The Learning Aloud site has been in operation for one year. I thought that some who follow this site may be interested in site activity. Learningaloud includes a blog, a microblog, a social bookmarking service, and a collection of content focused on educational uses of the participatory web (something like an ebook). Some of these services have not been available for the entire year. For example, the microblog has been in operation for 6 weeks.
I decided to move content off servers I operated at my university because I wanted to experiment with “monitizing” our content and it would be inappropriate to do so using university resources. There are costs to this transition. We now rent space on two commercial servers and utilize a couple more “pro” services. I estimate our annual expenses at approximately $225. As a hobby and for the time I spend on this hobby, this is pretty inexpensive.
So, I have added Google ads to these information resources. Originally, there was a Google ad on the front page of the blog. I later added ads to the individual pages because most viewers of my blog content locate posts as a result of search rather than via subscription. For example, I did a mini tutorial on Picasa3 that was viewed 68 times as an individual page. By the way, one of the negatives of moving my blog from its original address was that you lose your subscribers.
My primary interest in creating this “commercial” site was in experimenting with an alternative model of publishing. The commitment in writing an online book that also links to functioning demonstrations is significantly different than operating a blog. It seemed that adding ads to each page would be obnoxious so I included 3 transition pages (content directories) that included ads.
So, the summary data for year one look like this – 12,261 page views (pages with an ad) that prompted 39 ad “clicks” generating $28.79. OK – I admit that I would not be a good investment.
Some specifics: Blog main page views (4731), microblog views (539), ebook content transition page views (2821), and other (blog individual page views and social bookmarking page views) (4171).
You can interpret this as you wish. One perspective – I would be money ahead to continue to use my on-campus servers (at least I would not lose money). What fun would that be? I could use free external services – the ads revenue would then go to the hosts, but I would not lose any money. Or, I could recognize that this is a hobby and understand that any revenue produced just keeps the costs down.
BTW – I have already paid the bills for next year.