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jennifer boynton headshot

Why We're Trying Crowdfunding

If you'd like to support us, please click here to be directed to our campaign on Indiegogo.

When people hear that I help run TriplePundit, the first question they always ask me is "how the heck do you do it?"

It's true, funding for high-quality discourse is hard to come by. But at the same time, interest in joining the conversation on sustainability in business is exploding. We know we're doing something right, even if we are not becoming internet millionaires.

Luckily enough, we run pretty lean without the trappings that are killing old media like office space and printed publications (and, on the downside, pensions and health insurance and other benefits of a bygone era). The explosion of online media and the passion of our contributors mean that our costs are just a small proportion those a newspaper or magazine with a similar sized readership might face. The popularity of blogging means that high-quality blog posts from experienced professionals cost a fraction of what they once did (sometimes to the dismay of our writers).

But there are still costs. We have staff and writers and design and coding to do. The truth is that this pile of 0s and 1s represents the livelihood of several people and the passions of dozens if not hundreds of contributors. How do we meet our obligations and grow the business -and the conversation - at the same time?

If those banner ads are annoying me, they must pay for something, right?

Unfortunately, they're just a start. We sell some high value banner ads, but most of what you see when you are served an ad on TriplePundit (and most blogs) comes from an ad network and we only get paid when people click on the ads. As we all know, readers don't do that very often, and when they do we'll get anywhere from a few cents to a few bucks. According to my back-of-the-envelope calculations, banner ads bring in about a third of a cent for every page view on the site. These low returns are one reason why media companies produce slideshows of Paris Hilton's top 10 sex faces. Publishers are fighting each other to produce ever more page views for an ever shrinking pile of revenue.

Now, what if you are super passionate about a niche topic like sustainable business and you are in the game, like us, for reasons beyond money - like our audacious goal to use the power of business to make the world better? You have to go after your own advertisers and you have to get creative about what you offer them.

We use a Heinz 57 model (thanks to Tom Foremski of Silicon Valley Watcher for both the name and the concept). It means we'll try anything once - and if we get traction, we'll expand it. Our revenue comes in dribs and drabs from advertisers, banner ads, sponsored content, event promo and trainings.

Now, unlike many articles you may have read on the future of media, we aren't whining about the challenges we face. We are facing them head on with our eyes wide open. We're very passionate about what we do and if we cared only about money, we'd have chosen other lines of work. Nevertheless, innovate or die.

All of this serves as background to explain why we're experimenting with a new funding model.


As a kick off topic, we want to explore the sharing economy - a new economic model based on accessing resources (like that drill or truck you need to use a few times a year) rather than owning them.

You've probably heard of players in the space like Airbnb, Zipcar, and RelayRides. You might have even read about them here on TriplePundit. There are a few big players in this space, but the really exciting news is that there are hundreds of new companies coming on the scene. It's very exciting from an editorial perspective, but the fact that the market is emerging means that there are fewer potential advertisers to approach.

However, there are a ton of smaller businesses and passionate individuals who want to see the sharing economy expand and thrive. And if they (you!) kick in a few bucks we can raise all the funds we need without tapping one funding source.

We aren't after charity - so we aren't offering the typical "Big THANK YOU" you'll get from other crowdfunding campaigns. With this one, when you contribute you'll get a perk with a dollar value equal to or greater than the money you are kicking in.

If you'd like to support the campaign, please click here to be directed to our campaign on Indiegogo. Or you can click on the guinea pigs at right. The campaign will only be running for 3 more weeks, so we need your support now.

In addition to your financial support - we can also use your help spreading the word. Please like and tweet about the Rise of the Sharing Economy from the campaign page to tell the world about us and the importance of the sharing economy.

We're asking the crowd for financial support, yes. But we're also asking you, the readers, to vote with your dollars for the content you want to see us cover.

Crowdfunding helps put readers in the drivers seat of what we cover on TriplePundit. If this thing works, we'll stick with it and we'll be taking our cues from you.

[Image credit: WallyG, Flickr]

Jen Boynton headshotJen Boynton

Jen Boynton is the former Editor-in-Chief of TriplePundit. She has an MBA in Sustainable Management from the Presidio Graduate School and has helped organizations including SAP, PwC and Fair Trade USA with their sustainability communications messaging. She is based in San Diego, California. When she's not at work, she volunteers as a CASA (court appointed special advocate) for children in the foster care system. She enjoys losing fights with toddlers and eating toast scraps. She lives with her family in sunny San Diego.

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