Posted Thu Aug 25, 2005, 2:14am Subject: Re: CoffeeGeek and You., The Cafe Stage
Thank you Jeanette...well stated. I know I fall into the habit of keying directly to some sponsors that I first found and started buying from using their banners/links on CoffeeGeek, sort of a dealing direct scenario. I realize the error of my ways and will adjust as needed.
Thanks again...really to you and Mark and the crew for providing "us" with this resource.
CaffeineKeen Senior Member Joined: 19 Aug 2005 Posts: 31 Location: Melbourne, Australia Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: Sunbeam EM6900 Grinder: Rocky w/ doser
Posted Thu Aug 25, 2005, 2:28am Subject: Re: CoffeeGeek and You., The Cafe Stage
A very thought provoking article Jeanette, however (and I'm sure someone will correct me about this and I'll look kind of stupid), it seems as though 100% of the ads are geared at US customers, and whilst you are a US site and I would assume the majority of members are US as well, this is a global website, a very high proportion of the people who view this site are not located in the US (this is obvious when you look at the global forum area, a large number of posts are in the Australian section).
Because I'm located in Australia, I either can't order through the US sites, or it would cost me double to pay for shipping (I'm all for a few extra dollars being considered a donation to CG, but I can't afford to pay$50 in beans and a $50 in donations each time I order).
So I guess what I'm trying to say is that whilst I am always interested in trying something new, your sponsors are out of my reach, so I don't click on the ads (I did check a few out to see if I could get a rocky at a good price), and I have started to tune out to them.
Anyway, I love the site, so can all you yanks start getting "upgrade fever" (you know you want that new hx machine!), and order through a sponsor!!
EDIT: Let me quickly revise the above comment to say that CK is a north american site (lol, read as canadian)
Posted Thu Aug 25, 2005, 8:04am Subject: Re: CoffeeGeek and You., The Cafe Stage
Very interesting article. I can say I'm guilty of not clicking through the adverts. However, there is a good reason for this. Most all of the sponsors are already bookmarked by CG members. I found WLL through a click banner. I immediately bookmarked it. Since then, I've purchased much from them. If I knew this were an issue, I'd come to CG before a purchase and continually refresh until the WLL banner appears and clickthrough.
I think the above scenario is a common one. When i'm surfing forums, I'm normally not in buying mode. So, I see a banner that interests me, and I open it in another tab(firefox). I browse it for a bit, really like it, and bookmark it for later when I'm in buying mode. I think CG and the advertisers need to take this into account. Tracking purchasing stemming from sponsorship is not easily doable by simply tracking click-throughs. Perhaps a drop down box at checkout time asking, "Where did you hear about us?" "Coffeegeek, alt.coffee, a friend, search engine, other".
The reason "adult" banners work great is because when people click on those banners, they want access now. They will immediatly purchase a membership to get their quick fix. This type of commerce is more service then product. I pay you, you provide me with instant gradification now. It doesn't work that way when buying tangible products. People shop around, compare prices and units. I may inventory 4 different GC sponsors before making a purchase.
As far as coupon codes, there's an ad at the top of the page right now. It does show a coupon code. HOWEVER, the coupon code is displayed as the last frame of a 30 second long animation. So, I have to watch this ad for 20 seconds straight before catching the coupon code. Sorry, but I don't waste that much time on ads. Perhaps the advertisers need a course in internet marketing themselves. Or perhaps have a sticky post in the forums listing all adverts that have coupon codes.
Coffeegeek is one of the RARE websites that I do not block ads using firefox. And when I say rare, I mean 37 out of 41 bookmarks in my list have all ads and banners blocked.
I mean, just pulling numbers out of my ear, I'd say 50% of CG roasts their own coffee. Is it really a wonder that premium sponsors selling pre-roasted coffee aren't getting clickthroughs?
This situation sounds more like a logistical problem rather then a "community support" problem.
Posted Thu Aug 25, 2005, 8:14am Subject: Re: CoffeeGeek and You., The Cafe Stage
An eye-opening article, and since I am Catholic, the guilt-trip worked. Thanks! ;-)
While I have no issues with the article and agree to the suggestions made (and plan to take them), I do have several suggestions of my own:
Why does CG not take donations from its members? I used to belong to another forum (audioasylum.com) that followed a similar format in receiving much of its support through banner ads from audio-related sponsors. But, they also took donations from registered members. I would gladly donate to CG to help keep it running. If you do take donations, then shame on you for not making it more obvious! How's it done?
Why not consider a reasonable monthly membership to CG? Even a $1.00 USD monthly fee to use CG would probably help, when you consider how many (hardcore) members the site has registered (I'm assuming lots!). But, I think the first bullet of donations is a better approach.
Just my $ .02.
Thank you for all that you do to keep this site up and running. Hopefully, we'll do more as responsible members.
EDIT: Another suggestion came to mind. Many of the ads I see across the site are for what I would call "big ticket" items, like espresso machines, grinders, roasters, etc. While these are great, how realistic is it to expect people to buy these items on a regular basis? I hope to upgrade my espresso machine in the next year or so and will absolutely use one of the adverstisers. But, it's going to be some time in the next year or so, and after that, probably not for a looong time!
Your sponsors should consider ads for filters, cleaning solutions, tampers, etc.? These are more affordable items that can be purchased on a more regular basis. I'm not saying they have to run specials on them (although that would help) - just advertising that they carry some of this stuff would help. I would gladly buy my filters, cleaning solutions, and other items as such from sponsors, but truthfully, I'd be hard-pressed to rifle through the many banners/sponsors to find this stuff when I know exactly where to go and buy them already.
dsharp88 Senior Member Joined: 22 Dec 2001 Posts: 73 Location: Metairie, LA Expertise: I live coffee
Espresso: LaCimbali Junior D/1 Grinder: Mini Mazzer, Solis Maestro Vac Pot: Yama Drip: Chemex, 1-cup Melitta Roaster: Alpenrost, FreshRoast+,...
Posted Thu Aug 25, 2005, 8:24am Subject: Re: CoffeeGeek and You., The Cafe Stage
I agree with Aurelio's donation idea. Didn't CG have a donation link in the past? I don't see it now, but perhaps a quarterly donation drive would help keep the site viable. I realize that's no help to the sponsors who want some return on their advertising investment, but maybe it will allow them a lower ad rate and provide CG with a more stable, unvarying financial base.
espressoDOM Senior Member Joined: 1 May 2003 Posts: 2,188 Location: Bay Area Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: WEGA Lyra (vibe) Grinder: Mazzer Mini Vac Pot: (no more coffee equipment) Drip: French Press Roaster: Hot Top Roaster; Fresh Roast...
Posted Thu Aug 25, 2005, 8:36am Subject: Re: CoffeeGeek and You., The Cafe Stage
I am assuming not all sponsors are complaining... I buy from espressoparts pretty much exclusively... I am glad they are a sponsor.... I heard about them.... built a relationship because of cGEEK..... nuff said.... I use the cGEEK discount.... I hope that translates....
I don't click thru.....
I believe espressoparts is the most viable is location in relation to my house.... and it sells things I need all the time after I became an enthusiast.....
naked pf...click tampers...new upgrades...etc. (which keeps the relationship viable)
I mean I don't need another machine.... not sure how to help out ..any more than I already am...
I appreciate the article.....and its sentiment
DOM...evil genius ...Up to no good in espresso at all times... VIVA la parts de Espresso
Posted Thu Aug 25, 2005, 8:44am Subject: Re: CoffeeGeek and You., The Cafe Stage
Looks like it is finally happening...the demise of a free coffeegeek. True I know it costs money and you guys can't loose money on it but I don't click on the banners because that is not how I shop. I only order from one coffee company (one that does not sponsor this site) or amazon (not sure if they sponsor). I simply am not looking for new stores to buy from not to mention that I don't do a lot of coffee online shopping.
Secondly I am very appreciative of coffeegeek and for all the work you guys put into the site. The content quality is second to none as far as coffee forums go or any forums go. I won't dispute that at all!
Would I pay to be able to access all this? Probably not. I struggle with having to pay to access any website/forum. It's no different than paying a cover charge at the door (something I don't do as well). I am not saying that CG is not worth it, in fact it is but I am pretty sure if it comes to grabbing my credit card before logging on than my days of a coffee geek are numbered. You guys have to do what you have to do and I appreciate that but I'm not interested at all in paying for access to any part of the internet no matter how good it is. Buying merchandise that I don't need just to make the sponsors happy isn't going to work either for me. I do understand that those buying anyway should use a sponsor, which is a good suggestion.
Why not let any company sponsor CG? Sounds like it's time to loosen the sponsorship belt to meet the bottom line. What will that hurt? I hope that membership fees are an absolute last resort and I know that my refusal to pay them will make me unwelcome here by many. I accept that and hope that causes no offense to anyone responsible for coffeegeek. I'll save your money by not using your site before I'll give you mine to use it. My apologies again.
Posted Thu Aug 25, 2005, 8:51am Subject: Re: CoffeeGeek and You., The Cafe Stage
I still think we're skirting the foundation of the problem. The advertisers are completely unaware of how this advertising works.
For instance, you browse a car forum then see an ad for Flowmaster. Do you say, "Hmmm. I do need a new performance exhaust system.", then immediately purchase from that link?
It is really a reasonable expection that people surfing a coffee forum would see an ad and think, "I DO need a new $550 espresso machine."
Advertisements get the word out and plant the company name firmly into the brains of the target audience. When it's time to buy that espresso machine, I'll remember, "Hey didn't Aabree and WLL have nice advertisements on CG about this? I'll have to check them out!".
If the sponsors think these forums are so infective, tell them we'll start a sticky post of everyone that has dropped sponsorship. I trust their reaction will be entirely different!
Enthusiasts support their own. Open Source advocates will always buy products from companies that support Open Source initiatives. That's why HP and Nvidia are so popular among Linux users. Very rarely will you see a Linux enthusiast purchase something like an XBox. Cigar enthusiates buy brands that support community websites and provide sample product for raffles/get togethers. In fact, everytime a new cigar forum springs forth, you better believe a rep from the 5 big manufactures immediately join and participate. In fact, one new manufacture operates out of Michigan. They send a rep to every get together in the Midwest USA. Whether it's 10 people or 100. He gives out free product and offers insane discounts to all in attendance. And you know what, with absolutely 0 advertising, the company has skyrocketed and the rollers cannot keep up with demand.
Coffee enthusiasts do the same. Cea participates often on alt.coffee. You know where people go for their Kona? Dang right! But you just can't track this phenomena using click-throughs.
If anything, this whole situation leaves a bad taste in my mouth. The sponsors are not here to support the community. They're here to make money off of the community. And if they're not making money, then they tell the community to bug off.
A solution? Voluntary donations. Going back to cigars, I participate on a cigar forum that is completely driven by member donations. Sure, they have some paid adverts. However, in donations alone, the site made enough "profit" to remove the site from a server farm, purchase a new server and provide the bandwidth themselves. And the community is still keeping the site afloat with plenty of surplus for emergency funding should the need arise.
Posted Thu Aug 25, 2005, 9:47am Subject: Re: CoffeeGeek and You., The Cafe Stage
I too am a non click-through buyer, but I buy loyally from sites that I found on Coffeegeek. In the future, I will make an effort to not go directly to the vendors websites, but by way of Coffeegeek.
I have read several articles on CNet and Wired Magazine that have discussed the effectiveness of online advertising and using clicks as a measure of success. I think that vendors need to change the way they view online advertising - they keep my profile, so they should know that subsequent purchases, loyalty purchases, are still triggered by their advertisements that brought me to their site in the first place.
Young technology requires people to change, both in practices and in how they view the results. I know that there are companies (small ones, judging by the way they label and ship their productss) across the country from me that I buy from, that I wouldn't have found without their advertising on Coffeegeek. The products I buy from them are all probably available at my local department store, but competitive pricing and an online presence keeps me buying from them.
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