Editorial: A Word About The Ads on NFTU

Should NFTU remain ad-based or move to a subscription service?

Of late, we’ve received a number of complaints about the advertising on NFTU. They have ranged from polite to almost marginally vulgar. Some complaints came from people who have the best interests of the site in mind, but do not understand why we are resorting to advertising. Some seemed to see this as an excuse to rail upon the “mercenary” nature of our site, since we refuse to be partisan, and assume the site now exists for profit. I’d like to take a moment to address them personally.

To the right on the main page there is now a “monthly support received” notice which tells our readers just how much people have actually donated to keep the site running. As you may notice for August, $25 was donated to NFTU to keep it running (thank you!)

That amount will be split amongst our volunteers. The simple truth of the matter is that this site has always been run part-time, and its growth has had an inverse relationship with the amount of time spent on it. My eventual goal, however, is to see NFTU grow on par with other Orthodox news groups, and so far that has been going admirably– but requires a greater investment of time. Perhaps we don’t have time on this earth for that. I don’t know.

To help fund this process, I’ve created both an affilate system on Amazon and a set of Google ads on the page.  The truth is, however, that ads don’t automatically produce huge profits. (We have not reached the payment threshold with either company, and I will disclose this when we do.) They are producing profits, however, and the second we actually receive them, we will disclose them. Furthermore, upon the discovery that inappropriate ads can make it to NFTU, I now review the ads on a (mostly) daily basis and remove questionable ads.

When we began redesigning NFTU, there were a couple of people who suggested we run NFTU on a subscription basis. I really question the value of such an idea, because NFTU has existed now for eight years and has always been free for our readers. However, I would certainly stop any advertising were we to go in that direction. I remain torn over the idea, because nobody is going to be happy with either choice. But either I’m going to commit to one or the other. NFTU will not keep pace with other organizations if we reduce it to a hobby. So there has to be a way to monetize the site. Nobody started NFTU to make a profit. But to keep it growing at its current pace takes an investment of time that is largely invisible to our readers.

So we are at a crossroads– what do we do? Do we keep the ads? Or go to a subscription service? The comments are open here, and keeping the status quo is the direction I am inclining towards. If our readers feel differently, our comment section is open, and I’m listening.

In Christ,
Dcn Joseph Suaiden, General Editor, NFTU