Moving OGS Forward

Hello from your friendly OGS developers! As you may or may not know, OGS has been entirely developed by matburt and myself in our spare time over the past three and a half years. During this time we’ve written over 65,000 production lines of code spread out over 4192 commits (That’s quite a bit of code for two people as a side project!). This effort, along with the great support of our devoted moderators and the community at large, has resulted in the OGS you know and love today. Currently, OGS is the fastest-growing western go server, bringing in around 1800 new players per week. We’re pleased to say that 1200 of these players are brand new to the game, which to the best of our knowledge, makes us the leader as it relates to growing the western Go community.

We are certainly pleased with how well the server and community are growing, but we also acknowledge there is still a lot more that we can and should do in order to grow and accommodate the community. There are millions of players out there waiting to be introduced to and fall in love with the game, and there is a laundry list of features, enhancements and bug fixes we’d love to implement to provide the existing Go community with an ever-expanding catalog of great Go resources.

Unfortunately in 2015 the development of the server has been rather slow. For the past six months, we’ve only averaged 18 commits per month, which is about 15% of the 117 commits we were averaging for the entire 30 months prior. This has not been out of a lack of interest or desire though. The reason for this slow down has been twofold: The first being that both matburt and I expanded our families near the beginning of the year (yay!) which of course has reduced the amount of spare time and energy we have to work on side projects (boo!); and second, what little spare time we have had has been largely preempted by new and growing jobs. So like many of you, we too have been disappointed in the lack of progress on the development during 2015. But let it be known that it’s not out of a lack of passion or interest; it’s simply been out of a lack of time.

The good news though is that we have a plan to fix this and not only get our development schedule back on track, but get it going faster than ever. If a lack of hobby time is our problem, then the obvious solution is to dedicate non hobby time to OGS.

And so we come to the crux of this announcement: We’re going to try an experiment of running ads on OGS. The goal of this experiment is to attempt to achieve a fairly low but livable salary for at least one of us to work full time on the server. This means that should this experiment work, at least one of us will be able to dedicate all of our development energy towards OGS so we can finally tackle some of the larger features and improvements we’ve all been wanting.

Of course site supporters, the altruistic individuals that have been covering the operational costs of this service for almost two years now, will never see these ads - and folks who want to continue having an ad-free experience are more than welcome to become site supporters to get rid of them. In fact we’d love nothing more than if this became the norm; if all of our regular users chipped in a buck a month to be a site supporter, both matburt and I could work on OGS full time AND we’d still have money left over for doing some great community engagement activities! So if you’ve been on the fence about becoming a site supporter, now is the time!

We hope you will join us in seeing the upcoming ads not as something negative, but instead as a means to greatly accelerate the development of OGS and enable us to provide the Go community with amazing resources and to actively grow the Go community in the West!

42 Likes

For those wondering what kind of ads we’ll be showing and where they’ll be located, here’s what we’re thinking right now:

The types of ads we’re talking about are your standard google adsense graphic banner ads. We won’t have any popup ads, we won’t have ads that make you sit there and wait X seconds to play a game, and we won’t have ads that start blaring audio at you. We’ll strive to make them non-intrusive, but they will of course be visible.

The actual position of ads and what pages we place them on will likely evolve as we learn what’s non-intrusive yet effective. Ad placement is a bit of a black art, hence it will require some learning and experimentation on our part. We will start with banner ads at the top of some of the transition pages, such as the home page, (the page you go to find games, ladder leader boards, etc.). Our gut instinct tells us that placing ads on the game page while you’re playing a game would be a bad idea, especially for live games, so we will likely not place ads on the game page initially. We may experiment with placing ads on the game page after a game has concluded or for observers, but whatever we end up doing we’ll strive to do it in a way that doesn’t get in the way and distract from playing a game.

And of course to reiterate, for those that don’t want any ads on the site, simply sign up to become a site supporter and they’ll go away :smile:

15 Likes

As I still am having problems with always wanting to respond locally, I vote the ads be within 2 intersections of the most recent move so I have to read situations elsewhere. :smile:

15 Likes

First, thank you both for your dedication and hard work. OGS has been my home on the internet for the last year, and while great when I started playing here, the improvements that have been made in that time are greatly appreciated.

With the goal of having the two of you paid what you’re worth, I had a few other thoughts concerning the specifics of raising revenue for the dev team. I suspect others will agree, but not placing ads in games will be greatly appreciated and the decision shows you have the site member’s interests at heart. On the other hand, I have always enjoyed the clean and easy to navigate nature of OGS, and I feel that text ads akin to those used in gmail wouldn’t detract from the aesthetic of the site as much as graphical ads would. I also recognize that if there is a large discrepancy in potential revenue between the two types of ads, covering dev costs takes precedence.

If at some point advertising on a game page does come into consideration, please think about using text based ads in that context. I wouldn’t find that anywhere near as distracting as a banner ad while in game.

Regardless, I know I am one of many who is very grateful for OGS, and in light of the current revenue situation, I’ll be sure to become a supporter after pay day.

Take care.

10 Likes

While I am not particularly looking forwards to see ads, I’d like to take this moment to remind you that a credit card is still required to sign up as supporter. I’ve tried it months ago, I’ve tried it just now, it won’t work, so there’s no way to really get rid of ads.

5 Likes

Indeed, we’re discussing options as we speak on how to expand the ways in which folks can become supporters. Can I ask what options you have available and what your preferred method would be?

6 Likes

Hi guys,

Great move!
Ads are not bad, commerce is not bad, no need to defend yourself :smile:

8 Likes

This place is great, even if it’ll have some ads - not a big problem for me.

9 Likes

I normally run adblock as a matter of course, but I’m going to create a sitewide exception for OGS as soon as I finish this post. I think that there should be a link to this thread somewhere newcomers to OGS will be likely to find it. I think that it personalizes you and, if everyone was like me (which they’re not, but that’s the assumption I’m using for this model), then reading this would cause them to either support the site directly or turn off adblock. Plus, if someone like me who normally uses adblock came to this site and really liked it (as I do), I might not realize that there were ads I wasn’t seeing, but would be willing to see. So all said, I think that new players need to find their way here somehow.

7 Likes

All commerce is bad. Just unavoidable, in many present-day situations.

4 Likes

[quote=“grok, post:11, topic:5727, full:true”]
All commerce is bad. Just unavoidable, in many present-day situations.
[/quote]Yup—in DAILY present-day situations. Begins with having to pay for food, water and rent. I mean, even using the toilet is not for free: We need to flush, right?

I think it would really be cool if every user just paid $1 or 1€ per month so that anoek and matburt could be free to code OGS as much as they’d like.

5 Likes

Can I ask what options you have available and what your preferred method would be?

Hello. Paypal would be nice. It’s universal, safe and secure!

2 Likes

Paypal is an option. I’m supporting the site with paypal right now.

7 Likes

Even Paypal uses credit cards for transfer. Since I absolutely refuse to own credit death cards, is there a safe mailing address I can send a notarized or registered check? I would have joined previously if I was able to send cash.
I don’t want to give Paypal my financial info because it’s just another corporation knowing more about my erpsonal business. That includes debit cards

Paypal will also allow you to use a debit card or directly draft out of your bank account, FWIW

4 Likes

You beat me to it. :smiley:

1 Like

I intend to use paypal, myself, but have you considered taking bitcoin/litecoin/dogecoin for donations? I have some doge laying around still from mining.

i made so bad experiences here with the moderators, that i not like the idea to give ogs money or ad-attention

We did try once to get bitcoin payments setup, but at the time the processor was having issues with their recurring bitcoin system. We do have plans to revisit it again now that it’s been a couple of years and see if things are looking better on the payment processor front :slight_smile:

1 Like