With the downturn in the economy and the official declaration of the USA being in a Recession, most people are looking at how to trim their budgets and stretch their dollar.
Geeks are finally switching from traditional POTS telephone service to its much cheaper VoIP alternatives. Rather than going out to the movies people are using the Netflix 1-out-at-a-time plan to get unlimited streaming movies to their XBOX360. Thermostats are being set lower and lights are being turned off in unoccupied rooms. Even though the price of gasoline has dropped well over half (from its $4.00+/gallon high just several months ago to around $1.50/gallon now) people are driving less.
While all of these are prudent and thrifty ways to save money and spend less, some things are still seen as non-necessary expenses.
The Internet isn’t free
In the case of one tech. blogger, that expense is web hosting.
For those of you who don’t know, web hosting is basically leasing space, bandwidth, and services from a Web Host who, in turn, serves up your website to your audience. Think of it as your ISP, but in reverse.
If you fail to pay your ISP bill, they turn off your internet access. If you fail to pay your Web Host bill they turn off your site. To independent web content providers, this is basically the kiss of death.
Does it matter if you can still pay your ISP if the websites that you visit are no longer available? It’d be like having a phone, but none of your friends can afford one anymore, so who you gunna call?
It’s a hard call. Almost everyone has been hit by the recession and finds it difficult to must up any money for non-necessary items. (I’ve even cancelled my membership with the National Arbor Day Foundation after 10 loyal years.)
That’s where we in the blogosphere are in a bit of a different business model than “traditional” publishers:
- Your subscription to Sports Illustrated or USA Today costs you a good chunk of change and goes to fund “big media,” infamous for their bias.
- Your “subscription” to independent news via the web costs you only your ISP fees, giving you access to zillions of news sources across the globe. Many of these sources are independent and make little to no money to bring you content as unbiased as they can, often reporting on events that Big Media doesn’t – or won’t.
So, what happens if three-hundred people a month are regulars to some indie website that’s about to be shut down, if half of them donate a dollar, that site can stay up.
Is anyone really asking that?
Wikipedia has begun active solicitation for donations, nagging you on every Wikipedia page you visit.
MikeDopp.com, an independent tech blogger, recently announced that he will not be able to meet his web hosting costs and will have to “go dark” by the beginning of the year. He is asking if his readers feel his content to be worthwhile, and if so is asking for a donation to go toward his hosting fees.
Even I have an avenue for you to donate through my “You can thank me later™” campaign(though no one has yet to donate).
What are your thoughts?
How much would you donate to help keep one of your favorite sites from being turned off?