I am a fan of Daylight Magazine and the job those guys do. They keep trying to fill all the voids at once in both a print and online format and for that I respect their effort. They put out a great magazine and do a lot of work with worthy causes on the side.
Here is the official blurb on Issue 8…
“Issue #8, on newsstands February 1st, will focus on Afghanistan from the perspective of photographers from all over the world including: America, Canada, England, Ireland, France, Greece, Turkey, Peru and Afghanistan itself. The portfolios included each highlight a different element of Afghan life and society, from mountain tribes to the
Taliban, from poppy farmers to school teachers, from foreign military personnel to local photographers in Kabul. Together, these photographers show life within Afghanistan with an intimacy and quiet intensity that serves as a necessary complement to mainstream media coverage of the region. While the United States (and the Coalition) have waged an eight year war on the Taliban, rarely do we see the infinite complexities of daily life or the individuals struggling to survive in this beautiful, but fraught, landscape.”
Online publishing is a tough business. I waded in that pond for almost two years on a very serious basis working with Fraction Magazine. In the end I left because of time issues but also for money issues. In the year and half of publishing Fraction I made all of $35 dollars and I received a couple of free books. Mind you, this is for working twenty hours a week or more on top of two other jobs I had at the time. In the end it just didn’t make that much sense to me. I still produce this blog, but very rarely do I put much time into it for this very reason.
While money shouldn’t be the end all factor, it is pretty damn important when it comes down to working your ass off and eating bean burritos. I see that other people in the online publishing and “blogosphere” are starting to get to the same point as well. I imagine that originally all bloggers and online ‘zines started out the same way. They had something to say and self publishing is an easy way to get your name and ideas out there. After a while though and if you do a good job at it, people start to read it and you carry forward ever more and more serious. It begins to take up more and more time. If you are worth your salt at all you keep working harder to make it better but in the back of your mind somewhere you start thinking about money and where it is going to come from.
Your money choices are slim. Google ads? Joke. Google had screwed over the value of advertising so much I can’t even fathom it anymore. You would be better off collecting your check in pesos because at least it would sound like it was worth more.
What about donations? I am a big fan of this. Trust in humanity. Well…. that doesn’t really work out either. People in general, especially on the internet where they are not face to face with anyone don’t always come through on the donations. As a matter of fact you may be lucky if anyone EVER donates.
How about selling your own art as a way to generate revenue? Sounds good in theory until you remember that you already worked hard to make the art and now you have to write daily articles or publish a monthly magazine just to sell it every once in awhile? That doesn’t really make much sense either.
So what are you left with? Selling private ads? This should be a good way to generate some income but the aforementioned Google has pretty much ruined this. The only way this idea works is if you are very popular regionally then you can sell regional advertising but it is still a tough sell.
I hate to sound like a bitter pill over all of this but something will have to change or else the quality things that we all love on the internet will disappear to continually be replaced by new and less quality items. This is where I could put out a call for people to band together and make sure quality blogs and ‘zines somehow get compensated. But in the end I know that will probably come up short. Instead I see a new future on the horizon for things like this. In fact there are already other blogs and ‘zines following this model.
Subscriber rates. That’s right. Pay to read.
I know what your thinking. What the f*!$ !! The internet is supposed to be free. Well… for most of these people who put out good blogs and ‘zines, it is a job for them and they should be compensated. It’s just the way the world works. No one like to work for free and I don’t see why so many people out there complain about having to pay for something. The internet has spoiled most of the world. So maybe we should have to pay. I most certainly agree. The product will only get better as the writers and creators have more free time to produce quality material. We all like quality right?
AND in a perfect world we could do away with all of the advertising we all see everyday. I don’t care what Nikon lens is on sale.
I don’t know how well this model will hold up for singular bloggers and creators but I think if people begin to band together to create something larger it may hold water. I personally would hate to see a few of the things I read and look at on a regular basis disappear. I bet you would too.