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Advertisements and other ways for Instructables to make money Answered

Over the past few months, I've received a number of messages from people asking how Instructables makes money. The context has always been along the lines of "this is so cool, how can I help to keep it going." I think many of us remember the late 90's when all sorts of really cool services (and some not so cool) suddenly emerged on the internet, couldn't figure out how to make money, and promptly disappeared; so, the question is how do we make sure Instructables keeps going. I describe Instructables like this: Instructables is an interactive online magazine about do-it-yourself projects. Next, I mention the wide variety of detailed projects with step-by-step instructions and the strong community. In term of our business, the important part of the description is "magazine." Currently, we make money by selling some of the space on our website to advertisers. There are two types of ads: impression-based and action-based. For impression-based ads, we get paid a certain amount each time an ad appears (called an impression). We try to sell these types of ad ourself, and have some networks that help out, but the important thing is that sales-people are involved and we have to determine the best advertisers to contact. For action-based ads, we get paid a certain amount each time someone clicks on one of the ads. These are the "Ads by Google." These ads are placed algorithmically by Google and we have limited control over which ads show up; there are other systems, but we use Google's Adsense. It's not much of a secret that we're not profitable yet. The amount of money we bring in from selling advertising space doesn't quite cover the costs of keeping the site running. Fortunately, I have some investors who are covering the difference. So, this means the we need to sell more ads, and sell them at a higher price. In a good magazine, the ads are often as much a part of the content as the articles. When I crack open a copy of Kiteboarding Magazine, the ads are gorgeous, remind me of good times at the beach, and show me the latest gear (which I might build myself or buy depending on whether the forecast is for wind this afternoon, or next week...). We strive for the same thing here on Instructables, and it's a work in progress. So, I'd like your thoughts on whose ads we should be running? Which companies, products, or services are a good fit with Instructables? Bonus points will be awarded for answers with companies that already advertise online and where they are currently advertising (getting people who have never advertised online before to make the jump can be difficult). Also, who is advertising on other sites that you visit? In addition to advertisements, we have ideas for a product directory that would have links to our favorite tools, kits, and supplies. Any thoughts on items that should definitely be included in this? Anything else you'd like to see in a product directory?


16? My dad went on a work jolly when he was over 60!

Ok, I'll bite....what is a "work Jolly" ? (I can't find any reference to it in any 'English' slang Dictionary)

A freebie trip - days or nights out as team building exercises, or rewards for perfomance, or bribes from salesmen (like the time my wife and I were taken 30 miles by taxi, fed a slap-up chinese meal and taxied home again, all at the expense of a supplier to the company I worked for). It's a UK term, and I suppose it is dying out a bit.

Ah! In American, we call it a "junket" though technically that refers to a government-funded trip. Either way, it's usually derogatory.

Ok, thank you.

Yeah, too much of "our" language is going the way of groovy and "rad" and "a wally" *lol*

Oh, and I wonder if "posts" help rack up "hits" advertisement-wise?

Work jolly.... *plugs usb keyboard into ear and types* WOOT! New phrase!

Wow I thought you guys just collected pop bottles and survived off government cheese, lol jk sorry I don't really pay attention to adds

We've gotten sick of the government cheese, and want to try some other types.

Oh, thanks for the link, but why the hell would they use government as a cheese name???

I guess the government likes that type of cheese...

lol, its not a company, its cheese given out by the government, like food stamps (I don't know if they have those where you are).

Haha, quite interesting !

Just not very appetising!

no lol, my favorite cheese is Jarlsberg

Jarlsberg cheese is a mild, Swiss Emmentaler-style, cow's-milk cheese that has large irregular holes. It comes from Norway and has a yellow-wax rind. The flavor is mild, buttery and slightly sweet. It is an all-purpose cheese, good both for cooking and for eating as a snack. Jarlsberg's most notable attribute is its mellow, nutty flavor. It is aged a minimum of 12 months and is distinguished by medium to large holes.

Very interesting, i thought about this for a while and this is what i have come up with :
Impression based: i think these can be generally anything, you get paid when it appears so nobody has to actually be interested enough to click it. Obviously ads relevant to the maker community (tools,materials,attractions) would be nicer than a dentists advert, but they dont have to be relevant to be profitable.

Action based
Im not sure but i would have thought these would be more profitable than the impression ads, there are two obvious ways to increase the profit from these ads,
A. Make them more attractive or more relevant to viewers meaning more clicks.
B. Get more visitors who will see the ads.

Now again i don't know but i think a company that sells tools and equipment would pay more per view/click than Google adsense would to display an ad about get-rich-quick money schemes.

These are the sites i frequent (other than instructables)
Hack N Mod

These are mainly gadget-maker orientated sites, after a quick look these are the ads that appeared,
3x Google adsense
4x Mobile Phone companies
3x Computer/Laptop

Now here are the kind of things id like to see advertised:
Tool companies
Computer accessories
Anyway those are just a few ideas, If you need more ideas for companies just look at the adverts which similar sites are displaying and get in contact with them.

On another note i think the product directory is a great idea, people could rate tools and write reviews. people could also put links in their intsructables to the tools which they used in the directory. I wont write a list of everything i think should be included (it would be too long) but any standard maker tools such as craft knives, dremels and soldering irons should definitely be in there along with some bigger diy tools like drills and saws.

I have some really good ideas for getting more visitors to the site but they aren't fully formulated so ill think about it and ill get back to you.

I really hope you read this, it took me long enough to write it :P
so hope this helps in some way and look forward to your reply :D

Okay. I am now going to click on every google ad on this site. brb.

*Official Statement*
Only click on the google ads that interest you.
*End Official Statement*

No, because if you click on them all, that's illegal and Eric won't get the money. So if you do it despite being officially told, then he didn't do anything wrong.

That is a really bad idea to say that, you told the world the instructable's weakness...

True- I get so used to having adblock on that I don't notice the "advert here" and then an empty box any more. It never really occurred to me that the adverts are a) a core part of the site's revenue b) not actually at all intrusive when not blocked If you're a member, it's not like they get scattered all the way through the text or anything. (disables Adblock)

Wow, I never expected you to tell us this, but you did... I always had a question in my mind about where did instructables make money from to keep the site supported, but I though it is inappropriate to ask... Thanks for telling us!

Instead, how about telling some new people about Instructables? That would be more valuable to the community than more impressions.

Is it okay with you if we print off our own instructables stickers? I'm going to New York city soon, and I want to put them on my backpack, and on the subway, and on a lampost, and on the sidewalk, and on a museum, and on a car, and on a window, and on a taxi, and on my shirt, and on my hat, and on my suitcase, and on pedestrians, and on a street sign, and on a-

you probably said yes because you were bored of hearing the places adrian will put them :}

Heh. I was just kidding about the refreshers...but yes, I will tell other people about instructables!

The DIY network. Ebay. Hobbyprojects.com. PCbex.com (advertiser on electronics sites)

you could build an Instructables land theme park (farfetched I know). You could make people subscribe to being a moderator, say £5.00 a month. Or you should market instructables merchandise! you could have... Instructables robot figures, pens, pencils, other stationery, An 'ibles board game, etc.

ive noticed a lot of threads asking where to get electronic parts. maybe advertise sites like goldmine electronics, or stores like active electronics.

Toys. Cool toys. Hasbro, for one. Japanese toy companies. Bandai. We're a lot that likes to play with things, toys included. Lego wouldn't hurt. K'nex has free advertising day and night here already, so that should be an easy sell. Hobby Link Japan. Comic Books. Movies.


10 years ago

Perhaps the option to sell the item (or items) in the instructable through the site (like etsy) or even components of, or a kit to make the item. You can take a portion of sales. For instance, on my keyboard wallet instructable i could sell the wallets or the sheets from keyboards i have reclaimed. Yes, i could do this on my own site. Or Etsy. But these projects definitely cater to a specific crowd many times. I realize this is a different direction but it could relieve some of the need to sell ad space.

I like this idea. Partly because I really don't want to make my own shop.

how about GE? seems like the type of company that would put their adds on here...

we have ideas for a product directory that would have links to our favorite tools, kits, and supplies

This is a great idea. Vendors, parts suppliers list their items for free, and in later stages could be charged a flat fee for each listing. Each ible would require certain amount purchase of materials and parst..so apart from just seeing RELATED, GROUPS, WHO LIKE IT, etc..Add something like GET THE PARTS, which points to related items in the directory.

Another would be, SUGGESTED READ list for each instructable. For starters, Amazon have a good affiliate scheme which you can explore. They give up to 10% in referral fees on all qualifying revenue.


10 years ago

K'nex ads. With all the guns/random contraptions on this site, that would be great. The K'nex nerds would go nuts.

I've seen the ibles in Pop-Mechs or Pop-Sci, so I'm assuming you have some working relationship. Maybe they could offer ads on instructables to go with the print ad for a slightly more premium price, of which a significant portion goes to you. Use their sales force to allow them to hit their target market here. Adds value to their customer, and instructables. Kind of free money if they'd bite. In fact, you could possibly work out deals with lots of tech/trade mags if you could demonstrate that we are their target market, which doesn't seem like much of a stretch. Offer them a free ad for the mag, if they'll publicize the website as well.

Make our ads a tech/trade ad aggregate, almost.

Yes, yes I do know what cafepress is, and how it works.

They just won't do this, I know. They seem to pride themselves (In a good way!) in their high-quality hand-printed shirts.

Even if they made $200 from cafepress, it still is barely a dent in the budget.

> investors who are covering the difference . I would be very motivated to make a donation/investment, if there was a page that would allow me to do so using CC/debit/PayPal. . Might even be talked into donating for occasional special projects. . > When I crack open a copy of Kiteboarding Magazine, the ads are gorgeous, remind me of good times at the beach, and show me the latest gear ... . Those are usually highly-targeted ads that the reader of that particular magazine will often find useful/interesting. Most of the ads I see on Web sites have little or nothing to do with the site's content. When I visit Ibles, I'm not interested in seeing ads for colleges, dating services, products to increase my sexual pleasure, &c.; If I have to put up with ads on Ibles (TANSTAAFL), I prefer to see stuff from DIY parts/kits/plans distributors, &c.; . But I understand that you can't be too picky about your advertisers, especially if you're not in the black. . > we have ideas for a product directory . I think this would be a great idea as long as the members can add comments and ratings. . If you have paid entries, they should be plainly marked as such, and the advertiser should have no control over member comments (rebuttals are fine, but no censoring).

Yeah, I think a PayPal donate button wouldn't do any harm to Instructables. I'd also like to see adverts for places like Maplin.com (electrical parts) as they are more of a website oriented firm. It would also be better, say if I was viewing an iBle on "How to build a server" if the site could detect that and place ads for a computing website.