River Levels

Support this website

This website is totally free to use, and has no external source of funding. To make that work financially, the site is advertising supported. I've tried to keep the advertising reasonably unobtrusive, with just Google Adsense in the primary sections of the pages and sponsored links underneath the comments. However, this does limit the potential income somewhat and means that development of the site is on something of a shoestring.

In particular, advertising income has generally been on a downward trend over the past few years. This isn't because more people are using adblockers, and it isn't because fewer people are visiting the site. Visitor numbers are up, and so are advertising views. But the total revenue from those adverts is down.

There are all sorts of possible reasons for that, and it's likely that there are several factors involved. But what it basically comes down to is that advertisers are spending less on advertising (or, at least, less on this type of advertising), so our share of what the advertising networks get is correspondingly smaller as well.

One way to solve that would simply be to put even more advertising on the website. More adverts equals more money, it's as simple as that.

But I'm reluctant to go down that route, for several reasons. One is that it ends up in a kind of arms race, where ever more intrusive adverts encourage more and more people to install adblockers, thus nullifying the gains. But, also, I'm well aware that the most lucrative forms of advertising are the ones that people hate the most.

Most people accept that something which is free to use will need some form of income, so they also accept that advertising is a part of that. It works for free-to-air TV channels such as ITV and Channel 4, it works for local free newspapers and it works for websites.

What people don't accept, though, is where the adverts become so intrusive and disruptive that they make it hard to view the content. Just scrolling past an advert on the screen, or clicking through an interstitial, is trivial. But experience shows that people really hate adverts which autoplay audio or video, or which appear in the middle of viewing the page, or cause the content to reflow after the page has loaded.

Unfortunately, audio and video adverts are where the advertising money is mostly going these days. Simple text and image based adverts, which is what we've primarily stuck with, are going out of favour.

The company which operates this website is a small, family owned and family run business. We're not part of a big corporation, and we get no government or external funding.

A long term solution that we're looking into is creating a subscription model which will give advert-free access to the site in return for a small monthly or annual payment.

Just to reiterate: the content on this website (and every other website in our portfolio) will always be free to view and free to share. When I set up the business, I was determined to prove that it isn't necessary to adopt a restrictive approach to web publishing, that a commitment to open source and open data works for providers as well as consumers. That hasn't changed. A subscription model will simply give an alternative to viewing adverts.

But in the meantime, we do still need to increase our revenue for the site to remain viable.

If you would like to suport the site more directly, you can do so by making a donation using the Paypal button on this page.

Many thanks for taking the time to read and respond to this.

Mark Goodge

Founder, RiverLevels.UK

(Picture taken in front of a flood level indicator in Evesham Worcestershire)

RiverLevels.uk is an independent website. It is not associated with the Environment Agency or any other supplier of river level information. All data used on this site is supplied under licence. For queries about the data, please contact the underlying supplier.

RiverLevels.uk is a Good Stuff website.