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Just an idea I had for how to monetize StackOverflow with very little impact to users.

You could allow a user to pay a monthly fee so that they can have a signature underneath their name when answering questions, such as a small image or a certain amount of text. (in the same way as forums allow)

This has a few effects:

  1. If they answer more questions legitimately more people will see their sig and associate it with a smart answer, and hence they'll get better value for money

  2. It will allow companies to take advantage of the exposure their smart developers get through answering a lot of questions

  3. It will discourage spam-answers as who would want their company associated with a lot of down-voted answers?

Let me know what you think.

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3  
I would pay to not see sigs. ...hey, that's it!!! –  Jon Seigel May 19 '10 at 22:57
7  
@Matthew: I forsee a lot of downvotes in your future ;-) –  The Unhandled Exception May 19 '10 at 22:58
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It will encourage me to gratuitously downvote their answers. So I'm all for it. –  nb69307 May 19 '10 at 22:58
    
Hehe, it was just an idea thought I'd see what people thought about it. Clearly not that impressed so far! –  Matthew Rathbone May 19 '10 at 23:00
    
Maybe even just a really small box under the user info, the same width and no more than like 10px high, that way you'll only see it if you look for it and it won't be a big banner or anything like that –  Matthew Rathbone May 19 '10 at 23:01
1  
@Matthew: Don't take it personally. meta.stackexchange.com/questions/47634/… –  Pops May 20 '10 at 0:01
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Why wouldn't the profile page be enough? –  IAbstract May 20 '10 at 0:01
    
-1 There's enough advertising on here already. And it's pretty heavily targeted. Imagine the crap we'd end up with if users could just pay a fee and bung any old thing into their signature. No Thanks. –  David HAust May 20 '10 at 0:26
    
@Pop: I guess that you wanted to link to meta.stackexchange.com/questions/44188/… ;) –  perbert May 20 '10 at 1:01

2 Answers 2

Or we could not clutter up the site with useless information. I like that idea better.

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No need to be rude. –  devinb May 20 '10 at 6:56

Users have a place called the profile page where they can display their calling card. Pretty handy.

There is a handy link in the signature block of each post that takes interested viewers to this page: alt text

Section A:

A hyper-link leading you right to the user's web site.

Section B:

A location for adding any additional information you feel comfortable giving to the public.

Oh, and @Downvoter can rest assured it costs nothing. In addition, why shouldn't the gravatar be available for a company logo?

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+1 for freehand circles. -1 because 'B' looks like a penis. –  glasnt May 20 '10 at 0:11
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@Tomato: I don't see it –  IAbstract May 20 '10 at 0:40
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@Tomato: If that's what yours look like, consult a doctor... –  The Unhandled Exception May 20 '10 at 12:14
    
Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. –  John Rudy May 20 '10 at 13:42
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@Josh: I'd be extremely worried if I woke up with a penis. –  glasnt May 21 '10 at 3:39
    
@Josh: Note to self, review other users' profiles and websites before making jokes about their naughty bits... –  The Unhandled Exception May 21 '10 at 13:23
    
Sorry @TomatoSandwich! No offense intended, of course! –  The Unhandled Exception May 21 '10 at 13:24
    
@Josh no worries. I think I made the comment after pursuing b3ta for many hours, so I was probably seeing magenta wangs that were still embedded into my retina. –  glasnt May 23 '10 at 23:00

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