To make some of the very best content possible, it is no secret it can be expensive. Sure I can cut corners and spend wisely, which I already do, but so far everything has come from my own pocket. On top of this, I work full time, need to pay bills and do a whole lot of activism. So to help reduce this burden, I have been investigating ways to monetise this blog, without making my readers a commodity or in any way devalue your time.
The obvious answer to most people wanting to monetise is advertising. I have never been a fan of advertising, and likely never will. When it comes to content, I would always prefer to make nominal contributions, even if it is only to skip a few moments of ads, because I value my time and know this puts more in the pocket of the content creator I love. Here are some of my top reasons for not exploring the route of advertising.
Why advertising sucks
It devalues how much I appreciate my readers. If I added some advertising to the blog, it is likely I would get $2-4 per 1000 viewers. Not a huge amount. In exchange for this, I would need to add numerous trackers to the page which follow my readers around the internet and significantly slow down my page speeds.
Advertisements use more data. Some research has indicated they use up to 30-40% of mobile bandwidth. With around 40% of my reader base regularly using mobile, I feel for the actual monetary gain potential; it is not worth adding to your phone bill given the time and effort I have taken to reduce the page size considerably.
I am held hostage to the advertisers and the corporates. They would, in essence, hold me to their terms and conditions, and this fundamentally limits what I can do. If something I feel is important and is in the public interest would create a conflict of interest between me and my advertisers, this is also unacceptable, and I do not want to have any doubt that the right thing to do comes first. With Patreon, you are my boss, and I am answerable to you.
Sponsorships are a premium version of advertising, and I know some use this well. However, I feel similar to the conflict of interests above, negotiating deals to promote something is not where I want to be heading with this project. Instead, I want to make sure I only recommend what I thoroughly want to, and companies are unable to buy their way into that recommendations list.
What Patreon can offer instead
Some of my reward tiers have some cool perks to go with them. Two of my favourite perks are custom .onion addresses that I will generate for you up to a character limit, and a Tor Bridge relay for the entire time you are a Patron of mine. So not only do you help me, but you help the world!
Patreon is likely to bring in more monthly income per reader than advertising. This has the obvious effect of making some of my more entertaining and exciting content within easier reach, but also means those who cannot afford to help me out can still benefit, without being subjected to all of the above issues I mention with advertising or sponsorship.
It is a crowdsourced editorial control on some of the work I do. Through Patreon, it simplifies the process for me to do a controlled release to a small sample of people, and for that group to give me feedback on it before the content goes public. For anyone eagerly awaiting new content, this gives them a sneak peek on top of a chance of contributing to the final piece.
I will introduce my Patreon page soon, and update this article with the link as soon as it is ready! Until then, if you have any suggestions for me, get in touch on Twitter!