Yes, it’s that time of the year again! Every Christmas season, I follow the lead of NPR, PBS, and the charity of your choice and ask my readers to help with the upkeep of this site and to help keep it commercial and ad-free. This year I have an extra incentive to do so: my tablet died, and my laptop’s hard drive is going into failure and the optical drive fell off. I’m facing down the need to replace all of my electronics!
In the interest of saving some time, I am adapting my pitch from last year for this post.
In the new economy, online services increasingly rely on the generosity of their patrons to continue, mostly because nobody watches or reads ads anymore. In a couple of months’ time, this site will turn nine years old. It is my second website; I have been posting online content since 2001. But as you know, it takes money to maintain a website and to afford to spend the time needed to write, research, and expand the content found here. As we close in on Christmas, I am launching my end of the year fundraising campaign to help me make it possible to deliver the kind of quality content that you have come to expect from this website. I have run this campaign every holiday season since 2014, and each year I have been touched by the generosity of my readers and the exceptional support you have provided to help me keep this site up and running for another year.
This year, I have two options for contributing. You can use the yellow donation button to make a one-time donation to my website, or you can use the orange (burnt sienna?) Patreon button to become a patron with a recurring voluntary subscription in the amount of your choice.
Since I do this every year, I will give you the same pitch as every year: As we approach the holidays, I’d like to put in a pitch for donations to help keep this site running ad-free. At the end of the month, my subscription payments for the premium level services that keep the site ad-free and running smoothly will come due. As most of you know, I don’t make any money off of this website, and I have made the conscious choice to avoid placing advertising on the site, both because it doesn’t make as much money as you’d think and because it makes the user experience significantly worse, which in turn makes the information I provide less effective in reaching audiences. If you can find it in your heart to chip in a few dollars to help offset the costs of my web hosting services, I would be greatly appreciative! As Wikipedia and Firefox like to say, if everyone reading this chipped in just $3 or $5, the fundraising drive would be over instantly!
The alternatives to raising funds via donation are both suboptimal. The first is to follow the subscription model, locking content behind a paywall. Gaia TV does this with their ancient astronaut programs. The upside is that you get paid, but the downside is that the audience exposed to the content is limited to only those people willing to pay, which defeats the purpose of producing content for public consumption in the first place. The second alternative is to take advertising. There are many downsides to this. First, the ads ruin the user experience. Ancient Origins is larded with them, to the point that if I am not using ad-blocking software, my browser will freeze and crash trying to access a page. Second, this gives advertisers enormous power over what can be said. We have seen Nephilim theorist L. A. Marzulli reduced to fits of rage after YouTube cut off the advertising money train on his anti-Muslim videos, but while he shouldn’t have been surprised since it was an explicit policy in the terms and conditions, he wasn’t wrong that advertisers can run a moneymaking venture into the ground by withdrawing support for controversial material. This encourages anodyne content, especially given that the material I write about directly affects the products put out by large corporations that also control most of the advertising. Finally, no one actually clicks on ads, so the volume of advertising I would need to make significant money would be … unpleasant.
I suppose I could seek out a sponsor, the way that Marzulli takes money from JINGOS urine and vomit stain removal spray, but the downside of that is the need to do promotions for ridiculous products and services. “This program was brought to you by the Eagle Hand-Laundry. Are your eagle’s hands dirty? We'll wash ’em clean!” Most of the offers I’ve gotten for advertising and sponsorship have come from dubious foreign products and services of questionable taste and legality.
As I wrote on my Patreon page, your support helps me to continue my work researching history and providing free access to vital information that will set the historical record straight and take back truth from the fakers who seek to capitalize on lies.
This year, I’ll add a coda: I’ll be working on not one but two books in the first half of the year, and that will take resources to complete that the very small advance won’t cover.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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