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Open Season on Turd

373
Mon, Aug 13, 2012 - 4:40pm

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:

  1. Affiliation with a bullion, coin and storage service.
  2. Marketing of homepage advertisements.
  3. "Turd's Army" partnership with Andrew Maguire and Coghlan Capital.
  4. 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).

  1. The affiliation with HardAssetsAlliance only just began last Friday.
  2. 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.
  3. General lack of interest in trading has led to only a handful of Turdites joining "The Army".
  4. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

TF

https://www.tfmetalsreport.com/donate

About the Author

Founder
turd [at] tfmetalsreport [dot] com ()

  373 Comments

virtual · Aug 13, 2012 - 4:44pm

almost...

Short Stack · Aug 13, 2012 - 4:52pm

Close but not First.

JimmyTheHand · Aug 13, 2012 - 4:52pm

Sorry your having hell making the bills. Personally I would go back to blogspot, setup for ad revenue and essentially just go back to the old platform. That's your call of course, but that is the direction I hope you go.

I will see what I can come up with on my end.

Barth Vader · Aug 13, 2012 - 4:56pm

hey Turd are paypal and checks the only methods of payment possible?

i cannot send checks and i have trust issues with paypal.

Do you also have an IBAN bank account number perhaps?

Kevin C · Aug 13, 2012 - 4:57pm

Thanks for telling us. I'm with you. Will send a donation your way.

babaganoush2307 · Aug 13, 2012 - 4:58pm

Best of luck making it work, I as well will see what I can do on this end.

S Roche · Aug 13, 2012 - 5:00pm

Do what Yves Smith does (Naked Capitalism)...have a fund-raiser with a target. Announce it, reach it and then donation season is over until next time.

Anyway, it will be interesting to see now whether all the vocal pay-your-own-way crowd pony up pronto when you need help.

Kcap · Aug 13, 2012 - 5:00pm

Turd:

I value your site as a user for the following reasons:

1) The ability to post whatever and whenever we want and have engaging conversation.

2) The fact that like-minded people assemble here.

3) Users bring breaking news to the table, as more heads are better than one.

So, in actuality, it is the blogspot style reporting in real-time that is most valuable I think to most here.

What isn't working in my opinion:

1) The TA. Its junk. Specialized form of it or not, the markets are 100% manipulated therefore is does not work. Don't bother wasting your or our time.

2) Your predictions. Junk. Again, not your fault, but in a manipulated markets, sources or not (I have many as well), it just doesn't matter. Although its fun to speculate, keep it at that. No need for false assurances.

3) Your content/spacing/features are quite rich. Simplify them and streamline the site to make it more basic, slicing all of your costs in half. We would still be very happy and hopefully you would too. ;-)

I hope this helps. I am certainly not trying to be a know-it-all when it comes to what you want out of life or this site. Only trying to honestly help your situation. Just remember that honesty is usually harsh, but not meant to hurt.

All the best in figuring things out,

Kcap

Istack · Aug 13, 2012 - 5:01pm

can you spare a quarter? pre-1965 please.

nope, sorry, I just fed the turd.

I Run Bartertown · Aug 13, 2012 - 5:04pm

Done via snailmail (bankrupt Post Office) sent from an insolvent bank that has backed their risk with my deposits. Good Luck.wink

Wish it could be more, TF. You've taken a lot of initiative and responsibility. It's been a pleasure seeing it grow.

Sonofagun · Aug 13, 2012 - 5:05pm

Wow, that spells it out. Un-necessary, but understood. Don't stop giving TF, I won't.

Thanks

tmosley · Aug 13, 2012 - 5:05pm

Here's an idea: How about you get a batch TFMR silver rounds pressed, and give them away with a donation of $100 or more? Could also raffle them for a smaller donation and use them as prizes for contests. 

I have no idea what the costs on that would be, but I do know that small-ish groups have done it and continue to do it.

I find I have a problem with donating money, even to good causes (guess I shouldn't have read Atlas Shrugged, lol), but I don't have a problem paying an inflated rate for something for the same worthy cause.

SV · Aug 13, 2012 - 5:09pm

Sorry for the shamless promotion, but it ends in you getting silver...

Five posts at https://silverliberationarmy.com gets you free silver. A mercury dime most likely. Silver.

bratlever · Aug 13, 2012 - 5:18pm

I look forward to the Turdisms as part of my daily ritual. Increasingly, the posts of the members are becoming more important to my understanding of this crazy world that I have to deal with. I don't want to go backwards or see an end to this site. I'll gladly contribute more to the cause. Thanks.

Gramp · Aug 13, 2012 - 5:21pm

Hey, It is what it is.

I think the last podcast the most informative well done yet. Great Job TF.

I like this place. We are going through the "thin" of thick and thin. Been a while since I have thrown down... Now is a good time. a $20 spot to help pay the rent.

Eyes on the prize gents... our trying time is near.

ReachWest · Aug 13, 2012 - 5:27pm

Turd - Thanks for everything you do and for your candor about the current TFMR situation. Given all the extreme effort you put out, it's damned frustrating to be where you are (I can relate from my own personal ventures - I have had a couple of winners and many more losers, I'm still paying for one of my losers out of my personal savings.)

To add insult to injury your time is being compensated to the tune of zero (And oh yes, I can relate to that too). Welcome to the nightmare that is the small entrepreneurial venture. 

Anyway - I think this endeavor is too important to shutter. I am signed up over at TTM - but will also try to contribute here with donations, more regularly [starting today]. Hopefully an uptick in the prices of the metals will translate to more traffic and more revenue - although that certainly doesn't help the current situation.

And - any doofus that slams you for asking for help, is simply a doofus that knows not what he/she speaks of.

EDIT: Just sent you $27.78 (One ounce, based on current spot) - Sorry, that's all I can drum up right now. (If my miners pick up, should be able to do better next time).

Rowley · Aug 13, 2012 - 5:28pm

Turd, you are getting absolutely RAPED in server and technical support costs! I have a site that receives on average 12K uniques a day on a Wordpress blog with HEAVY mysql database usage. I pay $299 a month with tech support included! Paying extra for tech support went out in 2001. I have been with my current host for 5+ years and they manage many sites well over 100K uniques per day. They aren't just a fly by night web host. Sorry, but you're getting hosed in your deal. Find a new host and you will save thousands each month.

sevin · Aug 13, 2012 - 5:29pm

@Tmosley I like your thinking here. It is sad this site is having some financial difficulties. I have suggested this before about the coins. I would pay $3.00 over spot for a TFMR silver coin. There could be a contest for a design for the front and the back of the coin. If the order was large enough say 10,000 coins I'm sure they would be around $1 over spot per coin. I am just a college kid with a decent paying job, but I would easily buy 20-25 oz a month. This would be helping your cause and also adding to my stack. These coins may even carry a premium one day if the site gets big enough as it could once the price starts to rise. Just a thought. Create a goal about how many of these limited edition coins you want and track how many have been pledged for. Once you have the number reached collect the payments from us and send off the order to a mint and then ship them to us. Just a thought. I would hate to see this site vanish as it is one of the few sites I follow.

heyJoe · Aug 13, 2012 - 5:32pm

I joined TTM and happy to support this site.

muscrat · Aug 13, 2012 - 5:33pm

- Consider wordpress.com instead of blogspot. Podcasts and moderation are easy. I think there is a pulgin for forums. (I can check that for you if you want). Also, It only costs $30 to be add free. I think bandwidth is essentially free. A space upgrade of 100 GB is $90/year. If you ever decide to choose this route, I will help your migrate and set up for free. Heck, if you want, I will mock up a wordpress site for you for free this week and see if you like it. Heck, I will just do it and send you a link in a few days, no strings attached.

- Fold your 2 sites into one and have a subscription fee for hot - off - the - press updates. The free stuff would be a few days or weeks delayed. In this case, only the people who pay can actually post in real time thus lowering the signal to noise ratio.

Dagney Taggart · Aug 13, 2012 - 5:34pm

thanks for the sale today, Blythe.

Second, I second tmosley's idea.

Edit: Third, if your traffic is down, I'm buying more tomorrow.

El Gordo · Aug 13, 2012 - 5:34pm

It's just against my principles to pay for any content on the web. I have never donated one thin dime, mercury or otherwise, based on an internet solicitation. My check is in the snail mail.

PS - I forgot that my bank account had been seized by the IRS but it had already been rehypothocated so they didn't get anything after all. Anyway, I hope you will accept cash. 

Chevy Thunder · Aug 13, 2012 - 5:36pm

Personally, I just like your thoughts and commentary about the metals market and that's what kept me interested. The charts are interesting but since I don't trade, they are not useful to me, and I think most other readers here don't trade either. The commentary from others is (for the most part) very valuable too. These are all things you can do at a blogspot site, aren't they?

The Gold Bullion International association is not right for you and your message, because the owners and directors of that company are the EXACT guys that we all hate. They're just Wall Street sharks who used to work at all the TBTF banks. The founder of GBI is a former Goldman Sachs partner! For you to associate with these people and lead us to them is not the Turd that we have all grown to like and follow. 

Everyone liked Turd from the blogspot days, and that's reflected in your viewership decline. Go back to that. Keep it simple. If the Great Keynesian Experiment is really, truly about to end, there's no sense investing thousands of dollars in a questionable business.

vinzz · Aug 13, 2012 - 5:41pm

just sent you a donation.. thanks again

survivalwstyle · Aug 13, 2012 - 5:41pm

suck. the cost of frEEdom. i have not yet had the pleasure to don a BYH...hard to find, even on the internet..... thx two gun tobin for this image. that ar is a nice touch. what type of donation would it take to get into one of those?? anyone claim this hat??

gueSSing prices on specific dates is not my strong suit....

philly · Aug 13, 2012 - 5:51pm

Turd, your post was like a punch to the belly as it got me thinking of not having this site to peruse every day! Hopefully, the openness with which you explained current TFMR site financial obligations will encourage additional donations...it certainly worked in my case!!

Chris P. Bacon · Aug 13, 2012 - 5:54pm

Any way to set it up on a pay/post basis like I think Quibids does for auctions? Might just cure a lot of your ills. Steady revenue, squelch the 'noise' on main street, raise the level of civility, and concentrate the quality of posts. Just a thought, probably a bad one. Don't know how you'd handle the side forums though. Maybe greatly reduced price per post compared to main street.

Ducats on the way. Thanks!

Bug.

Hanuman · Aug 13, 2012 - 5:55pm

TF my friend,

Look at your fee-based offerings: 1. a 20-min podcast daily (I don't have time) and 2. trading-tips where one needs to stay up all night. How many folks want or need these???

Why not offer a managed account service that trades Andrew Maguire's market-calls? His Coghlan posted track record is pretty good. I think your audience will pay for services, but they need to useful.

Hanuman

tmosley Hanuman · Aug 13, 2012 - 5:58pm

Hanuman:

That is a great idea. I had thought the same thing myself until I realized the stumbling block--regulation. You would probably have to start with multiple millions of dollars just to be profitable.

Dagney Taggart · Aug 13, 2012 - 6:06pm

I'm no expert but try that with the Ataris first and see what happens.

Notice: If you do not see your new comment immediately, do not be alarmed. We are currently refreshing new comments approximately every 2 minutes to better manage performance while working on other issues. Thank you for your patience.

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