Andrew Sullivan’s announcement that he’s going on a blog hiatus has prompted alert bloggers to revisit his bogus fund-raising claims from last summer.
“The good news is that our traffic keeps going up. The bad news is that our bandwidth costs have also risen, and although I was hoping to go a full year without asking for more support, the site needs some extra cash to keep going…”
–Andrew Sullivan, July 26, 2004
Now, in response to Sully’s post about going on holiday, Tim Blair–who contributed to Sully’s pledge drives–has published a scathing criticism of the fund-raising ruse:
Planning his vacation, Sullivan thanks readers for “the financial support that has kept this blog alive and well.” (Two hundred grand and he still couldn’t afford a blogroll? Way to share the bloggy wealth, Andrew.) Other sites—many other sites—have done more with less.
Sullivan’s massive blog earnings have ended up funding a Euro-Middle Eastern stroll with time off to write a book. His next pledge drive might deliver a substantially lower return.
Radley Balko at The Agitator also weighs in:
Sullivan by my count has had at least three “pledge drives” in the last few years, in which he begs his readers to give him money. He bemoans the cost of bandwidth for maintaining his site (though IT critics have said it shouldn’t cost more than $500 or so per year), even though he chooses to maintain it, and sells ads and has about a half-dozen well-paying writing gigs on the side.
Nevertheless, Sullivan continues to ask his readers to support his blogging with dollars, and they continue to do so. One drive brought in $120,000. Another, $80,000. His most recent drive was just six months ago. It was his second of the year, and it triggered quite a bit of criticism from his fellow bloggers.
I don’t really have a problem with pledge drives (I had one once, though it was for a specific purpose), but two in one year seems excessive, particularly if the first one brought in more money than most of his readers make in a year.
And now? Now Sullivan is quitting blogging, indefinitely…Call me envious (and I am — I’d certainly be greatful to make a hundred grand a year blogging), but this strikes me as a pretty schmucky move.
If I had given Sullivan money as recently as last July on his promises of continued insight and daily dishing, I think I’d be in line for a refund right about now.
Farrah at CamEdwards.com adds:
I have no qualms with bloggers asking for financial support for their sites. To run an effective, popular blog takes a significant amount of time. Time that is taken away from revenue generating activities (like a day job) and that money needs to be recovered somehow. Sullivan has every right to ask for financial support, and as a reader, I have an option on whether I wish to offer my support. Or not.
What I do take issue with is people like me donated money in order for his site to continue. Sure, he said it was until “after the election”, but based on estimates of what Sullivan raised in previous pledge drives, surely he raised enough to continue the site long after that? He took a month long break in August, and is now taking a few more months off. I’m left feeling I gave my money to someone so they can go on vacation.
Supporters are paying for blogging services through their donations – can you imagine telling your boss you’re taking the next two months off even though they’ve paid you for it already? Isn’t this the same thing?
…Anyways, good luck Andrew. Enjoy your European vacation and your novel writing time. But know that next time, I’ll think twice before I hit that PayPal button. I can’t afford to send myself to Europe. I really don’t want to pay for anyone else to go either.
Interestingly, Sullivan has already taken a break from his break to publish fawning e-mails from readers. But he apparently doesn’t have enough bandwidth to respond to Blair, Balko, or the many other bloggers/contributors who rightly feel gipped by his bloghucksterism.
Bill at INDC Journal makes his own pledge to readers/donors.
Gay Patriot, who bought a pricey blogad on Sullivan’s site a few days before the announced hiatus, writes: “I guess I should let my ad on his blog expire, huh?”
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