This is just your friendly monthly reminder that you can help keep Freethought Blogs going by contributing to the network, if you have the ability and the desire to do so (there are Paypal buttons on the left sidebar). But I’d also like to run an idea by you and see what our readers think of this. Would you support FTB doing something like what Andrew Sullivan has done, eliminating ads and being entirely reader-supported?
We’re still working on getting the ad-free option, which will allow you to get an ad-free version for a nominal fee (probably around $5 a month or so). But what if we did that for everyone and just asked you to buy an annual subscription instead? Sullivan is asking for $19.99 a year, but he’s also using a “freemium” format, where everyone sees nearly everything but clicking on the “read more” link more than a certain number of times (seven, in his case) requires that you have a membership.
There are other similar ways to do things, of course. We could provide something above and beyond for those who pay for some sort of VIP access, like a weekly or monthly podcast that isn’t available to others. Or maybe copies of books written by our bloggers, or t-shirts. I haven’t really given this a lot of thought, but I like what Sullivan is doing and it seems to be very successful for him so far. And honestly, he doesn’t have all that many more unique visitors than we do (he has about a million, we have about 650,000).
So please leave a comment and tell me whether you would pay, say, $20-$50 a year for an FTB membership for an entirely ad-free site and perhaps for some additional content that you don’t get now. Or tell me if you have some alternative ideas. I’d love it if we could ditch the ads completely and support the network entirely through the appreciation of our readers. But doing that is a big risk, so I’d need to know that it’s feasible before seriously considering it.