Despite not being updated on a daily basis, this website has been taking an increasing amount of my time in the past three years. Until 2012, my main source of income had been my work as a freelance translator (see Services for more information). Since early 2013, my focus went back to what I’ve really loved doing since I was a teenager — creative writing. After more than thirteen years ‘in the trenches’ of the translation world, I felt it was time for a change, as I was approaching burnout due to the working hours, the difficulties in dealing with mostly terrible clients, and the disheartening process of trying to get paid for my hard work. At the same time, after a peak in translation works and collaborations during the 2010–2012 period, things started to slow down (alarmingly) on the translation front, so that factor was also crucial in driving me back to the path of writing.
After publishing my first volume of short stories, Minigrooves in July 2013, and starting Vantage Point Magazine in June 2014, I wasn’t so naïve as to expect an immediate success, but I admit I expected a little more support, especially from people who seemed quite eager to read my stories and my magazine when I first announced these products.
Meanwhile I noticed that an increasing number of the prominent independent tech-oriented sites/blogs I read on a daily basis, started featuring a sponsorship model à la Daring Fireball, where sponsors purchase a week-long slot on one of these high-traffic sites/blogs, and the author usually publishes a promotional post from the sponsor at the start of the week, followed by another thank-you mention at the end of the week. Of course, with a high-profile site such as Daring Fireball, where the estimated monthly webpage views is 4–5 million, the sponsor is very likely to receive a great, fruitful exposure.
Now, my site is no Daring Fireball. In the tech-oriented independent punditry, I’m a small fish. That’s why I’m about to launch a scaled-down sponsorship model for this place, called The Small Fish Sponsorship.
The Small Fish Sponsorship
I would call what follows a ‘final draft,’ which means that the basics are all outlined, but there might be some refinements from here until the beginning of 2015, which is when this sponsorship model will become officially operational.
The Small Fish Sponsorship should work this way:
- It should start on January 2015.
- Every sponsor gets a week, like on Daring Fireball and other similar indie tech blogs/sites.
- Every sponsor will receive the same basic treatment: a promotional post at the beginning of the scheduled week (Monday), a thank-you mention at the end of the week (Sunday).
- If I find the sponsor’s product/service particularly interesting or useful to me, or deserving more attention, I could write a review of it. I could even write an Italian version of the review, so as to reach a wider audience. And if the product can also be of interest to an audience of vintage tech enthusiasts, I could mention it on my other blog, System Folder, which is about vintage technology and Macs in particular, and sometimes gets even more traffic than this website.
- Of course, since I’m a small fish, and the estimated monthly webpage views of this site is about 7,500, the price I’m asking is comparatively more affordable: €450 (or the equivalent in your preferred currency).
- Speaking of views, every now and then, an article I write gets the attention of bigger players such as MacStories. When that happens, the spike in traffic my site receives is considerable, so if you’re an interested sponsor, bear that in mind as well.
- If I’m particularly interested in the product promoted by the sponsor, the sponsor can use a unit of the product to cover part of the payment. For instance, if the sponsor is a manufacturer of a piece of hardware or an accessory that costs €100 and it costs €20 to ship the product to me, those €120 will be deducted from the €450 to purchase a week slot (so basically I will receive the product and €330).
- My blog may not be widely read, but I have a great audience of smart people who like quality stuff, and I respect every one of them. If your product lacks quality, don’t even bother contacting me.
- Don’t push for a review. As I mentioned above, a review is something I might spontaneously write if I find the sponsor’s product useful, appealing, worthy of more attention, etc. It has to be considered a bonus gesture on my part, not a given.
- Final reminder, just to be very clear: this is sponsorship. It’s not OK to contact me with advertising proposals for placing banners and similar ads on my website.
The Small Fish Sponsorship allows a sponsor to purchase a week-long slot for €450. Basic treatment: same as Daring Fireball (and other similar indie tech blogs/websites): post at the beginning of the week, thank-you mention at the end of the week. Main difference: the more I like your product, the more I’ll talk about it during the week. A review is possible if I love the product and think it’s worth spreading the word. If you push for a review, forget about it.
At the end of the day, the spirit behind this is simple: I’m (still) a small fish compared to other prominent tech-oriented blogs and websites, and I can’t offer their kind of traffic or visibility. Thus what I ask in return is relatively modest compared to those blogs. Still, if a sponsor has a particularly compelling product to offer, what I can provide is potentially more than just a mention and a thank you.
So, that’s it, in a nutshell. In the next weeks I may update this post with further clarifications/refinements, so stay tuned if you’re interested. When the Small Fish Sponsorship begins, this post will become a dedicated page on my site, and it will feature a calendar with a slot availability schedule, much like this page on Daring Fireball.
If you’re another ‘small fish’ indie operation like me and would like to propose this kind of model on your site, be kind and mention me on your blog and to your sponsors. Thank you.