Advertising on www.clinpsy.org.uk

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miriam
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Advertising on www.clinpsy.org.uk

Post by miriam » Sun Apr 17, 2011 2:38 pm

Further to this thread I wanted to get people's feedback about the advertising on the site. How are people finding it? We've used the Metrotherapy advert to demonstrate what we can do to potential advertisers, and we've so far recruited two paid adverts, but we are keen to recruit more. However, we want to encourage our members to feel some ownership of the decisions made about the site, and to give you the chance to express your views. Are the adverts an asset or an annoyance? Should this be our preferred avenue to try and income generate to cover our operating costs? Or would people prefer to have a subscription service and/or google adsense adverts and hot words in the forum posts? Or do other people have better ideas?

I'm keen to continue to promote the amazon link, which could potentially generate income if people use it regularly so please bookmark it, encourage friends, colleagues and family members to do so - it costs you the same, but gives a trickle of a few pence per purchase back to the site. I'm also keen to get materials for the site to review from various publishers (I've so far been sent 2 books and 3 tests) which can go on the site or in Aspire. I'm also exploring the idea of having http://www.clinpsy.org.uk merchandising - like being able to buy novelty gifts or mugs with our logo or quotes from the site. It might be that the conference event, if we get one organised with low enough cost, could turn a small profit. But I'm keen to keep the ticket price as low as possible, so even if its a sell-out the profit would be low and if we don't sell all the tickets there is the potential for break-even or even a small loss.

I guess what I am saying is that none of these things are of the scale we need to cover costs. Unfortunately, the server space alone has gone up by £400 this year due to our huge amount of traffic, and each issue of Aspire needs professional graphic design time to keep our highly regarded look and feel (and even at 'mates rates' that's another £400 per issue) plus the rights to the images we include, then there is programming (mainly done by myself and various volunteers at the moment, especially Lee who has been a star with the upgrade) and our presence on Google costs £3 per day (although this can reduce as we generate content for the site outside the forum which appears in searches more easily) and we have various miscellaneous costs. Its a small total for a site of this scale, but its still quite a lot of money if it falls on one individual (me). So, I do think that advertising and/or a subscription system are the main contenders for covering our costs. At the moment we've chosen advertising, but even that will need some help from members to identify and persuade potential advertisers to part with their cash to us!

So, share your thoughts here.
Miriam

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Mikel Arteta
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Advertising on www.clinpsy.org.uk

Post by Mikel Arteta » Sun Apr 17, 2011 10:48 pm

I see the main advertisement is at the top of the site when logging on, but how do people feel about the link for metrotherapy being under your names when leaving comments? Virtually every internet site advertises and that is not unusual, but it could be said each time you comment on a thread, you are potentially seeing as touting for business.
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Advertising on www.clinpsy.org.uk

Post by semele » Sun Apr 17, 2011 10:49 pm

Just to pick up on what Mikel said though, I am very uncomfortable with how in-your-face the advertising for Metrotherapy is on the site. I find it quite exploitative that, on a site where there is a great deal of anxiety and competitiveness among individuals at a lower stage on the career ladder, some of the moderators are advertising their paid, expert assistance in such a way. I remember how negative reactions were to other such organisations on the occasions that someone would ask for opinions on whether this type of prep was worthwhile and find it quite hypocritical that, because the people involved here are well-respected and influential on this site, it is suddenly ok and almost framed as altruistic of them to offer services in such a way.

I would find this less irritating if it were not for the over-advertising. I saw the original thread, had a shudder of distaste and avoided it from then on. That is my choice, just as others may choose to use this service. I cannot avoid the OTT advertising though and this has honestly slightly diminished my respect and liking for this site, which is sad as I have found it an invaluable help over the past few years.

Maybe the advertising could be made less prominent rather than being almost the focal point of the page?
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Re: Advertising on www.clinpsy.org.uk

Post by Will » Sun Apr 17, 2011 11:26 pm

I wonder what this says about me...if it wasn't for this thread I would have never noticed the Metrotherapy advert.

Even whilst reading the thread I had to actively look for it, despite it being in plain sight :oops:
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Re: Advertising on www.clinpsy.org.uk

Post by miriam » Sun Apr 17, 2011 11:33 pm

In short, the Metrotherapy advert was prominent because it is an advert for the fact that we can advertise, as we need to raise some money for the site (its getting a more and more expensive 'hobby' for me, as the sole financial contributor). As I said, I am ambivalent about the service Metrotherapy are promoting. The adverts for the MAS event and Oxygen (currently on the home page, but will soon be more prevalent) are the first things that have begun to subsidise my costs in 4 years of running this site* except for a couple of materials to review and a very small trickle of amazon funding each month (typically around £20, and when I track the sources it mainly comes from my friends and family's purchases anyway, as well as several other sites I run). The aim is to get a set of five adverts which 'compete' for each slot on the page at any time, rather than each advert having a set location as it appears now. If we fill 3-4 slots a month then we cover costs. If we fill all 5 slots every month then the site would cover costs and be able to afford things like more frequent issues of Aspire, better prizes for surveys and competitions and we'd be able to pay for programming (which has currently been done by me and my friends and helpers for next to nothing).

If I'm honest, I'd also prefer to have no advertising. However, the BPS and other potential sources of funding I have pursued have never offered any funding to us at all, and I can't be expected to pay for the site forever. At the moment the aim is to have a range of different adverts which change over time and are relevant to our audience, so that we don't need to think about other forms of income generation. However, if you would prefer me to cover the site in adsense and keyword links except for signed in members who pay an annual subscription that would be an alternative model. So, unless we have a big lottery win or shut the site down we do have to pick the best of the available options...



*I'm almost embarrassed to admit how much it has cost me, but lets say it would have paid for a nice family holiday every year for those 4 years.
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Re: Advertising on www.clinpsy.org.uk

Post by Spatch » Sun Apr 17, 2011 11:34 pm

I'm almost embarrassed to admit how much it has cost me, but lets say it would have paid for a nice family holiday every year for those 4 years.
I think that this is more of an embarassment for the rest of us who don't contribute. That said, I think a) this may be tax refundable if you were able to get BPS to sign off it, b) the longer term potential for this website may come later depending on the route you decide to go down -especially if it develops into a sort of clinical psychology facebook/recruiting ground.

I think that there is a wider conversation about the commercialisation and commodification of psychology in general. Plus I think that many of us have an active knee jerk reaction against entrepereurialism and the discussion of "money" of any kind. This will have to change especially now that psychology is particularly prey to NHS disinvestment, and we are going to have to be more resourceful and brutal in the future about how we get paid. It may be that we will look back at services like this as a benign golden age in the future.
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Re: Advertising on www.clinpsy.org.uk

Post by semele » Sun Apr 17, 2011 11:36 pm

Just in response to Miriam's last post I want to point out that I'm aware of the need for Clinpsy to have advertising in order to be viable and my negative post is in no way a criticism of the decision to do so. I was posting purely on my feelings towards the thread subject, rather than being realistic and taking the financial context into consideration. I think the site is wonderful and all of us who use it owe Miriam a huge debt. The MAS workshop ad actually relieved my irritation a bit and I think it would be great if there were more advertisers promoting various events etc here. What initially annoyed me so much was that the site suddenly went from having no advertising to very prominently plugging the private services of some of it's main contributers, again after similar such services have been roundly criticised as exploitative in the past. If this was one of many services advertised then it would seem less as though Clinpsy were actively pushing this one due to who the people involved were. It just seemed very hypocritical.
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Re: Advertising on www.clinpsy.org.uk

Post by russ » Sun Apr 17, 2011 11:37 pm

I don't want my ad to be the only one either! We could all make an effort to make potential advertisers aware of the site, as this would benefit everyone. I tried this once, and got lucky! My 'fee' was to pilot my ad. I'm sure we could arrange an incentive for anyone bringing in an advertiser who places an ad with us.
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Re: Advertising on www.clinpsy.org.uk

Post by miriam » Sun Apr 17, 2011 11:41 pm

I do offset against tax Spatch, I broadly call it advertising/internet/non-specific professional activities and my accountant has said that is fine. I don't mind having paid to get the site up and running, but in the longer term it would be great if I did get some of that investment paid back, although its not my main motivation in planning the future of the site. As I've said before, I don't expect other people to pay towards costs and its not going to imminently bankrupt me, but I do think its worth having the conversation about what members prefer (for example I'm not wholly against the idea of putting Adsense stuff on the site which can be bypassed by a subscription costing £10 per year). So lets split this thread off and have that conversation :)

[And with my admin hat on, apologies for messing with the times of posts - it is really hard to split posts so that part of the content stays on the original thread and part of it becomes a new thread]
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Re: Advertising on www.clinpsy.org.uk

Post by FuzzyDuck » Sun Apr 17, 2011 11:51 pm

semele wrote:If this was one of many services advertised then it would seem less as though Clinpsy were actively pushing this one due to who the people involved were. It just seemed very hypocritical.
From a completely neutral position, it's not easy to get decent advertising on a website that actually takes its users wants and needs into account.

You may understand that to get several different advertisers in place with little to prove to them it's a worthwhile effort would be a Sisyphean task.

Setting something up is never simple and it will invariably split people down the middle. If the community has something to get you started though and is willing to do that then you can't say no. And as has been said some new, less polarising advertisement has been generated as a result.

An advertisement, of course, isn't an endorsement of their services, but there will inevitably be some that aren't to your taste and the only real way to mitigate that and cover costs is to put the forum behind a paywall. Or litter the site with Google ads that promote nothing but exploitative services, disingenuous self help sites, pseudo-psychological resources and other dodgy firms and sites that use their financial might to mislead.

Doing that would be the easy way out, so it's not happening. So it might take a bit longer to get a nice rotation going while we find business and deal with potential clients the old fashioned way. :mrgreen:

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Re: Advertising on www.clinpsy.org.uk

Post by noodle » Mon Apr 18, 2011 9:35 am

The big advertising banners don't bother me personally, and I think it seems sensible to generate income in this way and I think people can make their own decisions about using the services advertised. The links on the bottom of people's posts make me a little more uncomfortable though, related to Mikel's point, and i'm unsure whether these generate income in the same way? But still, I feel able to make my own decision about using/not using the services whether one of the metro therapy peeps give a reply to one of my posts or not.

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Re: Advertising on www.clinpsy.org.uk

Post by Spatch » Mon Apr 18, 2011 10:06 am

Another avenue that has not been discussed (and could be potentially controversial) is individuals advertising their own services on the clinpsy. Although there are many websites that direct people towards local therapists, these can be quite random and rarely updated. How would people feel if psychologists that were willing to be approached (i.e. privately for therapy, assessments, statementing for EPs etc) could somehow signal their availablity, location and details? Perhaps on a subforum? There could be a vetting procedure to make sure people were who they said they were and were all HPC registered etc, plus there is the chance for testimonials, etc. Referrals could then generate a finders fees made payable by the advertiser and there would be no ongoing cost for pre-qualified.

The other one would be an alternative jobs board to NHSJobs, which would require initially more work approaching private and 3rd sector organisations to market the site and going head to head with companies like Pulse.

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Re: Advertising on www.clinpsy.org.uk

Post by ell » Mon Apr 18, 2011 10:15 am

I think the amount and size of adverts on the site are just right. I notice them when they change (which is a good thing from an advertising point of view) but I don't feel they detract from my enjoyment and use of the forum (which is a good thing from the point of view of keeping foot traffic through the forum).

I must admit that I didn't notice that Metrotherapy ads were turning up under certain posters' posts - I just thought it was random!

Given the amount of money this forum costs Miriam, the idea of a small subscription doesn't seem so bad (I would pay!). But I think that would put off a large number of those people who just pop in during application time, many of whom will then go on to become very valuable contributors to the site. Advertising therefore seems the way to go to ensure we get as many people join as possible.

Would it be appropriate/possible to target specific book series/authors/publishers to advertise specific books that would appeal to this audience?

L

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Re: Advertising on www.clinpsy.org.uk

Post by baa » Mon Apr 18, 2011 10:21 am

People who are mortally offended by ads can use Adblock if you have a Firefox browser. Then you just right click on the image (works for all images, not just ads) and select block, or something. I am too lazy to download it, sorry :D
At least I'm not as mad as that one!

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Re: Advertising on www.clinpsy.org.uk

Post by Gilly » Mon Apr 18, 2011 11:09 am

i have no issue whatsoever with advertising on the forum, and in comparison to a lot of other forums the advertising is subtle and professionally appropriate - ive been on forums where there is a banner ad under every post.

On the point of having paid members and free members - i dont see how that would put off those who browse the forum around application time, and it may be nice to have people who are willing to pay a contribution, and in return maybe get no advertising, alongside added 'bits' like, i'unno - coloured names/larger avatar? I personally would do this, as i value the site.
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