How We Make Money at Stack Overflow: 2016 Edition

I’m Nick Craver, and you may remember me from my posts about how Stack Overflow does deployment, how we do hardware, and how we built our architecture.

What I haven’t explained yet, and what remains a mystery to most developers I meet, is how we make money. I want to do this now not only to answer this frequently asked question, but because it’s my and Stack Overflow’s belief that being relentlessly open and honest with our community can be nothing but good. That extends to normally sticky situations like finances, and it’s why we’ve created projects like the Stack Overflow Salary Calculator to make our salary processes transparent.

Why We Make Money

For a little more context on the timing of this post: I’m the architecture lead for Stack Overflow, and I’m writing this just after our annual company meetup. Our meetup is an awesome time for remote employees like me because I get to see people I’ve never met in person before and discuss ideas. Endlessly.

Stack Overflow Meetup 2016

It’s also a great reminder of why we do what we do and how we go farther when we work together. I’m coming up on 6 years of my life spent building what I consider to be the best resource developers have ever had. I love making it better, every day. But I don’t build these things alone. I am insanely lucky to work with some of the best developers, sysadmins, designers, managers, marketers, sales, and all of the people who support that in the world. I don’t build Stack Overflow. We build Stack Overflow.

Stack Overflow Meetup 2016

I spent countless hours last week talking with many of these people, some of whom I’ve never spoken to before, about how we grow as a company. Much more importantly, we’re figuring out how to do it while being, for lack of a better word, honorable. I have high standards for how we behave, and I hope that’s reflected in what you think of Stack Overflow. I am extremely protective of our users. You can ask anyone who works here. It’s is my very strong belief that we have a built up a trust with the community that is not easily earned and is impossible to replace. I want to work for a company that respects that trust, and I do.

Stack Overflow Meetup 2016

While this is a shared, company-wide belief, historically we’ve heard concerns about how we can both respect users and make money, or that the money is just this thing we do for our VCs or because we want to keep the lights on. We want to squash that perception. Sure, money is required for sustainability. But we’re here fundamentally to help users, and we exist because you decide to let us exist. That’s why we’ve structured our monetization into a cycle that continuously improves the community, and doesn’t treat our product processes like some sort of resource extraction. How much money we make is a direct proxy for how much we are helping our users. We focus on maximizing how we help users in order to make a great business. Very few companies have done this successfully, and we take great pride in the fact that we’re one of them.

How We Make Money

Stack Overflow Talent & Stack Overflow Jobs

We help companies build their brand and source technical talent through our business products: Display Ads and Talent. These services in turn help developers find better jobs and also learn about companies in a way that is respectful to the user experience (no spammy inmail, no flash ads, etc.). We consider the developer experience in everything we do, which is what makes everything we sell as a company unique.

It’s a lot like questions and answers. Companies are asking for developers, and we need experts to answer the call. In order for this to work, we need people on both sides of the equation. The more companies and developers we have, the better and faster the matching we can do with developers and hopefully their dream jobs. For companies, we aim to match them with a handful of candidates that are an awesome match, not 500 candidates that barely match at all. This is where we can provide value. We want to optimize things. We don’t want to waste your time or a company’s time – there’s so much inefficiency here we aim to improve with the whole hiring process.

Stack Overflow Jobs

Our position is relatively unique because we can help both companies and developers at the same time. That’s not bullshit. I believe we can do this. I believe we can be better at it than anyone else. We’re already placing thousands of candidates in thousands of jobs, but there are many more thousands of jobs waiting for the right candidates right now. One step of improving that is our Developer Story. I helped build this because I think it’s an awesome way we can improve life over resumes and CVs. It helps developers show off who they are, the things they do, and (I hope) in an approachable way that’s maintainable. It also lets you find a job. If you’re looking, or even just curious, the more complete your Developer Story is, the better chance we have of matching you to the right jobs.

Developer Story vs. Resumes

If you have no interest in either, that’s perfectly okay too. While we’d love to help match you to a perfect company, we built both Jobs and Developer Story to support our core mission of serving ALL developers, including those of you who just don’t care about job searching right now. We’re working to change how companies treat developers not only through the standards built into Jobs (e.g. no spamming allowed), but also through our Developer Hiring Blog, which we created for the express purpose of improving employer and recruiter practices. And with Developer Story, we want to change the perception that developers are only as good as their last gig or a title. Developers are creators with stories to tell, whether that’s through code or blog posts they’ve written or individual teams they’ve served on or even what they’re reading right now. These products weren’t just launched to hit a bottom line; they were built to shift paradigms.

Stack Overflow Ads

We’re a major website, and our ads solution is a major player in how we survive. But we don’t want you to click on something you don’t care about. We want to give you something you want.

Our goal is to give you something as relevant as humanly possible, and when that fails we’re trying to give you something as relevant as this sentient computer over here thinks is possible. I’m not sure if giving it feelings was a good idea, but we’ll see. Anyway, we’re constantly working on it. It’s our job to make the ads we need to survive also be as relevant to you as possible. We have brilliant people working on this, and a large part of it is all after an overall goal: understanding developers, so that we can serve you better.

(So, how do we feel about ad blockers? We don’t care, and here’s why.)

What are we doing with ads now? In short, we’re not adding more ads; we’re just improving what we have. We have a little more smarts about what technologies you, as a developer, like than most places do. We want to see what we can apply there to make ads always more relevant. It’ll take a little longer, but we also want to make ads load faster as well – that’s a bigger project.

What we’re not doing is lowering the quality of our ads. Did you know we have a lot of unpaid inventory on Stack Overflow every month? Every time we display a “house ad” (which is what we call an ad for another site on the network) or a “community ad” (voted on by the community), we could display a paid ad. But we don’t. We don’t because if we don’t have anything even remotely good to show you, we shouldn’t.

And we don’t want to use an automated system that selects some ads for us. We looked at this. It didn’t allow us the control we required to maintain the level of quality we want to maintain. We have intentionally left a lot of money on the table. Sacrificing quality is not what we want to be known for. We believe there are better ways.

It’s important to know that the rejection of ads we could be selling came from our ad sales team. These are the people actually making money from selling ads. And they rejected the idea because they care more about what we’re doing and what you think of us than earning more money for ourselves. Do you have any idea how fucking rare that is? Our Talent sales team that faces employers behaves the same way. All of these people care about something bigger than themselves, and that’s why I love working at this company.

We have a few ads that are loading slowly (thanks for the reports, meta users!). We’re tracking down the advertisers and figuring that out, helping where we can. That’s a complicated one due to how many people are involved, but we’re on it. Samo and I will be adding timing information to our sampling profiles for these items, so we can keep an eye on them in the future and alert on issues automatically. We believe ads that load slowly or are expensive diminish the user experience. Performance is a feature and anything on the page matters to us.

I’m working with our ad sales team to ensure starting in January 2017, all of our advertisements will be HTTPS compatible. This is mostly the case today, but not guaranteed, and in the future we’ll enforce this. I don’t want them to be a blocker for anything. We’re about to move all Imgur images to https://, and enforce it. I’m also about to move all site logos and icons to https://. We’re working on that huge project… but that’s another (very long) post.

Enterprise

We’re going to spend more time developing Stack Overflow Enterprise. It’s starting to gather steam, and it’s another way we can help developers behind company firewalls and our company at the same time. We have a few full-time people on this to make it happen. Enterprise environments are somewhat unique and need some specific love.

But, Enterprise is the same code base as stackoverflow.com. It’s the exact same git branch. And sometimes features for Enterprise are features for public Stack Overflow. For example, we’re looking at building a simple image proxy needed for HTTPS that’s just useful as an inside-the-firewall image host on Enterprise. Those client timings I mentioned earlier? Those will help us gauge bandwidth required for this adventure. It’s one big picture we’re building.

Trust

Making money at a company our size requires great marketing.

But two years ago, I didn’t trust our marketing team. Why? Because it was brand new and I didn’t know them. I knew of other marketers and I had bad experiences. So my default assumption was roughly “all marketers are bad and want to abuse user trust for quick wins”. But it turns out that’s not true. Not here. I had to work with our team on several projects to overcome that prejudice and realize something simple: we hired some awesome marketers and they care about the same stuff I care about. Especially to Kaitlin, thanks. Our new team has put up with a lot of pushback and not fought about it. They showed us why these things are a good idea, and they convinced the smartest people I know on so many things.

All of our teams know that the Stack Overflow community and its trust is the most precious resource we have. We want to communicate, not alienate. And only with users we think we can help. Yes, if we’re doing it right, sometimes these things will help us as a company too. I don’t see that as a bad thing. If we can grow the company, we can build more awesome things for the world. I have so many, so many things I want to build for you. Ask me about sticking Stack Overflow in a 2U server in Europe, Asia and South America to beat the speed of light sometime.

I saw a presentation from Adrianna (our relatively new CMO) that blew me away. I hadn’t actually met her before her talk at the meetup, but it was a hell of a first impression. They have some awesome things in the works to help us with a unified brand. While watching her present, there was a lot of “why the hell didn’t we do that four years ago?” going through my mind.

Engineering, Sales, and Marketing at Stack Overflow

Marketing, like development, is mostly about connecting the dots. I have gone from dreading interactions with “the marketers” to looking forward to them. We’ve got smart, well-intentioned people who can really help everyone involved. I’m actually psyched now.

Mini Case Study in How We Build Trust: Email

Trusting each other and sharing values related to how we make money directly connects to how we build internal tools. Here’s the most recent example I can think of how trust is a required feature in all our products:

So that Architecture team I run? We’re the team that coded a new email system to communicate with our users in a consistent way (with a lot of help). Why am I saying this? Because I personally went from 100% opposed to ever building such a thing to being onboard… if we did it right. By the way, it’s just me and Samo Prelog. “Team” is a pretty strong word. It’s kind of lying at that level. Should we call it a pair? We’re really just two developers forming a miniature Justice League. …anyway, email.

What’s the first thing I specced? Opt outs. That’s the very first thing we built. That’s absolutely the most important feature to us. One-click unsubscribes and a landing page for that where you can opt out of everything was non-negotiable. It’s priority #1. I’m a developer who deleted their LinkedIn account over spam years ago. If you don’t want to hear from us again, that’s just fine. I’m sorry if we bothered you in the first place and appreciate any understanding of where we’re coming from. One of my biggest apprehensions is annoying our community. Worrying about that keeps me up at night.

We are in the process of sending out an email now announcing Developer Story to the larger community in the hopes that we can help some percentage of developers. If that email is rejected, we’ll unsubscribe you. If you’re unresponsive to emails we send, we’ll unsubscribe you. If you mark it as spam, we’ll unsubscribe you. We want to be a good citizen here. Every new email, except for transactional emails like “Forgot your password?”, sent through this system will have three links at the bottom: a one-click unsubscribe, a direct link to manage all categories, and feedback.

One of the reasons we built this system the way we did (which required a lot more effort) is that if a given provider didn’t work out (we’re using SendGrid right now, so far so good!), we could be damn sure that your opt outs were carried over. We didn’t want to risk annoying users who clearly tell us they’re not interested.

While we only have one category at the moment (“New Features”), we plan on adding more. But, I’m not talking about adding new email in that. We want to move all of the existing emails like community newsletters (a completely opt-in thing, if you’ve never seen them) over to this new system so you can manage it all in a very simple way, with a one-click unsubscribe we know works. Our email preferences page is, to be blunt, a total disaster.

This is an old artifact of growing from one site to many and it needs love. We have people working on that right now. One of our designers, Donna, is working hard to tremendously simplify this. There’s a lot of backend changes needed to support that unification and simplification. We hope to have one email address for a user and a single place you can manage all email that ever comes from Stack Overflow. If you are annoyed, it must take (at most) one to two clicks to unsubscribe from everything.

All communication and interaction has to reflect our respect for you. If it doesn’t, we have failed you, and we have failed ourselves. Our mission is to improve life for developers. When I lose sleep, it’s often over worrying about this. We have to deserve your trust; we have earn it.

If we add new categories of emails later (not just categorizing something we send today), existing users will not be opted in. Only new users will get defaults. We don’t want to be “that site.” I mean it. We intentionally designed the table schema around this.

If you read our Developer Story email and don’t want one, that’s absolutely fine. I hope Stack Overflow serves you in other ways, and I appreciate your time. I hope other things like Documentation and ongoing Q&A improvements help make your life easier. It really is why we’re here. It’s why I’m here.

How We Think About What’s Next

There are so many things in my head right now. I want to put a time series database in SQL Server in a Clustered Columnstore. I want to test an idea we came up with at midnight to improve consumption of developer news. I want to build several data connections that are almost there for our internal teams to save them time. I want to do a thousand things.

I’m also excited. I’m excited about the future of Documentation. I’m excited about Developer Stories. I’m revving to go. I want to get the money part of being a company out of the way so we can build all the useful things our communities want and need. I know we can do that, and in a good way for everyone. I hope you agree. I hope my ramblings helped out what it’s like at Stack Overflow, at least a little, at least for me. If we don’t agree, that’s just fine. If you have time though, I’d appreciate if you told me why in the comments so I/we can do better.

Thanks for listening.

Author

Nick Craver
Architecture Lead
Nick is a developer and SRE on the Core and Site Reliability Engineering teams at Stack Overflow. Nick's passion is performance and efficiency through the entire stack. He does in-depth talks on infrastructure and code approaches used at Stack Overflow, including the story and reasoning behind them.

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Comments

  • Paul Johnston

    Interesting post. While I have the ear of an SE insider, can I ask about progress on this? http://meta.stackexchange.com/questions/238420/prevent-questions-on-hot-list-from-being-upvoted-by-casual-visitors-only-rep-is

    TL;DR: Hot network questions causes a large number of votes on mediocre answers, which skews the rep system. The meta post suggests a simple fix which has wide community support. Please implement this.

    • I passed it to the specific team. I don’t recall discussing this specifically, but I can tell you technically, the solutions are non-trivial. We don’t keep a “in site” rep counter going, so the “simple fix” is actually relatively complicated. You’d have to, on every upvote, check the reputation *history* of a user, rather than comparing a simple number.

      So while I agree it’s a problem, I’m not sold on the solution. I pinged the Q&A team to take a look though and we’ll see what we can come up with, including making the proposed solution cheap in some way.

      • If we do end up with a cheap way to look up on-site rep out of this, we could potentially fix the issue with protected questions and bounties as well, which wouldn’t be a bad thing at all. (The issue being that someone could bounty away their rep, and mess up the “not counting the association bonus, do you have > 10 rep” check we currently do.)

      • Paul Johnston

        Thanks for passing it on! I figured as you already do the check for answering protected questions that it’s possible. I guess upvotes happen a lot more often, so you need a cheaper way of checking. Hope you can figure something out. It’s really annoying to work hard to get rep on specialist questions, then get a ton of it for some mediocre answer on a HNQ.

  • Tyler Hibbard

    One potential (albeit modest) revenue stream still sorely missing; tee shirts / branded swag. Mostly just tee shirts.

    Please.

    • We want this as employees too, granted we’re a little biased. We had a store before and it just wasn’t worth the effort to maintain it, but maybe we’re at a scale now where it makes sense again.

      Alexa is taking a look now. I’d love for this to come back. If users want it too, that’d be awesome to hear loud and clear. That’s the “is this worth doing?” bar we’re always looking at for anything.

      • Tyler Hibbard

        I can guarantee at least two purchase items from me if they were offered; t shirt and hoodie, I’m beyond sure a coffee mug would be popular among programmers, too. I know doing anything to scale, especially with physical merchandise, comes with costs, but at this stage in the network’s popularity I think it would be well worth it, even if you stuck with tees only at a local print screening shop.

        • Leo the lion

          Count me in.. Even i mailed them where can i buy t shirt or hoodie but no option available. And trying hard to get 100k.

      • TravisJ

        I have several SO shirts from contributing, and only two days ago at the store I had someone stop me and say “I wouldn’t have a job if it weren’t for Stack Overflow”. Good for you, I said. Aside from the implicit point that popularity does exist to drive demand, it was just nice to connect briefly with someone from the SO community in a day-to-day activity. Moreover, merchandising in general has been a very successful way of both including fans and driving profit historically.

      • chain

        Not sure what your old shop was like but I wonder if “achievement” apparel (e.g. reach > 1 million) would work? That way users could show off their hard earned contributions to the site.

      • Magisch

        I would buy the hell out of a Stack branded Tshirt, or mug. Or anything with Stack brand that I could get hands on.

  • petervk

    Nice article 🙂 “If you mark it as spam, we’ll unsubscribe you”…out of curiosity: how would you know that users mark your emails as spam?

    • When you mark an email as spam, most providers will send along a message to the sender letting them know this has happened. In the SendGrid case, this ultimately comes back to us in the form of a webhook, which we’re recording. In an automated task, we’ll remove accounts with that event from that email category, no questions asked. We plan to do the same with users who aren’t opening their emails (“non-engagement”). If you don’t care about it, it’s noise, and we don’t want to be noise. We’ll auto-unsubscribe you. We simply need a little more data (from a few emails), before we can confidently build that query to remove people – just part of the build-out process with any system, but it’s coming and not hard to do soon as we have some real data to query on. We’re watching the current data very closely.

      • Chris G

        This might be the rare case, I have a handful of subscriptions to newsletters, I rarely read them as most of the subjects aren’t interesting, but I don’t unsubscribe because every now and then there are articles that interest me (maybe once every three months). Because of this, I rather not get unsubscribed simply because I don’t open the mail.

      • Arlie

        1) I’m currently using mutt to handle my non-work email. It’s far more convenient for posting to open source mailing lists. But I bet it doesn’t send back notifications of what I read. And if I find it does, I’d be inclined to disable that on privacy grounds.

        I also run my own email server. And I’m reasonably sure that when I feed someone’s emails into spamassassin’s “spam” category, this doesn’t result in feedback to the message originator – who like as not isn’t the real sender anyway.

        2) Why on earth can’t I reply here using my stack exchange credentials?

        3) Everything I read from you folks makes me want to apply for a job with you. But somehow I suspect you have no use for an operating systems specialist. *sigh*

  • I had no idea a fellow Slovenian is on the team, gotta give Samo a call and share a few stories over a lunch 🙂

    Good writeup, and love the no-compromise approach to quality – stay awesome!

  • Monica Cellio

    Often when I read SE email I don’t click through right then from the email, but rather I navigate to whatever it was about later on my own. It sounds like this could get interpreted by your system as non-interest (because, short of logging the email referrer, how would you know I saw the email?). Please consider sending one of those “it looks like you’re not interested so we’ll unsubscribe you unless you tell us otherwise (click here)” messages, so passive consumers of your email can continue to get email if they want to.

    Bothering people who don’t want to be bothered is very bad, but deciding people aren’t interested can be a little tricky.

  • Robert Sterbal

    I would like you recommend solutions to the many problems that your model doesn’t answer well. Build up a wiki with well developed pages to direct people to other sites you trust.

  • Robert Sterbal

    You could post your RSS feeds in your emails and next to the feed link a link to some curated information about RSS feeds and how people use them in addition to and in place of your newsletter.

  • Ray

    You’ve got to have a ton of data on users and companies by now. What type(s) of AI / ML are you using to to improve the quality of your matches?

    BTW, why don’t you allow logging into this blog for discussion with my Stackoverflow account credentials?

    • For better, or worse, Disqus really is one of the better options for blog comments… they take care of a lot of filtering of spam that would be difficult with SO/SE credentials. Their sampling is simply much larger.

      I agree it would be nice, but doesn’t put me off at all.

  • Kris Hansen

    Great work, I really appreciate your platform – it has saved me hours of pain by helping to understand potential troubleshooting options when facing the arcane and the bizarre. Consider an IDE API that allows the ingestion and analysis of errors with typical troubleshooting steps and options; license this API to software firms, profit and repeat. Mapping errors and problems to solutions and suggestions is something that natural language processing and machine learning could also help with and then delivering this succinctly as a RESTful API would be useful.

    • If I recall, someone’s built a Visual Studio extension for searching SO using our existing API. Not quite what you’re talking about, I think, but one can get pretty close.

      • Kris Hansen

        I agree that opening up the existing platform with the API is an important step and this looks great. What I was referring to would also use an API to allow IDEs to integrate but with additional authority on the mapping between problem and solution (and more brevity) could become the authoritative source for the mapping between problems and solutions. The data for the questions and answers can be transformed into a more authoritative (and succinct) source of answers that would be more consumable as an answers-API.

  • Christopher Lee

    What y’all have built is a solid employment platform far surpassing LinkedIN. Stack Overflow has helped me develop as a developer (punny) in more ways than I could have imagined. Thanks a lot you guys <3

  • Pascal Aschwanden

    I’ve gotten a lot of tech problems solved on Stack overflow. I really feel like it improves people’s productivity. Another plus, is that the Ads seem to be well targeted, not random, like other sites.

  • toobulkeh

    Solid transparency. Your team’s success is no accident.

  • Natasha Baker

    Excellent product, ethos, and community. While building the first prototype of our website SnapEDA, I basically lived on SO. As an inexperienced coder, having the ability to ask a question and instantly have answers was (I am sure) the driver in getting the site off the ground. The community is so stellar that some even helped one-on-one to debug complex esoteric problems. In one case someone who helped has become a friend in the real world. Cannot say enough good things about SO! Thanks for such a great resource and keep up the good work. 😊

  • Douglas

    Nice photos. Great to see so many women on the team. But wait, everyone appears to be under 35! Is this true? Where are your mature developers? What happens at SO on someone’s 35th birthday?

    • Kaitlin

      You’ve seen Logan’s Run, right?

      To seriously answer your question: I count a few over 35 year olds in those photos. Source: I know these folks and their ages. 🙂

      • sklivvz

        See, we need to post picture of myself so we can show off our experience and aged wisdom… No wait, I don’t believe myself either

      • Douglas

        @disqus_JFRPqvUnWk:disqus, I think you miss my point. Where are your 50+ and 60+ engineers? If I stand up at my desk (an embedded SW house), about a third of the engineers I see are in their 50s and 60s. This is not just “a few”.

        • Tyler Hibbard

          Why do they have to have 50+ and 60+ year-old employees? If they have some, great. If not, that’s OK too.

  • Kuba Ober

    I’d love it if you considered email for what it is: for **interpersonal** communications. SO isn’t a person. It’s a site. You already have a channel to speak to your users. Leave their inboxes alone. Email isn’t a channel to win users over, to get them to give you more eye time. You don’t need to send out any email from SO. Even the password resets over email are a silly idea that’s best left to the dustbin of history.

    • xp84

      Good luck with that.
      I keep an address for humans and one for “others” (corporations). It’s not clean because someone will “invite” you to some service and your “human” email is exposed… but that’s probably the best setup you can hope for. Sadly you can’t ever get the transactional stuff you want without getting the newsletters/ads/etc. SO is certainly far from the worst! I’ve never gotten a promotional email from them actually.

      • Kuba Ober

        Oh I’m not saying that they send out much, just that they shouldn’t be sending out anything at all. The work they put into their email system is wasted effort. They shouldn’t have even started.

        There’s this misconception that if you have a website or a service, you must deal out emails. They just followed the crowd without even thinking if they should 🙁

        • dragon788

          Are they going to use your cell phone number (hello stingray) or your home address (hello not-my-postman) to contact you about your password needing reset? Are they going to assume that every time you request a reset that it’s really you, so just trust the automated system that is triggering resets for hundreds of users a second and when someone into those accounts, it’s really the user? Are they going to use your Twitter/Instagram/Facebook/etc handle to reach you? They need something people give out willingly yet carefully, and honestly I’d rather give them a burner address not linked to anything that have them get my even more closely guarded personal information.

  • weishigoname

    interesting post, thanks for sharing

  • abdu2010

    “If you’re unresponsive to emails we send, we’ll unsubscribe you”. What does that mean exactly? Unsubscribing should be done mainly by an action from the email recipient. It only takes a click to unsubscribe.

    • Iqbal

      It means that if they realize you dont engage in the emails they send you, they will do a soft unsubscribe so you’ll stop getting messages. The helps the user by not spamming them and also helps the company implementing this technique by sending less mail altogether.

      EDIT im not sure if they do a hard/soft unsub, but same idea. They take a hint and stop sending you mail.

      • abdu2010

        What does engage mean? Opening the email? Taking an action because of the email? Let’s be very clear. Well.. I decide to open the email based on if the subject line interests me. I might not open those emails for a few times in a row. If they decide to unsubscribe me because of that, it’s their loss because if the emails stop coming, I am going to forget them. I am just going to conclude they decided to stop producing these emails or they went out of business… whatever. I am not going to think too deep to what has happened. Also I am not sure how they know if I opened an email. Using a web bug? What if I am using a text based mail client?

        Also what is a soft vs a hard subscribe? If both have the same result of me not getting emails, it’s the same outcome. soft or hard means nothing. Most probably it’s going to be hassle to resubscribe and I won’t bother. Again… it seems to me I should be the one doing the unsubscribing which is a lot less hassle than me noticing and wondering one day why those emails suddenly stopped and taking the effort to find out how to subscribe again if it’s that important to me. This whole idea seems to be a not good idea and they are thinking too hard how to unsubscribe people. The unsubscribe and “This is spam” method seem to be good enough.

        • xp84

          1. Yes, definitely if you don’t open the email.
          2. They know it’s ‘their loss’ – that’s kind of the point. They’re saying “Abdu2010 hasn’t opened our emails in 6 months, he may be dead for all we know, may as well stop emailing him.” It keeps costs down because think of how few people unsubscribe from things when they for example, change email addresses. They just abandon the old one.

          And honestly if you’ve completely stopped opening emails, I really doubt they lose anything financially compared to paying to send you email forever in the hopes that you’ll come back.

          • Arne Babenhauserheide

            How do they know that I opened an email? In my email clients any external resources are blocked (even stronger right now because I’m currently using mu4e, reading emails in a pure text display). Does that mean they think I don’t open the emails?

          • Ian Ringrose

            Most of these emails contain a link for you to click to do something, like setup your developer story. If you never do what they are trying to get you to do, then there is no point in them sending you the emails anymore.

          • Arne Babenhauserheide

            That sounds good. Thank you!

        • Max Stacks

          If they send frequent emails and I unsubscribe, then that’s it. Connection severed. If they infer that I’m not interested in the emails and just stop sending them, then I won’t have a reason to unsubscribe. In the future, they still have the option to reach out with more engaging material. So, it’s not necessarily their loss.

  • Satish Patel

    I was thinking around 2 years back why is Stack Overflow not creating something which can be used as enterprise integration for organisations and companies. As of my thought an enterprise version of Stack Overflow helps the organisation inside company’s resource by their own resources which reflects skills across the organisation and the concept of Sharing,building, shipping and growing inside the organisation is gonna really awesome; the next big thing to maintain and secure the codes.

  • Really happy about StackOverflow Documentation. It’s what I want for a long time. Thanks

  • Magisch

    Stack is the only website I regularly whitelist in my browser (except company browser, where adblock with no whitelist is mandated by policy), and it’s the only website where I ever thought about going into the preferences in the settings to see _more_ ads. But the ads on Stack are usually relevant and worth clicking through, so they’re not really ads but more like useful sponsored content.

  • a bit long, but awesome! Do you plan on writing bots to prune potentially out of date content, cross-reference with vendor documentation or tag versions of software? As part of our software at my business we have a knowledge-base and we heavily use tags to try to avoid dated knowledge hurting our service performance. We’re incredibly small and I think larger communities like SO could probably build a much more impressive record of truth, which I’m quite sure companies would pay for (two-tier your system).

    I’d be interested in finding out what you think of this

  • Jon

    A couple of things I want to mention..first the goods. I like that the jobs team listened about how jobs was prior..it was a crappy hard to use UI and they really did a good job bringing it up to speed. You focused really well on the applicant. But my rant is on the other side those of us purchasing spots on ads and trying to hire people its just a poor buggy ui. Nothing ever works right and it is hard to navigate. Stuff is confusing and simple things like changing a company name for some reason is very difficult. I even put two meta requests in to do such a simple thing. When you update the company name it doesn’t propagate to other sections of the site so you end up with some inconsistency. Also the job ads and listings are way too expensive. They are too expensive even for the big companies. We’ve tried it about 3-4 times with absolutely no luck. The method of tracking and contacting candidates is piss poor. When I was contacted by our HR team if / when we wanted to renew I specifically stated we will no longer use it as it was not a good experience. So someone needs to look into these issues.

  • Simon Boddy

    I really like what you do, and I’m sure you’ve got miles to run. Out in the bad world though, things didn’t get shitty by accident. Over time, companies whose revenue comes exclusively from advertising end up aligning with their customers, the advertisers. I also love a great deal of what Google has done, and stood for, but they’re starting down the bad road. I’m not fundamentally against adds, or recruitment, but for Stack to prosper after it’s founders have retired to yachts in the Mediterranean, I would prefer that revenue came 50% from adds, 50% from subscriptions. You could look on this as valiant crusade ! It’s a real problem that the internet destroys more industries than it creates, and that funding by adds is the only model around.

  • Automator

    What you guys meant for my project so far is beyond words. I managed to perform tasks within time frames I only could dream about. Now I am getting to the point where I wanted to be and that’s about the start of everything I had in mind 8 months ago…

  • Ian Ringrose

    A radical option with emails would be for StackOverflow to donate $0.05 to charity every time an email is sent (apart from password reset) and allow StackOverflow user to votes on the 10 charities that get the money.

    I am happy to read message that cost people money to send….

  • You guys are cool, love this site.

  • katastrofa

    Your salary calculator tool is incomplete – it is missing the data on upper management positions.

    • ganesh kamath

      In most cases companies do better when the concept of upper management is completely removed

      • katastrofa

        Well, maybe, but SO does have it so my question is relevant.

  • arunkillu

    So basically makes money without disturbing developers .

  • Toby

    I thought SE already tried the enterprise/self-hosted version idea and then canned it. What’s the thinking behind giving it another shot now?

    • SE 1.0 was geared toward communities, not businesses. Stack Overflow Enterprise is specifically targeted at large companies with thousands of developers who need to ask and answer questions about proprietary code and other programming problems they can’t talk about on regular public SO. So, in theory the products are similar, but the intended audience is different. Hope that helps a little!

      • Cc C

        so why was it canned anyway? sounds like a great idea

  • totally agreed … Good to read, Keep posting ahead..

  • John Duffield

    Like katastrofa said the salary calculator doesn’t include senior positions, so so much for transparency. With all the youthful faces too I’m afraid this comes across as something of a puff piece. In fact since I have some experience of people like Shog I’d go so far as to say that this reads like a puff piece for shiny
    happy people who are nothing of the sort. I am reminded of “don’t be evil”, coming from a company that doesn’t pay tax.

  • SE should get into Bitcoin.

  • bmmm

    Stack exchange sites show adds? I’ve never seen one; except links to NCBI-Bookshelf etc which are probably user-selected, [community-promotion-ads](http://meta.biology.stackexchange.com/questions/3283/community-promotion-ads-2016), So probably they couldn’t pay money because it is not like ‘seeking sponsors’ rather we (stack members) choose and vote them.

    However if stack website decide to show ads from sponsors; then I’ve no problem from my-side. with a mild censorship for appropriateness of ads to SE; they should show ads so that SE website can support-ownself, as well as keep the knowledge free for everyone.

    ——————–

    -this Disqus user is same as the stack user [@AlwaysConfused](http://biology.stackexchange.com/users/25568/always-confused?tab=profile)

  • Jonathan Cardoso

    lol

  • Could somebody link to Adrianna’s presentation please.

  • stephanie barbour

    What make this web browser better or any different then the rest?