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Supporting Content Makers

I have been thinking a lot about Membership schemes. on CMD+SPACE I have had some interesting discussions with Shawn Blanc and Ben Brooks about their respective programmes for earning money from their sites.

I am paying members of their sites and I am for many others; like The Loop, 512Pixels and more. I tend to become members of lots of the sites I read frequently as I believe in supporting them.

Personally, it’s not about the perks that are offered that entice me to sign up. It’s not this stuff that makes the decision for me, it all boils down to a pretty simple sentiment.

If I lived in the same town as (insert webite owner’s name here), would I buy them a coffee once a month?’

I spoke a little about this idea on CMD+SPACE this week with Ben and he seemed to like the sentiment too.

I’m in the privileged position that most of the sites that I read and enjoy are owned by people that I have become friends with and I think this is what has spurred me to consider this. I would quite like to have a coffee once a month with Shawn (etc) and because of this I find it to be an easy decision to support him.

I’m not paying any of these people because I want a members-only Podcast or a full-text RSS feed, I simply do it to support them and the excellent content that they create. I am trying to build something of my own, so I totally appreciate how difficult it to be an easy decision to make money from these personal projects.

I really like the idea of giving the power to your readers – or listeners – to financially support you. I think it gives people a sense of being a part of the site. In this corner of the content creator. In this corner of the internet that we operate in, that is becoming more and more important.

I think we all want to see the ‘little guy make it big’ and any part we can play in that will give us that warm and fuzzy feeling.

I am always thinking about how we could turn our Donation scheme in to something more and I have some ideas brewing – and have for a long time – about turning it in to a fan club. I have toyed with the idea of special merchandise, maybe a behind-the-scenes show and even Membership Cards for everyone who signs up.

I would totally appreciate feedback on this idea, idea, if you have any.

So if you read a site or listen to a Podcast or want to support a developer, take a moment to take a moment to think about this; Would you happily buy them a coffee – or the first round of beers – if you were to meet with them socially? This might just help you consider pulling the trigger. Which you should, because the little guys need love too.