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Rodion Gorkovenko for CodeAbbey

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Ads or Donations - what you prefer to gain money with your site?

After you get, say, your first steady 1000 daily pageviews with your web-site, you become curious - is there a way to make some profit from it?

At least to return money paid for hosting, domain name etc.

If you have some experience in this - please share! If not - welcome to read about mine :)

Survey about Ads

results of survey about ads - people either hate them or block them

Approach tried - Ads from Google

So I started thinking about CodeAbbey - my hobby web-site with coding exercises - after about a year and half after its start.

I read about Google Adsense and after some efforts added small ad banner to top-right corner, shown on most of pages. I just didn't want to annoy my users with something larger. However even with this I found that:

  • only about half pageviews load ads - obviously many people use ad-blockers!
  • my users are of specific category - mostly techies and many of them studying - who don't pay much attention to ads at all
  • some ads are quite inappropriate, silly or embarrassing, especially on mobile (so I switched them off on mobile);
  • in total, return is small - in best times it generated about 10-15 bucks per month (with hosting currently about 13 per month);
  • during last one or two years ads have become even more silly and their revenue dropped to about 7-8 per month.

That's just ain't no good! Of course Google Adsense proposes "to improve your revenue" by putting large (half-screen) ads on pages, but I feel it will look like "damned boolsheet" for our users. And we value our users more than few bucks, right? :)

Considering Donations

So currently I'm thinking about turning off ads at all and switching to donations. I previously had few occasional transfers from some kind people - notably one fellow affectionately sent me $100 after he have impressed his opponent while being interviewed for some developer job - by showing his profile at my site and explaining solution of some advanced tasks.

I've tried survey about people's feeling and it seems to be favorable:

donations survey

However there seem to be several things to care about yet:

  • seemingly I need "business"-type account at paypal - correct me if I'm wrong
  • and as I'm going to send some small gifts (mugs, t-shirts) in case of too generous donations - it is important to get notified timely - and arrange some way of asking people for their postal address
  • and obviously it is important to come up with some design for any gift postcards, mugs or t-shirts - and find out where to produce them and how to pack them.
  • last but not least, I'm sure I'll need to figure out how to properly pay taxes according to our local laws (taxes from normal salary in our country are deducted automatically and we never need to care of this).

So I'm still working to this switch. If you have any advice - please share!

Discussion (9)

patarapolw profile image
Pacharapol Withayasakpunt

My favorite is Cat GIF. Not sure if it is even effective, though.

A popup on end-users' side (who might not even be a programmer), might be effective, though. Users might be able to choose between do not notify again and notify later. -- I have fallen to donative via this method sometimes, if I really like the product.

akashicseer profile image
akashic seer

I've tried ads. Unless you are getting tons of traffic you will not get any money from ads and you just ugly your blog up. Adblockers are killing this too. Ads suck no one wants to view them much less click on them.

This is all about to change soon BIG TIME. Why? Because I am going to try something corporations are too scared to do, simple as that. Part of my social platform includes a new form of advertising absolutely like nothing thought of yet. It is far, far, far more than a social platform. With my platform I am doing all of the things corporations are afraid or too greedy to do. My platform is all about sharing with the little man and providing software to move humans forward.

I am about to start making the marketing material and try to think of a name. CyberSquatters have all the names so it will probably be a nonsense name I have to go with. But how good is TikTok or some other name anyways.

Donations may get you a few pennies a month if you find people that want to donate.

All in All Blogs are no longer a way to make money anymore. I keep my blog basically for myself. I get almost 0 traffic from the search engines. In fact For the last 5 months, I got virtually no traffic. I have been trying to figure out ways to get traffic.

I tried posting links in video comments on youtube. That got me almost nothing. Then I created this account and a twitter account. Twitter on the fist day of posting 5 links to my website netted me nearly 50 views. I also see a decent amount of traffic coming from this site.

I am actually about to write an article on about how this site ranks higher for my name than my own website.

Also Rodion thanks for your comments about Scala. It made me stop and review my thought processes. I think I will ditch Scala and go with Golang. Further investigation shows the JVM is just so damn wasteful of resources, especially for microservices. 200+mb jars vs Golangs 25mb binary which is just compiled C. I found people are writing games with Golang because it compiles to C. Virtual Reality is something I am interested in too. The build tool SBT is so complicated I have a book on it. It sucks I wasted so much money on Scala books. But live and learn. I learned more about programming techniques and compute Science, but lost a lot of time.

Apparently Golang is easy to learn. I like easy. I hope it is a productive language I can quickly build an app with. Anything in the world has to be easier than Scala. Even PERL was far easier than Scala. The reason I consider this is because if the app makes it, then I have to hire developers and it is nearly impossible to find Scala Developers. The reason it is hard to find Scala developers is because Scala is hard to learn. The easier a language the more likely hobbiest will use it. The more likely that people will use it for hobbies, the faster it grows. The faster it grows the more people you have to choose from. Scala doesn't do anything special. I see it as an academic learning language. You can do serious stuff with it just like Scala. But you run a risk doing a large project.

Don't even get me started on some of the Scala Frameworks. Some feel so used car salesy with all of the Lightbend links everywhere, everywhere, everywhere, to a subscription so expensive you have to get a quote? We know how that goes. It is done that way so they can upsell you like a car salesman charging guy y more than guy x because you can etc. Yeah that sounds good when I am creating a new app. When I first found Scala I kept wondering WTF is a lightbend platform, google didn't know.

Everything felt so commercial and the opposite of opensource. Like here is the free biscuit, but what you really need is this yummy sandwich. From the suggested IDE which is free but if you want it to work with play framework or have better support you need to buy it. Then each framework is only basic and you have to purchase the subscription to make it not suck or spend many more hours researching to reinvent the wheel yourself. Then you add to the fact that it is nearly impossible to find an agreed upon way to do anything in Scala, which makes it impossible to master and all of the signs point in the wrong direction.

It was a post in my Gmail by Lihaoyi that caught my attention. He maintains many libraries and he felt he needed to explain his previous comments about the upcoming changes in Scala. The very fact he thought he needed to make a long post explaining his position in the REAL BUSINESS WORLD to these academics, made me realize Scala was the wrong language for serious work.

The academics will kill Scala all by themselves if left alone long enough. They want to follow PERL and Python in making major syntax changes. I like Scala it is a nice tool to learn with. But if academics run it and won't listen then I have no real use for it.

Reading the AKKA docs for example made me feel that I can use it freely to create something but if I wanted it to work correctly I had to pay for a subscription. At that point my brain starts to turn off and question me as to why I am making this choice. Imagine writing code one way with a subscription but another without? What happens when Lightbend up and changes ownership again? Does my code become valueless or do I risk some sort of legal problem? Look at Google and Oracle for an example. Google used the Java API legally before Oracle bought Java. Now Oracle is suing Google even though google no longer uses the API? WTF? So if I use lightbend subscription and it sells out and my app makes it. Can I be sued by the next owner because they want to get rich? I want to see the outcome of this.

Not to mention if I write it now, it will be Scala 2 and in a year or less I will have to totally rewrite it for Scala 3. It makes no sense to write an app just to have to rewrite the app. I believe this is turning a lot of people away from Scala right now. I've seen this movie before and know how it ends. I really wanted to use Scala to add skills and show I knew it, however most Scala Jobs have insane requirements. Like they want you to use Scala 5+ or even 10 years and know every framework and library there is. That is not realistic. Why do companies think learning frameworks and libraries is hard?

I have read other posts where greenfield startups used Scala and regretted it and changed over to Golang. They listed many reasons. Much has to do with lost time debugging something. One guy mentioned his team studied Scala for 6 months and still did not feel proficient or like they were mastering it. They then switched to Golang and were blasting code out in 2 weeks. I have studied Scala over a year and still feel lost when I view other peoples code, because with Scala there is 999 ways to do anything. Literally 5 or more ways to define a fucking function? Just NO!!! Then you have the ability to leave () off of method calls if the method takes 0 or 1 arguments? Great then it looks like variables everywhere and it is harder for my eyes to pick out the Method calls woohoo saving keystrokes folks!!! I am not trying to fill my brain with that much syntax and semantics. Plus I use multiple languages daily I'm not rain fucking man. Now once you learn the syntax they want to switch it all up, rendering all books, articles, and samples useless making you relearn the new language.

So thanks Rodion. I believe you have saved me some misfortune and helped me make better decisions. I am off to investigate Golang now. Also it looks like Golang can compile to run on any device. That is better than JVM languages. If I want to create an app I don't want to write it 5 times.

Any opinions on GoLang?

rodiongork profile image
Rodion Gorkovenko Author

Hi Friend! Sorry for I'm bit short on time right now to read and comment your message in complete - it's 23:17 here and I'm still to walk the dog :) But about Golang - yes, I do have opinion!

I just recently started looking at it myself. Learning it is much easier than Scala - and still it provides more interesting features - threads and messages out of the box. And very curious typesystem. It concentrates on offering simple syntax so you'll spent much less time to learn it to decent level.

I recently tried my first test-project for some open position - never heard back, but I'm pretty satisfied with my efforts.

If you look at tiobe index, you'll see Golang is soaring to 11 from 18 during last year. Scala is not even in top-20. And I think Scala has dark times ahead as they are struggling to push 3rd version.

So while I can't say Golang is ideal (it has features I dislike - and its standard library is somewhat messy) - but I think I want to switch to it from Java / Bigdata myself. Perhaps I'll succeed this year.

akashicseer profile image
akashic seer

Thanks for the response man. You sound like me, working until I get too tired then sleeping for a short time, then starting all over. I sleep like 6 hours or less a day, too much to learn. LOL

Yeah. I liked the idea of big data too and since I am building a social app it sounded nice to have native clients to things like Spark. In the end there are other ways. The Scala 3 thing is what is going to hurt it most if not kill it. Plus it is JVM and doing microservices with it requires big $$$ Where it looks like Golang was made just for microservices from what I have read.

Also I think I will go with a modular monolith so it will be easy to break it out into microservices when the time comes. I have to investigate Golang and it's libraries/frameworks and how it works. That is todays challenge.

akashicseer profile image
akashic seer

Now I am getting followers by using hashtags. I tried it one tweet and got like 5 more followers. LOL This twitter thing, why did I avoid it so long? Oh yeah I am an introvert with anxiety disorder.

aleixmorgadas profile image
Aleix Morgadas

I'm also thinking about Donations model to support a web application.

Have you considered a model like or ?

rodiongork profile image
Rodion Gorkovenko Author

Thanks for the links! I studied both briefly but feel that probably I'm not ready for either. The first seems to mean being over-scrupulous - this is good, but when I imaging describing like "got $40 from ..., sent t-shirt as reward, t-shirt cost $14, postal expenses $7" (not including cost of my time spent in post-office) - or deciding whether it is correct to pay from these money for expenses on some satellite web-project (e.g. also eductational, also about programming - but not related directly to the first site, like cp-algorithms). That is too difficult level of detalization to maintain easily.

The second seems to mean exactly what it says - levels of paid membership - and that is what I want never to happen. As web-site is educational, not really commercial - I prefer that any education opportunity is equally accessible to everyone, and this means free. Though perhaps they suggest some "elevated" or "honorable" membership which could be just an option not related to functionality. I'll see more about this, thanks!

aleixmorgadas profile image
Aleix Morgadas

Yeah... Find a donation method that matches the values and vision of an open source project is challenging.

Another approach is, my opinion about sponsors that that seems strange that you support and individual over a project.

When building a community, for me it's better if I support the whole project over an individual. In case the main maintainer leaves the project, supporting the project as a whole seems more probable that it continues alive by other members of the community.

But I understand that you, as a main maintainer/contributor, you would like to receive some money compensation for your work.

Hard to choose and even harder to monetize via Donations ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. I hope you the best with trying a new monetization model ( ᐛ )و

akashicseer profile image
akashic seer • Edited on

A little work on twitter is going a long way for me. Try it. My strategy for the last few days has been to find people with tech interest, who are following more people than are following them and I follow them. If the person is following less than the number that are following them by a large margin, shows they do not follow people. I also like people with lower total numbers. With this strategy I went from 3 followers to over 100 in 5 days. I will continue this until I have thousands.

I am going to try some other strategies to get followers. Like posting different things and using hashtags. Getting traffic to your website is the hardest activity in the world these days really. I am going to try logic games with the polling feature next. Basically I will have to create an image with the logic question on it due to word limits. Then post it with hashtags etc.

Don't follow people with who have lots of followers, chances are they won't follow you because they won't see you. If you want them to follow you, find a post they have made and comment while liking it. This has gotten me a few followers. Plus this kind of follower can get you mass views if you post something and they share it. So with people that have mass amounts of followers, study them, learn their post content and start interacting so they keep seeing you.

I have found twitter is like fishing. You chum the water and wait to see what the fishies like then put that on your hook. LMAO I am still learning, it has been only like 1 week.

Good luck and thanks for your comments on Scala, I have since reconsidered the entire thing since I had not written a line of code yet. I got all the requirements etc. It doesn't matter what language or whether I know it or not. However according to corporations I would need to know the chosen language and all frameworks for at least 5 years before I could be competent enough to be given the wonderful opportunity to join a team and write a single module. Those job ads are such a joke and get worse daily. LOL I read some and can see clearly who ever wrote it has as much a clue as a fly about what they are talking about. Ever see the ones that want more experience than the framework, library or language has existed? Or is that a USA thing?