Every once in a while, someone will stop by to declare that all I ever do is "beg for donations". Up until today, that simply wasn't true. Unfortunately, now I'm left with no other choice.
This "Turd" stuff is a lot of fun and I have certainly benefited from it, both financially and personally. However it has, over time, turned into a business and to stay afloat, businesses have to bring in more money than they spend. To that end, I've undertaken four initiatives this year:
- Affiliation with a bullion, coin and storage service.
- Marketing of homepage advertisements.
- "Turd's Army" partnership with Andrew Maguire and Coghlan Capital.
- Development of TurdTalksMetals.
It was my hope that these initiatives, when combined with Google Adsense revenue growth, would allow TFMR to not only be profitable but grow and expand. Unfortunately, this hasn't gone according to plan (hopes).
- The affiliation with HardAssetsAlliance only just began last Friday.
- I've been able to "sell" just two homepage ads. These ads currently generate $650/month in revenue but are, of course, subject to cancellation and renewal.
- General lack of interest in trading has led to only a handful of Turdites joining "The Army".
- Delays, technical issues and merchant provider/processing problems have left TTM with less than 200 subscribers so far.
And, after 15 months of a brutal silver market and 12 months of pain in gold, overall site traffic is down quite a bit. From a peak of 30,000+ unique visitors per day last summer, traffic has been nearly cut in half. Because of that, Google ad revenue has been cut by more than 50%, too.
But expenses for running such a popular site continue unabated. Each month, I pay almost $1000 for servers that allow all of us to post nearly anything we feel is relevant. I also pay nearly $2000/month for tech and moderation support.
And then there are issues like the bot/DDOS attack last February that exposed holes in our platform and brought down the entire site for 36 hours. To fix this and to implement changes that would prevent a recurrence cost me $3675. Other unforeseen issues invariably spring up each month, adding $500-$1000 in additional expenses.
Anyway, my point in sharing this with you is this:
TFMR, in its current form, isn't working. The plus side of the ledger only includes the Google and direct ads as well as the affiliation revenue. The minus side includes all of the server and tech costs as well as anything else that might crop up. In total, this site is either losing money or barely scraping by so, from a personal standpoint, I have to make some decisions.
- First, I need some more donations. The TFMR bank account only has about $1,500 in it and I am past due with Ron to the tune of about $8,000. My plan/hope is to pay this down with TTM revenue but, with only 200 subscribers at about $7/month profit, it's going to take a while. Therefore, I'm asking for some help.
- The last time I asked (begged) for donations, a number of folks signed up for $5 or $10 recurring monthly donations. This was very nice and much appreciated. Unfortunately, once TTM went live, many of these same folks apparently decided that TFMR must not need cash anymore because they subsequently discontinued their payments.
- IF you feel that this is a beneficial site and worthwhile endeavor, please help support it. Contrary to myth and legend, The Turd is not some kind of independently wealthy, semi-retired ex-trader. If TFMR and TTM cannot be made into profitable enterprises, I will be forced to make some hard choices.
Possibilities going forward include:
- My plan was, and still is, to keep TFMR as a completely free-of-charge, educational and community-oriented website. If site traffic can get back to where it was (a hot, explosive and historic summer would certainly help), ad revenue will increase sequentially. Perhaps the assorted affiliations will grow, too. And, if I can make TTM grow, the revenue there will help to compensate for the shortfalls of revenue here at TFMR.
- But I have to consider whether, perhaps, this entire TFMR idea was a mistake. One possible solution would be to migrate back to blogspot where there are no server or tech fees each month. In theory this sounds nice but we'd also lose all of the things that we've come to take for granted here such as podcasts, forums and moderation.
- Unfortunately, I also have to consider shuttering TFMR and the blogspot sites entirely and moving everything to the subscription-only platform at TTM. This is the advice I consistently receive from folks who only see all of this as a business. Look at all of the newsletter and subscription sites that are out there...from Prechter, to Ackerman, to Maund, to Butler...I could go on and on. They all make money. Lots of it. And none of them have to deal with the day-to-day issues that we have here.
So, anyway, I've got a lot of thinking to do. First and foremost, though, I need some help. Every donation I've ever received has been met with a sincere and personal thank you and this shall be no different. Please help if you can.
I suppose I could post this as "read only" so that I don't have to see all of the "Turd is a greedy SOB" comments that will most assuredly follow. I'm not going to, though. As always, the comments section is yours to say and post whatever you'd like (as long as it's civil). Call me what you want, post your condolences and/or subject me to scorn and ridicule, I don't care. I'm fair game and it's open season. Have at it.
Thanks to everyone who has made this possible for the past 2 years. We'll see where we go from here and, as always, I'll keep you posted.