do not care, either way it does not reflect any good will towards their contributors, of which I am one. 2old 11:27, 8 October 2007 (EDT)
So howzabout you cook up a page with a list of the bugs that annoy you most and then contact IB about it? (Actually, I just went ahead and did it: Top bugs.)
As for contributions, people come and people go, but there's a page called Multilingual statistics that gives hard data about new articles, edits, counts, etc. The speed of creating new places has started to slow down, but I suspect that's because WT is starting to have pretty good coverage of the popular bits of the world — I don't run into red links too often these days. Jpatokal 14:04, 8 October 2007 (EDT)
That seems like a good idea, Jpatokal. If the community would like to use the Top bugs page as the standard place for reporting these, our tech team will monitor this page. The more prioritization the community can give, the better we can be at being responsive to the enhancements most urgently desired. Redondo 23:07, 9 October 2007 (EDT)
Top bugs. Well that worked out well, so far. Good thinking Jpatokal! I agree that contibutors come and go, but I have to evaluate WT like I do my business. Here, my most valuable asset is my past clients, for whom I go to extremes to keep happy. I have to think that WT's most valuable asset is their contributors. Can you come up with an idea as good as the Top bugs, for contibutor retention? 2old 13:07, 15 October 2007 (EDT)
Should we have a say?
As you may know, when Evan and Michele sold Wikitravel, they reserved the right to publish print guides based on Wikitravel content, with these guides being promoted on the site. This seems like a good way to gain additional readership of the Wikitravel content and to spread the word about Wikitravel. Evan has provided two proposals for placement of ads promoting these printed guides, which I'm posting here for community feedback:
Was that a joke? The right-side ad has screwed up the entire layout, although, the left ad looks fine. My preference, would be for all ads to be on the right side, so not to mess with the navigational area of the site. That's the biggest turn off for me. I do not like how the left-side ad interrupts the search field and the "Other languages" and "Other sites" links. -- Sapphire • (Talk) • 11:25, 11 October 2007 (EDT)
I agree, Sapphire, the right-side ad is well-separated from the content. Any other thoughts on this? Redondo 16:36, 11 October 2007 (EDT)
I kinda like 'em both. The left-side is very unobtrusive, but the right-side is, as Sapphire said, more clearly separated and also more "future-proof" in the sense that it can be expanded easily from WTP ads to Google ads etc. But can you explain what you mean by "screwed up the entire layout" for the right side? Obviously it takes away a slice of screen space, but other than that the layout seems to flow fine for me (Mozilla on Vista). Jpatokal 04:43, 12 October 2007 (EDT)
Not really, I'm not sure how to take a screen shot on a MacBook. Let's just say the navigation menu overlaps the article and the article overlaps the ad. Maybe it's a Firefox issue. I'll check Safari. -- Sapphire • (Talk) • 09:24, 14 October 2007 (EDT)
Checked Safari. Everything looks good in Safari, but looks horrible in Firefox. -- Sapphire • (Talk) • 09:24, 14 October 2007 (EDT)
We'll get that sorted out so it's not a problem. Redondo 11:25, 15 October 2007 (EDT)
I like them both. But just a heads up. Please don't treat the feedback about placing Wikitravel press ads as generic feedback about all kinds of ads. Wikitravel press does not look as out of place as google ads would. We could place Wikitravel press ads right inside the article body and no one would complain (not recommending, just saying.) But people will have strong feelings one way or the other on other kinds of ads. — Ravikiran r 01:25, 15 October 2007 (EDT)
That seem reasonable. Redondo 11:25, 15 October 2007 (EDT)
Actually, Ravikiran, but I would complain about ads in the article body, even WTP ads. Of course, I want our friends and partners (Jani, Evan, Maj, and IB) to be successful, but Google Ads are implemented in the body of W66 guides and I think it detracts from the serious editorial quality that Wikitravel has established. I am afraid WTP ads would do the same. My personal preference is that all ads go on the right side. I know you were not recommending the idea, but I just want it to be known to IB that I think it would be a seriously foolish decision, that I, unfortunately, suspect would turn me off to working on Wikitravel guides. -- Sapphire • (Talk) • 11:43, 15 October 2007 (EDT)
Hey hey hey, nobody's suggesting ads in the body of the article on WT. It's going to be either left or right as shown in the samples above, and that's it. W66 was plastering ads all over the place long before IB came along... Jpatokal 13:36, 15 October 2007 (EDT)
I understood that wasn't a current option/recommendation/suggestion, but I wanted to put that out there before anyone even considered it, especially since User:Ravikiranr had seemingly considered where he would stand on the issue. -- Sapphire • (Talk) • 14:13, 15 October 2007 (EDT)
We're supportive of the idea of keeping all advertising distinct from the content as seems to be the consensus here. Redondo 23:08, 17 October 2007 (EDT)
I see ads as an necessary evil to support the site, so I have little opposition to ads. My artistic eye is almost blind, so I leave it up to the graphic artist professionals to make this site appear well. Am I right in my assumption that ads for WTP will only appear on the page they are about, or will we have a list of available WTP books avalaible on every page? I now see the VALUE of having one page for each location, regardless of its length. More inches to sell. Quite a bit of foresight on Evan's part! 2old 12:55, 15 October 2007 (EDT)
Yes, WTP ads will only appear when relevant. So you'll see Singapore ads on "Singapore" and any of its districts, and maaaybe South-East Asia, but not Paris or Minot, North Dakota. Jpatokal 13:36, 15 October 2007 (EDT)
Print guide links on review
The print guide links are now up on review; see for example http://wikitravel.org/review/Singapore. Barring major new objections, I'll be rolling these out for production use in the next day or so. --Evan 14:36, 5 November 2007 (EST)