When The Map Room made Fimoculous’s list of best blogs of 2003, he said this:
27) The Map Room — I love niche publishing, especially when it’s a niche worth adoring. A site all about mapping? I’d probably pay for this.
I hope you’re not too offended if I try to explore this sentiment. Here begins my first attempt at a fundraiser for this site. My goal is not to make a living from this site — I’m neither Gruber nor Kottke in terms of talent or traffic. (Nor do I want to get into an argument over whether what I do here is worth x amount of dollars, which is what’s happened elsewhere.)
What I’m aiming for is something more modest: to pay for a year’s web hosting.
Here’s how it works. My hosting provider has a system by which people can donate to my web hosting bills via Paypal. The donation goes directly to the bills; it doesn’t pass through me at all. If you like The Map Room, have a Paypal account and want to send some encouragement my way, I’d be grateful if you could donate a few dollars — three, five, eight, ten, whatever. My annual hosting bills only come to around $240, not counting domain registration, so a few people contributing a few dollars can go a long way.
This works for me, because I’m a little scared of hooking Paypal up to my bank account. Also, since I’m in Canada, I can’t use an Amazon tip jar. And, because I’m already getting some ad and affiliate revenue, I can keep my target modest: essentially, I’m aiming to have one less bill to worry about. (Which at the moment would be very helpful indeed.)
But it’s more than an issue of money; it’s a question of positive reinforcement. The Map Room’s traffic took a big jump last September after DFL made the news and people presumably followed the link from there to here. Suddenly I felt an obligation not to fall too far behind: my god, people are reading this site — I’d better keep at it!
Don’t get me wrong: even if no one donates, I’ll keep doing this. But if I do get donations, my feet will be in the fire: you’ll have sent me a message that you do want me to keep at it.