Today, The Daily Banter is very proud to announce our massively ambitious Campaign to UnF*ck the Internet.
With the explosion of sites like Buzzfeed, Upworthy, and all the other viral content mills flooding the internet with side-boob photos, annoying clickbait headlines, and listicles about cats that look like Miley Cyrus (and no, that is not a joke), we felt it was finally time to do something about it.
The Daily Banter has been growing at a tremendous pace since its launch in January of 2012, surpassing 5 million readers this past month, without doing any of the above. We’ve stuck religiously to a formula of compelling, thoughtful content and refused to buy into the notion that we have to use cheap tricks to build an audience.
However, we are still a relatively small site with extremely limited resources, and that makes our long term survival far from certain. We believe we can take on the big players and prove that great content is king, but we need your help to do it.
As it stands, advertising revenue is proving a very difficult way to keep ourselves afloat. It is next to impossible to predict our future income given that ad rates fluctuate so wildly, and that makes planning ahead extremely difficult.
Going forward, we would like to hire new talent, invest in more in-depth reporting, produce podcast and video shows, and improve reader experience with a better designed site. This is where you come in. We are launching a members area for our readers that accomplishes two major things:
1. It provides our readers with some excellent benefits: access to exclusive content, an ad-free experience, and the chance to interact with Banter writers via live chats.
2. It allows us to grow the site by having a predictable stream of income. It is impossible to overstate how vitally important this is – independent media companies like The Daily Banter cannot survive without reader contribution for precisely that reason.
Why this model?
It’s simple really – reader funded journalism is potentially the most powerful, disruptive force to have ever hit the media industry. If we have enough readers behind us, we can have an incredible amount of autonomy – no answering to advertisers or investors, and no interference from corporate bosses.
Last month we sent our very own Chez Pazienza to report live from Ferguson and asked you to pitch in. We recovered the cost of the trip within 24 hours, proving there is a real appetite for this type of journalism. Chez provided some powerful reporting told in his unique voice, and challenged the notion that small sites can’t compete with the corporate news media. We want to do more of this, but we need your help to do it.
We will be asking readers for $5.99/month – the price of two coffees – and we promise that your money will be spent well. Our overhead is extremely low, so you will be directly contributing to the content you see up on the site every day.
So what do you get as a subscriber?
1. You get an ad-free experience. No annoying pop ups, no audio ads, just a beautifully simple reader experience.
2. You get exclusive content not available on the main site including more in-depth, long-form articles, podcasts and premium video content.
3. You get to interact with the writers. We will be hosting live chats where you can ask your favorite Banter writer anything you like.
To become a member, please see below. If you can spare anything extra, you can simply set your own price when entering the amount. We deeply appreciate your generosity – it genuinely makes a huge difference.
Thanks so much, we couldn’t do this without you!
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.