Regarding the new advertising

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Regarding the new advertising

Postby imslp » Wed Jul 09, 2008 3:15 am

I've already been taking a lot of flak from Peter and Leonard ;) about this a few minutes after I uploaded the "feature", but I'll explain it in more detail here to everyone.

I used to hate ads with a passion, and it is no mistake or coincidence that the old IMSLP site was completely ad-free. Unfortunately, I now have something that I hate even more than ads: lawyers' bills. As much as I like to wish I will never see one in my life, I already have.

If I have learned one thing in the 9 months IMSLP was offline, it is that there are still many things in this world that do not like to be free, and one of them is a lawyer's time. This is not a criticism of all lawyers or even lawyers in general; they obviously need food and shelter like the rest of us, and I'm very grateful for the support I got pro bono. Rather, it is more a statement of fact, that even the fight for freedom is not free.

Before someone accuses me of trying to make money from the wonderful work of IMSLP contributors, permit me to explain. I have spent nearly $2,000 so far on IMSLP-related expenses (mostly server bills), and I have not seen a single penny in return. But that's not what I care about. That's not what drives me to sit in this chair and program for hours and hours on end. That's not what drives me to face the legal threats from century-old corporations instead of running. What drives me is the same as what drives all IMSLP contributors: the love of music, and the belief that music makes the world a better place.

Indeed, two other IMSLP contributors have contributed a total of $6,000 towards the legal costs associated with the reopening of IMSLP, without which IMSLP would certainly not be here now. But unfortunately none of us are millionares; as much as we would like to, we are unable to continuously support IMSLP with the amount needed. So we were confronted with what was essentially two choices: 1) to have IMSLP ad-free and also inaccessible to the rest of the world, and 2) to have IMSLP ad-supported but accessible to the rest of the world. Unfortunately, the donations are not enough at this point to cover all the costs, or I would not be writing this post.

Such are the reasons why I begrudgingly turned to advertising. But I'm not going to tell people to buy more CDs... being a salesman never suited me, nor do I want it to. Instead, as with everything else, use your own judgment in any purchase you make; after all, it is your money. The advertising on IMSLP is designed to be a "feature" that may be of use from time to time, and not a way to coerce people into spending more money.

* * *

In exchange, I will promise two things.

First, I will work more on the backup system, so that IMSLP contributors have more control of their own work. I will also pursue mirroring/backup arrangements with other institutions more aggressively, so that there is an alternative if something should happen to IMSLP, or if people do not believe me an adequate leader.

Second, we are already in the preliminary stages of exploring the incorporation of a full-fledged non-profit organization. I hope all doubts will be put to rest when IMSLP is turned over to the non-profit organization.

* * *

I will also make the following offer:

If any person or organization is willing to indemnify IMSLP against all copyright-related legal costs as long as IMSLP follows a specific set of rules (i.e. what IMSLP follows right now), I will remove all advertising from the site.

* * *

I understand that trust is not built in a day, and I do not ask that you trust us a few hours after we have put up advertising that has understandably made some people uncomfortable. Instead, we will let our future actions speak for themselves: we are confident, because the only motive that propels us in the administration of IMSLP is our love of music.

And I want to thank again all the IMSLP contributors who have dedicated their time, and shown themselves to be among some of the most dedicated music lovers in this world. I trust that the current incident is a misunderstanding that will resolve with time, because regardless of everything, our goals are the same.

Yours,
Edward (Feldmahler)

Edit: Removed a sentence as per contract with Amazon.
Last edited by imslp on Fri Jul 11, 2008 10:36 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby aldona » Wed Jul 09, 2008 9:22 am

My initial reaction:

It's actually quite exciting opening up the page for an obscure, hard-to-find work and finding a link to some available recordings.

I've had a look at a few random Schubert-Lieder pages and even for the most unknown ones, it has managed to find the appropriate Hyperion and/or Naxos recording.

I don't see how it can be a bad thing to direct people to where they can find recordings of the music score they are about to view (or have just viewed).

The link could be modified so that the price is not displayed, if this seems too mercenary.

Aldona
“all great composers wrote music that could be described as ‘heavenly’; but others have to take you there. In Schubert’s music you hear the very first notes, and you know that you’re there already.” - Steven Isserlis
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Postby Peter » Wed Jul 09, 2008 9:42 am

well nice to hear that!
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Postby Yagan Kiely » Wed Jul 09, 2008 11:00 am

if people do not believe me an adequate leader.
Apologies, but that is funny! It is my personal opinion (not as an admin here) that anyone who believes you not adequate does not deserve access to IMSLP. :P

My initial reaction:

It's actually quite exciting opening up the page for an obscure, hard-to-find work and finding a link to some available recordings.

I've had a look at a few random Schubert-Lieder pages and even for the most unknown ones, it has managed to find the appropriate Hyperion and/or Naxos recording.

I don't see how it can be a bad thing to direct people to where they can find recordings of the music score they are about to view (or have just viewed).
My point of view also. These adverts (as opposed to google-like adverts) are actually more helpful than negative. Amazon is a lot cheaper here in Perth Australia than anywhere else.
Last edited by Yagan Kiely on Wed Jul 09, 2008 2:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Peter » Wed Jul 09, 2008 11:28 am

Yagan Kiely wrote: It is my personal opinion (not as an admin here) that anyone who believes you not adequate does not deserve access to IMSLP.

Wow. I strongly disagree. That would be extremely oppressive and authoritarian, and imo does not fit with IMSLP principles .
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Postby Lyle Neff » Wed Jul 09, 2008 11:32 am

Thanks for the explanation, Edward.

But, as long as this feature needs to be included, there would seem to be also a need in the background to normalize spellings that are supposed to call up Amazon links (which I asked about in vain on another thread).
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Postby emeraldimp » Wed Jul 09, 2008 1:42 pm

Out of curiosity, would it be possible to (slightly) set the adverts apart in some way, ie a different background color or suchlike? That way I know they're there when I want them, but I won't read the introductory text every time (because otherwise I will... can't seem to help it!).
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Postby Generoso » Wed Jul 09, 2008 1:57 pm

At first I didn't know what was happening with these ads. But as the day went on the ads made more sense as they were updated and more info was written about what they were. Thanks!

If i were to buy a recording of one of these pieces I would gladly have 10% of it go to IMSLP! Already I have many CD's at home but who knows I just might see something there that catches my eye.

I agree with perhaps having a change of color for the Ad section.

I must say that this site is becoming greater all the time!! Lets not loose it.
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Postby Yagan Kiely » Wed Jul 09, 2008 2:10 pm

Wow. I strongly disagree. That would be extremely oppressive and authoritarian, and imo does not fit with IMSLP principles .
I know I was joking an highlighting how good feldmahler has been. Don't worry. :P
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Ads

Postby homerdundas » Wed Jul 09, 2008 3:34 pm

Edward has made such an eloquent explanation for this, it seems uncharitable to post a criticism -- but here goes...

Though the format has been kept simple, these adds are still 'in your face'. In addition, the people here are looking for sheet music, not recordings - that may or may not be a secondary interest.

Quite a while back I posted on the subject of commercial participation in this site. I suggested we have such links on a separate page (http://imslpforums.org/viewtopic.php?t=715). Perhaps we can have simply an inviting banner on each work page directing the user to the links page - which would have, of course, the 10% donation items at the head of the list.


Homer.
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Postby noise » Wed Jul 09, 2008 8:02 pm

Though it would of course be ideal for there to be no ads on the site, they seem to me to be a reasonable way to ensure the continued existence of this remarkable resource. I think that rather than changing the color, however, it would be better (if possible; I have no familiarity with the ins and outs of wiki software) to move the ads to a sidebar or corner on the right, so that the main site content starts at the top of the page. Just an idea.

In any event, I for one have nothing but respect for feldmahler for the willingness to make a hard choice in order to maintain this site, a truly indispensible resource for the musical community.
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Postby imslp » Wed Jul 09, 2008 8:24 pm

Homer: Well, the problem is that people are lazy, and I am one of the worst offenders. The problems with having a link to another page are 1) people may not notice it at all, and 2) even if people do notice it, they would be too lazy to click on it since they will not think there is anything significant there. Like Aldona, I have actually been pleasantly surprised with the results of some of the searches, though I would certainly not have initiated such a search on my own, or even clicked a link for that purpose.

Noise: Well, one of the reasons I put the recording section second is precisely that the main site content starts at the top. But perhaps you meant something else?
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Postby Carolus » Wed Jul 09, 2008 10:06 pm

I've been very impressed with some of the search results as well. It's really nice to click on an artist link in the IMSLP "ad" and be taken to a hitlist over at Amazon of all of the CDs featuring that artist available on their site. It certainly worked wonderfully when I clicked on the link for Mstislav Rostropovich. It might be a good idea to include a "composers" column now that "prices" is gone. That way, if there are multiple composers on a single CD you can get links to generate a hitlist of a given composer's works (besides the one already covered on the work page, obviously) along with the artist links.
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Postby pml » Wed Jul 09, 2008 10:42 pm

For what it's worth, I too have been impressed with this clever implementation; although imperfect, the fact that it finds quite relevant recordings to match works is very helpful, for those who have an interest. For really unusual repertoire it's actually quite useful to be made aware of recordings that may have otherwise gone unnoticed; I can live with referrals to amazon for more bread-and-butter type works.

To address Feldmahler's concerns, however, which in short were that while he dislikes advertising on principle, he also dislikes lawyers' bills: well, with him I'm in complete agreement as to which of these is the lesser evil. The proposal to make a foundation for the support and running of IMSLP is also a worthy goal for the long-term.

Regards, Philip
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Postby ras1 » Fri Jul 11, 2008 10:19 pm

This probably isn't possible since it would almost certainly be Amazon's choice, but I don't suppose there's a way to let people know, after they leave the site, that 10% of the money will go to IMSLP? When I follow the link and purchase something (which I just did - $4 should be coming your way), it doesn't say anything about IMSLP - it's just a normal Amazon window. Is there a way to have a box appear in the Amazon window that says that it is linked from IMSLP? I think I've seen things like that before.

It would just be some reassurance for me, because I'll be more willing to buy things from Amazon now through the link, even if they're slightly more expensive than elsewhere.
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