What's With the Tip Jar

This post has been about 4 months in waiting. Not because I’ve struggled with writing it, but because I’ve been trying to convince myself I should. Today I was once again listening to my podcast mentor, Leo Laporte, who talked about his tip jar. I realized that while I am someone who just loves to give everything away for free, there is also nothing wrong with being compensated for your efforts. So with that in mind, I’ve decided on putting a “tip jar” on this site. As this is a new development and I still believe in transparency, I’m writing this post to explain why.

Saying No to Advertising

I’ve thought long and hard about including advertising or sponsors on this site. I keep rejecting it for a few reasons. First, while I’m now seeing upwards of 8,000 views a month, that’s still pretty small in the grand internet universe. My niche is pretty small, and I’m not sure it’s worth it for advertisers or for me. Sure, I could spend some time trying to sell ad space, but frankly, I’d much rather spend my time creating relevant and useful content for you than selling ad space. Plus I hate sales; I did it for a year and a half and disliked every minute of it. I also don’t want to be in any way fearful of saying something negative about an advertiser, or positive about their competition. It’s easy to talk about journalistic integrity, but hard to do when your revenue stream depends on it.

Saying No to Subscriptions

I believe very firmly that content wants to be free. I can’t stand it when I search for a subject, find a great article only to discover that the meat of the article is behind a pay wall. I will typically not visit that site again. I also don’t want to distinguish between “free” and “paid” content. I figure I need to make everything I write open to all, and that means no subscriptions.

Saying Yes to the Tip Jar

Which brings me to the Tip Jar. Here’s my reasoning; I spend a lot of time on this site, the podcasts and webinars, and answering reader mail, not to mention the time researching and learning about everything I’m writing about. It typically consumes 20+ hours a week. Often I spend much of my days off writing, testing or researching articles. Mind you, I’m not complaining; I love it! I don’t have a ton of hobbies, and I really enjoy what I’m doing.

On the other hand, it does take a lot away from my family, and I’d like to be able to take them out somewhere special once in a while to make it up. Plus I spend a fair amount of personal money on equipment, hosting and software to make this all possible.

This brings me to you, dear reader. If you find this website, or the podcast or the webinars helpful, consider leaving me a tip. The amount is strictly up to you, as is the frequency of your donations. I’m not looking to make a living off this, or quit my day job, but like I said, I’d love to take the girls to Disneyland once in a while. They’ve given up a lot so their dad can work at a church and they’ve been super about it. But as a dad, you want to take care of your kids...

If you can’t or don’t want to contribute, it’s no problem. I’m going to keep writing, keep podcasting and keep answering e-mails for as long as I can. As I said, I think content should be free. On the other hand, a little pocket change is great motivation.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them in the comment section below. I try to answer all comments.

Thanks for reading; you are the reason this site has flourished over the last 3+ years. I have more excitement about going forward than ever and I am delighted to be on this journey of technical excellence with you!

mike