How to monetize a Discourse instance?

(Charles Wilmott) #1

I just want start a topic for people trying to Monetizing Discourse
and share ideas? :blush:

If your not trying to Monetizing Discourse then this topic
is not for you

My experience with adsense on Discourse hasn’t been
great so far

So far my site costing me $10 a month
Adsense is estimating I will make $0.25 every 10000 views

I’m no where near a 1000 views yet.

Now I’m trying amazon affiliates

I like the new tag feature under development at the moment and I think
this could be useful for advertising

Any ideas to Monetize Discourse please share?

Thanks! :blush:

(Zack) #2

If you aren’t at 1000 views, not much as far as advertising is going to work for you. All depends on what type of forum you’re running, how you want to show the forum off, etc. If you’re running a forum purely for the intent of making money, you’re going to have a bad time at the start. You won’t be making much even once you have quite the active forum - maybe enough to cover cost.

The best plan is to not consider monetization at the start, and to only figure that out later, once you have a loyal userbase. Nothing alienates potential new users than a slow community and an ad on every pixel of the screen. You also have to consider what type of forum you are running / what content will be hosted as that effects what adverts are shown and how much you get per click per view.

As for how I would do it on a general forum with no specific niche, probably have promoted posts and/or advertising above content as the sponsored by section. There is no default advertising plugin or backend solution for advertising as far as I know in discourse so this would have to be done by hand though I imagine not too difficult. The only forums I can think of that have advertising built into the system is IPB and vB, though I’m not too familiar with vB5.

(Charles Wilmott) #3

Thanks for you reply leadheads and advise

I started a community group on facebook for niche a few year agos.
Now community pretty much run’s it self without me having to posting anything.

It case of moving existing community onto it’s own platform.
They do post every day and their very active community online and off line.

I’ve done bit of research and it’s interesting to see what people are saying about forums

Socially Uncensored is hobby, not a business. With this said, we attempted to place ads on our site once. We used Google Ads and even tried ads with both forum runner & tapa talk.

In 1 years time… We made a total of 1 cent, despite having over 100 members online daily throughout the year.

We’re ad free now.

On the upside for forums

Niche markets have much higher values than general ones.

Eg starting up a “it hardware forum” would probably never make any real money today unless you became huge and successful like toms hardware or guru3d.

However, launching something specific, like a pokemon forum, would give you a much more saleable market to approach advertisers and you then command a premium rate.

Simple supply and demand. Eg, Nescafe vs Kopi Luwak

(Jeff Atwood) #4

I would worry about getting your expenses down to $5 per month, that seems more likely over time as hosting for Docker compliant sites gets cheaper.

(Charles Wilmott) #5

Thanks for your reply Jeff :smile:

People rarely click on banner adsense ad’s now days.

I like this idea for discourse advertising network.

It basically idea of discourse wordpress plugin for posting from wordpress on to discourse.

Instead its a ad platform for posting to different discourse sites

For the advertiser

Instead of the norma adsense banner ad.
It’s a piece of java script you place in like a adsense ad to your discourse site

It shows discussion topics in the discourse style formart

For The publisher

1.You write a topic to talk or select one from your current discourse site
2.You select sites that are relevant to your niches
3.You pay the ad fee for those sites
4.The sites review those topic
5.If topics are accepted by the sites they are published
6.All sudden your get emails back about people who talking about your topic!

The user

Of course people will click on the ad! :blush:
Because for them it looks just the same as normal post topic and it’s about something their interested in!


Unlike PPC where your just paying for click and that’s it. Your now paying for a discussion.
You get to talk to your ideal clients.

At the end of the day, that’s what advertisiers really want. They don’t want clicks
they want to talk to their ideal clients! :smile:

Other bonus for site owners! I’m now getting content and getting paid for it too! :smile:

If you had a games forum. What better than having top games company post their latest news on your site for your community to talk about. It’s Win Win Situation for Site owners and Advertisers! :blush:

I’m just trying think of new ways of advertising that doesn’t involve banner ad’s.

What do you think of this idea?


(Charles Wilmott) #6

This is interesting! :blush:
It just goes to show banner ad’s are not as effective as they used to be

Google’s Troubled $12.7bn AdSense Network?

*Google’s latest quarterly financial report shows problems in its AdSense network, which was responsible for 29% of last year’s $43.7 billion in revenues.

It means a lot less money for Google’s network of publishing partners, such as the New York Times.
Foremski’s Take: $GOOG’s Q3 report showed zero growth for AdSense compared with 22% yearly growth for its AdWords network.
Not only has yearly growth come to a stop but AdSense revenues have shrunk every quarter this year (see chart below).*

The continuing plunge in AdSense is in sharp contrast to robust 20% revenue growth in 2012, which outpaced AdWords’ growth of 19%.

Matt Sanchez, CEO of San Francisco based ad network Say Media, recently warned that, “Mobile Is Killing Media.”

Digital publishing is headed off a cliff … There’s a five fold gap between mobile revenue and desktop revenue… What makes that gap even starker is how quickly it’s happening… On the industry’s current course, that’s a recipe for disaster.

We need a new form of advertising! :blush:

(Charles Wilmott) #7

Meetups would benefit the community and make a good monetizing feature too! :blush:

It would also help to encourage people to network within a discourse
community to encouraging people to join their event! :blush:

(Leland Fiegel) #8

Building up a solid userbase and traffic levels precipitate monetizing any online community, so keep that in mind, but anyway…

I wouldn’t waste time with AdSense at all, especially at such low traffic levels. You’re looking at maybe making a few cents, if anything. It’s just not worth the eyesore and potential turnoff from current or potential members.

If you’re monetizing with ads at all, go with Buy Sell Ads, do direct sales, or do affiliate ads.

Also, what niche is your forum? Are there any other affiliate products or services you can market besides those on Amazon?

I’m not sure how to do this technically when it comes to Discourse, although selling “Pro” accounts for a reasonable price could be a viable option. You could offer benefits like access to private forums and other stuff, but it all really depends on your audience. You gotta get creative.

(Bcguy) #9

This is interesting - but a little complex.

One of the issues is that there are basically two ways that people buy ads right now - via word choices (e.g. ad words) and banners. If you are something new - then none of the regular ad rep companies will be able to work with you.

The issue becomes - sure - it sounds compelling from a new idea standpoint - but nobody will be able to “buy” the ads - because its a non-standard way to implement ads.

Fundamentally - I don’t think Discourse is going to be the one to redefine a new ad format for the world.

(Bcguy) #10

This may be true - but we’re not going to be the ones that define it.

I get a few hundred thousand views on my forums and here is my priority as a way to monetize it:

(Bcguy) #11

The idea I do think is most interesting here is the idea of what I would call “sponsored posts” - similar to what they do in Twitter or Facebook. I haven’t really investigated this - so don’t know the full set of pros and cons - but it seems like it could be interesting - if adword ads could be put into the forums in a format that tends to look similar to the regular forum posts.

(Salman, Freelance Developer) #12

There are tons of ways to monetize a website. You could:

  1. Charge for membership for private areas of the website
  2. Affiliates
  3. Sell your own products (real or digital like ebooks)
  4. Leverage your community to your other online properties that are related
  5. newsletters
  6. job board

The narrower the targeted audience the better in many cases.

(Jens Maier) #13
  1. Guilt-trip the people for who you're maintaining the forum into buying you a snack every once in a while.

That’s worked quite well for me so far, plus it’s a motivation to get off my introvert butt and hit a pub at least once a month. :wink:

Best ways to monetize Discourse with a job board
(Claus Strasburger) #14

Also, if your monetization target is in the order of 10$/month, you’re going to waste a lot of time trying to earn that via ads. Better to have a flourishing community and enjoy talking to nice people while paying that amount out of your own pocket.


$5 per month will only give you 512 meg RAM VPS on Digital Ocean. Good luck running Discourse with that.

(mountain) #16

@codinghorror was most-likely implying that a 10 or 30 dollar VPS bill (per month) can be wheedled down to five dollars as of right now with proper monetizing strategies.

Technology always matures and becomes more inexpensive. In due time it will probably run for five dollars a month for what the average VPS has in features that (for now) costs 10-30 dollars a month.

To keep on topic: I plan on using Something Awful’s strategy in having a user pay a certain amount as a ‘tax’ upon entry (one-time fee). I already spoke about this with my regulars and they all agree to it, even helping by offering money and sponsoring new members that way.

(system) #17

(Jeff Atwood) #18

Nope, as I correctly predicted in 2015, $5 gives you 1GB of RAM now on Digital Ocean :wink:

How did this end up going for you @CharlesWil?