It’s been two months since my last post on this, because, well, I was still recovering from Burning Man this time last month. So here’s our revenue flow since April, including September:
You can see we are in a cyclical decline, especially with new subscriptions (the blue part of the graph). But we are above the total number of subscribers since my last report – marginally. At the beginning of August, we were just below 30,000 subscribers; right now, we’re slightly above – 30,164. Effectively, we’ve reached a plateau of 30,000 – losing about as many old subscribers to expired credit cards or non-renewals each day as we win new ones. Total revenue in September 2014 – at just under $20K – compares with $12K last September. Our renewal rate for subscriptions is 83 percent.
Our year-on-year revenue is now at $964K – compared with $879K for all of 2013. When you add in affiliate and merchandise revenue (we’re projecting about $50K from the two for all of this year), we’re bumping up against $1 million.
As for traffic, the last three months have been up and down: July was great with 900,000 unique visitors (compared with 673,000 and 681,000 the previous two months respectively), but August and September declined to 780,000 and 690,000 respectively. For a site with a pay-meter, that’s still solid, but we could do better. The silver lining to these ups and downs in traffic is that they do not really have an impact on our finances – because, unlike almost everyone else in online journalism, we’re completely subscription based. That guides us away from the sirens of clickbait, and allows us to provide content that we think matters – even though we know it won’t rack up pageviews.
If you believe in supporting that kind of journalism, please subscribe, if you haven’t. There are 31,000 of you who have reached the meter’s free-content limit – which means you’re dedicated but still reluctant to jump in. A subscription is just $1.99 a month or $19.99 a year. So subscribe here if you really want to support a rare journalism model that is not reliant on sponsored content and clickbait. If you have already subscribed and want to help some more, you can always add a little to your subscription here; or purchase a gift subscription here; or simply share a post with a friend and encourage them to join the conversation.
The good news is: we have survived into our second year and have no debt, which is quite something for an independent site in this day and age. But with your help, we can also thrive. And we hope to.