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MeFi Fundraising Update
June 2, 2014 3:01 PM   Subscribe

I wanted to thank you all for your generosity in helping MeFi’s future stability and also give some big updates on where we are with the impromptu fundraising efforts over the last couple weeks.

As of right now, 1868 members are contributing a dollar or more monthly, for just about $10,000 in recurring donations after fees have been removed. For one-time donations we have 1063 members that have given us a total of nearly $40,000 after fees. For monthly funding, that’s an average of $5.35/person, and on the one-time donations, it is about $37/person. We’ve also included people that mailed in a check as much as possible (we could identify about 70% of the donations that came in that way, we changed the donation page to ask people put their usernames in the memo field to make this 100%), added Bitcoin as well, and are still working on a PayPal alternative if that was holding anyone back from giving.

The fundraising results are fantastic and I thank you all because it’s way beyond what I expected. The monthly recurring revenue is really great. It is trending past 1/3 of our total monthly Adsense revenue and ensures we have a comfortable padding towards any future reductions in advertising revenue. The one-time donations will also come in handy as they provide a healthy buffer (along with current savings) of a couple months of operating income, which takes away a great deal of stress around the future of MeFi (we’ve historically operated with just a couple weeks of revenue saved up).

As a result of this fundraising, we’re able to keep goodnewsfortheinsane on board for one day of taz relief a week effective immediately. LobsterMitten may be able to return later this summer as well, once the dust settles and we figure out how well the streamlined setup works on the backend.

As we approach 3,000 supporters, we’ll be making the fundraising less visible, removing the top banner from all the sites, but adding it to the header/footer later this week in some permanent, unobtrusive way.

Again, I want to thank you all for supporting the site and for being so understanding during this rocky time. We’re still developing a bunch of tools on the admin side and will be rolling out small changes to the site for users over the next few months, all with Metafilter's future stability and long history in mind. Thanks again.
posted by mathowie to MetaFilter-Related at 3:01 PM (326 comments total) 132 users marked this as a favorite

Don't get too unobtrusive, we like to contribute when we can. Thanks Matt & crew!
posted by Iteki at 3:04 PM on June 2 [73 favorites]


Yes, obtrusiveness is not a problem. Thanks for the update Matt.
posted by R. Mutt at 3:06 PM on June 2 [7 favorites]


That is terrific news, but the fundraising could barely be less visible than it is now, so I'm not sure you should sweat that. Thanks for the update.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 3:09 PM on June 2 [39 favorites]


Thank you!
posted by gingerbeer at 3:10 PM on June 2


mathowie: "I knew there'd be questions about ways to help. For now, rolling with the punches after June 1st is the best thing for us, and helping us along as we revamp some stuff around the site to make mod times easier.

On the giving money front, the best thing would be an optional monthly subscription (get a gold star, maybe an extra feature or two down the line) instead of a pledge drive, because pledge drives are one time deals that you have to push on everyone while the monthly trickle of subscription revenue would be better.

But running the numbers, we would literally need a few thousand people to pony up $2-$3 a month for that optional subscription, and I haven't met anyone in doing research on these that gets more than a few single digit percentage of their daily member visits converted over to subscriptions. My guess is a few hundred of you would pay for it, but that wouldn't cover a part-timer's monthly hours. I could be wrong, and I'll definitely take all these comments into account.
"

Looking forward to the next "Suck it internet, this is MetaFilter: Best Community Ever" post on Medium
posted by rebent at 3:10 PM on June 2 [127 favorites]


I'll chime in as also not being bothered by intrusiveness. I wouldn't mind if Fund was right up there between Chat and Metatalk on the main menu.
posted by pjern at 3:12 PM on June 2 [23 favorites]


Looking forward to the next "Suck it internet, this is MetaFilter: Best Community Ever" post on Medium

I know, that is crazy, and really surprised me in a good way. Something like 25% of the daily member visitors have given money when the industry average for paid optional options is about 5%.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 3:13 PM on June 2 [155 favorites]


Crazy-good news - thanks for passing this along. I'll publicly promise to contribute regularly, after I find gainful employment. What an awesome community.
posted by dbmcd at 3:14 PM on June 2 [2 favorites]


Thanks so much for the update. I am really happy that we exceeded your expectations as quoted by rebent above. This is a great place, and nearly 2,000 voluntary monthly contributions is pretty amazing.

I am also so excited to hear that gnfti and potentially LM will still be on board as mods, even if it's greatly reduced time-wise. This is great news.

While I don't think that "Fund" should be a top-level menu item on the right-hand side as suggested above, I think that it could potentially go in the unbolded font on the top menu, alongside Best Of. Perhaps next to the FAQ? I think it would be best to have it on the top menu; the bottom menu is typically ignored by users (at least in the HCI literature with which I am familiar).
posted by sockermom at 3:15 PM on June 2 [6 favorites]


That's good news for everyone, not just the insane!

Here's hoping things continue to look up. And feel free to keep asking us for money.
posted by Metroid Baby at 3:19 PM on June 2 [13 favorites]


Great job, everyone!
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 3:19 PM on June 2 [3 favorites]


N-thing don't worry about intrusiveness, Matt. Please.

Matt, in this one case, your wonderful instinct to not be too forward or commercial in any way with regard to this community works against you. Please don't be afraid to ask for help from the userbase if needed in the future. And for heaven's sake, please don't worry about being a noodge.

mathowie: "I know, that is crazy, and really surprised me in a good way. Something like 25% of the daily member visitors have given money when the industry average for paid optional options is about 5%."

Many of us value this place. And would no doubt mourn it's absence.
posted by zarq at 3:20 PM on June 2 [17 favorites]


Yay!

It may well be that *not* giving us anything for the money is a better motivator than charging for increased access or perks. I think I read somewhere that blood donations go down when you pay for them: people are happy to give their life-blood if it feels necessary, but if you offer recompense they tend to think it's a transaction and weigh the benefits and costs. I don't think I'd want to pay for a gold star or something, that'd be weird. But paying to bring back gnfti and LM is totally worth it.

On the other hand, it could just be that you've inspired fanatical loyalty, and a Gold Stars for Gold would just make you more money.
posted by anotherpanacea at 3:21 PM on June 2 [21 favorites]


Yeah, not bothered by current visibility levels either. What pjern suggested sounds pretty reasonable.

Also, yes. Best community ever!!! This is why I love Metafilter. What an awesome display of generosity and solidarity. Has Caitlin Dewey apologized yet?
posted by Hairy Lobster at 3:22 PM on June 2 [3 favorites]


good news for gnfti!
posted by aubilenon at 3:23 PM on June 2 [2 favorites]


(good news for all of us, too)
posted by aubilenon at 3:24 PM on June 2 [1 favorite]


I can't speak for anyone but myself but I love this place and I for one would rather see less than perfectly unobtrusive ongoing fundraising efforts than ever have to log in again to see that the site is in trouble.
posted by SpaceWarp13 at 3:24 PM on June 2 [14 favorites]


Something like 25% of the daily member visitors have given money

That is fucking awesome. Well done everyone. Hugs and kisses all around. Well, for 25% of you.
posted by Lutoslawski at 3:24 PM on June 2 [1 favorite]


It may well be that *not* giving us anything for the money is a better motivator than charging for increased access or perks

I talked to a couple people that run large, household-name sites with paid feature options and both said the same thing, that people really don't care about the features, and they're actually a drag on the engineering team to maintain, that people would rather donate for a small recognition instead of features.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 3:25 PM on June 2 [38 favorites]


HurrAh and huzzah 0/
posted by Faintdreams at 3:25 PM on June 2


:)
posted by kitcat at 3:25 PM on June 2


Um, please do not shoot yourself in the foot here. Do not worry about being "unobtrusive." I don't expect you to make it to 10k subscribers or anything like that but some folks said they logged in for the first time in a couple of weeks or whatever to discover this and promptly gave. Please do not be so humble and self effacing as to start essentially turning down money.

And thanks for the update.
posted by Michele in California at 3:25 PM on June 2 [15 favorites]


I'd rather donate and simply know that this space will continue to exist. I keep the star on my profile page not to brag but to reflect community support. I think the more profiles that have the star, the more people will see how invested the entire group is, and that can only inure to the benefit of all.
posted by janey47 at 3:27 PM on June 2 [19 favorites]


Do not bury the need for funding in a tiny note on the footer or FAQ. None of us knew this was an issue the first time around, and there's absolutely no need to bury the ongoing need to support this site. It's much better to have that as an ongoing understanding of what it means to be a member of this site, rather than a once-in-a-blue-moon-panic at the thought of the great shutdown.

Seriously, people have shown that they WANT to be part of the ongoing connection to this site. Why in the world would you remove that now, so that no newcomers will ever find it again? Make it part of the site's ethos. Keep the "FUND METAFILTER" link updated so that folks can see the percentages and stats of donors, the relevant articles and Metatalk links, and a few words as to why we need to have community-supported Metafilter.

The surge of worry worked out this time, but now it needs to become an ongoing understanding of how Metafilter works.

Can we ask if there has been any new information on the technical side of things? It's better to have a diversified stream of income, but I'm curious if any of the back-end details have changed for the better since all of the news coverage emerged.
posted by barnone at 3:31 PM on June 2 [33 favorites]


This is tremendous news!
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 3:33 PM on June 2


This is just great. It makes me want to give even MORE money! I am glad to be a mefite.
posted by something something at 3:33 PM on June 2


Now, will we reach 3000....
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 3:34 PM on June 2


Hodor!
posted by Hodor at 3:34 PM on June 2 [38 favorites]


Something like 25% of the daily member visitors have given money when the industry average for paid optional options is about 5%.

MetaFilter: 500% Better than the Rest of the Internet.
posted by griphus at 3:34 PM on June 2 [100 favorites]


Hell, make FUND a permanent blink tag at post title font size across the center of the page if you want. Anything to make the donations keep on rolling in and the good news happening. :D
posted by iamkimiam at 3:35 PM on June 2 [1 favorite]


Can we ask if there has been any new information on the technical side of things? It's better to have a diversified stream of income, but I'm curious if any of the back-end details have changed for the better since all of the news coverage emerged.

I mostly got ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ from Google, with vague allusions to things possibly getting better someday in the mid to long term future but no guarantees. I am talking to a current advertiser (the Deck ads on the front page) about possibly expanding those where Google's ads perform poorly. I was going to announce that soon actually, that Google ads may drop from the Blue and be replaced by the Deck ads everywhere, which you can continue hide as a user optionally.

Overall, the goal is to get away from the 90% Google revenue problem, and it looks like by the end here, Google may only make up 60% or so of the total revenue, so if it went down slightly, it wouldn't have such a catastrophic impact on MeFi.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 3:35 PM on June 2 [38 favorites]


I talked to a couple people that run large, household-name sites with paid feature options and both said the same thing, that people really don't care about the features, and they're actually a drag on the engineering team to maintain, that people would rather donate for a small recognition instead of features.

Yeah, I think this makes a lot of sense. I wouldn't have donated to get extra stuff and it would have irritated me to be asked, but it's absolutely worth donating to support a website I really like.

I'm also so super happy and excited and overwhelmed that goodnewsfortheinsane will be able to stay around part-time and that taz will have more in the way of breaks/support and everything about this is just super awesome, from the recognition that Metafilter matters to people to the actual practical effects of people caring.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 3:36 PM on June 2 [8 favorites]


Donating to Metafilter should be like voting in Chicago:

Early and often.
posted by pjern at 3:41 PM on June 2 [7 favorites]


Another voice for leaving it at the top. I love love love seeing the numbers tick up, and even as it slows down it's nice to see. Let me keep seeing it every time I come!

I wonder if the data normalizes if you look at pageviews. I know lots of Big Name sites have members/visitors that only visit a relatively few number of pages each day, where us mefites apparently look at every single thing posted in the history of the site at least once a week. If you do pages/visit to percent contribution, I wonder if we'd look more in line. As in - one donation for ever 30 page views. It's the same every where, it's just that MetaFilter reaches the magic pageview number with fewer visitors.
posted by stoneweaver at 3:41 PM on June 2 [2 favorites]


How about this: I'll move to a nav item and take the banner down when we hit 3,000.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 3:44 PM on June 2 [20 favorites]


stoneweaver: "where us mefites apparently look at every single thing posted in the history of the site at least once a week."

I can stop whenever I want.
posted by zarq at 3:46 PM on June 2 [23 favorites]


This is an excellent update. Thank you.
posted by SLC Mom at 3:48 PM on June 2


No mention of a non PayPal monthly support option? I'm assuming that means it's not coming soon. Oh well, time to ally with the dark forces, for the good of MeFi.
posted by benito.strauss at 3:49 PM on June 2


Nav Items are line 2 at the top of the page, no lower, right?
Approved.
posted by SLC Mom at 3:49 PM on June 2


I am talking to a current advertiser (the Deck ads on the front page) about possibly expanding those where Google's ads perform poorly. I was going to announce that soon actually, that Google ads may drop from the Blue and be replaced by the Deck ads everywhere, which you can continue hide as a user optionally.

To meet my daily recommended Schadenfreude allowance I would like to know: does reducing the reliance on Google's ads mean that Google is missing out on some money that it could previously count on? I realize that this will be infinitesimal compared to their overall revenue, but the idea of their own search tweaks biting them in the ass is too delicious to overlook. If other sites are having similar issues and are reducing their dependence on Google ads as well, maybe there'll be some kind of critical mass that makes Google take this a bit more seriously.
posted by LionIndex at 3:50 PM on June 2 [4 favorites]


Hooray for all the funding and keeping more mods, even part-time.
posted by immlass at 3:50 PM on June 2


No mention of a non PayPal monthly support option?

"added Bitcoin as well, and are still working on a PayPal alternative if that was holding anyone back from giving."

We're still looking at doing it with Amazon Payments. We tried Stripe but it was pretty complex and required a ton of development to complete. Amazon is more like PayPal and may work out.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 3:53 PM on June 2 [6 favorites]


This is excellent news!

Adding another vote for "don't get too unobtrusive," since we need to keep this on the radar for the foreseeable future.

Go Team BestOfTheWeb!
posted by blurker at 3:55 PM on June 2


Something like 25% of the daily member visitors have given money when the industry average for paid optional options is about 5%.

Paging Caitlin Dewey: this is the way we Internet [which is not a fucking verb, but whatever].
posted by scody at 3:56 PM on June 2 [13 favorites]


It totally is a fucking verb. Even a nonfucking verb. But it verbs. Totally.

So sayeth moi.
posted by Michele in California at 3:58 PM on June 2 [3 favorites]


What good news! Thank you for the update, Matt.

SpaceWarp13: I can't speak for anyone but myself but I love this place and I for one would rather see less than perfectly unobtrusive ongoing fundraising efforts than ever have to log in again to see that the site is in trouble.

HEAR HEAR. I'd be fine with more visible fundraising efforts if it meant keeping this community afloat.

I've loved this place for over a decade. And now that I'm on bed rest, let me tell you, Metafilter is especially precious to me. Not only for my sake, but I think my friends, family and mr. hgg are all thankful that I have at least a few new things per day to talk about with them!
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 4:00 PM on June 2 [6 favorites]


This is excellent news, and makes me want to re-visit my budget to see if I can increase my monthly payment.

But this: we’ve historically operated with just a couple weeks of revenue saved up -- it made me wonder how you have any stomach lining left. You are one seriously calm dude, mathowie. Good on you.
posted by ambrosia at 4:01 PM on June 2 [16 favorites]


I love Metafilter.
posted by josher71 at 4:02 PM on June 2 [2 favorites]


I mostly got ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ from Google

This is truly insane to me; they worked with those Rap Genius cretins but won't look into this? Crazy.
posted by youarenothere at 4:04 PM on June 2 [14 favorites]


scody: " Something like 25% of the daily member visitors have given money when the industry average for paid optional options is about 5%.

Paging Caitlin Dewey: this is the way we Internet [which is not a fucking verb, but whatever].
"

Yeah, that was a super weird article. And I think she deleted her tweets about it as well.

Huh.
posted by boo_radley at 4:04 PM on June 2


How about this: I'll move to a nav item and take the banner down when we hit 3,000.

By "nav item" you mean up there with the subsites and chat links? Yay!

I'd also still love to see a little box of text at the top of every sidebar that says something like

Please join
XXXX readers
in helping
fund MetaFilter

Please, we'd rather you be a little obtrusive than see you lay off any more mods or shut down.
posted by Jacqueline at 4:07 PM on June 2 [35 favorites]


Something like 25% of the daily member visitors have given money when the industry average for paid optional options is about 5%.

This made me cackle with glee. We're gonna become some MBA student's case study, I bet.
posted by Jacqueline at 4:09 PM on June 2 [29 favorites]


Let me keep seeing it every time I come!

Hehehehehe. Yeah, I'm 12.
posted by heyho at 4:11 PM on June 2 [4 favorites]


You don't need to be ashamed of asking us to support the community we love. No one who can't comfortably contribute should feel any pressure to do so, but I'd hate to see anyone miss the message that help is being sought.

Be obtrusive.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 4:11 PM on June 2 [7 favorites]


Yay gnfti and (hopefully) yay LobsterMitten! Thanks for the update.

I'd also like the contributers count to remain somewhere prominent. I've got addicted to refreshing it even more than almost as much as my favourites.
posted by billiebee at 4:16 PM on June 2 [3 favorites]


This is another voice in the choir of "Not offended by fundraising visibility, keep up the good work!" Go team!
posted by bleep at 4:19 PM on June 2


Oops, sorry Matt, I missed that line. Amazon would be great; they already have some credit card numbers for me that I don't even remember ever having.
posted by benito.strauss at 4:24 PM on June 2 [1 favorite]


I'm also not offended by an overt funding request. I've been holding out on a non-Paypal option (or else I'd be sending a recurring paper check), so I'm excited to hear about the progress on that front.
posted by janell at 4:25 PM on June 2


In the initial post (or maybe the Medium article?) you had mentioned that the staff had previously taken a pay cut, is that something that might be reversed with the help of the fundraising funds?
posted by kate blank at 4:31 PM on June 2


Yeah, even as someone who can't afford to contribute right this second, I love watching that number on the banner creep higher! I am absolutely not offended by any overt request you guys want to implement, considering that it will work as a reminder for me when I can help out. Which will hopefully be very soon.
posted by Sara C. at 4:36 PM on June 2 [4 favorites]


I don't find the current banner obtrusive AT ALL. It's polite, well-presented, fits right in with the rest of the decor. (If anything, I've wondered if it's a little too self-effacing for optimal functionality.) For me, the banner is emblematic of everybody pulling together in myriad ways to make and keep this community great. Why not keep it?
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 4:41 PM on June 2 [5 favorites]


Way back before the flood, wasn't there a box in the upper right hand corner with the number of registered members? I think that would be a perfect spot for a ticker of how many users are supporting the site.
posted by ambrosia at 4:45 PM on June 2


Aww, I like the counter.
And hooray for everyone!
posted by Glinn at 4:46 PM on June 2 [1 favorite]


For me, the banner is emblematic of everybody pulling together in myriad ways to make and keep this community great. Why not keep it?

In strictly technical terms, keeping the banner as it exists right now is inconvenient because that banner form is something we use periodically for site-wide alerts about outage and special events. So independent of what specific shape it takes we'll want to move any funding link and info somewhere else in the UI.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:46 PM on June 2 [5 favorites]


Yeah, I agree. If it bugs anyone, they have the option to hide it. It is kind of cool to see, and I'll add another vote for keeping it as is (or really similar). [D'oh!]
posted by heyho at 4:47 PM on June 2 [1 favorite]


This household will be joining the brigade very soon. So please keep the counter up.
posted by vrakatar at 4:52 PM on June 2 [1 favorite]


I understand the need to move it, but please do keep the counter / donation request somewhere very visible. Makes me terribly happy to see it every time, especially when it's jumped more than I expected.
posted by honestcoyote at 4:54 PM on June 2 [7 favorites]


"Well that's the news from Metafilter, where all the mods are strong, the site founder is good looking, and all the users are above average."
posted by the man of twists and turns at 5:06 PM on June 2 [41 favorites]


OK thanks cortex. I do hope that y'all keep the counter and donation request as a permanent thing, and make it obvious. I am certain that your idea of "obvious" could never ever resemble anything like the eyebleed-inducing advertising horrors we have to tune out everywhere else on the internet.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 5:08 PM on June 2 [1 favorite]


Please leave it nice and obtrusive so that I will remember to kick in as soon as my financial situation improves.
posted by 256 at 5:10 PM on June 2 [3 favorites]


you had mentioned that the staff had previously taken a pay cut, is that something that might be reversed with the help of the fundraising funds?

In a few months I'm going to revisit everything to see what's possible, and this could be one aspect of it, if it makes more sense than staffing back up a little. If the Google ad stuff ever upswings, this would be the first thing I would do.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 5:11 PM on June 2 [4 favorites]


My debit card got swiped just before the announcement; I'll kick in when the envelop with my PIN finally makes it to me.
posted by klangklangston at 5:17 PM on June 2


I am proud to see our contribution number creeping upwards and even prouder to be a part of that number.

As janey47 says, I wear my star proudly because I'm happy to be part of the best community I've ever found on the internet.
posted by chatongriffes at 5:25 PM on June 2 [2 favorites]


To provide another voice (as a lurker, but a strange one that actually reads Metatalk), I appreciate that you need to change away from the header area, and that these sort of site discussions are by their very nature in the Metatalk area, but I do encourage you to think about a "State of Metafilter" banner or sidebar, on a yearly basis...perhaps even bi-annual. I do not recall the exact breakdown, but I understand many visitors focus on Ask and the blue, and I would encourage capturing those eyeballs that may very well want to contribute to the health and future of Metafilter, but simply did not know there was a need. I also really appreciate the update and the transparency. Plus it's fun to see those numbers grow, come on 3000!
posted by dawg-proud at 5:33 PM on June 2 [16 favorites]


I did a 'one time donation' and I plan to continue my support in the future (I just don't like auto payment anything). It would be cool if there was some kind of yearly drive to remind those of us who would forget to donate if we weren't reminded that another year has gone by and we should show our appreciation.
posted by NoraCharles at 5:34 PM on June 2 [14 favorites]


Possibly with tote bags.
posted by bonehead at 5:52 PM on June 2 [4 favorites]


Seriously. You, the mods and we users have put a lot of work into this community. I know it goes against your nature, but don't be over-bashful about selling it. You and the mods deserve to put food on the table.

(If you're a user who feels uncomfortable with all of this funding talk because you can't afford to give, please don't feel bad about it. We've all been there. Your contributions are valuable whether you give money or not.)
posted by double block and bleed at 5:53 PM on June 2 [17 favorites]


Seriously, I think things like t-shirt drives periodically would be a good idea. I'd pay $50 for a shirt every now and then.
posted by bonehead at 5:53 PM on June 2 [1 favorite]


How about this: I'll move to a nav item and take the banner down when we hit 3,000.

I also understand the point about needing that space for other things; but the ever-upward-ticking donor count is one of the things that makes that banner so effective. I would encourage you to leave it up so long as you're still getting a reasonable number (say 10-12) donations per day. Don't set a hard limit. I'm pretty sure you're already seeing donations drop by a predictable percentage per day (usually by half, then half, then half again until they dwindle down to nothing) -- please consider waiting until the donor acquisition has run its natural life (you'll be able to tell, trust me) before you take it down.

Also, you're going to have monthly donors drop away for one reason or another over the course of time .... please consider having an annual May "reminder to give" message or some such ... just a brief annual reminder to pick up new donors to replace those that drop away?

The community is more than happy to support the site. If you didn't believe that before I hope you do now. It's just a question of making sure that everyone (new, old, returning) knows that's an option.
posted by anastasiav at 5:53 PM on June 2 [26 favorites]


"where us mefites apparently look at every single thing posted in the history of the site at least once a week."

I think a permanent link to the donate page would fade into the woodwork and get forgotten. Maybe mix things up by periodically turning existing site elements into donation links. Maybe start at the bottom of this page:

Note: Everyone needs a hug.
posted by klarck at 5:59 PM on June 2


I think things like t-shirt drives periodically would be a good idea.

I can haz Friend of Matt Haughey tee?
posted by bfranklin at 6:12 PM on June 2 [4 favorites]


This is great. It makes me happy.
posted by cashman at 6:21 PM on June 2



I mostly got ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ from Google, with vague allusions to things possibly getting better someday in the mid to long term future but no guarantees.


I was googling "fly paper adhesive removal" this afternoon (long story), and I was pleasantly surprised that the top hit was an AskMe thread. Reminded me of several years back, when AskMe was frequently among the top hits for my google searches. I know it's just one search string among untold millions, but I hope it's indicative of google somehow re-evaluating the MeFi rankings.

The advice in the thread was, of course, was spot-on. Peanut butter or vegetable oil does the trick, in case you should have an incident of your own.
posted by bookish at 6:27 PM on June 2 [6 favorites]


I am another voice in favor of a permanent and slightly-more-obtrusive fundraising sign. It makes me happy to see the number tick up every time I visit.

Thanks for the update, Matt. Your transparency is great and much appreciated, and a large part of the reason why mefi has a 25% donation rate instead of the normal 5%. I'm very excited gnfti will be sticking around as mod. As I hit summer vacation this week I'm more aware than ever of what a great place this is and the size of the void it would create if it was gone.
posted by lilac girl at 6:28 PM on June 2 [2 favorites]


This is wonderful news! (in your face, rest of internet!)

I'd love an anniversary reminder asking if I wanted to donate, maybe on the date I joined? I'm a monthly contributer but it'd kind of be like my anniversary gift to MeFi for a higher one-off payment. We've been together for 8 years in one month, I think you deserve a little extra somethin' somethin' to mark the day we met.
posted by liquorice at 6:45 PM on June 2 [1 favorite]


I am pleased and proud and mostly unsurprised by this all. Mostly I'd eat shit before I'd pay for internet garbage but I couldn't sign up for a recurring payment fast enough. I wish it was more. MetaFilter is a nearly constant source of positive influence in my life and I am clear far from alone in that.ly

I'm curious what the long term results will be. Will people stop paying when this all cools down? Will the "google tried to kill MetaFilter" and "little website that could" publicity lead to notoriety and more new users who pay? We'll see.

Personally, it would take a job loss event for me to stop my payments. Worth every penny.
posted by dirtdirt at 6:52 PM on June 2


Matt, have you looked into Dwolla for accepting payments? They do payments through ACH (bank transfers) so you can't use a credit card and you have to give them a routing number of a checking/savings account and then verify your account and transactions can take a few days to clear because the system is fucking archaic and blah blah blah. But the upside is that the fees are very low -- completely free for transactions under $10 and a fixed $0.25 for anything larger. They also support recurring payments, so if someone signed up for $5 a month, same as in town, you'd actually get the whole five bucks.
posted by Rhomboid at 6:52 PM on June 2 [2 favorites]


I love that banner. I check it regularly to see how much closer we are whatever the next big number is. Also, I would buy a "Friend of Matt Haughey" t-shirt in a heart beat. It's true, Matt.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 6:55 PM on June 2 [7 favorites]


New month, new budget, new recurring payment set up (membership fee was last month's donation). Happy to be #2944 (and #1880 recurring)!
posted by threeeyedfrog at 6:57 PM on June 2 [5 favorites]


bookish, if you were logged in to Google it probably pushed AskMe up further in your results, since you've been here before. A lot.

And yeah, I think the fund banner should have the counter.
posted by sockermom at 6:58 PM on June 2


I'll repeat my inclusion into the requests for more shirts (I'm wearing "If you're not paying for it" right now, and earlier today explained it - and MetaFilter - to a neighbor). I wonder if the previous shirts provided more than a tiny blip on the income radar... of course, you're working with Topatoco which is great for handling the merchandise logistics (and making some money) for a lot of sites & artists with less resources than you have, so if that's going to work for you, that's where it SHOULD work. (And try opening the design process to contributors and voting)

But also caps and mugs and especially prints of Matt's Brand New Day and Cortex's Last Supper, please...
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:01 PM on June 2 [1 favorite]


was googling "fly paper adhesive removal" this afternoon (long story), and I was pleasantly surprised that the top hit was an AskMe thread.

Yes, I was Googling something too (my ear is itchy!) and the third link was to AskMe! I want to try Googling other dumb health problems now just to see where we fall.

Anyway, yay for everyone and yay for this community. I want to hug all of you.
posted by leesh at 7:06 PM on June 2


it probably pushed AskMe up further in your results, since you've been here before. A lot.

I dunno about this--I frequently Google dumb health things and don't see Ask results on the first few pages, but then if I search in Ask there are relevant questions. Seeing it right near the top jsut now was a very nice surprise.
posted by leesh at 7:07 PM on June 2


Vote for mugs, whether for fundraising or not. I love mugs! I have totally diverted all of my public radio giving to the station that gives me the best mugs.
posted by freejinn at 7:08 PM on June 2 [6 favorites]


I, for one, want to pay for the things I enjoy. It makes me feel connected to them, supporting them, making sure what I care about have a healthy future. A free website is a website where I am the product, not a participant.

Every time I load the front page I watch that number and it warms my heart.
posted by Freen at 7:15 PM on June 2 [5 favorites]


Mugs! (And also the option to buy a variation [for more dough].) (Also I would totally submit to a contest to design an image for a mug variation.)
posted by Glinn at 7:22 PM on June 2


The community is more than happy to support the site.

anastasiav's point needs to be emphasized, as does her comment in the original "staffing down" thread, written from the perspective of a professional fundraiser.

Setting regular goals for ongoing fundraising (Help Metafilter get to 5,000 member donations by the end of 2014!) keeping the counter visible on the front pages of both the blue and green (if not all subsites), and sending a once-a-year MeMail on the anniversary of our join dates all seem like minimal, respectful, honest and gentle things the site can do to encourage donations, without coming across as overly mercenary or whatever folks think the danger is there.

I think it's pretty clear that MeFi can go even higher in turning daily visitors into donators, if not monthly subscribers. I hope you're talking to professional fundraisers like anastasiav as well as folks who run "large, household-name sites."

Seriously, let's have a campaign to get to 5,000 donors by the end of the year. Keep the banner & counter up until it happens, and take it down for a day or two whenever you need that space for the rare other announcement.
posted by mediareport at 7:25 PM on June 2 [35 favorites]


A long time ago, I linked to an article that claimed that T-shirts was a good way to make money. The link is now subscriber only, but perhaps it's worth taking it up again. Maybe a design contest, with votes on best designs etc.
posted by dhruva at 7:27 PM on June 2


Can the banner shoot off fireworks when we reach 3k?
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 7:30 PM on June 2 [6 favorites]


As someone who has worked in fundraising I vote for having a permanent visible donation button and some kind of counter. It's really easy to ignore if you want to and new site visitors won't know that they can donate if there's no button.

Will doing automatic bill pay from your bank (via checks) work for people who want to make monthly donations don't want to interact with paypal?
posted by oneear at 7:35 PM on June 2 [4 favorites]


Duck Duck Go usage seems to be taking off, and they invite folks with quality datasources to contribute to their "Instant Answers" functionality The whitest-hat SEO imaginable! AskMe isn't a nice tidy collection of [food name] [food age] and [eat it y/n], but it may be that some of the more structured areas, like travel, lend themselves to providing DuckDuckGo instant answers (or "spice" or "longtail"... not entirely sure what's what. They could maybe use some doc help, too). Might bear looking into by folks who code I am unfortunately not such a person.
posted by mumkin at 7:48 PM on June 2 [6 favorites]


NoraCharles: "I did a 'one time donation' and I plan to continue my support in the future (I just don't like auto payment anything). It would be cool if there was some kind of yearly drive to remind those of us who would forget to donate if we weren't reminded that another year has gone by and we should show our appreciation."

liquorice: "I'd love an anniversary reminder asking if I wanted to donate, maybe on the date I joined? "

Both of these but the latter in particular seem like very good ideas. I just made a one time but it's really a monthly subscription in one lump sum payment for the whole year because I don't do recurring payments (heck even my cell phone is pay as you go). I just need a reminder to make another year's payment.

Plus the anniversary date solicitation would have the effect of spreading one time payments out over the course of a year.
posted by Mitheral at 7:50 PM on June 2 [3 favorites]


$50,000 in 14 days.

Holy fuck on a stick.

It's just now sinking in.
posted by mediareport at 7:52 PM on June 2 [4 favorites]


Is there a way for me also to donate beer?
posted by shakespeherian at 7:52 PM on June 2 [12 favorites]


Great news! And another vote to keep the counter visible, please. I can almost feel people donating so we can see that number top 3000. It's up every time I refresh.
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 8:02 PM on June 2 [1 favorite]


Possibly relevant to your interests:

Yesterday, Andrew Sullivan posted an update about his site's traffic and revenue in response to a bizarre piece from Dylan Byers at Politico proclaiming blogs are all but dead because "bloggers need to have specialties in order to command a following." Oookay, Dylan.

That weirdness aside, Sullivan's numbers are interesting, and the graph of revenue/recurring payments is worth a click.

As for pageviews, any site with a meter like ours is going to lose some traffic after being completely free – but gain a huge amount in stability, subscriptions, reader-support, and freedom from the pageview-dollar connection. Our loss so far – and it’s about 20 percent from our non-metered days, from about a million readers a month to 800,000 – does no harm to the product and, because we’re not solely dependent on ads for our survival, is largely irrelevant. It also jumps around with the news cycle and viral surges. So this February, for instance, we had more than 2 million uniques – double our average at the Atlantic...

Yes, the Atlantic and Politico have gone on to become even bigger in terms of pageviews – and I remain proud to have played a part in creating the current, thriving Atlantic.com. But you know what? We have almost 30,000 subscribers, which is 30,000 more than Politico has, 30,000 more than the Huffington Post has, 30,000 more than the Beast has, and 30,000 more than Vox or 538.

And if Dylan thinks that’s “diminishing returns”, he’s empirically wrong. Our revenue this past year is now at $917K, and growing all the time...

Our revenue, as you can see, is now remarkably steady – and immune to ups and downs in news cycles – and at $35K this past month, after $35K in April. Last May’s total in contrast was $19K. So our monthly revenue is close to double last year’s – far from diminishing. And because our revenue comes from subscribers, not advertisers, and is on auto-renew, we are also stable enough to be free of the ethical messes that so many big sites need to keep themselves inflated, with their large staffs and traffic ambitions...

posted by mediareport at 8:20 PM on June 2 [6 favorites]


Dylan Byers saying a dumb thing? I am shocked, shocked, etc.

Also, adding a voice for more visibility, not less. I'm mostly on the Blue, and I scan the headlines through Feedly, so when I open MeFi it's usually without looking at the header. I almost missed the donation link entirely. I'm throwing in for a renewing payment, because even though I'm mostly a lurker and a relatively new one at that, I love this place. But I definitely think that a steady trickle of reminders about funding won't hurt, and will almost certainly help.
posted by protocoach at 8:25 PM on June 2 [3 favorites]


I would buy a t-shirt that said "Matt Haughey flagged me and moved on".
posted by taff at 8:29 PM on June 2 [9 favorites]


Another vote for keeping the counter as close as possible to where it is now.
posted by marsha56 at 8:34 PM on June 2


Back in October of last year, I made a comment in a thread that was either about, or had wandered into the subject of, food-stamp cuts. I wrote briefly about what it was like to fall into poverty, to have no health insurance for years on end, to be unemployed or undereployed, to be on food stamps, etc. Generally, I was trying to explain what the world looked and felt like to someone who, like so many others, wound up in dire straits in their middle age because The Economy. I was frustrated and depressed and Things Were Bad. My life looked like an obstacle course without a finish line, and I used that thread to vent my despair and bitterness.

A Mefite Who Shall Remain Nameless (because I don't know if this Mefite would care to be named) contacted me and said that they felt terrible that there wasn't really anything they could do about my situation, but offered to send me money -- nothing much, they said, just something for "a nice dinner." I was, frankly, loathe to accept, because goddamn nobody likes to feel that way, but I was so desperate that I didn't really have room for pride or any of that crap, so I was gracious and thankful and glad and pleased (all of which were also true, as it happens), and offered up my PayPal address upon this Mefite's request.

So, okay. A nice dinner?

Means different things to different people.

Because of the generosity of a person whom I have never met, have never directly conversed with on the site that I can recall, and only wound up connecting to because we share that odd, weird sense of community that so many of us here have twined into our love of the site and all of the enrichment it brings into our lives, I was able to pay all of my bills and rent for a whole month, on time, for the first time in several years.

Since then, I have become gainfully employed. It's a job; I have it; it pays the bills and lets me go to the movies, and maybe I'll be able to afford a pet one day soon and it's more than I ever thought I would see. It's hardly big bucks, but it certainly affords me the ability to do this: I'm going to donate the "nice dinner" sum to MetaFilter, annually, for as long as I am employed, in honor of everything that this community has been and will be, and in honor of the Mefite who made this sarcastic, cynical woman cry tears of gratitude.

Oh, and by the way, a few days ago, I got my 10,000th favorite -- on my birthday.

Metafilter is the best.
posted by tzikeh at 8:44 PM on June 2 [243 favorites]


shakespeherian: "Is there a way for me also to donate beer?"

Money is fungible, Matt can convert it into beer. For a while any ways.
posted by Mitheral at 8:51 PM on June 2 [1 favorite]


pjern: "Donating to Metafilter should be like voting in Chicago: Early and often."

And continuing for several years after you die!

Credit cards with recurring charges FTW!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:54 PM on June 2 [3 favorites]


This is wonderful news, I'm so glad that everyone has been able to rally round and support the community we love. Another vote for the button remaining visible and prominent.
posted by arcticseal at 9:11 PM on June 2


How long did this post wait in the queue?
posted by MoonOrb at 9:22 PM on June 2 [1 favorite]


Matt, somewhat obtrusive here means damn near invisible by the rest of the internet's blinky shiny pop-uppy standards. I like the donation banner, especially seeing how many people help. I'd be happy with a similar permanent addition to the design.
posted by cmyk at 9:25 PM on June 2 [2 favorites]


I waited to sign up for monthly so my credit card would be charged at the beginning of the month, but now I'm waiting to get a nice round number. I hate my brain.

Hmm, my user number adds up to 28, currently the sum of the subscriptions is 23... but no, according to my hasty math, the subscription count will have to go up to 1999 for a total of 28... god, I hate my brain.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:27 PM on June 2


people would rather donate for a small recognition instead of features

I think that it is more that people donate to preserve the status quo of quality content that they now enjoy every single day rather than some ephemeral recognition they might get on a web page for a few months/years.

Askme in particular is a resource that I have come to depend on. When I have a question about what I want to purchase to solve a particular problem, there are many websites I can find that address it. AskMe is one of the few places I can look to to see that I won't have to worry about exaggerated content.
posted by Quonab at 9:34 PM on June 2 [1 favorite]


I also check the count every time I pop in and have a happy little moment noting the rise in numbers. I love all the love that members of MetaFilter are expressing and feel lucky to have fallen in with such a great bunch of smart, compassionate, passionate, and funny humans.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 9:35 PM on June 2 [1 favorite]


I listen to several comedy podcasts and some history and other esoteric stuff, and nearly all of them ask for money on every episode, or at the very least feature names of $100+ supporters during an episode. I think people understand that it costs money to create and maintain cool stuff. Also, we may be getting older, but that means more of us are likely to have the disposable income to pay for the stuff we like. I'll be sure to do the same in the next month or two, as soon as I can get some income coming in, and I'm sure a lot of other people who haven't donated yet will be doing the same.

So, please make sure to keep a prominent and permanent link up for donations if you move it from the top banner. I honestly think asking for funding from members and visitors is not as problematic as never asking and allowing the site to suffer or close. I can't speak for anyone but myself, but I'd rather help pay for it than see it go away or lay off staff to survive, and my guess from reading all the comments and seeing the numbers is that's how most of us feel.
posted by krinklyfig at 9:44 PM on June 2 [2 favorites]


We tried Stripe but it was pretty complex and required a ton of development to complete.
Really? That's the first I've heard it that way; it seems usually people complain mightily about Paypal's API and run screaming to Stripe. Or so I've heard—haven't had occasion to mess with either myself.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 10:52 PM on June 2 [1 favorite]


I get the impression it's sort of a development vs. widget divide, such that Stripe may be just the thing if what you're looking to do is build your own e-commerce stuff from scratch and don't mind reinventing a few wheels in the process, whereas Paypal's API may well be a real pain from that perspective but in part because they're aiming more to say "okay, here's a widget, here's a few parameters you can tweak, bam, done".

We don't really want to invent our own accounting workflow; we just want to let people send money in a reasonably convenient way. So ready-to-use beats massive flexibility.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:57 PM on June 2 [1 favorite]


Ended up with $300-700 more in the account this month than I expected to (which means in practical terms breaking even, alas), so that allowed me to be #1890 recurring (it seems). Having been here longer than almost anybody else still posting (three digits booyah) it may take a while before I catch up to the return on value I have received since starting to get ticked off at jonmc sometime in 1999 and finally joining to sputter back at him. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Thanks for all you guys do.
posted by dhartung at 11:09 PM on June 2 [7 favorites]


Vote for mugs, whether for fundraising or not. I love mugs! I have totally diverted all of my public radio giving to the station that gives me the best mugs.

Also, have Ira Glass and Peter Segal make long comments in the middle of threads, and somehow make it so you can't read the rest of the comments until you read theirs.

Seriously, though, my original Buffy MBTV mug has almost faded completely, so I need new online community dinnerware. Sign me up for recurring mugs.
posted by bibliowench at 11:45 PM on June 2 [1 favorite]


Excellent!
posted by homunculus at 11:52 PM on June 2


Could a "Fund" item go in the mobile menu?
posted by Mister Moofoo at 12:54 AM on June 3 [1 favorite]


Between the Mefi fundraising and the Reading Rainbow kickstarter, it's like every time I go online I get good news and start crying again. This place is the best place.
posted by MeghanC at 12:55 AM on June 3 [1 favorite]


I say make the banner count link a pop up every time we hit the block quote button on iOS. :P

Failing that, leave it up for now until you hit your 3,000. Then, take it down & let that block go back to "occasional site wide broadcast".

Figure out where the perma link will go (Nav bar, or as a line as a sub nav bar on main site, or box or bottom link) - whatever works well for both mobile and standard layouts.

In the next 10-11 months, leave it. Put the banner back where it is (existing code) or looking like where it is (a second banner line that looks just like this except that it is not using the site wide code in case you need that too) solely for the month of May.

The new code for the fundraising banner block line can also have a hide, but people can choose to hide it until next year (May 2016) or leave it up all year.
posted by tilde at 1:05 AM on June 3


Just as a data point, I am absolutely fine with no features for donors/subscription donors, also - if someone were a one-off donor but not a subscribed member, then giving them membership would be nice, but that situation feels like it would be vanishingly rare (like, some sort of off-the-grid mountain person who does not use electronic banking at all). Adding engineering overhead to maintain added services doesn't seem like a good use of resource, as against implementing features for all that make MeFi better (including taz getting a day off!) and might encourage more subscriptions/donations.

I'm thinking e.g. of my friends' patreons, where usually what they produce will be available to everyone, and the contributors get a warm glow at having helped it to come into being rather than special stuff.

As a result of this fundraising, we’re able to keep goodnewsfortheinsane on board for one day of taz relief a week effective immediately.

This is obviously a good thing... except that I now have "taz relief" in my head to the tune of "Jazz Police", which is very definitely not a good thing.

(I wouldn't mind getting The Deck ads when signed in, either, as a further data point.)
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:32 AM on June 3


This is great - peoples ideas for further fundraising are really good as well, seeing the community so engaged and getting to play a more active part is brilliant - long long may it continue, I don't think we've even seen just how effective the community can be yet. Maybe relying on google in the past put mefi in too passive a place and this is going to be a lot better. All the best.
posted by sgt.serenity at 4:41 AM on June 3 [1 favorite]


It may well be that *not* giving us anything for the money

Hey, I totally got my warm fuzzy feeling.
posted by hat_eater at 4:46 AM on June 3 [2 favorites]


I've been lurking for a year now, and it was the elegant unobtrusiveness of the funding request that convinced me to register and donate. This place is truly something special.
posted by Pardon Our Dust at 4:55 AM on June 3 [8 favorites]


Nthing the request to keep the banner as-is.
posted by eamondaly at 5:10 AM on June 3


NoraCharles: It would be cool if there was some kind of yearly drive to remind those of us who would forget to donate if we weren't reminded that another year has gone by and we should show our appreciation.

I'm planning to make a yearly donation on Moderators' Day (only 7 shopping days left!) and I encourage others to do the same. If you send me a MeMail or an email I will promise to remind you to donate every June 13th.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:14 AM on June 3 [6 favorites]


Thanks for the update, Matt.
Glad gnfti is staying on.

Please add a permanent "Fund MetaFilter" to the site.
posted by travelwithcats at 5:19 AM on June 3


Yet another vote for not making things too unobtrusive: putting the permanent button up there with Home and FAQ and stuff sounds about right..... down at the bottom? Nah, most of us, including me!, kinda ignore that area.

And if you'd like to sell stuff, how about a tote bag? The T-shirts are nice, but as a female-type person, I find men's T-shirts are tight in the chest, loose around the waist, and crewnecks throttle me. Put those same designs on a totebag though, and sold! (Plus I carry a totebag around on far more days than I'd wear even the best-fitting T-shirt, which means better publicity.)
posted by easily confused at 5:40 AM on June 3 [8 favorites]


Something like 25% of the daily member visitors have given money when the industry average for paid optional options is about 5%.

Excellent, this is terrific news.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 6:38 AM on June 3 [5 favorites]


Look I know I don't make a heap of comments, and I don't donate a heap of money. I thought sending $5 off would be ok, and I am super impressed with my fellow mefi's that $40 is more the average.
But I really don't like recognition things. It is yucky.
Let's be the site on the internet that recognises by intrinsic motivation, not stars or whatever.
I value the site very highly, but the last thing I want to see is some list of users who are donors.
For me, every single user who makes a comment is contributing to the site, most especially by adding to its conversational value, but of course with $5 too, so can we perhaps just assume if you have a username you are a supporter?
I really like that there is a counter, so we can pat ourselves on the back, but if there was a special t-shirt or whatever I would just find it divisive. There is no shortage of sites begging for funds with special rewards for donors. I can go and find them.
I really like mefi exists without that. By all means ask for cash if needed, but let's trust the quality of the community to generate the results rather than some public fawning over donors.
posted by bystander at 6:38 AM on June 3 [6 favorites]


I get the non-commercial mindset behind the unobtrusive funding request and lack of bells and whistles for subscribers/donors. It's the same mindset behind the simple layout, the focus on content not form. That's what's cool about MetaFilter and I for one am with you.
posted by Dragonness at 6:43 AM on June 3


I wouldn't mind Mefi swag, but I think it should be kept separate from Support Metafilter, and not turn into some kind of public tv fundraising effort.
posted by jeather at 6:53 AM on June 3 [2 favorites]


I wouldn't mind getting The Deck ads when signed in, either, as a further data point.

If you log out and log back in you get the ads back (until/unless you hide them again). Although, my understanding is that revenue is based on clicks, not views, so merely displaying ads doesn't matter if you never click on them. (It's been said before, but since these are fast-moving threads and not everyone can read every comment, don't click on ads you have no interest in just in the hope of increasing Matt's revenue, as Google Is Watching for that sort of behavior.)
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:02 AM on June 3


really surprised me in a good way

Yeah, it's weird. It's almost as if all that stuff you've been saying for years about community building and quality content and good moderation were true.
posted by flabdablet at 7:04 AM on June 3 [13 favorites]


Although, my understanding is that revenue is based on clicks, not views, so merely displaying ads doesn't matter if you never click on them.

That's not the case with The Deck. They pay a flat fee to MetaFilter for displaying the ads.
posted by pb (staff) at 7:20 AM on June 3 [2 favorites]


hah. That "retired" badge is awesome.

MeFi Mod Emeritus.
posted by notyou at 7:22 AM on June 3 [6 favorites]


Matt, thanks for the update.

cortex, thanks for the reminder that the current banner location is reserved for important messages.

With that, a couple thoughts on the Donate/Fund link for the future: include onmouseover text for the link that replicates the text of the current banner. It's not perfect, as it wouldn't show up on smart devices, but for those of us who enjoy watching the little, unobtrusive ticker banner increase, it would still be around in an unobtrusive way.

Second, there are four rows of text for logged in users, and three for non-users/logged out users. For logged in users:
welcome back [username] | 📧 | donate | logout
For non-users/logged out users:
Login    New User    Donate?
I don't know if it's "pushing" the donations too hard for non-users, but I think it's good to be reminded that the internet really isn't free. The question mark could pop up a short summary on the site, which might be going too far, or could be helpful.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:22 AM on June 3 [1 favorite]


So, would having the deck ads enabled and not clicked help? Or does Matt get the money no matter how many people are looking at them?
posted by Solomon at 7:22 AM on June 3


That's not the case with The Deck. They pay a flat fee to MetaFilter for displaying the ads.

Thanks, I stand corrected.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:23 AM on June 3


pb: " That's not the case with The Deck. They pay a flat fee to MetaFilter for displaying the ads."

So does our choosing to display the ads impact Metafilter financially?
posted by zarq at 7:28 AM on June 3 [1 favorite]


So, would having the deck ads enabled and not clicked help? Or does Matt get the money no matter how many people are looking at them?

So does our choosing to display the ads impact Metafilter financially?

I don't deal directly with The Deck like Matt does so he might be in a better spot to answer these questions. My guess is that The Deck does track views and clicks very carefully and if views and clicks suddenly went away on MetaFilter they would renegotiate the flat fee they pay. So the click and view rate doesn't affect the day to day relationship between MetaFilter and The Deck, but it could affect things down the road when fees are set. Keep in mind this is all me guessing about how things work.
posted by pb (staff) at 7:41 AM on June 3 [3 favorites]


Watching that number goes up gives me tingles. I'll draw something for all y'all, for the site, if we hit 3,000 while I'm still home.

Let's do this.
posted by The Whelk at 7:45 AM on June 3 [6 favorites]


Ok, maybe it's a stretch, but, have you thought about adding dogecoin to your fundraising? The dogecoin community (albeit a bit [or a lot] silly) is all about giving doges to causes which further the coin's adoption, so it might be good overall.

Just my 42Ð
posted by omegar at 7:45 AM on June 3


Just chiming in with another request for something not-paypal. I'd love to support on a monthly basis, but I'm not too keen on paypal.
posted by ish__ at 7:46 AM on June 3


Okay, thanks, pb. Just white listed The Deck on my desktop browsers.

I'm curios, though, how one would be able to use the Metafilter "disable" button for those but only on a user+browser basis - not sure my achy old ibanana phone would handle it well (though this site is no Gawker - all those pages crash my ibanana chrome browser 90% of the time).
posted by tilde at 7:52 AM on June 3


Hiding The Deck ads is cookie-based, exactly like display settings. (The third paragraph there explains how it works.) So you can choose to click "hide" in one browser and not another. We don't show those ads in the mobile view anyway so you might be set already.
posted by pb (staff) at 7:58 AM on June 3


I'd like to add to the growing choir of ♪ Be obtrusive ♫ - could there be an option on the signup page to begin supporting monthly from the start?

I would love to see more discussion of the long term idea for a MeFi cooperative, which Jessamyn briefly mentioned. Even if it just were a Seti MeFi at home screensaver? (;
posted by yoHighness at 8:00 AM on June 3 [2 favorites]


Okay, those might be Google ads I see when I browse logged out on mobile chrome.

The blocking I was doing was just default Ad Block and Ad Block plus behavior. Disconnect also blocks Quantcast under advertising and an unnamed Google request (on this page). Chartbeat on other pages.

Suggestions? Block, do not block? Want to min max it for here.
posted by tilde at 8:02 AM on June 3


From a hassle vs. money standpoint, which would you prefer: That I mail a check once a month, or make a PayPal donation once a month? (We're talking $5-10 or so here.) Both methods are automatic and free of charge on my end, so I would like to know what makes more sense for Matt & the site.
posted by Juffo-Wup at 8:07 AM on June 3 [2 favorites]


I know, that is crazy, and really surprised me in a good way. Something like 25% of the daily member visitors have given money when the industry average for paid optional options is about 5%.

I wonder if the rise of subscription sites like Andrew Sullivan's and the NYTimes behind the paywall and even things like Netflix have made it easier to convince people to donate. I know when MeFi announced money trouble, I thought about the fact that I have a Spotify subscription I barely use, and it was a no-brainer to donate money to something I actually use quite a lot. Anyway, I'm glad things are on the upswing, and I hope they continue to go that way.
posted by bluefly at 8:13 AM on June 3 [1 favorite]


Another vote to leave the banner up top for a while! I love seeing it there and watching the number tick up.
posted by rtha at 8:18 AM on June 3


I wonder if the rise of subscription sites like Andrew Sullivan's and the NYTimes behind the paywall and even things like Netflix have made it easier to convince people to donate.

Absolutely. Times change. Back in the day (from which MetaFilter hails) web-bugs were considered a serious affront to the privacy and respect of users. Little itty bitty pixels that helped site owners track user activity -- SPIES!

Advertising was pretty icky, too, but at least it wasn't a paywall*. Gross.

Attitudes have evolved.

---------------
*Speaking of. Maybe there's a market for a service that aggregates and curates and recommends -- one sub fee, 1000s of sites -- and distributes the funds to the respective sites based on traffic. Feedly could do it, maybe.
posted by notyou at 8:27 AM on June 3


Thanks for explaining, pb!

I never turn off the ads on my work computer(s). (We actually aren't supposed to use adblock.) Haven't hidden the deck ads, either. But at home I do use AdBlock. Will whitelist The Deck this evening.
posted by zarq at 8:30 AM on June 3


12 more people. C'mon, 12 more people and we hit 3,000.
posted by maryr at 8:33 AM on June 3


(Which is to say that I haven't found the banner intrusive. It's been heartening to load or re-load MetaFilter and see the number of contributors increasing. Hitting 3K is an Achievement Unlocked kind of goal to me.)
posted by maryr at 8:36 AM on June 3


SO. CLOSE.
posted by pipoquinha at 8:42 AM on June 3


I wonder how many people are trying to be number 3000- I bet we are going to go from 2998-3030 or so real quickly.
posted by rockindata at 8:43 AM on June 3 [9 favorites]


come ON people let me draw you a thing (I have no idea what to draw)
posted by The Whelk at 8:50 AM on June 3 [1 favorite]


Tick.... tick.... tick..... it's at 2993 now, wonder when we'll see that lovely round 3K?!?
posted by easily confused at 8:52 AM on June 3


I love how the banner and the page are off of each other by 1. (Edit, they WERE)
posted by tilde at 8:55 AM on June 3


Count me as another who has a little "Who's awesome? WE'RE awesome!" moment when I see the banner tick up. I'd be sad to see the counter go entirely, so I hope you find a good spot to keep it.
posted by daisyace at 9:11 AM on June 3


thank you for the update. if things still remain dire please let us all know in advance. i currently waste $16 each month on Netflix and Hulu+ combined, neither of which i seem to use for more than an occasional half hour. i would gladly pay more for Metafilter which i use several times a day, not to mention all of the link-wormholes i get sent down.
posted by Conrad-Casserole at 9:12 AM on June 3


Something like 25% of the daily member visitors have given money when the industry average for paid optional options is about 5%.

Is this just another way of saying that there are about 3000 donations (i.e., about 12000 daily member visitors)? Or do you have a breakdown of the % of daily member visitors who have donated and the % of occasional visitors, non-members, etc. who have?
posted by daisyace at 9:14 AM on June 3


Okay, counter watching is getting to me. I've been trying not to look, but I can't help noticing that it just ticked up from 2993 to 2994. I think maybe people are holding out for spot 2999 or 3000 at this point...

Oh, and 25% conversion is awesome - hard to believe. But then, does any other website deliver Quonsmas to my doorstep?
posted by RedOrGreen at 9:26 AM on June 3 [1 favorite]


This seems like a great time to announce that "the quidnunc kid Limited" has moved all of its commentary products and services to a subsciption-only model. We firmly believe that readers of th
*****
THE QUIDNUNC KID & THE SUNDAY QUIDNUNC KID: SIGN UP NOW FOR QUICK ACCESS TO THIS COMMENT AND 9 MORE FANTASTIC COMMENTS PER MONTH! CHOOSE YOUR SUBSCRIPTION PLAN:
[ ] classic quidnunc kid ($3/month)
[ ] quidnunc kid zero calories ($5/month)
[ ] ultra-low-sulphur quidnunc kid ($10/month)
[ ] shut up quidnunc kid, will you just SHUT UP, you pointless, worthless, tedious fuckwit ($20/month)
*****

aign, but when I asked Matt about it, he was all, "Oh yeah, but the armadillo won't like it".
posted by the quidnunc kid at 9:45 AM on June 3 [27 favorites]


I must have pressed [hide] because I can't see it anymore. Does anyone know how to get it back?
posted by Sophie1 at 9:46 AM on June 3


I feel like there are a bunch of people scheming to be the 3,000th donor, and just waiting to push the button.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:49 AM on June 3 [1 favorite]


2,995th!
posted by mogget at 9:51 AM on June 3


2,996th.

I was trying to hold out to be 3k, but I couldn't wait any longer.
posted by batmonkey at 9:59 AM on June 3 [2 favorites]


Guys, the counter is not immediate! I just donated (got tired of holding out to be #3000) and the counter hasn't ticked up for me yet. We may already be at 3,000!!!
posted by aka burlap at 9:59 AM on June 3


2,998...
posted by scody at 10:04 AM on June 3 [1 favorite]


2999

i feel very bad with money and wanted to donate $1 a month but got scared that it'd screw something up and though "heck I can give $12 right now" so I did. Not much, but I know i can do it.
posted by rebent at 10:07 AM on June 3


3001! ahh that felt good
posted by special agent conrad uno at 10:07 AM on June 3 [6 favorites]


Over 3000!
posted by progosk at 10:07 AM on June 3 [1 favorite]


AIN'T NO FILTER LIKE A METAFILTER CUZ A METAFILTER DON'T STOP
posted by Rhaomi at 10:08 AM on June 3 [14 favorites]


WHOOO!
posted by torticat at 10:08 AM on June 3


Hooray!!
posted by aka burlap at 10:09 AM on June 3


Fuck it let's keep going
posted by special agent conrad uno at 10:09 AM on June 3 [3 favorites]


3001... A MetaOdyssey
posted by scody at 10:12 AM on June 3 [5 favorites]


*throws exactly 3000 bits of confetti*
posted by harujion at 10:13 AM on June 3 [3 favorites]


congrats, good work and all that --- now let's see about making that subscribers number go over 2K....
posted by easily confused at 10:20 AM on June 3 [5 favorites]


MetaFilter's version of "intrusive" is less visible than most site's version of "unobtrusive." Keep it up top forever.
posted by absalom at 10:21 AM on June 3 [2 favorites]


Something like 25% of the daily member visitors have given money when the industry average for paid optional options is about 5%.

I'm not great with the maths, but I think this means that MetaFilter is approximately 450% better than your industry average website.
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:23 AM on June 3 [2 favorites]


I must have pressed [hide] because I can't see it anymore. Does anyone know how to get it back?

Sophie1, I had that same problem until a few minutes ago - turns out all you need to do is log out and back in again (at least, that's what worked for me). Hope that helps!
posted by DingoMutt at 10:24 AM on June 3


Yay!!

Join 1,915 others by subscribing to MetaFilter

Ok, next goal: 2000 subscribers.

GO!
posted by anastasiav at 10:25 AM on June 3 [7 favorites]


I'm looking forward to a non PayPal option!
posted by Cygnet at 10:32 AM on June 3 [1 favorite]


There is always the option of sending a check.

(Which means we're actually above 3001, because, y'know, mail and all.)
posted by blurker at 10:34 AM on June 3


I need some Ask.Mefi swag, not just Metafilter. K thx.
posted by Ky at 10:46 AM on June 3


dawg-proud: " I do encourage you to think about a "State of Metafilter" banner or sidebar, on a yearly basis...perhaps even bi-annual. I do not recall the exact breakdown, but I understand many visitors focus on Ask and the blue, and I would encourage capturing those eyeballs that may very well want to contribute to the health and future of Metafilter, but simply did not know there was a need. I also really appreciate the update and the transparency. Plus it's fun to see those numbers grow, come on 3000!"

Agreed. I would hope that, now that we're collecting donations, we could have a tiny bit of insight into Metafilter's budget and operational status. Even if it's something as simple as a periodic report of: "Traffic is up 10%; Ad revenue is down 20%; donations are up 30% and comprise 35% of our total revenue".
posted by schmod at 10:51 AM on June 3 [2 favorites]


Can we buy actual flags that say "Flag it and move on"?
posted by schmod at 10:53 AM on June 3 [2 favorites]


I like the banner and will be sorry to see it go. I'd advocate for duping it in the code and making it a permanent (still hideable, since clearly matt has the willies here) part of the top. Bump it left justified and make it say "Community supported - " with the stats and sub link.

Personally I'd shove in a % of need calculator because I am never shy about telling people I ain't running a damned giveaway here, but I'm starting to think that matt breaks out in hives when he gets too close to a salvation army cup or something. (but only from holding the handle, since clearly the man is far too giving himself)
posted by phearlez at 11:04 AM on June 3 [1 favorite]


Only on Metafilter will the site owner be concerned about the visibility of a site banner in smaller-than-regular text that is nearly hidden.
posted by corb at 11:16 AM on June 3 [20 favorites]


WHAT DRAWING DO YOU WANT METAFILTER
posted by The Whelk at 11:19 AM on June 3 [4 favorites]


Tough call, Whelk. Maybe something that will look good on a "MeFi Tote Bag"?

We've already seen Matt's 'Brand New Day' and Cortex's 'Last Supper'. Maybe something with "Meta Coffee Filters"? (Yeah, I'm NO help)
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:25 AM on June 3


Bah Humbug!


just to counteract the smoop and be contentious, I gave I gave, I gave my molars and suck on ham
posted by infini at 11:27 AM on June 3


Little cork stoppered jars ... MetaPhilter.
posted by tilde at 11:27 AM on June 3 [1 favorite]


Counter moved from 3003 to 3005 during my 30 second visit to leave a grey snark
posted by infini at 11:28 AM on June 3


I just thought of Matt sticking his eyes through the O's in Google like at the end of the opening of Mr. Magoo cartoons. Or his semi-trademark squarish glasses gone 'Elton John' style to spell out 'ScrOOgle'...
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:30 AM on June 3


easily confused: putting the permanent button up there with Home and FAQ and stuff sounds about right..... down at the bottom? Nah, most of us, including me!, kinda ignore that area.

Do you mean to tell me that nobody reads the comments down here?
posted by tzikeh at 11:33 AM on June 3 [2 favorites]


I'm totally on board with dawg-proud and schmod... the only thing I would like for my donations is to have a better understanding of MetaFilter's budget. Not that I think any of us need (or want) a complete breakdown, but more like a simple ongoing report as to the current costs and needs. Reddit does this well, with their little "daily gold meter" or whatever they call it.

I don't personally need or care about a daily meter, but I'd love to see some sort of metrics. Quarterly? Bi-annually? Annually? I really like the idea of a State of Metafilter, and working towards being an autonomous self-funded community.
posted by special agent conrad uno at 11:33 AM on June 3 [2 favorites]


I totally saw a Reddit bumper sticker the other day, & thought if that were a MetaFilter bumper sticker & not a Reddit bumper sticker, I'd want one on my car, too.
posted by Devils Rancher at 11:48 AM on June 3 [5 favorites]


the quidnunc kid: "This seems like a great time to announce that "the quidnunc kid Limited" has moved all of its commentary products and services to a subsciption-only model. We firmly believe that readers of th
*****
THE QUIDNUNC KID & THE SUNDAY QUIDNUNC KID: SIGN UP NOW FOR QUICK ACCESS TO THIS COMMENT AND 9 MORE FANTASTIC COMMENTS PER MONTH! CHOOSE YOUR SUBSCRIPTION PLAN:
[ ] classic quidnunc kid ($3/month)
[ ] quidnunc kid zero calories ($5/month)
[ ] ultra-low-sulphur quidnunc kid ($10/month)
[ ] shut up quidnunc kid, will you just SHUT UP, you pointless, worthless, tedious fuckwit ($20/month)
*****

aign, but when I asked Matt about it, he was all, "Oh yeah, but the armadillo won't like it".
"

"The Sunday Quidnunc Kid" makes me think brunch. I want a Quidnunc Bennie and a mimosa now.

Vote Quidnunc Kid #1 Mother's day brunch restaurant on Yelp!
posted by boo_radley at 11:50 AM on June 3


Devils Rancher: "I totally saw a Reddit bumper sticker the other day, & thought if that were a MetaFilter bumper sticker & not a Reddit bumper sticker, I'd want one on my car, too."

I thought there was one at some point, and a user told some story about seeing one on the road. Maybe I'm thinking of somewhere else.

I'd rock one too - but do it like the country ones - "MeFi" surrounded by a black oval. With a professional white background.
posted by Big_B at 12:04 PM on June 3 [7 favorites]


anastasiav: "Yay!!

Join 1,915 others by subscribing to MetaFilter

Ok, next goal: 2000 subscribers.

GO!
"

1919
posted by Big_B at 12:06 PM on June 3


Would a MeFi bumper sticker say "Move it and Flag On"?
posted by taz (staff) at 12:07 PM on June 3 [10 favorites]


schmod: Can we buy actual flags that say "Flag it and move on"?

The Whelk: WHAT DRAWING DO YOU WANT METAFILTER

oneswellfoop: Tough call, Whelk. Maybe something that will look good on a "MeFi Tote Bag"?

Okay.

I want a canvas tote, with a design by Whelk, that says "Metafilter: Bag It And Move On."
posted by tzikeh at 12:07 PM on June 3 [28 favorites]


Big_B: I'd rock one too - but do it like the country ones - "MeFi" surrounded by a black oval.

I'd buy that in a hot minute.
posted by Rock Steady at 12:07 PM on June 3 [2 favorites]


I want a canvas tote, with a design by Whelk, that says "Metafilter: Bag It And Move On."

I need this immediately. Shut up and take my money.
posted by pemberkins at 12:08 PM on June 3 [14 favorites]


I want a laptop sticker with whatever you want to put on it as long as its bright blue
posted by infini at 12:11 PM on June 3 [1 favorite]


Yeah like a square vinyl MF sticker suitable for laptop or bumper.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 12:12 PM on June 3 [21 favorites]


Square?

*starts GRAR on form*
posted by infini at 12:20 PM on June 3


We're gonna become some MBA student's case study, I bet.
posted by Jacqueline


I'd wager a sociology and/or psych study, too.
posted by yoga at 12:26 PM on June 3 [1 favorite]


I know, that is crazy, and really surprised me in a good way. Something like 25% of the daily member visitors have given money when the industry average for paid optional options is about 5%.

I would also like to support keeping a prominent tally of supporters. One of the reasons people moved from "maybe I should" to "take my damn money, Matt" is because they saw everyone else doing it.
posted by shothotbot at 12:45 PM on June 3 [3 favorites]


This is great news! Just wanted to add my voice to those saying I don't feel like it's necessary to reduce the visibility of a link to donate (Jimmy Wales style - keep fucking that chicken!)

I was also reminded today of how great our mods are and just wanted give a huge shout-out to taz, who handled a dumb situation I tossed at her in the swiftest and nicest way possible.
posted by ladybird at 1:02 PM on June 3


The main logo is in the lower right of an oval. So an oval sticker is easy.
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:20 PM on June 3 [13 favorites]


So an oval sticker is easy.

I would put that motherfucker on my Fender Jazz bass case, too.
posted by Devils Rancher at 1:23 PM on June 3 [1 favorite]


I assume someone has proposed a flag flag, with [!] on it? Fly it with pride!
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 1:39 PM on June 3


Yeah like a square vinyl MF sticker suitable for laptop or bumper.

Me too -- just like the favicon! (Which I have a strange affinity for, btw, as they are perfect little "app" buttons for the MeFi/AskMe bookmarklets I have on one of my Android phone's screens.)

I will also accept a "Bag it and move on" tote.
posted by phatkitten at 1:42 PM on June 3 [1 favorite]


I really like oneswellfoop's oval sticker. Can we just order it now and have it sent to us in a tote?
posted by infini at 1:57 PM on June 3


Okay you guys I will draw a thing keeps eyes peeled
posted by The Whelk at 2:40 PM on June 3 [3 favorites]


Wait I'm sorry I think this was said earlier but I didn't quite grasp it -- are we able to do a monthly subscription from a debit card (not through PayPal) right now?

I just don't keep any money in PayPal so I can't do the subscription thing through them, but I would do debit or credit. Well, not immediately because I just sent off a check on Saturday that's supposedly for the year because of me not being able to do the subscription thing through PayPal. But I'd rather do the subscription thing overall because I would assume that a dependable monthly income would be better, accounting-and-stability-wise, than a lump pot of money you've got to draw from little by little.
posted by rue72 at 2:45 PM on June 3


I'm assuming Topatoco can make them (they've made stickers for other folks on the web - NightVale, Wondermark - in various shapes). As they've made tote bags, mugs, posters...

I suspect Matt has enough on his plate that he doesn't want to THINK about merchandising, but I hope he does (and I'm volunteering to help), aiming toward the ultimate MeFi Swag item: a Cortex Giant Donut Plush.
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:45 PM on June 3 [1 favorite]


Re: the Deck ads - I'd encourage people to enable them, not just to help the site, but because they are attractive, unobtrusive and some of the time relevant to my (and I imagine your) interests. So relevant that I sometimes actually click on a metafilter deck ad! Yeah, maybe only two or three times a year, but that is at least two or three times how often I click on any other ad anywhere else on the internet ever, so they must be doing something right.
posted by mosessis at 3:17 PM on June 3


The Deck ads are the ONLY ads I have ever clicked on purpose. They're like perfect MeFite bait, because they're generally things we're interested in. And I haven't seen any scummy re-targeting from them.
posted by stoneweaver at 3:55 PM on June 3 [3 favorites]


Need a little help with unblocking the The Deck ads. Just went to the little Adblock Plus icon and clicked Open Blockable Icons and edited the blocked element. But all it shows now is "Ads via The DECK (hide)". There is no pic. Does the pic have anything to do Shokwave Flash (have that disabled) or do I need to click anything else in ABP? Thanks.
posted by travelwithcats at 4:35 PM on June 3


Oh, and is it better to have MeFi whitelisted on Ghostery?
posted by travelwithcats at 4:39 PM on June 3


How about a "MeFi IRL" logo flag/sign on a stick with a suction cup thingie, for waving around or sticking to tables at meetups?
posted by oh yeah! at 4:41 PM on June 3


Big_B: the MetaFilter bumper sticker story you are thinking of!
posted by beryllium at 5:13 PM on June 3 [1 favorite]


Nevermind my Adblock Plus question, just figured it out. Any opinions regarding my Ghostery question?
posted by travelwithcats at 5:39 PM on June 3


Wait I'm sorry I think this was said earlier but I didn't quite grasp it -- are we able to do a monthly subscription from a debit card (not through PayPal) right now?

I just don't keep any money in PayPal so I can't do the subscription thing through them,

You can! I pay Netflix through paypal, which charges my card the appropriate amount every month even though I don't have any money in PP itself.
posted by ersatz at 5:55 PM on June 3 [1 favorite]


Oval Sticker? I've used these guys for custom ovals for the marching band at our high school. Not affiliated, etc.
posted by ersatzkat at 6:12 PM on June 3 [1 favorite]


travelwithcats: I whitelist MeFi in all my ad blockers. I trust that Matt & Co. won't do anything scummy with my info.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 6:43 PM on June 3


Yeah I buy shit with Paypal all the time and don't keep any money in there. It EFTs my checking account each time. Once in a blue moon this is a pain because I get a refund and THAT direction is not automatic, so it sits in my account. But it's not like it sits there that long.
posted by phearlez at 7:06 PM on June 3 [1 favorite]


Thanks beryllium!
posted by Big_B at 8:26 PM on June 3


I'm so proud of everyone.
posted by cherrybounce at 8:47 PM on June 3


Wikipedia does donation drives with a prominent banner (whatisit, once a year?) and I don't mind at all slinging them a few bucks each time so they remain online for all the reasons I need them. I would happily sling same to MeFi once a year, if I was reminded in some way, by banner or email or a loud knock on the door.

MeFi: Knock-knock!!!
Me: I'm not here.
MeFi: You're supposed to say "Who's there?"
Me: Is that you MeFi?
MeFi: Yes it is valetta, and I want to know, do you still need me?
Me: I certainly do. Here's 20 bucks, I'll slide it under the door.
MeFi: Thank you. Bye.
Me: Oh MeFi, you're so endearingly unobtrusive.
posted by valetta at 4:29 AM on June 4 [5 favorites]


Guys, I can't believe we broke 3,000 supporters and are so close to 2,000 subscribers! I haven't had more than a few minutes at an actual computer for non-work-related purposes since all this went down, so I am behind on everything, but I am looking forward to adding to that number soon. Additional warm fuzzies would be very welcome right now.

(Also, I would love more swag, totally independent of fundraising. I kinda have enough t-shirts at the moment, but flag and favorite icon stickers? Or totes? Yes, please!)
posted by EvaDestruction at 8:10 AM on June 4


(argh my sketches of a immortal Favorite sign are ....way too Christian Mingle-y bah.)
posted by The Whelk at 9:19 AM on June 4


We should totally make a dating site-type advert for MetaFilter, especially with the recent thread about folks joining the site.

"When did you know MetaFilter was the site for you?"
    "Well, I came across this thread debating the meaning of Ralph Wiggum's statement 'Oh, boy, sleep! That's where I'm a viking!' Since then, I haven't spent much time away from MeFi."
  "I feel so, well, blue, without The Blue."
    "I used to be more involved with Fark, but after finding MetaFilter, I realized how childish Fark was. MetaFilter has made me a better, more mature person."
  "I was searching about the perfect murder for ... uh ... this novel I was working on. Yeah, research."

MetaFilter, whenever you're ready, it's there for you.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:43 AM on June 4 [3 favorites]


HERE IT IS METAFILTER: THE RETURN OF LUTE CAT.

(pssst Matt if you want this I can mail it over with some shading)
posted by The Whelk at 10:52 AM on June 4 [13 favorites]


Lute! There it is!
posted by tilde at 10:54 AM on June 4 [3 favorites]


In strictly technical terms, keeping the banner as it exists right now is inconvenient because that banner form is something we use periodically for site-wide alerts about outage and special events. So independent of what specific shape it takes we'll want to move any funding link and info somewhere else in the UI.

You could just start stacking different banners, kind of like when you install multiple tool bars in a web browser. That always looks really aesthetically nice and would likely get more participants.
posted by SpacemanStix at 11:44 AM on June 4 [7 favorites]


Matt, is there any progress in finding a way for non-US members to contribute monthly?
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 11:46 AM on June 4


Many non-US members are already contributing. PayPal works in these countries.
posted by pb (staff) at 1:20 PM on June 4 [2 favorites]


PB, yes, I know you can use paypal, but lots of people have round that checking the recurring box doesn't seem to have any effect outside the U.S. It ends up being a one-time donation.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 2:02 PM on June 4


As a data point, I'm outside the US (UK), and I've previously set up successful recurring PayPal donations to US recipients.
posted by harujion at 2:17 PM on June 4


I think that was the case on the very first day of donations when people were using a very old PayPal link on the About page. That hasn't been the case since we set up the official funding page.
posted by pb (staff) at 2:24 PM on June 4


Huh..mine didnt work and others on the original thread complained about it too. It seemed like US clients were getting 4 emails and non-US (including me) 2 (with non-acknowledging the recurring nature of the payment). I suppose a month from the relevant day, I'll know for sure, but I don't think it set up as recurring.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 2:26 PM on June 4


Ah, ok, yes, I did use the About page link.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 2:26 PM on June 4


We're gonna become some MBA student's case study, I bet.

We're already social scientists' case studies and digital researchers' case studies and psychologists' case studies, so why not?

We are charming and versatile lab rats, and we pay board and lodge.
posted by holgate at 11:00 PM on June 4 [1 favorite]


The problem with that is, we're lab rats who'll argue about the researchers' methodology, and tend to tell those researchers the CORRECT way to do things. "Set the exercise wheel over there, and the water bottle here! Make the cedar bedding fluffier!"
posted by easily confused at 2:21 AM on June 5 [8 favorites]


Finally got into my papyal account and put down for ten bucks a month. Others have said it better above but this place is a hugely positive influence in my life and my home on the web; couldn't be more of a bargain.

And another vote for keeping the ticker up top.
posted by ominous_paws at 6:22 AM on June 5


Where are your controls? squeaked the rats.
posted by maryr at 7:44 AM on June 5 [1 favorite]


Digital Currency Gaiden:

Just curious if anyone else has used the bitcoin option. I did, for a lark. TIL dogecoin > bitcoin for actual currency usage.

I had never touched bitcoin before yesterday. I have been a shibe since February, so dogecoin is the natural choice for me but MeFi ain't takin' Ð (yet). I didn't have any BTC sitting around, so I decided to convert some Ð to BTC and send it along to MeFi. #letstrysomethingnew

It took about an hour and a couple transactions to sell several thousand Ð for BTC, then another hour to transfer the BTC to my wallet, then presumably another hour for it to transfer to MeFi's wallet, and in the end I payed about seven cents USD in overhead.

Pure conjecture, but if I had done this all with dogecoin it would have most likely taken less than 5 minutes total and less than a penny USD overhead. This is because of technical reasons. Basically bitcoin takes up to ten minutes to verify a transaction where dogecoin takes up to 1 minute. So, f'rinstance, that hour where I was waiting for 6 verifications to extract my coins from the exchange would have been much quicker on doge.

Also, not sure if this is working-as-intended or not, but the bitcoin payment option asks you for an email address but never sends you an email acknowledgement of payment or anything.
posted by BeerFilter at 7:47 AM on June 5


As another data point, I'm outside the US, I also set up my recurring donation before the official fundraiser page happened, and my Paypal account lists it as recurring.
posted by flabdablet at 7:53 AM on June 5


I can understand why the powers-that-be don't want to bother with Dogecoin, but if someone set up their own Mefi doge address and then converted the contents into BTC once a week or so and sent it in, that would probably work.

I can volunteer for this, but trusting a random coyote on the internets would probably be a problem for many.
posted by honestcoyote at 9:47 AM on June 5


42 away from 2,000 digital monthly subscribers.

Podcast mentioned bundles of checks (the banks presumably bundling up auto check payments in one envelope) but not noted in that auto count so they may be past that.

Curious what the ratio of checks to digital payments will shake out to be over the long term.
posted by tilde at 10:01 AM on June 5


mathowie: As we approach 3,000 supporters, we’ll be making the fundraising less visible, removing the top banner from all the sites, but adding it to the header/footer later this week in some permanent, unobtrusive way.

For comparison, The MeFi Wiki has a much more visible fundraising banner. I mean, it's no Steely Gaze of Jimmy Wales, but the current banner is so very far from obtrusive, that if this were to be the ever-present "help fund MetaFilter" banner, you could add another banner and still be significantly smaller than the MeFi Wiki banner. I'm not knocking that banner, just using it as a point of comparison.

Also, Matt (or others), can you give us an update on the general idea of more merch being available to purchase?
posted by filthy light thief at 10:50 AM on June 5


Curious what the ratio of checks to digital payments will shake out to be over the long term.

We've had 28 checks come in so far. We don't know how many are recurring vs. one-time. So they're a small percentage.

...can you give us an update on the general idea of more merch being available to purchase?

New merch is on the someday pile. It takes time to design and put together new stuff and time is something we're short on at the moment. We'd like to make sure that anything new we do is at the same quality as the stuff we currently have for sale.
posted by pb (staff) at 11:32 AM on June 5 [1 favorite]


Only 30 to go until we hit two thousand subscribers!

Next goal: 3K subscriptions PLUS 2K one-time donations!
posted by easily confused at 6:29 PM on June 5 [2 favorites]


I'm kind of sad to see the banner go. Not seeing it on the mobile view or any donate button.
posted by arcticseal at 7:29 PM on June 5


Not seeing it on the mobile view or any donate button.

If you log out and log back in you should see it. You probably tapped the hide button—we haven't removed it.
posted by pb (staff) at 7:30 PM on June 5 [1 favorite]


pb to the rescue again!
posted by arcticseal at 8:24 PM on June 5


A question from somebody who would like to be reminded to renew my contribution to the site. I'm thinking of the PBS model because my feeling about metafilter is very similar to how I feel about PBS - I donate there every year because I highly value programs like Frontline. In thinking about the parallels I feel about the two sites, I wondered if there was a plan to followup on this grassroots donation movement with reminders to donate, kind of like a fund drive except that all it would take is a memail.

Just a suggestion. - I know I would like a reminder like that.
posted by bluesky43 at 6:12 AM on June 6


I completely missed the original posts and announcements and did not even notice the banner on the top of the page. I think I'm reasonably observant, but I have my busy days (or vacation days in this case) when I don't look at Metafilter for days. I just now was spending some time here in Metatalk and finally became aware. You have my subscription and my vote for not worrying about making a button or banner for donating too obtrusive. Also, I'm not in favor of too many bells and whistles, I've have other websites I've enjoyed become too mucked up with options and side columns and colors... too exhausting to go digging for the nuggets under all that crap.

Thanks for all the work you (Matt) and the moderators put into this site. It truly is one of the best places on the Internet.
posted by Jazz Hands at 9:21 AM on June 7


Happy to report that after some digging on PayPal, the recurring donation shows up as actually working.
posted by arcticseal at 11:31 AM on June 7


I am coming quite late to this thread, but I have to say I am very surprised by this apparent feeling that donation asks should be unobstrusive. I don't know how much clearer we, the community, could make it that we *want* to help, in every way possible. Please don't make the asks unobtrusive. Make them very visible. It works, and we want it to work.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 12:47 PM on June 8 [2 favorites]


Only 9 to go before 2K subscribers! *kermit flail*
posted by jokeefe at 1:44 PM on June 8 [6 favorites]


One short of a thousand Pies!
posted by ssri at 7:32 PM on June 8


Is somebody serving Pie?
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:54 PM on June 8


Aaaannndd a thousand Pies reached!

Is somebody serving Pie?

No, this π.
posted by ssri at 8:28 PM on June 8


I thought it tasted a bit irrational...
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:44 PM on June 8 [1 favorite]


Also, 5 away from 2000 subscribers, which will be better than 1995, which sounds like a price at Target or the year of the O.J. trial...
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:47 PM on June 8


Is somebody serving Pie?

Indeed.
posted by homunculus at 9:04 PM on June 8


1999 (because Prince won't let anybody post his music videos on the internet)

just wait 'til we get to 2001 (not what you expected either, was it?)
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:01 AM on June 9


I'm embarrassingly excited over the impending 2000 subscribers mark. It kinda makes me want to subscribe again!
posted by PorcineWithMe at 5:23 AM on June 9 [2 favorites]


Yayyyy, the count's hit two thousand!
posted by easily confused at 5:50 AM on June 9 [2 favorites]


Congrats!
posted by travelwithcats at 6:00 AM on June 9 [1 favorite]


Awesome!
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 6:46 AM on June 9 [1 favorite]


Amazing and awesome and terrific!
posted by rtha at 8:17 AM on June 9


Fuckin' A!
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:25 AM on June 9


This is just a ludicrously high number. Go Team!
posted by shothotbot at 9:47 AM on June 9


I've been watching for 2000, as well. This is great news.
posted by SpacemanStix at 9:58 AM on June 9


Here comes Amazon
Here comes Amazon
Right down PayPal's lane ...
posted by tilde at 1:15 PM on June 9


Possibly related: last week Talking Points Memo launched "our first Prime membership drive since we launched Prime back in October of 2012."

They're posting regular exhortations on the front page to buy $50 annual memberships (Help us get to 800 members by midnight Sunday! Help us get to 1,000 members by midnight Monday!) and say that after one week they're "coming up on halfway" to the goal for the six-week campaign.
posted by mediareport at 2:36 PM on June 9 [1 favorite]

Depending on what method you have of counting TPM has a monthly audience of 2 to 3 million people.
Not intending to be snarky but just intended to give a little perspective. They are complaining of the problems with the ad only model, which is a valid complaint, but I am struck by the contrast between this drive -- with a goal of 1000 members by ex day out of millions of readers -- versus what has happened on MetaFilter.
posted by Michele in California at 2:46 PM on June 9 [1 favorite]


Meanwhile back at the Metafilter ranch: eight hours after hitting 2000 we're at 2005....

As someone so eloquently put it near the beginning of this thread:
suck it, Google!
posted by easily confused at 3:11 PM on June 9


I'm with you, Michele in California (although would note Metafilter is allowing very small donations while TPM is demanding at least $50 or no Prime for you). I was just pointing out that another popular site is doing the regular exhortation/clear goal/specific timeframe thing, which at least one professional fundraiser here suggested would be a smart way to go.

I haven't been keeping close track but it looks like MeFi's getting at least 100 new donors a week (more, I suspect), so Matt may not feel urgency about a specific campaign, but I think as September rolls around the idea of a more specific banner saying something like "Help us get to 4000 monthly subscribers before the end of the year!" would make a lot of sense. Particularly so during The Giving Season.
posted by mediareport at 5:22 PM on June 9


I am not really familiar with their business model, thus I really am not in a position to say anything about their Prime membership. I have no idea if that is a good idea or bad for them. But I am glad that Metafilter is just taking donations and not doing some kind of membership with benefits limited to "members only" because the real value position here is the community, so I think that would undermine that. I think the degree to which that has significant value kind of shows when you compare the numbers happening here to any other numbers that they have been compared to.

But I have been trying to avoid beating a dead horse here on metafilter. Although I find such topics deeply interesting, there is zero reason to believe that other mefites find my opinions on such topics deeply interesting (and that is me trying to be diplomatic, so let's not argue that point, K? thx). Thus, I am trying to make notes elsewhere and I am looking at doing some writing about it elsewhere, at some point.
posted by Michele in California at 5:45 PM on June 9


Oh, of course I'd never suggest there be any kind of "prime" membership here. I hate the idea.

But I like the idea of a periodic, focused campaign with a clear goal to encourage new folks to donate.
posted by mediareport at 6:15 PM on June 9


I'm so confused. At the top of my page it says "Join 3,165 readers in helping fund MetaFilter"

Where is this other, smaller, number count and what is it??
posted by taff at 6:19 PM on June 9


Where is this other, smaller, number count and what is it??

If you click on the link at the top of your page (which gives the total number of contributors), it takes you to the page that breaks down those contributors by monthly subscribers and one-time donations.
posted by scody at 6:22 PM on June 9 [1 favorite]


Oh. Ah.

I didn't notice those numbers. I think I thought they were years or something and, as I'm so old and immune from the significance of years, dismissed it.

I'm not at all embarrassed. Nope. Not even a wee bit. Not at all.



(Oh, the shame.)
posted by taff at 6:49 PM on June 9 [1 favorite]


p.s thank you scody. Xx
posted by taff at 6:50 PM on June 9 [1 favorite]


I am not comfortable with the idea of "drives" and very prominent banners exhorting/shaming people to "donate".

The basic reason Metafilter's fundraising has been successful is because Metafilter has allowed users to focus on content and not get distracted by anything - graphics or ads or troll fights or derails.

This single minded focus on getting quality content is the uniqueness of MeFi ... huge fundraising drives and banners and exhortations will take away the community feeling that makes this place so unique and successful.

I would advise that we keep the unobstrusive banner on the front page, have regular or semi-regular updates from Matt and team in case of revenue or resource constraints and focus on what works best for metafilter: a great moderated website where I can have or read an intelligent conversation on the web. Its like having a breath of fresh air.

/btw, was very happy to pay the $5 when I joined and I would suggest that Matt should should look into making this an annual/recurring thing ... especially if the user has been here for couple of years.
posted by TheLittlePrince at 9:49 AM on June 10


As others have remarked in the conversation above, I wouldn't put too much weight into the difference between continuing and one-time donations*. Some of us simply prefer to donate a lump sum now (and annually) rather than monthly---it makes our budgeting a bit easier. In addition some of us don't like the idea of pre-paid overhangs on our credit cards.

That's one of the reasons many of us are asking for periodic campaigns (or perhaps just email reminders after a year). We don't want to forget to donate again in a year and miss supporting one of our favourite online communities. I would like the donation amount to be flexible. We're fortunate enough to have been able to give a certain amount, and I'd like to be able to continue to do that.

*Indeed, LN donated on behalf of the two of us, but I suspect that that edge-case is rare enough to not significantly matter to the totals.
posted by bonehead at 9:57 AM on June 10 [1 favorite]


You have to put more weight on recurring donations because you can never make plans based upon one-time donations which may or may not arrive in unspecified amounts at some point in the unspecified future. Recurring donations, on the other hand, are a known quantity on known dates. Sure people can eventually cancel them but that's fine, you can change your plans when and if that becomes a concern.

One-time donations are great! But they're more in the nature of building up a reserve than something which can be used to pay salaries or whatever.
posted by Justinian at 1:28 PM on June 10 [1 favorite]


I has a sad as I donated before the official page went up, and set up a subscription similarly early, but have no star. I guess I was into funding before it was cool ...
posted by scruss at 2:59 PM on June 10


As I understand it: You can still get a star.
posted by Michele in California at 3:04 PM on June 10


Yep, that. We had some bumps with tying donations to accounts, so if you should have a star and don't, follow that link and do what it says.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:22 PM on June 10


I am not comfortable with the idea of "drives" and very prominent banners exhorting/shaming people to "donate".

To be clear, I'm not sure why folks think that a temporary "drive" would need to involve "very prominent banners" that would be "shaming" people into donating.

What I'm suggesting is that we keep the completely unobtrusive current banner, but change it sometime in September from "Join 3,183 readers in helping fund MetaFilter" to "Help us get from 3,183 to 5,000 donors by December 31st."

Same font, same size banner, and no "shaming" involved. Just a slightly different message in the banner to give folks a goal to aim at. Again, this is a solved problem; professional fundraisers consistently suggest that specific short-term goals are more effective at raising money than general pleas.

It's a very minor change, but one that would almost certainly work to juice up donation numbers after they taper off during the upcoming weeks. I'm not sure why anyone would feel added discomfort about that.
posted by mediareport at 8:52 PM on June 10 [5 favorites]


I has a sad ... no star.

You can copy one of the ones handcrafted by Mike Mongo before it became illegal to age them on wooden boards.
posted by flabdablet at 10:15 PM on June 10 [4 favorites]


Like others have mentioned above, I would really like some kind of yearly reminder. As a substantial part of my income comes in annual or twice-a-year payments, I need to budget carefully. Paying once a year is a lot simpler for me than a monthly payment.

It could be MeFi mail, e-mail or some kind of yearly drive, any kind of reminder would be nice.
posted by Kattullus at 9:59 AM on June 11 [3 favorites]


Wooooooo! 3,200!
posted by limeonaire at 4:31 PM on June 12 [6 favorites]


ooooo, the contributions are just a hair under 1200!
posted by easily confused at 3:27 PM on June 15


How much to bring back Jessamyn?
posted by faux fabric entertainment device at 4:04 PM on June 15 [2 favorites]


You would probably need some sort of reverse entropy ray.
posted by shakespeherian at 4:34 PM on June 15 [2 favorites]


Phew! Relief. Finally been paid by slow-dragging client. So, food other than Aldi/Lidl cheap own brands in the kitchen cupboards, a nice pastry from the local artisan bakery, and a donation to MetaFilter (amount appropriate to personal future emigration plans).

Even if I am e.g. abducted by aliens, lose (or gain) my mind and retire to a log cabin with a sauna in Finland, or on a whim go off the grid for 6 months to walk the Appalachian Trail, and never use MetaFilter again it feels a relief to donate for the many times the mods have dealt with my ... variable quality ... posts and comments. The five buck one-off fee was never enough for the probably many times one of them thought "What in the name of Cthulhu possessed him to write THAT?"

Thanks, mods and community.
posted by Wordshore at 2:44 AM on June 16 [5 favorites]


My first recurring payment just automatically cleared my account! The system works!
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:54 AM on June 19 [2 favorites]


I was going to take someone to have some shirts made (they just got promoted, need new wardrobe, my birthday gift to them) but it turns out they can't make the appoint for another two months so maybe I'll put some of that into Metafilter....
posted by The Whelk at 11:32 AM on June 19


Just got an email from PayPal telling me I've sent an automatic payment. The system does, indeed, work.
posted by flabdablet at 10:25 AM on June 21


You would probably need some sort of reverse entropy ray.

Okay, what do I do now? Just point it at jessamyn or at the servers or what?
posted by aubilenon at 6:54 PM on June 21 [4 favorites]


I got my recurring payment notification as well, so the system works in Canada too.
posted by arcticseal at 8:00 AM on June 22


I've rarely felt happy to get a receipt for spending money. This morning was a great exception. My recurring payment works as well and I love it!
posted by sockermom at 8:48 AM on June 22 [5 favorites]


Is there data on the mean monthly donation?
posted by anotherpanacea at 4:28 PM on June 22


Just inquiring — on June 2 in this post, word was that "as we approach 3,000 supporters, we’ll be making the fundraising less visible, removing the top banner from all the sites, but adding it to the header/footer later this week in some permanent, unobtrusive way." We're now past 3,300, still with a top banner and still creeping along in the count. Any change in the works?

My two cents worth is that I would not make it "less visible" or more "unobtrusive." Reader contributions are part of your business model now — don't hide that and don't apologize about being a little obtrusive. Whenever I hit my monthly limit at the NYTimes or my local paper, they throw a big pop-up in my face. Not that I suggest doing something like that, but at minimum, there should be a permanent reminder at the top of the page (without a "hide" function) that readers have the option to support the site. And maybe, every six months or so, you should roll out some version of the public radio fundraiser during which there's a little more hoopla with the aim of recruiting an extra 1,000 supporters.
posted by beagle at 1:07 PM on June 24


hehehe.... "as we approach 3,000 supporters": right now, that lovely counter is at 3,307 --- I'd say we only 'approached' 3,000 as we flew past it!

Any word on how much higher that number should actually be, once the mailed-in checks and the bitcoins and the carrier pigeon deliveries are added in?
posted by easily confused at 11:24 AM on June 26


Finally made my donation today and set a yearly calendar reminder for next June. One lump sum works better for me vs reoccurring since I don't always know my budget from month to month/shift around credit cards/all those things us middle upper lower class people do. But as long as I can prepare for it in advance I can have the money set aside.
posted by downtohisturtles at 7:36 PM on June 27


Automated monthly donation confirmed working properly. Woo!
posted by FlyingMonkey at 11:16 AM on June 30


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