Maximum Fun Questions September 13, 2009 3:05 PM   Subscribe

"Sponsored by Ask Metafilter. Thousands of Life's Little Questions, Answered. Online at ask.metafilter.com." So, how long has AskMe been sponsoring The Sound of Young America?

(Heard just now at the top of the hour as The Sound of Young America started up on WNYC here in New York.)
posted by ocherdraco to MetaFilter-Related at 3:05 PM (68 comments total)

There is a chance that this could be a joke, since youngamerica is a member here, and his program was once even posted to projects: The Sound of Young American. And he's had this project as well, The Sound of Young America: The TV Pilot.

This comment brought to you by Melfilter Projects, Thousands of projects on the part of Metafilter few people read!
posted by cjorgensen at 3:15 PM on September 13, 2009


The love affair between MeFi and Jesse Thorn is long-running and joyous.

MaxFunCon meetup
Podcast interview
Late 2007 mention of hearing another MeFi ad on TSoYA
There's more, I'm sure.
posted by carsonb at 3:17 PM on September 13, 2009


Damn typos. I sent youngamerican a link to this meta.
posted by cjorgensen at 3:19 PM on September 13, 2009


Not a joke. Matt has been sponsoring the show for a while.
posted by special-k at 3:26 PM on September 13, 2009


Yeah, been a while now.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 3:28 PM on September 13, 2009


This comment brought to you by Melfilter Projects,

MelFilter: All Mel, All The Time.
posted by Askiba at 3:30 PM on September 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Are there other things that Metafilter sponsors?
posted by ocherdraco at 3:35 PM on September 13, 2009


Are there other things that Metafilter sponsors?

Matt says yes.
posted by kate blank at 3:43 PM on September 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Are there other things that Metafilter sponsors?

I've been searching for a hidden connection to the 9/12 Project, because the resulting MeTa would be EPIC.
posted by graventy at 3:59 PM on September 13, 2009 [5 favorites]


MetaFilter sponsored The Real Geeks Ride.
posted by fixedgear at 4:18 PM on September 13, 2009


Matt's been underwriting production of The Sound of Young America for a couple of years now. I was a user before he began doing so (though he didn't realize that).

Any other questions, I'm glad to answer.
posted by YoungAmerican at 4:22 PM on September 13, 2009


Any other questions, I'm glad to answer.

Maple cured bacon or pepper bacon?
posted by Science! at 4:28 PM on September 13, 2009


No particular other questions (from me, anyway). The interview with Gary Hustwit was great, though. Thanks!
posted by ocherdraco at 4:30 PM on September 13, 2009


My MaxFun post from when I discovered Jesse's stuff, in which I mention the sponsorship and Matt confirms, and Jesse responds to some questions.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:45 PM on September 13, 2009


Whoops, I see Jesse's already here!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:45 PM on September 13, 2009


I didn't know about this. How very cool!
posted by snsranch at 4:50 PM on September 13, 2009


My sister told me the other day, "I was listening to the radio and there was a commercial for that MetaFilter thing you like." Awesome.
posted by ColdChef at 5:21 PM on September 13, 2009


I've never advertised MetaFilter anywhere online, and every accountant I've had always reminded that me most every business spends something on advertising. I kept that in mind as I continued not spending any money trying to convince people to use MeFi.

A couple years ago, Jesse was asking for money on his shows every week and I must say it started to sound like the situation was veering towards desperation, like now that he was out of college and trying to do his radio show full time (and he added more shows I also enjoyed), maybe a day job was in his future. And once you get a dayjob, maybe you don't have time for that passionate hobby that brings in no money.

I thought back to when I was 23 and just finished my bachelor's degree and I discovered the web and I taught myself how to make web pages and I loved it more than anything in the world, but I didn't have a job doing it and there wasn't any easy way to make money doing it (in 1995). I plugged away at grad school hoping to someday get a chance to do online stuff instead, and eventually I did get that chance and I eventually ended up here.

So I was making some money from MeFi, I could write off some profits as advertising if they promoted MeFi, and I could save my favorite podcast from having to do something drastic. So I began underwriting Jesse's show and wrote it off as a MeFi advertisement. It's kind of win-win, through MeFi doesn't really make money from people hearing the ad.

I sponsored that cross-country bike tour Real Geeks Ride, and I sponsor a bike team as well (featuring turbodog and ArcAm). I may someday sponsor a little league team.

Anyway, yeah, I help out my favorite podcast so the host can survive, and I can write that off as advertising even though I don't really make the money back in sales or traffic or anything, I do it because I genuinely like the show.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 6:11 PM on September 13, 2009 [58 favorites]


That's awesome, Matt.
posted by ocherdraco at 6:19 PM on September 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


SO HOW COME YOU NEVER BUY ANY REAL LIVE PONIES?!?!?!111

We'd take real good care of it and ride it every day and everything


But yes, that is all kinds of awesome.
posted by djgh at 6:23 PM on September 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


MetaFilter: that thing you like
posted by Meatbomb at 6:27 PM on September 13, 2009 [4 favorites]


Oh man, I'd love it if my kid were on a Metafilter-sponsored little league team someday!

(or if there were just toddler-sized Metafilter baseball shirts. He looks much cuter in tees than I do)
posted by pinky at 6:30 PM on September 13, 2009


I may someday sponsor a little league team. (mathowie)

It would be super awesome if it were a team that had both boys and girls.
posted by ocherdraco at 6:31 PM on September 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


MetaFilter: I discovered the web and when I taught myself how to make web pages and how I loved it more than anything in the world, but I didn't have a job
posted by DU at 6:38 PM on September 13, 2009


You know Matt, a few measly hundred bucks and I can justify re-doing my old cartoons into a beautiful, competitively priced book just in time for the holiday season.

Just sayin.
posted by The Whelk at 7:30 PM on September 13, 2009


I also want to emphasize that Matt and MeFi get a great deal -- they couldn't be reaching a more appropriate audience of this size for that price anywhere else. Although I'll do it as a charity case, too ;).
posted by YoungAmerican at 7:34 PM on September 13, 2009


Way to go, Matt. That's really awesome. I hope they at least send you a tote bag!
posted by klangklangston at 7:59 PM on September 13, 2009


It was ads on some NPR program for ask.mefi that sort of disenchanted me on the service. Realizing that I'm a product, and being used to generate profit, really took the luster out of trying to help people.

I never made any explicit decision to that effect, but I found myself answering far less frequently on AskMe after that.

I'm glad to hear that it's not quite so mercenary as it sounded. :)
posted by Malor at 8:17 PM on September 13, 2009


I hope they at least send you a tote bag! (klangklangston)

What would the Jesse Thorn version of the Nina Toten-bag be called?
posted by ocherdraco at 8:20 PM on September 13, 2009


Oh man, I'd love it if my kid were on a Metafilter-sponsored little league team someday!

They'd play against the Fark team from the other side of town
posted by Jon_Evil at 8:37 PM on September 13, 2009


They'd play against the Fark team from the other side of town

Bad: The bad news bears. Worse: Sponsored by MetaFilter. Fark: Photoshop this plate of beans.
posted by davejay at 9:29 PM on September 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


It was ads on some NPR program for ask.mefi that sort of disenchanted me on the service. Realizing that I'm a product, and being used to generate profit, really took the luster out of trying to help people.

If it's any consolation, given the general ask.me response to stupid or exploitative questions, I don't think we're much of a service. I certainly don't feel exploited, given the value I receive on this site.

But, I do bet that lots more fins are handed over for question-posting privileges than for fpp/commenting privileges.
posted by Netzapper at 9:45 PM on September 13, 2009


It was ads on some NPR program for ask.mefi that sort of disenchanted me on the service. Realizing that I'm a product, and being used to generate profit, really took the luster out of trying to help people.

I never made any explicit decision to that effect, but I found myself answering far less frequently on AskMe after that.

That's one of the craziest things I've ever read on this site. I'm glad you're opinion has been readjusted by hearing how Matt made the decision to sponsor, but seriously, it's a three-second-long NPR sponsorship. The fact that you confused that with an ad and somehow allowed that to affect your participation in AskMe says not complimentary things about your paranoia level.
posted by Caduceus at 9:56 PM on September 13, 2009 [5 favorites]


Any other questions, I'm glad to answer.
posted by YoungAmerican


Is this where I ask whether to match my shoes to my pants or my socks? Or whether an ascot is more appropriate for Sunday brunch than a bowtie?
posted by The Deej at 10:01 PM on September 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


says not complimentary things about your paranoia level

Malor's in security. Paranoia is what he does.
posted by flabdablet at 11:31 PM on September 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Any other questions, I'm glad to answer.
posted by YoungAmerican


Ain't there one damn song that can make me break down and cry?
posted by tellurian at 11:38 PM on September 13, 2009 [4 favorites]


Any other questions, I'm glad to answer.
posted by YoungAmerican


Why are you so awesome?
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 2:59 AM on September 14, 2009


So why is it sponsored by AskMe specifically? (I've just always been curious.)
posted by wallaby at 3:45 AM on September 14, 2009


No respectable program would want to be seen associating with Metatalk, basically.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:00 AM on September 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


And once you get a dayjob, maybe you don't have time for that passionate hobby that brings in no money.

Wow. Nobody told me or any of my friends that.

Underwrite my passionate hobby plzkthxbai ^^
posted by Joseph Gurl at 4:08 AM on September 14, 2009


So, what address do we send our motorsport sponsorship proposals to?
posted by dg at 5:08 AM on September 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


123 Fake Street.
posted by Mister_A at 6:23 AM on September 14, 2009


It would be super awesome if it were a team that had both boys and girls.

Omigoodness yes. I'm a girl who grew up playing baseball, because I wanted to play baseball, not softball, gosh darnit, because all my friends were boys and it was so much easier to throw a baseball than a softball, and it was faster and rougher and harder and just so much more fun. (I also dove off 30-foot rocks into the rushing, freezing McKenzie River, and tried to race cars on my bike, so yeah, tomboy.) One of my friends was the son of the baseball coach, which I didn't know until the coach told me he wanted someone with my motivation on the team — his son had told him how much I loved the game. (I was only average at it, but I loved it.)

In three years of playing little league baseball, I only met one other team with a (single) girl on it. They didn't treat her the same, she was a "girl", whereas I was treated as a player; a team member. No distinction was ever made between me and the boys; the only comments were on our baseball play. But once I moved on to middle school, the school disallowed me from playing baseball, because they didn't want a girl "travelling with boys". Never mind they were boys I'd grown up with, who I trusted implicitly (and who are still dear, trustworthy friends to this day, every single one of 'em)... the school didn't want it, because "something bad could happen to her". It hurt my friends by implicity assuming they might hurt me. They didn't understand why the sudden change, nor what could happen; a couple of them took months to recover, avoiding me in case they "accidentally did something bad to me". Some 25 years later, nowadays, most of those guys have told me how much they learned about human relations, just by having had a girl on their team in elementary school — they hadn't seen it as anything out of the ordinary at the time, which was an immensely important life lesson for them once we reached middle school and they started to realize absurd reasons could be found to divide us, and that it hurt. Needless to say, these are people who've grown up to respect humanity (note how I'm not making any division between the sexes) and who don't stand for sexist crap.

So yeah. Find a little league baseball coach who recognizes that girls can be just as good (or bad :) ) at baseball as boys, because they're human, and encourage them. I'd suggest the flip side too, a softball coach who recognizes that boys can want to play softball with girls! It opens the minds and hearts of everyone involved.
posted by fraula at 6:42 AM on September 14, 2009 [8 favorites]


This is a pretty damn good podcast though, thanks for bringing it to my attention.
posted by Mister_A at 6:45 AM on September 14, 2009


It was ads on some NPR program for ask.mefi that sort of disenchanted me on the service. Realizing that I'm a product, and being used to generate profit, really took the luster out of trying to help people.

It's all about the Abrahams, baby. uh-huh, yeah.
posted by stavrogin at 7:30 AM on September 14, 2009


It's when things like this happen that I realize how much I love MeFi.
posted by ob at 8:14 AM on September 14, 2009


"The fact that you confused that with an ad and somehow allowed that to affect your participation in AskMe says not complimentary things about your paranoia level."

Malor resents fiat endorsement.
posted by klangklangston at 8:14 AM on September 14, 2009


I may someday sponsor a little league team.

Sweet. The team naming possibilities are endless.
posted by jerseygirl at 8:49 AM on September 14, 2009


but seriously, it's a three-second-long NPR sponsorship. The fact that you confused that with an ad and somehow allowed that to affect your participation in AskMe says not complimentary things about your paranoia level.

It's a fucking ad. That's what it's for. Those 'sponsorship' messages are meant to drive business to the sponsor. They have them all over NPR, and just because they're not in traditional ad format, doesn't mean they're serving any other purpose. They're simply less offensive; they're not different things.

The fact that you confuse it with anything else says a great deal about your intelligence level.
posted by Malor at 9:05 AM on September 14, 2009


You guys don't get your cuts of the ad revenue?
posted by Burhanistan at 9:27 AM on September 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


MeFi doesn't really make money from people hearing the ad

As someone who heard about and joined MetaFi because of those SOYA ads it warms my cold crusty heart to hear that Matt sponsored it because he wanted to support his favorite podcast. I think you'd find if you could somehow see through whatever research was done that in the long term those ads will also make Metafilter bigger and more profitable but in a good way, as the venn diagram between the audiences grows in somewhat opposite directions.

Please sponsor the 'cast (and JJGo) more and stuff because I need it and I'm too broke and lazy to actually give Jesse money and also 1 time I called in w a suggestion and they didn't play it and i freaked out a little but anyway I appreciate MetaFilter's exploiting the proletariat type-sweat of my honest underclass commentary and bourjois AskMe questions or whatever Malor is on about.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:38 AM on September 14, 2009




It's a fucking ad. That's what it's for. Those 'sponsorship' messages are meant to drive business to the sponsor. They have them all over NPR, and just because they're not in traditional ad format, doesn't mean they're serving any other purpose. They're simply less offensive; they're not different things.

Except that a lot of them are from non-profits helping to support another non-profit. And even the companies that are for-profit are still doing something good for the world, as opposed to mere money grubbing.

And I'd rather be considered naive than be an asshole.
posted by Caduceus at 11:58 AM on September 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


It wasn't a rhetorical question.
posted by theroadahead at 12:25 PM on September 14, 2009


"So were you not advertising and losing money, or were you writing off profits by buying advertising?"

I can't tell if that was supposed to be a "Gotcha" or a request for clarification, but I think a rereading of those two quotes makes the situation pretty clear: The money brought in by advertising MeFi does not exceed the amount of money paid out for advertising MeFi (at least in this context—when I finally print my totally sweet magazine, it's going to not only make me brilliantly rich, but create such a payoff for the advertisers that they will actually have to spend more on steroids to lift their huge bags of cash than on the ads themselves, entirely unlike every other magazine in the history of ever).

And as "profits" in this context is "anything above overhead," it's not contradictory to think that Matt found himself comfortable enough in his palanquin and fully stocked with eunuchs, that he could indulge in the sport of patronage. That he could benefit by reducing his tax obligation is secondary, but an incentive.
posted by klangklangston at 12:50 PM on September 14, 2009


klang (if I may be so bold as to call you that), my issue is that he said he was losing money on the deal in '07, and today says that he was reducing his tax burden by using some of his profits for advertising. I am really curious as to which one is the correct statement. Especially considering the vehemence with which "advertising mefi" was denied in the old thread.
posted by theroadahead at 1:00 PM on September 14, 2009


I would like a eunuch. Matt?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:02 PM on September 14, 2009


So were you not advertising and losing money, or were you writing off profits by buying advertising?

You don't understand how MetaFilter runs and mixing up the membership charge with how the site makes money. The $5 charges are just a hurdle to keep random crazy people away and aren't really the focus of any business model. It doesn't amount to much money because not too many people actually pay $5 to join a site.

I run Google textads on comment threads for people not logged in (the $5 buys you an account and you never have to see ads again) and that's where money that runs the servers, pays employees, and keeps things running. Some of that goes to The Sound of Young America.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 1:03 PM on September 14, 2009


Also, I was saying that the underwriting of the show doesn't result in enough new $5 members to pay for it, so that's where I'm losing money. I make money from advertising, give some to Jesse, and then don't make the money back.

In the traditional world of big business, people like to make three times what they put into advertising. I don't sell widgets and I don't really get web traffic gains from mentions on TV, radio, newspapers or whatever, so it doesn't make sense to advertise.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 1:05 PM on September 14, 2009


I was crafting a response to your first response and now I see your second response. Obviously, the thing to do here is to forget I asked.
posted by theroadahead at 1:14 PM on September 14, 2009


I'm too broke and lazy to actually give Jesse money

And yet you totally pirate his podcast and okay this is the wrong thread...

Especially considering the vehemence with which "advertising mefi" was denied in the old thread.

The vehement return to the subject two years later out of the blue is honestly a lot weirder. I don't know if you're angry at Matt for failing to be an ascetic, but you're coming off pretty weird and fixated and I'm not sure if you get that at all.

Like Matt said, the signup fee fulfills a really useful throttling function on signups and secondarily marginally subsidizes the cost of dealing with new users. Anyone who thinks that using advertising to trick an above-average volume of folks to sign up for a site that benefits most from slow-trickle, longtime-lurker signups is something we'd use as a business plan is deeply mistaken about how this place works.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:16 PM on September 14, 2009


OK, new plan:

1) Go back in time and sponsor Jesse Thorn's podcast
2) ???
3) LACK PROFIT!!
posted by not_on_display at 1:23 PM on September 14, 2009


I will totally pay extra money for MeFi if MetaTalk can sponsor "Jordan, Jesse, Go!"

Perhaps "Momentous Occasions presented by MetaTalk. MetaTalk, thousands of life's little callouts, answered."
posted by ALongDecember at 2:25 PM on September 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


3) !PROFIT


This is a nice thing you're doing, Matt.
posted by boo_radley at 3:09 PM on September 14, 2009


I would like a eunuch. Matt?
posted by jessamyn

I'd like something rarer, a eunuch horn.
posted by tellurian at 5:33 PM on September 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Remembering Michael Jackson with Oliver Wang & Jay Smooth: The Sound of Young America Podcast with Oliver Wang and Jay Smooth after Michael Jackson died was the best coverage of Jackson's death I have seen/read anywhere. It's a great, great, great episode and even if you're not a big MJ fan, it's a great example of why this medium (the podcast/interview) is so compelling.
posted by gen at 12:22 AM on September 15, 2009


Obviously, the thing to do here is to forget I asked.
Good plan.
posted by dg at 5:03 AM on September 15, 2009


those 'sponsorship' messages are meant to drive business to the sponsor.

Well, I know that listening to Morning Edition convinced me to get all of my yogurt from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
posted by holgate at 10:38 PM on September 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


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