Editorial: Why We’ve Just Launched a Patreon Campaign for Transport Evolved — And We Hope You’ll Support Us

Most news sites out there are relying heavily on subscription-only paywalls or heavy advertising to keep paying their bills every month. The result? Readers find their content elsewhere, or find out a way to use ad-blocking software to get rid of annoying popups.

Here at Transport Evolved, we’re committed to continuing to bring you as much high-quality content as we can, complete with the level of analysis that other sites often ignore. In a world where sound bytes are often prefered to contextual information, we’re standing up to go against the grain.

Covering events like the Formula E final in London is a privilege, but it also costs us money to do.

Covering events like the Formula E final in London is a privilege, but it also costs us money to do.

But to do that, we need your support.

So far, Transport Evolved has mainly been self-funding, using adsense income where possible to keep the servers switched on and the site responsive. But we’re entering into an age where adsense ads are slowly being eradicated, either through ad-blocking software or through platforms like Apple’s iOS, which actively blocks ads.

Of course, there are other ways for a site like Transport Evolved to make money. The first would be for us to find a willing angel investor, ready and able to support our growth for a sizeable chunk of equity. But, having seen so many sites in recent years suffer the rapid expansion of the online content bubble (and subsequently lose everything when that bubble burst) we decided that option wasn’t for us at the current time.

Indeed, if everything we’ve read about online news sites and blogs tells us anything, it’s that sites that try to replicate traditional print media suffer some nasty consequences when they expand too quickly.

We don’t want to be like that.

Which led us to another option: paywalls. We’re not sure about you, but when we find a site with some form of paywall, we’re tempted to go elsewhere to find out the same information. If you’re The New York Times, that’s not so much of an issue. But if you’re a specialists news site every eyeball matters. Add to this my own personal dislike of paywalls (as Editor in Chief, I believe information should be freely accessible to all) and you’ll see why we didn’t go that route.

We believe information should be free, so you won't find us behind a paywall.

We believe information should be free, so you won’t find us behind a paywall.

Which brings us to advertorials, the mainstay of most mainstream news sites. Advertorials work by placing content on a particular site that is either sponsored by a particular entity or serves to hide an advertisement or product endorsement within the body of the text.

Here at Transport Evolvedwe’re aware that some of our reputation comes from the fact that we try to produce the very best content from an impartial and informed angle. We’re okay with traditional adverts, but we’ve never felt that advertorials made sense to us as we felt they blurred the line between editorial content and ads.

We’ve also seen the backlash that other sites in our sector have received as a consequence of running advertorials. We don’t want that for ourselves.

Another choice was licensing our content. It was an avenue we hadn’t even considered until we were approached a few months ago by a company asking if they could license a small section of one of our YouTube videos. Willing to pay a handsome price, we did entertain the notion for a brief while until it dawned on us that the end client was an automaker who wanted to use a Transport Evolved clip in a new advert.

We decided at that point that would also reflect badly on us should the clip be used in a way that contracted our editorial values.  Suffice to say, we had to cover the very same automaker a few hours after declining the deal. At that point, we decided we would never accept payment from the auto industry we sought to cover. (For those who are interested, we never have).

So that left us with one final choice: crowd-funding, and Patreon.

QuickCharge: Smart ForTwo Electric Drive (Mark Drives)

Help us make great content.

We understand that not everyone who reads our site can afford to make a contribution, but like the Great American institution which is PBS, we’re going to ask you, our readers, to contribute what you can to help us continue to stay independent, continue our gradual growth, and ensure that we can survive through the upcoming turmoil as Apple and Google fight it out over online ads.

Those who have followed us long enough know that we used to run an online subscription service via PayPal. Due to something called VATMOSS — a heinous law in the European Union which not only affects businesses in the EU but any global business with customers in the EU, continuing that subscription service was impossible. Indeed, even now, with Transport Evolved LLC based in Portland, Oregon, the long arm of VATMOSS would still make such a service impossible for us.

Luckily, Patreon, an online crowdfunding service, has our back covered. It takes care of such things, leaving us to continue to create the content that we know you want every day. And in return for supporting us, Patreon Patrons get access to a series of neat perks as a way of saying thanks for all their support.

So, please consider helping us stay independent by heading over to Patreon now and making a monthly pledge. You can pledge as little as one dollar or as much as you’d like.

On behalf of myself and the entire Transport Evolved team, thanks.



Want to keep up with the latest news in evolving transport? Don’t forget to follow Transport Evolved on Twitter, like us on Facebook and G+, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

You can also support us directly as a monthly supporting member by visiting Patreon.com.

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