Staff blog for Waterfall. To ask questions, go to @ask-staff instead, but first read the FAQ. For tutorials on basic features, head to @support.
Please report bugs in the Discord, not here.
Hey folks! We're making some excellent progress on build 0.99. We've broken with our usual version numbering on this one because we believe that it's stable enough and has all the core features needed for the site to be usable, and so is the last version before the site moves out of beta. There'll be more on that in a future post, since this one has a different purpose.
Moving out of beta starts bringing new challenges with it, and to meet those, we need funding. We can't run Kickstarters ad infinitum because that's stupid, and relying on blog slots, subscriptions, and commission market income is far too volatile (and, likely, to be too low) for us to be comfortable with, especially when rapid expansion is in the cards. To that end, after some initial community feedback on the staff's personal blogs and via the Discord, we're currently considering the possibility of ads. This post is intended to outline our plans on how they'll be on the site, and get feedback from you guys before we make final decisions on whether to go ahead with it.
As a quick note - those of you using Privacy Badger or uBlock will likely notice a couple extra trackers showing up now - we're pre-emptively applying to Google AdSense. While there's no ads on the site yet, they do require we put the code on the site ahead of time so they can verify we're the real owners.
The current plan is that there'll be one ad per page, though this may be tweaked - there'll likely be a little A/B testing involved while we figure it out. This is restricted to the core site, and only a few pages. Ads will not be placed on blogs by us.
On desktop, the ad will be a 250x250px square ad showing in the sidebar, underneath the featured post. On mobile, it'll be a larger, rectangular ad inserted into the dashboard - tacky, and we hate it, but there's not really a way other than that to do it on mobile. When the app is ready, there'll be an ad no more than every 25 posts. There might be a small thing advertising subscriptions slid in occasionally if you use an AdBlocker, but on the whole, we won't pull the "you're TRASH for blocking our ads, you absolute SCUM" stuff that a lot of sites do.
Edit to add: You can be damned sure that we won't be allowing autoplaying audio/video ads and that if any get through, we'll be immediately blocking that advertiser.
In the future, the aim is to move away from AdSense and roll our own advertising. This gives the benefit of less awful trackers as well as letting us very thoroughly vet everything that shows. Adoption on that will likely be slow, when it's ready, and it'll be the same ad network that powers Glacier's ads. Where ads are eligible to use our own network, it will always favour that instead - this means our own users can put ads up to show, eventually.
Given that subscriptions will be a thing too, subscribing at any tier will immediately remove ads completely for you.
With the site growing, we're very quickly coming to the point where our capacity exceeds the money we have available. In addition, as the coming update marks the start of serious app development, more of the team are preparing to spend significant amounts of time working on Waterfall. Obviously, that means that we need to start making a little money to pay the staff for their time, as is fair. Unfortunately, pre-launch predictions for the CM's usage levels didn't pan out, which means we have to be significantly more cautious with what we think subscriptions will bring in as well and have a Plan B, so to speak, especially since we've never charged for access.
Community feedback on personal blogs has been largely positive towards us running ads, with the general consensus that so far, we've made good on our word, and that we're mostly trustworthy enough to keep to it when we say we won't go off the rails plastering ads everywhere. At this point, we're not interested in profitability - while having money in the bank for a rainy day would be useful, the current aim is purely sustainability, plus a little bit for expansion.
To this end, we're making this post - no plans are finalised yet, but we wanted to let you know that this is something we're considering doing so the site can stay healthy and the staff can stay fed. Feedback from everyone is welcome and encouraged - we know very much that our marketing through til December said we have no ads, and starting to include them is a fairly large change even if it does result in a net positive for the site (more money = more staff working more of the time). So please - reblog or comment to give your opinion and any concerns! We likely won't reply to all of them (if we do, it'll be on a staff personal blog since we're trying to clean this one up a little bit to make sure info is easier to find), but we will read and take everything into account before making a final decision.
I've literally already whitelisted waterfall, I trust you guys and you're doing great
im totally okay with ads! will whitelist waterfall for yall ;)
im 100% ok with ads too!! just as long as they dont flash/have loud autoplay and have very bright colours (i doubt but ya'know its good to mention), but i wanna support wf in some way so bring on the ads! im already whitelisting wf!!
I don't like ads much, but I understand that in situations like this they may be kinda necessary, so I say go for it.
Implementing ads in that way sounds fine. It’s really refreshing to see a site’s staff be so open with its users.
people this is important so please read the dev post for once
Bring on the ads
*preemptively whitelists waterfall on my adblock so I can support y'all*
wait i commented without actually typing anything oops. i just wanted to say that i'm glad you guys are being so transparent about this Q__Q i rly look forward to how this helps the development of the site
I don't think people will have as much of a problem if the ads aren't overly-annoying (e.g. loud, having a lot of moving images), though I feel there's going to be a crowd of people that lash out due to the site's initial promise of there not being ads (that, and idk how many people would even see the ads due to ad blockers)
So long as the ads don't blast me with high volume autoplay video or audio advertisements I'm happy to keep ublock off for Waterfall
i support this decision all the way. shit costs money. if more sites only had a couple ads per page then i wouldnt use blockers. smooth sailin
i'm honestly 100% fine with a few ads here and there if it helps keep the staff fed and the site running. i really enjoy this site and want it to keep growing and thriving, and i trust y'all, like you said, to not just plaster ads everywhere like a lot of sites do these days.
i WILL turn off adblock for you all if you actually roll out ads