Post #524 • April 26, 2005, 8:58 AM • 18 Comments
While we're in navel-gazing mode, allow me to take care of a related item of business. I have been following the death of the mainstream media as we know it, and although arguments about the newspapers' inadequacies have fallen a hair short of convincing me that they're going away any time soon, a headline from today's NYT did rather register as a coughing up of blood: Newspapers Find National Ads a Tough Sell.
Many newspapers have been ailing as readers defect to other sources of news and as advertisers seek new ways to attract potential customers. The biggest challenge, by most accounts, comes from Web sites and search engines like Google and Yahoo. ... Newspaper Web sites still benefit from classifieds and other ads that once belonged almost solely to newspapers. But their ad revenue pales in comparison with that of the big Internet search engines and portals.
I am the proud owner of an iMac G4 that has just turned three years old. As of a couple of months ago, it refuses to recognize its own CD drive and all other external disks, including the new camera. That indicates a logic board issue. The last time I had a logic board issue on a Mac, the repair estimate came to 90% of the cost of a new machine. Now that Apple has a new operating system coming out, even if I get lucky on the logic board repair, there's still that upgrade to Tiger to consider.
As I examine the simultaneously exciting and galling possibility of a new machine (a 12-inch Powerbook, about as soon as they start shipping with Tiger installed), the above item reminds me that maybe I ought to consider generating a revenue model for Artblog.net. I do this out of love, pure and simple. So my revenue goals, as much as I can stomach the idea of them, would be targeted at covering groceries for the month. Singing for my supper, as it were. That's $150 a month, or $1800 a year. I want to check in with my readers regarding my options, all of which are dismal in some way.
1. Accept advertising. At the request of my readers, and seeing that it did make the blog a better read when I stayed away from politics, vegetarianism, and juggling, I have a very on-topic site. The above article seems to indicate that such focus makes for a desirable advertising venue. The cons include the fact that Google ads are as ugly as garbage, and I personally have never clicked through one and don't understand the attraction. I could select the advertisers myself, but I'd want to make more money in that case, as I'd then be working to sell ads. Also, consider that advertising creates obligations - if I accept an ad from a gallery, and later give them a positive review, will you believe it?
2. Secure patronage. Craig Robins, are you reading? Cons: see above regarding obligations. Alternately, There's a possibility that 18 of my readers would be willing to pay a hundred bucks a year for this. Or maybe 36 who would pay $50. 72 who would pay $25? (Hey - what do you think the chances are that I could get eight local art poobahs to contribute $5000 a year in return for making this my full-time gig? For that, I'll go write about shows I don't care much about. No problem.)
3. Advertise myself. Visualize a column over on the right of your screen with a sample of my art and a bio, talking up myself in an effort to sell art, writing, or design. Cons: I have to read this site too, and boy, but am I going to get tired of seeing that.
4. Premium content. This was kind of the idea behind Artblog.net/publications - twice a month I put up something that costs 75 cents to download and hope for a hundred people to go for it. Cons: actually, not many. It will be a bear to implement and might not work, but I think it would be cool to try.
Anyway, I may just suck it up and let everything continue as before, so don't panic if all of this looks unacceptably crass. But otherwise, what's your vote?