PlanetCrap 6.0!
Front Page (ATOM) • Submission Bin (2) • ArchivesUsersLoginCreate Account
You are currently not logged in.
T O P I C
CombatSim.com starts charging for service
December 30th 2000, 20:39 CET by fag0t

CombatSim.com, probably the most popular web site for combat simulation games, has now started to charge for access to its articles and fora (not "forums", silly!).

The site's publisher blames massive amounts of hits (14 million page views per month) creating huge bandwidth costs, combined with a lack of ad revenue. Here's a quote from the announcement:

COMBATSIM.COM is going to become a subscriber-only site. Huh? Say again? In a few days, if you want to read articles on this site or participate on the forums, you will have to buy a subscription. The subscription fee will be $3.95 US per month. If you pay by credit card and stay subscribed with us for six months, we'll reduce the monthly renewal fee to $2.95 per month.

Will CombatSim.com survive? Is the act of gaming sites charging for content justified? Eh?
C O M M E N T S
Home » Topic: CombatSim.com starts charging for service

|«« - Previous Page - Next Page - »»|
#1 by "sentinel"
2000-12-30 20:55:15
jeroen@metallica.com
I'm actually pretty interested to see how many sign up...
#2 by "BloodKnight"
2000-12-30 20:55:47
bloodknight@somethingawful.com
Suprised Gamespy hasn't done this yet

I do believe these guys are bullshitting when they are saying 'we can't afford it yet we have so many hits'

<i><b></b></i><i></i><i></i>
#3 by "Andy"
2000-12-30 21:02:03
andy@meejahor.com
<b>sentinel</b> (#1):
<quote>
I'm actually pretty interested to see how many sign up...
</quote>
Me too, because if they get a lot of sign-ups, I bet loads of other web sites will suddenly decide they can't afford to carry on without switching to a subscription system.
#4 by "SteveBauman"
2000-12-30 21:25:21
steve@manic-pop-thrills.com
Me too, because if they get a lot of sign-ups, I bet loads of other web sites will suddenly decide they can't afford to carry on without switching to a subscription system.

Do y'all read the news? Ad banner revenue is WAY down, and that's the only revenue stream for most websites. So when they say they can't afford to carry on, they generally mean it. Most sites are losing tons of money, ESPECIALLY when they get a lot of hits, because bandwidth costs generally increase faster than ad revenue. Ask Salon, which is bleeding red money, despite getting huge numbers of hits, and has laid off about 40% of its staff.

I'm guessing more and more editorial sites will try to go subscriber. You need revenue. And it will be interesting to see how many people are willing to pay for stuff they can find elsewhere for free... until those free sites suddenly collapse under the weight of additional hits. Either that or the only free sites will be the ones with big corporate sugar daddies.

But $40/year for combatsim.com... it may work, because it's a niche site for a group of people that aren't getting much love from other gaming sites (i.e. no one else covers flight sims with that much detail). And sim people tend to group together, and they seem to have more money than other gamers (they buy lots of expensive machines, joysticks, cockpit things, stuff like that).
#5 by "sentinel"
2000-12-30 21:32:57
jeroen@metallica.com
#3: As a matter of fact, if they get a lot of sign-ups, I will most likely decide I can't afford to carry on without starting up my own subscription-based website (or even network) :)

But seriously, this could indeed be the beginning of a terrible new wave of subscription-madness :(

Now for some calculating... let's check out what hosting such a site would cost: if an average page is 100kb, 14 million pages comes down to 1.4TB of datatraffic. If they run standard software that's PHP/Perl/CGI and MySQL-based or just UBB, they'll need a dedicated Linux server with some good specs, because they need to be prepared for more visitors in the future. Rackspace.com will charge you approx. $4300,- monthly for a 700MHz, 512MB dedicated server with 1500GB of datatraffic. Verio.com asks a bit more, approx. $5000,- but you get a SCSI harddisk :) Note that the traffic is by far the most expensive.

Now I don't have a lot of experience with banner-sponsors, but I don't think anybody, not even Doubleclick has 14 million banners for sale but surely $4500,- is doable for the lot? That's less than $0,0004 per banner!

Right now if they expect to keep the same traffic, they'll need 1140 members just to pay for their hosting, but my guess is the banners won't go away, so they'll just use this to make some extra bucks...
#6 by "SteveBauman"
2000-12-30 21:48:40
steve@manic-pop-thrills.com
if an average page is 100kb, 14 million pages comes down to 1.4TB of datatraffic.

This assumes you do not host any downloadable files. They seem to host scenarios, add-ons, patches, themes, utilities, etc. Also, you're not taking into account any staffing costs, overhead, paying writers for articles...

Even if the site costs $20,000/month to run, you still need to find people who want to spend money advertising FLIGHT SIM products. Guess what? Aside from Microsoft, there ain't a lot of them, and most don't spend much in marketing. And even if they have marketing dollars, do you advertise on a site that covers your products editorially, and the readers already know about them, or one where you get no coverage and might reach people who aren't familiar with your products?

If you browse the site, most of the ads are for add-ons. I suspect there isn't much in the way of ad revenue coming from those sites, and other ads are probably just impression trades.
#7 by "Andy"
2000-12-30 22:00:48
andy@meejahor.com
<b>SteveBauman</b> (#4):
<quote>
Do y'all read the news? Ad banner revenue is WAY down, and that's the only revenue stream for most websites.
</quote>
Yes, I know. Wasn't suggesting otherwise.
<quote>
This assumes you do not host any downloadable files.
</quote>
File hosting by games sites is something that has always surprised me.

Recently I've been preparing to relaunch my celebrity picture site, and I'm going to do it with a combination of paid hosting for pages and thumbnails, and free web space for the actual files. The paid hosting I've got at the moment is about $6 per month for 100Mb traffic per day, and I'm probably going to move up to $30 per month for 400Mb traffic. That's still going to be cutting it close.

Now, look at a site like Blue's News. People go there for gaming news, and someone hitting the site 10 times per day is sucking up, say, 500Kb. With tens of thousands of visitors, that's still going to be expensive, but if they then host *ONE* 50Mb demo file, and 1000 people download it, their data transfer costs will skyrocket.

Why do they do it?

Out of the goodness of their hearts? Because they believe it attracts new visitors? They think it keeps regular visitors coming back? I really don't get it.

If I were running a games site, I'd stick to news/articles/features/etc and let the games companies deal with distributing their own demos and patches.

Anyone running a big games site want to shine some light on this? Loony? sCary? What's your motivation for hosting large files?
#8 by "Intaglio"
2000-12-30 22:19:27
eric@gurutech.org
I think its a good idea. Websites have to make money somehow and ad banners have always seemed like a temporary fix to me.

Magazines aren't free, web-based editorials shouldn't be either. Generally, with big sites, the work put into an article is on par with that of an article in a magazine, so why should people be getting these for free?

Besides, $4 a month is pretty swing-able; I don't think its going to break anyone's bank.

In fact, I *hope* big websites follow this trend; the more stable the revenue stream for a company, the better the website will become. I wouldn't mind paying $5 a month to read Salon.
#9 by "SteveBauman"
2000-12-30 22:20:23
steve@manic-pop-thrills.com
Yes, I know. Wasn't suggesting otherwise.

Well, the way you said this: "I bet loads of other web sites will suddenly decide they can't afford to carry on without switching to a subscription system" makes it sound like seeing someone else's success would make them switch, as opposed to doing it out of necessity to survive. They aren't deciding this; it's being decided for them. Get revenue or shut down.

File hosting by games sites is something that has always surprised me.

It baffles me. I won't mention the site, but I heard a rumor that one that normally doesn't host demos got an exclusive and burned through about $60,000 worth of bandwidth in one day as thousands of people started to download a 100MB+ demo. And the overall page views for the download page was less than your average A-list review...

Game companies must LOVE giving exclusive demos. Someone else gets to pay for it.

We've never been able to figure out how you make money with bandwidth. I'd be curious how sites like Fileplanet and Adrenaline Vault make money on downloads. They get a lot of traffic, but can they possibly recoup that with ad banner revenue? Bandwidth is a commodity, so the more you use the less it costs per megabyte, but still... hundred megabyte demos, more and more broadband users... yow.
#10 by "SteveBauman"
2000-12-30 22:23:51
steve@manic-pop-thrills.com
Besides, $4 a month is pretty swing-able; I don't think its going to break anyone's bank.

No, but I suspect people are used to visiting multiple sites. If they all go pay, what then? And if one doesn't go pay, will everyone just go with the free site, the one with the big corporate backer?

In fact, I *hope* big websites follow this trend; the more stable the revenue stream for a company, the better the website will become. I wouldn't mind paying $5 a month to read Salon.

They'd probably need to go with a yearly sub too for a discounted rate; $5/month sounds okay, but $60/year sounds bad. So you use that monthly fee, then charge $30/year, much like magazines do with subscriptions. Reward the long-term commitment.
#11 by "sentinel"
2000-12-30 22:24:17
jeroen@metallica.com
SteveBauman (#6):

Even if the site costs $20,000/month to run, you still need to find people who want to spend money advertising FLIGHT SIM products. [...] And even if they have marketing dollars, do you advertise on a site that covers your products editorially, and the readers already know about them, or one where you get no coverage and might reach people who aren't familiar with your products?

Now you're contradicting yourself. First you claim only FlightSim companies will advertise on CombatSim.com and then you say that companies will most likely advertise on sites not directly related to their content so they can reach new audiences. If this is true then all the non-FlightSim companies on earth will want to advertise on CombatSim.com, which is every gamepublisher there is (since Microsoft also makes other games they could advertise there.)

And as you wrote yourself in an earlier post, FlightSim people tend to spend quite a lot of money on hard- and software... Sounds like the ideal place for just about any game-related advertising.
#12 by "WarrenMarshall"
2000-12-30 22:28:17
warren@epicgames.com
sentinel (#5):
But seriously, this could indeed be the beginning of a terrible new wave of subscription-madness :(

Well, the market could only withstand so much of that ... if every site went subscription, there would be a steep drop off in web traffic.

Intaglio (#8):
I think its a good idea. Websites have to make money somehow and ad banners have always seemed like a temporary fix to me.

Always seemed like the tip of the evil iceburg to me.

This new conception of "web sites have to make money" is just that ... new.  It used to be that people ran sites for fun, etc ... Now that some people have decided to make their living running a web site, there's this concept of revenue streams for providing content/hits/etc.

I think that unless you have DAMN good content, people just aren't going to be willing to pay for access to your site.  I mean ... gaming news sites are going to be hard pressed to charge money for what they do.  There are too many of them.  Unless they branch out and start doing regular articles (of decent quality), running features, previews/reviews, etc ... in which case, it turns into a real job and not just a hobby web site with a banner ad at the top.

---

Warren Marshall
Level Designer/Programmer/Corporate Shill
Epic Games (www.epicgames.com)<i><b></b></i><i></i><i></i>
#13 by "Intaglio"
2000-12-30 22:30:35
eric@gurutech.org
No, but I suspect people are used to visiting multiple sites. If they all go pay, what then? And if one doesn't go pay, will everyone just go with the free site, the one with the big corporate backer?


Well, I'm really talking about editorial based websites here, not gaming sites. The way I see it, even with gaming sites, however, is that if the best sites were to go subscription, ad companies like UGO would die. Then I suppose only the cream of the crop would be able to survive, seeing as no one wants to be paying $40 a month to visit 10 websites.

What are you left with? Maybe 2 or 3 really, really great websites.
#14 by "Intaglio"
2000-12-30 22:32:23
eric@gurutech.org
I think that unless you have DAMN good content, people just aren't going to be willing to pay for access to your site. I mean ... gaming news sites are going to be hard pressed to charge money for what they do. There are too many of them. Unless they branch out and start doing regular articles (of decent quality), running features, previews/reviews, etc ... in which case, it turns into a real job and not just a hobby web site with a banner ad at the top.

Yeah, exactly. I think the only websites that could justify charging for their content are editorial-based ones like Salon. I have no numbers to support this but I'd probably guess gaming website webmasters are doing just fine with banner ads.
#15 by "Intaglio"
2000-12-30 22:32:26
eric@gurutech.org
I think that unless you have DAMN good content, people just aren't going to be willing to pay for access to your site. I mean ... gaming news sites are going to be hard pressed to charge money for what they do. There are too many of them. Unless they branch out and start doing regular articles (of decent quality), running features, previews/reviews, etc ... in which case, it turns into a real job and not just a hobby web site with a banner ad at the top.

Yeah, exactly. I think the only websites that could justify charging for their content are editorial-based ones like Salon. I have no numbers to support this but I'd probably guess gaming website webmasters are doing just fine with banner ads.
#16 by "Andy"
2000-12-30 22:33:56
andy@meejahor.com
<b>SteveBauman</b> (#9):
<quote>
They aren't deciding this; it's being decided for them. Get revenue or shut down.
</quote>
I'm sure there are a lot of sites that are *surviving*, and could continue to survive, but if they realise the subscription model is workable then they'll go for it.

And that's fine in itself, but what do you bet they'll come out with a load of sob stories about how they're "broke and penniless" (sound familiar?) and are on the brink of shutting the site down.

I just think the inevitable move to subscription sites is going to be a period of great dishonesty.
<quote>
I won't mention the site, but I heard a rumor that one that normally doesn't host demos got an exclusive and burned through about $60,000 worth of bandwidth in one day as thousands of people started to download a 100MB+ demo.
</quote>
Didn't something like that happen with UnrealUniverse.com when they had an exclusive? Can't remember what the file was, but I know Apache said the bandwidth costs were pretty nasty.
#17 by "Intaglio"
2000-12-30 22:35:39
eric@gurutech.org
gaming news sites are going to be hard pressed to charge money for what they do. There are too many of them. Unless they branch out and start doing regular articles (of decent quality), running features, previews/reviews, etc ...

I think the only way to make something like this work would be to merge the biggest and best gaming news websites into one and then charge. If you got 1,000,000 subscribers a month (a fraction of the number of visitors most of the big gaming sites get) paying $5, thats $5,000,000 a month; plenty to split between 20-30 people.
#18 by "Andy"
2000-12-30 22:35:58
andy@meejahor.com
<b>SteveBauman</b> (#10):
<quote>
No, but I suspect people are used to visiting multiple sites. If they all go pay, what then?
</quote>
We'll probably go back to reading magazines, which will be a good thing. I bought my first computer mag in ages the other week, and I was hugely impressed by how good it was. When you've got used to gaming web sites, you forget that they're actually pretty bad compared to proper magazines.
#19 by "SteveBauman"
2000-12-30 22:41:32
steve@manic-pop-thrills.com
If this is true then all the non-FlightSim companies on earth will want to advertise on CombatSim.com, which is every gamepublisher there is (since Microsoft also makes other games they could advertise there.)

Nope, because sim guys also tend to play... a lot of sims, and not a lot of other games. Instead of advertising there, they'll say, "We can reach more people at GENERAL SITE X." Targeted advertising has always been a baffling concept; target your ad at the people that know the most about your products. Hmm... the scattershot approach has proven equally effective.

And as you wrote yourself in an earlier post, FlightSim people tend to spend quite a lot of money on hard- and software... Sounds like the ideal place for just about any game-related advertising.

Hardware, yes. Software, maybe. But hardware advertisers may still say, "We can reach the same people on combatsim.com" (since most of their traffic is probably repeat visitors), or go with the scattershot approach at more general sites.

Which do you think they'll go for? I dunno either. I'm not an ad guy.
#20 by "SteveBauman"
2000-12-30 22:43:31
steve@manic-pop-thrills.com
This new conception of "web sites have to make money" is just that ... new. It used to be that people ran sites for fun, etc ... Now that some people have decided to make their living running a web site, there's this concept of revenue streams for providing content/hits/etc.

Well, it used to be people made games for fun; now they try to make a living making games. It's funny how these things become businesses, with employees and needs for revenue...
#21 by "SteveBauman"
2000-12-30 22:45:52
steve@manic-pop-thrills.com
I'm sure there are a lot of sites that are *surviving*, and could continue to survive, but if they realise the subscription model is workable then they'll go for it.

As we may see with massively multiplayer games, there may be a limit to the number of game sites thate could survive. Hell, we're down to three PC gaming magazines in the US; even if combatsim.com is wildly successful, how many game websites could go pay? Five? 10? 100?
#22 by "SteveBauman"
2000-12-30 22:51:27
steve@manic-pop-thrills.com
We'll probably go back to reading magazines, which will be a good thing. I bought my first computer mag in ages the other week, and I was hugely impressed by how good it was. When you've got used to gaming web sites, you forget that they're actually pretty bad compared to proper magazines.

You always have to keep one thought in the back your mind; people are paying money, so it has to be better. If you look really closely to our magazine and website, you'll notice the articles are often slightly different. I do more specific edits to make the articles conform to a more uniform style, whereas you can get away with being a bit more schizo on a website because (unfortunately) expectations are lower (and fewer people read carefully online). A website is this massive collection of... stuff. It doesn't hold together particularly well because there's too much... stuff. Each issue of a magazine is a single entity, and people in theory spend a month staring at it, so you need to spend more time making sure it holds together.
#23 by "Barneyque"
2000-12-30 23:06:18
barneyque@hotmail.com
I don't mean to be disrespectful of the guy running the site, he seems like a good guy and all that, but I question some of the info he's provided.

I see a claim that traffic jumped from 4 up to 14 million hits in the space of exactly one month?  That is a little suspect to me. And giving him the benifit of the doubt because I have no reason to believe otherwise, I don't see how he can expect that trend to sustain itself. I'm not sure by what it is, Blue sustains himself, but he's done it with only 92 million visitors since 97, or 60 months, this guy is going to beat that in about 5 months flat, it may simply be, that it is just plain not a profitable thing to do, and he either eats the cost, or closes.

Either way, he has a very large base of readers, most of which will hit the road as soon as the subscription screen comes up, but once his content is buried behined the storefront, I wonder how exactly it is he plans to add to expand his subscriber base?

Also, they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, well, that's probably never been more true than on a webpage, in fact, he has 25 or so of those on the front page.  If traffic were a concern, he might want to reconsider that practice, it would in my opinion, make a substantial difference, I also checked most of the atricles, and I would say each has on average, three more. On average, I'd say his images are about 15k a pop, so everytime someone so much as peeks at his site, that's 375K. If they read 3 articles containg the average 3 images, that's another 135k, or ~half a meg per visit, not counting words. Therein lies the mans problem I think.

Anyway's having said all that, seems like a good guy, I hope he can figure a way to make it work, or his wife can beat him down before he loses his house.
<i><b></b></i><i></i><i></i>
#24 by "Apache"
2000-12-30 23:22:08
apache@stomped.com
Those Chips n Bits banners must not be paying the bills. CombatSim is a nice site, but I don't think its worth paying for by any stretch of the imagination.
#25 by "WarrenMarshall"
2000-12-30 23:32:05
warren@epicgames.com
Andy (#18):
We'll probably go back to reading magazines, which will be a good thing. I bought my first computer mag in ages the other week, and I was hugely impressed by how good it was. When you've got used to gaming web sites, you forget that they're actually pretty bad compared to proper magazines.

But the web sites are a LOT more timely, so it evens out to a degree.

SteveBauman (#20):
Well, it used to be people made games for fun; now they try to make a living making games. It's funny how these things become businesses, with employees and needs for revenue...

Yeah, OK ... and games didn't cost millions of dollars to make then either.  A guy sitting in his basement making a copy of pacman on his 60x40 pixel screen isn't quite the same as making FF7.  :)

And you'll notice there aren't tons of people actually making money making games are there?  Yes, there are a number of game companies, but only a fraction of which are actually turning a decent profit.  That's what will happen to web sites if everyone goes subscription ...

---

Warren Marshall
Level Designer/Programmer/Corporate Shill
Epic Games (www.epicgames.com)<i><b></b></i><i></i><i></i>
#26 by "sentinel"
2000-12-30 23:34:06
jeroen@metallica.com
I think that maybe it wouldn't be all that bad to go back to magazines. I remember when I had a SNES and a MegaDrive I read a couple of really good UK magazines: Mean Machines, C&VG and another Megadrive-only mag. When I think back (and look back, I still have a couple of issues) at those reviews and previews, they were actually way better than most of the ones appearing on gaming sites these days. I spend 1+ hour each day surfing around on gaming websites and I don't get nearly as much info as I used to from these three magazines.

A typical gaming site review has some info about the 3d engine/performance, what the gameplay is like and some general info about ease of use/lastability/multiplay. A bunch of screenshots and that's it. The magazines used to combine reviews with developer interviews, three different editors commenting on the game and even a complete walkthrough of the first level complete with 20+ screenshots (yeah they were actually that thorough... Especially Mean Machines.)

Maybe I should check out some PC magazines and see how I like it :) (OT: any recommendations?)
#27 by "Barneyque"
2000-12-30 23:37:14
barneyque@hotmail.com
<b>#25</b> "WarrenMarshall" wrote...
<quote>
That's what will happen to web sites if everyone goes subscription ...

</quote>

The whole web goes subscription, which is, I think a ludicrous(sp), suggestion, I'll just buy me a pair of running shoes, a pair of shades, and go make sure the sun is still in the sky. And I'll bet everyone else would too, so no one's still going to be paying for anything, I just don't see it as being workable.  Somehow, those freakin evil ads have to get back on there feet, and I'm sure eventually they will.<i><b></b></i><i></i><i></i>
#28 by "SteveBauman"
2000-12-30 23:37:45
steve@manic-pop-thrills.com
Yeah, OK ... and games didn't cost millions of dollars to make then either. A guy sitting in his basement making a copy of pacman on his 60x40 pixel screen isn't quite the same as making FF7. :)

And it didn't used to cost millions of dollars a year to run an editorial website. A guy sitting in his basement would have a hard time creating all of the content and infrastructure of a Gamespot... it's not quite the same as making a little webpage for your favorite game.

And you'll notice there aren't tons of people actually making money making games are there? Yes, there are a number of game companies, but only a fraction of which are actually turning a decent profit. That's what will happen to web sites if everyone goes subscription ...

Actually, I'd guess there are even fewer websites making money... and few are good enough to get people to pay money for them.

There's the plus side of this. If sites actually expect people to pay money, they'll have to make sure the editorial is of a considerably higher quality. That may force even the free sites to boost their own quality in order to compete.
#29 by "SteveBauman"
2000-12-30 23:53:08
steve@manic-pop-thrills.com
Those Chips n Bits banners must not be paying the bills. CombatSim is a nice site, but I don't think its worth paying for by any stretch of the imagination.

Probably not, but I just pulled over 100 ads from Voodoo Extreme (you can thank me later) and there were a grand total of... two different ones: pie.com and luckylucys.com. At Blues News, 100 refreshes netted a grand total of... one ad, for Project IGI, repeated over and over again. Gamespot has a No One Lives Forever ad on the main page, and that was it. It's probably an end-of-month/holiday thing, but I suspect those ads alone aren't making enough money to pay the bills for those sites either....
#30 by "Barneyque"
2000-12-30 23:54:38
barneyque@hotmail.com
<b>#29</b> "SteveBauman" wrote...
<quote><quote>Those Chips n Bits banners must not be paying the bills. CombatSim is a nice site, but I don't think its worth paying for by any stretch of the imagination. </quote>
Probably not, but I just pulled over 100 ads from Voodoo Extreme (you can thank me later) and there were a grand total of... two different ones: pie.com and luckylucys.com. At Blues News, 100 refreshes netted a grand total of... one ad, for Project IGI, repeated over and over again. Gamespot has a No One Lives Forever ad on the main page, and that was it. It's probably an end-of-month/holiday thing, but I suspect those ads alone aren't making enough money to pay the bills for those sites either....</quote>


My god, the time.... you will never get that back, it's gone.  :)<i><b></b></i><i></i><i></i>
#31 by "WarrenMarshall"
2000-12-30 23:55:01
warren@epicgames.com
SteveBauman (#28):
There's the plus side of this. If sites actually expect people to pay money, they'll have to make sure the editorial is of a considerably higher quality. That may force even the free sites to boost their own quality in order to compete.

Hey, if it works out well, then I'm all for it.  Personally, I can't see it happening.

I can't really see gaming news sites (I'll just use them for the sake of argument) all going pay at the same time ... because that's what they'd have to do or people would just start frequenting the free ones.  It'll take a large movement to get it to happen across the board and frankly ... I doubt it'll ever come to pass.

The recent discussions about piracy, abandonware and napster all highlight the general attitude of the internet.  "Free is good".  People don't want to pay for anything they can get somewhere else for free.  And unless ALL sites start charging, it's going to be tough to justify putting a price tag on your own site (using the global "your" here ... not yours specifically) ...

---

Warren Marshall
Level Designer/Programmer/Corporate Shill
Epic Games (www.epicgames.com)<i><b></b></i><i></i><i></i>
#32 by "SteveBauman"
2000-12-31 00:13:29
steve@manic-pop-thrills.com
I can't really see gaming news sites (I'll just use them for the sake of argument) all going pay at the same time ... because that's what they'd have to do or people would just start frequenting the free ones.

Are you talking about "news" sites like VE or Blue's, or the Gamespot and Gamecenter's of the world? They're very different beasts; you could see a Gamespot going pay, with general articles for free and pay downloads/guides/extras. A VE or Blue probably could never charge for their services, however valuable they may be.
#33 by "SteveBauman"
2000-12-31 00:14:24
steve@manic-pop-thrills.com
My god, the time.... you will never get that back, it's gone. :)

Hey, I'm bored. Football on the TV, a foot of snow on the ground... not much going on at Chez Steve.
#34 by "Apache"
2000-12-31 00:14:44
apache@stomped.com
Probably not, but I just pulled over 100 ads from Voodoo Extreme (you can thank me later) and there were a grand total of... two different ones: pie.com and luckylucys.com. At Blues News, 100 refreshes netted a grand total of... one ad, for Project IGI, repeated over and over again. Gamespot has a No One Lives Forever ad on the main page, and that was it. It's probably an end-of-month/holiday thing, but I suspect those ads alone aren't making enough money to pay the bills for those sites either....


The difference there is that the Chips and Bits banners are most likely based on how many people click on them and order something, then they get a small percentage of the sales (that's how most e-commerce sites operate). With the others (UGO, IGN), it's usually based on a bulk per-view basis.

When you work at a site that employs 3-5 people that don't need to pay for office space and a T-1 it's a lot easier to pay bills compared to leasing expensive office space in San Fran and having 40 people work full-time on the site :)
#35 by "legion88"
2000-12-31 00:27:08
legion88@yahoo.com
Subscription might be a good idea.  Still need time to see how it works out.  I'm not talking about combatsim.com but web sites in general.  

Why would it be good?

For the web site, it provides an obvious additional source of revenue.

From the reader's point of view, it may lead to better quality articles.  Right now with the freebie status, we get crap articles along with the gems.  Finding gems, though, requires work and expertise that most readers do not have.

Does anyone remember during early Spring of 1999, combatsim.com published an article that cricitized Tom Pabst for using a CPU-limited benchmark to test the TNT2?  The article was bogus from the start since one of the offending benchmarks showed scores that were not CPU-limited as the author claimed.   He even suggested that Tom Pabst was trying to hide something by using only CPU-limited benchmarks:

For maintaining consistent framerates during gameplay, especially with multitextured titles, nothing is more critical than fill rate, and neither of Tom's benchmarks truly tested the TnT2's fill rate performance. I consider this to be a glaring, perhaps intentional, omission.


http://www.combatsim.com/htm/mar99/vaporware2.htm

Look at the actual benchmark scores for yourself here: http://www6.tomshardware.com/graphic/99q1/990312/nvidia-06.html How many readers actually went back and checked up on the alleged "facts" of that article?  Hardly anyone.

With a subscription service, it is hoped that the editor will look towards more for quality rather than bogus advertisement for a video card company that eventually went belly-up and mindless attacks on criticis.

Then again, maybe the quality won't change.  People still will read mindless attacks and bogus advertisement dressed up as non-biased "commentary".  The only difference is that people will pay money to read such junk when today, we get to do that for free.

Stupid articles like the one that combatsim.com posted provided "food" for the mindless drones who supported 3dfx.   It creates Internet's version of "cult leaders".  And these leaders who now have a following get fame crazy and believe they can do and say whatever they want.  How many of you have your home address and phone number posted to intimidate you?  What about false accusations about what you said or did being posted at various newsgroups or message boards?  If you said something that is critical of company X, were you ever accused of being paid by company Y to say those things?  These are the things that John Reynolds, the author of that combatsim.com article, did.  He did all that after he got the fame.

Maybe subscription services can help create a more ethical Internet by "encouraging" editors to check up on the alleged "facts" being mentioned in their articles.  Who wants to pay for a service that people know does not provide a quality service?
#36 by "SteveBauman"
2000-12-31 00:31:10
steve@manic-pop-thrills.com
When you work at a site that employs 3-5 people that don't need to pay for office space and a T-1 it's a lot easier to pay bills compared to leasing expensive office space in San Fran and having 40 people work full-time on the site :)

Sure, but y'all still need to be making enough money not only to pay the 3-5 people working on the actual site but also to make it worth it for the host to keep it up and running. And that host probably has expensive office space and 40 people working full-time... if the host is losing money, it doesn't matter how much traffic the site is getting.

All of the networks are falling apart because maintenance and bandwidth costs can't be recouped via ads alone. Individual sites could be profitable, but the whole network may be a giant money sink. If a site like VE had to do its own hosting, you'd need more programmers, technical people, ad fools, office space, blah blah blah.
#37 by "fingo"
2000-12-31 00:44:39
fingo@graffiti.net
The reason this has to be done is the failing internet economy.  Both tv and content sites run almost entirely on ads, except I don't remember seeing hundreds of chanells laying off its staff.  Producing a show, with camera men, actors, writers, etc... costs just as much as bandwith costs, so logicaly tv should be doin as bad as the internet (or the internet doing as good as tv).  The reason this does not work is how ads are done.  Most ad services pay per click, now this means that if I see an ad for a site selling hard drives, for the site to get money I have to click right away.  Now at this moment, I might not need a hard drive, but what if mine breaks tomorrow?  I would (hopefully) remember that ad and go to the the place that sells the hard drives.  This means that the site on which I saw the ad gives traffic to the hard drive seller, but never gets any money for this.  Thats the problem.  When people view tv ads they don't instantly want the products, but later they will remember the ad and get the product.  When I see an ad for coke I don't instantly rush out to get some, but later when I am at the store, I would get the coke.  Thats pretty much why they put jingles into tv ads.  I propose several things:

1.Web sites payed for the ads not on a per click basis.

2.Better ad placement and sizing to make people actualy look at them.

3.Ads placing urls on them to let the visiotor know the location for future use.
<i><b></b></i><i></i><i></i>
#38 by "Andy"
2000-12-31 00:46:03
andy@meejahor.com
<b>legion88</b> (#35):
<quote>
Maybe subscription services can help create a more ethical Internet by "encouraging" editors to check up on the alleged "facts" being mentioned in their articles.
</quote>
And when we've got that "more ethical Internet" we'll still have people who go around claiming honest people are liars. Won't we, Mr Legion?

--
Mr Smith.
#39 by "fingo"
2000-12-31 00:46:54
fingo@graffiti.net
I hate paragraphs...<i><b></b></i><i></i><i></i>
#40 by "Apache"
2000-12-31 00:48:02
apache@stomped.com
Sure, but y'all still need to be making enough money not only to pay the 3-5 people working on the actual site but also to make it worth it for the host to keep it up and running. And that host probably has expensive office space and 40 people working full-time... if the host is losing money, it doesn't matter how much traffic the site is getting.

All of the networks are falling apart because maintenance and bandwidth costs can't be recouped via ads alone. Individual sites could be profitable, but the whole network may be a giant money sink. If a site like VE had to do its own hosting, you'd need more programmers, technical people, ad fools, office space, blah blah blah.


VE isn't a part of any network Steve.
#41 by "SteveBauman"
2000-12-31 00:56:44
steve@manic-pop-thrills.com
VE isn't a part of any network Steve.

Okay, but that's not really the point. Regardless of whether you're with a network, a host or doing your own servers, bandwidth is still a major cost. If you have no revenue, you can't pay for bandwidth and salaries. And if you can't sell ads, you're not going to have much revenue.
#42 by "Apache"
2000-12-31 00:58:58
apache@stomped.com
Okay, but that's not really the point. Regardless of whether you're with a network, a host or doing your own servers, bandwidth is still a major cost. If you have no revenue, you can't pay for bandwidth and salaries. And if you can't sell ads, you're not going to have much revenue.


Bandwidth isn't that much. As long as you don't host game demo's and patches its really quite reasonable.
#43 by "Barneyque"
2000-12-31 01:03:18
barneyque@hotmail.com
<b>#42</b> "Apache" wrote...
<quote><quote>Okay, but that's not really the point. Regardless of whether you're with a network, a host or doing your own servers, bandwidth is still a major cost. If you have no revenue, you can't pay for bandwidth and salaries. And if you can't sell ads, you're not going to have much revenue. </quote>

Bandwidth isn't that much. As long as you don't host game demo's and patches its really quite reasonable.</quote>

I still think combatsim's bandwith costs are a self-inflicted wound.  

He's got too many images, A little site remodeling, and he might be able to tuck himself away on a network somewhere.  Lots of hits, and that's the name of the game I believe, people want that, but he's carrying way to much baggage.<i><b></b></i><i></i><i></i>
#44 by "GeorgeBroussard"
2000-12-31 01:04:43
georgeb@3drealms.com
The Internet Gold Rush is over.

Enter phase two.
#45 by "Apache"
2000-12-31 01:05:00
apache@stomped.com
There are some networks that provide low-cost or free hosting if you run its banners. Before I went to a subscription based model I'd look into them.
#46 by "fingo"
2000-12-31 01:06:58
fingo@graffiti.net
<quote>How is being on a network good?<i><b></b></i><i></i><i></i>
#47 by "SteveBauman"
2000-12-31 01:06:59
steve@manic-pop-thrills.com
2.Better ad placement and sizing to make people actualy look at them.

While I agree the design of ads, and structure of how they're paid, leaves much to be desired, do we really need bigger ads on webpages, and in more prominent locations? You already have them all over the page (top, bottom, often the left and right). There are pop-ups (annoying), interstitials (even more annoying), ads that pop-up when you arrive, ads that pop-up when you leave.... all of these are hostile to the viewer, whereas a magazine or TV ad is easily enjoyed or ignored by the reader/viewer.

Would people like it if you couldn't leave the room, turn down the volume or change the channel during a commercial? Or every time they turned a page in a magazine an advertisement fell out of the magazine (hey, there's an idea... instead of subscription cards, place ADS in between every page).
#48 by "Apache"
2000-12-31 01:08:47
apache@stomped.com
(hey, there's an idea... instead of subscription cards, place ADS in between every page).


I really dislike that idea. The ones at CGO are bad enough with the sponsered links.
#49 by "fingo"
2000-12-31 01:13:21
fingo@graffiti.net
<quote>
While I agree the design of ads, and structure of how they're paid, leaves much to be desired, do we really need bigger ads on webpages, and in more prominent locations? You already have them all over the page (top, bottom, often the left and right). There are pop-ups (annoying), interstitials (even more annoying), ads that pop-up when you arrive, ads that pop-up when you leave.... all of these are hostile to the viewer, whereas a magazine or TV ad is easily enjoyed or ignored by the reader/viewer.

Would people like it if you couldn't leave the room, turn down the volume or change the channel during a commercial? Or every time they turned a page in a magazine an advertisement fell out of the magazine (hey, there's an idea... instead of subscription cards, place ADS in between every page).</quote>
Are you trying to tell me that you so much as look at banner ads on pages (except for popups) I know I just scroll through them.  There should be ways to make the ads part of the page, and putting them at the top does not help.  I think placing square ads in the middle of pages might help.

This is all from the point of view of advertisers, notusers.

PS. Will somebody tell me how to get quotes working in crapspy?<i><b></b></i><i></i><i></i>
#50 by "SteveBauman"
2000-12-31 01:18:45
steve@manic-pop-thrills.com
I really dislike that idea. The ones at CGO are bad enough with the sponsered links.

Aw c'mon, that was a joke man... our interstitials are evil and will be gone when our redesign goes live in February-ish.
C O M M E N T S
Home » Topic: CombatSim.com starts charging for service

|«« - Previous Page - Next Page - »»|
P O S T   A   C O M M E N T

You need to be logged in to post a comment here. If you don't have an account yet, you can create one here. Registration is free.
C R A P T A G S
Simple formatting: [b]bold[/b], [i]italic[/i], [u]underline[/u]
Web Links: [url=www.mans.de]Cool Site[/url], [url]www.mans.de[/url]
Email Links: [email=some@email.com]Email me[/email], [email]some@email.com[/email]
Simple formatting: Quoted text: [quote]Yadda yadda[/quote]
Front Page (ATOM) • Submission Bin (2) • ArchivesUsersLoginCreate Account
You are currently not logged in.
There are currently 0 people browsing this site. [Details]