'Friends of Blender Artists' Ads

Blender Artists mainly runs on ad revenue - we spend about EUR 500/month on hosting and other fees and these are covered by our ads, but only just. I see banners as a necessary evil and I’ve been thinking of ways to improve them. My main annoyance is that they’re often just stupid and irrelevant, so one of the things I’d like to try is to set up a ‘Blender ONLY’ ads system that will contain only Blender products and services and things like the Blender Add-ons, Blender Cloud, Dev Fund etc - nothing else.

A first experiment in this direction is the ‘Friends of Blender Artists’ block that I’ve added to the topic view:

This banner will be hidden for our Patreon supporters.

I’ll be measuring the performance of these ads for the next week and then balance it against the feedback I’m getting here to see if this is worth keeping. (To get your product added here, please send me a DM).

Other ideas in the pipeline are offering ‘value added’ services for supporters like a portfolio, access to the ‘Lounge’ forum and more. If you have other features you’d like to see here, please let us know!

To help me collect some data, please answer the following polls:

What is your first impression of these new ads?

  • I don’t see them as I use an ad-blocker.
  • I think they’re annoying.
  • I’m ok with them.

0 voters

How much would you be willing to donate monthly a to enjoy an ad-free website?

  • nothing
  • $1
  • $2.50
  • $5
  • More then $5

0 voters

Would you disable your adblocker on Blender Artists if we had ‘Blender ONLY’ advertising?

  • Yes
  • No

0 voters


I personally think this is a great idea - also - I don’t see any need to get rid of the existing adds. I don’t find them too intrusive, and they generally seam reasonably relevant.


Never realized there were ads on BA, just turned off my blocker.


the top banner is way too big !
I would suggest to find other ways or methods to finance the site
like corporate founding’s and a min size ads on forum pages

good luck
happy bl with no ads

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Just did some testing and I found that the new adds don’t work so well at narrow screen sizes. At 960 pix wide (half a 1080p screen) they appear over the text, and it vanishes when the screen is a bit narrower. Not sure how this will work on tablets, though, as are the rules just different for them?


To me, it’s really important:

  • The forum should be usable by anyone without restriction, even posting threads for their paid add-ons (it’s only a thread among others, most of the time it’s by active users, and they do the effort of posting, answering questions, obtaining feedbacks, making updates, etc… It’s the same service as any other thread)
  • Financial help should have some kind of reward. Ad-free forum is nice, but not crucial. Having access to “premium” areas is a good one, and being able to send custom ads to be displayed on BA is huge (and this is why simple ad threads shouldn’t be restricted). And it makes sense to make this feature non-free: it’s an additional service for money.

IMHO this is a nice idea as it might encourage people to not adblock the forum (but it shouldn’t be invasive or create any actual downside for the user), and most importantly, it will create a real interest in supporting financially BA.

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  • Would you be fine with paid features for professionals? Lets say we enable the ability to create portfolios for anyone, but you can choose to pay to have your portfolio display first for studios looking to hire - same goes the other way, studios can post jobs, but they can pay to pin them for a certain time.

  • Another question, would you be fine with paid cosmetics? Like a fancy profile picture, ability to add signature, direct access to a subscriber only category on the forum etc.

Personally i think we should have paid features. However, nothing that would take away from the average user.

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I do not have problems with Ads as long as they are not intrusive or very distracting. I had enabled Adblock a while back when annoying psychodelic banners appeared. But now I have it disabled for Blender Artists.
I also think that users who are regular helpers in the forum should be taken into account, and they should have an option to disable Ads if they would like to. After all, these users help to grow the forum by providing support for free.

I also think that users who are regular helpers in the forum should be taken into account, and they should have an option to disable Ads if they would like to.

Can BA afford this? I’m guessing the regulars (most of whom are quite helpful) account for a lot of the views.

Those users whose messages are frequently marked as helping to solve a problem, get a “Supporters” label. The problem is that users do not usually mark threads as solved, and there are many users that provide support that still have only “Member” label.

I guess liked posts would be a good metric.

Either way, I don’t mind seeing adds, if it helps Blender Artists. Even as a regular.

hi bart, perhaps a whole new category beneath ‘off topic’,
where each new topic contains the 3d/game artist’s banner ad auction bidding,
would be neat and exciting. You wouldn’t need an applet because each post could be a bid, in the topic which has a deadline.
provided it’s all time stamped correctly…

Apart from breaking on some screen sizes - I’m really liking these! I keep seeing things in the adds that look interesting, and clicking on them to see what they are. I think I can now put this next to Wetransfer as a website with genuinely interesting adds.

I would like to bring another point about ads. They can make your browser resource hungry and turn it into a battery eater pretty much. I am personally fine with subtle and light ads on this site. If I see it starts consuming more than my desired cpu/memory levels , I block it. That seems to be a fair reaction.

To me it sounds kind of like Artstation’s system.

Not sure I would ever use those anyway. But why not.

Well I can’t turn my adblocker off, it’s not in my browser, it’s network wide via DNS, and this connection to the ass end of the internet is shared with other users:

Our router does not even get a public facing IP. In fact it is a good number of hops to the outside world. It really makes certain services a pain, as we have to rely on UPnP to escape since we cannot just open a port at will…

I do see the ads if I use a VPN though (as long as it’s not also blocking via DNS).

I really like this idea of “Friends of BA.” Again in my case, locally hosted ads are never blocked, and they are for things directly relevant to Blender users. Excellent.

My only suggestion would be to better adapt them to different screen layouts. I only ever browse this site on a workstation with a wide screen area, so instead of placing it above the timeline, it would be better placed in the spaces to the sides that are always blank wasted space. In fact you can place one on each side:

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For me I cant even read the posts because it covers part of it - NO GOOD for me


Use the Wikipedia strategy.
You know what you need in term of money; if you ran out, suspend the service until people contribute enough to go on.
A big yellow banner with “Temporary Unavailable”
And a donate button just below it.
So simple, so neat.

perhaps one of the top row slots could be sacrificed for daily or weekly artist/game dev promo auction, which would link to whatever they want… forum topic, product amazon page, etc.