We’ve had a rough summer of it, but it seems that things are getting back to normal on Slugger. What I think it has highlighted is the difficulty of keeping up a site that at least aspires towards professional values on a zero budget.The move from the UK to the US server means that the technological costs have plummeted. Even low level clicks on the Google ads should now work in tandem with these substantially lower costs.
The real question is the amount of time required to keep Slugger running smoothly. We have been lucky that River Path has been on hand to pay for Abi’s precious time. You can be certain that Slugger would not have survived the ravages of the summer without her and the full backing of the company!
But that doesn’t cover the time yours truly gives to the smooth running of the site. Aside from the £800 that readers kindly donated for the election coverage in November (and most of that went in costs, not profit), it has pretty much been unpaid work from the beginning.
However this may be in the process of changing.
We have a semi formal debate coming up, which will use Slugger as a host for an international debate on Human Rights. If this proves successful I’ll be exploring the possibility of running similiarly funded one-off real time and online events.
The priniciple of free at the point of use has been key to Slugger’s success, and will remain so as long as I have anything to do with it. Apart from anything else, I’m certain readers would simply vote with the feet and the site would become a very small private club for those affluent enough to pay a fee.
However, If the site is to develop in the value added way I think it can, then I’m going to have to find a practical solution to the money problem. Core public funding is problematic, as Slugger doesn’t represent a Northern Irish community group as such. So, in the shorter term, we are most likely to succeed by attracting individual patrons and/or sponsorship.
Any ideas on this are welcome. Even better a patron page awaits those of you who are in a position to start the ball rolling with donations of £100, or more!
You can comment below, or if you prefer to talk privately drop me an email.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty