It’s that time of year for the old feathery dinosaur, Skeptical Raptor to do something he hates. It’s the time of year for e-begging. That old dinosaur and I are trying to get enough funds to keep this place running, and running smoothly.
Like I’ve said a hundred times before, I started this website as a hobby. A place where I could write down some thoughts, share them with a few people, and call it a day. The first month of this website, January 2012, I had 100 visitors. And I was ecstatic. It wasn’t ScienceBasedMedicine, but as a hobby, it was great.
My total costs for the website were around $15.00 month on a shared server located in Colorado Springs. The technical people there knew me by my first name, and we would fix issues in about 10 seconds, and then talk about skiing or something.
This year, 2017, I’m ranging from 120,000 to 200,000 unique visitors per month, 200,000 to 300,000 total visits, and 2-5 million hits per month. That can’t be done on a shared server, because my website would be demanding all the resources, and other websites on that server, like JanesCatGrooming would fail to load all the time. In fact my web host in Colorado kicked me off their service in February 2015 without any warning.
On my current web host, I pay $350 a month for a dedicated server and bandwidth. Frequently, I exceed the limits of the server because I publish a very popular article, and the website performance goes down. I really need to upgrade soon. I could get it cheaper if I paid for a year of service in advance, but that’s a huge outlay for me.
I also pay another $100 a month for various services that block hacking (very important these days, the Russians probably aren’t happy with my anti-Trump articles), track stats, improve performance, and other things that are critical to a website.
Then, I pay about $150 a month for a technical guru who fixes issues with the website. For example, I had to switch from http to https in one day to maintain Google rankings, who was dropping non-secure websites from rankings. That was a large expense for me, because there was a problem in how I originally set up the website (back in 2012). When I knew nothing about websites.
Despite all of the hits and design of the website, along with what appears to be 50 ads, my ad revenue ranges from $80-120 per month. In other words, it does not cover my average $600 a month outlay.
There is an assumption that because I am a “Big Pharma Shill,” I am either wealthy from my past life or receiving huge checks from Big Pharma. Sorry, but neither is correct. Although I cover the costs of this website from my own monies, it is a serious burden for me.
This is why I need to e-beg for cash. I have several goals, beyond monthly fees, depending on the amount of money I receive:
- I need to start caching this website to improve performance. But I have a major issue in how the website is organized which will require repointing every article to a new URL. This is an expensive and difficult undertaking, which only became a problem in the last few months.
- I’d like to remove all but a couple of ads to improve performance. Since most of you use ad blockers (according to website data), I get no revenue, and still get performance hits.
- I’d like to slightly upgrade the server to handle upticks in visits and hits.
- I’d also like to really improve the performance of the website, which Google identifies as “Poor.” It’ll take a lot of work to get this done, above and beyond what I am paying out now.
I think there a lot of top articles with high Google rankings that counteract the misinformation of the anti-vaccine folks. Many of the HPV vaccine and GMO articles rank in the top 5. The articles on vaccines and law are often the most shared articles on this website.
I like to think that Skeptical Raptor is a resource to the world of scientific skepticism, especially in areas of GMOs and vaccines. I know if this website disappeared, it would be replaced by many of the other websites out there. But there are nearly 1100 articles posted on this website, and a good number of them are valuable tools in arguing with quacks and junk medicine users. For example, I wrote an article 5 years ago about whether bananas can cure cancer – they don’t, in case you were wondering. That article still gets 50-100 visits a DAY.
There are two ways to contribute to this website. First, you can make use of PayPal. If you wish, you can set up PayPal to provide monthly contributions, which are just as helpful. I prefer PayPal, because it doesn’t take out a fee, so if you send $10, I get $10.
My second method is through GoFundMe. Some people are more comfortable with the anonymity and popularity of GoFundMe, and it’s a perfectly fine way to do it. However, GoFundMe does take a small portion as a fee for the service.
Your generous donations can keep this website going for another year. Please help if you can. And like I said above, if I can get enough donations, I can eliminate all but 2 low bandwidth ads, which will make me happier. And make the reader happier.
I really hate e-begging, but I need to do it to keep this website running. Please help out if you can.