That realization is: online advertising ain't what it used to be.
Once upon a time, I thought that it would be just fine for me to write all my great stuff on Lehigh football for free, and to have the magic of affiliate ads, context banners, and maybe some other doodads to compensate me somewhat for the time and energy that I put in.
But I'm afraid I've come to the conclusion that this business model will no longer work the way things stand right now.
It is not a conclusion I came to easily.
But I do have an idea for a somewhat alternative business model for the content that you like on LFN. How it ends up working will ultimately determine whether I will be able to keep providing my great LFN content for free, or ultimately put it behind a subscriber firewall.
There are two ways:
1. Consider making a donation through PayPal just to say "thanks":
See this button? It's the same button that's on the right-hand sidebar of this blog.
What this does is allows you to acknowledge that you, dear Reader, appreciate the blog and want to see me continue to provide coverage by going to places like Lynchburg, VA (Liberty), Hamilton, NY (Colgate), and any other places around the country that might be a destination for Lehigh football.
It's worth mentioning here that what I do is supported completely by myself. I'm not a media organization. I'm independent in my coverage - and proud of this fact.
When you donate, you are saying that independent sports coverage is a great idea.
It's important for me to say that: pushing this button is NOT a requirement to read and enjoy this blog. Like PBS, I consider it something I want people to be able to read, and enjoy, publicly.
But if you're so inclined, every donation is deeply appreciated, and would go towards showing that you appreciate the type of coverage I provide, and that you like me going to games, posting non-stop Facebook and Twitter updates, and the like.
2. Do some online shopping through the LFN Portal:
Personally, this is the way I am hoping you, dear Reader, will be able to support great Lehigh football coverage.
Were you planning on shopping on Amazon, looking for a Christmas or birthday gift, or perhaps just to get yourself, well, anything?
Instead of going to Google first, bookmark the LFN online shopping portal page instead, and go to the Amazon search box and look for something. Or click on an item in the enormous banner ad.
When you do, you are supporting LFN!
I really hope this will work the best for people because to you, dear Reader, it doesn't matter how you get to your Amazon purchase.
Whether you search for that official Lehigh hat, it costs you the same whether you go to Google first and type "Lehigh hat" or go to my LFN portal and click "Lehigh Hat".
But if you go to the Lehigh portal instead, you can feel good to know that you're supporting independent Lehigh coverage with the purchase you would have made anyway.
In the upcoming weeks I'm going to put new affiliates up there: hoping for Walmart, Sam's Club, and others.
(Suggestions are welcome, but I don't want to clutter up the page with any more than five such stores.)
All will work the same. When you buy something from these sites through my portal, you'll be supporting independent Lehigh reporting.
If enough people do this, I won't need to ever have to ask anything else of you, dear Reader, than make my shopping portal a page you bookmark and use. That is what I am hoping, because I want my content to be free.