After reading through a very poignant article on Penny-Arcade.com, it reminded me the sad state that the industry I know and love is currently in.
This particular piece reflects on how difficult it is for gaming media sites to stay afloat thanks to the rapidly increasing use of ad-blocking software. A lot of us who are web-savvy and use these plug-ins may not even realize half the time how we’re actually hurting the sites we visit by not enabling ads to be shown.
Just to quickly break it down, the way that ad revenue works when visiting a site is that the site owner gets paid as long as the ad can be shown. This isn’t like the old Geocities days where you’re being coerced to click on banners in order to catch the fish in the right barrel.
Now, the rise of ad-blockers effectively removes this source of income which, for many small businesses, means either having to rethink their strategy or go under. In my particular case, it’s a matter of looking towards more video content and less written articles.
It shouldn’t be a surprise to many of you that people make money off of YouTube videos. Generally speaking, this requires you to become what’s called a “YouTube partner” through monetizing videos. The real money starts coming in after hitting 1,000,000 views. The breakdown looks like this (according to WikiAnswers).
$0.0033 / 1 view
$3 / 1,000 views
$33 / 10,000 views
$330 / 100,000 views
$3,300 / 1,000,000 views
Needless to say, that can translate to some serious bank. It’s definitely a lot more in terms of potential earnings when compared to going about the age-old “ads on a web page” route. Is it possible we will see this same crisis involving ad-blockers with videos also? Most likely, yes. The real kicker, however, is that we are living in a generation where people would rather watch and listen for their entertainment/information as opposed to reading. That alone makes strategizing a shift to video more sensible.
During my trip to San Francisco, I had the pleasure to speak with Niero Gonzalez whom I interviewed last year. When speaking in my video post on the trip, I withheld certain details talked about out of respect for him since I wasn’t sure he wanted this information out there. After reading his long article on this very topic, I figured it’s a good opportunity to reveal more from our meeting.
After seeing Destructoid HQ is more or less a kitchen with three laptops set up, it dawned on me later how conservative Niero has to be with costs. When speaking with him in regards to the future of the site, I could sense a bit of dread when he mentioned the need for change especially towards more video content. Believe it or not, he gets a very small percentage for The Destructoid Show that airs through Revision3 despite being executive producer. This is not taking into consideration the fact he’s actually co-owner of the business with a friend who just cashes his checks while Niero puts in real work. His exact words to me in response to my inquiry on any job opportunities were, “I just hope I don’t have to lay anyone off this year.” Now that’s scary!
The conversation wasn’t all business, though. We had a great discussion about similarities in our backgrounds, his story being (loosely) compared to the plot of Scarface, and talking about family and girlfriends. He’s a super nice guy, maybe even too nice which I brought to his attention. Clearly, he’s a man unafraid of making big leaps. As a friend, I’m just concerned with what this coming year will do to him.
With this topic now making the rounds, it has all come full circle in my eyes. There needs to be some big changes in order for those as small as me or big as Niero to apply. The ways of gaming journalism and media are changing and it’s up to us to figure out how best to ride the waves or drown trying.
I wanted to bring this topic to your attention not for my benefit (Hell, I don’t even have ads) but for the benefit of those who survive on those banners you may see. It’s a matter of understanding the necessity of this “great evil” we call advertising. For folks in this industry, it’s the lifeblood that keeps people working and providing consistently great content to you. Whitelist those sites you wish to help support and be a better person for it. Bone, consider yourself thrown.