Good News: Who Wants a Balloon Juice With No Ads At All?
The one good thing about the first hard frost is how beautiful my pink hair grass is even when most of the other plants have been killed by the frost.
We had a discouraging night in Virginia last night, but we get to talk about some good things today, too, and this is one of them:
Who wants Balloon Juice to be totally ad-free on all devices?
We can have that if we want it, but it will take your help.
The autoplay video ads – that most of us hated – that ate up the data plan on your phone – whose flickering caused eye issues for some of us – that messed up the site on mobile devices – that caused some of our friends to leave Balloon Juice – brought in $1,000 a month. For the very first time, this blog really could pay for itself!
Without the video ads, the ads bring in almost nothing at all.
If you’re the guy whose name is on all the bills, ditching the video ad and losing $1,000 a month would have to feel a bit like jumping off a cliff with no net.
So here’s what it will take for me to feel good about having asked John Cole to do that:
– $1,000 in recurring donations every month to replace the ad revenue
– no subscriptions, just recurring donations every month from those who can afford it
– $6,000 in one-time donations now – that would sit in an account, unused, as a safety net, so that if for any reason recurring donations drop off or fall off completely, Cole won’t be left in a bind. If something unexpected happened, that would give Cole time to figure out the next phase. That should take the uncertainty out of the equation.
$1,000 IS: 100 10-dollar donations OR 20 50-dollar donations OR 50 20-dollar donations OR 200 5-dollar donations.
Not everyone can afford even $5 or $10 a month, but this is a community and those of us who can afford that can help make the site better for everyone.
I have been telling John for 2 years that we’re a community and we could easily self-fund in place of ad money – am I right? or am I wrong?
If you’re “in”, you can donate through PayPal, Venmo, Zelle, or Pateron. Send me an email if you want the P.O. box address to send John a paper check.
I will leave this post at or near the top for a day so that everyone gets a chance to weigh in with their thoughts.
Please chime in with your thoughts in the comments!
How much is donated monthly now? I give a bit each month and don’t think I’m the only one.
I could do that. I currently use an ad blocker (and would continue to do so) and then make an occasional guilt-payment. So it would not really be different from what I already do.
I would love an ad free site. I already give through Patreon and if you said that we were close to what we need to keep the site going, I would probably raise my donation to help get to the needed amount.
For anyone who doesn’t use it, Patreon is a great way to make continuing donations from the subscriber side. I have several people I pay and it’s pretty seamless. I think Cole will have to pay some kind of fee to Patreon, so he will have to take that into account when setting his goal. But for anyone considering a recurring donation, Patreon is great.
I run an ad blocker, hence why I donate each month, so I don’t experience a lot of the issues others have mentioned, but BOY can I tell when there is a problematic ad up, because embedded tweets take forever to load. So going ad free will not affect me personally in any big way, but will make coming here a little more pleasant, especially for things like the COVID posts, which always have a lot of tweets.
Hell, yes, we should do this. We are one of the most prolific fundraising sites in the liberal world (we do 15% of what Kos does, which is amazing). And now, with what WaterGirl is doing with Four Directions and others, we are also one of the most innovative.
12K a year is less than 2% of what we raise on average in a year. Seems like a no-brainer to raise that and dump the ads.
@skerry: I do not know the amount, but I can definitely say that it is not nearly enough to cover the $1,000.
Well, I *was* planning to knock over three Vegas casinos to help pay for all this.
Anyway, I’m in.
The ads don’t bother me. I mostly browse on a Samsung S10 with whatever browser came with it.
I’d certainly do a modest monthly recurring donation. Immodest in a dire emergency.
I can start with a monthly of $10 but will increase if needed. Thanks.
ETA: I am unbothered by ads. Maybe I should be bothered, but I access the site via wifi so data consumption is not an issue.
There are ads? I don’t see them. It can’t be that I have an ad-blocker installed, I’m too technically inept to manage that. Unless elves did it.
There used to be clickbait thingies (“what happens if you stop wearing underwear?”) before the comments, I just scrolled past them.
But I get that chasing ad revenue has been a losing game for blogs for a long time.
The ads don’t bother me, but I’d be happy to contribute if you go this route.
For market price comparison, note that a typical streaming service is < $10/month or < $100/year. The catch, however, is that it goes up every year.
I’m already donating through Patreon, and can bump that up if needed.
I also run an ad blocker, so I’ve never seen the video ads on my phone or laptop (when using Safari). But we raise a lot of money on this site—we fund pet rescues within hours along with political donations. Going ad free would be longer term investment, but doable.
Somewhat Tall Gay Person
I will add that even though I was an art major, I know enough about statistics to know this thread is going to be a very unscientific sample.
People who feel uncomfortable with this idea are not going to leave comments saying so. Plus, not everyone reads and comments in every thread.
I am agnostic about this idea myself. Don’t feel I have enough information either way.
In for a recurring Patreon amount.
I’m in for $25. Just sent.
@Ohio Mom: Anyone who doesn’t like the idea is welcome to say so. With our readership, it doesn’t take a high percentage of people donating to reach the $1,000.
I’m in for whatever it will take. Is it possible to get a thermometer style thing dedicated to site fundraising? I generally hit a paypal button whenever there are money mentions due to ad blocker guilt.
For me, the best thing about no ads is that we should be able to fix any long-standing site issues, like there back arrow problem, which appears to be at least partially related to ads.
When we take the ads out of the equation, everything should be fixable, and the site should run more smoothly.
We are currently a bit better off than we’ve been and I’m in to help. Which of the platforms I can set up a recurring donation is the most “efficient” in terms of percentage overhead taken out?
Relatedly, are any of the options any better at not likely leading me to getting a zillion follow-up messages from the platform begging for money for other causes?
As I run ad-free, I have donated $50 to Balloon Juice several times very occasionally in the past. I would be happy to regularize that donation. Would it be more useful to you all as a smaller monthly amount? Or annually?
Keep up the good work.
@jeffreyw: ActBlue thermometers are great, and I like them, too. I have no idea whether there might be a thermometer that could be updated manually.
I can google that.
@coyoteville: Well, we’re looking at 2 things here. An initial donation to get to the $6k to bank in case donations drop off, so Cole doesn’t get caught with unexpected donations.
And we’re looking at the recurring donations of $1,000 to make up for the lost ad revenue. it’s totally up to you, but you could donate your 50 bucks or whatever now to build the $6k safety fund.
@WaterGirl: So this wouldn’t be going to subscription like TPM? Just some patrons and everyone else free riding? I am okay with that. I don’t mind ads exept the autoplay ones.
I’m in. I use a an ad blocker and donate every so often when I remember. I’ve been meaning to start donating monthly anyway.
The ads don’t affect me but I will set up a regular donation to help with this goal so more can read easily. Is there a best option of the list (lowest to no fees)?
I vote ad-free (especially video ads!), so I just hit Cole with a one-time $100 for the safety net and a recurring $25 for the monthly nut.
I would chip in monthly.
I am happy to do a small monthly donation.
I’ll donate $5 per month. This is a wonderful community and I’m thankful that I have several blogs that keep me sane during rough patches (such as what happened last night).
I have a monthly donation to Wonkette, which I read every couple of days instead of obsessively refreshing like I do with B-J. I could afford a small monthly donation. As it is I drop something in the bucket whenever asked.
Both TPM and Wonkette have dropped ads and seem to be managing OK.
Exactly. No subscription. No paying to get ad-free while others still have to see ads.
I wouldn’t call it free riding? But yes, if enough people do recurring donations to meet the $1,000 a month in lost ad revenue, the site will be ad-free for everyone.
Only the video ads brought in any real money, so without them, the ads frustrate/annoy a good percentage of folks and at the same time don’t do much to fund the site expenses.
Patreon allows goal-setting; people I know/fund with them set a goal of x dollars per month to work full-time on a project.
That might be the best way to manage this ask from a logistical POV, given that Cole’s already got the Patreon up and running.
@Roonieroo: Others may have more experience than i do so I hope they chime in.
I think Zelle is totally free, no fees.
I believe that PayPal has fees.
I don’t know about Venmo and Patreon.
What is the PayPal account?
@Woodrow/asim: The tricky part is that funds can come in 5 different ways:
So I don’t see a good way to use any particular group’s charting or goal-setting. I imagine I can figure out some thermometer-like thing for the $6k safety net and the $1k recurring donations.
I’m an old and not comfortable sending money via Zelle, which is an option at my bank. In the last few site fundraisers, I asked about sending a check via snail mail and I got a couple of responses from commenters who wrote, “email Cole.” It was kind of confusing to me.
I do understand that you don’t want to publish a PO Box online, but I wonder if there could be a more formalized process for commenters who want to send checks. I’m not sure that is possible, but it would be nice and may even capture a few more donations.
I’m in. I’ll do a monthly donation and contribute to the ‘safety net’ fund too. Life’s been good, and this place seems to have become my primary hangout online. I’m happy to help keep it around, and I’ve been saying for years that if there were a subscription option to get rid of the ads, I’d jump on it.
This isn’t subscriptions, but that doesn’t matter to me. Either way, I’m happy to chip in some money to make the ads go away.
Already doing $5 a month through Patreon.
I have been doing $10 a month for awhile now. This place has saved my sanity a number of times. I think that’s worth a few bucks a month.
I’m already Patreon-ing, but would also up that a bit, and could also kick in for the backup $6k.
@Patricia Kayden: There’s a link in the sidebar with account information under Ways to Support Our Site.
But I have copied the info here:
Donate with Venmo: @john-cole-94
– Donate with Zelle: jgriffincole at gmail.com (in proper email address format, of course)
If you want to donate with PayPal, we assume you already have a PayPal account, and all you need is the email address:
– Donate with PayPal: jgriffincole at gmail.com (in proper email address format, of course)
If you have a question about how to donate, please let us know!
Does anyone know the Patreon info for Cole?
Regardless of what is decided I just signed up for monthly donation. I should have done it long ago.
Gary in Chicago
I already use Patreon to help a couple of folks I follow regularly, so doing so for Cole wouldn’t be too much of a stretch. I do like the idea of ad-free, since I did have refresh issues when the video ad was running and I was using my tablet.
@Scout211: If you send me email, I can reply with Cole’s address.
I think it’s fair to say I am better about replying to email than Cole. :-)
Jim, Foolish Literalist
Yowza! I had no idea it cost so much to run this site. I guess I’m going to have to figure out this Patreon thing the podcasts keep talking about?
@WaterGirl: I don’t mind calling it free riding because I admit that is exactly what I have been doing. I gave an occasional donation over the years but otherwise I let the ads do it.
@sab: John is definitely onboard with going ad-free, but since it’s really me who pushed against the video ad – which is the only one that really brought in any money – I don’t want to leave him on the hook for $1k every month without something in place.
I sure couldn’t come up with an extra $1k a month!
So I’m looking for the solution that gives Cole a safety net and the solution that keeps him from having to ask for money all the time or wonder if the money is going to arrive for next month’s bill. :-)
I think it’s fair to say that no one likes asking for money.
@Jim, Foolish Literalist: The web hosting fee is based on site traffic, so it fluctuates as site traffic fluctuates. But when you have a million or a million and a half page views every month, that costs real money.
The video ad brought in about $1k a month, and that’s what I’m looking to replace.
I’ve signed up with patreon but I don’t see how to bump up the $5 pledge or even where my pledge amounts are located. I’m lost in the FAQ thicket. On a quick run through it seems that Cole has to hit me up for the donation? Not seeing how any of this works.?
I’m in. I read BJ daily and I try to give at least $100 a year. I would happy to sign up for a $10/month donation rather than giving once a year.
First time donation with Venmo you have to know the last 4 digits of the receivers phone number
Edit: nevermind, you can send without confirming.
@jeffreyw: I did Patreon for Lawfare for awhile, and I signed up once and they just kept billing me – without contacting me or my having to do anything.
So there’s definitely a way.
Can one of the folks who has Cole on Patreon chime in with more info?
I despise the video ads. And since I’m not giving to the DCCC, I can kick in here monthly.
Thanks! I would be in for the $10 a month, but I will likely send it in one or two checks for the year.
My poor older iPad Pro crashed a few times and strangely restarted itself while I was on the site. So hopefully eliminating the ads will fix that issue.
smedley the uncertain
I’m in. I don’t see the ads because AdBlocker. Have randomly donated in the past – Guilt reflex.
I used Pay Pal in the past.
Duh, I just realized I can already sign up for a monthly contribution, so I will do that in the next day or so.
@Roonieroo: Is that true even if you know their Venmo ID? Or just if you search for “John Cole” and have to pick him out of a list?
If it’s the former, I can add that information. Does someone know?
I don’t. I understand that we wouldn’t want to publish the address of Cole’s personal PO box if he has one, but renting a PO box just for BJ would be cheap and easy: our HOA has a PO box at the local post office for people to pay their dues by check, and it costs us a whopping $64 per year.
Even if not many additional donations came from people who didn’t want to pay online, it seems to me that the PO box would easily pay for itself.
I suppose once in awhile, some RWNJ might start a harassment campaign against this site, and try to flood our PO box with garbage mail as part of that. But it wouldn’t happen very often, and probably wouldn’t be too effective, because most people don’t send letters anymore unless they have to.
I’ve been donating monthly for a while. It’s a bargain. ;-)
Wonkette has been ad-free for a while and it seems to work for them, but commiegirl1 does do monthly or so begging posts. She also sends monthly or so thank you e-mails. Something similar would need to be done here (more than just something in the sidebar) to remind readers to donate and keep up their donations. Without prodding, it won’t work very well.
Specific posted goals can help (thermometers obviously work for ActBlue), or at least regular updates like JC’s “stop donating now, we have enough!” notes like he often does during the site-updates funding cycles. But the best way to do so is beyond my pay-grade.
tl;dr – I’m in.
That’s the great thing: If eliminating the ads doesn’t fix the issue, then it’s a problem that can be solved by the developer.
It’s the problems that come and go depending on which ads are currently in place that are close to impossible to solve – because you always have the changing ads as variables.
I already do monthly through PayPal but could up that.
Which of the payment options costs the least for John/Balloon-Juice? PayPal doesn’t cost me but I don’t know if there are fees on the receiving end.
I just added myself to the patreon.
I had no idea that was an option.
Okay, got that newfangled Pat-tree-on thingie figured out. ‘Scuse me … the onion fell off my belt, gotta get it before the cat sees it.
So, out of curiosity and a desire to avoid clickbait, will you please enlighten us as to what really happens when you stop wearing underwear?
@WaterGirl: Folx can try https://www.patreon.com/join/balloonjuice/checkout?edit=1 as a hopefully-direct (once logged in) link to edit their pledge.
If that doesn’t work, try going to https://www.patreon.com/pledges, finding the “John G. Cole” entry, and click “Edit” link,
@jeffreyw: I stumbled into a clearing in the woods and I can see clearly now!
It would make the donations much easier. I agree.
Late to the party but in for the monthly for $20. Zelle was being cranky so my note to the blogmaster didn’t get included. Thanks to him and you, Watergirl, for putting this together.
Just signed up for $10 per month. As much time as I spend here, that’s a hell of a deal
Just set up a small patreonage.
I’m happy to do a small monthly donation and a contribution toward the safety net. I’m pretty sure Patreon does have fees, but I don’t know how much they are. They’re a very convenient way to support the site, however, since they will automatically set up a recurring deduction for the amount one pledges monthly. PayPal also allows recurring charges, but their process is more cumbersome.
@surfk9: Balloon Juice turns 20 in January. Now that we’re 20, maybe it’s about time we start paying “Dad” his allowance. :-)
I would miss some of the ads. There is a cute little crystal cat that pops up every once in a while that I will miss seeing. The little critter costs over $5000 so I have no idea what algorithm decided I was a good bet to see that ad, but I keep clicking on it to keep seeing it.
@sab: Well, save the URL before the ads are gone and you can do see your crystal cat whenever you want to.
Signed up for Cole’s Patreon at $7 a month. He has 95 patrons. Let’s at least get to 100.
How do you get rid of an old email address that the Mac wants to use to autofill stuff?
De-lurking to say that I’ll start contributing.
Just signed up for the Patreon option.
We (SWMBO and myself) are currently throwing in $5/month via Patreon. I have no problem bumping that to $10. Beyond that I should consult with the powers that be (read: SWMBO). :-)
Did the monthly Patreon thing. I really appreciate this community.
I can contribute $10 monthly if you go ahead with this plan.
@raven: Are you talking about your Balloon Juice nym and email, or autofill generally?
@Bufflars: Thank you!
KayInMD (formerly Kay (not the front-pager))
I run ad-blocker so I already do $20 a month via PayPal. I can raise that to $30, maybe $35, but I don’t think I can go much higher and still be able to contribute to political causes etc. But I’ll definitely raise the monthly amount.
@Ann Marie: i think it’s fair to assume at this point that this is a go, though I may have to remind people for a bit that we are trying to also get to the $6k for the safety net.
I can be one of The 200. Just used PayPal, which has changed recently, and always seemed to ask if I wanted it to be recurring, which in this case I do, but this time it didn’t.
I’ve subscribed to TPM for a while now, and I only go there sporadically. BJ is my FF home page. I should have been supporting it more regularly already, so thanks for this, WaterGirl.
@KayInMD (formerly Kay (not the front-pager)): Definitely do not raise it to even a penny more than you are comfortable with!
Just did Patreon $10.00 monthly.
Is there a way to have a recurring thermometer that could add up payments from all the payment methods? I find visual reminders like the thermometer very helpful.
Just did monthly but is there way to give through Patreon that will go to $6000?
@Jeanne: I am guessing that you would need to do an additional one-time payment, which you can also do through Patreon.
I haven’t done that, but I know you can do it.
Good news: I have enlisted Steeplejack, with all his google fu and attention to detail, to research the answers to all the donating-related questions you guys are posing here.
I’m in. The ads haven’t been a problem for me, but as a software developer, I have loads of sympathy for the debugging nightmare. :-)
❗ ❕ Alert! ❕ ❗
Just got to this thread and have briefly scanned only the top post, but . . .
WaterGirl is busy with clients today and asked me to field questions about the various payment services, any fees involved, etc. I don’t consider myself an expert, but I do have a fair amount of experience. WaterGirl and I worked on a couple of projects involving e-pay, and we got into the mechanics deeper than we expected. So I have a relatively fresh knowledge base. And I’m sure that other Juicers will weigh in with their own expertise and experiences.
My commitment is to keep track of the questions and not leave any hanging or unanswered. So check back later if someone doesn’t give you a comprehensive, detailed answer in the first 15 minutes after you post it or even if you think the thread is dead. At the very least I will post an “I dunno” response and keep track of other answers.
Okay, off to read the comments. Helping the site go ad-free is a very worthy cause!
@Reboot: Yeah, I am going to figure out how to make a thermometer in Numbers (the Mac version of Excel). I’ll have one thermometer for the $6k safety net fund and another for recurring donations.
Apparently you can’t make an actual thermometer, but you can make a graph and dress it up with some colored shapes.
@WaterGirl: To get this:
I’ll work on that this week. The harder part will likely be getting all the information from Cole. :-)
I’m in for $10 a month (can increase it a bit if not enough people are able to participate, but I would think that we have at least 100 commenters and lurkers who are able and willing to kick in that much). I can also contribute $100 to the initial safety net fund.
I use an ad blocker on my computer, but I have not found one for my Android phone or tablet, and they are very bothersome there.
I’ve been putting in $5 through Patreon since June, when I realized I got as much out of BJ as I did some other creators I supported. I could up it a little. The count on Patreon is up to 104 now.
Just signed up for a $10 monthly donation on Patreon. Should have done it long before now.
I’m in for both the safety net and the ongoing costs. I hate video ads and I visit this site several times a day, so it is totally worth it.
I’m already contributing monthly a bit via Patreon.
The 1k$/m for hosting is a tad excessive, unless there is also a lot of tech support / operating (i.e. humans) included as well.
@Salty Sam: Less underwear to launder but many more pairs of pants to clean. You might say it’s a wash (ducks head).
For a “set it and forget it” recurring donation, I think Patreon is the best bet. For one-time or irregular donations, I will admit up front that my bias is toward Zelle.
I don’t think any of the payment options for Balloon Juice beg you for money for other causes. I have seen that only on GoFundMe donations.
@WaterGirl: If you could check the fees each of the options charge, that would be great.
I was originally planning to use whichever method was easiest for me (probably PayPal, since that’s the only one listed at which I have an account currently), but if there’s a way to make the donation $$ go farther by having lower fees, I’d happily set up an account.
@sab: I wouldn’t call it “freeriding” if there are ads. Ads are a quid pro quo, just like a subscription. The transaction is, “I get to read BJ, and pay for the privilege by having to see ads.”
Freeriding would be after (if?) the ads are dropped, people don’t pay a dime. They are then mooching off of those who DO pay.
I can (easily) justify freeriding for those who just can’t afford to pay for it, or for those who read BJ only rarely, but for regular readers who CAN afford it, they should really pony something up.
Cole’s Patreon “address” is https://www.patreon.com/balloonjuice.
well i am in for $15 a month (since i couldn’t decide between 10 & 20) but paypal in France doesn’t do recurrent payments and Patreon wants to charge me VAT (20%). and i don’t have & don’t know the other apps but … maybe i should just make the paypal payment for $100 and before next year i can figure this out ? or put it in my calendar to redo? in a year. if the world is still here.
@Wolvesvalley: I use Samsung Internet, it’s the browser that ships with their phones that offers choices for ad blockers, I think it will work on non Samsung phones. Brave is another browser with built in ad blockers, there are more but I haven’t used them. I think duck duck go offers one.
Chrome desktop has an extension that syncs bookmarks with the Samsung mobile browser.
My wife and I are in for $30/month, plus $50 one time toward the $6K stash. BJ is among the 3 sites we ALWAYS read daily (WaPo and, sigh, NYT being the other two, but WaPo probably gets 10x the eyeball time than NYT).
I’ll set it up as soon as there’s more info about which donation method charges the lowest fees.
[BTW, this is a bit of a leap of faith for us. We have been absolutely PLAGUED by site problems ever since the site overhaul. BJ typically takes a long time load the embedded tweets, and often on our iPads BJ will spontaneously refresh itself a couple of times before giving up with the message “A problem occurred loading https:balloon-juice.com”… Alas, although ditching the video ad made things better, it did NOT fix the problems. Several times we have had muttered to ourselves, “If they can’t fix this issue, we’ve got to give this up” (although we never did!)]
Curious: How come you use folx instead of folks?
@Jim, Foolish Literalist:
If it’s easier, you can contribute sporadically through the other methods—PayPal, Venmo or Zelle. All are easy to set up.
I will admit that my bias is toward Zelle, which has no fees to sender or recipient, transfers the money almost instantly (within minutes), requires that you know only an email address or cell-phone number for the recipient and doesn’t reveal any information about you, except for (I think) the Zelle nickname you assign yourself.
PayPal has a small fee (usually to the recipient) and can take a while to transfer the money. I can’t remember the details right now about Venmo (which is a subsidiary of PayPal, BTW).
I signed up on Patreon a few months ago for $5/month – I figure I’ve gotten far more than that in value over the double-digit years I’ve been lurking here. https://www.patreon.com/balloonjuice/. I don’t know what percentage Patreon takes from the donation, but if it works for Cole, it’s very simple on the user side. If you’re subscribed to more than one Patreon, there’ll just be one monthly charge on your card that covers all your subscriptions, and they don’t send you promo emails suggesting other Patreons to you. If you decide you want to change the amount of your monthly subscription, you just have to go to “Manage Memberships” and click “edit” next to the John G. Cole subscription.
@Steeplejack: This is GREAT news (re Zelle)! I’m happy to set up a Zelle account (assuming my bank supports it, which it may not, since it is a smaller regional bank).
@WaterGirl: How about you publish in the bleg itself the fees that the various funding methods charge so that folks can make an informed choice?
I just sent a one-time donation. If we proceed with self-funding I can set up a recurring donation.
Since I use an ad-blocker I try to donate from time to time, but I like making it formal.
I just donated $111 via PayPal. This is for the $6K “nest egg” account.
I’ll set a monthly contribution later. [How would I do that in PayPa? It wasn’t immediately obvious.]
I will second jeffreyw’s recommendation of the Brave browser for Android. It has a built-in ad blocker that works pretty well. I switched to Brave (from the Samsung phone browser) to get around Twitter’s pesky “you must have a Twitter account to read Twitter” tyranny.
I’ll do $20 a month plus a one time $100 for the $6,000 fund. If it’s all the same to you I’ll do the $20 a month with a once a year $240. I hate paying bills!
Should we donate now or wait until the final decision is made?
KayInMD (formerly Kay (not the front-pager))
@KayInMD (formerly Kay (not the front-pager)): Well, I screwed that up. I tried to increase my PayPal donation, but just succeeded in cancelling it & I can’t figure out how to set up a new automatic payment. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I don’t understand my bank’s instructions on how to use Zelle, so I’m going to take a nap and try again later. Sigh.
I was able to make a one-time $30 donation. At least I didn’t screw that up.
@Steeplejack: I just went to add that to the file that’s linked in the sidebar, and I discovered that I had previously made a link that takes you right to John Cole’s Patreon site.
So that’s the easiest way to sign up through Patreon. Link is in the sidebar, but also copied below.
Become a Balloon Juice Patreon
@donatellonerd: Let’s see if Steeplejack can suss out a good way to set up the donations from France.
For “no prodding,” set-it-and-forget-it donating, a recurring Patreon donation is the way to go. No thermometers, no pleading, no reminders, no fuss.
Thought I was a patron already, but that was for the enemy at lgm. Fixed the error of my ways.
Will chip in for the reserve fund as well, awaiting instructions.
How would the jackalarium function without WaterGirl? Many thanks WG!
@CAM-WA: Yeah, that will be one huge benefit from going ad-free.
It’s been nearly impossible to troubleshoot when some of the problems come and go, possibly related to which ads are running at any given time.
*Any technical issues that remain once the ads are gone should be fixable by the site developers because at that point we will have a static situation. It’s hard to troubleshoot when you have a moving target.
*caviat being that if it’s some weird thing that happens with this browser in combination with that extension or happens on a computer or phone that is older than dirt, that is likely not going to be fixable.
Just set up a monthly donation through Patreon. My bank supports Zelle but couldn’t figure out how to use it without a smart phone. Unfortunately smart phones aren’t tough enough to tolerate my “lifestyle”, and I refuse to replace them two or more times a year.
@CAM-WA: Great idea!
I think Steeplejack will compile all the information he discovers as he researches this or that, and then I can add it to this post and the next one on this topic.
I believe Zelle is the “cleanest”: no fee to sender or recipient. PayPal has a small fee to the recipient (occasionally to the sender). Venmo doesn’t charge a fee if you use a “standard bank transfer” (which can take up to three days to be processed).
@kmax: I heard from John that this is definitely a go. We will be dropping all the ads and going ad-free.
So you are free to set up your recurring donation now if you like.
KayInMD (formerly Kay (not the front-pager))
@raven: Clear your cache? That’s what I always told callers as a first trouble-shooting step back in the cave-dweller days when I supported macs on our school system’s helpdesk.
@coyoteville: You can definitely do PayPal, and I will leave it to Steeplejack to answer your specific question since he was kind enough to agree to research all of this.
But Zelle is super simple and I personally prefer it 100x over to PayPal.
The final decision has been made!
Sent a small paypal donation for the backup fund and am already doing a small monthly Patreon donation. I could do more but kind of think I should be sending that money to candidates this next few years. Hope that’s alright.
@KayInMD (formerly Kay (not the front-pager)): chuckling ruefully as I read your comment…
I found Zelle quite simple, but I wasn’t able to do it through my bank, which I believe makes it even easier.
I will let Steep give you the play-by-play instructions on Zelle through your bank – he walked me through it a couple of months ago as part of the project we were working on together.
Since I haven’t done that personally, I am not the best person to give the instructions. :-)
@Woodrow/asim: Just checked mine. It is under John G. Cole at Patreon.
@Woodrow/asim: If you click this link from the sidebar, it takes you right there to our John Cole’s patreon.
Become a Balloon Juice Patreon
Where’s the “my eyes are really big” emoji when you need it?
@mvr: More than alright, it’s perfectly fine!
Zelle: No fee to sender or recipient.
Venmo: No fee if “standard bank transfer” option used.
PayPal: Small fee to recipient (variable).
Patreon: Small fee to recipient.
Yeah, put yourself on the honor system and give once or twice a year. All of these payment systems get a little more complicated outside the U.S.
I’m for no ads and I just send John $50 via venmo to prove it. Happy to do it quarterly.
I’m #112 on Patreon. I was an adblock-using freeloader (from inertia, not from principle)..
Even if your bank doesn’t directly support Zelle, you can download the Zelle app and make payments that way. In our recent research, WaterGirl’s bank didn’t directly support Zelle, but she used the app to successfully send and receive Zelle payments.
Banks and credit unions that support Zelle.
@jeffreyw: Thanks! My Android devices are by Samsung.
@Steeplejack: And thanks for the endorsement and added information!
I could do it however you want. It would be nice to be self-supporting.
Did both the Patreon and Paypal thing. Happy to help out!
Usually in PayPal there’s a button to click on the payment screen for recurring vs. one time. (Sorry, I can’t look to confirm that right now.)
If your bank’s “banking app” (Zelle’s term) is available through your computer, you should be able to use Zelle. I.e., if you can access your bank account via your computer, chances are you can use Zelle. Try looking under the “transfer funds” options.
@Steeplejack: actually ActBlue has it all figured it. and generally candidates do too. and if bj were on act blue, they take recurring donations too.
@KayInMD (formerly Kay (not the front-pager)):
I can possibly help you with Zelle, but I’d need to know more details about your problem.
Zelle: No fee to sender or recipient.
Venmo: No fee if “standard bank transfer” option used.
PayPal: Small fee to recipient (variable).
Patreon: Small fee to recipient.
ActBlue is set up as a PAC, and I don’t think they handle non-political donations.
White & Gold Purgatorian
I signed up for what I think is a recurring monthly donation via Patreon. Ad free would be great and I am willing to kick in for that.
I think all questions so far have been answered, or at least gummed around a bit for further discussion. I will keep checking here periodically.
I try to throw $25-50 to BJ each year and will continue. TBH the ads are innocuous and don’t really bother me at all.
I’ll up my Patreon later today. Traveling at the moment.
done. i indicated in a note i meant it to be $15 a month for a year and 50 towards the reserve fund, but don’t mean to make John do extra arithmetic …
Regarding the fees that the various payment services charge, I think it is worth noting that they are typically small—probably less than sales tax on a purchase, for example—and shouldn’t be a deal-breaker in which service you select. And almost all of the charges accrue to the recipient, so I’m not in a position to break those down.
I’m in for both. I just have to figure out how much, which and how. I also need to donate to the Arizona thing. Good things it’s the beginning of the month.
I’m in for $20/mo and I haven’t paid my adblocker guilt fee since 2019, so I’ll also do a one-time donation for the backup fund, probably $150. Must go get on laptop to see if I gave in and have PayPal, though I’ll do Patreon for monthly.
Edit: Thanks for going adfree, WaterGirl and John—and everyone else. The video was distracting and I covered it up pretty often.
Signed up with Patreon for $10.00/mo. Easy format to use, partly because I already use it to support Unsounded, a great graphic novel.
@donatellonerd: I’ll make note of that when I am summarizing things, thanks.
Thanks to everyone who is commenting on this thread.
We shall see, but I think this is going to be a wonderful thing for the site.
Hi! Yes, that’s true. I’m deep-linking because of your comment #54, asking for support on #51: “I’ve signed up with patreon but I don’t see how to bump up the $5 pledge or even where my pledge amounts are located.”
That people cannot find how to modify their pledge easily from the “front page” of a specific subscription is something I’ve noticed myself. And it’s esp. confusing if, like Cole’s, you’ve not set tiers (otherwise the front page’ll provide a tab to change tiers/pledge levels.) I thought it worth providing some direct ways to resolve the concern. :)
I’d be glad to chip in $10/month.
ActBlue handles donations for a few non-profits that I have donated to, and, as far as I know, they don’t charge a fee. It may be that they only do this for non-profits, but it would be worth looking into as it’s a pretty painless process on the donator side, and as a bonus you get the free thermometer.
@KayInMD (formerly Kay (not the front-pager)): Hmmm….I always have suspected that “clear your cache” was a way for 1st tier support folks to tell you to do something so they didn’t have to admit that they had no idea whatsoever about what your problem was (along with the other standard stuff of reboot your computer).
I always hate clearing the browser cache because the browser “forgets” all the useful stuff.
@Steeplejack: Thanks. I just checked, and my bank is not on Zelle’s list. But good news about being able to use it anyway! Now I’ll have to check if there is a way to set up recurring payments via Zelle if my bank doesn’t participate!
@PJ: From the ActBlue FAQ: https://support.actblue.com/campaigns/faq/can-i-use-actblue/
ActBlue works with 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) non-profits (in addition to candidates and PACs). Cole may not want to go through the hassle of setting up a non-profit, but it would encourage donations (since they would be tax deductible).
Usually lurk, but I read the site daily and should have been donating a long time ago. I signed up for $5 monthly on Patreon and sent $50 one-time through Zelle.
I don’t mind a few static ads, but if they’re not helping, OK. I’ll kick in $5/mo.
@Woodrow/asim: Super helpful, thanks!
I’ll see if Cole wants to make tiers/pledge levels to make it easier for folks.
@CAM-WA: Clear your cache is the new Ctrl-Alt-Del or the new “is it plugged in and turned on”.
Sadly, though cache really is the cause of a lot of issues everywhere, so it really is a valid suggestion. However annoying it can be!
I think it’s a worthwhile project.
The ads make the blog, any blog far worse, even if they are a necessity. Ads are made to get your attention first and your approval way down the list. They get you to purchase through repetition.
All that said, I just retired and my outflow is over my current monthly inflow. I’m working on that and in a couple months that inflow will change to the positive and given the size of the proletariat (defined as the lowest class of citizens in ancient Rome – or elsewhere, like here) the cost per visitor should be pretty small.
All that to say that I’m in, I have to figure out how much I can put in the bucket per month but it will be something.
Zelle is not designed for recurring payments, and I don’t think you can set them up in Zelle. If you absolutely require a “set it and forget it” recurring option, I would recommend Patreon.
. . . Okay, I just reviewed your comments in this thread. If you’re comfortable using PayPal, go ahead and use that. There is not going to be a detailed comparative listing of exactly how much each service charges for each transaction (at least from me). There are too many variables. And the charges are small enough not to be a big concern, in my opinion. I do know that if you can use Zelle there is no charge on either side of the transaction. But, as I said, no recurring option that I know of.
Well, this post finally got me off my ass to do a little clicking and delurk, after a decade or two. I’m in.
Don’t sweat it, man. I threw in a little extra on my one-time donation to cover you.
@TheWorst: Welcome to commenting!
Your first comment was manually approved, now future comments will show up for everyone right away.
@Steeplejack: I use Zelle to make recurring payments through my bank.
@PJ: How does that work to make recurring Zelle payments through your bank?
Good to know. I guess it varies by bank. I just tried through Bank of America and was not offered a recurring option.
ETA: I did some research, and it does vary by bank. So everyone’s mileage will vary.
Okay, just signed up on the Patreon machine. It’s a small price to pay if I can act patronizing towards John. Course, I’ll have to get in line behind Steve and Thurston. (And a rescue pig??)
I already do $10 a month and will do a one-time $50 for the $6,000 just-in-case fund on Nov. 23 if we go that route. I am happy to donate when it’s needed for site rebuild, etc.
The ads now don’t bother me since we got rid of that awful goddamned thing that displayed hideous pictures in between comments. I don’t read anything on my phone (too laborious) so that’s not a problem for me.
Count me in.
$10. a month. Done.
I’m on board too (as soon as i figure the Pat-reony thing out) for 10/mo.
*******Okay, that was waaaayyy too easy!
I think I may have just kicked in a one-time chunk for the $6k cushion, via Venmo.
Or, I may have sent my money off into the ether. I can’t tell, and I’m too old to figure it out.
I’ll let you know if my bank account is emptied out, and it’s all charged to doggy treats.
@oldster: As long as you don’t act patronizing toward the rest of us, I think you’ll be good. :-)
Oh, umm, you know how sometimes you double-post because you hit the button twice?
Well, looks like I did that with Venmo. Oh well. They were both small amounts. Unintentional generosity is about the best I’m capable of in any case.
@Middlelee: Thank you!
Yes, it’s a firm decision. No ads.
You didn’t need to do that, and I appreciate the thought more than you might know.
This is a minor thing but a retired geezer usually has a budget and mine just changed to smaller from actually acceptable and the adjustment is ongoing. I’m doing better than many I know, and I live in a seniors complex with a couple hundred others. It’s an adjustment and always will be but such is life.
@oldster: Some days life just feels complicated, doesn’t it?
I’d switched my BJ support from PayPal to Patreon a while ago, so I’m already in there. Because I have to use an ad blocker on both my work box and on my iPad, I went the “pay into the kitty monthly” route.
Wonkette is at Patreon as well (among others in my monthly support bin). I just checked and balloonjuice is up to 134 patrons (went up 3 as I was reading this thread).
On Patreon, if you need to change your amounts, go up to the icon menu in the upper right corner, click and pull down “Manage Memberships”. Edit at will.
@Ruckus: No one should feel like they need to donate, especially when money is tight. Seriously.
We’ve all been there at one time or another, so we know what it’s like and we don’t judge. Well, the assholes may judge, but we don’t care what they think anyway. :-)
Late to the party but put me in for $20/mo.
@realbtl: Thank you!
i am trying to keep this as the second post on the front page. That way everyone gets to see it no matter what time of day they hit Balloon Juice.
In for $5 monthly, on Patreon. I’m mostly a lurker, but I appreciate the perspective here, and have for a long time.
“Never let it be said that I didn’t do the least I could do.” – Hawkeye Pierce, MASH
@PhaedrusOnBass: That’s a great line.
I try to resist recurring payments, but I’ll either set one up or give myself a monthly reminder to kick in regularly. Only fair, since I use an ad blocker.
I want to chip in 10/mth but I can’t find John’s OnlyFans account :p
Is there any issues caused by the money being from a foreign source?
The only issue I know of is that transactions involving non-U.S. sources usually involve higher fees.
You don’t have to do a recurring payment if it’s an undue hassle. Just give what you think is appropriate at whatever interval is convenient.
I’m in for 10 a month via Patreon. Done. 139 subscribers now.
Joy in FL
I just sent a small donation for the safety net. I have been donating a small amount monthly and am very happy to do that.
I just signed up on Patreon – should have done so a while ago. The site is clearly worth it.
@WaterGirl: Thanks, looks good. I’ll kick in when it’s a go. Need to figure out cash flow re: the cushion fund, but hope to do that soon.
It’s a go!
You don’t have to do a recurring donation. Just give whatever is comfortable when it’s convenient.
@Steeplejack: Thanks, I just did Four Directions, next up is ad-free BJ!
Sent 50 to the safety fund and became a 10/month patreon. Well worth it, especially since I’m dropping off the rest of the Internet to take a break from election and political horrors and people in general. Not you guys, of course, you’re cool. ;-)
Checking in . . . seems like all questions have been answered or at least sufficiently responded to. I will check again later.
And Cole has announced that ad-free is a go!
I just signed up for a recurring donation, $20 per month. The number of “patrons” was getting close to 150. If the average is $10 we should be home free soon. I will also chip in for the “emergency” fund. This site keeps me sane. I don’t seem to get the video ads so they haven’t bothered me. I have no idea why I don’t get them since installing an ad blocker is above my pay grade.
@Zelma: The video ads have been turned off for 2-3 weeks.
Just signed up for $20 monthly on Patreon and sent a one time payment to the “safety fund”. (I was #150 on Patreon.)
I started a yearly donation last November to offset the use of an ad blocker. Was just getting ready to repeat that, but this new setup looks reliable and promising. Thanks to the organizers and the contributers!
Does it make me a bad jackal that a bonus is picturing Jurassic Other White Meat repeatedly banging his head against a very, very hard surface?
@EighthCousin: Thank you!
Got it to work with Patreon. I will be giving $10/month going forward.
@lashonharangue: Great! I deleted your previous comment and mine, since they make no sense now that it’s working.
Probably penultimate check-in for me. Will come back later this evening.
More comments in Cole’s thread upstairs.
Back to lurking….
I chipped in a lump sum last time, and I’m definitely up for that now, probably via Venmo.
Dont have a Patreon or Zelle yet, but I’ll investigate if I can easily setup monthly Venmo or PayPal somethings.
Not sure if this is the thread for it, but maybe a yearly or 2x yearly post to request “new Patrons” or to top off the $6K fund or whatever?
In for $10 per month at Patreon.
Late (as always) but in for $10/mo to start. I can increase that a bit if needed.
So many peeps setting up recurring donations and/or contributing to the safety net is much appreciated!
Just to be crystal clear, though, in case it isn’t already…
I’m OK, right now I’m just a few dollars short per month but I get a raise in January that is enough to make up for my current issue and then some so while it sounds serious it isn’t, it’s just that I was used to having 2 incomes, work and SS and now it’s just the one. I have a bit in the bank so all is not dire, just have to watch the pennies now. I have another year with the VA where I’ll have to pay for appointments and meds, but then I’ll be OK on that. So while I’d like to at least have a couple of left over dimes to rub together per month, at this time I’m short but OK. Others are doing far worse. I’ve been in far worse shape this decade. Life goes on..
A motto to live by!
I’m in for $5 a month as soon as I can figure out how to sign in to Patreon. Need to get a new password.
Signed up for $5/mo at Patreon.
Okay, I’m signing off on this thread. I’ll check back one more time in the morning, but it looks like it’s done.
Signed up for $10/month on Patreon, but the custom one time donation option wasn’t readily apparent.
@Steeplejack: OK, so I decided to use my alternative bank, Chase, which definitely supports Zelle. I tried to use the Chase app which integrates nicely with Zelle, and on the page where one adds the recipient, it says to enter an email AND/OR a phone number. I entered the email for Cole available by link from the sidebar, but the Chase app won’t accept just an email. No error message, just a greyed out “add recipient” button. I tried other emails, just in case for some reason it didn’t like Cole’s, but no luck.
I absolutely HATE how modern technology can make what should be simple so damnably difficult!
I don’t believe Patreon has a one-time-donation option. It is specifically designed for recurring pledges. If you want to make a one-time donation, use Zelle, PayPal or Venmo.
Cole’s Zelle address is different from his contact email address at Balloon-Juice.com. His Zelle address is jgriffincole at gmail.com (in proper email address format, of course—with an @).
@DougJ: 1000 dollars to run Balloon Juice might seem like a lot of money, but imagine if it cost 10000 a month instead. Then you start to wonder whether it’s worth it to have a blog at all.
by Ross Douthat
@Ruckus: It’s definitely one of mine ?
Good one! Just wanted to let you know that someone saw it.