By John Gruber
Plan your novel, finish your dissertation, launch a product. You need Tinderbox.
Ever since I re-announced the availability of super-deluxe Daring Fireball T-shirts back in October, I’ve been backlogged on shipping them out. As of this writing, I’m pretty much caught up. The last batch of non-U.S. shipments didn’t go out until this week, however.
The whole shirts/membership endeavor has been a huge success. The basic idea is that I’d like to turn this gig from a hobby into a career — if there are successful full-time independent Mac developers, why not successful full-time independent Mac writers, too? (If you’re new, see “Something Daring”, from last June, for more.)
The membership system is the first prong in the plan, and while the results to date have exceeded my expectations, membership revenue still falls far short of a salary. There are continually more things I want to write about than I have time to write. The math is simple: the more readers who support this site by becoming members, the more time I’ll be able to spend writing. I can’t emphasize enough how much every membership counts.
Plus, the T-shirts are pretty damned cool:
(Photo by George del Barrio.)
Although in terms of coolness, it’s going to be difficult for anyone to top Eric Case, who, incredibly, took his T-shirt to the summit of Stok Kangri, a 20,000-foot-high mountain in northern India. I don’t even know Eric. He just thought his DF shirt would be a cool thing to take along to the Himalayas.
One perquisite of membership is access to Daring Fireball’s members-only RSS feeds (one containing the full content of regular articles, the other for the Linked List). According to my logs, these feeds are pretty popular:
Plus, next week I plan to test the waters with a mailing list for readers to discuss Daring Fireball-related topics. I’ll have more to say about this when it’s ready, but for now, the important thing to note is that subscription to the list will be limited to Daring Fireball members. One reason for this is that it will hopefully have a positive effect on the signal-to-noise ratio on the list; the other, of course, is that I’m hoping it might spur more I’ve-been-thinking-about-joining fence-sitters to join. Become a member now, and you’ll be able to sign up for the mailing list as soon as it’s announced.
The intention isn’t that these members-only perquisites are, in and of themselves, worth the price of a membership. What’s truly valuable here is the content, and that is free for everyone. Becoming a member is a way for you to support this free content, and the members-only features are token rewards for doing so.
And, for what it’s worth, for those of you who aren’t interested in the T-shirt, I’ve dropped the price of a one-year membership to $19.
The second prong of my business plan (such that it is) for this site started in September, when I began selling my own sponsorships. This too has gone well, and I’m deeply appreciative to each of the following sponsors:
Audio Hijack Pro: Rogue Amoeba’s audio-capture and enhancement tool
Basecamp: 37signals’ collaborative project management web app
Mailsmith: Bare Bones Software’s extra-strength email client
Path Finder: Cocoatech’s powerful file browser/utility
Proteus: Defaultware’s easy-to-use multi-service chat app
I’d like to especially thank Jim Coudal and his colleagues at Jewelboxing, makers of extraordinarily clever DVD and CD packaging systems. Jewelboxing was on board as a sponsor from the get-go, and they’ve sponsored the site every day since.
These are all products which I’m proud to promote, and it warms my heart to see that sponsors are willing to embrace my thinking with regard to the design and placement of web-based advertising. By keeping ads relatively small, text-based, and non-animated, they’re noticeable without being distracting.
A couple of spots are available for February (and thereafter). The policies remain:
Only one sponsorship ad appears per page.
There are only five sponsorship slots available. Thus, each active sponsor is guaranteed at least 20 percent of Daring Fireball’s page-views for the duration of the sponsorship. If there are fewer than 5 sponsors, you may get more, but I reserve the right to use empty slots for other purposes.
Sponsorship ads are placed prominently on every page, “above the fold”.
I will only accept sponsorships for products or services that I believe will be of interest to Daring Fireball readers, and which are worth their attention.
Ads should be around 80 characters long; 100 is the upper limit.
Starting price: $500 for four weeks, with discounts offered for longer contracts.
If you’re interested in sponsoring Daring Fireball, contact me at email@example.com. If you’re not responsible for your company’s advertising, but feel that your company would be a good sponsor for Daring Fireball, feel free to prod your local marketing weenie.
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