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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Aquaman Shrine: Now with 100% No Ads!

A warning: this post is about the inner workings of The Aquaman Shrine. For those of you not at all interested in this topic, stop reading now. You can come back in a few hours where there will be new Aqua-content, as always. Those of you who are interested in this topic, please keep reading!

Many of you have noticed by now that the Google-driven ads are gone. This was, initially, not the Shrine's doing. Last Saturday, I received an email from Google Ad Sense telling me the Shrine's Ad Sense account was immediately cancelled. I was of course shocked at this, and inquired as to why.

All Google Ad Sense would tell me is that the Shrine had participated in "suspicious activity", meaning that some of the clicks generated by the Shrine's ads had, in Google Ad Sense's eyes, violated the rules, which led to the termination of the account, and any money that the Shrine had already accrued (somewhere in the hundreds of dollars) would never be paid.

In the interest of keeping this post short, I will not get into the details of why this turn of events was, in my eyes, completely ridiculous, unfair, and infuriating. I was being accused and convicted of something either A)I didn't do, or B)Had no control over. I'll never know, because Google Ad Sense refused to tell me exactly what the Shrine (or its readers) did that was so wrong (if you want to learn more on this topic, I recommend this page by someone who went through it, too).

This sudden change in the Shrine's operating budget leaves us with a big problem: with Aquaman's dramatically increased presence in the DCU just weeks away, the Shrine had planned to expand accordingly: we're working on an Aquaman Shrine podcast, real-time coverage of events (the midnight release of Justice League #1, for example), more visits to comic cons, commissioning some original content, maybe even buying some online advertising to get the word out.

For years, I (the "I" being me, Rob Kelly) was able to fund the Shrine by myself, the financial loss I incurred by doing so was fairly insignificant. That's because, for most of the Shrine's existence until last year, Aquaman was D-E-A-D in the main DCU, so therefore coverage of him was rooted in the past, not the present or future. It's fairly cheap to talk about some weird Aquaman toy from the 1970s, not so much to go to the New York Comic Con and try to get Dan Didio to pose with a F.O.A.M. certificate.

But ever since the Shrine's audience started growing by leaps and bounds, I had to decide whether to try and keep up with the demand, or simply keep the Shrine the humble little effort it started out as, content to never have it be any more than a nostalgic look back at our favorite superhero. I chose the former, and thanks to Shrine Correspondents Russell Burbage, Andy Luckett, and Joe Slab, the Shrine has gone from that humble little effort to an actual news-and-pop-culture-gathering concern, and that's something I'm very proud of!

So somehow the money we were planning to make from Google Ad Sense and put right back into the Shrine has to be made up. I'm guessing all of you who bothered to read this far have guessed this is where you come in. And you're right.

Starting today, you can "subscribe" to the Aquaman Shrine for the absurdly low rate of $1 a month--yes, that's right, $1 a month. If you click the graphic below this post (it can also be seen in the sidebar), you will be taken to Paypal where you can sign up as a subscriber to the Shrine. Paypal will deduct $1--not a penny more--each month from either your standing Paypal balance, checking account, or credit card. You will receive an email from them every month upon payment, informing you the $1 has just been transferred to the Shrine's treasure chest (I do this for several podcasts I follow).

How did I arrive at this figure? Well, I wanted it to be low enough to be affordable to everyone, but large enough that it would make a difference, and enable the Shrine to be completely self-sufficient, never again needing to run a single ugly ad.

The Aquaman Shrine, across its three main platforms (the blog, Twitter, and Facebook), racks up a couple thousand hits a day, a staggering total considering how singularly focused this blog is. But it's a testament to all of you, who comment, send pics and links in, and just generally give a damn about what goes on here, day in, day out. Without you the Shrine probably would have ended a long time ago, and because of you I (and the other guys!) get to spend a good chunk of my day doing something I truly love.

If just a small sliver of the Shrine's normal daily audience contributes, you will render it solvent in perpetuity, meaning we'll able to expand our coverage, do more, see more, and make The Aquaman Shrine an even better place to honor one of the greatest, most enduring characters in popular fiction.

So if you feel what the Aquaman Shrine brings you day in, day out (for almost five straight years now!) is worth chipping in $1 a month for, click the graphic below and sign up.

Thanks for your attention, Aqua-Fans!

Post Script: A couple of final comments:

1)Any of you who donated a flat amount previously are not expected to subscribe; you've done enough, thank you!

2)Like I stated before regarding the one-time donations, anyone who subscribes and is not already a F.O.A.M. member becomes one! Those of you who already are in the hallowed halls of F.O.A.M. will have the satisfaction of knowing when you see the Shrine each day, you're the reason why its there.

3)The Shrine has one final NSFW message for Google Ad Sense.


Sean Tiffany said...

Done and done!

Rick L. Phillips said...

I had the same problem with Googleadsense when my site On My Mind was starting to pick up some steam. You would think they would tell you why before canceling your account. That way you could fix the problem. I think they just don't want to pay you.

Jakethy said...

Yeah, that sounds like grounds for an investigation by the Better Business Bureau - it seems as if they should be contractually required to tell you. Mr. Allen put it perfectly.

Regardless, $1 a month is the bargain of a lifetime - I'm in! Going back to no ads will be nice and I'm looking forward to the advances that our bucks will bring.

Wings1295 said...

Great idea and totally a better choice than the Google ads!

As said above, done & done!

Orin's dad said...

Count me in! Everything you (and your staff) do for the Shrine and Aquaman is totally worth a mere $12/year to me. Thanks rob!, Russell, Andy, and Joe!

Scott said...

Happy to help, Rob!

Keep up the great work!

Brent said...

Sorry you got Googled, Rob. You've got my full support (and my dollar a month)!

rob! said...

Thanks guys! I felt like we were taking a huge risk doing this--after all, how many blogs out there are self-sufficient like this?--but I have faith Aqua-Fans will come through.

Of course, just this morning I got an email from an online poker site who wants to advertise on the Shrine and pay us a fair (not terrible, but not great) amount for the privilege. WHERE WERE YOU GUYS YESTERDAY? :)

Unknown said...

All set. How could I leave anyone in the lurch when you let me make your wiki site. Long live the king!

The Irredeemable Shag said...

Done! This is WAY better than a subscription to Grit!

The Irredeemable Shag

rob! said...


Oh, didn't I mention, you also get a year's worth of Grit?

Thanks for the support!

Mike said...

Just joined! Aquaman has been my favourite Super Hero since I was 12! I quit reading comics years ago but have come back because of all the Aqua-excitment going on! I never thought Aquaman could be this popular! Thanks for all your work on the Aquaman shrine-

rob! said...

Thx Mike!