Ask dotTechies: Would you pay to view an ad-free dotTech?

For a while now a thought has been rumbling inside my head. I don’t like ads, and you don’t like ads; but ads on dotTech are necessary to keep this website going. What if ads were not necessary? In other words, what if a different revenue model could be launched for dotTech to enable people to view dotTech ads-free? Yes, yes I know everyone can go out and download AdBlocker or NoScript or [insert advertisement blocking plugin here]; this article is not to discuss the blocking of ads (ad blocking plugins really don’t help dotTech’s cause, but I don’t hold it against anyone that uses them). This post is here to brainstorm and see how many, if any, dotTechies would be willing to pay a small monthly subscription fee to view dotTech ad-free. Of course, under this model dotTech will still be 100% available to people who don’t pay a monthly subscription, but those people would then be viewing advertisements just like how dotTech is right now. So, please cast your vote:

[poll id=”18″]

NOTE: All values are in USD (United States Dollar) terms and are monthly subscription fees.

In addition to casting your vote above, please post your thoughts on this matter in the comments below. Thank you everyone in advance!

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  • thewebmaster

    I must admit I clicked on the ad block option. You made me feel bad doing it though, the way you worded that. :\ You’re not a loser.

  • Tex

    I have never paid for a site before but if I did pay money here there would have to be almost a giveaway a day.  If you got revenue for ‘premium members’, you could easily entice a software company to cough up a giveaway for dot techies.

    Another idea is to keep it free w/ ads and have contests for 2 or 3 licenses. Great advertisement for the company and fun for us.

  • blue

    Nothing personal dude, but I haven’t seen an ad on any site in about 3 years, at least not intentionally. Rarely, when I’ve installed a browser without adding ad blocking I’ll see one and think “what IS that??”. Yep, ads are SO foreign to me that I don’t even recognize them.
    Donation buttons are quite another thing and I have donated and will continue to donate for those sites that are worthy and offer it. Your site is, in fact worthy.
    As far as pay for play? No. Definitely NOT a good idea, dude.

  • iamuserhearmeroar

    This is the first time that I’ve visited your site so I would not be interested in paying at this time. It’s interesting that you’d still make the site available to those who are not paying subscribers–I think that’s a good idea. I was going to mention that if you made it a pay site, then you would not likely attract any new users but with the ad-free / ad’ed idea, then you will be able to potentially attract new potential subscribers and keep your old ones as well, what a great idea really!

  • Steelers6

    I don’t like ads but I must admit that every now and again there is one I find relevant to what I need and will click on it.
    The most useful ads are those for things for which I am already searching for such as amazon furniture, electronics and so on.  As for a monthly fee, no way can I pay for a website.
    Go with the ads, it is up to the user to click on it and it will keep you afloat.
    Vidimo Se!

  • Adrian

    @Emrys: Dottech uses Google ads. Ashraf can’t gurantee that the Google ads links are safe… sosad…

  • I already block the ads, so… nah.  Sorry?
    /running an ad-free site since 2009.

  • Emrys

    Actually, I’m interested in services/products likely to place adds on your site. It gives them added creditability. (Thanks in no small part upon yours).

  • Mr.Dave

    I also didn’t know you had ads (thanks, AdBlock Plus!), I’ll give them a look.  But I must admit I don’t know how the whole system of clicking on ads provides revenue, maybe you could write a short article on that?
    I’m not in a position where I can pay ANYTHING at this point, so if clicking ads can help I’d be willing to give it a try — I would probably trust the ads on your site, on others the risk of messing up my PC is too high.  I rarely notice ads unless they’re blocking what I’m trying to see or bouncing around or flashing colors, and then I refuse to return to that website.  It’s so very rare that someone puts up an ad for something I need when I need it, that I don’t look at any of them!

  • Ashraf

    @Everyone: Thank you everyone for all the feedback. As it stands it seems like most dotTechies would like me to continue dotTech as it is now.

    That said, I cannot legally or ethically ask people to click on the advertisements just for the heck of clicking on ads or earning me revenue. However, what I can say is if an ad interests you, click on it! Otherwise, leave it be. =)

  • Mags

    @DrLongBear: “With all that said – ads are not a problem for me and I have clicked a few just to check things out – boredom mostly – perhaps if everyone would click an ad a day??? Hummm?”
    I’d go for that idea, I also think that the majority of ppl who come here would as well.  Anything to help Ashraf!!!!!
    I also have clicked on an ad from time to time to help out, and also out of curiosity.  This is the only site where I have clicked on ads.  Anywhere else I don’t bother.

  • Lascannon

    Hey Ashraf, are you insulted by the people who chose “I already block the ads you loser, HAHAHAHA”.
    ‘Cause those guys called you a loser! =O
    Lawl… how do you even block the ads? Did Dot.Tech wrote about it before? I do know about the IE7 one, but how about other sites? Write a tutorial about it please?
    Anyways, the ads are placed very organized and neatly on Dot.Tech. Unlike AskVG or, the ads are placed in areas I don’t mostly prefer. Keep on the good work sir!

  • Mark

    Not only do I not mind the ads but I applaud you for being a true entreprneur and trying to support your business with advertizing.  We are all happy to get TV for free by needing to view commecials, so why should anyone object to the same on the Internet. My suggestion?  Sell more advertizing if you can–especially if it allows you to make a better income and maybe contnue to improve yoru business.

  • I don’t actually notice the ads, but because of your valuable input, I would be willing to click on a “donate” button on pages where your information has provided me with a unique perspective.
    Given that, I probably owe you money now. ;-)

  • rob

    don’t worry about the ads. if you use fire fox there is a ad on called adblock plus, it makes ads go away.i never see an ad here,didn’t know you had any.

  • Richie

    Give us the choice just to make a donation as some of us don’t have a lot to give but your site is great and I would try and give as much as possible just like you do with your wonderful site. I give a donation to another site and have done so for years and as my position changes so does my donation.
    Take care

  • Ralph

    I think we’ve already decided on paying?

  • PCbasics

    Hey Ashraf,
    I would not pay for an ad-free dotTech… I just skim over the ads…they dont bother me at all :)

  • jivadas

    I make a CAD$10 donation from time to time, and will continue to do so; and I encourage those who can afford it to do likewise.
    A small monthly subcription fee would be a nuisance on my bank statement.
    Personally, I am not bothered by ads, which are often useful.
    Mike puts the case very well in the preceding note.
    How many microcents are we talking here?


  • Believe it or not, I actually don’t mind website ads. 

    1.  They subsidize websites.  If all websites moved to a pay-per-view model, the expense could be very unwelcome–like cable TV.

    2.  I actually can learn from the ads, finding good sites and products.

    Of course, the issue is having good ads, and ads that are tasteful/inobtrusive.

    I have my ad blocker turned off for dotTech (so that Ashraf can make some moolah), and have not minded it a bit.

    As a previous commenter states, I, too, would be interested in knowing how dotTech makes income from the ads:  is it only if the ads are clicked or does the mere placement and viewing generate income; and how much is/can be generated (if that’s not too intrusive)–are we talking microcents?

  • janet

    Does dotTech get paid for all ads clicked on???? I didn’t know that!!!! What a wonderful way for us financially strapped folks to make a token donation without money….:-)….!!!! From now on, I will click on ALL the ads on this site! Does it count if you click on the same one(s) more than once?

  • Wheezer

    Wouldn’t be interested in paying for an add-free dotTech.
    I understand your need to raise funds, but this idea, while very fair because you would be offering people the option to pay or not, isn’t one I’d suggest trying.
    As I’m sure you’ve noticed by now, the mere idea of having to pay a subscription fee is insulting to many people (me included), so much so that a lot of people aren’t even getting to the part where you explained that it would be an optional payment and that site content would be the same whether or not the subscription price is paid.
    My opinion is that you may want to continue exploring other ways of raising funds for the site. Maybe it’s time to look at the t-shirt idea again?

  • Bharat Trivedi

    Hi Ashraf
    You are doing a great job!. Your reviews and offerings of free softwares / links are greatly appreciated. At the same time, running & maintaining servers / websites also costs you. And you are right about ads or the subscription fees. As of today, as far as I am concerned and in the boat I am sailing, I would go with the ads. But either way, I would be visiting your website no matter what.
    Again Thanking you for all the kindness.
    Bharat Trivedi

  • DrLongBear

    I guess I have the image of “freeware” or “giveaways” as being just that, given away and free. Having to pay for a subscription to such a site is certainly a contradiction in terms, which frankly, should it occur, I could not be a  participant. It is also why I do not frequent sites that require you to pay just to download freeware…not what the author(s) / developer(s) intended.

    Your knowledge is applaud and appreciated by many, but applause and certain affection & appreciation for your generosity do not get the bandwidth or time paid for. 

    There are any number of give-a-way sites out there I could be visiting. I don’t. Why? Chiefly because the calibre of information provided is much lower, and often, so is the offer – It is why I hardly visit GiveAwayOfTheDay anymore…the best reviews covering the essentials of the apps reviewed, are your’s…the fact is, you bring many people to that site…hummm, wonder if there is an earning possibility here?!

    I love your site. I deeply appreciate all the work you do and the quality of the applications you provide (Yes, I have voted for your site a number of times, and no other.) Truth be known, I am a disabled computer forensic scientist – former CSI kinda’ guy – money is terribly tight, probably true for many these days, and your site has brought me much free pleasure…keeps my mind playing, if you know what I mean? 

    With all that said – ads are not a problem for me and I have clicked a few just to check things out – boredom mostly – perhaps if everyone would click an ad a day??? Hummm?

  • The ads are fine here, so long as they remain tasteful and unobtrusive it’s no problem – therefore I wouldn’t pay to remove them.  (in fact I’ve just permanently disabled ad-blocking on the site… again? thought I’d done that already.. sorry)
    One thing that occurred to me is that I’m happy to pay a nominal subscription ($5 per year) for a couple of sites that I use, but any recurrent monthly cost often gets dropped. The
    If you had a small annual fee for “Membership” you could perhaps make some “DotTech exclusive” giveaways available to members only (particularly if you have a small number of licences to give away), while keeping all reviews, articles and links to general promotional giveaways freely available to all? People are generally unlikely to pay for something they can get free, so I think you would need to offer some perceived benefit for financial members. Ad-free viewing is not enough benefit when so many people indicate they didn’t even know the ads were there…
    Just thinking out loud, so to speak ;)

  • IT3

    @Ashraf: “Just as a small correction, you will never *have* to pay to view. Rather, you are paying to remove the ads. The content will always be fully available to everyone.” Thanks for clarifying that, Ashraf. Whatever you do, please do not start charging for membership or access to this website! The ads you have now are not offensive and do not take away from the purpose of this website.

  • rob

    sounds like a good idea but…… what about the people like myself who do not use credit or pay pal? are we left in the dark?
    ive come to rely on the reviews from this site but if i have to pay for it GOOD i said sounds good but in reality it wont work and you will loose ALOT of visitors.

  • Mags

    I’m not bothered by the ads on your site.  Actually your site is one of the few where I consider them tasteful.
    I don’t use ad blockers.  When I visit a site that has a multitude of flashing and/or intruding ads, I leave.   I leave because all those ads give me the impression that the site owner doesn’t have anything worthwhile and is only interested in the revenue gained from the ads.
    Would I pay to use your site ad free?  I’ll have to think about it, but at this point I really don’t think so.  As I said above, your ads are not annoying.

  • Sparky Davis

    I would pay 1$ a month for your site with Ashraf-approved ads. My concept is that you would then, for your paid subscribers, solicit and accept only ads for products you personally approve. Products you felt were worth their cost and that did what they purported to do. Quality by Ashraf!

  • Philippe

    I don’t see any ads…. My eyes are train to just look for what I want. So I cannot tell you which ads are on your site. The same on TV, news paper and etc. So I’m fine with ads.
    But I find good business to get some money back from ads to pay some costs of creating this very good site. Thanks

  • Kraal FictionWriter

    I’m quite fine with ads on most any site.  I tend to tune them out unless I’m looking for other things to look at.  I have found some interesting things on the internet because of ads.
    However, I really dislike any ad that jumps out in front of the content or makes noise.  Especially the ones that grey out the page and you can’t interact with anything but the ad.  Those two types of ads don’t belong on the internet, in my opinion.
    It seems to me that some people think the subscription you suggested means a fee to access the site, instead of just for disabling ads.  I wouldn’t pay for either.

  • janet

    You’re site is so elegantly designed, I never noticed there were ads! I HATE pages that are full of ads jumping around and even making noise, but the ads on your site are totally tasteful and easy to ignore. You have tons of clean, empty space on your pages–maybe that’s because I’m still on IE6 (shudder…) and they just don’t come up for me…..:-)….? In any case, ads have never interfered with my viewing pleasure on your site!

  • drtank

    commercial ads are part of life, be it TV , Radio etc…
    the ads are not intrusive on your site.
    its nothing compared to the information you share, ads can be tolerated..

  • Mohammed Sarhan

    I didn’t realize that dottech uses ads except when I was obliged to browse it away from my laptop. I already block about 99% of websites ads and 100% of dottech ads. I hardly see ads on my lap. The only way to see if a website is putting ads is to browse elsewhere.
    Thanks Ashraf but I dislike ads. Don’t blame me.

  • anemailname

    I’d have to agree with the majority, Your ads are very unobtrusive. No one tells me what I’ve won when I come here so it’s all good! LOL
    That said, I’d pay if I could, this is a great resource!!

  • Conn09

    I love the site and the content, i have been here for a while now and i like the other members, we all get along.
    But to be honest Ashraf, i would not pay, simply because i am 15, i don’t have much money, i’m lucky to have this computer right now, and i only got his because my parents knew i needed a new one. Some people may be able to afford a subscription, but, same as Phoeniix_Rising, i cannot pay. If it came to a pay to access content thing, i would have to leave, sorry but that’s the way it is. Not everyone can afford to pay a subscription and some more of us don’t like paying for things online.

  • chinaguy

    I would not pay to block the ads. I actually do not even care about ads unless they are Flash ads. In fact I have even clicked on a few of the ads from time to time just to give you a few clicks and help support a little since there is no other way for me to do that. Hope the ads are enough or that a subscription will help if not enough.

  • david roper

    Ads don’t bother me a bit.  It’s a fact of life.

  • Jerry

    I hope that the ads which appear on your web site have been screened by you to confirm their authenticity and eliminate any scam artist.  If that is the case then I respect those ads and may even purchase their product.   incidentally, I have given you a donation in the past, but do not recall how long it has been (early senile dementia).  If you keep a record and it has been almost a year then please notify me so that I may do it again.  Even though I am retired on a fixed income, I do want to help support your efforts because the information you provide is valuable.

  • IndoMK

    Until you mentioned ads, I didn’t even know dotTech had them…  I wouldn’t be willing to pay to see an ad-free site.  Partly because I can already block ads (and even if I didn’t, I just zone them out), and partly because there’s other sites out there that provide mostly the same information.  I don’t *have* to use this one.  (That said… I do like your site…)

  • Dr Nitin

    count me in if it will be  in my budget off course in Indian currency and if the stuff is worth it
    Dr Nitin

  • George Clarke

    Hullo Ashraf, I very much appreciate the service you provide and the hard work that you must put into it but, and I mean no offence by this, there is a similar post provided by Gizmo’s Freeware which must be considered.  Though not sure, I do believe that he asks a small annual subscription,  Also there is a limit to the number of applications that we can fill our PCs with.  So in my case your service mainly satisfies my curiosity and provides me with a means of keeping up to date with advances and improvements.  I do not wish to sound superior, but I am puzzled why so many people are still suffering from ads when there is so much software around to restrict them to a tolerable level.  Thanks to you and other freebie providers!

  • phoenix_rising

    No, I wouldn’t pay. Subscription or otherwise. It might be ok for those who have disposable incomes. But that is something I do not have. And I’d be out of here in a flash if it came to that, to be honest.

  • Brent

    Hi Ash…

    I’m ok with the current ads, no real problems there but I do feel your site is worth paying a few bob a month for.

    So if you decide to start a subscription service, I’m in.



  • annie

    The ads on your site are fine, I think it’s fair enough to put up with a few text ads to be able to see the content.
    I generally block flash ads or any ads that are otherwise intrusive, but I’m happy to leave alone them on sites like yours as a sort of quid pro quo for the benefit I derive from being able to access the site.

  • Ashraf

    @OldElmerFudd: Good point; setting up a subscription system would bring its own problems.

    That said, thanks for the donations!

  • OldElmerFudd

    If the ads are enough to support the site, just leave them in place. Subscriptions, whether simply to remove the ads or block them, is an unnecessary complication for you.
    Personally, I block the ads in Fx (didn’t even know they were there until I opened the site in IE!) and I still donate anyway. This place is well-respected; I do it because I can.

  • Ashraf

    @etim: Great idea but I don’t really want to be that self imposing, if you get what I mean. If people want to block ads, that is fine – its their choice. If they don’t, that is great too. Most people that block ads probably wouldn’t even click on them anyway.

    In fact I was thinking about writing an article showing people how to block ads, for those that do want to block ads. At least after that I will know the people that aren’t blocking ads on dotTech are doing it to support dotTech and not because they don’t know how =).

  • etim

    @Ashraf: Hey A, why not just ask folks to turn off their blockers for your site for a bit and just give the ads a try? They can always turn it back on if they’re bothered that much…

  • Ashraf

    @etim: Mighty thanks!

    @Carolyn: Don’t sweat it – it is no problem at all! I am just throwing around ideas anyway.

    @njwood60: You are like me =D.

  • ads? what ads?  My brain has a google-ads filter – I really don’t see them. So no problems here :-)

  • Carolyn

    I love your website and value your opinions, but as a pensioner I am unable to afford monthly subscriptions …. sorry

  • etim

    I just switched off my blocker to see what you were talking about–I didn’t know you even had ads!
    The ads aren’t TOO obtrusive, so if they stay about the same, I’ll keep my blocker off for dotTech.
    Glad to help and thanks again for your work.

  • Ashraf

    @Llulu: Just as a small correction, you will never *have* to pay to view. Rather, you are paying to remove the ads. The content will always be fully available to everyone.

  • Ashraf

    @Llulu: I understand. Thanks for the input.

  • Llulu

    I wouldn’t pay if the content was the same. There are other blogs out there. The content would have to increase in quality for me to pay for it.
    Not to say the content here is bad (I love it) but I expect extra features if I have to pay to view.

  • Ashraf

    @roger-u: I hate Flash ads as much as you. In fact, all ads on dotTech are text only, except for the ones at the top.

  • roger-u

    I am fine with your ads…. so far.   But if you start having ads that flash or otherwise demand too much attention by jiggling about, then i start going elsewhere.  I already use FlashSwitch – it’s brilliantly simple way to enable/disable flash player

  • Ashraf

    @digish: The content on dotTech is not going to change. In other words, what you get now is what you will get later, generally speaking.

  • digish

    Depends upon the number of free programs you might provide us. The profit should be on either side.