Comments on 2011-02-14 The Value of a Web Site

Makes sense to me. I definitely have no problem with you getting some sort of renumeration for running such an awesome site. It is a common, and unfortunate, misconception that the free software community is also the gratis-and-at-no-cost software community.

johnathan rabkin 2011-02-15 21:37 UTC

I did not take this as being about introducing ads, but more as a curiosity. Reading the above comment made me think though. What about ads on Emacswiki?

Putting it diplomatically, I believe introducing ads has a strong possibility to backfire on the site and its community. At the very least it will bring much controversy. We also have the risk of some users being annoyed, others might abandon the site outright, some of them might fork it and so on. Also, now that links here, ads will give a first impression of the entire Emacs community, too. This might not be what we want for a new member in the community to remember. All in all, this would not be a very good situation for Emacs. So that is that.

Regarding the question posed by Alex though: do their numbers seem right? I would guess their numbers are inflated in this case. Obviously they regard an average internet user, and I would claim we are not really average. Around here we use adblockers, plus we might be slightly less probable to click any ads anyways because we like to think we are smart.

Oh, and while I am at it: Thanks for keeping EmacsWiki running!

StefanKangas 2011-02-17 02:20 UTC


I agree with you, Stefan. I get annoyed by ads myself. Sure, it would be nice to make money using my Emacs know-how or the know-how I gained by running Emacs Wiki. But would it ever be enough money to compete with the rates I make in my day job? Not likely – unless it was a zero-effort money making machine. A donation link, for example. Even a donation link is a double-edged sword: If a person spent ten minutes proofreading and improving a page on the wiki, that is worth something. At a rough estimate, that time itself is worth $10. Would they be willing to donate more than $10 instead of spending ten minutes proofreading a wiki page? I don’t think so. That’s why I think that ads or donations won’t really work for Emacs Wiki.

So, even though I think it would be nice to make money in the free software community, the economic incentives are very different. If I could do Emacs related work and get $100 per hour and more, then maybe I’ll think about it.

When I asked a friend regarding these numbers, he also suggested they were inflated because the person reporting the numbers has an interest in selling you the very ads you’d be carrying.

AlexSchroeder 2011-02-17 10:09 UTC

Is there a company which will serve only ads for free software related companies?


Johnathan Rabkin 2011-02-17 16:54 UTC

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