When I started ghacks.net in 2005 I never imagined what a ride it would be. The site became popular quickly and allowed me to quit my day job to become a full time blogger.
This worked well for the first years and Ghacks went from one high to the next.
I have always operated Ghacks on my own. When the site took off, I was able to hire others to add different perspectives to the site. Jack Wallen for instance who ran the Linux section here on this site and contributed more than 900 articles to it.
But 2011 changed that.
Google introduced new algorithms that turned the world upside down. Popular great sites such as Freeware Genius or Raymond.cc fell victim to that as well and many others are suffering up until this very day from what Google introduced back then while some don't even exist anymore.
Ghacks felt the change as well and traffic dropped since then by more than 60%. This was also the time when it became clear that the site could not sustain multiple writers anymore.
It felt undeserved seeing great sites being affected by algorithms that use a definition of quality that feels far off from reality at times, especially since massive networks and sites that cover every imaginable topic thrived even more than before.
I tried a lot to increase the perceived quality of the site. Removed some advertisement, rewrote hundreds of articles, installed a new theme, removed more than 10,000 tags and a dozen other things but none brought the desired result (a reversal of the process).
In addition to that, ad blockers and script blockers became increasingly popular. Since advertisement is what keeps this site alive, a yearly increase between 5 and 10% in ad-block usage is not something that you can endure for long especially if it goes hand in hand with a decline in traffic.
Currently, between 42% and 44% of all users use blockers when they visit the site and if the trend continues, more than 50% might before the end of the year.
If you take these two factors together, it is only a matter of time before ad revenue won't be sufficient to pay for the site's upkeep anymore.
Advertisement is dying in its current form. While I could make a quick buck throwing popups, auto-playing videos or other nasty stuff at you, I'd never do that.
Heck, those are the things that make people use ad-blockers in the first place and as much as I like this site to survive, I like to protect the integrity of this site and you from these diabolical monetization methods even more.
Advertisement won't be sufficient to keep this site up and there is not really much out there that I could implement or try instead to make sure this site is not taken off the Internet in the next year.
I could sell blog posts, and believe me I get enough offers for those, but never ever sold a single blog post here on this site.
Don't get me wrong, I won't give up easily. I thought about possible solutions and there is one that I think could work. In fact, it is the only viable solution that I think might work as it makes this site independent of advertisement and traffic.
Patreon is a relatively new service where people support content creators by giving money directly to them.
It starts as low as $1 per month and gets as high as you want it to be. This money is independent of advertisement revenue or search engine traffic.
If 5% of all visitors of this site would give $1 per month, we won't have this conversation ever again and Ghacks will be there until I'm too old to write articles for it.
Update: If you prefer to make a one-time payment feel free to send money using PayPal. The ID is firstname.lastname@example.org
I understand that this is not for everyone and that is fine.
But if you like this site and would like to see it be there for you in the future, then this is probably the best option to ensure that.
I don't know if this will work at all, if enough of you are willing to support me to keep this site alive but I will do my best to ensure that you will never regret it if you decide to do so.
Patreon is certainly not an option for all visitors of this site. If you don't want to become a member there then there is still something that you could do to help this site out.
- If you are running an ad-blocker or script-blocker, you could whitelist ghacks.net. This site has never run annoying ads: no popups, popunders, audio or video ads that play automatically, full page ads, overlay ads and god knows what else there is that annoys Internet users. Whitelisting helps as many ads pay per cpm. Even if you never click on those ads, it helps pay the bills of this site.
- Spread the word about this site. Tell friends, colleagues and family about it if you think it is a good fit. Share it if you are active on social media sites and don't mind doing that.
Both of these options help out tremendously as well.
I had a great time running this site and met lots of great knowledgeable people, and for that I'm forever thankful. I'm not only talking about the authors who wrote for this site throughout the years but also each and every reader who left a comment on this blog, via email or social media sites.
While I have not responded to each individually, I read them all and will continue to do so.