How do Stack Overflow and the rest of Stack Exchange sites stay up?

Someone has got to pay for the infrastructure and people's wages. So how do these sites make money? Is it purely through advertising?

(I'm not looking to copy it! :) I'm just amazed that such a great system works for free!)

  • 42
    You don't think that Jon Skeet really got that rep without a little payola, do you?
    – nb69307
    Jul 2, 2010 at 18:55
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    Seriously - why vote a question down that asks a perfectly reasonable question? Jul 2, 2010 at 19:06
  • 7
    @Mark: If A then B if-and-only-if if not B then not A. If only perfectly reasonable questions do not get downvotes, the fact that you're getting downvotes implies your question is not perfectly reasonable. Programmers are supposed to be good at logic.
    – Welbog
    Jul 2, 2010 at 19:10
  • 1
    I use FF, I see adds. Those two aren't mutually exclusive.
    – jjnguy
    Jul 2, 2010 at 19:12
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    Justin - I said FF + adblock. The Proposer - I think my question is reasonable because it is a genuine question about the policy of this site. And I find your response unnecessarily rude. And illogical - you're using a circular argument: "it is because it is". That's funny. Jul 2, 2010 at 19:16
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    -1...may God have mercy on your soul. Jul 2, 2010 at 19:28
  • 2
    I find the question perfectly fine, although it may well be a duplicate.
    – Pekka
    Jul 2, 2010 at 19:34
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    @Mark: how is it that you find it acceptable to announce that you are circumventing a site's revenue stream (by using Adblock)?
    – Ether
    Jul 2, 2010 at 19:41
  • This is pretty much the same question: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/8208/… -- but considering it's almost a year old, and lots of things have happened since then, I don't know if this should really be closed because of that.
    – balpha StaffMod
    Jul 2, 2010 at 19:44
  • Hi Ether - I didn't say I used Adblock, I said it was possible. Jul 2, 2010 at 19:53
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    Thanks to the responders so far, the people who voted up my question so that it is no longer on -2, and especially the moderators for removing an offensive comment. This comment is not part of the question - I just wanted to say thanks. Jul 2, 2010 at 19:55
  • 2
    @Mark it wasn't necessarily the moderators who removed the comments, it could have been the author himself. While I felt the downvotes to this question unjustified, in general, downvotes are viewed as an expression of disagreement on Meta. A perfectly fine proposal can attract a lot of downvotes if people simply don't agree with it. They shouldn't be taken too seriously here.
    – Pekka
    Jul 2, 2010 at 20:00
  • Sigh... it is starting again. If you're voting down please say why - I'm still trying to learn. Jul 2, 2010 at 20:27
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    @mmyers yeah. I was somehow hoping Welbog had removed them himself, but I may have been wrong. Anyway....
    – Pekka
    Jul 2, 2010 at 21:52
  • 2
    Related: What is Stack Overflow's business model?
    – Pops
    Jan 4, 2012 at 15:26

2 Answers 2


Ads, jobs listings, careers. Do a search for money on meta and you'll see lots of relevant questions.

  • 2
    The first link is broken.
    – gotqn
    Aug 17, 2015 at 14:18
  • 4
    First link is still broken. There's a reason we don't just post links.
    – Hellreaver
    Jan 24, 2016 at 7:27
  • First link is still broken in 2017, no wonder we don't just post links.
    – warspyking
    Feb 20, 2017 at 15:35
  • 1
    The link may be broken, but it wasn't really essential to the answer. It was originally just a link to a question about a particular ad that everyone seemed to hate that was asked at about the same time as this one. I suppose I update it to point at the [advertising] tag.
    – Zoredache
    Feb 21, 2017 at 17:54
  • First link is back up! In case it ever goes down again, here's the earliest archived image of it to prove @Zoredache correct. :) web.archive.org/web/20140426141741/http://… Dec 7, 2018 at 19:23

People will pay money to have their advertisements on popular websites. The amount of traffic in the stacks probably makes the advertisement expense relatively expensive. Its the same reason some games are free.

I'm sure there are many other little bits of money coming in/out, but personally I think advertisements is the biggest source of revenue for a free website like this

  • 5
    Advertisements ??? I dont see many adds on this site. I believe, stackoverflow works with recruiters to help get good people and get paid by them. Aug 2, 2013 at 7:04
  • They gets lot of traffic through google , if you searched at google with any programming related problem this site will popup on the first page top five result. There are tremendous resources on this site and many coding experts. Aug 14, 2013 at 7:54
  • 1
    @MansoorShaikh you probably have adblock
    – caub
    Jul 11, 2015 at 18:15
  • @crl even with adblock off, I rarely see more than 2 or 3 ads a month
    – Hellreaver
    Jan 24, 2016 at 7:28

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