REQUEST: Here's how you can help support Quarter to Three!


#1

I’ve started a Patreon campaign and while I don’t want anyone here to feel obligated, of course, I did want you guys to know it was an option.

As I mention on the campaign page, this site loses 80% of its income to ad blockers. We can see this by comparing the number of page views to the number of ads served. 80% of those page views don’t serve any ads. That means 8 out of 10 of the people who see this post – or at least the post header – are running an ad blocker when they visit the site. To our advertisers, we only do 20% of the traffic we actually do. That doesn’t just affect the number of ads I get paid for, it affects the rate at which they’re sold.

And, look, I get it. It’s a reality of the internet. Heck, I run an ad blocker on the sites that run what I feel are abusive ads. I accept the advertising model, because I’m trying to make a living from it. But I feel there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it. In the past, I’ve been awfully testy about people admitting the use ad blockers, but I should be more sympathetic to those of you whose opinion has been shaped by those abusive ads. The internet is full of them and it’s much easier to just get rid of them with one fell swoop.

So basically, here’s my way of saying, hey, if you want to run an ad blocker, consider throwing the site a couple bucks a month via Patreon, and then enjoy Quarter to Three in the way most convenient for you. And, of course, if you want to support what I’m doing with or without an ad blocker, the way I write reviews, the podcasts I do, the way the forum has been run, or even my fumbling attempts at getting into video, the Patreon campaign is there. It’s super easy to find by going to

-Tom


#2

Done.


#3

Thanks for the update on this, Tom.

I visit the site most from work as while at home I am normally playing games and not reading about them :). I am afraid I need to run Ad Blockers at work as any compromise on our network could spell doom for me and my job and I always feel bad about doing so.

I am not familiar with Pateron, but would gladly throw more bucks your way for the site/service you provide so will do it here or through the other methods available (Paypal). Either way, thanks for the notice as it reminds me I should get on something like this.

Figured it out. I am in.


#4

Tom Chick at scifiplaya.com sounds amazing.


#5

Done.


#6

Tom, I considered taking my question to a PM but then I thought well, maybe somebody else has a similar question so I’ll just throw it out there. Given that I really don’t know what it costs to maintain this site nor what these kinds of programs aggregate out to in terms of allowing you a livable income - what would you think is a reasonable amount to ask, if one were to try to make this an ongoing contribution? Awkward question I realize, but as someone who does like to support the things he likes, I guess I’m trying to figure out what I can give vs what might actually be useful. Hope that makes sense.


#7

Done. I’d gladly pay you direct, although (I think) this is one of the few sites I whitelist for adblocking.


#8

Does this somehow supersede the big Donate button on the front page?


#9

Awesome! Donated!


#10

Sorry I had to be so miserly, but I wanted to at least give something as a show of support.


#11

So I don’t mind answering this stuff in the least, but it might be a bit of an overshare. I’m putting it behind spoiler tags because it’s not really pertinent to whether or not someone wants to support me. But for anyone who wants more specifics about what they’re paying into, I have no problem explaining it!

Potential overshare!

[spoiler]Suffice to say I make money from the site. Our server costs are more than paid, and they probably would be if I just ran a single Google banner ad. Instead, we have a total of two ads on the forum, which is the bulk of our traffic, and five (!) ads on the front page. The ad network gets half of that money. Half. Which seems like a lot, and it is. But it’s fair, because they’re out there selling ads specifically for gaming sites, sometimes specifically based on this site’s reputation, and sometimes at far better rates than I’d get from a blanket Google ad. The network is also very conscientious about non-annoying advertising (although there are occasional issues with mobile redirects that are hard to track down, which I find infuriating because that should never happen).

So although I could make more money with Google, I’d rather run a site that doesn’t annoy people. I’d rather avoid the headache of people thinking they’re getting malware from Google ads. I don’t want to run any advertising that prevents someone from coming back. Because I know what it’s like to go to a site, get some goddamn annoying pop-up ad or interstitial or audio blaring through my speakers, and decide to not even bother reading what I was going there to read, much less ever coming back. Also, dealing with Google is such a black box. We’ve been shut down before for barely specified violations of their terms of service. You get an email saying you’re cut off because of a certain rule. Then you have to track down where the rule has been violated! I come to find out it’s because there’s a potentially NSFW image someone flagged, or a drop down menu covers the edge of an ad, or someone clicked an ad 100 times or whatever. They’re so vague about these shutdowns, and I would be very nervous about having to count on Google’s non-existent interaction with the people who carry their ads.

So, all that said, I don’t make enough to, say, pay my rent. There is no way I can making a living based on what I earn from this site currently. Through 2014, I was been running on the income I made from the Sci Fi Channel before I lost that job at the very end of 2010. Since then – I feel a bit embarrassed saying this, but I suppose it’s fair to mention in a situation where I’m soliciting crowdfunding – what’s sustaining me is the donations I received from a GoFundMe campaign a friend of mine set up when I was diagnosed with cancer. That was such an incredible gift. It was like being blown backwards by an outpouring of generosity and sympathy and caring that I didn’t know existed to that degree. I was staggered. It made my life so much easier while I was dealing with this. But that was a year and a half ago, and I won’t be able to coast on it much longer. Hence the Patreon campaign and the attempts at video. Because otherwise, I would have to try to get a staff job somewhere, or maybe look for work as a producer in game development (shudder!), or a PR gig (quadruple shudder!).

In fact, Kotaku posted an opening for a staff writer last month. The recent push into video (which seems about as lucrative as podcasting…) and now the Patreon campaign is a direct consequence of me having to decide whether to apply for that position or continue to make a go of running Qt3. I decided to try this. Being a full-time writer with an actual job might not be awful, but I prefer what I do here.

And for what it’s worth, I don’t want anyone to read this as an ultimatum about whether Qt3 would still exist! This is a community that I will maintain so long as even one other person wants to come here to talk about games or movies or to post animated gifs to make us each smile.[/spoiler]

As for what you can give that might actually be useful, regular visits to the site without an adblocker are all I really ask. Barring that, a couple dollars a month on PayPal – although those jerks take, like, 40% for anything less than five bucks – or Patreon is fine if you want to tell me you’re using an adblocker without me making some dumbass passive-agressive attempt at a guilt trip. :) That said, we get about 500 registered accounts visiting every day. If each of those people gave $4, I would be able to make my living entirely running Qt3. So there’s a concrete number for you!

Anyway, sorry for the dump of personal info. But for anyone comfortable asking, I’m perfectly comfortable answering.

-Tom


#12

It does not! PayPal donations are still fine. A few folks have been kind enough to set up monthly Paypal donations, but that’s a really low visibility thing. After four years, there are five regulars there. And while they’re much appreciated, I’ve gotten four times as many supporters on Patreon in just one day. Also, Patreon makes it easier for me to explain why I’m asking for donations and to literally put a face on the process. That big blue button on the front page is awfully cold and impersonal.

Also also, one of the things I had considered that’s only possible on Patreon is setting up donation thresholds. Like, say, a certain number of weekly reviews at this threshold, video reviews at the next threshold, a guaranteed weekly games podcast at another threshold, going back into short fiction like Shoot Club at the next threshold, and so forth. The reason I didn’t do that at the outset is that I didn’t know whether this would be one of those sad little Patreons that has three people pledging $11, which would make it pretty pathetic to presume to set goals. I also wanted to make sure Bruce and I got back into the swing of making good on our Tom vs Bruce Kickstarter, which is well underway now. I didn’t want to ask for money at a time when I still owed people work for a previous donation.

-Tom


#13

Five bucks a month from me. Worth every penny for the high signal to noise ratio here.


#14

Dude, if I had a nickel for every time you were apologetic about something you didn’t have to be apologetic about, I wouldn’t even have to run this site! :)

-Tom


#15

So, does it make a difference if I leave my monthly PayPal contribution, or would you prefer Patreon? I’m cool either way.


#16

Considering I browse these forums every day I did what I could… Keep on truckin.


#17

I’m also cool either way, but PayPal is a more direct route. It just doesn’t have the dorky video of me rambling on about my childhood. :)

-Tom


#18

I’m really glad you’re doing this. Happy to pitch in.


#19

Thanks for the reminder. I’ve turned off uBlock although for some reason I’m still not seeing any ads. It’s probably about time I got myself an avatar too so I’ll donate for one of those. Hopefully your Youtube streaming blows up real big as your one of the best streamers of everyone I’ve subscribed to. You just gotta work it! Lots of giveaways (only to people who have subscribed!) and remind people to like and comment. I guess that boosts your visibility or something? I don’t really know, to be honest.


#20

PayPal it is, but I’ll watch your dorky video. I may even subject my wife to it so she’ll know where I drive off to, on those rare west coast jaunts, to play a board game over a beer.