The peak of ad revenue for me was in 2005, and CoasterBuzz generated almost $4 for every thousand visits.
I actually did an analysis of this, and to do it "right" at a medium scale (let's say 100k users), with the average amount of posting that I do as a guide, it would cost about $12-15 per person per year to host it all. So add in the cost of some people to maintain and build it, and that probably gets you to around $25 as a sustainable price per annual user. That's retail pay-as-you-go rates though, so at scale when you buy reserved capacity, there's potential for savings.
It's a doable thing, but for some reason people will pay for Netflix indefinitely, but not what is essentially hosted software. That's why I've never gone down the road, despite having a decent domain name in my collection for years.
I am mostly repeating the thoughts of others, but here goes.
Jeff is spot on that Facebook has little to no interest for younger people, and by younger people I mean roughly 20 and under. At one time I had a FB page for class projects and such (and some still do survive), but over the past few years in particular the number of students who let me know they don't even have a FB account went from a couple, to half the class, to the majority. This year in my freshmen-only seminar, only two students out of 25 even have FB accounts. Anecdotal, but a trend for sure.
Over time my own use (actually making posts) has really waned. Like all of you, it's about keeping a quick, reliable connection to people I would not otherwise get a chance to interact with...at least not in such a quick/shared fashion. This includes several of you reading this post.
It's really come down to two uses: 1) A digital family scrap-book (seriously, thanks to my wife our life has been chronicled in pictures and albums stored there), and 2) Humor. Honestly, my own personal use is mainly trying to make other people laugh or smile.
I would absolutely pay a nominal fee for something like it (or "it" without all the bull****).Last edited by OhioStater, Tuesday, September 22, 2020 9:08 PM
Promoter of fog.
My favorite thing about Facebook within the last couple years has been Marketplace. Its usefulness has actually surpassed Craigslist for me, especially for some things I’ve sold (drum sets and cars, primarily)—the latter started charging $5 to sell a vehicle. Not unreasonable, but when the rest of the site is free, and I get probably 10 times the replies from FB users, it’s obvious which platform I’d rather use.
That said, I don’t know what happened in the last few weeks, but my searches on Marketplace have resulted in nonsense. If I run a search for Mazda RX-7s within 100 miles of my hometown, for example, I get a smattering of those among tons of other cars I have zero interest in, like Mustangs and Nissans, and it fails to prioritize by distance so cars for sale three states away often appear at the top. It’s maddening.
Regarding the comment about paying 20 bucks for friends, this is the one site I continue to pay for year after year, ironically not because I still have a burning desire to talk coasters (I don’t), but because this has been my little corner of the internet for the past 20 years where I can hang out and shoot the **** with my small circle of virtual friends. Without annoying ads.
And, if I close this site and come back 5 minutes later, the thread I was reading doesn’t vanish!Last edited by Vater, Tuesday, September 22, 2020 9:54 PM
The digital scrapbook is for real, and one of the reasons I don't really get the toxic "like economy" of social networks. I have no ****s to give about likes, but it sure is cool to see what I was doing with my infant child ten years ago today.
And for me personally, I think a Facebook replacement has to be able to import that history. Looking at the data it exports, that's probably not very hard.
I have used market place to buy two vehicles already and to get rid of multiple items for free. Yeah I could have just thrown them out but I hate wasting things knowing that somewhere near me someone is probably looking for the exact thing I don't need anymore. I find the local garage sale groups useful too.
I really need to get with the times and look into this whole Facebook Marketplace thing. This is the 3rd or 4th positive mention I've seen just in the last week or so, and I have a garage full of stuff that isn't junk, but I just have no need for anymore.
I've hated Facebook for past few years. I think it was around Nov 2018 I actually deleted my account due to all the drama. I went over a year without but do agree with others that it is a nice way to keep in touch with others. I started a new account earlier this year. But even now, I do not spend much time on it. I rarely scroll through my feed, as I am tired of all the Covid and political BS! I normally just see if I have notification or messages and move on. I only post occasionally. Same with Instagram and Twitter. Rarely post
In general, I hate today's society where everyone needs to be connected, especially with their phones. Some can't live without their smartphones, always need to be looking at something. My wife included. She'd probably have a meltdown if she didn't have it for a day. I refuse to get one. I have no need for one. I am happy with my flip-phone. It's nice that I only have to charge my phone every couple of weeks. :)
I do appreciate Jeff for keeping this up & going and those that help. I have lurked here and PB for years, only to post occasionally. I'm glad many of you use it enough to contribute because I realize nothing is free to run these sites. A person does feel a connection to the outside world by coming on here and feel like a part of a community. I will admit I am a cheap***, as I choose to deal with ads for free service. The ads are not in my face so they don't bother me.
I sometimes go long spans of time without coming here. The past few years have been tough. I have not been to CP or ridden a coaster in 5 years. So sometimes just seeing anything coaster related is depressing.
Jerry - Magnum Fanatic
Famous Dave's- 206 restaurants - 35 states - 2 countries
Long time, first time here, made an account to respond to this, I have a lot of thoughts on it. Let's see if I can't gather them.
When I got into coasters back in the mid 00s, I cut my teeth on fansites like Pointbuzz or IOA Central. I spent hours reading all the facts and info that the creators stuffed into them and heavily contributed to forums, sharing my opinions and writing (photo) trip reports. It's cheesy but you could feel the passion for the subject matter that the creators and posters had for the subject matter. You'd have to to spend the time it took to make a website or write a PTR. I lost track of the hobby in 2012 or 2013 when I started college. You could tell that half of the forums I frequented then were not long for this world. Activity was dwindling and the sites were showing their age. But I still loved them for what they represented to me: the only places on the web that had the depth to satisfy the curiosity of a young coaster enthusiast.
I got back into the hobby after graduation and the start of my first job in 2018. I was dismayed to find out that the epicenter of the hobby really had moved to Youtube/Instagram/Facebook. So many of the sites that I cared about were either off the web or ghost towns and out of date. Or the worst case, the fansites were stripped of info to become generic Wordpress blogs that posted press releases from the parks (pet peeve of mine). And while there is fantastic stuff people make on Youtube or Instagram, I've found that people on those platforms are more susceptible to drama or clout chasing (and don't get me started on the copycat nature of them - someone takes an interesting shot of the ride? Expect tens/hundreds of the same exact image appearing on your IG feed over the next couple of weeks). Don't get me wrong, the social platforms give so many more people the opportunity to create than the old internet did (you don't have to work for Microsoft like Jeff did to run an Instagram account) but I feel that so much character is lost in that transition. The rich depth of fansites just can't be matched by videos or pictures arranged in a grid IMO.
But don't give up on my generation yet :) there are those of us that reject the social media landscape that exists now or at least know how to use it as a means to an end, not an end in itself. I personally use my spare time to work on a fansite for my local parks. A proper old school one with way too much detail and love and care put into all of the pages. I think (maybe naively) that there are more people like me (or you all) than it looks like right now: that recognize the value of a community where care goes into the maintenance of the site and that's free of the toxic like/retweet culture that exists on social media.
Hopefully my little rant made sense and it's good to finally make an account to hopefully post more here!
Something about people having to pay $20 to be your friend seems weird.
That line of thinking is exactly the problem. That's like saying that paying for cell phone service is paying for friends. Services on the Internet have a cost associated with them, and if you don't pay for them with your own money, you pay for them with the information dossier you're building with the service to make money off of you.
I see your point. but the cell phone comparison feels different to me because I can do a lot more with a cell phone than just talk/text friends. I think I was looking at your initial $20 reference too literally. The part where you called people customers just struck me as odd as it seemed that the people who would be on your network would be your friends. Or were you meaning that you were wanting to essentially create a new Facebook in which people could make their own groups or whatever they do on Facebook and you would simply be the Zuckerberg of it?
Maybe it is because I have never been on Facebook or Instagram or Snap or Twitter that I don't understand what is "evil" about it. I understand that there are ads on it but there are ads on everything these days. Is there something completely obnoxious about them on Facebook or these other things?
On the internet I somehow just ignore the ads. I can't even tell you what the add just to the right side of my screen right now is trying to sell me. I simply do not look at it. However on the music side I find ads to be completely annoying as they interrupt the music. It goes from a song to some stupid commercial and then back to a song. for this I admit that Pandora is my "splurge" in that I pay the $5 per month to not hear the ads.
Every business fundamentally has to sell something and someone has to buy it. With Facebook, they sell an audience to advertisers that they can target with frightening accuracy. You can, in minutes, buy advertisements targeted toward white, 53-year-old males living in Omaha, Nebraska who graduated from John Adams High School in Cleveland. You can also target them based on their inferred qualities created by their viewing habits. They use the same data to algorithmically show you things that appeal to all of those qualities, so you engage more therefore see more advertising. You are the product, and that's why Facebook is "free." You don't pay for it because everything it knows about you is worth something to advertisers, and used to play psychological games with you to keep you using the app longer.
People who use social media as a way to connect in the way we're talking about is for specific people, their specific network. The people they have as "friends" on the network are people they know in real life, not rando strangers. I know some people who are only "friends" with a few dozen people, most of whom are family. That's where the utility is for a segment of people. They wouldn't be paying for friends, they would be paying for a service that allows them to share words and photos with each other specifically. That's exactly what one did with telephone service when people made "calls" on phones.
Don't get me wrong, the social platforms give so many more people the opportunity to create than the old internet did (you don't have to work for Microsoft like Jeff did to run an Instagram account) but I feel that so much character is lost in that transition. The rich depth of fansites just can't be matched by videos or pictures arranged in a grid IMO.
I think this captures the sentiment well. I always point to the rock doc It Might Get Loud, where Jack White talks about constraints. His point is that if you have essentially unlimited resources and can do anything with little friction, the results are probably not that interesting or "good." But take away a guitar string, limit yourself to just red and white colors, etc., it forces you to be creative. I think the Internet suffers from the same problem. When you owned what you published and the Internet itself was the platform, you put more into it.Last edited by Jeff, Wednesday, September 23, 2020 12:51 PM
When I got into coasters back in the mid 00s, I cut my teeth on fansites like Pointbuzz or IOA Central. I spent hours reading all the facts and info that the creators stuffed into them and heavily contributed to forums, sharing my opinions and writing (photo) trip reports... It's cheesy but you could feel the passion for the subject matter that the creators and posters had for the subject matter. I lost track of the hobby in 2012 or 2013 when I started college....I got back into the hobby after graduation and the start of my first job in 2018.
I think it's so interesting how common this is. Teenage coaster geeks go off to college, forget about it for a while, and then come back and find a similar level of interest from whenever their "good ol' days" took place. It happened to me, and it took me leaving working for Disney to get re-invested into the hobby.
I've been finding myself worrying about the lack of traffic that CoasterBuzz gets these days, and I suspect, from experience, it has a lot to do with Facebook.
I used to visit CoasterBuzz ever single day. It was the reason I bought a PC 15 or so years ago.
But now I find myself scrolling and scrolling Facebook, waiting for a notification. I just sit here and wait. It's not as much of a problem as it used to be though. I got a Nintendo Switch a few months ago, so that helps me stay off Facebook so much.
I agree that Facebook and Google have kind of ruined the internet. But it has also made a great impact in my life. I reconciled with old friends I was in a band with long ago. Over the last year, we have been working on a new album, and it's finished and will be ready to publish online within the next month. This would not have been able to happen if it weren't for Facebook, and that's just one man's story.
As someone said above, the Netflix documentary The Social Dilemma is a must watch. It really opened my eyes to the harm Facebook (and YouTube) is doing to society. It is one of the reasons we are all so divided and argumentative. The cause is probably unintentional, but in order for Facebook to keep you plugged in, they find it necessary.
Thanks, Jeff. I've said it a hundred times... CoasterBuzz has changed my life.
My travel video show - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHPuXuplI-66igMmUdLMVZQ
My Band - https://tukkerofficial.bandcamp.com/
CoasterBuzz does not suffer from a lack of traffic, it suffers from a lack of participation. Thousands of randos drop by every day. Some did 15 years ago and kept coming back. 😉
I was one of those who lurked for 15 years before I decided to A) start supporting this awesome site B) start participating. The latter is an intimidating bridge to cross. Like auditioning for your favorite sitcom ; )
I dig the academic vibe of this forum. It definitely hard plays the content versus noise conundrum. I question every post I make (then often go back and edit) .
It’s difficult to drive meaningful content these days! (says the dude who wrote a novel about enthusiasm)Last edited by Kstr 737, Thursday, September 24, 2020 10:30 AM
Funny you would bring that up. I joined the P-Buzz community first, and lurked here for awhile before diving in. There was a certain "intimidation factor" that was different from the P-Buzz crowd.
Of course for some reason I made a decision to use a different name here than on P-Buzz, yet I used the same Dungeon Master avatar.
It's fun being a part of both. Different vibes, but a decent amount of crossover.
Promoter of fog.
Weird. I never felt any intimidation factor here (but I've been posting since near the beginning). I genuinely hope I'm not a part of the cause of it. Is it an in/out crowd kind of thing with all the in jokes? Was it the whole Minivan of Jusice nonsense which I am embarassed to admit I thought was cool at the time? Is it that we have intelligent discussions and bascially ban fluff content (favorite/top 10/speculation)? Though if the intimidation is because we call people on their BS, then I guess I'd rather be intimidating than flooded with nonsense.
Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."
I doubt many people stick around after Jeff closes your first "best wooden coaster" thread. :)
The moderation is why I am still here...Last edited by eightdotthree, Thursday, September 24, 2020 1:04 PM
I genuinely hope I'm not a part of the cause of it. Is it an in/out crowd kind of thing with all the in jokes?
It was my first experiences with any type of discussion forum on the internet, and I found out about this site shortly after joining PointBuzz. At that time, I had joined there to talk about what was coming next, etc...all those new-ride-hype discussions back when Tony & Tyler were still doing their thing on the CP blog.
Here, you could quickly tell two things; 1) the conversations had more depth, which was instantly appealing, and also 2) there seemed to be a core of members who seemed to know each other really well. This isn't a bad thing. In fact, that was also appealing, and in hindsight is just an example of what makes this place special. So yea; it was simply that obvious realization that many people have been here a long time.
Put it this way; I just had little experience in forums, and wasn't sure how open to new members forums really were. Typing that now in 2020 sounds absurd, and I'm just happy that P-Buzz and C-Buzz were my introduction to online social hangouts, because it also let me see how trashy and poorly-managed so many forums were/are.
Promoter of fog.
The only people I would say that I really know "well" are the podcast regulars, all of whom I've either had stay at my house, or in Gonch's case, stayed in his wife's hotel. He's been my media day date a bunch of times too. But the regulars are all very familiar, for sure. There's another tier of people who don't post very often but I would generally see a few times a summer. Those were good times.
The classic forum has gone out of favor in part because people don't seem interested in long-form conversation anymore, which is sad. I still don't get people who think constructive conversation is possible on Twitter.
You must be logged in to post