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I was thinking where Stack Overflow took money to maintain all the webservers back there.

Then I thought that this is (like Wikipedia) a website made by user (user-generated content) and like Wikipedia it doesn't show (many) ads.

I would like to discuss the relation between user generated content (and maintained too) and ads in general.

I think if Jeff Atwood will fill every blank spot with ads the website will lose many of its contributors for one simple reasons (the same of Wikipedia): why users should "work" on a websites just to make the admin richer?

I think one of the key factors of Wikipedia' success is the absence of ads.. And I think the same applies to Stack Overflow.

What do you think? Would you continue to "work" on Stack Overflow if this website will be filled with ads?

That is one point of view, the other point of view is: Jeff Atwood and the other developers spent and are spending much time to build/develop this, how they should be remunerated? (The carriers "post a job"/price is a great non-invasive method IMO.)

Update 1: If you don't like this post at least explain why

Update 2: I said there aren't that many ads because 90% of time I see only Careers listing, but if this is not true sorry then

Update 3: YAY let's downvoting only because other people did it

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closed as not constructive by Rosinante, Ladybug Killer, ChrisF, Adam Davis, Tim Post Mar 7 '11 at 0:04

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

The red icon in the upper right of your browser: click it. – Ladybug Killer Mar 6 '11 at 21:49
The downvotes aren't mine; note however that here on Meta, a downvote can mean "disagree" - since your post could be interpreted as "SO will flop unless there are significantly more ads", this looks the likely cause to me. – Piskvor Mar 6 '11 at 22:44
@piskvor: I meant the exactly countrary :(, I thought it was clear with the paragon with wikipedia – dynamic Mar 6 '11 at 22:45
"SO needs another way of financing beside the ads", then? That is IMO begging the question. (and anyway, I can only stand one unshaven founder, asking for donation, per year ;)) – Piskvor Mar 6 '11 at 22:47
possible duplicate of What is Stack Overflow's business model? – Adam Davis Mar 6 '11 at 23:47
up vote 5 down vote accepted

Are you looking for this? What is Stack Overflow's business model?


  • most ads are not shown above a certain rep level
  • SOIS doesn't seem to be going bankrupt, so they probably are remunerated somehow
  • that's not to mention the venture capital

Apart from this, I don't see any indication anywhere that "Jeff will fill every blank spot with Ads" - I'm pretty sure he's aware of the consequences.

See also this blogpost (incidentally by Jeff Atwood):

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I hate to see Jeff Atwood's portrait on top of every Stack Overflow page begging for donations and humiliating users for how much they learned last year from the site and they're morally obliged to contribute money to the site.

Can we please have ads on Wikipedia?

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2 – Pëkka Mar 6 '11 at 23:21
Finally a constructive answer! That's what i would have liked to discuss – dynamic Mar 6 '11 at 23:32
If things ever got that desperate, it would probably be "Donate now, or this unicorn gets it ... " Jeff prefers a more direct approach to many things. – Tim Post Mar 7 '11 at 0:07

I don't really understand what you're saying.. Stack Overflow does have ads. They are usually fairly interesting, but I wouldn't really say that it doesn't have many of them or that they are not noticeable.

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Note that, however, users with 200 reputation see less of them, but since they are the vast minority of Stack Overflow's visitors, it doesn't impact earnings.

Stack Exchange sites also (for now) have no ads, but if you take a look at this page you'll notice how all of them together have less than 10% of Stack Overflow's visits, so again, it doesn't impact earnings.

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You forgot the android tag. – Ladybug Killer Mar 6 '11 at 21:47
@Ladybug: thanks, fixed – Andreas Bonini Mar 6 '11 at 21:52
@Pollyanna: why is it surprising? The amount of contributors is usually in the 1-2% range; I read that the website with the most percentage of contributors is wikipedia at 6%. – Andreas Bonini Mar 7 '11 at 12:53
Sorry, I must have misread your answer when I posted that. I thought you were saying the opposite. – Adam Davis Mar 7 '11 at 15:16

Firstly, my primary goal when I come to Stack Exchange is to get help when I need help.

The best way of me doing this is to make the community a place that attacts more people, because the more people come to the sites, the more help I will get when I need it.

So it's not so much that I'm here to "work" on Stack Exchange, as I'm here to get help.

Secondly, Jeff (the co-founder of the site) has already promoted his position on this and about how it is wrong to get the community to farm your site for you to make yourself richer.

Thirdly, the SE network has ads, but once you're in good stead with the community (+200 rep) then you have drastically reduced advertising - even though there wasn't much advertising to begin with.

Fourthly, a lot of the ad space in the SE network is given away for free to FOSS software, or to other stack exchange sites or proposals.

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