This is the beginning of a new year, the time when many online publications hit up their readers for donations (see the “subscribe” button in the upper left-hand corner). While we will gladly accept your contributions, which we apply to an upgraded hosting package and other services that improve our blogging productivity and your reader experience, but I hate to bludgeon you with annoying appeals for money.
Instead, there are better ways you can help. You can help us grow the publication.
The thing that keeps Steve Haner, Don Rippert and me pumping out in-depth news and commentary from a conservative/libertarian perspective is the hope that we might be making a difference. How do we tell if we’re making a difference? One obvious way is by the number of readers we reach.
The good news is that readership as measured by page views and email subscriptions have increased smartly over the past year. Since June, page views have risen significantly every month compared to the previous year. The not-so-great news is that we could be reaching a lot more people.
VA News, the leading aggregator of Virginia political and public-policy news, has decided after much angst and hand-wringing over its editorial criteria to exclude stories written by Haner and me from its daily offering — thus depriving us of exposure to more than 12,000 readers every day. Frankly, I think VA News’s criteria are arbitrary and unreasonable, but they are what they are. We can cry about it… or we can do something about it.
The Virginia Mercury, a left-of-center digital publication, receives hundreds of thousands of dollars in foundation funding and has the resources to invest in building its circulation. I suppose we, too, could look for foundation funding. But Steve and I don’t want to be beholden to outside funders. (That’s one of the reasons I ceased accepting sponsorships for the blog.) We want to be able to say whatever we want to say without worrying whether we’re upsetting someone.
We’d rather grow organically with the help of like-minded readers. Here’s what I would ask you to do: Write an email and send it to every person in your address book whom you think might benefit from reading Bacon’s Rebellion. Tell them why you think it’s a worthwhile publication. And urge them visit the site and sign up for our email.
Even better, if you are so inclined, set up your own email distribution list on Outlook (see instructions) and make a habit of regularly re-distributing posts that you find especially informative. Please free to add your own commentary! Tell your friends and contacts why you think the particular post warrants reading. For a modicum of effort — and only as the spirit moves you — you can act as a viral amplifier of the blog. (Include my email on your distribution list — I’d love to know what you’re up to.) To my mind, such a contribution would be better than money.
Still… If you’re inclined to send money instead, we’ll happily accept it. If you don’t want to donate by credit card, we’ll take checks. Just contact me at jabacon[at]baconsrebellion.com for details. Trust me, we’ll find a good use for it. I’ll double the salary I pay Steve and myself. Two times zero equals zero! No, seriously, I have some ideas for how to use the money once we build up the kitty.
— Jim Bacon