November 23rd, 2020 by Zachary Shahan
CleanTechnica has been diligently and obsessively covering cleantech industries for more than a decade. We’ve seen many good news sites come and go, because it’s simply hard to be a profitable and large niche media company in this day and age. We’re still enthusiastically rolling along and publishing a dozen or more stories a day, but we could use your help in order to get to the next level.
We’d like to write more stories, go into more depth in the stories we write, and produce more thorough, original analyses and reports. However, we need more cash money for that.
We’d also like to cut back on ads, because who likes ads? And we’d prefer to be incentivized by human subscribers who encourage us to reach for our ideals rather than rely on ads that encourage clickbait. (We actually try really hard to avoid publishing clickbait, but there’s no doubt that we are implicitly encouraged to publish content that we know will be popular, and are less incentivized to publish in-depth content that we expect will only be appreciated by hardcore regular readers.)
I get it, I get it. No one wants to pay for content they’ve been getting for free! That said, if you spend much time on the internet at all (and of course you do), you’ve seen that most major media networks now have subscription sections, or at least push really hard for you to contribute cash money to their business. That’s because good journalism and analysis is best supported by subscribers, not ads. Relying on ad money, we are at the whims of the ad market, internet algorithms (ahem, we humbly and enthusiastically bow to you, King Google), and whatever leads to viral content from week to week and year to year. Relying on a large pool of subscribers, on the other hand, we would be constantly reminded who our boss is and who pays our bills. And I do want to thank the hundreds of totally awesome people who have been financially supporting our work so far.
Overall, in my opinion, we are facing a bit of an information crisis and media crisis in this century. Too much free content and easy publishing has resulted in too much bad content and misinformation. We try to counter that here on CleanTechnica, but we could do much more if our regular readers all became small-dollar subscribers (or large-dollar subscribers, cough cough). We could do much better in the pursuit of our mission if the bulk of our revenue came from regular reader support that provided a strong financial baseline. It really does make a difference.
Lastly (for now), we want to offer more in gratitude to anyone who opens their purse to support the CleanTechnica content terafactory. So, we have an updated list of benefits for contributing subscribers. Also, we’re launching a new “community fundraiser drive” this month. As we hit new milestones, we will upgrade our site in various ways. For example, at the following levels, we will:
- 400 subscribers — disable some disqus ads (disqus won’t let us disable all of them)
- 500 subscribers — poll subscribers to determine a new quarterly report series
- 600 subscribers — poll subscribers to determine a new monthly report series
- 700 subscribers — poll subscribers to determine a new monthly mega-article (investigative or analytical deep dive)
- 800 subscribers — poll subscribers to determine who to interview on the Cleantech Talk podcast series.
Overall, I honestly don’t want to pressure anyone, which is why we don’t have those annoying popup requests to subscribe (like you see on almost every other website). However, I do know that an enormous amount of work goes into our website, and has every day for the past 10+ years, and I know how much more we could do with a strong subscriber base. I know it would create more stability and security among our writers, and I know it would allow us to spend more time and money on in-depth content that doesn’t necessarily fit a viral or Google-friendly theme. We could do much better, and we try to constantly improve (which, I have to admit, means we started off really crappy back in 2007), and it is definitely not all about money, but money goes a long way in supporting hard work and true expertise.
Support us if you can. If we don’t inspire you, at least support other news and analysis sites that you value. This industry is harsh and immensely stretched at the moment, while also tremendously influential to the paths society takes.
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