In many respects the advertising model is an ideal one for websites like YLF. It allows us to earn income that supports our work on the site, and people can read or participate without having to worry about making any sort of payment. YLF as you see it today would not have existed were it not for advertising revenue.
But the advertising model, at least in its current form, is in decline. There has been a sort of race to the bottom, with advertising rates dropping and the ads themselves getting ever more invasive and distracting over time. The ads are also getting more complex, loading sophisticated tracking mechanisms so that they can show you the most targeted ad possible.
The result is that ads slow down the site significantly, especially when you are loading pages on your phone. We know that some people get around this using ad blockers, but we don’t feel good about the fact that some of our most loyal supporters don’t block ads and therefore get a worse experience on YLF.
Bottom line: we want everyone to have the best possible YLF experience, and that means eliminating banner ads. When we asked you whether you would like to pay for an ad-free version of YLF, the answer was a resounding “no”. So we have decided to take a different approach. We are trying this initially for logged in members, but if it is successful then we plan to make it available to everyone.
The approach has two parts.
- There are no banner ads on the site if you are logged in. So all you need to do to get an ad-free experience is to become a member.
- We are introducing a way for members to make a completely optional monthly contribution of $8 to support YLF. We are referring to people who contribute in this way as “YLF Patrons.”
In order to become a YLF Patron, please visit this page. Click or tap the “Become a Patron” button to enter your payment details. We are using the well-known payment service, Stripe, to handle all credit card transactions (we do not store your credit card details on YLF servers). The contributions will start immediately, and you can go to your profile page to manage your payment details or cancel your contribution at any time.
If you become a patron you will see a little heart alongside the YLF logo to confirm that everything is working correctly.
Right now becoming a YLF Patron is purely a way to support the maintenance and growth of YLF. We may add some benefits that are specific to patrons in future, but want to be clear that this is not intended to be some sort of premium membership. Most importantly, if you choose not to become a patron you won’t lose access to any of the YLF content or features you enjoy today.
But if you feel you get value from YLF and you’re in a position to make a contribution of $8 per month, we’d love you to join us in being a part of the team that builds this place on the Internet.