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Path to Sustainability: Ads, Creators Program, and Community Funding

Path to Sustainability: Ads, Creators Program, and Community Funding

At the beginning of the year, we made an open call for feedback from the community to determine the best way to help move towards sustainability for us and the creators that help make Civitai great. After hearing from thousands of you in comments, on discord, and in a quick poll, we shared our proposed plan along with a survey. Your feedback was clear and we’re starting down the path based on your input.

You made it clear that the most important thing is that this community remains open and free, so today we’re rolling out our brand-new Creators Program along with ads as a way to start bringing in revenue to fund our continued development and support Creators without raising paywalls. As part of the Creators Program, we pay Creators for the Buzz that they earn and we are introducing 3 new ways for them to earn Buzz, including through views that their content gets when someone has ad on or a paid membership.

As someone that’s been using an ad blocker for over a decade, I usually block ads and I would assume that most of you do too, but I hope that to support this community that you’ll consider disabling ad block or buying a membership to disable ads.

A few quick points about the ads

  1. We’ve designed our system to automatically adjust the ads we serve based on the content of the page.

  2. We’ve setup a single placeholder image that is displayed when people have ad block on, which is really boring, so we’re running a contest to get more images from you all!

  3. We’ve worked hard to vet the ad networks that we’re using to ensure we don’t serve overly spammy or inappropriate ads.

What will the ad revenue be used for?

  1. Paying for our operations and continued development

  2. Paying members of the Creators Program

  3. Paying for community growth and development initiatives (details on the way we’d like to do that below)

Community Growth & Development Funding

While the development of open-source foundational AI models is typically an undertaking of corporations with the money to tackle expensive training operations, the community we have today wouldn’t exist without the many individual contributors that have made the tools that we all know and love. Making open-source sustainable for individual contributors has been a challenge since the beginning of the open-source movement. We’d like to lay the ground work to solve that problem for open-source AI space by introducing a Grants program using funds we bring in from ads and partnering with other companies in the space as well.

Here’s how it would work:

  1. We’d start a Grant Round with a fund to allocate to Grantees

  2. Individuals or Groups could apply for a Grant (think KickStarter)

  3. Community members would donate to the causes they care about

  4. At the end of the Grant Round we’d allocate the funds based on the number of individual donors and the amount that was donated (100 donors giving $1 would receive more matching funds than 1 donor giving $100)

The goal is to make it so that the voice of individuals isn’t outweighed by money of the larger contributors. If you’re familiar with the Quadratic Funding model, this probably sounds familiar to you. This doesn’t come without challenges, but fortunately there are organizations that have already been successfully running Community Funding initiatives this way for a few years now.

Let us know what you think in this quick poll 📊

So what’s next on the path?

The introduction of ads along with the Creators Program is just the first step on our path to sustainability. We’re actively working on building new features to make our membership even more attractive as well as improvements to our on-site tools such as the image generator and trainer. We’ll be sure to keep you all updated as we continue to make progress.

Be sure to let us know your thoughts on the Community Funding idea and please share any other ideas you have about how the community can help drive the continued growth and development of open-source AI.

Edit 1: Ad location changes

  • We've fixed the frequency of ads within the feeds. Previously it was 1 ad every 6-10 items and now it's a dynamic amount of items based on how many columns you have visible

  • We've removed the banner at the top of the model comments section since there are situations where there are no comments and no model suggestions so there were situations where there were 5-6 ads on screen at once 🤮

  • We're going to be removing the sidebar ads on the main feeds within 24 hours (devs are already out for the night)

Edit 2: Ads for NSFW browsing mode

We have disabled the ads that were being served while browsing with mature content enabled. We were disappointed by the quality of the ads and we are revisiting our options.

Edit 3: Ads disabled

If you haven't noticed, there are no ads on Civitai again. It's because we disabled them about 3 weeks after we launched them. I didn't want to have the big old cookie banner we needed to have to run them, so we turned them off. We might bring them back as an optional way to earn Buzz at a later date.