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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

5,000 subscribers at a buck a month?

Call me crazy, but I think this could work.

Can I get 5,000 readers to “subscribe” to FlickFilosopher.com for $1 per month?

GOAL: 5,000 4,958 (as of 08.13)

Subscribe via PayPal
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     Subscribe via Amazon Payments
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Let me explain why I think this could work, and why it would be good for all of us, including you, my dear readers.
I started thinking about this after I rattled my donations cup at readers a couple weeks ago, and then when two readers — amanohyo and Bluejay — suggested it simultaneously, I figured I should give it a shot.

Here’s the thing. The donations I’ve received over the past couple weeks are most appreciated — thank you, again, everyone who donated (your donations are reflected in the goal countdown above) — but they’re just a stopgap measure. There has to be a more permanent way to ensure this site’s viability for me, as the only person who does absolutely everything here, which is more than a full-time job and currently brings in, each month, the equivalent of only a day or two’s pay. And for you. Part of what makes FlickFilosopher.com so special and so unique among other similar sites is the very high level of conversation we have here. It’s not just smart: it’s also civil, even when the inevitable disagreements crop up, in a way that is really, really rare online. That’s not just my doing but yours too, and I hope you value it as much as I do.

So: One way to up income is to up traffic (in which case ad revenue goes up). I’m already trying to do that without posting crap that’s just linkbait: I have no desire for this site to lose what makes it distinctive.

Or, I could run more ads… which I get solicited to do all the time. Video ads. Interstitials. Ads that expand to take over the whole page. Popups. Popunders. Ads that embed themselves in the text. Ads that embed themselves in images. *argh*

I’m sick of it. I’m sick of how the Web is getting more and more overrun by advertising. I understand why it’s necessary — work has to be paid for — but there’s already too much advertising here. I don’t want more.

But if 5,000 readers — which is a tiny percentage of the readership here — donate just $1 per month, that would be enough to give me a modest income for New York City, even after PayPal and Amazon take their cuts and I pay taxes on those subscriptions. Oh, and of course those subscriptions will also go toward paying hosting fees, which have gone up dramatically as traffic has risen. The site is now hosted on a semi-dedicated basis because of its high bandwidth demands, and that ain’t cheap.

Would you even notice a recurring payment of $1 once a month? (If you would, then please, for pete’s sake, don’t donate!) It’s pocket change. It’s less than a cup of even regular, nonfancy coffee.

I don’t mean to belittle the very real financial hardships a lot of people are suffering these days. I really don’t. I’m living them: I know what it’s like. But if you’re enjoying what I do here and are in a position to throw a buck my way once per month, I hope you’ll consider doing so.

This is where the power of the amazing readership — all you guys — comes in. If some of you, not even very many of you, each give just a teeny bit, it’ll add up really quickly.

And here’s what you’ll get in return, in addition to what you’re already getting:

I’ll remove all the banner ads from the site.

I’ve already started, as a token of appreciation and encouragement: that rectangular ad in the middle of posts is gone. And it’ll stay gone if we can reach the 5,000 goal.

When we get to 2,000 subscribers, I’ll remove the tall “skyscraper” ad in the lefthand column.

When we get to 3,500 subscribers, I’ll remove the wide banner ad at the top of the page.

When we get to 5,000 subscribers, the mid-post rectangular ad will stay gone.

(What will stay: the “blogads” at the top of the left column and in the center of the right column. Being a member of blogads is good for promoting the site even when there are no ads running there. And because blogads are so targeted, I feel they’re as informational for you as they are advertising. They’re not the annoying stuff that shows up in the banner slots. I’ll also keep links to Amazon, because they’re helpful if you want to buy the stuff I write about, and they also cost you nothing to give me a little kickback from your purchase; the affiliate cut I take adds nothing to what you pay.)

The income from 5,000 readers sending a buck a month my way will also give me the freedom to write even more stuff of the kind you will like, whether or not that stuff brings in more readers. It will give me the freedom to finally move the site over to a newer version of Movable Type, which will mean better tools for commenting and community.

I’m setting a deadline of October 1, six weeks from now. In between now and then, on September 8, FlickFilosopher.com will celebrate its 13th anniversary. I feel like we all have created something special here, and I want to ensure that it is around for another 13 years, at least.

Can you help?

Subscribe via PayPal
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     Subscribe via Amazon Payments
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Subscriptions are set to run monthly until you cancel. I hope you’ll let it run for at least 12 months.

Or, make a one-time donation of at least $12/£10/whatever the equivalent is in your currency:

Donate via PayPal
(in almost any currency):





(Sorry, I can’t accept donations via Amazon Payments. That’s Amazon’s restriction, not mine.)


UPDATE: Readers have asked to subscribe in larger amounts: here are a few. I’m happy to create buttons for other amounts. Just let me know.

Subscribe via PayPal @ $5/month
(in almost any currency):





     Subscribe via Amazon Payments @ $5/month
(in almost any currency):

















Subscribe via PayPal @ $10/month
(in almost any currency):





     Subscribe via Amazon Payments @ $10/month
(in almost any currency):


















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maryann buzz
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  • you want me to pay $1 to have you diss Canadian comic book movies?

    …thinks it over…

    hmmmm…

    Do you promise to say more mean things about pretty much every movie not made by Pixar?

  • Do you also promise to:

    1) Sew a Dr. Who question mark into each left sock you own?

    2) Spot the Looney during the next Monty Python marathon on the local PBS channel?

    3) Shamelessly quote from mid-1980s pop songs whenever you review a Tom Cruise movie?

  • Done. Happily.

    The $1/mo is no big deal at all. And my earlier donation should more than cover the chunk paypal and uncle sam will remove. This is one of my favorite blogs on the internet, mostly because I agree with you a lot, but also because on those rare occasions I disagree I get so frustrated with you that I wanna quit reading forever! And that’s not a bad thing. My passion makes me strong!!

  • JT

    “…and currently brings in, each month, the equivalent of only a day or two’s pay.”

    Ouch. Considering the amount of content on the site, that’s really rough…

    Anyway, I think this is a great idea too. Consider me subscribed.

  • amanohyo

    For JoshDM’s sake, could you review Kentucky Fried Movie when you hit 2000 subscribers? He’s been reeeeeally patient.

    *whispers* Also if you tell Serge that the money is going to go to the Society for the Elimination of Scarlett Johansson Clones, I bet he’s good for at least twenty bucks.

  • MaryAnn

    For JoshDM’s sake, could you review Kentucky Fried Movie when you hit 2000 subscribers? He’s been reeeeeally patient.

    Yes, if not sooner. :->

  • Drave

    10 Things I Hate About You is still the movie I most want to see you review, MaryAnn. Or The Wizard of Speed and Time, but good luck finding a copy of that.

  • e

    After reading “amanohyo and Bluejay”‘s suggestion, I actually went and donated 12 dollars for an entire year on monday, so hopefully we can count that towards your total.

  • Bill

    you turned me on to doctor who. i guess that’s worth some cheddar. i mean, i totally coulda just kept watching the west wing over and over and over, but it’s nice to have something to watch while those dvds cool down.

    where’s the vip section up in here? platinum members thread?

  • MaryAnn

    After reading “amanohyo and Bluejay”‘s suggestion, I actually went and donated 12 dollars for an entire year on monday, so hopefully we can count that towards your total.

    Yes, of course! I mentioned that in the post: I started counting with the donations I’ve received since the beginning of the month (when I started asking for donations).

    10 Things I Hate About You is still the movie I most want to see you review, MaryAnn.

    Yeah, I’d love to get to that.

    Or The Wizard of Speed and Time, but good luck finding a copy of that.

    It doesn’t seem to be available. But the short it’s based on is *insane*:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GoLhLn9hVkE

    Whoa.

  • I had some spare funds sitting in my PayPal account, so keep up the good work!

  • Rykker

    As a former micropatron from back in the day, I’d be happy to help.
    I’ll set up the donation on the 16th. It’s a better day in relation to my pay schedule for a recurring Paypal debit. For serious, you can set your watch to the timing of those things.

  • Isobel

    Done and done.

    I’d love to see your review of 10 Things I Hate About You too, and Willow!

  • Done. Happy to do so too. Do subscribers get more power over gazee-suggestions? I’d love my buck to buy me a little Mark Harmon!
    But seriously – I’m happy to support good quality writing/thinking.

  • Done! My personal hope is a review of Antichrist – I walked out of there desperate to read your take on it, because I was just speechless.

  • Anne

    @Claudia
    I think if MAJ saw Antichrist she’d instakill von Trier. I haven’t seen it (thankfully) but I’ve read reviews + the synopsis (which was enough to haunt me many days) and it’s one of the most women hating movies ever, I think.
    (Added though: do people who boycot Polanski also boycot von Trier? I mean, Polanski isn’t proud of what he did, but von Trier seems to be fascinated by rape. I think I’d rather bump into the former in a dark alley)

  • Overflight

    Done. It is my pleasure to support this awesome website.

  • I’m weary of subscriptions in general, but I did a one-time of $15 to make up for it. Give us one-timers a reminder next August, will ya? :)

  • Well, it ended up being a choice between FlickFilosopher and downloading the latest Linkin Park on iTunes… but the possibility of getting a Kentucky Fried Movie review put it over the top.

    /hands over the $1 per month

  • Done! Because I value your perspective, and this awesome community.

    And because I really want to be able to come back here in 2012 and see what Rachel Masters has to say when Nibiru doesn’t come. ;-)

  • VT

    And done, in a lump sum. Well worth it.

  • MaryAnn

    I think if MAJ saw Antichrist she’d instakill von Trier.

    I have seen it. :-> Just haven’t gotten around to reviewing it yet. Soon…

    Give us one-timers a reminder next August, will ya? :)

    Will do.

  • markyd

    I donated earlier, but another $1 a month will certainly not be missed. I really hope this program helps you out. Convincing anyone to pay for anything on the internet is tough, though. You’ll get your regulars no problem, but after that it’s going to be a hard sell. Good luck.

  • Marshall

    Done MJ. I love this site, and even when I don’t always agree with you (though, most of the time I do) you’re insights make me THINK about the society we live in on a much deeper level than I used to. So, thanks for that. It’s important to support independent journalism and view-points me thinks.

  • Kate

    Done.

    Happily.

  • JoshDM

    @amanohyo – I have no idea what this movie is to which you are referring (responses to this sentence may cause others to respond).

    I’ll remove all the banner ads from the site.

    Don’t bother; I (and I’m sure others) have AdBlockPlus installed. If I wanted to read your site without ads, I’d activate it on your website (it’s currently not activated).

  • I just donated x2, for me and my husband.

    Also, I will keep my Kindle subscription going, which I have only to support FlickFilospher.com.

  • JoshB

    Done.

    Death to all banner ads!

  • As another former micropatron, I’ll happily chip in again. Your efforts are more than worth it! B)

  • Done. It’s only fair – I’ve been visiting your site for years. I don’t always agree with your conclusions, or the criteria you use to arrive at those conclusions, but you have consistently been the best barometer to determine whether or not a movie is worth my time.

    Just think – if you save me from paying for just two bad movies each year, you’ve already earned my meager $1/month. It’s well worth the investment.

    Good luck!

  • I_Sell_Books

    When I get home this will be done and dusted.

  • Rosalind

    I’ve subscribed and donated on behalf of myself, my husband and my daughter. You are our number one source of film criticism. If the FlickFilosopher likes it then we are much more likely to attend.

    Congratulations on your 13 year anniversary and best wishes for many more years of insightful, interesting and feminist reviews.

  • I_Sell_Books

    I can’t believe it’s been 13 years!!

  • LaSargenta

    Another member here now.

    :-)

  • JoshDM

    What’s Paypal(eBay) | Amazon’s cut?

  • Jurgan

    Sounds good. I’ll set it up once I get home.

  • Not sure about Amazon, but I think Paypal takes about 33 cents from the first dollar (30 cents + about 2%).

    https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_display-fees-outside

    After a cursory glance, looks like Amazon charges a flat fee of $29.99/mo for subscription sellers.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/seller-account/mm-product-page.html

  • MaryAnn

    Amazon and PayPal both have new fee structures for micropayments, so they’re each taking only a dime out of a donation of a dollar. Give a buck, I get 90 cents.

  • MaryAnn

    You’ll get your regulars no problem, but after that it’s going to be a hard sell. Good luck.

    According to the various traffic tracking sources I used, “regulars” should be about a quarter of the visitors here, which would be somewhere between 15,000 and 25,000 people monthly. (Traffic reporting varies depending on who’s doing the counting and how.) If all the regulars subscribed, I’d be doing very well indeed. I could actually hire someone to do the technical stuff. (That would be *such* a weight off me!)

  • Patrick

    Done, and good luck!

  • One year, up front. Done! And I don’t really mind the ads, if they’re bringing you some revenue, however small the amount.

    Best of luck.

  • MaryAnn

    Thanks much, everyone.

    As another token of faith, I just removed the little banner ad that was running between the post and the comments.

    I appreciate that some of you don’t mind the ads, but if we can make this work, the site will look so much nicer without them. And won’t it be nice to stick it to the Man just a little, by killing the advertising and showing (*fingers crossed*) that a site doesn’t necessarily need mega pageviews if it has a dedicated audience/community?

    Many of you probably don’t follow media news, but there’s been a lot of pushback lately regarding sites (like those in the Gawker network) that have had passionate communities in the past and are now alienating them because they’re constantly striving for mega pageviews by trying to invent stuff that will go viral or that will cause so much controversy that it will rack up visitors. I don’t want to do that. It stings a bit that some people are accusing me of doing that with my *Scott Pilgrim* review. I figured what I had to say wouldn’t be loved, but it’s honest. The minute I start to gin up artificial controversy to get readers is the minute I should hang up my hat.

    So, anyway, it would be nice if we could counter that by showing it’s not necessary in order to have a successful site.

  • Dokeo

    Done! I donated a bit before, too, but I consider that a “back payment” for the past few years. I hope the subscriptions take some of the pressure off – sounds like it’s been really tough lately.

  • Becky

    If I’m happy to cough up nearly $30 every six months for a certain (rather good) British movie mag – then I am *more* happy to cough up $12 for the next year for this site.

    Hell, the ‘Female Gaze’ slot is worth a dollar a week let alone a month;) Let alone the reviews that I agree with more times than not, the DW stuff and…

    Done and done! (and can I please nominate Cillian Murphy and John Barrowman as future gaze candidates?)

    Bits crossed that you make your total!

  • bronxbee

    you want me to pay $1 to have you diss Canadian comic book movies?

    …thinks it over…

    ah! BUT thing of all the nice things she’s said about other Canadian content. and how many people are reviewing *anything* Canadian these days? outside of Canada, i mean.

  • Ann Elise

    Done! I’ve been visiting your site more and more over the last two years. Your reviews are always thought provoking and it is just plain fun to see what is on your mind each day!

  • gensing

    $12 for the year is quite a bargain for the content. Glad to contribute

  • Done. It’s the least I can do for someone who loves “Life on Mars” as much as I do.

  • JohnnyInc

    Would the site run faster without ads? Sometimes I hit a link from the main page and it takes a few minutes to load the story page.

  • MaryAnn

    ah! BUT thing of all the nice things she’s said about other Canadian content. and how many people are reviewing *anything* Canadian these days? outside of Canada, i mean.

    Ack! I’ve got piles of Canadian stuff I’m dying to get round to reviewing…

    Would the site run faster without ads? Sometimes I hit a link from the main page and it takes a few minutes to load the story page.

    Yes, sometimes hiccoughs in the ad servers can slow things down. Sometimes it helps to just try reloading, because those hiccoughs don’t seem to last very long — I mean, it’s not like the ad servers go down for even minutes, usually the glitch is just seconds, so refreshing will fix it.

  • bronxbee

    and, of course i meant “THINK of all the nice things she’s said about other Canadian content…” my brain runs faster than my fingers…

  • Left_Wing_Fox

    Done!

    I have a copy of The Wizard of Speed and Time on VHS, actually. I still love the film, although after 10 years of Bush and Tea Parties, I’m more sensitive to the libertarian rhetoric that peppers the film than I was as a kid.

    I’d actually seen the short originally on a “Wonderful World of Disney” special on special effects made to promote “The Black Hole.”

  • Lady Tenar

    Done!

    And I second “10 Things I Hate About You.” Or any other teen or “romantic” comedy. I always enjoy your reviews of those and it’s so comforting to know I’m not crazy.

  • Dre in Spain

    Done! 81 centimos (Euro) a month for one of my favourite websites is nothing.
    I would also like to second Becky’s nomination for female gazing at Cillian Murphy and John Barrowman. Perhaps Colin Firth should be considered for perusal as well? Best of luck with your campaign!

  • Victor Plenty

    Curses! I’ve been putting off getting accounts with services like PayPal. Been figuring I need more ways to STOP myself from spending what little money I’ve got. Not easier ways for my money to wave goodbye. But now there’s a looming deadline, and a truly compelling reason to join the PayPal throng.

    And at times I’ve actually purchased snarky t-shirts just to reward a webcomic artist. I can’t claim it would be a financial hardship paying a buck a month to keep this site afloat.

    So now I’ve got only a few weeks to figure out a really secure password for my PayPal account. Time to put my thinking cap on…

  • I_Sell_Books

    Moola sent!

  • Jurgan

    Done, happily.

  • herman

    Been reading for years and I owe an eternal debt for introducing me to both doctor who and firefly the most tragic first season cancelling in recorded history hope it helps.

    oh, and

    viva la revolution!!

  • Alice

    I made my donation, and I’ll make another but can you revisit David Tennant for female gazing. Back when you featured him you were only posting one picture. It was a superb one, for sure, but I’m greedy.

    Found the blog because of Dr. Who. Keep coming back because of the great posts, Life on Mars and, of course, the gazing.

  • Alice

    I know you are being kind, but I was kind of disappointed I could ONLY donate $1 a month. Was thinking of $5–wouldn’t kill me.

  • At the end of her post, Alice, there are options for subscribing at $5/month and $10/month.

  • LaSargenta

    So, what are you at now? I logged on to check the meter and it is still on Friday’s number!

    Enquiring minds want to know. :-)

  • Anne-Kari

    Done. With pleasure.

  • Sean Riley

    I’m down. I’m at work, but when I get home I’ll send the subscription across.

  • MaryAnn

    So, what are you at now? I logged on to check the meter and it is still on Friday’s number!

    I’ll be posting regular updates on any progress every couple of days. In fact, I just posted the first one, here:

    http://www.flickfilosopher.com/blog/2010/08/subscription_drive_update_off.html

    And the progress bar has been updated, too.

  • Done happily! I’ll give more when I can. I love this site.

  • Rykker

    I’ll set up the donation on the 16th.

    Done and done.
    Best wishes, MaryAnn.

  • Mimi

    Sure thing — a gal’s gotta eat.

  • Eva

    I love your site. I refer to you as “my blogger” in the context of “Let’s go see X. My blogger liked it”. So I’m happy to contribute a lump sum to keep eating (and ad-lite).

  • @Eva, I always say “my favorite film critic”. :)

  • Drave

    Accounting Ninja: Yep, that’s what I always say as well.

  • Eva

    Since I’m approaching old fartedness, I don’t follow a lot of blogs. “My blogger” is actually quite specific. Oh, and I meant to say “…contribute a lump sum to keep YOU eating (and ad-lite)”.
    I hope people are generous to you, Maryann.

  • Nancy

    I made a one time donation for the year–I’ll be looking for that reminder next August, also.

    I love your site! I only recently discovered it and it is now one of the sites I faithfully read every day. I am happy to subscribe.

  • Carey

    Add me to the list of people who call you ‘my favorite film critic’ or something like it! Donation made, MJ. Thanks for everything!

  • aviv

    I’ve been reading your site for awhile now and am glad to make a donation to keep it up and running!

    Keep up the good work!

  • If this all works out for you (here’s hoping it does), is there any chance of getting a non-truncated version of the RSS feed going? I really love my newsreader and I promise to click-through every once in awhile!

    There are also some fairly compelling arguments in favor of full feed posts that show how truncated feeds can hurt you rather than help you.

    Here’s a good Techdirt article on the subject.

    Also, with the capability of Google Reader to share and promote feed posts, you might just find a broader audience. I share posts all the time, but I’m sorry to say that I don’t share many of yours due to the fact that they’re so light on content.

    Good Luck!

    ~Jay

  • MaryAnn

    Also, with the capability of Google Reader to share and promote feed posts, you might just find a broader audience.

    A broader audience, frankly, does me no good if it’s not bringing in money. I’m already giving away my content to 100,000 readers: you want me to give it away without even the tiny benefit (to me) of advertising that the site brings in?

    I share posts all the time, but I’m sorry to say that I don’t share many of yours due to the fact that they’re so light on content.

    Obviously, you should not share any content that you yourself don’t appreciate.

    From that article you linked to:

    It’s a question of whether or not you respect your community and want to add value for them, or if you just view them as dollar signs and feel you need to force or guilt them into doing stuff they don’t want.

    If I viewed my audience as dollar signs, I’d have stopped doing this a long time ago. I respect my community. But I also have to make a living. I have been doing this long-term (as that article says is important), and I’m struggling every day. I have been giving content away — sorry if some of it is too light — for 13 years. And I’ve never had a paywall, I have never overloaded this site with advertising, never bombarded readers with popovers or popunders.

    Maybe I’ll try a full-content RSS feed, experiment with it and see what happens. It’s really hard to see how it could possibly benefit me, though, in either the short term or the long term.

    Seriously, how much giving away do I have to do? :->

  • MaryAnn

    If this all works out for you (here’s hoping it does), is there any chance of getting a non-truncated version of the RSS feed going?

    Perhaps I’ll offer a full-content feed to those who subscribe…

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