the sad thing is is tumblr thought they had to monetize through ads, so they had to do this so they could get reputable advertisers, but
if they had just hired some people to actually cultivate a good website and then asked us how we’d like the site monetized? we could have come up with something
on NPR today they were talking to The Guardian, the UK paper. Asking one of their execs how it is, exactly, in the era of dying print media, The Guardian stays afloat without charging to access their online content.
And they explained that when it became clear that the industry was irreversibly changing, they asked thousands of their readers to come in over the course of a weekend and sat them down in groups and asked what they would like the revenue model to look like going forward, keeping in mind that the paper would still need to bring in a profit somehow. The overwhelming response was “I am willing to pay for this to be free for everyone”. So The Guardian is funded by subscribers who pay because they think it’s a worthwhile service, even though all the content is available for free.
Which is also, incidentally, how things like NPR (and Maximum Fun podcasts) are funded. And how Wikipedia is funded. And how many people run their patreons – no exclusives. You just pay because you want to support the product. It’s how a lot of the best stuff in the internet age is funded.
Other online media (whether it’s patreon or podcasts or video games or w/e) offer tiny inconsequential but fun benefits for paying. Maybe tumblr donors get cute options for frames for their icons. Maybe they get access to extra themes. Pay more on this video game for a fun skin for your character that doesn’t change the gameplay. Pay more on tumblr and you can have animated icons. Something different could’ve been done.
I mean, for us to be willing to pay for it, they’d also need to try to build a functioning website. Something they’ve been royally fucking up for years now. Still no easy blacklist, limited search features, limited privacy features, links breaking everywhere…
But if @staff had made a real good faith effort to create a good user experience that prevented bots and protected users and then asked us 1) what kind of site we wanted 2) what income model we’d prefer to support, I feel like we could’ve come up with something.
As it is the site is in a downward spiral and that sucks.