Listening Post: BOB, the Big Orange Box

Many of you have already met BOB, the Big Orange Box, which occasionally fills up part of the screen at ncpr.org, before settling down in a few seconds over in the right-hand column. BOB is a one-trick pony–only has one thing to say–”Give Now.” BOB was born a few weeks before our Spring fundraiser, and since the drive ended I’ve begun to hear from a few visitors asking:

“What gives? I already gave. The fundraiser is over. You made your goal. Why are you punishing me?”

In response, we have put BOB on a diet–he has slimmed down a little, disappeared from page one, has been dressed up with better graphics, and doesn’t appear quite so frequently.

But BOB is not going to go away, even though we are done with the week-long radio drive. Why? It’s not because we are greedy, or are punishing our fundraiser donors for doing the right thing.  We are more grateful than you know. Because you radio listeners have been paying almost all the freight for building and maintaining ncpr.org.

Over the last twelve years, NCPR has built up a whole second audience that rarely or never listens to NCPR on the radio. They don’t ever hear the radio fundraiser, and few of them contribute. The “ask” for contributions on our website has been pretty quiet, too quiet.  We’ve concluded that our online-only audience needs some kind of regular high-profile reminder that NCPR is paid for with voluntary contributions by its users. We certainly aren’t shy about asking for donations on the radio.

Hence BOB. He’s big and a little annoying, but necessary. BOB can make a big difference to us and to our radio audience. While 40-50,000 people are regular radio listeners to NCPR, more than a million different individuals used our online services last year. It would take only a small percentage of them, giving a little bit each, to really change the sustainability math at NCPR. As changing media technologies cause more and more people to move online, the art of raising money online will determine whether this service survives.

So, if you are one of the folks who regularly do your bit for NCPR, thank you. Just ignore BOB when he turns up. He’ll get out of your way in 3.5 seconds. If you are one of those who can’t quite remember whether you are reading USA Today, Huffington Post or NCPR at the moment, BOB will set you straight. Click on him to win a free ride to our donation page.

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8 Responses to “Listening Post: BOB, the Big Orange Box”

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  1. Lucy Martin says:

    It’s true, BOB bows out quickly on most of the webpages.

    However, well over half the time when I go to “The Dirt”, BOB just. won’t. go.

    I have to read the post in the few lines of space I can peek around. (This does not happen 100% of the time and I haven’t figured out if the difference comes by clicking individual posts or the home page. But it is annoying.)

    BOB likes it there a little too much, methinks. (Beat it, BOB!)

    Has anyone found other pages where BOB likes to loiter?

    Dale to the rescue!

  2. jill vaughan says:

    only problem is, he DOESN’T always disappear from many spots. I just give up and x out, and feel like the fundraising is over. I know, I know, what you’re saying… but the fact remains that I get disgusted.

  3. jill vaughan says:

    Just experienced it again- an article I really wanted to read, and BOB stayed- couldn’t even gt the gist of the article. AARRGGHH

  4. Bill Haenel says:

    Thanks to tips from Jill and Lucy above, I was able to find a bug on The Dirt and Prison Time blogs when visiting those blogs using Internet Explorer. It seems to be fixed now.

    If you’re seeing this problem somewhere else in NCPR’s sites, or if you’re using a browser other than Internet Explorer, let me know where you saw the problem and what browser you’re using and I’ll see what I can do to fix it ASAP.

  5. Lucy Martin says:

    Ahh! _Bill_ to the rescue!

    Thanks Bill! (And Jill.)

    Maybe now BOB will behave!

  6. Dale Hobson says:

    Hi Jill–

    Sorry for the problem. Bill has done some tinkering which appears to have fixed the problem as we see it. Are you still having problems with BOB hanging around covering the page? Let me know.

    Dale

  7. jill vaughan says:

    Bob still refuses to leave the screen.

  8. jill vaughan says:

    But not every time. I will keep you posted. Bob just gracefully went into the wings on The Dirt. A minute ago he didn’t.