GeekDad Readers: How Are We Doing?

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Hey there, GeekDad readers! It’s me, Ken – Owner/Publisher/Grand Nagus of GeekDad; I wanted to take a moment to check in with all our loyal readers, to tell you how things are going with us, and find out from you how YOU think we’re doing.

You might remember my message from 10 months ago, when we announced our formal settlement with Condé Nast over ownership of the GeekDad brand, and the start of our crowdfunding and advertising efforts to help pay that settlement. The really good news is that we’re on track to make the next payment (number two out of three total) later this year, and it’s all because of you. The 100 or so people helping us on Patreon have been simply wonderful, and the number of folks taking advantage of our daily deals so we earn back affiliate money is really making a difference. Thank you all so, so much; you’re really helping make this work.

What’s also helping make things work is the advertising we are displaying on the site. Let me take a moment to explain how we’ve approached advertising: we are trying to find balance. Ads can be very annoying, we know. Heck, we are all consumers of the Internet as well, and we agree that the fewer flashy things we have to distract us from content, the better. That’s why we’ve made some very specific choices with the advertising we are displaying on the site. First, no pop-ups. Second, no auto-run video (we’ve had some hover-over video, and this seems like a livable compromise, but I’m happy to hear your arguments against). Third, no screen take-overs. And fourth, no junk.

That last is pretty important. There are a number of services that will auto-serve ads and sponsored content that appeal to lowest common denominator readers. That doesn’t fly for GeekDad, and so you’ll never see ads touting the “10 Beauty Secrets You’d Never Guess Peyton Manning Uses.” Peyton is a football player, in case you didn’t know.

So we’ve used a mix of things that avoid the junk, but still provide a decent return to help us meet our goals. We have some Google AdSense, but we’ve turned off the types of ads that would be inappropriate for a site like GeekDad (even though those usually pay the best). We have some Amazon ads, because everyone uses Amazon, and the affiliate program really works well for us; but we try hard to make sure what you see are products that would be of interest to geeky families. And we use Federated Media, which is a very responsible company with a great track record, who serves ads from some very high-profile folks. No trash there.

Content-wise, we obviously love gaming — tabletop and video. We feature a lot of Kickstarter projects because the most interesting new games are coming from other enthusiastic people trying to do it themselves. We also love to talk about the TV shows we’re watching, the gadgets we’re playing with, and the family issues that challenge us all.

But we’d love to hear from you, our longtime, loyal readers (and backers!). What’s working for you, what would you like to see more of (or less of)? Leave your thoughts in the comments, and let’s start a discussion about how we can keep GeekDad as part of your daily content consumption. Thanks!

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21 thoughts on “GeekDad Readers: How Are We Doing?

  1. I’ve been a follower for several months now and love the site! Obviously I’m a geekdad too and just really enjoy the content. I’ve found some things that would be fun for my kids and other things fun for myself. Thanks so much for hosting a site like this, and keep it up!

  2. I have been a loyal reader since the old site and followed you here. I prefer the new site/format/focus better and I visit daily. I love almost everything about your site. My favorites are Stack Overflow, movie and video game reviews for parents, and Geek Culture because it covers a huge range of Geeky things, especially Star Wars. The only thing I can think of that is lacking for me is a way to easily find topics related to children with ADHD, Autism, or Asperger’s (I know it’s not in the DSM anymore but its the best descriptor to use to make people understand). My son is a high-functioning Aspie and I’m always looking for things to share with him and ways to interact with him. There have been a few mentions in other articles but maybe a specific tag or topic could be useful for Moms like me to find them easily. Keep up the good work. (oh, and I will continue to use the Amazon in support of you all, I love visiting every day!)

    1. Michelle, thanks for your loyalty! And that’s a very interesting idea about the special needs content. Let us bat that around; it may make sense to make it a formal Category with a link on the side menu rather than just a searchable tag, but we’ll need someone to go back and search all the old content to find earlier pieces. We’ll check it out!

    2. Talk about being responsive to our readers! Michelle, your comment struck home with our writers. We have added the category “Health,” are working on collecting our old posts on health-related topics, and now have a selection on the left menu to find all those posts. We’ll be adding content to the category as we can dig it up, so check back in a few days!

      1. Wow, talk about customer service. There is a Health category, right there in the Big Index! Thank you so much, I can’t wait to start sifting through it. You Geek Dads sure are fast on the draw!

  3. Love the site, and glad to hear that things are going well from the legal/financial perspective.

    One point of criticism – sponsored content. I understand it’s a necessary evil to keep the site running, but from a UX perspective there is very little that differentiates it from “real” content. I’d like to see you do something that differentiates these stories visually from other content, so that it’s easier to know if a story is an ad or not.

    1. Jason, thanks for the comment and your readership! Yeah, sponsored content is tricky business. What you’ll see on our site are two kinds of sponsored content. The first is the kind that is directly contracted with us from the client – like the post on the Minecraft club last week. In those cases, posts are tagged with “Sponsored,” which shows up on the post on the front page (albeit at the bottom of the little tile). Second, there are some sponsored pieces by Federated Media that will drop into the “river” (the string of posts on the front page) usually in the second or third place, which are distinguishable because they’ll say the author is someone like Ford Motor Company or the like.

      Now, that’s not a great answer, visibility-wise. We are looking at doing some site redesign in the near future. One thing we’ve toyed with is some kind of way for posts with different categories to have specific visual cues. If we can pull such a thing off, this would be the perfect thing to do it for. The challenge for us, as always, is that we’re just a bunch of people doing this in our free time, usually after work or between tasks at home. But we’re ever trying to deliver a great experience, so bear with us and we’ll see what we can do!

  4. I’ve been a loyal reader for several years, and I’m happy to help support on patreon. I love the type of content provided from games to kickstarters to book and movie reviews. I agree with Jason regarding sponsored content. So far the sponsored content does not seem to mesh with the overall feel of the site. While it’s possible to geek out over cooking (see: Alton Brown), I haven’t been a fan of the segment so far.

    1. Hey, thanks a bunch Jeff! And yeah, the sponsored stuff isn’t always a perfect fit. On the one hand, like I mentioned, the Minecraft camps are a perfect partner. On the other, the appliance stuff was straining the connection a bit. But it really helped make some funding goals, so we tried to work it in as best we could 😉

  5. Hi Ken. Long time reader … long time! Keep up the great work!

    I’d love to see more Canadian-flavoured content (deals of the day, articles,etc.), if you guys can manage it. Speaking of which, is there a way you guys can be setup as an affiliate with amazon.ca? I buy stuff on the Cdn site frequently, so if there was way to be able to help you guys out, I’d be all in!

    From a content perspective, I’d love to see a running series on how other parents are using technology to help their kids with their education. Do they have education apps that they like and are working for their kids? Do they use their tech as an e-reading device to help their kids learn/advance their reading skills? Apps to help with 2nd language learning? Apps to help the parents (for example, my son is in french immersion, but I can barely manage bonjour – haha).

    Again – thanks to all the contributors and keep up the great work!

    1. Hey Barry, thanks so much!

      Good request! We do have a couple of CA contributors, and once in a while their content is even CA-specific. We’ll have to see if we can boost that a little! As for the Amazon.ca idea, very interesting! Not sure how we’d do that, as a US endeavor (endeavour?) but we’ll look into it.

      And that’s a great topic request. I’ll pass it around to our writers and see if anyone wants to tackle it as a series. Cheers!

  6. Hello, I’ve been on an off and on again user for a while finding links to here, but sometime last year I started using an RSS reader and you have been on it ever since. I don’t read all the articles, but do read most.

    I love your look into kickstarter projects, I think it really makes a difference and you guys do a great job of reviewing them.

    I always like your daily deals, its short succient, and on theme with what I believe what readers would be interested in.

    I don’t have a kid yet, but you guys have really got me thinking about what sort of things I would like to do once I am one.

    I can’t think of a thing to improve on, but love your movie reviews the most, I always have to use the restroom at a movie, and rely on your reviews to relieve myself 🙂

  7. aloha!

    long time reader, believer in the idea, patreon, etc..

    I’d like to see a few more articles on tabletop games that you can play with the family. What are good ones? which ones should be avoided? Can we sort/tag reviews by age bracket for easy finding? I have decent backlog of games I can play with my boys, but I’m always looking for new things to keep them interested.

    1. Hi, Danny! We’ve been talking about this idea. The tricky thing is that it’s actually quite difficult to give an age recommendation on many games. The printed age on games (at least in the US) often has as much to do with materials testing as the complexity or theme of the game, which is why you end up with games rated 12+ that a 5-year-old could play, or a 5+ game that’s too difficult for kids that age. And, of course, kids and adults vary greatly both in their experience level and, well, tastes. In a full review, I hope to give you an idea not just of whether *I* liked it, but whether *you* will like the game regardless of my own opinion.

      We’re considering adding some sort of “complexity” scale that will make it easier to search/sort our reviews for that sort of rating, but keep in mind that it’s nearly impossible to put an age rating on a game that will be universally accurate—or even accurate among the subset of the population that’s GeekDad readers.

  8. I love the content you guys put out there. I second Danny’s comment above about family tabletop gaming requests. I wouldn’t have heard of the Siblings Trouble if it wasn’t for GeekDad and that is going to be SO much fun with my three year old when it ships in the next month or two. I do have trouble finding a game that wouldn’t be a chore to play with my three year old. Your kickstarter choices are great.

    There is one slightly racy ad with a blonde girl that pops up on the right ad panel now and then that is distracting for me.

    I just recently got my first smart phone in the past six months. I’m feeling a little behind on a lot of the technology that many dads take as common sense. Some tips on basic technology for someone who feels a few years behind the times would be appreciated. I’m not sure what that would look like though.

    1. Hey Clint, thanks a bunch for your comments. If you see that ad again, drop us a line (contact@geekdad.com) and let us know who the advertiser is; that way we can specifically ask for it to be removed from the rotation. And basic tech how-tos sounds like a very good idea. We’ll pass it around to the team and see if someone wants to jump on it!

  9. I visit the site every day.

    My one complaint is about the ad-space you have at the top of the list of posts. When I click on the site the posts show up first, and then after a few seconds (as I’m reading the subject line) they all ‘bounce’ down the screen as the ad show up. This wouldn’t be too bad, except that it happens again and again every time after I click on the ‘continue reading’ button for the individual posts, and then go back to the main screen when I’m finished. So I click on a post, read the post, then go ‘back’ to the main page, and then I have to wait for the post teasers to stop bouncing around before I can look for the next thing I want to read. It’s not really a big deal, but I’ve taken to right clicking and using the ‘open link in new window’ option, and then when I’m finished reading the post I ‘x’ the new window, and the main page is still there, and *not moving*. 🙂 Of course, it could just be an issue with my machine.

    And is it just me, or does it seem like about half the gadgets you review seem to be speakers of some kind?

    🙂

  10. My only concern is that so many of the daily deals or other advertised products are for vaping supplies or other pseudo-tobacco products. Battling addiction is hard, but seeing these products on the same site that has content that parents will likely want to share with their children is kind of a mixed message.

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