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Nov 01 2013

It Lives

Not long ago, I mentioned that we had an ad-free subscription service in the works for FtB as a whole. Testing is now complete, and the service has had a couple of days to shake out some of the stranger problems. So if you’re interested in reading FtB without ads and are willing to pay* us a small amount ($3 for 30 days, $8 for 90 days, or $30 for 365 days) for the privilege, now’s the time to sign up. If you have problems along the way, Jason is the person to talk to.

Sadly, for me, this means going back to seeing ads. I was testing the plug-in, but now I go back to seeing the ads so I can report them when we get problematic ones.

*Yes, I’m well aware there are other technological solutions that mean you don’t have to contribute anything to the writers you read regularly in order to avoid ads. Seeing people commenting to tell other writers, “Are you silly? I don’t have to pay you for your work”, baffles me to no end. If that’s what you want to do, fine. If you can’t afford a subscription, I’m happy you have other options. But at least contribute some consideration.

12 comments

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  1. 1
    Pierce R. Butler

    I spend a lot of time on FTB, and have deliberately turned off my ad/javascript blockers to as not to interfere with pay-per-view count. [Part of comment redacted so as not to allow our advertisers to think we're giving anyone ideas. --SZ]

    Does the mighty BraytonCorp make more or less than $30/yr from my behavior?

    Or will Big Ed have to kill us both if he answers that question?

  2. 2
    Stephanie Zvan

    Given our view stats versus our revenue, I don’t think anyone is likely to be pulling us in $30/year from our ads.

  3. 3
    ImaginesABeach

    I use a Chrome with [redacted add-on], so I don’t see ads at all. I subscribed to the ad-free FtB anyway, because it’s not a bad thing to pay for what you are getting.

  4. 4
    freemage

    If I could afford it, I would; as it is, I’m gonna keep suffering the ads–at least they give you guys SOME revenue.

  5. 5
    Trebuchet

    I CAN afford it and will sign up as soon as the promised option to PayPal appears.

    [Redacted for the same reason as Pierce's comment. If y'all could refrain from trying to figure out what makes our ads pay out, I could have a much more relaxing afternoon. --SZ]

  6. 6
    F [is for failure to emerge]

    Respectfully, Stephanie, this should not baffle you so much. If the business model means people put up with really awful ads, they are going to walk around that business model and still want to read the interesting, important, and entertaining things written by yourself and other bloggers. Never mind that a lot of web design plus the ads can render places on the net otherwise unusable to people who cannot afford a better computing device and a better ISP service level. I’m quite certain that there are also interruptio-of-accessibility issues with some of the ad layouts. Being an ass about it, having no consideration at all, yeah, that part is pretty sad but rather expected due to culture.

    Blogs can definitely be a rough thing to monetize, especially given the absolute number of regular readers and a marginal distribution cost of nearly zero in a climate where distributors and gatekeepers are the players that made the money in the established systems which are now being disrupted. The actual content producers rarely make much money, excepting the occasional, if temporary, superstars.

    I really wish I had some sort of suggestion, but I don’t, other than count on the regular readers with disposable income to subscribe. It certainly is a community which is willing to come flying out with donations when asked (or even when not asked). But I don’t know the breakdowns between that and operating costs plus properly compensating writers/bloggers/activists, especially those who put in a lot of time and effort. But the ad model of support was crap in the ’90s, and it sure has not improved. Particularly with the use of non-static ads and those which violate the rules set in the browser, such as the pop-under/overs what open a new window. People who notice ads in a negative manner are positively pissed off by that sort of thing.

    Again, I wish I had something better for all of you at FTB, because you deserve better.

  7. 7
    Stephanie Zvan

    No, being an ass “due to culture” is always going to baffle me, particularly among people who claim to be able to think for themselves.

  8. 8
    Pierce R. Butler

    Surely this must be the first time, in years of commenting here and at FTB’s predecessor site, that I have been accused of attempting to give anyone an idea. * warm glow of achievement *

    Excuse me, I hear a heavy step on the porch and a vigorous knocking at my do

  9. 9
    NateHevens, resident SOOPER-GENIUS... apparently...

    I want to subscribe, but sadly I’m not able to use PayPal. Jason said he’ll work on including other subscription services, but that’ll take a while. Although I don’t see the ads at all (yay Adblocker Plus!), I very much want to contribute. So I’m sort of on hold…

  10. 10
    WithinThisMind

    I use an adblocker, but I throw money at specific blogs a few times a year. I think I prefer that to paying the entire hive mind ;).

  11. 11
    maudell

    I’m pretty broke, and I’m somewhat amused by all the Christian ads. But to not see that big yellow moldy toenail with fungus ad? Might be worth $30/year. *shudder*

  12. 12
    medivh

    Stephanie: I read F’s point not as people are stepping around ads because of their own culture, but because of the culture of the people trying to foist ads on them. But that’s a point I already agreed with, so bias is a potential problem there.

    As I read it, the culture on the producer’s side is something akin to “I want to be paid for my efforts, and these advertisements create a predictable income stream, where donations do not and may not produce income at all. They are not mutually exclusive, so I will use both methods.” The culture on the consumer’s side goes something like “I’m interested in producer’s efforts, but dislike being told I should be [more|less] [Christian|fat|made-up|aware of toenail fungus]. Not to mention I [don't want|don't have the spoons to deal with] some of the more [disturbing|intrusive] ads. Technology allows me to disable the ads so I don’t see the bad ones, and I will use that technology.”

    In both situations, there’s a lack of empathy for the other situation owing to a need to care for one’s self first. The baffling part, as both you and F have said, comes in when consumers pretend like they’ve won at life by getting content on the web without paying either in ad views or in money.

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