Posts from San Diego, CA

Tips to Hire Developers with Read the Docs

Read the Docs is probably not the first place you think of if you are recruiting. However, over 7 million unique developers use Read the Docs each month from all over the world. We didn’t set out to build a better job board, but after a number of advertisers used our ethical ads for recruiting, we discovered that Read the Docs was a great place to find developer talent.

Developers are not always actively job seeking by browsing job boards or company careers pages. However, they are on Read the Docs reading about the libraries and frameworks they use. Even when people aren’t actively looking for a new job, many are open to exploring new opportunities.

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Community Advertising

As part of our ethical advertising model, Read the Docs gives away 10% of our ad inventory to projects, conferences, and other initiatives in the open source community. Many of these projects operate as Read the Docs did in the past with little to no income. These are not groups that traditionally have the resources to use paid advertising.

We have run ads for:

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HTTPS for Custom Domains

Read the Docs hosts documentation for over 80,000 open source projects and over 2,500 of those projects are hosted on their own individual domains. Documentation hosted on *.readthedocs.io has supported HTTPS for a number of years, but one of our most requested features was to make HTTPS on other domains easy. Today we are happy to announce that Read the Docs supports HTTPS on custom domains!

Earlier this year, Cloudflare contacted us to support HTTPS for the thousands of open source documentation projects on their own domains. They generously provided us with their SSL for SaaS package to ease the integration on our side.

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Planned Move to Azure

We wanted to make you aware that on Saturday August 18 at 10:00am PDT (1:00pm EDT, 17:00 UTC), Read the Docs will be having a scheduled downtime of approximately 4 hours.

To ensure the stability and performance of our system, we are performing this upgrade during the weekend which is our period of lowest usage.

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Read the Docs Public API

Recently, we revamped Read the Docs’ public API. Previously, our latest API (v2) was used by our build processes but not heavily used by outside users.

As part of this process, we put effort into making sure the API is easy to use to access Read the Docs projects, builds, and versions, easier to filter builds and versions by a particular project, and that the documentation is up-to-date.

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Do Not Track at Read the Docs

Today, we are pleased to announce that Read the Docs honors Do Not Track (DNT). DNT is a browser preference that requests that a user not be tracked across the internet while browsing the web.

While there isn’t a consensus on precisely what DNT should mean, we are following the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s (EFF) guidelines for Do Not Track as we believe that gives a good balance between the privacy expectations of users and the reality of running a business and keeping Read the Docs sustainable.

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GDPR: What it means for Read the Docs

Your email inbox has probably been bombarded over the last few days and weeks with “Updates to our Privacy Policy”. These emails pertain to an EU law called the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which comes into effect today.

The goal of the GDPR is to put users back in control of their data. It is an important step toward respecting users’ privacy. The days of collecting as much data on as many people as possible without consent and sharing it with anyone willing to pay for it are over.

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Update on Ad Blocking and Acceptable Ads

A few weeks ago, we shared about the challenge ad blocking presented to our sustainability and what we were doing about it. On May 4th, Read the Docs was added to the Acceptable Ads list meaning that our visitors running ad blockers who choose to allow unintrusive advertising will see our ads again. The impact to our ad views, clicks, and revenue was immediate.

Estimates around the web vary regarding what percentage of people run ad blockers and it varies heavily by industry. We discussed this figure a bit in our previous post.

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Social Version Control Log in

Today we are announcing the ability to log in or sign up to Read the Docs with your favorite version control hosting services like GitHub, BitBucket, or GitLab. This was one of our most requested features and it has been something we’ve been meaning to launch for a long time.

For new users, the sign up process is significantly streamlined. There’s no new password to remember and when you’re ready to start building your docs, Read the Docs will be ready with a list of your repositories to get started.

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Ads and Ad blockers

Last time, we shared how ethical advertising works to keep Read the Docs sustainable without creepy ad targeting. This time, we will share about one of our biggest challenges with advertising. At the beginning of April, Read the Docs was added to one of the most popular ad block lists: the Easylist.

Getting added to the EasyList had a significant and immediate impact on the bottom line at Read the Docs. Right around April 1, 32% of our ad views simply vanished. At first, we thought we had done something horribly wrong but then we discovered that this was due entirely to ad blocking. Our actual traffic wasn’t down at all.

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