University Web Developers

University Web Developers

Below is an e-mail from Lance Merker, the President/CEO of OmniUpdate with a proposal for this site. Given this is a community site, it's only appropriate that the members decide on this proposal. Please provide your feedback by this Friday (May 16).

We at OmniUpdate would like to give a free coffee mug with the University Web Developers emblem to all 700+ subscribers of the ning group. The proposition in simple. We would like to replace the google ads on the right side of the page with the attached banner. The banner (and the free mug offer) would remain for one year. We'll pay all the costs to remove the google ads, and pay for the mugs and shipping to members who request one during the year.

That's it. We won't replace the banner with any advertising nor put our advertising on the mugs!

Members of the group get a symbol of their association with the social network -- hopefully building some camaraderie and group spirit -- and we get brand recognition from the sponsorship.



Lance Merker
OmniUpdate, Inc.

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1) I don't think that we (or Terry) are trying to monetize the uwebd ning group, so I don't have a problem with agreeing to an entire year.

2) The comment by Seth Meranda, above, is right on. What does OmniUpdate intend to do with the mailing list generated through the coffee mug giveaway? Imho, some snail-mailed promotional material are fair and to be expected. OmniUpdate is doing a useful thing, and in a good way.

3) "Website Hero"? I gotta disagree with that one. Surely we can come up with a better slogan. Any ideas?

Isaac Vetter
I think "Website Hero" is an OmniUpdate slogan, so to say they won't put advertising on the mug is a bit deceptive.

That slogan was on the free shirts they gave away at the conference this fall.
Sounds good to me. I like the fact that it's not just a one-time only deal. New members in the next year would get the mug too. Only thing I wonder about is what are we losing by not having the Google ads? Is there a small revenue stream that would dry up? As long as it's nothing major, then let's get mugged.
I'm pretty sure Ning is the one benefiting from any Google ad click revenue right we're not losing anything there.
To clarify how the Google Ads are currently used, we are using the free service from Ning. The revenue from the Google ads goes to Ning to support this free service. There is an option to upgrade to the Ning's premium services which includes running your own ads as a source of revenue ( see )

As we think about the future direction of this site, should we be thinking about adding our own Google Ads and other sponsorship opportunities. If we want to generate revenue, what we do it with it? All of this gets back to a basic question on the function and purpose of this site.
Does anyone else find it a tad disturbing that this is like the most discussed thing on here ever?

And to those who would get up in arms about receiving promotional material, I say bah. It takes about three seconds to take something from your mail box and throw it into the recycle bin if you're not interested (and even less time to hit the delete key on a piece of unwanted email).
Great point! It's amazing what we'll do for a free coffee mug or a free t-shirt. Or a *chance* for a free thumb drive. :)
Why waste paper or resources for something no one wants? Opt out, save the earth, blah blah blah.
I was about to ask the same thing... just goes to show everybody likes free stuff.
When our university was looking for a CMS, we had several vendors do demos for a group of us, mostly various department web folks from all over campus. Unfortunately, none of us had the power to say yes or no to any of them, other than our University Relations department, who started the initial search.

Anyway, I put my name on a "I'd like to get some promo material" list for one CMS I thought was really interesting. I didn't have the clout or the budget to purchase, but I was still interested in features and such...

After a half dozen "Would you be interested in purchasing our product" phone calls, I was pretty much done with the whole advertising thing...
This is very interesting to me, in that, while this is the most discussed thing on the site ever, it does get people contributing in the way that a site like this was designed for. Also, because I was curious what was being said about this topic, I also took the time to click around the site more than I ever have before and am now more engaged in the site than I have been since joining the Network months ago. I also found a solution to a problem I was exploring, so I am very greatful for this rather lengthy thread.
Works for me!



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