TidBITS Membership Ad-Removal Challenge Update
In “Become a TidBITS Member and Banish Banner Ads from Our Site” (7 December 2015), I said that if we could increase membership revenues by the roughly $5,000 per year that we earn from Google AdSense ads and automatically generated affiliate links via Skimlinks, we’d eliminate those banner ads and accompanying trackers from our site for everyone.
Although memberships rolled in throughout December 2015, we’ll need to see an significant uptick before the challenge deadline at the end of January 2016, since the numbers so far have been slightly lower than last year. Even if we don’t count those who joined at the $1,000 TidBITS Angel level (four in 2014, one in 2015 — and thank you so much!), the new and renewing member count was three people lower (1121 versus 1118) and revenues were $50 lower. That’s a minuscule drop, so I’m not worried about it, but it doesn’t get us any closer to meeting the challenge.
So if you believe that we should be showing that small Internet publications can rely on direct reader support, become a TidBITS member this month!
To sweeten the deal, note that we just added member-exclusive discounts on 17 highly regarded Mac apps from Prosoft Engineering (Data Rescue, Drive Genius, Data Backup, and more) and Plum Amazing (CopyPastePro, iClock Pro, PhotoShrinkr, and many more). It would be easy to save more than the cost of a TidBITS membership in software discounts alone.
I believe in supporting websites such as yours. You give of your knowledge and advice freely. This means I don't have to spend my time (and dollars) researching information technology. As a small business owner, I don't have the ready access to this knowledge the way a larger company with an IT department might have. So thank you, and I'm increasing my membership level.
Thanks for the kind words and the support, Karen!
I'm all for ads but hate privacy intrusions and tune my browser addons accordingly. If I gave $1 a month to every news site I read I'd be broke.
That raises an interesting question, actually. Before the Internet, those of us who were interested in news and other topics subscribed to newspapers and magazines, few of which were free then (apart from the occasional alt weekly newspaper and trade pubs like MacWEEK which were ad-supported due to a qualified audience). I'd suggest that we actually used to pay a good deal more for our content pre-Internet. I wonder if the budget for content is now being taken up by the need to pay for the Internet connection itself, and a cell phone plan?
Internet access definitely contributes to the overall cost, but I think the other big contributor is that we use a lot more news sources than we used to. Back in the day, I had a subscription to the local paper, MacUser, and Time. That was it. Maybe $100 or so per year.
Now I have a few dozen news sources in Feedly, plus all the links I get through social media and everywhere else. Supporting ALL of those many sites is where it gets absurd, and making that choice about who/what to support is a difficult one.
That said, as a long time reader of TidBits and a big believer in the crew... here's a few bucks!
Do you think you're consuming a lot more media now? I wonder if we read a lot more sources, but don't necessarily get more information. I tend to read magazines cover to cover, but I'm much less likely to read everything on a Web site that covers a similar topic. You're absolutely right that supporting too many sites is just infeasible.
Thanks for the support!
I agree that supporting every website you visit or review on a regular basis is not truly tenable. On the other hand, by reading TidBits, I don't have to visit or review dozens of tech websites to get the information I need. They do it for me.
Look at this way. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of popular news stories every day. That doesn't include technology updates, scientific findings, research studies, and dozens of other topics presented every single day. Type almost any word into a search engine and you will find thousands of hits for most of them. TidBits and others like it distill that data down and provide me what I need in a concise format that I can scan in a matter of minutes.
I would rather pay someone to deliver the information I need than spend hours researching it myself. It isn't just about dollars. It's about where I choose to spend my valuable time.
And the plain fact of the matter is that I don't want to spend hours sitting staring at a machine, whether it is a computer screen, tablet screen, telephone screen or a television screen. I'd rather go outside and spend time talking over these subjects with others.
Out of curiosity, do the discounts on software also apply to upgrades? Thanks to the TidBits reviews of so many of those programs, I already OWN them!
For the most part, no, I don't think so, but you could always try the coupon given and see if it worked in the developer's cart.