Great content. No business model.

This site has always been a hobby. A “labor of love” as the cliche goes. It’s not a business, even though I have to report what meager earnings I make to the IRS, paid in the form of self-employment taxes. If this were a business, it would be a failing one. There’d be no way I could pay myself for my time. But that’s not why I’m doing this.

But that also doesn’t mean I’m against making money. Not at all.

My attempts to monetize Jammer’s Reviews have been minimal, to the point that I wonder if I’m stupidly leaving money on the table. (Probably not that much; my audience isn’t actually that big.) But my revenue-generation efforts have existed in their minimal form for a long time. I’ve had Google AdSense on the site for many years, and back in the day I used to be in the Amazon affiliate program — before it was discontinued years ago in my state because of Amazon’s then-refusal to collect state sales taxes. (It has since been restored, which was itself a number of years ago, but I never bothered to take up the program again. Earnings there also had always been meager.)

I get spam emails all the time asking if I want to enter into various advertising and/or paid content agreements. I have no idea if they are legit, or worth any consideration whatsoever even to research. I never reply, because I don’t want to look into it. I would never put “paid articles” on my site in a million years, because I hate that kind of crap. When it comes to editorial versus advertising, I’m a firm believer in church-and-state separation.

I have put exactly zero (0) dollars or effort into marketing this site. It has always been a word-of-mouth and just-found-thanks-to-Google state of affairs. Before the days of Google (yes, my site’s been around that long), my marketing solely consisted of posting a URL in the footer of my reviews that were posted in Usenet. Also, I listed myself in a Yahoo directory under TV > sci-fi > Star Trek. That’s about it.

So that leaves — crowdsourced funding. It has come up a few times, and it came up again recently: Why don’t I put out a tip jar to accept donations? I’m not sure. I just haven’t. At least not permanently. Back in 2005, I used PayPal to collect donations to fund a purchase of the TNG DVDs that would allow me to watch and review that show over time (eight years, as it turned out). At the time, they cost well over $500 and I decided that if I was going to review the show, I shouldn’t have to put in the time and the money purely out of my own pocket. The funding was successful; a lot of people participated. I took some criticism for it from some people, but I never really understood why — if I’m being upfront about what I’m doing and making it voluntary, why would it be wrong to accept payments for a service I normally give away for free? (And that wasn’t even really funding the service, but merely funding the raw materials allowing me to provide the service without going into my own pocket.) After I funded the TNG DVDs, I left up the donation button for a while, but people didn’t seem interested in donating once I’d announced I’d collected the money to cover the DVDs. I felt kinda weird about it, so I took it down. And that was the last time I tried anything like that.

After a little bit of discussion in a recent comment thread, I’ve decided to give the tip jar idea another whirl. The web has evolved more than 15 years since that last effort, and now there are all sorts of platforms for crowdfunding. I’ve decided for now to go with Buy Me a Coffee (BMAC). It’s a little simpler and less involved than Patreon, but allows a few more features (including the possibility for exclusive content) than if I just threw a PayPal link out there again.

Right now I have no plans to produce members-only extras. Reviews will continue to be released the same way they’ve always been, and you won’t get any special privileges for contributing, except, of course, my gratitude. If I can come up with members-only perks to incentivize membership, maybe I will. But at the moment I don’t have the time or creative bandwidth to come up with those things, so don’t expect them. (What about posting my original, unreleased TNG Season 7 and DS9 Season 2 review books from summer 1994? That’d be cool, right? Ugh, no; I think I’d die of embarrassment.)

So what do you get as a one-time or ongoing contributor? Right now, nothing, except the 1,300+ reviews and articles and the user community with 80,000 comments that you already get for free — and maybe the good vibes that come with supporting this little corner of the internet. Contribute as little or as much (or as rarely or frequently) as you want, or nothing. This is just something out there to give you the opportunity. No pressure. I’ve placed a coffee button at the top of the pages with the other navigation, and added some other unobtrusive links. That will be the extent of it, other than this blog post. (Naturally, any announcement I make has to be accompanied with a thousand-word trip down memory lane. “I cannot help myself!” as Data once said.)

However, that “no pressure” goes both ways. By donating, please think of it as a tip for services already rendered, and not something that buys you future services or my consideration of special requests. You can certainly ask me questions; just don’t be too disappointed if I decline. I’m just trying this out to see how it goes. No expectations. As always with this site: Great content, no business model.

Like this site? Support it by buying Jammer a coffee.

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39 comments on this post

WineVQA
Wednesday, February 3, 2021, 11:05 pm (UTC -5)

Done! I rarely post here but I find your reviews to be in depth and entertaining. I enjoy all of the regular commenters too, whether I agree with them or not. Cheers.

Latex Zebra
Thursday, February 4, 2021, 9:52 am (UTC -5)

I love your site, come here most days to see comments or any new content.
I will happily sling you a donation when I get paid on the 15th. I’ll only spend it on shite otherwise.

Obviously, as said, not expected but would love to hear your take on Lower decks, even as mini reviews. Quite a few of my friends, and myself, are very surprised by it. I wonder if you would be too.

Nick
Thursday, February 4, 2021, 11:43 am (UTC -5)

Jammer, love your site and have been visiting it for a long time. Your reviews are well written and thoughtful. I know you’re not doing this for the money, but I was happy to make a donation to help defray some of your costs (time and/or money).

MidshipmanNorris
Thursday, February 4, 2021, 9:54 pm (UTC -5)

[Reviews will continue to be released the same way they’ve always been, and you won’t get any special privileges for contributing, except, of course, my gratitude.]

😀 One of my favorite moments from Unification: Part I, but I was unable to think of a way to reply to it with a spicy, pithy remark

At the very least, you can boast of an impressive resume. I wish I had some money to donate, myself. Love your writings, duder.

Buy this man a Raktageno, y’all!

dave
Thursday, February 4, 2021, 11:32 pm (UTC -5)

25 years of visiting this site. (jesus, when you put it that way, thats a long time!) Yeah, Ill buy you a coffee! Glad you decided on something for us to return the favor.

Yanks
Friday, February 5, 2021, 7:47 am (UTC -5)

Liquified caffeine purchased for our fearless leader!

Dan
Friday, February 5, 2021, 10:28 am (UTC -5)

Done. Love the reviews and comments (where else on the internet can one say that?). But this man a coffee or 5!

DIMITRIOS KIMINAS
Friday, February 5, 2021, 1:41 pm (UTC -5)

Done x 5! Twas the least I could do after all the company your reviews have kept us over the years!

Dom
Friday, February 5, 2021, 2:31 pm (UTC -5)

Glad to do this!

Dan Nugent
Friday, February 5, 2021, 7:25 pm (UTC -5)

Small gesture made, larger gesture in a week.

Peter Swinkels
Saturday, February 6, 2021, 10:57 am (UTC -5)

Would you like me to make a small donation via Paypal? What is your Paypal?

Peter Swinkels
Saturday, February 6, 2021, 11:05 am (UTC -5)

Never mind. I just bought you a coffee Jammal.

Peter Swinkels
Saturday, February 6, 2021, 11:05 am (UTC -5)

Never mind. I just bought you a coffee Jammal. …

Peter Swinkels
Saturday, February 6, 2021, 5:43 pm (UTC -5)

I see you thanked me. You’re welcome!

David D
Saturday, February 6, 2021, 6:14 pm (UTC -5)

Jammer, have you considered starting a professional YouTube channel for reviewing Star Trek & other Sci-fi episodes? I think the potential earnings from YouTube ads would give you a great source of unlimited passive income. All you need is a budget camera, (doesn’t have to be too expensive, under $600 or just use your phone), with decent lighting and audio, you just read out loud the reviews you have already written. For example, check out Chris Stuckman on Youtube… you’ll know where I’m getting at. You’ll become the #1 source on YouTube for these reviews and fans will subscribe to you droves. Since you’re already established here for many years and built a solid trust with your readers and commenters; You have head start. Give it a shot 🙂

Jammer
Sunday, February 7, 2021, 8:56 am (UTC -5)

YouTube productions are time-consuming if you want them to be any good, and I have my doubts that many would just want to see me reading reviews on camera. (But who knows.) I always figured that if I were to do anything on YouTube, it would be some sort of supplement. But I figure that time would probably be better spent writing more reviews to add to my library.

Dom
Sunday, February 7, 2021, 3:49 pm (UTC -5)

YouTube is great if you make it big, but the market for Star Trek/Wars stuff is pretty saturated.

brian
Sunday, February 7, 2021, 8:38 pm (UTC -5)

Um, sure. I’m happy to tip you to help out with the hosting costs. And I prefer it to ads. But I won’t tip unless you are transparent about the web hosting costs, i.e. post the proof in an easy to identify location, and also post how much you receive in tips.

Taking an old school website like this and monetizing it is a slippery slope. I almost think you should just pay the web hosting costs (they can’t be too high) until you feel you don’t want to anymore, then offer to have someone else run it. Someone with more time, younger, and is passionate about keeping it going. Or someone who can do a reboot and get the content onto a modern discussion board system. I feel like things always go to shit when people start trying to monetize. And I’m afraid that will happen here.

Beyond and outside of all that, I’ll pay you $20 if you watch and review Babylon 5.

🙂

PM
Monday, February 8, 2021, 12:51 am (UTC -5)

I make you a counter-proposal. I’ll agree to your terms if, *if*, in addition to continuing to write reviews, you hand over to me all data and material regarding the project called…Genesis………….(and write a Rise Of Skywalker review)

DaiMon Telek
Monday, February 8, 2021, 3:25 pm (UTC -5)

Done.

First time commenter but long time reader. Can only echo what WineVQA so rightly states about enjoying both the in-depth quality of Jammer’s reviews and the comments, even the ones I don’t necessarily agree with. Always fresh perspectives in both Jammer’s words and the responses.

It’s a delight to still have this corner of the internet. Thanks for everything, Jammer.

Dualboot
Wednesday, February 10, 2021, 3:56 pm (UTC -5)

Done and thank you very much for all those reviews.

Eric

Alan Thomas
Thursday, February 11, 2021, 2:22 pm (UTC -5)

Coffee purchased!

@brian: Why should Jammer have to limit his income to what web hosting costs? And why should he have to disclose how much he takes in? (I mean, I’m curious myself, but I sense my curiosity is different from yours.) Do you believe writers should be unpaid for what they write (unless, apparently, it’s about Babylon 5)? If so, why?

MidshipmanNorris
Saturday, February 13, 2021, 9:42 pm (UTC -5)

@Jammer

“Without reading this site, it could be a beaker full of death.

— Mr. Spock”

Omg I’ve never seen that one before, lmao

Atomguy
Tuesday, February 16, 2021, 11:13 am (UTC -5)

I really wish I had the money to donate, I’ve been thoroughly enjoying your reviews for nearly two years now

Dexter
Thursday, February 18, 2021, 11:56 am (UTC -5)

“I took some criticism for it from some people, but I never really understood why”

IIRC, it wasn’t criticism for crowdfunding the blue-rays, i think people were more than happy to do that, it was the delay (years) in making reviews. Obviously in the end you came through, but at the time I recall people were upset with he delay and it just seemed like you didnt care.

Michael
Saturday, February 20, 2021, 1:13 pm (UTC -5)

Jammer, I’ve been enjoying your thoughtful reviews since season 6 or 7 or DS9. You had an impact on how I think about, and am critical of, Trek and other shows. I chipped in on your TNG sets as well, and was happy to do it. So thank you, man. Your coffee is sent. LLAP 🖖

Latex Zebra
Sunday, February 21, 2021, 2:37 pm (UTC -5)

Dropped some more for you the other day. Shows as my Dan Nugent name and not this one.
Keep up the good work dude.

JoshB
Monday, March 1, 2021, 5:09 am (UTC -5)

Well I’ve been reading your page for more than twenty years. Buying you some coffees seems like the least I can do. 🙂

Leif
Monday, March 1, 2021, 1:37 pm (UTC -5)

Why is it called buying coffe if we are not actually buying you coffee or even virtual coffee coupons? And any ETA on the star wars movie review? Thanks for your site.

Jammer
Tuesday, March 2, 2021, 9:14 am (UTC -5)

“Coffee” is just a fun way to express monetary contributions through this particular service’s hook. No, it’s not *actually* coffee. The “coffee” is just the idea of the gesture of support.

The Star Wars Episode IX review will be either before or after the rest of the Mandalorian reviews. It’s the next thing on my list as I get to it. You should probably know that I don’t do well with ETA dates. 🙂

Jammer
Tuesday, March 2, 2021, 9:16 am (UTC -5)

“IIRC, it wasn’t criticism for crowdfunding the blue-rays, i think people were more than happy to do that, it was the delay (years) in making reviews. Obviously in the end you came through, but at the time I recall people were upset with he delay and it just seemed like you didnt care.”

I’m actually talking about some who criticized the very idea of taking donations when I posted it, right out of the gate.

Jammer
Tuesday, March 2, 2021, 9:18 am (UTC -5)

Let me just take a moment to put out a big THANK YOU to everyone who has contributed so far. The site surpassed 100 supporters as of yesterday and I greatly appreciate your support.

Tim C
Tuesday, March 9, 2021, 2:36 am (UTC -5)

I’ve been waiting for you to do this for literally years, Jammer. Whenever there’s a new season of Trek this site is always my definitive choice for fair and thoughtful critique, and I always felt guilty about using an ad blocker. Now I don’t have to 😀

nickf
Sunday, March 14, 2021, 11:33 pm (UTC -5)

“Beyond and outside of all that, I’ll pay you $20 if you watch and review Babylon 5.”

20c per episode? There’s incentive right there.

MidshipmanNorris
Monday, March 22, 2021, 10:41 pm (UTC -5)

Everyone has a different process for writing. I’ve never actually managed to get my technique down to any kind of usable formula; I don’t practice writing enough. I should knuckle down and do three pages a day sometime… ugh

Writers do be like that yall

Chris
Thursday, March 25, 2021, 4:56 pm (UTC -5)

Jammer,

I’ve been reading your reviews for years and enjoyed them thoroughly.

I think I a big problem is that new folks don’t know you exist. Have you thought about Facebook and/or Twitter accounts? You could use them to announce new reviews on the site.

Will contribute to the coffee account.

Just a thought…

Jammer
Friday, March 26, 2021, 9:31 am (UTC -5)

I use Facebook for personal use, but don’t have anything set up for promoting my website. I’ve had a Twitter account since 2008 (and indeed I used to announce new reviews on Twitter) but haven’t used it in years; it just sits there. The problem I have with social media (besides the usual bane of society, etc.) is that I simply don’t have the time or will to feed the beast the way it needs to be fed to be effective as a marketing tool. And most of the people who follow me already know where to find me.

SlackerInc
Friday, March 26, 2021, 6:07 pm (UTC -5)

It would definitely be likely to bring in new blood better if it were promoted on social media. OTOH, this site does come up pretty high if you search Google for a review of a Trek episode.

Trump is the King
Tuesday, April 6, 2021, 9:21 am (UTC -5)

I like your reviews, but was put off by traitorous and anti-American comments made by your audience hating Donald Trump, the greatest president in American history. One readers compared Trump’s presidency to a blow job with Neelix. Donald Trump has done more for Americans than Janeway has had sex. Donald Trump oozes machismo and is more powerful than Wesley Crusher. The world shakes when Trump talks, like when Worf farts. Those traitors should be jailed and deported to Guinea Bissau

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