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Community Building and User Generated Content Forum

Forums, aflliates and banner ads oh my!
How do I sort out this mess?

 7:57 pm on Apr 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

I run a forum that is doing fairly well. Just yesterday my members asked me WHY I don't have banner ads on there to help offset cost of running the site. How refrreshing is that? Members that WANT ads! I have a very loyal memberbase and I know that I could slap any junk up thre and they'd do their best to make sure I make a few bucks on it. For this reason alone I worry about google adsense - I worry that they'll get over enthusiastic in trying ot make me some money to keep the site running and click sooften I get kicked out of the program for abuse of the system.

What I'd rather do is use affiliates. I've asked my members what sites they shop at regularly and now have a huge list of places I'd like to try to get affiliate banners up for. My question is as follows: Is there any way to put banner ads up on a PHPBB forum that will put specific ads on specific forums? For example - if I wanted to link to cooking.com, I'd like those ads to show up in my Food & Drink forum, and stuff like that. And barring that, what program can I use that will rotate my affiliate banners throughout the site so that people aren't constantly staring at the same banner all the time. I've trried a search on google and apparently everything I find wants loads of money. I'd love something that will let me control how many times each banner ad is to be shown for example.

Also (last question I swear.. for now atleast!) would it be considered acceptible in a forum to have one board that only I as admin can post to - where I have a post for each affiliate I use - and place their banner there - so that if a member saw a banner ad while surfing otherwise but didn't click on it then, they can come to this forum to find the banner ad again and click through from there? Like I said, they are an extremly loyal lot who want me to make some money because they're appalled that I'm running this community for them out of my own pocket. So I know that they WILL use the affliliate banners if I have them handy in one place - it's just a matter of if that is considered acceptable amongst the actual companies I am linking to.

Any help is always appreciated!



 5:59 pm on Apr 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

That sounds like a great member base artsygal and welcome to webmasterworld.

Having members purposefully click ads to earn you money wouldn't be looked upon favorably by those giving you their ads. It needs to be a more natural approach, where people click on your ads because they want to see where it leads them. So you may want to tell your members not to click on them to earn you money. That will certainly get you kicked out of some programs.

But it looks like you have a good thing going on with your forum. It would definitely be worthwhile to throw up some ads targeted to your forum sections. Good luck.


 8:41 pm on Apr 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

So you may want to tell your members not to click on them to earn you money. That will certainly get you kicked out of some programs.

I'm a member of a forum where the site owner got a warning on this and had to ask people to back off on the clicking. Great guy, wonderful board, enthusiastic posters, but getting to the point where he was having to pay a lot for bandwidth because he had so many enthusiastic posters. So he started with Adsense, and, of course, all those enthusiastic posters, feeling a bit responsible for his bandwidth needs... Well... All he got was the warning, but if it would have continued I imagine he would have gotten dumped.

As far as affiliate links, you can put them wherever you want them (unless there are some programs out there with unusual rules). Some programs, such as Amazon's, do have rotating link options, but you don't have to use them if you don't want to, and you can specify keywords if you do. I'm guessing you wouldn't want to use datafeeds in the way some people do who have websites that basically exist to sell affiliate merchandise, but if you place your own individual affiliate links, you're in control of where and how you use them.


 2:34 pm on Apr 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

Yep - my members feel responsible for the bandwidth that they eat up and are asking me to either accept donations or put banner ads up. This group is very familiar with the concept that idea of affiliates because most of them participated heavily in all those rewards programs that were so popular a few years ago.

What I guess I'm looking for is some sort of script that will let me rotate banners - so that each time they load the page a different banner appears. I've tried doing a search on this site and get an error, and google just takes me to sites that want to host the banners for me - I don't know that I like that.

Then there's also the issue of showing certain banners only on certain parts of the forum - so that the product matches the topic of the board I am showing it on. I don't know any way to do that - since PHPBB uses the same template for each board. Is there anyone out here who has any sort of idea how I can do that?



 3:40 pm on Apr 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

self-edited to comply with charter.


 3:43 pm on Apr 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

I wrote my own PHP script for doing something similar. Created a table in MySQL to store ads, and another table to tag those ads with keywords. On cj.com I've got numerous advertisers in my list, so I loaded my ads table with a variety of different ads and tagged them with certain keywords (I also stored their dimensions, i.e.: "468x60" or "120x240").

So I include my ad script on any page I want ads, and call a function getAd which is passed the dimensions and an optional keyword. It returns me a random matching ad.

My mantra: Build it yourself! It took me less time to write the script than it would to try to go out and find one that fit my needs.

Marketing Guy

 3:54 pm on Apr 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

What I guess I'm looking for is some sort of script that will let me rotate banners - so that each time they load the page a different banner appears.

Commission Junction have a feature to allow you to compile multiple adverts into a "group" that will rotate with each page view - you can give each particular advert different weights so they appear more or less often than others.

You can simply add the code that CJ generates to header.tpl (I think this is the file).

A good point is that you can change the adverts in the group without adding or removing code to your site - all done via the CJ control panel (and your site's code calls up the "group" rather than individual adverts).

Naturally, CJ have a pretty wide range of advertisers so you should find some that would suit your members.




 8:35 pm on Apr 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

To be honest, we've found that text links perform much better than banner ads. You might consider using text links for affiliates as well.

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