A reader writes:
I know there are a lot of shady folks in my industry, but I have always had a tough time buying the idea that advertising is evil. It takes a lot of money and privilege to say that you prefer to pay than to have your reading experience sullied by, ick, advertising! Advertising keeps your experience free. It keeps walls from going up all over the web. I can tolerate seeing an ad for a discount airline in my favorite blog if it means I get to read it for free.
There is a movie theater here in San Francisco that charges a $1 surcharge so that you can enjoy an ad-free movie experience. It always sticks in my craw. I'll subject myself to the ads and not pay the fee, thank you. So that is the one part of your new monetization plan that I don't quite get.
But for the years of enjoyment of your blog, I'll donate come February. Just please consider adding ads to bring down the subscription cost. Remember your View From Your Recession series? Those were all Dish readers, too.
I emphatically do not regard advertising as "icky," let alone "evil". We are one of the few big sites that regularly features the best of the advertising industry in our "Cool Ad Watch." And in time, we may well try ads out, depending on the success or otherwise of the meter. Another:
There are NO REASONS whatsoever for you to not offer two models for your new site: paid with no ads and unpaid with ads. That is actually a very common choice these days. I will contribute through an ad-sponsored site. I'll pay if my finances reach a point where I'm more comfortable. In the meantime, I guess I'll no longer view anything you create because I don't think you have provided an option that works for me. Ads suck, but they allow those who can least afford a pay model to participate.
We should again remind our reader and others that roughly 80% of Dish content will remain free for all readers, regardless of paid membership, after the new Dish launches with a meter in February. Only "Read On"s will be blocked for non-members after a certain number of clicks, and even then the meter will be relatively easy to get around – just inconvenient. So consider the $19.99 a convenience charge for regular readers who want a smooth, seamless experience on the Dish. Another has a clever idea:
And we have emphatically not ruled out advertizing for ever. It's just that, right now, it's more trouble for a site like ours than it's worth.
I disagree. Just call up those "cool ad guys" and ask for a $1000 donation to the Dish AFTER you post their ad. That way, there's no quid pro quo, and you can even post how much they chose to donate. That info should be provided for full disclosure, but also so Dishheads start patronizing companies that support the Dish. That could easily raise $200k per year… not enough to cover expenses, but a nice buffer.
I hope you reconsider the use of advertising on your site. There are many ways to build a lucrative web business without intrusive advertising. And honestly, I want you and your venture to be as lucrative as possible so that you can keep doing what you're doing. One of my favorite blogs, Daring Fireball, appears to do quite well with advertising that is not only non-intrusive, but often useful to me and other readers. You can see the pricing here. Yes, that's $8,500 a week (or $442,000 a year) for the RSS feed alone. I have no idea what he gets for the actual ad on the web page, but I do know that, in total, he does alright for himself. Please consider as many creative revenue streams as possible.
We are open to exploring all options down the line. But for the time being, we felt pure subscriptions was the place to start. And there are just five of us who both drive this car as we build it. We ask merely for some patience as we feel our way forward. The membership link is here if you haven't yet taken the plunge. How one reader thinks about it:
If I were to calculate the true worth of The Dish I would start this way: I drink pricey San Francisco coffee every day (Philz – you must have some if you are ever in the neighborhood). The cost of one cup is $3.75. I usually make it last for a couple of hours. I visit The Dish many times a day and spend more time following links or reading other sources connected to Dish posts. So a daily fee for my Dish consumption should be work at least $3.75.
I also share Dish posts on FB and with friends, both online and in conversation. I guess that is like sharing a cup of coffee with friends. So let's add another 3.75 into the equation.
That is $7.50 a day for 365 days a year, which totals an annual fee of $2737.50. So the $60 I paid is a very good deal. I wish I could pay more and my fingers are crossed that you do not raise the fee to reflect it's true value. I would hate to give up my coffee.