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Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Advertising: Free, Cheap and Otherwise 

So, yesterday on a whim I offered to give away a single ad to the first not-for-profit, political, compatible site to respond. And the winner is: W. Goes Home. Their ad will appear on our main page as soon as we've worked out the details.

This got me thinking about advertising, promotion, etc. We've never approached BushWhackedUSA.com as a source of revenue, and unlike many similar sites and popular blogs we have NEVER asked our readers for donations. Between us, we put 5-18 hours of work on the site daily, without pay. In fact, our only rewards are the satisfaction of working against the Bush administration, the occasional (all too rare) positive E-mail note, and the gradual growth in our readership. In fact, growing the readership is our only quantifiable measure of success. We think a lot about how to do that. Our political satires and essays have been our most effective way to draw new readers, so far. The work we do every day probably appeals to the most actively engaged, progressive political readership. And we're working on some more general, static features that will appeal to the more casual reader--features which we'll unveil in June and July.

Yet at this point, we want to explore ways to more ambitiously reach out to readers. About the only thing left for us to do is to advertise. But on top of the unpaid time we devote already and the (minor) costs of keeping the site up and running, we just can't afford to buy ads.

That's why I've considered asking dedicated readers to buy ads for us. I don't know how much interest there would be in doing such a thing; and I know it's somewhat obnoxious when free political sites start scrounging for readers' dollars. But this is one way to further our cause. An effective way, at that.

So, I'm curious: what are your thoughts on these matters? Would BushWhackedUSA readers somehow be offended by a campaign to support our ad campaign? Do any of our readers host popular, compatible sites of your own, for which you might be willing to trade "advertising" in the form of buttons, banners and hyperlinks?

And, on a related note, would anyone care to volunteer for the task of landing BushWhackedUSA on as many free links lists as possible?

In any case, thanks for your support. Maintaining these sites (the blog for three months and the main page for fifteen months) has been a deeply rewarding and addicting experience. We're committed to seeing this through to the end: the 2004 election in November!

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