Tobold's Blog
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
 
First donation status report

It turns out that at least with one of my arguments when discussing whether to set up a donation button I wasn't completely wrong: There are significantly less donations than comments, so that on a typical day I either get zero or one donation. What caught me by surprise was two things I hadn't counted on: There apparently was pent up demand to give me money, so on the first two days I got more than a dozen donations. And it turned out that my readers are more generous than I would have thought. The median donation was $10, and several people even donated $20. Thus overall I received more money than I had expected, and more than I would have made with Adsense or similar advertising schemes.

Thank you all very much for your donations. They are much appreciated. Some commenters were discussing donations in terms of "need". No, I don't "need" this money to live, you don't "need" to donate anything, and the donations aren't "needed" to keep me writing. But that lack of need makes them only more valuable in my eyes, as I consider them as the most sincere tokens of appreciation you could hope to get on the internet. Of course the money is nice to have, and I'll try to finance interesting things for the blog with it, but it is the appreciation that counts the most for me.
Comments:
Some thoughts:

1) You mentioning the value of an average donation will lead to more people donating exactly that amount.

2) At first people like to spend, because of your historic achievement of maintaining an interesting blog for so many years with on average more than one post per days.

3) Later they only donate when you post something that in their view is
-a) something hadn't about about before
-b) very conincing
-c) might have some influence
Good luck with that :)

4) Later donation would tend to be smaller, but sice you just mentioned the average donation after introduction of donations, they might rather not spend at all, instead of spending less.

By the way: I agree that adding such a button is a good idea, but I'd also advise against posting about it much. There are many pschycological traps connected.

PS: I'd like to read Gevlons thoughts about how it could possibly be that people donate money :)
 
I agree that adding such a button is a good idea, but I'd also advise against posting about it much. There are many pschycological traps connected.

I'd rather be open and discuss the psychology of donations than to try to use the psychology to maximize donations. This is not just a way to make money, it is also a practical experiment on how to monetize a blog, which is part of the greater subject of the sociology of blogging. I know some people would like me to write only about games, but the community aspects of blogging interest me as much as the community aspects of MMORPGs.

I'd like to read Gevlons thoughts about how it could possibly be that people donate money

I think I could do a good guess on what he'd say: Donations are given by "socials" who think it will increase their social standing to show themselves generous.

The better written version of what Gevlon would say can be found in Slate.
 
I'd rather be open and discuss the psychology of donations than to try to use the psychology to maximize donations.

I didn't assume that.
I'd rather assume that you run into of all kinds of trouble with players who donated. :)

It might be the morally best choice to blog about it openly, but remember my words :)
 
Now that we can pay to know your name can we discreetly email you questions about your out of blog work after we looked up papers you were part of on the internet and our minds were blown by how smart you were, or would you prefer to still keep your job and this blog separate, even in private emails?
 
I have no problem discussing my private life on platforms where Google can't see it. Privacy only means not sharing everything of your life with everybody, it does not mean sharing nothing with anybody.

In general I would advise everybody to be careful what they reveal on the internet about their real life job. Talking about your job and your company can end up with you saying things which are either damaging to your company, or breaching confidentiality, both of which can get you fired, or at least into trouble. Just think of the recent Climategate affair, where some researcher's critical thoughts on climate were stolen and presented as "proof" that global warming is just made up. Would you have wanted to be the author of some of those e-mails?
 
As is usual with blogs and such, I must form my opinion of you based on your writing. And i must say the mental image that was formed -slowly-clashes heavily with your donations scheme...Somehow I'm still waiting for a punchline. Something.

Anyway, I know of another gamerelated blog that has a donations button. They give a full account (ok, there is a potential trust issue here) of the money given and spent (mostly hosting & traffic fees). This setup feels a bit more sympathetic to me.

Btw: you can actually get rich via smart donation schemes. Well, pay for you studies or get you a new house anyway. It has happened before.

Just some observations. Ill keep reading.
 
Interesting.

If I were ever to consider donating money to a blog yours would certainly be one of them.

My donation would be in appreciation for being open and honsest while not railing away on some obscure mission.
 
I think it is a good idea. It isn't as cluttery as ads and if people want, they can support what you do without clicking on stupid ads.
 
>I think I could do a good guess on what he'd say: Donations are given by "socials" who think it will increase their social standing to show themselves generous.

I would take it further: The pent-up need you discuss was actually your readers subconsciously feeling peer-pressured into donating simply by you mentioning it, since donating is a 'good' and 'charitable' thing.

Like if you see a friend while walking to work and explain that your car broke down, he's prone to offer you a ride.
 
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