StyleForum - Behind the Veil: Money, Politics & Bullshit

Thruth

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Has anyone ever looked at the list of AV's closely?

the master list of which there is then 3 additional tiers of sponsorship ($$$)

Screen Shot 2015-06-24 at 8.52.55 AM.png


Top tier of sponsorship
Screen Shot 2015-06-24 at 10.26.51 AM.png


Second Tier
Screen Shot 2015-06-24 at 10.27.07 AM.png

Third Tier
Screen Shot 2015-06-24 at 10.27.35 AM.png


  • 71 AV's on the "Insider List"
  • plus an additional 4 sponsors in the second tier (Pittiurmo sponsor page that has not been updated since 2014), Costume Limite, Ledbury, RPM West)
  • plus an additional 4 sponsors in the third tier (Blacksmith-Labs, Pediwear, Saphir, ViCCEL)
So, a total of 79 AV's paying for the privilege of advertising on SF. Now, this list might not be completely accurate given examples like Unpair having ended their AV status, and Howard Yount's thread being locked.

I have no idea of the cost of being an AV other than that the old entry level rate was $600/month and the new rate is rumoured to be $900/month. No idea on what the advanced tiers of sponsorship cost. But, here are a couple of crude calculations:

79 AV's @ $600/month = $568,800 that SF rakes in annually, which is an underestimate even when accounting for some on the list no longer being active given the obviously higher upper tier sponsorship costs.

79 AV's @ $900/month = $853,200 per year

this kind of cash and yet SF is regularly overrun with SPAM ads from Indian mystics and pay-per-view ads
 

Rambo

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The real money is in ad and search engine traffic. I can't imagine how high their Google AdSense revenue is.
 

Russell Street

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Do they have that awful VigLink thing over there, where some retarded algorithm struggles to find words and phrases in posts and match them to, generally pretty unrelated or undesirable, links from their advertiser list?

Does third tier really mean anything more than the contributor status here? Basically, if you send in a buck...you get acknowledged as a donor. Maybe it's higher, like $100 or something, given the trouble of putting up a thumbnail and presumably a link.

How much are the moderators paid again??:scratchhead:
 

Thruth

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Does third tier really mean anything more than the contributor status here? Basically, if you send in a buck...you get acknowledged as a donor.
just looked again and there seems to be some change in the third tier so maybe some or all of the Industry Insiders get featured. if only some then it will be more than the entry-level rate
 

Chorn

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I know that there isn't any flat rate for AV's (I've heard this from two different AV's). Fok charges based on what they carry. So NMWA pays a lot more than Henry Carter.
 

The Shooman

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If you sell certain high end shoe brands like Vass and Edward Green it would definitely pay to advertise at S.F.

I hope that S.F isn't such a money making machine as stated above. I don't like it when people make lots of money for not doing much,
 
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J

Jimmy Frost Mellor

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LA GUY SAID:
It's not public information, but briefly, we have a few full time employees, employ about a dozen freelancers on a contract basis, as well as a ton of support, sales, and development people with our strategic partners.
--
Thanks. The truth is that there are tons of websites out there that have a ton of potential, but are held back by poor management, or more commonly, lack of motivation/ability on the side of the owners. I have a stake in a couple of others, and am always looking for other sites that can be acquired and developed.
--
So.. not generally a fan of mission statements, but ours is "Foster this community." Our editorial strategy is based on amplifying, adding to, and expanding on, the interests of our contributing members, which includes everyone here, and our very large "lurking" base (people lurk for years, literally, before joining, and our more casual, but still interested, readers. Our selection of affilaite vendors motivated by what we feel will be of value to a decent segment of our membership and larger readership. And things like the frontpage and our social media channels (mostly tumblr, facebook, and instagram) is used to highlight cool stuff that we see coming from the community.

There are other sites that are more... autocratic. There are other sites that are more slick. We've always been community centered.


Noodles' Good Natured Advice Thread (improving a business wardrobe) - Page 1527

LA GUY
Not just not free to make - it takes a lot of time. But.. yes, an app is in the works.

The thumb comments we removed because, as implemented, the reintroduction was not generally well received by the community. It was a "wel, it might be good, but it might be bad, The additional click decreased the use of the like function by close to 40% on first reintroduction, which recovered slightly, but to 25% under usual rates. We've since recovered. We do take anecdotal evidence into consideration, but a lot of our decisions are data driven, and that one was a clear no-no.

I think that like comments could be cool, but it would require a revamp of the system, and there is no clear paradigm for doing this in an efficient manner. Instagram, tumblr, faebook, pinterest, twitter, all have comments and likes separated. That makes no sense on a forum, where the dialogue is post, and not comment, driven (i.e. a much flatter, even playing field for all participants). I've thought a bit about a good UX for likes with integrated comments, but honestly, have not come up with anything non-annoying that allows both a one click like and an optional comment.

I really like the mobile version of the site, with some reservations, and data indicates that my personal experience is the norm. But there are some minor, but rather obvious, issues, like the inability to see at least the number of likes on a post
 

The Shooman

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Thanks for posting Mr Mellor. Yes, S.F doesn't have the warmth it used to have in the old days during 2003 - 2005, and it doesn't have the knowledge it had between 2006 - 2008. These days it is more blatant consumerism by cashed up people, and the heart of S.F is now very cold and sterile because the old love has been replaced by consumerism and a lack of clothing/footwear knowledge. The good knowledgable posters have largely left and an entirely different ilk have now taken over as regular posters....it's now the age of the cashed up consumer girlyman.

I still will say that S.F initiated major style changes across the world and was the world's biggest influence in the appreciation of classic clothing and footwear coming back. It influenced t.v, blogs and changed the world, but S.F is not what it once was and AAAC finished playing any significant role many years ago when the Malindas destroyed it. .
 

fxh

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Amazon Associates
Advertising, Affiliate Marketing
DoubleClick
Advertising
DoubleClick Bid Manager
Advertising
eXelate
Beacons
Facebook Connect Widgets, Social
Google Adsense Advertising
Google Analytics Analytics, Analytics
Krux Digital Beacons
LiveRail Advertising, Video Player
Logicad Advertising, Segment Data
OpenX Advertising
Quantcast Advertising
RadiumOne
Beacons, Behavior Tracking
ScoreCard Research Beacon
Beacons, Analytics
VigLink Advertising, In-Text Ads
VisualDNA Analytics, Segment Data
---

The above are some of the trackers SF are using on a quick and dirty I did.

They are claiming 10M monthly page views and 500,000 unique monthly visitors. No need to doubt those figures really.
(There is of course lots of reason to doubt what those figures mean in reality/ commercially but thats the same for all sites)

Given that their visitors are extremely focused - they aren't looking for pictures of cats or cars or just blundering around.
I'd say the adsense rates might be up pretty high. Added to this they have a lot of pages apart from the "home" page. so teh basic rate from adsense should be high and getting higher by negotiating.

What the actual CTR might be is anyones guess. Possibly pretty high.
 

fxh

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What sort of rough number could you imagine?
$200,000 a year wouldn't surprise me plus another $100K from banner ads. Thats just from adsense and banner ads not counting affiliates and any other stuff like amazon CTR and purchases.

Possibly more - its a pretty big focused site with lots of verifiable metrics - Some big gross figures wouldn't surprise me. Its unique amongst big sites. Its not a newspaper with a diffuse readership. Lots of participants - almost free focus groups if you can read and think - lots of lurkers.

If I was running it I think I could make a good case that the posters are Influencers and Leaders and demand higher rates
 
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Monkeyface

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LA GUY SAID:
It's not public information, but briefly, we have a few full time employees, employ about a dozen freelancers on a contract basis, as well as a ton of support, sales, and development people with our strategic partners.
--
Thanks. The truth is that there are tons of websites out there that have a ton of potential, but are held back by poor management, or more commonly, lack of motivation/ability on the side of the owners. I have a stake in a couple of others, and am always looking for other sites that can be acquired and developed.
--
So.. not generally a fan of mission statements, but ours is "Foster this community." Our editorial strategy is based on amplifying, adding to, and expanding on, the interests of our contributing members, which includes everyone here, and our very large "lurking" base (people lurk for years, literally, before joining, and our more casual, but still interested, readers. Our selection of affilaite vendors motivated by what we feel will be of value to a decent segment of our membership and larger readership. And things like the frontpage and our social media channels (mostly tumblr, facebook, and instagram) is used to highlight cool stuff that we see coming from the community.

There are other sites that are more... autocratic. There are other sites that are more slick. We've always been community centered.


Noodles' Good Natured Advice Thread (improving a business wardrobe) - Page 1527

LA GUY
Not just not free to make - it takes a lot of time. But.. yes, an app is in the works.

The thumb comments we removed because, as implemented, the reintroduction was not generally well received by the community. It was a "wel, it might be good, but it might be bad, The additional click decreased the use of the like function by close to 40% on first reintroduction, which recovered slightly, but to 25% under usual rates. We've since recovered. We do take anecdotal evidence into consideration, but a lot of our decisions are data driven, and that one was a clear no-no.

I think that like comments could be cool, but it would require a revamp of the system, and there is no clear paradigm for doing this in an efficient manner. Instagram, tumblr, faebook, pinterest, twitter, all have comments and likes separated. That makes no sense on a forum, where the dialogue is post, and not comment, driven (i.e. a much flatter, even playing field for all participants). I've thought a bit about a good UX for likes with integrated comments, but honestly, have not come up with anything non-annoying that allows both a one click like and an optional comment.

I really like the mobile version of the site, with some reservations, and data indicates that my personal experience is the norm. But there are some minor, but rather obvious, issues, like the inability to see at least the number of likes on a post
I'm in your signature! What an honour! Will this be in your sig as well?
 

Rambo

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$200,000 a year wouldn't surprise me plus another $100K from banner ads. Thats just from adsense and banner ads not counting affiliates and any other stuff like amazon CTR and purchases.
I'd say this would be a fair estimate. I would guess a bit higher, but that's off the cuff.
 

Thruth

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hadn't noticed this before. was looking at a thread and there was something in the background. Wallpaper?

Screen Shot 2015-06-26 at 12.30.56 PM.png


Not wallpaper. upon clicking the background, one gets this:
Screen Shot 2015-06-26 at 12.31.23 PM.png
 

Thruth

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i suppose if i had entered through the main page i might have seen the subtle AE advertising
Screen Shot 2015-06-26 at 12.35.16 PM.png
 

Algernon Crisp

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Although very new to menswear forums, I've some experience with forums in general. SF is blatantly run with a single purpose - to feed members to vendors and advertisers. That's it. I don't know whether it was always like that (I only discovered it recently), but that's what it is now.

I think it's great if a forum owner can make money out of his forum in an honest way, but it's very difficult to do. This forum is wonderful because of the cheerful and friendly rudeness, through-the-looking-glass insanity, and general atmosphere of anarchy, but I suspect it is not the most ruthlessly commercial operation around.

I imagine SF produces an attractive return for its owners; it is also as soulless as a corpse and as barren as the Sahara, and if you try to fuck with one of their protected vendors, no matter how dishonest that vendor might be, you'll get dealt with.

That said, it's far from the worst I've seen. I was a member of one forum where the owner and mods went to great lengths to protect actual criminals who were preying on the membership. I'm talking about genuine conmen who fleeced people for thousands of pounds.
 

Rambo

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I don't know whether it was always like that (I only discovered it recently)
It was not

This forum is wonderful because of the cheerful and friendly rudeness, through-the-looking-glass insanity, and general atmosphere of anarchy, but I suspect it is not the most ruthlessly commercial operation around.
Its not commercial at all given that we run solely on donations. There is not a single ad anywhere on this forum.

That said, it's far from the worst I've seen. I was a member of one forum where the owner and mods went to great lengths to protect actual criminals who were preying on the membership. I'm talking about genuine conmen who fleeced people for thousands of pounds.
What forum was that?
 

Algernon Crisp

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It was not


Its not commercial at all given that we run solely on donations. There is not a single ad anywhere on this forum.


What forum was that?
I'd prefer not to say, as my comment could easily be interpreted as quite a serious allegation. It was in area of interest that was ripe for scammers. Lots of clueless noobs who thought their hobby could be a path to riches.

Just speaking personally, I wouldn't object to ads at all (as long as the whole place wasn't plastered with them). Especially in this area, as there are lots of very reputable vendors who make genuinely excellent products that are of legitimate interest and use to members.

What pisses me off is when forum owners act to protect vendors at all costs, regardless of their honesty, simply to protect unsavoury revenue streams. But ads from reputable suppliers, and members allowed to discuss them honestly and openly? I don't see what would be wrong with that.

Of course, forum owners have been threatened with legal action by advertisers in order to have unfavourable content removed, so when content is censored and members banned, it's not necessarily malice or fraud. It can just be the forum owner protecting himself against being sued by scumbags.
 

fxh

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If I was running SF - as it is now - my aim would be a "modified amazon" strategy. I'd aim at present to just break even and pay myself a small salary to cover time spent but pour any extra income straight back into improving the metrics - essentially getting more readers, lurkers, advertisers, page views etc. With the medium term aim of hyping it up and when the next inevitable dot.com bubble is rising, flogging it all off for a few million$ to some clueless big corporation in about 2018 - 2020. Meantime I'd keep it as friendly and seemingly community focused as possible to build up the value.

On the sale I'd spend a lot of time getting a minimal time frame for a non competing site.

In about 2 or 3 years after the sale, when SF had slid hopelessly to GQ/mainstream territory with 20 yo something female bloggers supplying content on mens clothing and the SF was a crazy hopeless mixture of facebook/redditt/tumblr/instagram/link farm - then I'd start up a new community focused forum/site or retire comfortably to an academic position with a nice little nest egg. Or both.

This is not to imply in any way whatsoever that the current owners are pursuing such a strategy.
 
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Chorn

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I imagine SF produces an attractive return for its owners; it is also as soulless as a corpse and as barren as the Sahara, and if you try to fuck with one of their protected vendors, no matter how dishonest that vendor might be, you'll get dealt with.
Some of us are allowed to fuck with them (in practice. It's not like there's a policy. That I know of). But yeah, they're given too much leeway in general.

I don't consider it barren at all. But then, I limit myself to a single sub-forum and a few threads at that (so perhaps this makes me part of the problem in that respect). Other than that, a pretty fair assessment.

fxh fxh :scratchchin:
Indeed
 

HenryC

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I know that there isn't any flat rate for AV's (I've heard this from two different AV's). Fok charges based on what they carry. So NMWA pays a lot more than Henry Carter.
Missed this thread.... we do pay different amounts and if you want more advertising i.e banner ads etc then yes you pay more, but generally newer affiliates pay more than older ones like me. Mines not bad but it has definitely gotten a lot more in the last 12 months purely because the AUD has gone to shit. Certainly if I was hit by a price rise in line with regular fees, then I would give the AV thread up and advertise elsewhere.

They may already be looking at this, but it's a fair call to say that the majority of the new AV's are turned over fairly quickly and I dare say this is due to not getting a return on investment. Not everyone has the $$$ backing and brand list of the NMWA's after all so I think putting AV fees up more is not a good move.
 

Monkeyface

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Missed this thread.... we do pay different amounts and if you want more advertising i.e banner ads etc then yes you pay more, but generally newer affiliates pay more than older ones like me. Mines not bad but it has definitely gotten a lot more in the last 12 months purely because the AUD has gone to shit. Certainly if I was hit by a price rise in line with regular fees, then I would give the AV thread up and advertise elsewhere.

They may already be looking at this, but it's a fair call to say that the majority of the new AV's are turned over fairly quickly and I dare say this is due to not getting a return on investment. Not everyone has the $$$ backing and brand list of the NMWA's after all so I think putting AV fees up more is not a good move.
Isn't it more the case that a lot of AVs don't match with SFs tastes and sensibilities? It's seems like he accepts anyone, and then takes their cash for a couple of months before they leave again. This of course devalues the whole concept of AVs, which I wouldn't be too happy about if I were one.
 

fxh

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monkey - think a few AV are clueless business wise and value for dollar/exposer - but thats hardly SF's fault. Although if it was me owning SF I'd work closely with AVs to help them get it right - or at least a bit righter. I also think theres a case to become an AV initially to test the waters and raise the profile - and the pay off might be in the initial exposure and the frozen thread so that pulling out after a whiles isn't necessarily all bad. Keep in mind SF is a ready made focus group - invaluable for a certain sector of the market.

Theres also stuff that isn't hip and so isn't chatted about amongst the cognoscenti - but any MTM suit business etc gets a lot of work/$ from things like weddings/special occasions where the customer is disturbingly unsophisticated about clothing but refreshingly normal about business interactions. . It isn't uncommon for a MTM mob to get the groom, 3 or 4 groomsmen, a father and father in law all at once for suits. That 6 - 7 suits from blokes who don't normally buy more than one or two suits in a lifetime. They aren't going to post on-line or be seen at Pitti - but they do spend money. And are a lot less trouble than your average Foo.
 
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HenryC

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Isn't it more the case that a lot of AVs don't match with SFs tastes and sensibilities? It's seems like he accepts anyone, and then takes their cash for a couple of months before they leave again. This of course devalues the whole concept of AVs, which I wouldn't be too happy about if I were one.
Yeah a bit of that too. But there's been many who fit the mould, shibumi come to mind that haven't been able to make it work $$$ wise.
 

HenryC

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They do but that still costs plenty of money and not just time. All those bespoke suits and shoes aren't cheap as you'd know. I suspect that like me most of their business comes from their home country and the extra from Sf is a good bonus
 

ConchitaWurst

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They do but that still costs plenty of money and not just time. All those bespoke suits and shoes aren't cheap as you'd know. I suspect that like me most of their business comes from their home country and the extra from Sf is a good bonus
there are a lot of germans on sf. the suits they would have gotten anyway because they are bespoke entousiast. their spamming of waywn with good pictures of themselves is very effective imo
 
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