Please, pay for the web you love

posted by Jeff | Thursday, May 7, 2015, 8:33 PM | comments: 0

This is admittedly a bit self-serving to write this, but it's something that I do think matters. The Internet has done a great many interesting things to the world, not the least of which is challenge the value proposition of virtually everything. Music was apparently overvalued, and text content seems to be virtually worthless. A world of free seems to be the expectation now. That's unfortunate, because everything has some cost that someone has to pay for.

Advertising is what powers much of the Internet, though it has some nasty side effects. It trashes up sites, and a lot of the time, it doesn't produce enough revenue to cover costs. Many sites have avoided advertising entirely, often putting out something for free but requiring payment for the good stuff. Sometimes these models work, but sometimes they don't.

That's why I'm not afraid to spend money on things that I really value. My favorite example is Vimeo, the video site that I use as a clean and beautiful archive for all of my little video projects. I give them $60 every year, even though I only upload two or three videos a year. Why? Because I really like the service, the features and the community that comes with it. I want them to be around forever, and I'll gladly do my part to help.

Something that routinely surprises me is the number of people that join CoasterBuzz Club, the way I "monetize" the site without ads, without any expectation in return. I've actually had email that said, "I want to join if it helps you out, even though I don't intend to use it for entry to events." I think that's one of the reasons that I feel so strongly about paying for things like Vimeo, because others have done it for the site that I provide.

CoasterBuzz and PointBuzz have always been a hobby, but for a long time I could barely cover the expenses. The expenses aren't nearly as ridiculous as they used to be, but it's often hard to justify spending money on software and better services if you don't get a solid return on the effort. The goal isn't to be rich, it's to do well enough that you feel like your product is valued.

Some sites have memberships, paid features and even tip jars. Please, support the stuff you love.


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