Forgive me for hijacking my own website, but please bear with me for just a few moments as I get kind of serious for once…
As most of you know, I’ve been in Japan for a while (about a year) and while the experience has been beyond my wildest expectations in many ways, it’s undeniably altered my financial situation for the worse. As I scramble to make ends meet, it becomes harder and harder for me to justify my commitment to LiA without at least making the effort to recoup something for the time I put into it.
How much time is that? Well, I know it’s too much – but that’s not really the point, because no one has a gun to my head forcing me to do it. It’s nice to be able to express yourself on a topic about which you’re passionate, but I don’t think it’s wrong to want to try and support oneself in some tiny measure in the process. I take a great deal of pride in the content of this site – agree or disagree with it, I can pretty much guarantee that it’s timely and it sincerely reflects what I believe. It seems – at least based on my stats – that there are those who find that I’m providing a useful and/or enjoyable service. That in and of itself is a great reward for me, and if I never recoup a penny I’ll still consider it worthwhile based on that fact.
That brings us to this post – which I did consider doing as a poll, but rejected because I don’t want multiple-choice answers, I want honest and detailed opinions. In short, I’m considering trying to use LiA for financial support in a very limited way, and justify the hours I put into it. I do use Adsense, but that’s a pretty minimal return. That’s fine, because I think it also impacts the user experience minimally. But I have several other options in mind and I’d like your feedback.
First off, the top priority is not to tarnish the user experience. I’m never going to win any awards for site design but I refuse to use eyesores like pop-up ads or to plaster so many ads all over the site that they become intrusive. That leaves me with a few possibilities:
- A Web Store. Amazon is the most common partner in this, but there are also others (such as ebay). If I were to create a Web Store through Amazon (or another vendor you might suggest) that featured anime, manga and Japan-related items for material and places discussed on LiA, would people be interested in using that as a resource?
- Selected banner ads from relevant companies (obviously anime/manga related material being the main candidate). I’ve been approached a few times and while this isn’t going to be a major factor, it does feel at least consistent with the theme of the site.
- LiA-themed items. T-shirts, mugs, iPhone covers – whatever.
- A Donations button. Honestly not very appealing, and it somehow feels
very dated. But it has the benefit of being small and unobtrusive, and
if there are a few readers who view this site as something like a
useful subscription service, it’s an easy way to let them show their
The fact is, I may never implement any of this – as I say, the main thing I’m concerned with is not trashing the user experience. But given that maintaining this site is something I want to be able to keep doing and that the demands of real-life are what they are, I really couldn’t put off this conversation any longer. So feel free to comment and let me know your thoughts – that’s why I wrote the post in the first place. And as always, my sincere thanks for supporting LiA and helping it continue to grow.