Hi folks. We figured that since all of the big publications are doing it that we might as well too; today, we’re asking you to donate to the site. Your donations go towards paying the staff, who are all compensated ethically and fairly compared to many large photography blogs out there. Since 2009, we’ve stood by both this policy and by being 100% transparent with you. We’ve encouraged YouTubers and other sites to do the same. We honestly also have some of the most strict editorial policies in the Photo Publication world.. So, if you’re inclined to ensure that a our publication can keep paying rent, its workers, and its debt, then please either consider clicking the link below or reading on to find out more.
There’s tons of misinformation out there about websites like ours. I’m going to address some of that misinformation with facts. I find myself doing this over and over again.
Statement: Publications are facing record traffic numbers now.
Truth 1: That’s mostly happening with food, tech, news, gaming, and fitness publications. I can tell you that many other niche publications aren’t experiencing this. The photo world, watch world, travel world, lifestyle, outdoors, etc. aren’t experiencing this. Those numbers are compounded by a massive search engine change that Google instituted back around October/November. Publications around the world suddenly saw a dip overnight. Google does this often to clean up anything publications and companies have been doing to gamify the system and take advantage of loopholes. Even some of the most honest publications, like us, saw a dip from it. For years, we were immune because, well, we followed the rules. It’s insane; a lot of websites and media outlets are experiencing record traffic numbers in specific sectors. The problem is that it doesn’t translate into money.
So, what makes us so unique?
- We have the most original lens reviews of any publication on the web
- My unique background of working in journalism, SEO, tech, then at Magnum, then at B&H Photo, my former non-profit work, and experience, etc.
- Paul’s background in both tech and design
- Dan’s background in street, tech, and mental health
- Brett’s background in tech and curation
- Mark’s background in street and editing
- We have a specific publishing schedule that caters to the entire world
- We have a massive worldwide audience, not just in the US.
- Our European audience and Asian audience outdoes even native publications in those areas. And when I personally travel to those areas, we’re told how much more we ‘get it’ in the industry
- We’re honest
- We have the most camera bag reviews of any publication on the web
- We have the most camera strap reviews of any publication on the web
- We uphold NDAs with all the companies and built this site on honoring our word and our transparency
- We’ve never harassed our models on a set. The one time we discovered it happened, we told that staffer to take a hike. Phoblographer’s editors are screened and checked before all of these things happen. We’re also always reinforcing good values with each other. Sometimes, even if some of us take meds, which the site has paid for in the past, things happen.
- You probably discovered us on Google by researching a product you want, and we were ranked highly because of our site’s value
- We’re often told that while some other publications you go to for the news, people come to us because they’re photographers first.
- We recommend gear, and if you stick around with us for a while, we also teach you how to use it.
- All those infographics and photography cheat sheets! We make a lot of them on our own too.
- I routinely pay our staff sometimes better than myself. Our small staff combined probably makes more than what the massive bevy of staffers make at other publications. Our staff isn’t exploited or working for slave labor. I pay very fairly even in comparison to big newspapers in some states.
- Despite being Latino though not Hispanic, I didn’t move to Puerto Rico to avoid paying taxes.
Statement: Well, you’ve got all those ads.
Truth 2: We’ve got ads, and last month we started to show signs of traffic recovery. You’ve probably noticed that instead of publishing seven times most days, we’re now posting more carefully done pieces every six hours. The ads help us pay the ethical rates. While some publications pay workers only based on performance, we ensure that our workers can put away some money in savings, put food on the table for kids, keep gas in their cars, etc. All of our workers are freelancers, and even the ones we’ve let go of in the past will tell you we paid good money.
As companies cut their advertising budgets, media companies get decimated. Lots of folks in the industry have had either a pay cut, furlough, or lay off. Whenever this happens, I’m often in a place where others come to me, asking for work. In the past few months, I’ve had mentors of mine ask me if I had any openings (we don’t at the moment). I’ve even had people from more prominent websites ask me for work. It’s brutal, and it’s unlikely many will recover. You should also know that there are two types of display ads:
- Programmatic Ads: These are basically things that Google serves you based on your searches and your browsing history. These have meager payouts and are based more on volume.
- Direct buys: These really helps keep the lights on for many publications. When these pop up, they’re in the form of banners or sponsored content. We’re INCREDIBLY TRANSPARENT about sponsored content and sponsorships in general.
Then, there are affiliate-based ads. Adorama bought in for half a year last year and that’s why we went all in with them around that time, but we were always transparent about it. These are the things from Amazon, PhotoWhoa, CreativeLIVE, etc. that we post. We know you folks like these things because we’ve analyzed the traffic trends. When you click on those ads and make a purchase, we receive a kickback at no extra cost to you.
Statement: Well, you can apply for all the loans. There’s tons of money out there.
Truth 3: Every other company is doing this. And lots of those loans are going to big companies. The way it works is that if a big company, say Shake Shack, applies for a loan, they apply per location. Further, they probably have sub-companies that only do things like shipping or something like that. So each of those companies applies and gets money accordingly. A niche photo publication can’t compete there. Even though that money is meant for all the mom and pop shops out there, the truth is that it doesn’t come to us.
Statement: It will be good if all photo publications fail and explode because I don’t agree with what they say.
Truth 4: We’ve adapted as best as we can, and we continue to go even further. Our YouTube Channel puts out a few videos a week, but creating content for someone else’s platform isn’t as safe as us creating content for our own platform. We provide a variety of opinion based content here that we all pretty much agree on because we all try these products. I’ll firmly stand by the fact that we’re incredibly honest with you, and that comes out of good intentions from the start. Lots of other publications aren’t as honest. And this isn’t my bad-mouthing other photo publications; it’s a fact. We survived by being this transparent with our audience and our core readers for over a decade now. Also, for the record, we don’t make clickbait. We make sensationalized headlines, but so does everyone else. Clickbait implies that we bring you here, and you don’t get what you came for. We don’t do that.
Without advertising, you can look forward to more subscription fees across the web on the content you’re used to getting for free. Yes, you can find free versions out there, but we deliver unique content. Look at our homepage on any given day verses that of any other photo publication; we stand out. Still, there’s a massive difference between a skilled reporter and writer researching accurate information and someone collecting some links from the internet and shouting them on YouTube. You may not know it yet, but it’s true.
Either way, know that at the end of the day, each of us logs into WordPress every morning, ensuring that we’re truthful, honest, and will work to help you as much as we can.
With that said, Click here to donate to The Phoblographer.