This blog is about Graphic Design, Vector Art, and Cartoon Illustration

December 6, 2018

How and why to support people that you like on the web

In the last few years, if you've seen something like "please subscribe" or "give me a thumbs up" on a blog or a video on YouTube, you've seen a creator struggling to keep providing content, relying on advertising. And if you've ever thought, "Wow, I really like the stuff this person is creating, and would like to see more of it", you may have wondered what benefit clicking "subscribe" or "like" does. And it does help, but only a tiny bit.

This is how it works: someone, like me, creates something like a blog, or a how-to video and they hope that it will attract hundreds of thousands of views. If they have it on a platform that monetizes, like Google, they get a percentage of the money that Google makes on the ads. In fact, it's a relationship that Google encourages, because they themselves don't create content, they rely on creators. So someone puts in hours of work, throws it out there, and hopes to attract a gigantic audience. And the audience really does have to be gigantic, because the percentage that the creators get is tiny. To be fair to Google, at least they share a bit, Facebook gives zero to creators.

I've been curious about this for a long time, and am now starting to see other ways that creators can be funded. And I'm not talking about making them rich, I'm talking about giving them more than just pennies a month, which is what most creators get from their share of advertising revenue. It started with something that I've been on since its invention, called Patreon. Nowadays there's Drip, too. Yes, that's what they call it. And they're both the same - creators create, not for advertising, but for what people who like their stuff like. And the amounts per month may sound tiny, like a dollar a month, but believe me it beats the pennies that Google Adsense pays. Or the zero that Facebook pays.

There are creators out there that I like, and I'm happy to give them a dollar or two a month. My favorite, Dr. Jo, who creates physical therapy videos, got on Patreon a little while ago and I was happy to see her there. I've been watching her stuff for years, and I'd like to think that there are a lot of people like me who would be happy to support her efforts, giving her a few dollars a month. It adds up much quicker than advertising revenue.

Speaking for myself, I've gone "advertising free" on my history adventuring. As of this writing, I only have 28 people who help support me on Patreon, but they're 28 people who make a difference. I know all of their names, they're not faceless numbers divided by thousands that advertising revenue requires. And I'll never attract hundreds of thousands of subscribers, what I do isn't popular enough. And I have no interest in creating the kind of content that attracts popularity, I'd much rather please the people who care about what I do.

I'm curious to see the direction that all of this will go. There's just so much garbage on the internet, so many "click bait" links, so many pages designed to optimize the number of times you have to click through them to get more and more ads on them, that it's just tiring. And of course that kind of stuff will never go away, as there will always be a market for it. But if there's someone out there that you like creating stuff, check to see if they're on Patreon, or Drip. Then give them a dollar or two a month. You will make a difference.

My Patreon page is here

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