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Change has come to macosxhints.com... Site News
Don't panic! Yes, you've come to the right site, and yes, those are advertisements on macosxhints.com.

For nearly four years, I've run macosxhints.com ad-free, relying on the contributions of visitors to help fund the costs of the site. Most of the time, this has worked out well enough, with contributions running somewhat ahead of costs in most months. But that's OK, as making "a lot of money" with the site was never an objective of mine, as I had a full-time day job.

And, believe it or not, despite the new presence of ads, making a lot of money from the site is still not an objective of mine. My main objective is to continue to make macosxhints.com the single best spot on the web for all sorts of tips and tricks about working in and around OS X. I have a lot of ideas for changes and improvements to the site in pursuit of that goal. However, between the site, my job, and my family, there just isn't enough time (despite my pleas, they continue to insist there can only be 24 hours in each day) to tackle these projects.

What does that have to do with ads? In order to do some of the things that I'd like to do on the site, I have recently moved to a part-time position at work -- so I'll now be spending a couple of days a week on site-related projects. The revenue from the ads is what (hopefully) makes this transition possible ... which is why you're now seeing ads.

Read the rest for a bit more on the change, and my thoughts on the future of the site, the community, etc...

I know some of you won't understand or support this decision, given how long you've been reading macosxhints' ad-free, but all I ask is that you give it a chance. You should also know that I will never consider the "other way" of making money on a site like this -- by restricting areas of the site to subscribers only. The community built this site into what it is today, and (as long as I have any say in the matter), the community-contributed content here will always be freely readable and searchable for everyone.

I want to thank everyone one of you for helping make macosxhints.com what it is today -- with over 45,000 registered users (come on, we can hit 50,000 by year-end!), this site has become one of the best "communities" on the web -- the submitted hints and comments here are some of the best I've seen anywhere in terms of technical knowledge, civility (a big part of why I enjoy working on the site each day!), and genuine desire to add to the OS X knowledge base. So thank you, and please, give the new direction a chance to succeed.

Going forward, I promise you'll continue to get my best efforts with the site. Anything less, and I'd be letting all of you down. Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have questions, comments, or concerns you'd like to voice; I may not be able to answer immediately, but I value your thoughts.

Your humble Chief Hintmeister;
-rob.
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Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: bpfh on Sep 10, '04 12:46:19AM

If anything, this decision will serve the audience better, as more resources can be directed to site content creation.

Everyone should be able to understand that maintaining a site with 6055 MacOS X hints is not free (as in free beer). The site is a valuable resource, and I for one welcome our new commercial overlords, provided that the ads are laid out and placed tastefully.

Go Rob.

-Sami



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Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: Hes Nikke on Sep 10, '04 01:11:52AM
A couple of example of sites that don't have tastefully placed ads are Mac OS Rumors, (whats the point of having a meta refresh? it causes me to lose my palce when reading it!) and The Mac Night Owl (having to page down twice just to get to the content is ridiculous!)

some sites that have tasteful ad placement include slashdot, macslash, and Apple Insider.

Interestingly, The Register, while somewhat heavy on the ads, has a few pages and articles that have a separate color scheme, that goes with the overall sponsor of that page.

Finally, on the vomit inducing front, C|Net's entire site looks like one big banner ad. (did i mention i hate C|Net?) Please avoid that route!

---
vacuums do not suck. they merely provide an absence that allows other objects to take the place of what becomes absent.

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Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: Hes Nikke on Sep 17, '04 12:57:53AM
macslash has turned to the tasteless side of things. [rant]

---
vacuums do not suck. they merely provide an absence that allows other objects to take the place of what becomes absent.

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Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: shurakai on Sep 10, '04 10:27:03AM

whatever you have to do, we'll be behind you.



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Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: cougar718 on Sep 10, '04 12:46:43AM

Rock on!

---
Rick alias cougar



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Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: Hes Nikke on Sep 10, '04 12:58:09AM
Rob, i completely support your decision to put ads on Mac OS X Hints, and i look forward to the new things hinted at. While it has been nice to have MOSXH be ad free for the past 4 years, i have come to terms with the fact that advertisements are a fact of life on the web.

If there is one thing i could ask, it's that you please only use static images, animated ads are annoying, distracting, and detracting from the overall experience of a web site. (Ads with audio are even worse, i delete bookmarks that provide me ads with audio, and i won't hesitate to delete MOSXH. You have been warned.)

I recently signed up with the LinkShare Network, (yes, thats a referral link) for my own site, ForgottenNebewbies.com as well as google ads, and both allow me to specify that i want my ads to be static, or even text only.

Good luck, and once again, i do support your decision - to an extent.

---
vacuums do not suck. they merely provide an absence that allows other objects to take the place of what becomes absent.

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Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: robg on Sep 10, '04 01:05:18AM

As much as I'd love to promise that you won't see blinking ads; it's basically a fact of life in most internet ads nowadays. However, if anyone sees a particularly bad ad, just let me know, and I'll see if I can get it removed (even if it costs me some money) -- more than likely, I can.

You will not, however, be subject to audio ads, pop-unders, pop-ups, or any of the other very intrusive ad forms. The network I'm using (BackBeat Media) doesn't accept these ads, and they even have limits on the amount of blinking you'll have to put up with. And as I said, if you spot a particularly offensive example, just let me know.

And just so everyone knows, the eventual plans for total ad placements are: top banner and sidebar tiles (here now), plus one sidebar banner, and one text box ad that won't appear on the homepage. GoogleAds will hopefully be one of these spots (my application is pending), and then BackBeat will sell the other.

Thanks for understanding, and thanks for the feedback!

-rob.



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Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: restiffbard on Sep 10, '04 01:21:39AM

I highly recommend Google ads. I have some one my page Restiffbard and they are, to me, unobtrusive and very specific to me and my site.

Also, it's Google and I'm a Google Whore. :)

Regarding your pending application, by the time you read this it will probably already be approved. They said it would take me 2 days to hear back from them. It took a few hours.

Obviously I don't mind the ads. So long as they are kept above or to the side of the content. Mingling ads with tips would just make it garish.



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Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: mangosi on Sep 10, '04 06:26:47AM

CHANGE IS GOOD! MOSXhints is too of a resource to be left in other hands. If adding adverts will move MOSXHints to the next level, MORE POWER TO YOU!



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Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: gourls on Sep 10, '04 06:29:11PM

Hey Rob, I understand that you have a life, too. Everyone does. Just ask me. I'm in school! So, yeah, I'll live with the ads. Just because of them does not mean that things can't stay the same.



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Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: paulsomm on Sep 11, '04 01:24:56PM

Lol, had you not said anything I wouldn't have noticed. But then I added the major ad serving sites to my FireFox blocking file awhile ago. Not because I dislike web-ads in principle, just that I got tired of the flash-based banners and iframe-based redirects and popups/unders and such that a lot of unscrupulous advertisers employ.

I just wanted to drop you a line to say this, as I know you're counting on ads for revenue, and I'm sure I'm not the only person who has their browser blocking most advertisers.



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Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: alset on Sep 10, '04 01:00:14AM

I've been reading this site since it rolled out, well before OS X was my dedicated system. Hints on this site fueled my excitement for the OS, and it's often the first resource I visit to explore a technique for which I am inexperienced. I even use this site for support issues, and I'm indebted to the contributions of users and dedication of robg.

Here's hoping that ads bring better user-experience.

---
free speech is the right to yell theatre in a crowded fire



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Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: blubbernaut on Sep 10, '04 01:20:33AM
This is the best hint site for OSX I've found and both this and the forums have been invaluable for me too many times to count. By the look of the current ads you're showing, I think this site will continue to be the best. Mo' power to ya.

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Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: prk on Sep 10, '04 01:24:00AM

Another reason to love Omniweb 5.



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Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: roncross@cox.net on Sep 10, '04 02:28:17AM

I will purchase omniweb 5 just for this very reason. I don't like ads!!

thanks
RLC

---
rlc



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Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: aranor on Sep 10, '04 02:18:44PM

You are aware that you can get PithHelmet for Safari free to block ads, right?



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Pith Helmet for Safari.
Authored by: greenplasticcup on Sep 10, '04 02:19:27PM

just use pithhelmet with safari, if ads are a big problem for you. Transparent and customisable, one of my most favorite freebies that i've used.

Pith Helmet

If, per chance, you want to support a website by viewing the ads and occasionally clicking on them, just right-click (left-click for lefties) on the page and select "never block ads from macosxhints.com".



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Pith Helmet for Safari.
Authored by: roncross@cox.net on Sep 11, '04 10:05:48AM

I have just install PithHelmet and now I can say, "what ads? I don't see any ads. Everyone here must be cracy."

thx for the tip.
RLC

---
rlc



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Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: terceiro on Sep 10, '04 02:03:52AM

As long as the hints keep rolling, I'll keep coming. But that animated MS Office ad does make me appreciate RSS feeds... I wish there was a filter for ads for which you were already a paying customer. "I bought your product already; stop pestering me!"

Still: you've got my vote, Rob. Rob 2004!



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Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: dbishop on Sep 10, '04 03:37:47PM

Not a problem. However, I'd certainly be happy to shoot a few bucks via PayPal if you put a link up here.



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Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: GaelicWizard on Sep 10, '04 02:13:06AM

Text ads don't bother me, in fact I've even been known to click on a few google ads. Banner ads, though, bother me quite a bit. I find them, in general, to be quite intrusive, ugly, distracting, and otherwise useless. If you could ditch the banner ad at the top, which is likely the most profitable, I would be quite happy. :-) The smaller square ad in the side bar is small enough to be un- annoying, and I hope that the larger side-bar ad you mention will not be as large (or anywhere near as large) as the banner at the top.

That said, Mac OS X Hints is certainly worth putting up with a few banner ads and your decision will definitely not change the fact that this site is my start page.

I look forward to the fruits of your new time. :-)

JP

---
Pell



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text ads! no banners! please!
Authored by: gagnon on Sep 11, '04 03:13:01PM

text ads are ok

banners suck

no needed explanation for that truism

please switch to google ads or alike

this site is of such importance it would a shame not to switch



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Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: imacusr on Sep 10, '04 02:29:16AM

The value I've received from this site in the past three years could pay for a fleet of used G4 Cubes. :D

Ads, schmads. Bring it on, to coin a phrase. I'll try to remember to click one every day for you. (And keep sending in my donation every year!)

Have you thought about becoming an iTunes Music Store Affiliate as well?



[ Reply to This | # ]
iTunes Music Store Affiliate
Authored by: sinjin on Sep 10, '04 11:15:59AM

I was thinking the same thing. Go for it, Rob.



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Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: donfarrar on Sep 10, '04 02:43:29AM

I haven't seen the obvious stated: Rob gets these hints, then turns them into profitable books. Not a knock, mind you, but a reminder about why this site exists. Yes, it "serves the community" -- whatever that ghastly socialist term means -- but it also serves a better god: profit. Now he gets to make a little money on two fronts out of this site. Good for him!



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Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: xavierbdm on Sep 10, '04 03:10:20AM

I sense a bit of cynicism there.
Rob "gets" these hints. Yes. But why? Because he organised a place for them to be hosted, because he sorts them out, because he rewrites them, because he comments or tries them.
And he re-distributes them, all in all, in an intelligent and tasteful and efficient manner.
That is why we send him the hint. Not to him, really, but to the other readers, through his relay.
So he doesn't "get them for free and profit from them". He is just one of the good places which deserve our hints and contributions, because they play a good role at sharing.
Making money from a book? Hey, good on him, it pays back for three years of voluntary work.
Making a living from the site? Hey, good on him. If you want ice-cream on a beach, you have to pay for the guy to bring it to you!
I am a big fan of that "community" you mention. And that is not a meaningless "socialist" term. It is a reality: there are people, they gather around information and exchange more, they appreciate and share talents, they recongnize the more talented and trust their advice, and the more talented get both a recognition reward and the right to make a better living out of their talent.
Rob has been very talented in setting up a place to host hints. He had the idea and the talent, he deserves credits and money back for his time.
By the way, Open source is about that: sharing the knowledge, and paying back the talented for their contribution. Open source might actually be the true liberal approach ;-) (not paying back only the bankers and the bosses)
A more humane "fittest survival": the best teach the lesser best, to help them grow!
Ok, I stop my rant.

---
iMac G4 17 800/512/80 + powerbook firewire G3 500/512/30



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Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: kirkmc on Sep 10, '04 03:21:26AM

I gotta react to this... Rob doesn't just "get these hints and turn them into profitable books". Sure, he's set up a site and has made one book (soon to be a second edition, with a, um, different title) using these hints, but don't think they just get poured into a book as-is. A lot of work goes into rewriting, editing and verifying these hints.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: teomalchio on Sep 10, '04 06:18:34AM

---"serves the community" -- whatever that ghastly socialist term means---

you have problems, man...



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Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: heyotwell on Sep 10, '04 08:48:21AM
And if there are two less profitable sources of income than running a niche website for geeks and writing a technical book, I don't know of them. Rob is quite lucky if MOSXH and a part-time job pays the bills; most comparable sites probably don't.

(And isn't "serving the community", like, the entire value of the web? I for one probably spent 80% of my time online on sites where someone's written something basically cause they think it would help people to know it.)



[ Reply to This | # ]
Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: robg on Sep 10, '04 05:18:25PM
Just to clarify on the book thing a little bit ... as noted, Mac tech books (and websites) are not exactly the secret to retiring rich at an early age :). When Michael Crichton (a Mac user, hooray!) releases his latest thriller, it will sell literally millions of units. By comparison, I've been told that a successful Mac tech book has sales anywhere from 10,000 to 30,000 units. My first book fell somewhere south of the midpoint of that range, so it did OK by Mac standards -- well enough that O'Reilly agreed to do another :).

So you can see that there really isn't a lot of revenue to go around, especially when you consider what it takes to make a book -- there are literally something like eleven people directly involved in the production of the current edition of the book.

One other point I'd like to make regarding the books ... anyone can do what I did. Really. The database here is freely searchable for the entire four-year history of the site. So to mimick what I did, just cull the hints for all four years, find the ones you like the best, rewrite them from scratch (other than code snippets, none of the text from the web is in the book), take about 400+ screenshots, layout the chapters and put the hints in some order within the chapters, put everything together, and find a publisher :). I did all of this at night and during weekends, as my mornings were consumed with the site updates and my day job sucked up the daylight hours. I can tell you it's not a lot of fun, and it's by no means easy. But it is rewarding when it's all done, and you know you've put together something good.

The only advantage I have over someone else is that the site and its name are mine, and cannot be used as the title of another book (and I can directly search the database, which is a bit quicker than using the site's search engine).

But there's nothing to prevent someone from taking the knowledge (you can't copyright or patent a concept like "press command-` to scroll backwards through open apps") stored in this database and rewriting it in their own language and including it in a book of their own -- and I wouldn't want to stop someone even if I could. I want people to learn about, use, and like OS X, so that we keep the Mac platform going strong for another 20+ years :).

-rob.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: KingDoom on Sep 10, '04 06:22:23PM

Well said Rob!



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sales figures from O'Reilly
Authored by: hayne on Sep 11, '04 09:24:41AM
As Rob and others have said, writing a technical book is not the road to riches. Unless you are careful, you can easily spend so much time writing the book that the money received amounts to less than minimum wage.

Here's an interesting page where O'Reilly discusses the sales figures of their books and the amount of money an author might expect: http://www.oreilly.com/pub/a/oreilly/ask_tim/2003/salesexpect_0603.html

[ Reply to This | # ]

praise to Rob, and answer to angry guy...
Authored by: Gabroil on Sep 10, '04 10:33:07PM

I was very upset when I read this, as I feel it is horrendously unfair. I have been using this site for a long time and have found it to be an excellent source for information. I dare anybody to find a free website that provides this kind of information, presented in a good manner and, even more remarkable, updated daily.

I have sent hints and have interacted with Rob, he was polite (he took time to write me an email and make a suggestion!) even though he must have to work hard to weed out all the bad, repeated or uninteresting hints. I know that the information that we absorb in an hour or so must take many hours to be put together.

While I am all for free beer, the truth is that someone has paid for that beer somehow, either monetarily or with their hard work. I think it is very fair for someone to be compensated for their work. Unlike some readers, I am not bothered by the adds (I think they are insignificant, compared to other free sites). And I would like to know who, of all of the readers would be willing to work hard and get nothing material in return.

Rob, I am glad that you will finally be compensated for all the hard work that you have done and will continue to do. I hope it is even more successful than you hope. Thank you for making MOSXH such a good useful tool to learn new and interesting things.

PS: One final thought on the angry reader. He does not like socialism, but he scorns someone profiting from their hard work. ???



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Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: GerryA on Sep 10, '04 02:50:48AM

I too have been following macosxhints since the beginning. I 'tune in' each morning (UK time). Rob's done a great job, and if he can dedicate more time, or even the same time, to keeping this site going, I'll support whatever it takes. Good luck!



[ Reply to This | # ]
Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: jreades on Sep 10, '04 03:06:51AM

No audio, no popups, and no popunders? As much as like my sites sans advertising the fact is that I can live with the rest. So while I'm not thrilled, I completely understand the reasons.

Good on your Rob for keeping OSXH ad-free for as long as you did, there aren't many who would have put this much work into something they weren't receiving any money for.

P.S. Just out of interest, would you ever consider offering an ad-free RSS/Web version to people who paid... say... $12-15/year? That way everyone wins -- if I'm willing to pay for your time directly I can ditch the ads completely.



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Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: mproud on Sep 10, '04 03:17:14AM

I think some people don't realize this is mainly run as a one-man op! That says a lot.

Your being honest and showing faith goes miles. And I applaud your decision on premium content, as well as being extremely receptive to e-mails (and being proactive on miniscule things suggested, like adding in a font for the stylesheet so l's and 1's are differentiable for people browsing on a Windows computer at work because non-anti-aliased Courier New is all the same :)

Every Mac user should bookmark this site, whether new or veteran users.

Three cheers for macosxhints.com! (And let's hope it makes it to Mac OS 11!)



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Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: khaled on Sep 10, '04 03:31:11AM

Hi,

I've been reading this site from the days of Mac OS X Public Beta, I've learned so much from it, I hate to see this site close down because of the cost of running it. I don't mind at all adding ads to help support this site, all mac sites are loaded with ads..

good luck

Khaled



[ Reply to This | # ]
Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: amjbrown on Sep 10, '04 04:41:42AM

Right move - this site is the best resource for all Mac OS X stuff. I switched after reading it, and switched my wife a few weeks later. The site has been invaluable to me in that process.



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Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: drakedave on Sep 10, '04 04:55:21AM

I support this decision (insert ads).

Have you ever think of let people donate you money for this site?

Regards,
David

---
Take care,
Drake



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Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: robg on Sep 10, '04 12:01:41PM

I had a donation banner up (right where the side tile is now). It worked about well enough to cover the fixed costs of the site. It didn't do well enough to cover a decline in my salary :)

-rob.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: rlaan on Sep 10, '04 05:15:00AM

I didn't even notice untill I read your story on the ads. The value of the info on this site surpasses any anoyance caused by ads. Keep on going and if the ads are Mac related it could only be an addition to the overall experience.

Good luck to you

Ruben

---
The box said, Windows 95 or better, so I bought OS X.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: Mr Clicky on Sep 10, '04 05:33:04AM

Hey, don't sweat it Rob, who the hell has clicked on a banner ad since 1995 anyway?!? (don't let your advertisers read this though ;-).

Thanks for persisting with the best OSX site bar none. I read it every day (note: must get a life)

Mr. Clicky



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Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: hedgepig on Sep 10, '04 05:50:36AM

I totally support your decision!
You have created something very valuable, and even if you do make money out of it...you deserve it!

I am not bothered by banner ads. Sure they make reading the site maybe a bit less relaxed, but that is a tiny sacrifice for something that is free.

Keep up the good work!
Thomas Krajacic



[ Reply to This | # ]
Change is good
Authored by: fx4m on Sep 10, '04 06:32:21AM

Hey sometimes ads are good (unless they are from Micros**t). You might learn something new is available.

I look forward to seeing what improvements come out of being able to spend more time on this project. It is already one of the most useful sites on the entire web. One can't say enough good things about this site.

Chuck



[ Reply to This | # ]
Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: zane on Sep 10, '04 07:47:42AM
MOSXH has been an invaluable resource tp me for longer than I can remember. Like coffee and the morning paper, this site has become just a natural part of my daily routine.

If Rob gains revenue on a pay-per-click system via. the new banners, I will gladly click a banner each and every time I visit, just for the helluvit, to support the cause.

Kudos to Rob, and all the hints contributors, for helping me to maintain, repair, and tweak my system throughout the years, more than any solo research on my part could ever provide.

Vive la MOSXH, ads and all!

[ Reply to This | # ]
God Bless You Rob
Authored by: JacUnivac on Sep 10, '04 08:18:08AM

Thank you for everything you've done to keep this site chock full of great "stuff". You enhance my Mac experience to the fullest. If you looked at my G5 Dual 2 it has OSXhints written all over it.

Keep up the great work. I hope you make a ton of money.

Jacunivac.........or if you forget just call me Jack.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: giantmike on Sep 10, '04 08:20:30AM

1 closer to 50,000 users ;)

I have read the site on a daily basis since it started, just never registered. I'm looking forward to many more years from this site.

Glad to be aboard!

---
Giantmike's Website



[ Reply to This | # ]
Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: M4L on Sep 10, '04 08:22:26AM

I fully support the decision made to put an Ad on the site. With all the time that Rob spends on the site, and work, and with family, it's amazing that the quality is as high as it is. I too will click through at least once a day. I also will send in some extra $$$ as a sign of my appreciation of all the effort over the years.

On another note though...some people have commented on the fact that they will use OmniWeb to block the ads. Do you not understand that this will not help Rob or the site at all? If you don't see the ads, you can't click through, and there will be no revenue coming into the site. While this feature is good for general sites you are navigating to on a whim, sites like macosxhints.com that rely on the revenue from the ads are hurt severely.

Rob says he has new features coming to the site. I think the least we can do is take 5 seconds to click through...

More power to ya Rob!

M4L



[ Reply to This | # ]
Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: jemimap on Sep 10, '04 01:29:18PM

I use Safari with PithHelmet and popups blocked, so I'm not seeing anything new. I don't mind tasteful, non-blinking ads; it's mostly a bandwidth issue for me. I think the audience here is knowledgeable enough to block ads if we don't want to see them, so pop away!



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Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: bombcar on Sep 10, '04 07:13:40PM
Actually, if Omniweb (like Firefox's adblock) downloads the ad, the impression will be counted.

And if people just click on ads and do nothing, the advertisers will begin to discount the value of a click through.

Though what I do do is if I need a product, then I go through a web ad on a site I like.

dansdata.dealtime.comis a good example of that. (Dan also has a good policy on adblocking - search and read it).

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Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: thoughton on Sep 10, '04 08:26:01AM

Like many others I've been reading for a couple of years. You fully deserve whatever revenue you can generate through advertising! Hope it all works out! I for one will keep on coming.



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Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: mjones1040 on Sep 10, '04 08:51:22AM

How about placing the banner ad above the "Mac OS X Hints" title as they do at MacSlash?



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Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: robg on Sep 10, '04 12:05:33PM

I had it that way on the development site for a while, but I hated how far down the screen it pushed the header info -- with the ad where it is now, you can more quickly reach the search box, advanced search, etc. I also felt I wanted the macosxhints logo at the top of the screen, to make it easier for visitors to recognize where they were on first page load.

-rob.



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Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: jocknerd on Sep 10, '04 08:51:25AM

Sellout!

Just kidding. Keep up the good work.

---
OS X 10.2
Apple Styling, Unix Power



[ Reply to This | # ]
much disappointed !
Authored by: Safar on Sep 10, '04 08:55:56AM

i never made a volountary subscription, but i proposed a few hints...
I am much disappointed by this move.
If you had really in mind to make this place better, you could have recruited a few system administrators, with all these competent people out there, it would have been very easy.

Plus, there are ads and ads (dunno if this is english...). An ad in a corner called "please click here to go to the applestore online, it will help us support the site" is not the same as this ugly banner from a company that should die

sad story



[ Reply to This | # ]
much disappointed !
Authored by: JacUnivac on Sep 10, '04 10:02:05AM

AMF Safar



[ Reply to This | # ]
much disappointed !
Authored by: robg on Sep 10, '04 10:15:27AM

I'm sorry you're disappointed, though I knew some would be.

Recruiting a few admins really wouldn't help much -- it's not the workload of updating the daily hints that takes the time, it's the stuff I'd like to do to make the site better. And if I tried to do that with recruited admins, while working a full time job, the situation wouldn't improve one bit. It's just as tough to manage a team while working full time as it is to run the site myself with a full time job.

The only answer was working less at my "real" job, and for that, I needed a semi-reliable revenue source to make up for my income change. Hence the ads, which are the least disruptive solution, in terms of changing how the site works.

Only time will tell if the new features I'm planning on adding are worth it to all of you, but I hope they are :).

regards;
-rob.



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much disappointed !
Authored by: smorr on Sep 10, '04 08:35:01PM
Rob, do what ever is necessary to keep this site yours and allows you to pursue this as a means to support yourself and family. I much rather see this site remain in your hands with a few ads than the alternatives -- having the site die because it sucks you dry, or selling off the site to some third party that eventually kills it or turns it into some corporate mouthpiece (aka maccentral and macnn).

in anycase, KUDOS to you for making this endeavour your work... It takes a lot of courage to set aside a guaranteed source of income on the side to pursue something that you take enjoyment from and is a great asset to the community.

[ Reply to This | # ]
much disappointed !
Authored by: Blah on Sep 11, '04 05:07:40PM
And if I tried to do that with recruited admins, while working a full time job, the situation wouldn't improve one bit. It's just as tough to manage a team while working full time as it is to run the site myself with a full time job.
Spoken like a man who's seen it before! (?)

It's definitely true. Coordinating a project, especially with part-timers or less-experienced folks (good meaning as they may be) can often take more time and energy than just doing it yourself on the off-hours. And as Rob's seen (and I've experienced firsthand as well), that both takes a toll and doesn't let you get as far as you know you could if you only had more time to work.... it can be very frustrating.

So FWIW, I'll join the chorus of: by all means give this a shot and see how it goes. And good luck.

[ Reply to This | # ]
For Those Who HATE This Idea ...
Authored by: mshmgi on Sep 10, '04 08:57:39AM
Read this hint. I have been using a modified version of this style sheet since the hint was first published and I can't see any of the ads on this site. I wouldn't have known they were here if Rob hadn't pointed it out. :)

[ Reply to This | # ]
For Those Who HATE This Idea ...
Authored by: ryanmathus on Sep 10, '04 07:54:12PM

I've been using the style sheet I posted in the last comment in that thread. I also wouldn't have known that ads came to this site -- I only found out by rob mentioning it, too.



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You have my support!
Authored by: dmc on Sep 10, '04 09:05:01AM

This site is great, and I visit every single day. The banner ads are fine by me. So many sites have them these days, I don't even notice them anymore. Hopefully this can put a little spare change in Rob's pocket, or atleast keep the site from costing him anything.

Also, Rob, you are another one closer to your 50K mark. I finally registered today. :)



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Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: sfodden on Sep 10, '04 09:11:59AM

Hey Rob, no worries here. I need my daily fix of MacOSXHints, so whatever it takes...

But an idea... Could you throw in an anchor just after the ads ("adfreetop"?) that we could use as a bookmark -- just to assist those who are allergic to blinking banners, you understand.

Cheers,

Simon

---
Simon F.



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Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: Chris Biagini on Sep 10, '04 09:23:43AM

I don't mind the ads one bit--they don't detract from the quality of the site in any way, and if they help you make a hobby into part of your day job, well that's just awesome.

Curious that you didn't go with Google ads, though. They always struck me as the best (and I even actually *like* them sometimes).



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Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: robg on Sep 10, '04 10:17:29AM

Google ads are in progress and will be coming shortly. However, when I looked at what I needed to make to justify a 40% reduction in my salary, the Google ads weren't going to do everything I needed them to, hence the addition of the network.

-rob.



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Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: pettri on Sep 10, '04 09:31:29AM

Go for it Rob.
If all it takes is a few ads to help you keep and even improve the already high standard of this site, go for it. Ignore the whiners, they don't feed your family, you do.

---
Have a Great day!
pete.



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I understand...
Authored by: dan55304 on Sep 10, '04 09:45:03AM

Rob, most of us support this decision because of the great job you've done over the years and we trust you'll do ads right. This has been my top pick every morning for years!

I'm sure you've covered the bases, but there are some ads that aren't a good idea:
1. pop ups - duh
2. ads with sound
3. ads that pretend to be search boxes
4. ads that delay page loading. This one has made eBay a real nightmare. I have to turn off JavaScript if I'm browsing a lot of auctions.
5. sex related ads



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I understand...
Authored by: robg on Sep 10, '04 10:19:36AM
You have my assurance, at least on a few fronts: No pop-ups (or unders), no ads with sound, no ads that delay page loading (I like a fast site, too). If you happen to see an ad that pretends to be a search box, or a sex-related ad, please let me know ASAP -- I can get ads removed with relative ease. There should never be any sex-related ads, though, as they aren't allowed into this network.

regards;
-rob.

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One more no-no
Authored by: Bookman on Sep 10, '04 05:01:35PM

Please, Please, PLEASE, no blinking ads. NOTHING turns me off more than the rapidly blinking "you are a winner!" ads that seem to be everywhere.

That said, Rob, I support your decision and understand your reasons. Keep up the great work.

--Books



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Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: tinker on Sep 10, '04 09:47:40AM

If this is actually sucking up so much time that you've got to cut down on work, Rob, don't hesitate for a moment. I say this even though a Microsoft ad is currently staring me in the face -- so you know I mean it!

So, point of ignorance on my part: is Rob's revenue from this tied directly to the number of times people click on the banners? Or indirectly, or not at all (except that advertisers with no refs. from macosxhints.com will cease to advertise)?

I can imagine a new raft of hints: how to set up a cron script to curl macosxhints.com and automatically click the banner ad... how to stagger the timing of such hits... how to spoof a random IP address every time you do it.... Any takers? :-)



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Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: ynolo on Sep 10, '04 10:01:00AM

I don't like your idea, sounds more like s scum. I think that if want to help the site and Rob the best thing to do is actually pay for this cool tips. I propose a dollar a month. I know a lot of people can pay one lonely dollar a month for good stuff.

I just can't think of any free Microsoft zone. They get in everywhere.

---
i don\'t have one



[ Reply to This | # ]
Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: tinker on Sep 10, '04 01:16:25PM

sigh

::sarcasm::



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Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: robg on Sep 10, '04 10:21:44AM

The ads here are not necessarily based on click-thrus, though those are certainly tracked. The problem with click-thru sales is that (a) the stats are easily swayed by robots, etc., and (b) if an ad is 'ugly' or unappealing, the site owner is punished when nobody clicks it. Hence, these are sold as exposure ads (so many page views for so much money), but advertisers will look at click-thrus when they go to renew.

So yes, viewing helps, as does occasional clicking if you're interested. But mass clicking, etc., doesn't help, as the stats will just get cleansed of obvious mass clicks :).

-rob.



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Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: edgordon on Sep 10, '04 09:48:24AM
So, perhaps Privoxy should be next weeks 'Pick of the Week'. I started using it a couple of months ago and love it. It lets you enable banner ads on a per-site basis for those organizations that you want to support, while pretty much blocking all other intrusive content.

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Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: robg on Sep 10, '04 10:23:38AM
Well, it's been mentioned here 10 times already, including a few quite detailed explanations of its usage :).

-rob.

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Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: ahbe on Sep 10, '04 10:50:59PM

OK, here's a question I have always had. Lets say you are using Omniweb 5 or Pithelmet in Safari. You have it set to block adds. In the case of macOSXhints the adds pay on a per view basis. If you have the adds blocked, it is still going to be registered as viewed when you visit the site? If not, is there a way to block adds, so I don't have to see them, but the site still get credit for me viewing them. Ok, I soppose you could call this a scam, but I just want to support sites I enjoy, like macOSXhints, but I don't want to see adds.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: ynolo on Sep 10, '04 09:52:44AM

I suggest we pay a dollar a month. Let's say that out of the 40,000 + subscribers only 10,000 decide to pay a dollar. That's good cash a month.

A dollar a month for good excellent hints i think that's a terrific deal. It cannot get better than that. I like the idea of adds if no one wants to contribute but i'm sure a lot of people here would not mind paying a dollar.

What does everyone else think about this?

---
i don\'t have one



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Maybe, but...
Authored by: tinker on Sep 10, '04 10:09:45AM

I wouldn't mind setting up my online checking account to spit out a check for a few bucks every month, in principle, but are there really 40,000 *active* members? Even if there were and one in four did pony up, and even if 90% used Paypal or something similarly paper-free, that would be 1,000 checks for $1 that Rob would get to endorse every month. He'd have to quit his day job entirely, just to sign the checks....

We could improve on this scheme a little -- everyone send $20, once a year, in the month that you were born. That way, less hassle, and a more even cash flow (tho February will be a little short....)



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Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: robg on Sep 10, '04 10:27:52AM

It's a wonderful idea ... implementing it is quite tricky, however. Geeklog would have to somehow support and track subscriptions, automatic renewal notices would have to go out, etc.

Also, not everyone would pay, and then there's a sense of a few entitling the many to the site's benefits. With ads, the funds are coming from a third party, so no guilt trips for those paying / not paying.

Down the road, I do intend to add some features that may be available only to subscribers. One of the package's benefits will probalby be a way to disable the ads (but not it's most interesing feature :) -- but this is well down the road, as it will require some very extensive changes to Geeklog.

When I had the donation banner on the side of the page, I would get anywhere from 5 to 20 people paying in a given month -- on average, I covered the site's direct expenses, and made a bit of change for taking my family out on occasion :). It's a big step from there to thousands of people each paying $1 to help suppor the site. It's a good idea, I just don't think it would work out.

cheers;
-rob.



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Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: PsiPhi on Sep 10, '04 04:03:28PM
Hey Rob,
Just want to say right off the bat that I'm in no way shape or form opposed to you getting some revenue from ads. Neither am I opposed to you doing anything you damned well please with your site. I have been a long time Mac OS X Hints "viewer" and will continue to be one.

That said... I'm just a little curious how you plan to resolve the apparent clash in these two statements:

From the article:
You should also know that I will never consider the "other way" of making money on a site like this -- by restricting areas of the site to subscribers only

From parent:
Down the road, I do intend to add some features that may be available only to subscribers

Is it the "may be" part? Again, I'm not voicing objection over you adding subscriber privileges -- this is one of a very few sites I would consider subscribing to -- I'm just curious what the distinction is? Are you saying you'd never make it a "subscription only" site but that you might add some subscriber perks?

Anyway, keep up the good work, your advertisers will get at least one page view per day from me.

-peter schart

[ Reply to This | # ]
Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: robg on Sep 10, '04 07:34:31PM
No confusion meant -- the next sentence after what you quoted is important for the context of the statement to be understood:
The community built this site into what it is today, and (as long as I have any say in the matter), the community-contributed content here will always be freely readable and searchable for everyone.
That's what I mean by "restricting areas of the site" to subscribers only. That's what I would never do -- restrict access to the hints and database to those who subscribe. I would never do this. Ever. Really. I think it's plain evil :).

In another follow-up here somewhere, though, I discussed the concept of a "Gold" account which would offer additional features beyond the free features. You can find it to read what I wrote, but the other important thing to note is that I have this plan in mind only if the ads don't work out -- it's just another option to hopefully help fund the site. All it is at this point, though, is just a concept.

So my hope is that the ads work out, but if they don't, I'll need to consider other options to keep the site online. Paid-for "Gold" accounts is but one option, and (I reiterate :), those would never come at the expense of locking free users out of those areas of the site that make macosxhints what it is -- the hints and the database of past hints!

Hope that helps;
-rob.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: PsiPhi on Sep 11, '04 04:36:14PM

Ah, I see now. That makes perfect sense.

Thanks!



[ Reply to This | # ]
Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: soufle on Sep 10, '04 08:03:57PM

Hi Rob,

While I suspect this is all water under the bridge, I for one would have preferred the pay as you go method or a more vocal plea for regular users such as myseld to contribute.

You commented on the lack of participation from a donation banner. Maybe many people are like myself, in that so many ads over so many years I have learned to tune them out. Maybe that should be considered for your current ad plan. A plea form Macsurfer earlier this year I noticed, it was not a banner or ad type request but a posting right on the page and I did contribute.

Note: I am not trying to flame, I am a business owner myself and do not have heartburn over you trying to generate some revenue. I am and will be a faithful daily reader, though I am very unlikly to ever click on a banner type ad.

Sincerely,

David

---
The box said windows XX or better so I got a Mac!



[ Reply to This | # ]
Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: dan55304 on Sep 12, '04 10:13:39AM

I think offering a subscription for those who want "ad free" is a great compromise when Geeklog supports it. That's a win-win.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Actually...
Authored by: sukeroku on Sep 10, '04 09:58:37AM

Like most folks, I find ads annoying most of the time. However, for the past year or so, I've noticed that I actually find some text only ads useful (usually Google-generated ads) and investigate somewhat frequently. This is because they're targeted very well--and they're not blinking or spinning or otherwise making me dizzy.

This is a great site, one of my daily reads, so if ads will keep it available, you'll get no objection from me.

Keep up the great work!



[ Reply to This | # ]
Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: DougAdams on Sep 10, '04 11:32:32AM

I'm with you, Rob! 110%.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: syko on Sep 10, '04 11:49:37AM

what ads? i see none

:D



[ Reply to This | # ]
Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: oink on Sep 10, '04 11:55:39AM

I just hope it doesn't require too many unnecessary clicks to get to the hint. That was the reason I stopped going to versiontracker.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: robg on Sep 10, '04 04:03:01PM

Never!

Hints will always be the most important part of the site! No extra clicks will be required -- ever!

:)

-rob.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: agraboso on Sep 10, '04 12:01:06PM

Well, ideally I would like to see MacOSXHints ad-free forever, as I am sure Rob would too. But unfortunately, this world is everything but ideal and some wonderful ideas (I liked the 1$ each thing) most probably would not work. However, MacOSXHints is one of my daily readings and will still be with those ads.

And look at the bright side, fellas: Rob is spending more time with us!



[ Reply to This | # ]
OK by me....
Authored by: daybrother on Sep 10, '04 12:11:04PM
Go for it. I am all for change that helps you continue the site. I come here everyday. Let me echo, however, a previous poster who has a big problem with "flashing" ads...

[ Reply to This | # ]
Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: dacloutier on Sep 10, '04 12:07:56PM

Rob, your site has saved my butt more times than I can count. Do what you have to do. May the Force Be With You, dude! We certainly are. And tell your family "Thanks!" as well!

Dave



[ Reply to This | # ]
I concur!
Authored by: james_sorenson on Sep 10, '04 12:43:13PM

Just throwing another note on the pile that this site has been worth the donations! The ads don't bother me at all. Frankly, this site makes Apple's Knowledge Library seem so pathetic and incomplete in comparison. It amazes me what my Mac can do with the help of all you power-users out there!

Yes, by all means, expand the site!

A funny thought: I wonder just how big a MacOSX Hints book would be today? I look at my 2-year-old book, and I consider how much has been added to the site since then...whoa. That's a lot of dead trees!

-Jim

---
"I love deadlines. I love the whooshing sound they make as they fly by." - Douglas Adams



[ Reply to This | # ]
I concur!
Authored by: robg on Sep 10, '04 04:45:56PM

Having just sent it off to press, I can now tell you that the new book has something around 680 hints, versus 525? or so in the first one.

However, we also removed a number of hints that no longer work in Panther (hints on "faking" Finder labels, for instance, are no longer required). So in the end, the book didn't get hugely thicker -- I think it clocks in around 535 total pages, maybe 75ish longer than the first edition.

-rob.



[ Reply to This | # ]
RE: I concur!
Authored by: Dale Mox on Sep 10, '04 06:22:25PM

Hey James that's my quote! ("I love deadlines...")

:)

Oh well, I guess you agree it's a great quote...

*big smile*
Dale



[ Reply to This | # ]
Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: macmath on Sep 10, '04 01:08:06PM

First of all, let me say that I support your decision. I hope that your risk (going to part-time at your job) works out well for you in the future and does not jeopardize anything for you. It is a risk I would never ask anyone to make and the 45,000 of us appreciate what you are doing for us.

Secondly, let me state that the response here has restored my faith in humanity, or at least in this community. When I saw 50 responses already at 9:15 I thought "They're jumping all over him, the self-centered idiots." But as I read the responses I noted that the response was overwhelmingly positive. I apologize to the community here.

I've been teaching my 5, 7 year olds about trust. For one thing that it is something someone earns. Also, behaving so that you earn the trust of others is very valuable to you in many ways. For instance, in the future if you have to make a difficult decision, others will trust your motives and support you in that decision. Apparently, Rob, you've earned our trust.

Thank you Rob.

I'll still send the subscription in. How about becoming an iTunes Affiliate?



[ Reply to This | # ]
Good Deal
Authored by: UnoAmigo on Sep 10, '04 01:33:52PM

What's funny, is I didn't notice the ads until I started reading the post!

I hope this works out well for you, I'd sure like to see you have more energy to invest in this site without taking time out of your personal life.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: Uncle Asad on Sep 10, '04 01:41:47PM

I have iCab set up to mercilessly wipe out ads, moving things, and other annoyances, but I have gone in and tinkered with the settings for a few other "small" Mac sites, and I'll do the same for Mac OS X Hints.... Thanks and best wishes!



[ Reply to This | # ]
mac spirit ?
Authored by: Safar on Sep 10, '04 03:01:11PM

you know what i like about mac spirit : when people make up something useful, they do not think of how they are going to turn this into money. They are just happy they could help..

And lots of people out there do quite an impressive work. Their reward is that they feel it's good and useful. How many POTH come for free ?

Many times i have been impressed by this, and felt almost ashamed using their work & knowledge... my reaction was the will to share, too... That's why the few times i discovered something, i proposed the hint for publishing (last one has not yet been published, i hope it will, it took quite a time to write).

And i have the feeling of belonging to a community, and i'm happy i'm a mac user and not a pc user, etc, etc... Anyway you know what i mean ; you probably mention these things when explaining why you pay your hardware more expensive...

I think that banners are the first step towards a move far from this spirit. Isn't Rob already talking about suscribers-only features ?
Loosing this "spirit" is bad for everyone of us ; this spirit has made using a mac such a great experience !

Well i will stop "whining" ; you're all so happy with this. But i won't publish hints anymore (yes, i know, the earth will keep on going round the sun anyway)



[ Reply to This | # ]
mac spirit ?
Authored by: JacUnivac on Sep 10, '04 03:53:40PM

You are correct. You are whining. I went to your website and when I saw it everything became clear. We won't miss you or your attitude or lack of understanding about the real world. So I'll say it again AMF Safar!

JacUnivac



[ Reply to This | # ]
mac spirit ?
Authored by: crarko on Sep 10, '04 03:57:24PM

"Isn't Rob already talking about suscribers-only features ?"


No, he's specifically talking about avoiding that. Re-read the article.



[ Reply to This | # ]
mac spirit ?
Authored by: robg on Sep 10, '04 04:43:32PM
Please let me clarify this one, as it's very important to me that it's understood...

First and foremost, accessing the hints and the search engine for the entire database here will remain absolutely, totally, free for as long as I am the owner of the site. I think that's an absolute requirement, given that the site contains the community's knowledge. I would never take the database away from general public access! I'm sorry that the original poster feels this marks a "change" in my direction; it does *not*, other than that it reflects my need to make a living :). My commitment to everyone is that the nature of macosxhints will not change: it's a community-driven site with a large database of freely searchable hints, and fresh, new, completely free content every day.

Second, I'm now running ads in an attempt to spend more time working on the site, making it better for everyone. If, for some reason, that doesn't work out, I have considered other revenue sources. One of those considerations is a "Mac OS X Hints Gold" (or whatever) account. Such an account would *not* be created by removing features that everyone today has for free -- anything that's here now would stay just as it is, free and completely usable. In addition, other changes that I'm planning would also be free -- enhancing the search engine is near the top of that list.

The "Gold" account would simply add tangible benefits to the site that people could, if they wanted to, choose to purchase. What might those things be? Things such as so many "tech support" calls with myself per year; the ability to create your own "favorite hints" page within macosxhints; perhaps blog zones on the site, etc. Whatever; those are just some rough ideas. I haven't given it a ton of thought, but I had to think about it at least a little bit before deciding to cut back on work -- I had to have a fallback plan in case the ads don't work out.

Is such a subscription account anywhere in the immediate future? No; it would take some major structural work to Geeklog to support the model, and it would be more difficult for me to administer. I sincerely hope the ad sales work out, as I think it's easiest on myself and everyone else. If sales go well,it also means I can work to add as many features as I can and keep them all free -- this is clearly my intent and personal preference. I don't want to have to deal with subscriptions, reminders, renewals, etc; it's much easier if every feature is available to everyone. I am still not motivated to make a ton of money from the site; I just need to generate some cash to cover some portion of the drop in my salary, and ads seem the best way to do that.

So, in summary ... if for whatever reason the ads aren't working out, I will do what I have to do to insure that (a) macosxhints.com remains online and keeps its wonderful community intact, and that (b) I can feed myself and my family while still achieving (a) :). But, to say it one more time so it's perfectly clear, I will never restrict access to the hints or the searchable database of all hints for as long as I own the site. And if I ever decide to sell the site, I will insist on a rider that releases the existing hints database into the public domain, so that no new owner would be able to "privatize" the database. They could, of course, change things going forward, but that would be their decision, and they couldn't touch the 6,000+ hints in the database. This would substantially lower the value of the site to a new owner, but there's no way I could consciously allow the purchaser to take away that which rightly belongs to everyone.

Hope that helps clarify things a bit!
-rob.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: charliemorss on Sep 10, '04 03:06:53PM

Just to add my 2 cents here...

The ads certainly are fine, but the animated gifs are just terrible! It makes the site look cheesy and unprofessional. I'll still most likely come back, but I won't linger - it's just too distracting and unpleasant.

Thanks for considering my thoughts,
Charlie



[ Reply to This | # ]
Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: luhmann on Sep 10, '04 03:19:23PM

Doesn't matter to me - the ads are blocked by Privoxy! But I hope that the revenue helps you make a great site even better!



[ Reply to This | # ]
Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: ian.nai on Sep 10, '04 03:45:10PM

I'd just like to say the following:

1.) Ads are a great way to make money off a site! Really, ads have never bothered me that much! Unless they're like blinking red then blue then red then blue...you get the idea ;)
2.) After reading this and realizing that you'd gone part time at your job and what not, I decided the least I could do was to register. So, here I am, a new member!
3.) Thanks for the hard work and commitment! I can't tell you what you've done to my GPA (joking), but you've certainly entertained me enough ;)

It's odd what it takes for me to realize my habits, but I've been keeping track of this site now for several months and really should have registered like back in January (no joke). But I didn't, so poo on me ;)



[ Reply to This | # ]
Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: euskir on Sep 10, '04 03:53:41PM

100% of support here. You deserve it.
Best wishes, as always, from Buenos Aires, Argentina.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: ajoslin on Sep 10, '04 04:34:25PM

no prob, rob :)

I'd suggest a set of static links to vendors [like amazon] who'll give some revenue if you drive business their way.

I visit your site 1st every day and wouldn't mind at all going to [amazon] via your site

al;



[ Reply to This | # ]
Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: gklinger on Sep 10, '04 05:21:49PM

Add my name to the list of people that think the ads are fine. You're entitled to make a living (regardless of whether or not that was your intention, you're providing a service). As for the actual ads, they're hardly intrusive and as it happens, targetted ads can be quite useful. For instance, the second ad I saw on Mac OS X Hints informed me that I could download a trial version of Microsoft Office:mac. I didn't know I could do that. Perfect. I'm going to click on the ad, test the software and if I decide to purchase, I'll do so through a Mac OS X Hints sponsor so that the site gets additional revenue. Seems to me that this is the very definition of "win win".



[ Reply to This | # ]
What about an ad-free membership site?
Authored by: craig on Sep 10, '04 05:26:32PM

Rob,

Have you considered a subscription-based model? Those who pay a membership fee don't see ads, etc.

Thanks.



[ Reply to This | # ]
What about an ad-free membership site?
Authored by: Dale Mox on Sep 10, '04 06:39:20PM

read above a few comments, in rob's long comment... he makes it very explicit so I won't quote him

Dale



[ Reply to This | # ]
What about an ad-free membership site?
Authored by: craig on Sep 10, '04 09:46:29PM

Thanks, I missed his comment above.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Better late than never
Authored by: strangeblood on Sep 10, '04 07:42:08PM

I've been visiting the site daily for a couple of years now, but I too had failed to register until now. Your sincere and frank message inspired me to finally do so. I have also set PithHelmet to "Never Block Content from www.macosxhints.com." It is the least I can do in return for all the help and great ideas your site has provided me! Unfortunately, I never got around to donating to the site, though I meant to do so several times. Is there still a way to send a donation?



[ Reply to This | # ]
Guess it's time to change the FAQ
Authored by: derekhed on Sep 10, '04 08:30:44PM

The FAQ still has an entry:
"Why aren't there any banner ads?"

:-P



[ Reply to This | # ]
Guess it's time to change the FAQ
Authored by: robg on Sep 10, '04 10:18:25PM

Yea, that's on the list to tackle this weekend. I had my hands full this week just getting the site ready for the ads, so some stuff got back burnered :).

-rob.



[ Reply to This | # ]
FAQ has been updated...
Authored by: robg on Sep 11, '04 01:09:58AM
I have updated the FAQ. The question now reads:
How come there are ads? I thought the site was ad-free?
And the FAQ answer is:
For nearly four years, macosxhints.com was ad-free. I liked it this way, and at the time, it made sense for me. This FAQ used to ask "Why aren't there any banner ads here?" The answer had many reasons, but one sentence in particular read "As long as I can make the economics work reasonably well without ads, MacOSXHints will remain advertising free." In September of 2004, the economics changed.

In order to spend more time on the site, I dropped from full-time salary to part-time at my "day" job, and now spend two full days a week working directly on the site. In order to make these economics work for my family, I had to find a way to try to supplant the reduced income. After studying many alternatives, I decided that a selection of ads from targeted Mac vendors made the most sense, so I researched the available networks. I finally selected BackBeat Media, who handle a number of popular Mac sites -- they seem to share my love of the Mac, and ban the most annoying ads (audio, pop-ups, overly hyperactive animation, etc.).

So that's why we have ads now.
-rob.

[ Reply to This | # ]
f___ the ads, i'm disappointed in you rob
Authored by: alec kinnear on Sep 10, '04 11:34:34PM

i am going to take a dissenting view here.

i've been a member of macosxhints since close to the beginning and have anted up twice for my membership and contributed hints and i feel like we the contributing members should have been consulted.

i don't like the ads, i don't like the direction it hints at.

rob if you needed more money just ask us for it.

i would happily have sent a little more this year just to keep the site as it was. on the other hand, if i'd known you were going to blindside the contributing members with ads, i very well may not have contributed this year.

i don't know what these glorious plans to upgrade and improve the site but it sounds to me like feature bloat. the site works just fine the way it is. simple and to the point.

the ads seriously interfere with its clean functionality.

come to your sense, dump them and ask us to pay again. we will.

this commercialisation of all available space is a blight on humanity and has rendered most of you americans, deaf dumb and blind.

some of us don't live in america and would like to keep our eyes and our concentration.

i am very surprised by many of the encouraging comments above, praising commerce in every shape and form and every possible venue.

i agree with the few above who find it offensive that a website that is built on community spirit and sharing and open solutions is running banners for microsoft.

adding ads and extra useless functions sounds like the beginning of the end at it was for macfixit when they took to bilking their readers with ridiculously high membership fees and tried to turn their resource into a mini-microsoft. indeed, many of the members here are refugees from macfixit. - when was the last time YOU visited macfixit?



[ Reply to This | # ]
f___ the ads, i'm disappointed in you rob
Authored by: crarko on Sep 11, '04 10:14:00AM

I came here from MacFixIt, and also still visit them daily.

Alec, if you don't find what the other sites on the web provide to be useful enough to justify themselves, start your own and show us all how it's done.

Craig A.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Why aren't there any banner ads?
Authored by: alec kinnear on Sep 10, '04 11:50:10PM
Why aren't there any banner ads?
I don't want the hassle of managing banner rotation, hit counts, click-through counts, monthly reporting, etc. I also don't want to farm this responsibility out to a third-party to manage. Finally, I like the fact that I can visit my own site and find just what I want - information - without wading through the banners. In short, I just find it much easier to use and manage the site when I don't have to deal with advertisers. I also like the look of the site without banners. As long as I can make the economics work reasonably well without ads, MacOSXHints will remain advertising free. Do I expect to get rich off the site? Absolutely not. Do I hope to make a positive income from the site? If I do, I don't think that's a bad thing in exchange for the time I devote to providing solid information on using Mac OS X. Of course, it's up to you (via your choice to subscribe) to tell me whether you find the site valuable or not; there is no "subscriber only" restricted content anywhere on the site.
that sounds like somebody i'd like to support (and i did). what went wrong with you, rob? there must be a better way for you to make money with your talents than defacing the wonderful resource that you put together.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Why aren't there any banner ads?
Authored by: robg on Sep 11, '04 12:44:11AM

That was then, this is now. I'm sorry you feel the way you do, but I won't change my plans because of it. If you have read any of my responses to the comments, then you'd probably understand what has changed. Alas, it seems you have not, or you chose to ignore what I wrote.

If you're upset that you contributed, please email me privately and I will gladly issue you a refund - for all three years, no less. It was never my intent to deceive anyone into paying, and then running ads.

I could ask for money again, you are right about that. But that's not a long-term solution that would let me change my work setup so that I can (a) spend more time making the site better, (b) balance the time commitments of site, family, and job without having a heart attack, and (c) still afford to feed and clothe the family. Asking for donations with a plea every time funds ran short is NOT a permanent solution to any of those problems. I do not want to seem like PBS (which I do support, BTW!), coming on the air every three months going "Please donate to support this worthy cause." Not only is it annoying to the readers, but I could not possibly make a decision to reduce my paying job on that basis.

After expenses, a "good" month on the donation system netted me $150 -- for anywhere from 100 to 150 hours of work. Clearly something had to change if I was going to try to make a living at this...

Again, sorry you feel the way you do, but this was the best answer for the long term viability of the site -- and that's what I really care about at the end of the day.

-rob.



[ Reply to This | # ]
come clean...and find support
Authored by: alec kinnear on Sep 11, '04 01:15:56AM

i think the problem we the community had with contributing was that we thought as you had a successful, best-seller mac os x hints book out of the site, that you were sated apart from bandwidth.

therefore the impetus to contribute became less, rather than more. "rob got his book, rob's doing okay".

had you come clean and said, at the end of the day i earned $5000 from the book (or $10,000, or $20,000 or whatever the fee was) and the site is still costing me 20 hours/week of work, and i need more money if i we are to keep going in the expanded form (with popularity there are more posts to review and more posts edit and more comments to keep track of) - had you done this in an open and truthful way - i am sure you could have reaped many times the benefits you hope to gain with these futile and poorly paid banner ads.

it's probably not too late. approach us like a community. tell us what the numbers are and what you need from us.

i am sure you would find the support you need.

and you would not be defacing the clear realisation of the sparkling vision for this site that you first had three years ago.

grafitti from microsoft on macosxhints.com, rob?

come on, you can't be happier about that than i am.



[ Reply to This | # ]
come clean...and find support
Authored by: kirkmc on Sep 11, '04 10:38:54AM

I like how people think that authoring a single book brings fortune... I'm a Mac book author, with about 8 books so far (as sole or co-author). I'm not rich, by a longshot. Rob didn't get rich from his book either...



[ Reply to This | # ]
p.s.
Authored by: robg on Sep 11, '04 12:59:14AM

I also noticed that you quoted the following, but apparently it didn't register. This is in the FAQ you quoted above:

"As long as I can make the economics work reasonably well without ads, MacOSXHints will remain advertising free."

Clearly, that situation has changed, hence, we have ads now. Again, sorry to lose a reader, but I want this site to grow and prosper, but I don't want to die of a heart atttack, lose my family, or go broke doing it. It's important to me, but it's not THAT important.

-rob.



[ Reply to This | # ]
work less on the site...do more consulting
Authored by: alec kinnear on Sep 11, '04 01:33:17AM

rob, you are clearly very talented and personable.

not only that you have an exhaustive knowledge of mac os x.

you can make $100/hour consulting on macs if you are anywhere near a major US centre. if you are out in the sticks (otherwise the best place to be), you can make $50/hour.

get some volunteer editors in to help wade through the hints. it is clearly too much for one person. that makes sense.

but banner ads are not going to make the workload any less or make you rich. or even partway rich.

if you want to make money, make money.

i'd love to see the economics on those banner ads. i'm sure they are shockingly poor.

if you can tell me that those banner ads are buying you a new mercedes and putting your kids through college, your overnight conversion to the pillage and burn school of websites (macfixit or even worse expertsexchange) will make more sense.

but do the banner ads even cover food and gas?

if you are going to sell out, rob, sell out.



[ Reply to This | # ]
to the slash 'n burn marketeers above: a few words from tim bernars lee
Authored by: alec kinnear on Sep 11, '04 01:40:34AM

"People have sometimes asked me whether I am upset that I have not made a lot of money from the Web. In fact, I made some quite conscious decisions about which way to take my life. These I would not change - though I am making no comment on what I might do in the future. What does distress me, though, is how important a question it seems to be to some. This happens mostly in America, not Europe. What is maddening is the terrible notion that a person's value depends on how important and financially successful they are, and that that is measured in terms of money. That suggests disrespect for the researchers across the globe developing ideas for the next leaps in science and technology. Core in my upbringing was a value system that put monetary gain well in its place, behind things like doing what I really want to do. To use net worth as a criterion by which to judge people is to set our children's sights on cash rather than on things that will actually make them happy."



[ Reply to This | # ]
to the slash 'n burn marketeers above: a few words from tim bernars lee
Authored by: robg on Sep 11, '04 02:02:22AM

I'm not sure why you think that I'm gaining *anything* from this move!? If measured on a net worth basis, more than likely I will be taking a substantial *hit* to our net worth, not increasing it via the ads.

You do understand that I have reduced my salary by 40% in order to spend *more time* on the site, do you not? I am *not* trying to make "a lot of money" on the web. Ideally, I'd like to be able to replace half of what I'm giving up to work on the site more often -- in other words, I'm hopeful that I'll take only a 50% pay cut to spend more time doing what I love to do, while helping more people with OS X...

To quote from your quote, I agree with it basically 100%. In particular, "Core in my upbringing was a value system that put monetary gain well in its place, behind things like doing what I really want to do. " That's the entire reason I added some advertising -- I needed a way to spend more time doing what I love to do. But the reality is that houses, kids, and utilities aren't free, so there have to be some funds to pay the bills, too.

So now I've made a decision to reduce my net worth, to spend more time doing what I love to do, and spend less time chasing the "net worth monster," and yet you accuse me of selling out. Clearly we disagree on why the ads are here. I wish you luck in your search for a site that meets all your needs. I'm truly sorry to see you go, but we clearly have a difference in philosophy.

And for the record, I'm quite *proud* of the Microsoft ads here. I use Excel, PowerPoint, and Word on a daily basis, and I own several Microsoft Mice. They make some wonderful products. They also do some amazingly callous and thoughtless things. But then again, so does another company whose products I use and love -- Apple.

-rob.



[ Reply to This | # ]
to the slash 'n burn marketeers above: a few words from tim bernars lee
Authored by: robg on Sep 11, '04 02:07:53AM

Typo -- "50%" should be "20%".

-rob.



[ Reply to This | # ]
on Microsoft
Authored by: alec kinnear on Sep 11, '04 02:22:07AM

Microsoft lie through their teeth in both business meetings and in court. They have destroyed and pillaged more small companies built on the sweat and talent of good people, than they have bought lock, stock and barrel before discontinuing the competing product.

If you choose to buy and use their products, you choose the way of the monopolist, the corporatization of the public space, wholescale intrusion on personal privacy and the absolute rule of plutocracy where no one who is wealthy is held accountable for any of their actions.

But that is a separate topic which would require extensive referencing and footnoting.

I repeat Rob. Before you ran the banner ads, we were a community. You only had to ask us for support and you would have had it. With banner ads, we are not a community anymore. We are just your guests and victims of your banners and whatever other tripe you choose to inflict on us over the course of time.

And most of us won't support you, as you already have the banners. I paid to keep Macosxhints.com a commercial free zone and I feel betrayed.

I am glad to hear of the courage of your convictions. The regrets become less as one gradually realises the community never really existed and the banners never flew before more out of disorganisation than any particular conviction that the commons should be free.



[ Reply to This | # ]
on Microsoft
Authored by: robg on Sep 11, '04 02:38:02AM
Sigh. I apologize to everyone reading this thread; I let my emotions and my beliefs in the site and its continuing purpose get to me in my responses -- I should not have replied to the first post, but I felt that my beliefs were being attacked, and that I had to defend. I should have just stayed quiet.

Everyone just needs to know that this site is extremely important to me, for it is what I love to do! I will do everything that I can to keep it community-oriented, keep it focused on useful information, make it available for free to anyone who wants to see and search the hints, and keep it online for as long as I can do so. Yes, we have banner ads now, but that doesn't change my mission, vision, or feelings for the site one bit ... and it gives me more time to work on it for all of you.

That's my commitment to the community, and that's all I have to say on the matter.

-rob.

[ Reply to This | # ]
on Microsoft
Authored by: steeviant on Sep 12, '04 10:21:33PM

Rob, it sickens me to see people criticizing you for doing what seems to be the best thing for this site.

I for one, truly appreciate this site and don't mind donating a bit of bandwidth and screen real-estate in return for the incredibly valuable service of almagamating and editing the hints into this lovely site.

If I wasn't unemployed, I'd be happy to donate money to the site even though there are ads here. Some people like the idiot grandparent poster just don't know how good they have it.

Thanks for the great work so far, and I hope that your ads generate enough revenue for you to keep the site as useful and clutter-free as it is now.

You, and all the hint submitters do fantastic work Rob, and I hope that one day you can make a living doing what you love. :)



[ Reply to This | # ]
Congratualtions...You have kids now!
Authored by: cyberbrent on Sep 10, '04 11:52:32PM

Rob,

After 4 years of reading your site on a couple times a week basis. I made only one donation. I feel a bit ashamed. I have also become a very wise OSX guru soaking in all these great hints!

Having also become a recent father I applaud your goal of trying to improve the balance of a working life and family. Now you can stay at home a couple days per week and be Mr.Mom and run the website. I do not think anyone can knock a guy for that. Ads will help support the site and allow all of us to enjoy the fruits of your hard work.

Remember that if 90% are in agreement then you have suceeded.

I am sure that with all your free hours spent on here it must be hard to read the posts by the people in this world that always have their glass half empty.

My father use to say..."I don't sweat for free" so go ahead and "Make it so number one..."

CLICK AWAY folks and bring his family a little bit of hard earned $$.

Thanks for all your time and efforts!

Regards

Brent


---
"You alone define your limitations"



[ Reply to This | # ]
dear rob, i've mastered anothe mac technique thanks to you: adblock on firefox works too
Authored by: alec kinnear on Sep 11, '04 02:10:55AM
Here's a new hint submission for you.

For those really annoying sites that run flashing banners all over the place - header and sidbards - there is a solution. Whether you are running Safari or Firefox, you can block the ads with very little trouble. For Safari, there is Pithhelmet and for Firefox, there is Adblock.

Pithhelmet is a piece of cake to use. Once installed, there are two new items in the Safari menu Block Pop Up Windows and Block Filtered Content. Enable and disable them at will. When they are enabled you will see very few ads, they do almost everything automatically.

Adblock is a little trickier to configure. Adblock leaves a small icon in the bottom right hand corner which will allow you to set filters. But its main preferences are accesible via the Tools menu in the Adblock submenu.

To configure a filter for Adblock you must open up the preferences for the pageon which you want to block ads while you are browsing it. You will be presented with a list of very long URLs which represent the ads on the page. You must select the ad you want to block. And here is the tricky part - you have to cut the ad off at the earliest part of the URL possible (without cutting you off from other non-commercial content) and add an asterisk * as a wild card. Otherwise you will block a specific ad and not all ads in that position. Strangely one needs to delete the ads one at a time. It takes a few minutes for each website, but once properly configured, you'd never know that the ads were there.

These are great tools which really save a lot of disraction and frustration. Be careful with Safari - Pithhelmet is not compatible with certain other Safari extension packs.

Why any advertiser would want to try to run banner ads on a site like Macosxhints where half the people would normally be running either Pithhelmet or Adblock before they came and most of the other half are likely to install before they put up with SWF or flashing .gif banners is a mystery.

But if they want to do so its their loss.

Rob, I hope your new commercial policies won't prevent you from publishing hints like the one above.



[ Reply to This | # ]
dear rob, i've mastered anothe mac technique thanks to you: adblock on firefox works too
Authored by: robg on Sep 11, '04 02:17:59AM
Well, I won't publish that one, because it's a duplicate, and I try not to run duplicate hints. For instance:

AdBlock is mentioned in 2 hints and 14 comments
Pith Helmet is in 5 hints and 44 comments
Privoxy is mentioned in 10 hints and 37 comments

So the subject has been well covered here (and it's already covered in these comments, too). But yes, feel free to use an adblocker. It's your computer, use it as you wish. If that means you can keep reading here, then great.

regards;
-rob.

[ Reply to This | # ]
fair enough...
Authored by: alec kinnear on Sep 11, '04 02:35:28AM

BREAKING MAC NEWS

Macosxhints.com went commercial last night - mixed reactions to the move with many annoyed by the flashing SWF ads with particular complaints about a Microsoft office banner.

IN OTHER MAC NEWS

Downloads of Pithhelmet and Adlbock spiked last night in an apparent newfound enthusiasm for adblocking software among Mac users.

Advertisers declare their intention of reducing the pittance they already offer popular Mac related siteowners for their annoying banners on the basis that more than half of mac surfers have adblocking software in place.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Dear rob, congratulations!
Authored by: ibroughton on Sep 11, '04 05:46:21AM

I think that some of the comments here are fair, and others are unjustified. I have enough spare time at the moment to devote 37 hours a week to my web sites if I wanted to, but I don't, they are MY web sites, if you like them then great, if you don't, then don't visit again. I run MY web sites how I want, and Rob has decided HIS site need to generate more revenue and so has placed ads on it. Rob can't (it seems) give this site the full attention it deserves and keep up a full time job which is totally understandable. Ads seem a better way of generating revenue with the amount of clicks this site must get. With the amount of information that is provided here, and over on the forums, I am more than happy to spare a few Kbs download and have the ads. Apart from clicking through the ads, I wish I could help out more as this is a fantastic community. Hands up how many would actually come to this site if it was subscription pay only? Remember it's Rob's site and he seems only to have it's continued success at heart! I say keep up the good work Rob, and I hope that this raises enough revenue for you to keep the site in it's current (new) format.

---
The server is up but the site is down and I don't know which direction you are trying to go



[ Reply to This | # ]
Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: Ho_Chi_Minh on Sep 11, '04 04:05:09AM

Ads are fine, so long as they are not flashing, distracting, etc. Actually, I find the content of ads is frequently as interesting as the editorial material on sites and in mags. BTW, after visiting your site for months, I finally became a registered user.

---
Ho_Chi_Minh



[ Reply to This | # ]
Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: Johnny_B on Sep 11, '04 06:28:26AM

What adds ? Hehe :) I had to use another browser to see them, this one blocks then. Well, anyway, I support you.



[ Reply to This | # ]
More Power to Ya
Authored by: orbitalbears on Sep 11, '04 06:32:24AM

Congratulations on making enough money off your website to go part time! It sounds like a dream job.

I've seen a few of my favorite sites disappear for lack of money or lack of interest (which some money usually helps to get rid of), so having a few ads to look at is fine with me.

Another user closer to your year end goal too. I've read your site since I got a Mac, and whenever I'm googling a problem, your site always seems to pop up. Your site has become my home-page. Rock on!



[ Reply to This | # ]
Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: bostmass on Sep 11, '04 11:57:35AM

I honestly don't understand what the hubbub is all about. If I had to wade through all the hints, tips, and tricks that Rob must go through every day, cross-check them for duplicates, format them for readability and/or copying and pasting (like applescript), add a comment or two when appropriate, manage and update the server software regularly, and end up with maybe five good hints a day, I'd go nuts. He's obviously passionate about what he does, cares about what he does, has a brood to feed and quite possibly a mortgage to pay, and has finally chosen to do a job that he loves, even if it means cutting back on a salaried position to part-time. Enjoy the site for what it offers, take what you need, contribute when you can, and try to have a little fun with the community he's brought together.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Change has come to macosxhints.com...
Authored by: webgodjj on Sep 12, '04 10:29:22PM

First off... God, do I love this site! I have been a mac user since macs existed. I regulary check this site and learn on a daily basis.

Second, I (and I assume a ton of others) would pay dealy to keep adds off the site. You need money??? alot of us would gladly give you a helping hand with our pocket books.

Third, If the ads are a must live with, so be it. I can accept change, and will always continue to check this site on a regulary basis



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