Introducing Ghacks Gold: support us by becoming a member

Thank you for your support

For the past two years or so I have wanted to get away from depending solely on advertisement revenue to support this website and its authors.

Currently, 100% of all revenue comes from advertisement which is way too high, considering that this is directly influenced by how many visitors the site gets.

If a search engine decides to change things around, which Google and others have done quite a bit in the past two years, then it may impact the revenue of the site and thus may endanger its very existence.

I did not want to create yet another subscription service at first, at least not in the common sense of the word. A paywall was not something that I wanted for the site, but I knew that there was not really an incentive to become a member if visitors did not gain anything from it. Or so I thought.

The idea was born to accept donations instead. Users who regularly visit the site, who appreciate what it offers, may now give something back to make sure that it will continue to exist and produce great contents that you won't find on other sites.

We try to be unique in what we do, which is the core reason why you won't find many "new iPhone", "new gadget" or "rumor" types of posts on this site.

Giving something back ensures that we can pay for our server, the domain name, and for the authors without having to worry about traffic or advertisement money at all.

I'm almost certain that it is not possible to sustain the site just from that. I would be delighted if that would be the case, but it is unlikely that this is ever going to happen.

What can be achieved however is to reduce the dependency on advertisement and search engine traffic. My hope is that it is possible to reduce it to a point where I do not have to worry about that at all anymore. Even if all traffic from search engines would die, I'd still be able to maintain this site and keep on doing what I'm doing.

Anyway, I tried to design this as "fair" as possible for all users. The result is a single subscription option that accepts any donation starting with $1. Payments processors are PayPal or BitPay at the time of writing, with additional ones being considered if demand is there. All users who donate get the same privileges, which currently are:

  • No ads on the site when you browse it when you are logged in.
  • Less risk of comments landing in spam or moderation.

Additional features will be rolled out in the future, including a members only discussion forum.

Attention: if you pay with Bitcoin, make sure you use the contact form up top to let me know about your payment, as no information are submitted in the process itself.

>>> Visit the sign-up page here <<<

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Responses to Introducing Ghacks Gold: support us by becoming a member

  1. Lloyd December 24, 2013 at 1:42 pm #

    I would love to become a member, but the link to do so is not ready/is down.

  2. yoav December 24, 2013 at 1:51 pm #

    Martin, the signup link is not working...

    I've been waiting for something like this. I much prefer subscribing to ads because then I know that you benefit directly.
    I would appreciate if you stated a specific amount that would seem reasonable to you for a yearly subscription to the site. Can you do that?

    • Martin Brinkmann December 24, 2013 at 1:56 pm #

      Thanks, corrected ;)

      I don't really know about the amount. I guess it depends on what you can spare and all. I guess $1 or $2 a month would be great.

  3. Alex December 24, 2013 at 1:51 pm #

    sign-up page LINK ?

  4. Cranioscopical December 24, 2013 at 2:11 pm #

    Seems fair to me. Good luck, and I hope many of your readers will contribute at least something to the cause. Every little helps.

  5. Maou December 24, 2013 at 2:13 pm #

    I don't mind donating to this great site since I block every google service I can using NoScript, so as a side effect I donĀ“t see any ADS.
    Nice one Martin!

  6. Maou December 24, 2013 at 2:25 pm #

    Donated!
    Now I just need to figure out how to login with my previously WordPress account, is that possible?

    • Martin Brinkmann December 24, 2013 at 2:38 pm #

      You should receive an email with your login details. Let me know if that is not the case.

      • Maou December 24, 2013 at 2:53 pm #

        I just received, thanks!

  7. Swapnil December 24, 2013 at 2:31 pm #

    If I was above 18 and had a credit card, I would certainly donate - but I am just 14. So, I cannot really do anything. But since I do not have any ad/script blocking extensions installed, I do see the ads. So, I wanted to ask: do you generate money from ad views also, or only from ad clicks? If it's the former, I would be happy that I contribute as a viewer for Ghacks.

    • XenoSilvano December 24, 2013 at 4:04 pm #

      You can donate bitcoins through Bitpay (there are no age restrictions), all you have to do is set up a bitcoin client to use your computer to 'mine' for bitcoins.

      or

      You could obtain a credit card if you ask your parents to set you up with an assigned banking account, that way you can have some money trickle into your account from theirs every-so-often.

      • Swapnil December 24, 2013 at 5:34 pm #

        "all you have to do is set up a bitcoin client to use your computer to 'mine' for bitcoins."

        I am not that informed about bitcoins, but as far as I know, bitcoin mining takes a very powerful CPU-GPU system. Mine just has a Intel HD graphics 4000.

        Well, I won't get a credit card just to donate to this website. I would instead just see the ads hence my question to Martin: is it enough for the ads to be just seen, or do they need to be clicked as well, for someone to make revenue out of the web traffic generated?

    • Marco December 25, 2013 at 1:36 pm #

      @Swapnil: It's great that at 14 you are interested to this blog and that you were even willing to donate! If I were Martin I would be proud :-)

      • lol January 13, 2014 at 7:07 am #

        this kid knows the real deal, I mean bitcoins, ads and stuff. I think that clicking some ads or so will be better instead of just seen those (known as impressions). I would be proud too :)

  8. Ken Saunders December 24, 2013 at 2:37 pm #

    I'll be in on it for sure.
    You all provide an excellent service and are my favorite in your field.

    "single subscription option"
    Would the subscription be monthly, etc?

    • Martin Brinkmann December 24, 2013 at 2:38 pm #

      No it is a one-time subscription, valid for a year. After which, you can renew or let it expire. There is no auto-renewal.

  9. batman December 24, 2013 at 2:43 pm #

    its the way forward, the internet can not be 100% free. Its not sustainable.
    Kudos to you for taking the step!

    • Ken January 1, 2014 at 6:01 am #

      The buzzards have landed. Time to head for new ground. See ya!

  10. Bud C December 24, 2013 at 3:02 pm #

    Donated. Keep up the great work Martin. I visit here daily.

  11. Henk van Setten December 24, 2013 at 3:18 pm #

    OK Martin, I just donated a little something, although I think you've been writing too frequently about Firefox lately ;-)
    - I myself run a blog site with original (sometimes very original) content about coping with depression. Although likely on a much smaller scale, I'm running into the same kind of problem: it's getting increasingly difficult for me to keep providing my blog posts for free. I've always refused to contaminate my site with ads (things like focused pharmaceutical ads could even pose a threat to my perceived objectivity/neutrality).
    - In the meantime, while my visitor numbers keep growing (slowly), my blog as a labor-of-love is beginning to eat much more time than I can actually afford. It's unrelated activities like paid freelance book-editing that keep me afloat. And at the same time an increasing number of leeches is profiting from my blog: and when such sites do offer me something, it's always some "offer" like an unpaid contributorship - something I would decline even if real life did leave me some choice...
    - While I very well understand initiatives like yours here, I do think it's high time that bloggers all over the world would start some collective initiative to (a) better and more fundamentally reflect on all different options to financially support valuable personal websites, to prevent them from going down just because of lacking funds, and (b) form some kind of organization, call it a trade union if you like, in order to form a stronger and at the same time more attractive and independent front -- both towards average website visitors, and towards sponsors and other potential sources of subsidies.
    - For example, I've always wondered why blogger platforms such as WordPress (I mean the .com, not the .org) don't include any kind of shared reflection on the financial consequences and requirements of keeping one's blog going.
    - Maybe, as a starter, we ought to begin a blog about sharing blog-funding ideas... if only we had the time to personally take part in such an initiative!
    - One thing I know for sure (yes I'm a born pessimist). If nothing happens, then in the next years many valuable personal blogs will simply vanish. It would be a shame.

    • Martin Brinkmann December 24, 2013 at 3:42 pm #

      Thanks for your support. I'm really not sure where this journey will end, but if things go as they are going now, it is likely that many webmasters who make a living as a blogger won't be able to do so anymore, unless they find a solution for their site that is not based on advertising money.

      I'm not sure if what I'm doing is the best option, but I cannot think of anything else at the time of writing.

  12. fokka December 24, 2013 at 3:45 pm #

    if i had more than a couple of bucks in my bank account, i'd happily support your site, but right now i can't afford to spend money i don't have. when my situation changes i'll be glad to do so though.

  13. Matias December 24, 2013 at 4:36 pm #

    Hi Martin! Just donated with the same email using to comment. How can I create my user now?

    • Martin Brinkmann December 24, 2013 at 6:15 pm #

      You should have received an email by now with the information. If not, let me know please. And thanks for contributing.

  14. Transcontinental December 24, 2013 at 4:39 pm #

    I think this is a great idea and I'm in for great ideas. For a website you appreciate and you visit regularly this is not a gift from the user but a natural contribution. There are so many websites but also so many users that the scheme which relates one to the other(s) is a valid plan. I really like the idea. It's a few dollars (far under the worth) for each one of us but all together may help a site to live and have a margin with advertizement dependency.

    Long live gHacks, and long live Martin, a talented and fine person.

    Merry Christmas to all :)

  15. ilev December 24, 2013 at 4:42 pm #

    Signed.

  16. Matias December 24, 2013 at 6:19 pm #

    Never mind, I received the email now! Martin, I would like to suggest to use your htaccess file to redirect something like ghacks.net/login or ghacks.net/members to ghacks.net/wp-admin, since the last one is kind of cumbersome to enter. Cheers!

  17. Matias December 24, 2013 at 6:22 pm #

    Ops, as a new Gold member, my comment just went to spam! Please, make it come back! :)

    • Martin Brinkmann December 24, 2013 at 6:35 pm #

      I just tweaked a setting so that this should not happen anymore. Will monitor.

  18. Bryan December 24, 2013 at 7:18 pm #

    G'day Martin, I have just donated what I can currently afford. As a government funded aged pensioner things are always tight on the money front bit I did not hesitate when you asked for donations. I visit your site daily and have gained some very valuable hints so far as well as won several free programs. Martin can I please make a comment as to the "sign-in link". I did receive a "receipt email" from paypal but failed to find any "log-in" link.Please let me know how to "sign-in".
    Kindest Regards......Bryan

    • Martin Brinkmann December 24, 2013 at 7:21 pm #

      Bryan, thanks for your support. You should have received an email by now with your login information. If not, let me know and I will resend it asap.

  19. Dante December 24, 2013 at 8:31 pm #

    Just made a donation... under a different name in Paypal. Like I've said in prior posts, I'm paranoid :)

    No need for me to sign in for those member benefits. Just like the info provided in this site.

    Good luck.

    • Martin Brinkmann December 24, 2013 at 8:33 pm #

      Thanks Dante, I really appreciate that. If you ever change your mind, let me know and I add you as a member asap.

      Oh, and interesting name ;)

  20. Dwight Stegall December 24, 2013 at 11:20 pm #

    When do you plan to do this? I can't join because of low income. I'll hate not being able to come here anymore. :(

    • Dante December 24, 2013 at 11:29 pm #

      I don't think this article said anything about going pay wall. Just don't block ads and you should be contributing to this site.

    • Martin Brinkmann December 24, 2013 at 11:33 pm #

      All site contents will stay public, there is no change for you at all if you do not subscribe.

  21. Karl J. Gephart December 24, 2013 at 11:21 pm #

    I'm sure that in addition to donations, Martin would like social media mentions as well! :)

  22. Mystique December 25, 2013 at 6:09 am #

    I shall look at making a donation soon however another possible way to make money is to create a Ghacks t-shirt not only is this a good way to receive money but also a great way to advertise your website, heck I know I'd get a kick out of walking around the street with my Ghacks t-shirt on because I'd feel like I am spreading the word on a decent website.
    Something simple, maybe a white and optional black t-shirt with the Ghacks logo on the front and the website url on the top back.
    A polo top with the ghacks logo on the top of pocket edge would be cool too.

    It may not be everyone's ideal way to spend money but if these are made to order then the costs should be quite low and people could feel like they are receiving a little bonus for their payment/donation. If the costing was right and everything was well balanced the profit could be good for you too.

    Anyway it was just an idea. : )

    • SubgeniusD December 25, 2013 at 6:55 am #

      Good idea. Also baseball caps and for northern hemisphere users sweatshirts/hoodies would be cool (or actually warm lol).

  23. SubgeniusD December 25, 2013 at 7:18 am #

    Donated a couple hours ago (still awaiting confirmation) and I see we're up to 52% already. Fantastic.

    I predict the members forum will turn out to be a hugely popular feature with all kinds of user submitted additions and insights into these articles. Along with letting us get to know each other esp some of the more active guys like ilev.

    It could also include a sub-forum for creative user input about the site in general like "Ideas for an even better Ghacks" or some such.

    • Martin Brinkmann December 25, 2013 at 9:10 am #

      Thanks for your donation. Have you received the confirmation email by now?

      • SubgeniusD December 25, 2013 at 10:38 am #

        Just checked my EarthLink acct - not yet. EarthLink is very reliable which is why I use that acct for business/PayPal. I doubt that the holiday could be the problem - unless Santa Claus is delivering emails now LOL.

        It's ok, no rush, keeping this site going is what's important. I already forwarded the PayPal receipt to the ghacks email address, the EarthLink address should stand out.

  24. Mountainking December 25, 2013 at 9:58 am #

    Yo Martin. Just an idea. There should be a prominent non obstructive place on your home page to display about something in the lines of "keep ghacks alive. Donate any amount" or something like that.

    Also, under your every article, just as you put a link about typos etc, you could add something about the donation. Else, people would eventually forget.

    • Martin Brinkmann December 25, 2013 at 10:31 am #

      I have the widget on the right in the sidebar that highlights the progress made for a month, and will keep the announcement on the front for some time.

  25. Mountainking December 25, 2013 at 9:59 am #

    My puny token donation is just an appreciation of your great work. I hope that my derisory amount is not insulting. I do what I can.

    edit: My paypal acc and email I comment is not the same I pay-paled you. Hum...

  26. MountainKing December 25, 2013 at 10:38 am #

    Test as gold member... 1 2 3

  27. Joseph December 25, 2013 at 11:00 am #

    Hi Martin,
    I visit your blog daily and I intend to donate. Unfortunately, I am currently unemployed and as soon as my circumstances change I'll be donating.
    Thank you for the amazing effort put into the articles.
    Merry Christmas to you and all fellow readers.
    Cheers!!

  28. Jean December 25, 2013 at 11:17 am #

    Good idea but I do not use any means of payment such as cards, paypal, bitcoin ...
    I don't trust them for international transactions especially on the net.
    A simple bank account maybe ?

    • Dante December 25, 2013 at 6:51 pm #

      One advise as I deal with security and finance and what nots. Never ever use your bank account. Credit cards provide you with a legal protection where you are not responsible for the fraud. Try getting your money back after it's been withdrawn from a bank and you can wait until old age.

  29. Joe December 25, 2013 at 1:53 pm #

    Subscribed - always happy to support a reliable and mature site

  30. charles December 25, 2013 at 2:39 pm #

    over the last few years, i sent at least 6 emails to you, to which you never replied to one. why should i support you?

    • Martin Brinkmann December 25, 2013 at 2:41 pm #

      I try to reply to all emails that I receive. Did you use the same email address you posted this comment with?

  31. TheRube December 25, 2013 at 4:23 pm #

    Morning Mr. Brinkmann:

    The day has finally come when you accept donations (I have been wanting this for a Long time).
    Anyway, I just made a donation to your website via PayPal.
    As I stated in a previous comment, ghacks.net and another IT website I know are my primary go-to sites when I wake up in the morning!
    Mr. Brinkmann and other contributors please keep up this Quality website.

    Questions:

    1. What do I do with the Word Press Log-in I just received.
    (An e-mail with further instructions has Not yet come)

    2. Even though this is a one-time yearly subscription can I make another donation anytime within the year?

    • Martin Brinkmann December 25, 2013 at 4:39 pm #

      Thanks for your support!

      About your questions.You sign in to the website @ http://www.ghacks.net/wp-login.php or http://www.ghacks.net/wp-admin/

      Here you can modify your profile, change the default password for example, or add a nickname that is displayed when you comment.

      About the second question: You can make as many donations as you like. I do have to check what happens if you do though, will get back to you with the info asap I got it.

      • TheRube December 25, 2013 at 7:16 pm #

        Mr. Brinkmann:

        I received my Log-In information.

        Thank You.

      • Martin Brinkmann December 25, 2013 at 10:16 pm #

        That's great.

  32. IowaMan December 25, 2013 at 6:38 pm #

    Made my donation yesterday & everything was set up smoothly
    Very happy to be able to donate to a very worthy site
    Keep up the great work and Happy New Year

    • Martin Brinkmann December 25, 2013 at 6:40 pm #

      Thanks so much for your support, and happy new year to you too.

  33. AnGLass December 25, 2013 at 8:52 pm #

    I just made a donation as well. I really like your site and feel that you offer a lot of news and tips that I don't see often anywhere else, so thank you for that!

  34. Jerry Chance December 25, 2013 at 11:12 pm #

    Hi there Martin

    I would be very happy to donate to your website. However, I don't like Paypal and have never heard of Bitpay. You must excuse me but I'm not a geek!

    I could pay by Visa debit or credit card of course. What do you think?

    Best wishes as always

    Jerry Chance

  35. imu December 25, 2013 at 11:45 pm #

    Signed from the other email which is oxxxxixxxx@gmail.com ($15) but I prefer to stick to credentials I use already on ghacks.net :) If you can't do it never mind as I don't see ads anyway.
    Cheers.

    • Martin Brinkmann December 26, 2013 at 9:08 am #

      Imu, you can add your nickname when you edit your profile, and also a new email address (I think).

      • imu December 26, 2013 at 1:52 pm #

        ok,thanks can you remove my post now?

  36. imu December 25, 2013 at 11:58 pm #

    Happy New Year and please don't publish my previous post :)

  37. Blue December 26, 2013 at 12:16 am #

    Knowing my luck even if I donated 9 out of 10 of my posts would still end up in the spam folder as they normally do. So donating gives me what... 8 out of 10 odds? I don't mind donating... considering I paid upto $57/m for assorted MMORPG memberships (Lineage II, WoW, EVE etc...) for years only to find the gaming world full of rude inconsiderate, racist, sexist, bully type morons ranging from 13-67 who would stab anyone in the back to get a leg up.

    Because I like helping people I only chose helper classes like clerics, healers, bishops, profits, shamans, and even the occasional paladin. Solo training those classes in each type of game was hard work because game designers felt those classes should be weak and without attack spells, skills or protection. Then they decided to give those classes aids like sleep, or root type spells to aid in running away, then the masses who picked on those weaker classes complained to the point they added new resistance skills against those type of spells and then those helper classes were screwed again.

    So basically I willingly paid monthly for years to get picked on is what I am saying. I don't have a problem with donating as I have benefited from some of your advice/suggestions but don't dangle a carrot in front of this asses mouth claiming, there is a higher chance your (my) posts won't end up in the bin. When knowingly only 1 out of 100 of my posts get posted. So donating would give me what. a 2 out of 100 chance?

  38. Adelaide Roberts December 26, 2013 at 1:19 am #

    I know where you come from after giving up blogging myself when I saw Google Adsense advertising tiny paycheck, and I rather spend time with my dog in the park than working for $3 day minus electricity and heating expenses.

    Unfortunately I am not going to subscribe to Ghacks membership because there are so many tech blogs out there for free that I can't justify it.

    I always allow adverts and that is my way to repay the author as I see it. I wish you the best of luck.

    • Martin Brinkmann December 26, 2013 at 9:05 am #

      Adelaide, I fully understand. It is clear to me that I cannot convince anyone to upgrade and that is just fine as well, especially if you do not block ads on this site.

  39. TheRube December 26, 2013 at 3:20 am #

    @Adelaide Roberts: With all due respect . . . to each his own I always say!
    Nevertheless, the world is certainly changing and in due time most websites will be asking for a Donation to keep their respective sites running.

    I recall asking Mr. Brinkmann about making a donation to ghacks.net but he never responded.
    (This was about 1 1/2 to 2 years ago)
    The man did not want to burden his fans with this (as I understand now).
    I live on a stipend but as with anything (worthwhile) one will make a sacrifice.
    I am glad to have made my Donation to This site earlier today.

    Mr. Brinkmann and his contributors have saved me time and money by informing me (us) of what goods and services come highly recommended.
    They are a thorough group of responsible folks who want the best for all those who visit here.

    Thank you for listening,

    TR

    • Martin Brinkmann December 26, 2013 at 9:06 am #

      Right, I did not want to accept donations as it almost felt like begging without giving something back. I try to get the forum up as soon as possible to add more value to the membership program.

  40. RG December 26, 2013 at 9:30 am #

    In too, thanks Martin. The Firefox and Windows what's new/updates posts alone make it worth it.

  41. y0himba December 26, 2013 at 5:28 pm #

    Unfortunately, you asked around Xmas, and some of us with children are not extremely well-to-do. I gave what I could, and will give more after the Xmas bills are paid up. Sites like this, and folks like you deserve our support.

    • Martin Brinkmann December 26, 2013 at 5:54 pm #

      While started at a time that may not be best suited, it is open all year around. So, if you feel like making a contribution, you can do so at any time next year.

  42. Steven Abeyta December 27, 2013 at 3:50 pm #

    Of the dozens of 'geek' websites I followed for years Ghacks is the only one I haven't strayed away from. Without it I wouldn't be in the loop with Windows, Firefox, etc. Similar websites are littered way too much with smart phone stuff, comics, trivia, etc. Not that it's a bad thing at all. Just not my cup of tea. Just want the basic rundown of news, help and tips that my computer can benefit from and my mind can grow from a little. So, thank you, Martin. You are simply one of the best the internet has to offer. :)

  43. Matias December 27, 2013 at 8:55 pm #

    Martin, you could also put a "Log-in" link on the top, to make our life easier! ;)

    • SubgeniusD December 28, 2013 at 3:15 am #

      +1 - having to use the wordpress link from the confirmation email is weird.

  44. DonGateley December 29, 2013 at 2:57 am #

    Humbug to the humbugs. The depth of Martin's articles are well worth kicking something down to help him do it. I sorta understand someone feeling that seeing the ads is good enough but why bother post about it as if to reprimand? Seeing the degree to which interposing a screen enables nasty has made me view mankind in a new way.

    I second the request to put a login button on the main page.

  45. Ramesh Khanna December 30, 2013 at 8:43 pm #

    i definitely should become a member as This a site on a permanent tab in my chrome but i don't want to use bitcoin or paypal

  46. Ken Saunders December 31, 2013 at 11:25 am #

    Hey Martin,

    I'm not sure who you're using for hosting (saw godaddy for registration for this domain), but DreamHost has a feature where people can make a donation directly to your hosting account and choose from different payment methods such as credit and debit cards.
    The donation goes directly to the hosting account and that's the only option so you don't get to choose what to do with the funds, but that can still be helpful especially if you pay month to month like I do. Even a $10 donation will cover domain registration for a year or in my case, cover just about a month of hosting costs.

    We can generate a button or text link in the web panel, and then just place it where we'd like.

    It's a good option for those who don't like the paypal or bitcoin options.

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