If you don’t read the forums religiously, you may have missed some discussions that popped up about the cost of running this site and a donation drive that was begun by some generous readers. It all started with the thumbs earlier this week — the thumbs we use to rate comments. As I explained in a brief post on Tuesday, I was forced to get rid of our old thumbs because their plugin was no longer compatible with the updated version of WordPress. I risked crashing the site if I continued using that plugin, so I deactivated it and searched for a replacement. The replacement I found was as close as I could get to the original, but it wasn’t exactly the same and change is hard, and when I asked for feedback readers let me know everything they thought was wrong with new thumbs. I, feeling a little defensive, was all, “But this is the best I can do! At least, for free! If I hire someone to design something else, it could cost several hundred dollars! And I just got a bill for the next six months of hosting fees and it’s more than I’ll probably make off this site in the next six months, and my life is sooo hard.” Or something like that. I had PMS. I’m a little embarrassed about the whole thing, really.
But then some readers saw what I wrote and started donating money to support the site. And someone else started a thread to basically get a donation drive started to not only support the maintenance of this site but to “buy new thumbs” [full disclosure: the price to make the new thumbs look like the old thumbs ended up being $125. They should be up by the end of the day]. See, I told you it all started with the thumbs, right? And while I have been a little reluctant to do a donation drive for myself/this site, I do so appreciate people’s efforts to raise money. And since it’s already been started, I decided to just embrace the generosity of the DW community and announce the donation drive here. And in an effort to be transparent, I also outlined the cost of running a site like this — maybe the figure will surprise you, maybe not.
The truth is, after covering overhead costs and paying a babysitter for a few mornings a week so I have time to work, I usually end up in the hole each month. That is, I lose money running this site. Yes, even with the ads and affiliate links. I am working on complementary sources of income related to this site — like a subscription-based podcast and ebooks, for example — but those things take time (and money, in the case of a podcast), and with a young toddler at home, extra time is something I don’t have an abundance of. And who knows how much money those things would really bring in anyway. All of this is just an experiment.
So, the donation drive. I’ve come around to the idea, and I’m posting about it here in case you’re interested in contributing. If you like this site, if it provides entertainment for you or emotional support or a way to just kill a little time during the long hours at your office job, and if you feel inclined, consider donating here. Any amount helps. And if this goes well, maybe I will start doing two donation drives a year, NPR/PBS-style, just as a reminder for anyone who wants to kick in a few bucks. And as always, there’s a “support” tab in the navigation menu you can click to make a donation whenever you’d like. Thank you so much for your support, kindness, and generosity. And here’s to some new thumbs!