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First reaction

  • I'm not impressed with ads pushing the main article image down to the next page in the example. I can hardly think of anything more likely to drive away casual viewers. Yrfeloran 01:01, 7 June 2008 (UTC)
  • I don't know what to say about the new style design that I haven't already said to those who have asked me. I don't think it is visually appealing at all; I don't think that adding ads to the article body is the right way to go at all; I don't feel that the new main page utilizes the space provided like the current/original Monaco design manages to do effectively; I don't feel that this new "revamped" Moncao design is necessary at all. I know I warned those among the Staff and Com-Team I've spoken with that this, or something similar, may happen on Wookieepedia with drastic changes like this. Anyways, regardless of my personal opinions (which I know are shared among every user/admin I've spoken with), I've been asked by others to link this Wookieepedia forum here, since it's a direct result of the new style rollout → Forum:Finding alternative hosting. Greyman(Talk) 02:25, 7 June 2008 (UTC)
    Wikia's New Style? "Times Square" would be a more appropriate title. I think it looks terrible, the way it disrupts the article's layout—why not have a 250-pixel-high bar of ads across the top of each article page? There are many different approaches that could be taken in order to prevent such a disruptive effect on aesthetic quality. The users of the assorted wikis have spent millions upon millions of hours designing thousands upon thousands of articles to achieve a superior, more professional appearance to what we get stuck with on sites such as Wikipedia. This new appearance isn't professional in the least. I wouldn't be surprised if the site actually would begin to see a decrease in traffic, because I for one can't stand having to hunt through advertisements to find content on a website.
    I've had it passed along to me that the Staff's opinion of users leaving over this nonsense goes a little something like it's unfortunate that those users might leave, but new users are always willing to step up and help out. Really? To the extent that I and my fellow Wookieepedia administrators and established users do? I could be paid for the time and effort I put into building these wikis, but I don't mind it being pro bono at all—it's a fulfilling hobby. Correction: it has been a fulfilling hobby, but apparently our kind benefactors have decided that the opinions of those who have done so damned much to help them make a living don't count for anything. Who made this decision? One person? Three? I don't see why something a little less autocratic and a bit more community-oriented (this is supposedly a community-oriented website) could have taken place before this was shoved down our throats. Thanks a lot, Wikia. Graestan(Talk) 02:38, 7 June 2008 (UTC)
    If you are correct in your statement of opinion, perhaps Wikia are have neglected to consider that not only are the people running the sites most likely to be the most experienced wiki editors available in their communities, they also have far more influence with those in the topic area than Wikia does. I know where my traffic comes from, and who in the fandom links to Wikia. Should we move, I can ask them to link elsewhere, and they will most likely do so. Perhaps Wikia feels safe from the proportion of traffic they derive from Google, but we will see how long the traffic lasts without key links from high-relevance sites. --GreenReaper(talk) 05:32, 7 June 2008 (UTC)
  • In essence, when you strip away all the marketing-speak, Wikia has just come right out and told us that they do not care what we think about how our content should be laid out. Literally thousands of man-hours have been volunteered to make our articles look exactly the way they do now, and suddenly Wikia wants to wedge a pile of garbage into the content we created for them. This is, to put it politely, evil. This will cause a mass exodus, and some of our best contributors will be at the head of the line. I've already begun comparing hosting providers and I will gladly donate my own resources to make sure Wookieepedia never suffers this indignity. -- Darth Culator (Talk) 03:13, 7 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Sorry, in my honest opinion, I just think the new design with ads in the content area (either/both a banner right under the "edit this page", etc. and/or the box which basically cuts the width for that section in half and could potentially break the desired format in one way or another) sucks and fails, miserably. One may think that this sounds bad... and he/she would be right! If I were some other user visiting some other website, it is highly likely for me to quite quickly navigate away from a page that looks like this or something that breaks into this.
For users without adblock, the page, depending on how the ads load, could be so obstructed and so aesthetically unpleasing and unappealing that the visitor, who came to seek content, leaves immediately. For users with adblock or those who get adblock to fix the appearance issue, they won't see any ads so Wikia won't be getting any clicks. For some long time contributing communities, they could get so outraged by this new change and possibly even take measures that would not favor Wikia economically. On the bright side, the big shots would be motivated into editing more and creating more content due to the shortage of the editors and contributors who generally spend hours making Wikia look good for free.
I know there is a need to gain revenue, but this change is already upsetting a decent amount of users, and if the contributors leave, the wiki won't have the content that attract visitors, which would effectively result in less popularity. But more importantly, it would result in less $$$, which would most certainly sadden and depress those marketing/planning people who devised this new setup in the first place. GHe (Talk) 03:19, 7 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Ads? In the middle of articles?! Big, ugly banner ads that serve nothing than to be a nasty pus-filled stye on what was a pristine article?!! And for whatever reason, some coorporate fatcat thinks this is a good idea?!!? Coming from the average user/forumgoer, I can tell you one thing's for certain and that is the average user does NOT give a Rodian's antennae about ads. They don't click on 'em. Ads are an eyesore, plain and simple. Putting the ads within the page contents will only serve to drive away viewers and contributors who hate having their hard work dissected with some glaring obnoxious ad for something that's totally unrelated to the content of the article. That's like slapping a kitschy bumper sticker across an Alex Ross original. That's something you just don't do. This "new style" will only serve to aggrivate and alienate and effectively destroy the integrity of the community. In short, bisecting articles with ads has gotta be the most ridiculously idiotic marketing descision I have ever heard, ever. Why don't they just shoot themselves in the foot, it'd acheive the same effect. Trak Nar 04:06, 7 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Seriously. Per everyone above. I've really enjoyed my time here on wikis, but do you expect me (or anyone else) to go for this rubbish? I know that, because of your immense increase in size, you'll need more $$$. But there are better ways than this. -- Joe Butler (Obi Maul12) (Chow) 04:32, 7 June 2008 (UTC)
    • And one of those ways on generating revenue is definetly not gonna be ads. Why? They're just ugly, unnecessary, distracting, and the biggest deterrant. I used to administrate a forum that started putting ads within the forum content, and within seeing just one ad, activity on the forum dropped drastically. No one wanted to post or read. And the ads kept crashing my browser, so I couldn't perform my modly duties, either. I took to donating a measely amount of money from my already-puny budget just to get rid of the ads! Eventually, everyone got pissed off at the head admin (who put in the ads and other annoying changes) and the forum died. If Wikia decides to do the same to the article content, then the same or a very similar fate will befall them in which the whole community will just go belly-up. No one likes ads. And ads don't even add that much revenue to begin with. Most ads generate a few cents per click, and if no one clicks, there isn't any revenue. If they wanna make some cash, they should have a readily-available "Donate" option and offer perks to paid user accounts/donators. If perks are offered, people will donate. Hell, people will donate if the only perk is no ads! Donations will create more revenue for the site than ads will, too. The Honour System works well on the internet; if the option to donate is readily available, people will donate. Trak Nar Ramble on 05:48, 7 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Internet Rule 1: A person with enough web experience to know what a wiki is would NEVER click on a add. SO, why screw over all your wikis for something that wont work? Also, what BS is it that monoco is a more popular skin...? I HATE the non wikia hosted wiki of my favorite site, but I doubt I would stick around much after this, especially since said site became hosted by wikia against the wishes of most of the userbase.--Alari06:49, 7 June 2008 (UTC)
  • What a crock of shit. After the various communities had complained for months about the swap from MonoBook to Quartz, Wikia finally made a step in the right direction with Monaco. Then you go and ruin it with this. I browse thousands of individual pages every week, keeping hundreds of wikis clean and free of vandalism and spam, all for free, ironically earning Wikia money while doing so. I certainly won't be using Monaco to be slapped in the face by this crap. Luckily, I'm a user who has a choice. I guess it's just unfortunate for the anonymous users who generate 90% of page views. -- Manticore (talk) 07:21, 7 June 2008 (UTC)
  • On our wiki, since a month ago, we have ads inside article content for non-logged in users only, if you want to see how it looks: w:c:es.pokemon:Experto, w:c:es.pokemon:Meowth... The Top-right ad box push down all infoboxes, so small articles look crappy: w:c:es.pokemon:Danza_lluvia. This also affects images, where the common-style is to put them in the right side. Our wiki still uses Monobook, and the only point to switch to Monaco was that there was only a banner ad at the top, so user can scroll down to hide the ads. At the moment, we have text-only ads. In the article content it could be acceptable. But wikia wants to put animated ads: Distracting movement in the ads will be kept to a minimum ([1]). That inside thearticle content is not acceptable.
    • About revenue, the major part of websites I visit has one google ad box, or one banner of ads. But wikia wants three... With the amount of articles and visits Wikia has, seems excessive amount of ads. --Ciencia Al Poder (talk) -WikiDex 08:12, 7 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Defined NO. :). The "Wikia Spotlight" already craps up my browser badly enough- Imagine if you had to put up with Ads that lag your browser appearing in the centre of the page? Luckily, Admins can choose the default skin. As well as this, GuildWiki and any other sites under the BY-NC-SA would consider this a license breach. I can tolerate the google ads in the side bar as they hopefully cover operating expenses, more or less, but delivering ads like the commercial websites do deserves leagl scrutiny. </rant> {{SUBST:User:Warwick/~.js}} 09:22, 7 June 2008 (UTC)

Just a note that this is not supposed to be possible (MediaWiki:AdminSkin should be set via the admin controls, and monobook isn't an option for new wikis at the moment). Once this bug is fixed, any wikis set in this way are likely to drop back to Monaco. They may also do this every time you change anything in your preferences - a major reason we need to fix this bug -- sannse on 22:10, 21 May 2008 (UTC)

      • So as far as I can understand, for the majority of wikis, the only choices will be between the variations of monaco (this probably applies quite well to the big wikis since Wikia wants to make more money off them through the new skin and its ad positioning). GHe (Talk) 15:24, 7 June 2008 (UTC)
    • Also, the ad is right where the infobox goes. You can't expect to look at an infobox and see a huge google ad. That's just wrong. -- Freakatone Talk
  • They're right, here. I'd say a very heavy majority of wikis use infoboxes, and your are purposefully moving ads into a space that will destroy the layouts of many wikis. This new format for ads is infinitely more disruptive than an ad on the top of the wiki. –Entrea Sumatae 16:19, 7 June 2008 (UTC)
  • What kind of evidence is there for the assertion that changing to Monaco increases traffic? That sounds like a pretty iffy correlation-implies-causation link to me. Also, I don't really know if that says anything about the new, butch- err, "improved" Monaco. Silvermink 19:12, 7 June 2008 (UTC)
  • I am really unimpressed with this skin, having it use ads right where content/infoboxes is on most Wikia wikis. I sincerely hope that you're not going to go through with this change, or I will stop using Monaco. Come to think of it, it's ironic that you change the ad location to a place that will make users less inclined to use the skin.--Gourra (talkcontribs) 08:55, 8 June 2008 (UTC)
The people above me have said all the relevant stuff already, so i'll be short: BAD IDEA! WoWWiki (and lot's of other wikis i'm sure) places a lot nearly all item tooltips and infoboxes there (and we use infoboxes for pretty much everything, except for when we use tooltips instead). The result of this will be that WoWWiki will have to redesign what, 90% of the pages? Not good, not good at all... Ose 10:05, 8 June 2008 (UTC)
  • It's a shame that they offset moving the content area up by actually making it smaller with ads filling out most of the page. (I'm just glad ABP seems to block the ads). I also don't like how they incorrectly compare Monaco to Monobook, saying "New Monaco has a wider content area than Monobook, with one sidebar instead of two" when Monobook has one sidebar which is narrower than Monaco's bloated concept of a menu. Everything else seems to be making it more like Monobook while trying to keep their failure of a widget system in. The list of advantages to using Monaco is also humorous:
  • The Monaco skin is easier to customize to fit a particular community's look and feel. There are more opportunities to add color and images to the skin.
    • Uh, not really, same number of pictures and colors.
  • The page is now optimized, so the content loads faster.
    • You made it suck less than the previous version of Monaco (which is nice), how is that an advantage over Monobook, which has always been excellent in performance? And extra ads always slow down page loads.
  • Monaco is easier for new wiki users to understand. The majority of internet users still don't realize that there's an "edit" button on Wikipedia. That's because on Monobook, all the important links and buttons are written in 8.5-point type. Monaco is designed to make the important stuff stand out, like the edit button and the search box.
    • Most internet users realize Wikipedia is the encyclopedia anyone can edit. If they can't make out the 8.5-type, they can always increase their own font size in their browser. Finding the search box in Monobook is really not as hard as you would make it out to be either.
  • When wikis have switched from Monobook to Monaco, they've seen huge jumps in the number of readers, contributors and user logins. As an example, Teletraan-I: The Transformers Wiki switched to Monaco in April. Comparing January (in Monobook) to May (in Monaco), the wiki's traffic jumped up 46%. Anonymous logins went up 223%, and use of the search box went up an amazing 541%. People clicked on items in the navigation flyout menus 38,000 times in May, and the number of active editors went up 51%, from 78 in January to 118 in May.
    • You compared January to May. That's 4 months of growth. There are probably other factors involved which are not accounted for, as well. Experience shows people come to sites for content, not navigation.
gg wikia. --User:Pcj (TC) 19:04, 8 June 2008 (UTC)


Wikia needs to reconsider its approach

This sort of action suggests Wikia cares little for us as customers, just numbers - but acting like a dot-com will not work; this isn't 2000, and there isn't a fat payout just around the corner.

Let me elaborate on a few points which may not be clear:

  • Wikia provides a service to us, its users, at a given cost. Wikia is mistaken (in most cases) when it uses the possessive term - "our wikis". They are the wikis it hosts for us, the user communities that create and maintain them. The hosting is a service that costs no money only because it is ad-supported and matched by our editorial and promotional services. We are both customers of one another.
  • The extra ads and restrictions are a degradation of service beyond an acceptable point. We are not willing to accept this level of service, even for free. We would rather pay to go elsewhere.
  • Wikia is not dealing from a position of strength. Wikia needs us, because it cannot afford the staff to edit the wikis itself, and because there is a limited pool of competent editors in the world. We do not need Wikia, because we can take our freely-licensed content and go elsewhere. There are switching costs but they are manageable. In many cases, funding will not be an issue - the value of the content is self-evident, and many of the wikis which have been most successful have well-off fans who would sponsor them for recognition's sake alone.
  • The wiki founders and administrators own the service mark in their work, not Wikia. Wikia has held itself out as a host and supporter to wiki communities - but it is not truly their creator. Instead, the people most involved in generating content and promoting and advertising the service to their target communities are. If your web host claimed it owned that name which you had spent your own time establishing, would you not find this idea amusing? It may be less so if the founders decide to leave Wikia, taking their good names with them, and deny them to Wikia.
    • Wikia has made attempts to subvert this by quietly buying up relevant domain names. This may not avail them, however, as it is the "use in commerce" that matters - and active promotion of the mark concerned to the relevant target market counts. I imagine most founders have taken actions to promote their work to others. Indeed, the practice of purchasing but not using domains would seem to be closer to domain squatting than anything else.

What can be done to solve this?

  • Wikia needs to understand it is providing a service, not a product - and that so are we. Are we valueless because we provide our services without charge? Let me turn that around - is Wikia of no value because it is free? No. The true value of a wiki is not found in its content, which anyone can duplicate, but its community. The services we provide to one another have value. Without Wikia, our sites have no host, and we must look elsewhere. Without us, the wikis are unmaintainable, and vulnerable to competition (not least from us). We are partners - so let's act like it.
  • Wikia needs to provide an acceptable level of service that meets its users' needs. Consider each wiki a service of its editors that we provide to our respective communities. We have our own "customers" to please. If the result is something so ad-filled that nobody would want to point to it, or contribute, we have failed; and so have you. If Wikia cannot or will not provide the level of service we require, we must switch to another service provider, resulting in a loss of ad revenue and a swift depreciation of Wikia's intangible assets.
  • Wikia needs to figure out how to make money from its services. The obvious way to do this is not to keep piling on the ads, but to charge the communities directly for the services it renders. This is by no means impossible, yet it seems Wikia has not seriously tried it. If you can give a specific value to your ads over a given period, why not offer some kind of donation gauge set to this value which provides no-ad, multi-skin support until it is empty? Other wikis manage to accumulate funds; there is no reason it cannot work here too, unless you fear your costs are too high. And if they are . . . well, perhaps you are in the wrong business. (But do not expect us to stick around while you try to get out of it.)

--GreenReaper(talk) 10:43, 7 June 2008 (UTC)

Wikia

Wikia, please do not listen to advertisers Pierlot McCrooke 15:34, 7 June 2008 (UTC)

A response

This change is a huge deal. It's not something that we're taking lightly at all. What you're seeing right now is the result of months of conversations, tests and compromises. We looked at a lot of different options, including most of the ones that people are asking about. You're seeing the end result of that long process -- the best balance that we've been able to come up with so far.

We have to change things in order to make Wikia financially stable. It would be great if we could host wikis with no advertising at all, or just have Google ads running in the footer. Unfortunately, Google ads in the footer pay pennies a click, and nobody clicks. We need to be able to attract real advertisers, who pay for impressions rather than clicks.

Impressions work on a pageview basis -- the advertiser will pay for people to look at the ad, whether they click or not. But they won't pay for impressions if the ad is hidden at the bottom of the page, because they don't know whether people are scrolling down to look at the ad. The ad needs to be visible on the screen when people first come to the page, so the advertisers know that they're paying for real impressions.

So how do you design a wiki page that has a 300x250 box at the top of the screen? Either you put it in the header, which pushes the entire content area down, or you put it in the sidebar so that it squishes the content area over... or you put it in the article area, and allow the content to wrap around it.

We tried out all three versions, and I think putting the box into the article actually creates the least disruption. A huge header would make the content disappear to the bottom. A huge sidebar would create a big blank area on the left side of the screen as you scroll down. Having the box at the top right means that the only space that's being used for the ad is the 300x250 box itself.

So what happens on Tuesday is basically a big test. Once things go live on Tuesday, there are a few things that we're going to be looking at very closely:

  • whether the system actually works the way we expect it to, and it doesn't break page designs
  • the actual impact on ad sales and click-through rates
  • the community reaction -- how people feel when the changes are actually live on the site
  • the overall impact on readers and contributors, which we can evaluate by looking at the stats on pageviews, edits and active editors.

There are a couple of possible predictions that people could make. One prediction is that the change won't make any difference to people at all -- that it's just exchanging one ad shape for another, and people will adapt their designs around the new format. Another prediction is that the change will drive people away, that every wiki will lose their core contributors, and that all of the wikis will die within a week.

But those are the extreme cases, and it's not likely that either of those will happen. It won't be a dream or a nightmare. Some people will hate it, some people will like it better, and some people won't care. We can't know for sure what's going to happen until we try it out.

Once we turn it on, then we can start evaluating the impact, and making changes. The parts of this that work well will stay; the parts that are completely broken will have to change. One version of "completely broken" is that people read and contribute less. Right now, everything is theoretical. It's easy to say "this will be fine" or "this will drive every user away". We have to try it out and see what actually happens.

I know how important everybody's wiki is, and how connected you feel to your wiki. I started Muppet Wiki in 2005, and I ended up working for Wikia because I figured out that I love working on wikis more than anything else in the world. There are a lot of wikis on Wikia that I'm tight with now, but Muppet Wiki is my home -- that's the community where I've put in hours of my own time every day, every week, for two and a half years. When I've felt like that community is threatened, I've fought like a tiger for it.

So I'm paying a lot of attention to how this plays out. If it really hurts the wikis, we'll make changes. We just need to see the impact in order to know what's true and what's hypothetical. -- Danny@Wikia (talk) 16:14, 7 June 2008 (UTC)

"But those are the extreme cases, and it's not likely that either of those will happen." No, it is VERY likely as has been voiced many times already.--Alari20:38, 7 June 2008 (UTC)
I wouldn't say it's "VERY likely", but it's more likely than not that some--possibly many--users will be driven away by this, based on the response from this forum and others. -- Joe Butler (Obi Maul12) (Chow) 21:44, 7 June 2008 (UTC)
Speaking of my wiki, Guildwiki, I can safely say that it will die, when we were first illegally sold to wikia much of the userbase got up and left to another Guild Wars wiki. When they tried to impose side bar ads on us more left, and I can guess what will happen if this goes through.User:Alari22:11, 7 June 2008 (UTC)
Those who leave GuildWiki won't come back. Its a concern of mine that one of the two wikis (apart from wikipedia) that I contribute to will die.. :| {{SUBST:User:Warwick/~.js}} 22:44, 7 June 2008 (UTC)
  • I'll post my response to Danny's identical response to concerns I raised on the Wikia mailing list:

So multiple angles have been considered, and the end decision was that the most intrusive type of ad would really be the least intrusive, because it would be sitting *in the content* and not create a wide sidebar or a big header. I'm sorry, but I just don't buy that. You have people -- real people who use the system, not within-Wikia yes men -- saying, "No, really, we'd rather have either of the other options." I think you should take that into consideration rather than blowing it off. Do you honestly think "some people will like it better"? *Like* it? Some people might be indifferent, but just who is going to look at an ad sitting inside an article and think, "Man, this is great!"? I think you need a new focus group.

When it starts sitting in the content, that's when people start asking, "Is nothing sacred?" Apparently, nothing is. The message I'm getting is "The Wikia sales department is going to be running all your wikis now. They control how it looks and what's in your content space." Because there's no other player in this who gains from this move. How long until Wikia sales starts dictating content? "We get more page hits when you use the word 'sexy' in an article. You have to use 'sexy' at least twice an article now." "We can sell more ads if we have more pages, so you're going to have to split all your long articles up into ten-kilobyte chunks so we can get more total page hits." When you spend "months" on discussing options, and you settle on the one guaranteed to offend the most users, that's the only conclusion I can come to.

I'm really disappointed with what seems to be a total disregard by Wikia for the people actually making them money. We're told it's just a test. Well, sure it is, but when the only response to concerns expressed by Greyman is "Well, they'll just get used to it. Shut up and stop questioning our decision," I don't think it's very likely that Wikia will be willing to decide that their test went poorly. "Well, it didn't burn down and no wiki packed up and left inside a week, so clearly they'll just get used to it and the massive opposition will die down." Wikia appears to have already made up its mind how it's going to be, and everyone is just going to fall into line.

I don't think that's an attitude that's going to get Wikia anywhere, but that's the attitude I've observed over the last several months in every announced-two-days-in-advance, supposedly-just-a-test-but-really-irrevocable, made-by-Wikia-staff-with-no-real-input-from-the-end-user-community major change, and I find it an appalling way to treat the people you rely on. It's not the 1880s, and there aren't waves of skilled Irish wiki-editors coming off the boat every day to replace the editors you've driven off with indifferent, domineering treatment. I'd be ashamed to run a company this way.

(note that this will show up as an anon editing, because I'm currently having login problems on Wikia)

Havac 23:34, 7 June 2008 (UTC)

  • I agree. The new change is awful and is not going to please anyone. Wikis won't look anything like an encyclopedia anymore. Drewton 20px (Drewton's Holocron) 23:40, 7 June 2008 (UTC)
Danny noted that "What you're seeing right now is the result of months of conversations, tests and compromises. We looked at a lot of different options, including most of the ones that people are asking about. You're seeing the end result of that long process -- the best balance that we've been able to come up with so far." The thing is, in all those months, was any notice given to any of the communities or to almost anyone who is not a Wikia employee? The "New Style" page was created just yesterday, and none of the many users complaining here were allowed to "look at a lot of different options." Looking on this page and on the Wikia digests, the only positive comments at all have come from Wikia people. The sidebar, for example. That's a viable option that I'd *very* much like to see, and I'm probably not the only one. The squish, I'm told by a reliable source with an eye for pixels, would be 80-90 additional pixels, which isn't entirely insignificant but wouldn't disrupt anything else. And the navigation sidebar is on every page anyway, so it wouldn't intrude into content (and if changes are made as to what to allow for ads, as has happened progressively in general, it *still* won't affect the content). The sidebar is the space that Wikia created, pretty much, and the main page is also a different matter, but the article text, pictures, templates, and everything else was user created, and it definitely *is* a disruption that seems to disregard everything (and for myself, it discourages me from preparing or finding images or infobox facts to add, knowing it will just be stepped on). And casual users, those who won't post here, are even more likely to be discouraged, and inevitably it will circulate in fan communities for the respective topic (Transformers, Star Wars, etc.): "Hey, you know that Wiki? They're selling stuff right in the articles themselves, man! It ruined the site! Stay away from there." It may not happen to every Wiki, but it almost certainly will make an impact, more than any other change so far (which were generally more apt to concern only the most active and devoted contributors).
Another alternative mentioned by several people is a subscription to keep ads off an individual Wiki. I know you personally don't like the idea, Danny, but I think more people than you think *would*. Yes, it's a financial burden on a select number of users (whether admins or through PayPal donations from active and concerned visitors and so on and it won't work on *every* Wiki, especially the small ones or those which cater more to teenagers and others with low or no incomes, but why close off that option? Speaking for myself, even with a year of unemployment, my work on Muppet Wiki means so much to me that I'd scrape to keep ads from colliding into articles. If admins change or the users change their mind or forget or are unabvle to pay, the ads come back on automatically, so Wikia doesn't lose out, but at least then it will feel like the users and communities have a *choice* and some degree of control over this. I agree that we'll see on Tuesday and in the coming weeks, so I'm trying not to become *too* alarmed until then, but nothing I've seen or read has been encouraging. Morever, outside of posting dissenting comments here or the increasing possibility of Wookieepedia changing hosts, Wikia doesn't seem to have left any way for communities and individual users to be involved in the decision making process or anything else. I think that, as much or perhaps even more than the invasion of the content area, is the main reason so many feel angry and mistreated, because our opinions were not invited, considered, or indeed even recognized, or so it would appear right now. -- Andrew Leal (talk) 04:16, 8 June 2008 (UTC)

A reply

Fuck up! Pierlot McCrooke 19:54, 7 June 2008 (UTC)
Please can I ask that everyone try not to make replies like that? I understand that people are worried and angry at this point, but this is probably the least helpful way to show us that. We want to hear from you, we don't want to be abused and insulted. Thanks -- sannse@Wikia (talk) 19:58, 7 June 2008 (UTC)
Frankly, the horrible decisions wikia staff has been making time after time leaves them wide open to abuse and insults.Alari20:32, 7 June 2008 (UTC)
There's really no excuse. It helps nothing. In fact, it makes it all the more easy for them to write us dissenters off as simple trolls. Graestan(Talk) 22:11, 7 June 2008 (UTC)
I was just saying they should expect it.User:Alari22:14, 7 June 2008 (UTC)

No Way!

I like the way it is now! Now I have to get used to it and I just know how to get around this one because it's easy and cool. Keep it the same! :( --Ginny22 17:20, 7 June 2008 (UTC)

screw your advertisers. you're gonna drive users away. stop being tools. 162.84.143.170 19:47, 7 June 2008 (UTC)

Then i suppose you wont complain the day Wikia would have to close ?
But dont think i like the change. If i had lots of money i would move my wikis to a pro hosting like some are saying. I dont have the kind of money for a wiki hosting that's why i had to ask Wikia to be kind enough to create two french wikis...
I will never say i support add in the middle of the page. But if it is necessairy to save Wikia...
Every month i buy a bus (and subway) card here in Montréal, and since a few years now, the transport compagnie began producing bus monthly pass card with add on them. One of my friend always say that it's ugly and unecessairy but it think he's wrong. The bus card would surely cost a lot more if it had no add on them. Plus, the transport compagnie need more money because our subway is very old and it need to be replaced before it break. Or at least it's what they are saying...
Anyway, i'm currently writing a thing about this on fr.guildwars. — TulipVorlax 20:03, 7 June 2008 (UTC)
The day wikia dies is the day guildwiki can get a better legally acquired host, I wont complain.--AlariSig 20:23, 7 June 2008 (UTC)

Comparison

Here's a comparison between the same page on current Monaco and the new version of Monaco.

The right side is pushed down about 135 pixels... from the middle of Fozzie's mouth down. The left side moves up to reveal seven more lines of text, adding about 75 words to what you can see on the page.

It's true that New Monaco reduces the importance of right-floated infoboxes. At the same time, it raises the importance of the main body of text. One of the big complaints when Monaco was launched was that it pushed down the content, and made it less important than the ad. I think the new version addresses that concern pretty well. -- Danny@Wikia (talk) 19:41, 7 June 2008 (UTC)


  • That's addressing the wrong issue, IMHO. The Fozzie Bear article you tout as your "example" is by far the exception that will prove the foolishness of this adventure; the article itself is quite large. What about small articles and stubs? Have you worked out how this will affect them? What about articles with infoboxes but no images? People will think that the image for Cal Omas is a box of Oreos with a creme-and-cookie explosion behind it. Come on, let's think this out some before we make rash choices.-- GoodwoodTalk| My Darthipedia49 Edits 20:44, 7 June 2008 (UTC)
  • This is all wrong! We should just replace the whole page with one huge add. That'd be totally sweet, and think of all the money it'd make! I can't wait to get back to Wookieepedia Buy POPTARTSTM-brand POPTARTSTM!! Mmmm, Poptarts!(R) --66.31.174.231 21:13, 7 June 2008 (UTC)
It's better to see less of an undirupted article, then more of an article that has an add inside it and is disrupted by it. I can't imagine a GuildWiki skill page with the skill infobox, probably the most important thing on the whole page, being overshadowed by an add. If you REALLY want to add more adds, use the sidebar. That's thing on Monaco is so wide I bet it can hold more. — Poki#3 My Talk Page :o, 23:44, 7 June 2008 (UTC)
There's also the point that the Fozzie Bear article doesn't really have much of an infobox. There is just a number of images down the right hand side so bumping it down seems less odd than it could. I'm from Wookieepedia and most of our articles have full infoboxes. It will look very weird having them bumped down. It's not just text flowing around the ad, but key content getting displaced. --Eyrezer 03:32, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

Disappointed

I must say i am very disappointed. It seems that Wikia is intent on trying out this new ad placement despite the numerous users protesting against it. I think it is going to end up being a bad decision for Wikia. Personally, the best resolution i can get on my laptop is 1280x800 which means the new ads will take up 23% of my horizontal plane, and 31% of my vertical plane. I mainly contribute to the Music Wiki, but if Wikia decides to keep this ad placement, i doubt i will stay, and i will probably take my contributions to Wiki Music Guide (I originally stopped contributing there b/c of ads, but their ads are less intrusive than the new ones proposed for here). Advertisements are the #1 thing that drive me away from a site, not draw me to it. I will stick around to test it out, but i can't see myself staying for long.
 – Dani Banani (talkcontribs) 00:31, 06.08.2008 (UTC)

Pros/Cons

I am going to start off with the happy things about Wikia's New Style:

Pros:

  • The article area is increasing.
    • I don't really think so since the widths are pretty much the same (as seen here) and as for the height, the banner in the header in the older one gets moved under the edit this page, etc. row and/or a box ad appears at where an infobox would be. GHe (Talk) 01:18, 8 June 2008 (UTC)
      • Just use personal css to hide the ads. Since they're impression-based, Wikia will still get money off of them since they are loaded, just hidden. Plus, in the terms of use, it states that "No user shall remove the advertising, or sponsored search features from the wiki in a way which means other users can not view the advertisements." -- note that it says nothing about hiding them for your personal gain as long as others can still view them, hence personal css. Of course, this may be against the individual terms of use for the advertising agencies, but Wikia can simply claim that they do not have any control over what their end users put into their personal css pages and thus have no liability or responsibility for the contents of such personal css pages. If Wikia decides that's not going to fly with the advertising agencies, there's always AdBlock Plus or NoScript for firefox, and I'm sure IE7 has some sort of ad-blocking addon as well. --Skizzerz 01:47, 8 June 2008 (UTC)
          • In addition to personal CSSes, there's also browser-side CSSes. And Wikia definitely has no control over those. GHe (Talk) 02:53, 8 June 2008 (UTC)
        • This is rather missing the point. We care about the presentation of our wikis to others - why else would we spend so much time on them? What you suggest would result in the editors concerned ignoring the effect of the ads on the page. The same situation would apply to using another skin. --GreenReaper(talk) 02:02, 8 June 2008 (UTC)
          • Note I didn't say I supported the ads being there, I just gave a notice for those on the verge of whether they should hide them or not via personal methods that there is nothing in the terms of use that prevents them from doing so. Getting Wikia to change their layout overnight after they spent months designing what they're about to implement now isn't going to happen, so I was just rationalizing and quelling any legal fears about using personal css or other personal methods to hide the ads for themselves only. --Skizzerz 02:40, 8 June 2008 (UTC)
  • That ads won't be on any talk pages, user pages, project pages, MediaWiki pages, template pages, and help pages
Ohhhh, so they will only be on the most important wiki pages, the articles!--User:Alari02:13, 8 June 2008 (UTC)

Cons:

  • There will be (an) ad(s) in the article area (very disruptive while reading)
  • We have to redesign the main page
  • Isn't neccesarily a bad thing, WoWWiki used this opportunity to make a less complex and better-looking mp with better content. Ose (talk) 12:33, 8 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Main page is fixed width
  • We have to make a new logo if currently using Wiki_wide.png
    • Oh, boo hoo. Have you ever thought that many Wikia editors actually use the Monobook skin, and hey, guess what logo that uses? Yeah, that's right: Wiki.png. If you don't have both on your wiki already, then you really should get the second one uploaded anyway. --Skizzerz 01:56, 8 June 2008 (UTC)
  • What more do I have to say

Suggestions:

  • Add the cookie crumbs or whatever it is from Quartz to Monaco
  • Move ads in the content area to the sides where they won't disrupt reading
  • Still offering the choose to change interface


If anyone else has suggestions, please list them under mine


Overall, I'm not really impressed with the New Style. I think I may start a petition. Will you join it?
Template:UDKs Petition located here.

It seems to me that no matter what we say, the change will happen. So, I'm just gonna hope that it doesn't affect the old Monobook skin and try to ride out this turbulance. Having a readily available Donate option would be more preferrable. It's not as intrusive and people do donate if the option's available. But that suggestion's just falling on deaf ears, so might as well strap in and tolerate the ride. Trak Nar Ramble on 03:04, 8 June 2008 (UTC)

See below. GHe (Talk) 03:32, 8 June 2008 (UTC)

It appears that Wikia will eventually effectively render the monobook skin unusable

Unfortunately, the big shots are expecting users to use monaco. In order to do so, it is likely that they will place extra ads: both the stuff in the content plus the ads in the right sidebar of monobook. This will be utter bullshit if it happens. It would basically mean that Wikia lies when they say "you have the option of selecting monobook" (for yourself, even) because for users without adblock and for users who don't use ad-hiding CSS, the display will be so obstructed, squished, confined, and tainted that for the average sane person, it will be absolutely unusable. (For those who like the appearance of those file sharing sites with ads here and there, this will most certainly make your day!) This would effectively force some users to use a skin they don't like for no useful reason because they will simply pack up and ditch this place. GHe (Talk) 03:32, 8 June 2008 (UTC)

The Bottom Line

Of it is that it will ruin the visibility of the wikis. It doesn't matter how it effects each users custom settings, the people wikia are screwing over are the causal viewer of the wikis, people who don't have accounts and have no control over the shit wikia is throwing into their face, the people who WE made the wikis FOR.
This idiotic change will ruin 90% of all templates on my wiki. Sure I could I undo every change and make it look normal but what about average game player who came to look up something but doesn't have a account?
Also on another note, I would like to see the financial numbers that show a) the costs of running servers b) the amount of revenue the average add brings in and c) how much in donations are received. I'm sure no one will tho, god forbid if its because they are profiting off our wikis and just want more money(mind you my wiki is licensed under a nonprofit license). Cause until I see such stats I have this paranoid feeling that wikia leaders are simply greedy.-User:Alari03:22, 8 June 2008 (UTC)

The nature of the problem

Putting advertisements in the top right corner of wiki pages isn't intrinsically a bad thing. The problem is that many thousands of pages were designed with the assumption that there would not be an advertisement there, and so page content could go there. If one were to redesign all pages on all wikis to build around the advertisement in the top right corner, it would probably look just fine. But presumably the many hours it would take to do such redesigning of so many wikis won't be done by employees of Wikia.

And that is why the two sample pages are misleading. Both are designed around having an advertisement in the top right corner. The overwhelming majority of wiki pages are not, unless the pages are all to be redone. Stick an advertisement in the top right corner of every page and either you're covering up important content or moving it somewhere else. If the movement is done automatically by machine, the latter is likely moving it to somewhere that doesn't make sense or looks hideous.

I guess we don't really know how it will look on content pages until we see it. If the caveat "(On pages where a 300x250 ad would disrupt a table, the ad will render as a banner ad.)" is meant broadly that if there isn't space for advertisements in the top right corner, it will be a banner ad, then having a ton of pages with banner ads at the top probably won't be much of a problem. If it's meant very narrowly in the sense of an actual table that spans the full width of the page, then perhaps a lot of pages will be redesigned to add such a table, made small enough to look like an innocuous horizontal line.

As for why some recent changes led to more people logging in, that's easy: the wiki was recently changed to log people out a lot more often, so the same amount of activity requires a lot more logging in. Quizzical 03:44, 8 June 2008 (UTC)

  • That's not even the problem. Having advertisements inside the content area is itself absolutely intolerable. Sure, pages might look better designed around them than not designed around them, but why decorate your living room around the pile of yak shit in the middle of the floor when the yak shit shouldn't be there in the first place? Havac 04:10, 8 June 2008 (UTC)
Why should Wikia host servers if they're not going to make money off them? And how do you expect them to make money if not by advertisements? Quizzical 04:58, 8 June 2008 (UTC)
There is little good reason for Wikia to host wikis at a loss. Personally, I expect them to charge for the service, or to at least offer that as an option. The only real reason I can think for them not to offer such an option is if they still want to pretend to themselves and others that they are not running a wiki hosting service at all. --GreenReaper(talk) 05:06, 8 June 2008 (UTC)

Technical issues

  • Though any sane technical-type people at Wikia have probably either quit or been overruled by marketing, there are numerous technical reasons why screwing up Monobook is a despicable and stupid thing to do. AutoWikiBrowser and many other useful wiki editing and maintenance tools require a site to behave like Wikipedia. Even if the ads end up not being as intrusive as the current examples show them to be, losing Monobook functionality would still be a deal-breaker. -- Darth Culator (Talk) 03:51, 8 June 2008 (UTC)
    • Losing Monobook functionality would also be a death blow to those users who can't use the Monaco skin as it causes their browsers to freeze and crash on a regular basis. I guess I'd better work my butt off in editing tonight, as when the changes go into effect, I won't be able to edit, let alone even view anything, ads or no ads. It's a shame as I really liked it here... D= Trak Nar Ramble on 04:08, 8 June 2008 (UTC)

In some browsers, Monaco cwill crash or freeze Pierlot McCrooke 04:42, 8 June 2008 (UTC)

Monobook will still be available as a personal choice. If you are using AWB, or just prefer the look of monobook, then you can keep that as your personal preference.
On browers crashing or freezing, that's not something I've seen happen - but please let us know the details! We very much want to hear of any technical problems you have while on Wikia, so please email us at technical@wikia.com with information on the problem (we need as much information as possible... like which wiki, page, skin, browser, OS, username, and action were involved). Thanks -- sannse@Wikia (talk) 07:42, 8 June 2008 (UTC)

Users paying to keep wikis ad-free

People have been talking a lot over the last couple days about communities raising the funds to keep their wikis ad-free. I totally understand why that seems like a really appealing option. Wiki communities are all about working together to reach a common goal, so why can't they just pass the hat around and raise enough money to offset the revenue Wikia might get from advertising?

I've been avoiding responding to that idea, because I'm really the wiki guy and not the financial guy. I understand some things about the way that our business runs -- but mostly I'm the guy who understands how Recent changes works. My eyes glaze over when I try to understand how the money stuff works. So I've been trying to avoid getting deep into conversations where I'm not completely sure of my facts.

Still, it's been coming up so much that it's obvious I need to say something about it. I'm going to write some things that I know. It's going to be vague, because there's a lot I don't know, so I'm going to ask for your patience and your understanding if I don't say things exactly right, or if I don't answer every single point.

Let's say that Wikia would come up with a brand-new system that would allow wiki communities to raise a certain amount of money each month, to keep advertising off their wiki. If they pay that month, then there's no ads. If they don't pay, ads come back.

Here are some questions that might come up.

#1. How much does it really cost to run a wiki?

I don't know. I don't think anybody does.
Wookieepedia is one of our most popular wikis. Every month, Wookieepedia gets 500 times more pageviews than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles wiki. That's not an exaggeration -- it's actually 500 times more. So if TMNT gets charged X dollars a month to run ad-free, then Wookieepedia should get charged 500 times X, right?
Now, TMNT is a really nice wiki -- it's not the most popular wiki around, but it's got almost 400 pages, and a nice community. TMNT is pretty much smack in the middle as far as pageviews go. So think about whatever you think would be reasonable for our average wiki to pay. Then multiply that by 500 -- does that sound reasonable? Then think about our #1 biggest wiki, World of Warcraft -- they're three times bigger than Wookieepedia. So WoW would have to pay 1,500 times as much as TMNT to run on Wikia ad-free.
One thing that's weird is that it kind of punishes wikis for being successful. If you work on your wiki really hard, and build your community up, and it becomes a huge wiki superstar, like WoW and Wookieepedia and Marvel Database... then that means your costs go up, and your community has to pay more money. Would that make you think twice about promoting your wiki somewhere, if you knew that more traffic means more money out of your pockets?
Also, what happens if a wiki grows a lot in a short period of time? The new Indiana Jones movie made the Indy wiki jump up 800% in the last month. A lot of that traffic is sticking around, too, and they've got a lot of new contributors. When a wiki is in a growth period like that, do you think it's a good idea to knock on their door and let them know that they now have to pay us 8 times more per month to stay ad-free? Do you think the new contributors will be excited to hear that they're now responsible for kicking in for some of the cost?
And if it doesn't work that way, if it's not based on how popular the site is... then how does it work?

#2. How does the wiki raise the money?

But let's say we come up with a figure for a particular wiki. This wiki has to pay X dollars in order to stay ad-free this month. So where does that money come from?
The obvious answer is that the admins pass the hat around. Somebody is elected to take charge of the Paypal account, and everyone chips in. I can definitely see that working for a particular wiki, for a little while.
But what happens when somebody goes away on vacation for a month -- do they still have to pay? What happens if a whole bunch of new contributors come to the wiki, bringing more traffic and potentially a higher cost, but they don't want to chip in -- is that okay? Does every admin have to donate? What if one of them is unemployed, or a student, or their car broke down this month?
What happens if the person in charge of collecting the money doesn't send it to Wikia on time? What happens if they forget about it, and then get embarrassed that they forgot, and they tell everyone that they did send it? What happens if the person in charge actually just takes off with the money? When honest, paid-up community members come to Wikia and tell us that they gave their monthly dues to an admin who disappeared, how is Wikia supposed to handle that? Do we honor their payment in good faith, even though Wikia never got the money? Who decides that?

#3. Does money change the wiki?

So things get complicated once we start putting money into the equation. It used to be that the community was focused on working together to build the wiki. The admins used to be in charge of building up content, welcoming users, and talking with their community. Now all of a sudden they have to be fund-raisers, too. Does that change how things run?
For example: Let's say you're having a disagreement about whether a category should be split into subcategories or not. Three people are involved in the conversation -- one person who pays his wiki dues every month, one person who used to pay his dues but now says he can't afford it anymore, and one person who's never paid. Does a person's status as a dues-paying wiki member mean that his opinion matters just a little bit more in that discussion? What if the dues-paying member gets really upset and frustrated, and tells everyone that if they don't do things his way, he's never going to contribute to the dues again?
The way that people are talking about this, it sounds like they think paying dues every month means that we can just work on our wikis and never have to think about commerce again. But when I think about how that would play out, it seems to me like people on the wiki would have to be obsessed with money. You'd have to think about it and talk about it all the time. After a while, who pays and who doesn't pay starts to influence every decision, and every relationship.

#4. How does Wikia process the payments?

This is another thing... Wikia currently doesn't have any kind of payment system in place. We can't just open up a Paypal account and start taking people's cash. It's not that simple.
In order to process the first payment from the first wiki, we'd probably have to hire a bunch of new people. We'd need an accountant who would be entirely focused on taking in payments and processing them. We'd need an engineer who would be responsible for turning ads on and off, based on which wikis have paid up this month. We'd need a community person who's responsible for reminding every wiki that their payment is due, and talking to the communities who are having a hard time figuring out who's going to pay this month.
More people, more software, more systems -- all to process payments from wikis that might end up having a hard time scraping up the cash after the first exciting thrill of ad-free wikis has worn off. So Wikia's costs go up. Who makes up the difference? Wookieepedia is already paying 500 times more than TMNT... Should we charge them even more, so that we can pay the people who are taking their payments?

I could go on, but I think I've made my point. People are saying that we haven't thought through all of these options. I think that I've just shown you that, yeah, we've thought about these options a lot.

I'm hearing how sad and frustrated people are. Putting an ad into the article area feels like an invasion. People spend hours every day working on their wiki because they love it -- it's art, not commerce. Having an ad below the header feels like commerce is destroying the art.

We've heard all of the feedback that's posted here, and in other places around Wikia. We're going to be meeting on Monday morning to talk about what changes might be made to the plan, in order to accommodate some of the feedback that we're hearing. I absolutely can't give details on that right now, because it's important to me not to make promises that we're not going to be able to keep. People may not like or agree with things that I've written, but I've been very careful not to mislead people, or offer things that I can't follow through on.

Obviously, everybody is going to keep talking about this, tonight and tomorrow and the next day. I'm sure that this post is going to get all kinds of response. We're reading all of these responses, and taking people's feedback seriously. Keep it coming. -- Danny@Wikia (talk) 07:19, 8 June 2008 (UTC)

I really don't think Wikia has thought this through. No, it really doesn't look like it. Announcing it to us more than a half-week in advance would have been the first step to ensuring that we knew about it. There is the global messaging system (eeps!). Now for some replies, slightly collated from above:
How much does it cost?
Apparently, enough. Else Wikia wouldn't have considered this, whatsoever. So, given that, why was it done the way it was? Because Wikia wants more money, so it can remain at-least "non"-profit (I use the term not in the legal sense, but as in generating revenue which is equal to cost of production).
However, let us take your example of World of Warcraft (WoWWiki, where I originate). These users are not your average ad-clickers. They are the tech-savvy users of the Internet, and they know how to get around the ads. I personally use CSS, though I know there are those which use Firefox + Adblock, or Opera, or Greasemonky. Whatever. The point is, they don't click. They don't click, you don't get money. You think it due to poor ad-placement (I disagree, but more on that later), so you move the ads. One into content space and out of the header. It's the industry standard, so you say, should get us more clicks and better advertisers. Right?
Wrong! As noted above, it's going to 1) scare away anonymous users which are perusing the wiki who don't want to deal with the eyesore, much less the area of the article content which they expect the infobox to be in (a la wikipedia/monobook), and 2) cause editors to up-in-arms, just as you've seen happen here. Which chain reacts into a wiki which isn't used, isn't edited, and most of all, ads which aren't clicked. Are. Not. Clicked. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200.
Eeps, not what you expected! Now you're losing more money than before. It's rather funny actually: The same rules which govern supply and demand govern wikis, and even more so, as they are based on user contributions rather than the output of the company. Those that give, get in return.
In fact, it's the gaming users which have sought Wikia; essentially denied Wikipedia due to how Fiction interacts with WP:Notability, they've found a haven in Wikia. It's the gamers that know how the internet works. There's a reason WoW's three times bigger than Wookiepedia. In fact, the wikis can even rebel, and even worse so than this. Again, they are Internet users: We can begin with simply suggesting in MediaWiki:Sitenotice not to use the site any further, and escalate from there. Wikia doesn't want that, and neither do we.
Back to poor ad placement: The header bar is placed perfectly. No, really, it is. Every Wikia has dealt with it in good grace, and I'm fairly certain they appreciate it more than the sidebars which Wikia used when it was working with Monobook. They put banners behind them to look pretty, etc etc. In fact, I would say the header bar is just as much an industry standard as the 300x250 is. Why take something that is working for us away from us? In the name of better clicks? Really, truly, consider what it is you're thinking to do. The bottom ads... could probably use some help. You choose to advertise featured wikis there rather than putting a bottom strip in (hmm, I seem to recall arguing against the bottom strip; funny how trust can come full circle).
The fact that so many communities have taken into discussion finding an alternatives means to work the "money" should show you (if you haven't realized it yet) how passionate we are about our artform. Some of us edit addictively; some of us peruse, tweak here and there; some of us lead everyone else in making our wikis better. So listen to us! We really truly are the ones that should have been consulted. Don't make the same mistake you made with Quartz by implementing a decision which quite obviously, honestly, and sincerely doesn't have community backing. Or your editors will abandon you, your viewership will leave, your wikis will be the ghost towns of the Internet. --c:wow:User:Sky2042
I can't tell you how much i agree, i actually don't adblock WoWWiki, though i don't really click or view the ads either, but putting ads like that is breaking the immersion and the structure of the site, i don't know if you still recieve money from adblock ads, but i'd definitely block them if they're taking space where i expect article relevant content to be. --c:wow:User:Fisker
Do note that the ads Wikia is going for with this move are not the cost per click ads. They are the cost per impressions. The ones that pay simply for being placed on the page. Also I do recall many notes about an alternate set of ads when there is a table in the page. ~NOTASTAFF Daniel Friesen (DanTMan, Nadir Seen Fire) (talk) (tricks) (current topic) Jun 8, 2008 @ 11:19 (UTC)
Wikia is a company. Even the smallest company has numerous expenses - and Wikia has grown into quite a large company. It will already have someone on staff involved with handling money. Really, there should be little need for the process to be that human-intensive. Payments can be handled by a third-party processor, which tells Wikia's systems the account to credit and how much was paid. No, it's not quite as simple as I make out, but plenty of websites big and small seem to manage to handle payments. Wikia has 11 developers in its Poland development team - you could assign one of them to this rather than making ever-more widgets.
The debiting side seems pretty simple, too. Site usage is calculated (however you wish to do that - possibly the harder part) and the account is debited on a daily basis. If it reaches zero, the ads go on - automatically - until there is credit in the account. The users that paid are noted in a public ledger, again automatically. This solves the potential issues raised above about giving money to another user - there's no need to - and also the ones about people claiming they paid when they didn't. In addition, it eliminates double-transaction costs.
There will be a wide disparity in wiki costs. But, if you have more people involved, chances are higher that some have sufficient disposable income to support it on a regular basis. The number of potential one-time donators should also increase with increased traffic. If all else fails, the site may just have to live with at least a partial level of ads. I find it hard to believe that growth would be that much of a disincentive - people who are passionate enough about a wiki to be linking to it are likely to be willing to help raise the money from their new visitors as well.
Yes, money does complicate things. But that's life. For most wikis, it is unlikely to be an issue because the money involved is so small. The larger ones will hopefully have enough potential donors that the loss of any particular one can be accepted. The expectations surrounding what you get are something that will have to be managed by the administrators (at WikiFur, we have a clear page about this). If you have some kind of dues-based system where their is an expectation of donations, there are more likely to be problems, but that's what you get when you have a system that relies on everyone contributing.
There's no need for Wikia staff to get involved in the decisions about who pays to remove ads - it's up to the users to figure out among themselves whether they do or not, and who will pay. If they don't, it's back to ads until they do. If Wikia suggests anything, it should probably be that donations are optional, since they get paid either way. --GreenReaper(talk) 09:38, 8 June 2008 (UTC)
I don't really understand that argument either. Why's it Wikia's problem, unless, as you said, Wikia's still convinced that they're Something More than a wiki hosting provider? --Silvermink 18:03, 8 June 2008 (UTC)
Btw, your numbers are either wrong (doubt that), based on total number of pagehits, or based on total number of articles: Quantcast says that WoWWiki brings in double the number of people of Wookieepedia, Memory-Alpha, and Uncyclopedia. Combined. Those are the next three largest wikis under the Wikia domain. I might be reading the statistics wrong, though. Either way, you're going to get vehement protests. Seriously. --Sky (talk) 09:58, 8 June 2008 (UTC)
Wikia's failure to understand its user base is astounding, when they've had 3 and a half years to figure it out (I think they did have it figured out back in the Wikicities era, but times have changed...). Again with the "Wiki communities are big amorphous blobs of people where individuals are untrustworthy and replaceable" nonsense. This just isn't true, and if people leave because of this you will find that out soon enough. The obvious answer is, if you don't get paid, the ads come back. It's not that hard, right? This argument that you can't do it because users are untrustworthy is total bunk. Thousands of hosting companies everywhere manage to somehow take users' money to provide a particular service (and that is what you are doing. You provide a wiki hosting service). Why can't you seem to handle it? ElasticMuffin 16:33, 8 June 2008 (UTC)

An anon perspective

I have no problem with the ads themselves. Granted, it will drive people away, but it in no way affects me personally (I know how to use Opera's "Block content" feature), and as the lovely Wikia staff keep reminding us, there's no reason to care about anything that doesn't affect each of us personally as an individual. No, what I object to is "Every wiki will use Monaco as the default skin." I don't like Monaco. I like Monobook: it is simple, no-frills, and friendly. The particular wiki I have occasion to visit (GuildWiki) has been using Monobook for 3 years (almost as long as Wikia has existed). Crazy as it might be to believe, it works. Heaven knows a wiki with Monobook as a default skin succeeding is unprecedented.

So why don't I just get an account and set my preferences? Simple: Wikia has a history of putting money before users (with this being the latest example). How can I possibly trust that they're not going to sell my e-mail address, browsing habits, and whatever else they can glean from my account that they might be able to put a pricetag on? The second I see a Monaco skin on GuildWiki is the very last visit I will ever pay to any Wikia-hosted wiki. Of course, I'm sure that will make Wikia staff that much happier: one less user who knows how to block ads sucking up precious bandwidth. - 71.224.123.149 16:46, 8 June 2008 (UTC)

Joining the Dissent

I also have to join the seemingly consensus opinion that this is not a positive change. As one Wikian noted above, after Wiki's have switched to Monaco, page views increased by a large percentage. If this is the case, (meaning more people seeing/clicking ads), why is a further change to Monaco necessary? To me, it just seems like the amount of ads is increasing. Sticking ads in articles seems to cheapen Wikia's quality to me. Additionally, the eradication of the top banner effectively eliminates individual Wiki creativity in terms of design, layout, and style; up until now wiki's could tweak that top area with images to suit their audience and needs, not to mention the destruction of the unique main page. -- LordTBT Talk! 17:56, 8 June 2008 (UTC)

I guess, as I mentioned above, I'm just not sure what the assertion that switching to Monaco results in more users has to do with the new, ads-in-content-area Monaco. I had a cheeky joke to make here about how if they go with a pay model, they'd better let wiki administrators choose a different default skin so they can avoid the massive user-base-inflating effects of Monaco and the resultant increased bandwidth fees (see Danny's arguments above on the fee model and how it would affect admins' desire to promote their wikis), but it didn't quite come together. --Silvermink 18:00, 8 June 2008 (UTC)
I also want to add that coming to the Wikia community and announcing this whole change approximately 4 days before it takes place is really low class. -- LordTBT Talk! 18:06, 8 June 2008 (UTC)

Nobody clicks

Good morning, everyone! There's so much being asked here that it's hard to go point by point. So I'm going to hit some of the big topics, and then we can go on from there.

One big topic is the one brought up above:

Sky2042 says: "These users are not your average ad-clickers. They are the tech-savvy users of the Internet, and they know how to get around the ads."

Fisker says: " i actually don't adblock WoWWiki, though i don't really click or view the ads either."

71.224.123.149 says: "It in no way affects me personally (I know how to use Opera's "Block content" feature), and as the lovely Wikia staff keep reminding us, there's no reason to care about anything that doesn't affect each of us personally as an individual."

There have been a lot of people in this discussion who have proudly stated that they hate ads, that they never click on ads, and that they specifically block ads from being shown to them. At the same time, they say that they care about the experience of all of their readers, and they hope that everyone knows how to block ads, and they hope nobody clicks on them, ever.

That strikes me as a surprising thing to be proud of. Wikia is supported by advertising as our only source of revenue. That's not a secret; everybody who contributes to Wikia knows that. Therefore, everyone who has made a point of blocking ads has been using the Wikia service for free. By blocking your own ads and leaving them there for other people, you've let your readers take on the cost of keeping Wikia afloat.

That's not to say that your contributions aren't valuable. They're incredibly valuable -- as you say, that's the content that brings people to the site. Without contributors, Wikia doesn't exist. But the same is true for money -- without revenue, Wikia doesn't exist. Both of those things are true.

We've made the choice in this case to show more ads to anonymous users than to logged-in users for precisely that reason. About 95% of Wikia's readers are anonymous readers. 5% of the people here are creating the content that the other 95% read. We know that ads are annoying and distracting, especially when you're trying to write. So we're only showing one ad to logged-in users, and we're not showing any ads on the "content-producing" pages -- talk pages, edit pages, etc. We also know that the 5% of people who contribute don't click on ads much anyway, and often block the ads.

That's okay, from a revenue point of view. The 5% are doing more than their share, by writing all the content and building the communities. But somebody's got to pay for the site to keep running, and that has to be the 95%.

People are absolutely correct that almost nobody clicks on the Google ads. They're annoying and boring, and they almost never show you anything that you actually want. Plus, they're not in the areas of the page that people are really looking at -- they're buried on the side or at the top, where they quickly become "wallpaper" that you don't look at. So nobody clicks, and Wikia doesn't make any money.

We had ads along the right sidebar on Monobook, and nobody clicked. We moved the ads to the top of the page on Monaco, and nobody clicked. If people had -- if there had been a rush to click on those ads and make sure Wikia stayed in business -- then we wouldn't have to change the ad format. But as you guys say, people blocked the ads and ignored them.

Advertising is Wikia's only source of revenue. If we don't make enough money from the current ad structure, then we have to keep changing the structure until we find a format that brings in revenue. That's why the skin has changed three times in the last year. Nobody clicks.

Dantman is correct above when he says that we're not actually counting on click-through ads anymore. There are two kinds of ads on the internet -- ads that pay by click, and ads that pay by impression. The real money is in impressions -- advertisers who will pay simply to have you see their ads. That's how TV works, and billboards, and magazine ads. Advertisers don't pay the TV station when people click on their remote controls -- they just pay to have their ad shown to X number of people.

That's where the money is, because the big reputable national-brand advertisers have moved to impression-based ads instead of pay-by-click ads. So if nobody clicks on the Google ads that are hidden around the side, then we need to pursue the big advertisers, and an impressions model.

The problem is, the big advertisers don't want their ads hidden at the bottom of the page, or squeezed along the side. They're paying based on the total number of people who look at their ad. Therefore, they want to make sure that people are actually looking at the ad -- which means they want it at the top right of the page, where people look.

We don't have many ads like this right now, because we can't sell ads to advertisers without having an "inventory" of ads on the site, ready to be sold. When we change the ad format to include 300x250 ads at the top right, then we'll have an ad inventory that we can start selling to big advertisers, and we can start making enough money to keep Wikia solvent.

Unfortunately, that means a big ad at the top right. It means graphic ads and not just Google text ads. We're trying to keep things like animation and video in the ads to a minimum, because we know that they distract people -- but the more rules that we make about limiting ads, the more aggressive we have to be about selling the ads that we have.

This is a very difficult balance. We're trying to respect the 5% of our users who build the communities and the content by limiting the number of ads that they see. But that means more ads for the 95% -- and if people still don't click on the click-through ads or look at the impression-based ads, then that means the ads get more aggressive, until we find a formula that brings in enough revenue to keep in business.

I know people hate ads. I hate ads. Everybody does. The world would we better if we didn't have to deal with them. But the folks who have been posting and saying that they block the ads, and encourage their readers to block the ads are shifting the burden to everyone else. That's what's been happening for the last four years, and that's why things have to change.

So again, why can't communities cover the costs themselves? I tried to explain that above, but it's hard to make myself clear because I don't know the financials. But I'll give you an example. The traffic numbers here are real, but the dollar figures aren't.

Using my example above -- TMNT Wiki is right in the middle as far as average traffic goes. We'll call that X. WikiFur is 18 times X, Muppet Wiki is 70 times X, Wookieepedia is 500 times X, and WoWWiki is 1,500 times X. (This is based on our Google Analytics stats, which counts every pageview -- Quantcast is an estimate based on sampled data.)

So here's the totally-made-up number. Let's say we decide that TMNT Wiki needs to pay $10 a month to stay ad-free. (I have no idea whether that's reasonable or not -- purely hypothetical.) That means that WikiFur should pay $180/month, Muppet Wiki should pay $700/month, Wookieepedia $5,000/month, and WoWWki $15,000/month.

We've got some amazing, very dedicated contributors on Muppet Wiki -- six strong admins, and about 30 regular contributors. We love our wiki very much, and we'd be willing to pay for it to continue. Some of us are even old enough to hold jobs. But I think between us, we'd have a hard time paying $700 every single month. TMNT might be able to keep up with $10 a month, but I think passing the hat on the bigger wikis would get pretty old. Somewhere around the third month, the Wookieepedia users are going to get pretty tired of raising more than a thousand dollars every week.

That's why the pay-as-you-go business model doesn't make sense to us right now. If a user can show us a way that we could count on getting $15,000 from WoWWiki users every month, then maybe we're wrong. Right now, it just doesn't look reliable -- not because we think the users are unreliable, but because we think it's unreasonable for anybody to have to pay that much money to keep their wiki going.

Somebody has to pay money if Wikia is going to survive as a company. I would rather have it be the corporate fatcat advertisers, rather than our regular contributors. -- Danny@Wikia (talk) 18:07, 8 June 2008 (UTC)

I guess what I'm confused by in your argument is how you figure putting ads in the content area is going to turn non-clickers (i.e., almost everybody) into clickers. Or is it just about being able to attract more major advertisers? Are they going to stick around if people don't click?
Essentially, what's the basis of your belief that more people will click on the ads if they're 300x250 blocks in the content area, or am I barking up the wrong tree here? -- Silvermink 18:15, 8 June 2008 (UTC)
Regarding the increased bandwidth (and storage) fees: there are significant economies of scale that may not be being considered. If a site has 100 times more visitors than another, it may only cost 10 times as much, and (perhaps more importantly) it is unlikely to use anywhere near 100 times as much staff time. This might turn a $1000/month fee into a much more manageable $100/month fee. The wikis hosted by Wikia collectively equate to a top-300 website, so I'm sure they get significant discounts. --GreenReaper(talk) 18:17, 8 June 2008 (UTC)
What if we wanted to encourage anonymous users to register to eliminate the ads? Would that be acceptable? -- LordTBT Talk! 18:19, 8 June 2008 (UTC)
In a nutshell: if "nobody clicks", how will adding more ads fix it? That's like saying "My car has a huge leak in the gas tank that keeps the engine from working, but if I put more gas in it'll be fixed." You still have the leak and eventually the engine will stop working again. You need a different solution. This is not 1999. I am not saying that there can be no ads, because obviously that doesn't work. But piling on more and more ads just degrades your service and ruins the user experience. Just because 95% of the people don't log in doesn't mean they hate ads any less than those that are computer-savvy enough to have AdBlock.
There is clearly no way that any wiki community here will raise $15,000 a month when a dedicated server elsewhere costs a great many times less. Let's talk real numbers instead of these silly impossible ones. ElasticMuffin 18:35, 8 June 2008 (UTC)
Silvermink and ElasticMuffin: I'm trying to explain about clicks vs. impressions. Nobody clicks on ads. That's why we're trying to attract advertisers who will pay for impressions -- just having people see their ads, rather than click on them. Advertisers who pay for impressions want boxes at the top right. If nobody clicks, then we have to get impressions-based ads.
About the economy of scale -- there are signficantly higher costs for the bigger wikis. Wookieepedia does require more staff attention than TMNT; a lot more. To take an obvious example, I haven't heard from a TMNT admin for months, but I've been hearing from Wookiee and WikiFur admins all weekend. Larger wikis also have more needs for tech support -- things like requests for new extensions, and suggestions for improvements. The big wikis bring in more readers and more contributors; they also use more resources.
The request for discounts for the larger wikis continues the theme that I've been noticing -- let someone else pay. People want to block their own ads, and also protect their readers from seeing ads. People want to pay to keep ads off their own wiki, but they expect a discount for being a big wiki. I agree, the dollar amounts that I quoted were completely made-up -- I have no idea right now how much it would cost, or how much we would charge. I'm just trying to point out that there are no easy solutions to this question. Finding solutions gets harder when people expect premium service at discount rates. -- Danny@Wikia (talk) 18:56, 8 June 2008 (UTC)
Instead of arguing with us about how much of a hassle it is, why hasn't someone just actually looked into how much it would cost? We're not asking for a perfect service for free, or paid for by someone else. We're asking for reasonable service at reasonable costs, and (in my opinion) without the undue sense of ownership that Wikia seems to be exerting over the wiki communities recently. I and the other Creatures Wiki admins would love to keep it here, but I would long since have abandoned Wikia if I were any normal customer of any normal hosting company. What makes you so darn special? The "community"? They are our communities, not yours!
The fact that the larger wikis use more resources is undeniable, and should pay more. That's basic economics. But again- until you give us some real numbers or actually listen to your users' opinions a little bit, how are we going to be able to decide whether dealing with Wikia is worth it any longer?
I would even be willing to pay some money out of my own pocket to maintain the Creatures Wiki's current level of service (ads along the sidebar and all) and have you just leave us alone. ElasticMuffin 19:24, 8 June 2008 (UTC)

Please see Forum:Wikia's New Style for the latest discussion

Okay, what? No. "The request for discounts for the larger wikis continues the theme that I've been noticing -- let someone else pay" is a really uncharitable way of looking at this argument. The argument is about economies of scale, not just "we don't wanna pay".
Fair enough on the impressions vs. clicks, though. I still don't think it's going to have the result Wikia wants. --Silvermink 19:27, 8 June 2008 (UTC)
May I just add a note? With disruptive ads, eg in the middle of content, more people are going to block those ads, which generally would cause less cash, unless you're being paid for ads that are blocked. What i like the idea of is the sidebar (Over There --->), since:
a) its not disruptive
b) its in an area where you will look, and its quite obvious.
Another idea is to make the pages actually longer, so its a 300x250 or whatever bar where the sidebar would be. Just some suggestions. {{SUBST:User:Warwick/~.js}} 19:53, 8 June 2008 (UTC)
What do you mean, no one clicks on ads? I click on ads! Well, sometimes, and usually to say, "Ha, Google thought that was relevant to this page?". Of course, sooner or later, the advertisers paying for the ads I click on are going to figure out that if I barely give their site a cursory glance, they're not getting much benefit from me clicking on their ads.
Is there some reason for the insistence on ads in the top right? I can understand why advertisers would want ads near the top of the page, so that the full ad appears without having to scroll down. But on many particular pages, it would make more sense from a page design view to put an ad somewhere else still near the top of the page. Quizzical 22:10, 8 June 2008 (UTC)
It's not totally applicable, but you might be interested in this link... which shows the sort of research that's done on what people look at, and where. Advertisers know that top and top right are important positions, so that's what they want to buy -- sannse@Wikia (talk) 12:39, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
Funny that this has to be mentioned on a wiki, but the actual topic of the article is that, while readers look at those areas, they completely ignore them.KrytenKoro 23:49, 4 July 2008 (UTC)

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