StackOverflow, ServerFault, and Superuser have ads. (I only see them when I'm not on my own computer where firefox and chrome AdBlock extension is not installed). The new SE 2.0 websites do not seem to have ads. Will this continue for the next couple of years?

I would like to know because ads could be a factor in decisions on whether to migrate existing SE 1.0 communities to SE 2.0 or to use an alternative Q&A platform. There are free-software clones of Stack Exchange (Shapado, possibly others...). I know 1 community (Cheminformatics) that uses a clone and 1 (Bioinformatics) that is considering switching to a free platform. The clones have all the essential features but Stack Exchange software quality and quantity is in the lead.

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I'm pretty sure there is no definite answer right now. Any special reason why you want to know? –  Pëkka Nov 4 '10 at 14:06
    
Turn off Adblock, support the sites you love! By turning off Adblock I mean adding an exception. The SE ads really aren't offensive anyway. Occasionally I even click on them. –  C. Ross Mar 11 '11 at 15:42
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2 Answers

up vote 10 down vote accepted

We reserve the right to display ads on Stack Exchange sites. Right now, that is not a priority for us, and there are no immediate plans to sell ads on any sites other than the original trilogy. Until a site has a lot of traffic, advertising is not very lucrative, anyway.

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Define "a lot"? –  C. Ross Mar 11 '11 at 15:42
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I'm just a user, but I'm pretty sure you can't get any guarantee that the SE sites will remain ad-free. Monetization will have to start at some point, and ads may well be part of the mix.

You can always E-Mail the team and ask them whether your site can have an "ad-freedom" guarantee of some sort. I wouldn't hold my breath, though.

I guess you'll have to weigh what's more important to you: A top-notch platform with an existing user base that you don't own and have no control over; or an openly available solution that you can set up and run yourself, but is likely to be somewhat slower in its evolution, and may incur some hosting and development costs of its own if your site takes off on a serious scale. Costs which you may have to compensate for somehow ... for example by showing ads. :)

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does that mean that the stack exchange network does not run a profit? –  Mark Rogers Feb 10 '11 at 17:39
    
@Mark you mean at the moment? I can't see how. They are not running any third party ads, are they? Ask @Joel above for definite info though. The original Trilogy, I remember from a comment of Jeff's, is running profitably –  Pëkka Feb 10 '11 at 17:40
    
"The original Trilogy, I remember from a comment of Jeff's, is running profitably " - oh ok. –  Mark Rogers Feb 10 '11 at 18:27
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