True has had a presence on Patreon for a few years now. Patreon is one of several sites that helps “creators” get support from patrons. In late 2017, Patreon made a bone-headed decision that resulted in well over half of True’s patrons bailing, mostly for my own home-rolled alternative. The downside of both: having to create yet another “account” on yet another site. At least using my shopping cart there’s no 5 percent fee scraped off the top for Patreon.
I’ve found another such site, which ironically is older than Patreon; I wasn’t aware of it until recently. The metaphor for “Ko-fi” is that patrons can tip creators by buying them “a cup of coffee.” The best part (as far as I’m concerned) is that they don’t take a cut of the contributions. They “can’t”: it operates as a front end for both Paypal and Stripe, the latter being the credit card processor I already use, and payments go directly to True’s existing accounts, not theirs. It was a cinch to set it up yesterday during a break from writing this week’s stories.
The best part (as far as you might be concerned) is you don’t have to create an account there to use it, but you can create one to access supporter-only posts and such, which I don’t have there yet. I call that a win-win.
Rather than “coffee,” I set mine up for server support. True uses a multitude of servers: one for the various web sites, another for email lists, another for podcast hosting, two Zoom accounts for hosting online meetings (one for me, one for Kit), and probably one or two more that’s not coming to mind right now. The costs add up fast, so the default “Buy a coffee” is instead Buy a gig of bandwidth for True.
But Wait, There’s More
Other things I like: you can post a comment when you contribute, with your choice of the comment being public on my page there or private to me (I prefer public). And: the donor chooses “how many gigs” of bandwidth to sponsor, in $5 increments.
After announcing it on True’s Facebook and Twitter accounts yesterday, several readers jumped in to “test” it for me, with both Paypal and plastic, one-time and monthly, and public and private comments. All that I asked reported it was super-easy.
I figure that Premium subscribers don’t “need” to support True more than they already do by having a Premium subscription. But I know many of you are creators yourselves — writers and other sorts of artists — or know someone who is and could use the support, especially right now in these stressful financial times.
So now you know what it is if you see a new little button in the sidebar on True’s main site (except on the home page), Honorary Unsubscribe, Randy’s Random, even the True Stella Awards. (Oh, and the TEH Podcast, too: I’m probably going to be appearing there this week.)
Credit Where Due
Last, a “hat tip” to where I found out about Ko-fi: the nCoV2019.live site where I’ve been watching the data roll in summarizing COVID-19. Avi Schiffmann, the Washington state high school junior who created the site, has a Ko-fi button. I clicked it to support him …and loved the entire concept enough to sign up on the platform right then and there.
As I write this, his site shows there are nearly 800,000 confirmed cases worldwide, and nearly 38,000 deaths. Clearly and unfortunately, COVID hasn’t peaked yet. More on Schiffmann in the New Yorker magazine.
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To really support This is True, you’re invited to sign up for a subscription to the much-expanded “Premium” edition:
Q: Why would I want to pay more than the regular rate?
A: To support the publication to help it thrive and stay online: this kind of support means less future need for price increases (and smaller increases when they do happen), which enables more people to upgrade. This option was requested by existing Premium subscribers.