Gizmo's is Saved! A Hearty Thanks to all who Donated

Collectively, you've done it. Your generous donations over the last two weeks have allowed us to reach our fundraising target. That means that the survival of Gizmo's Freeware is assured for the immediate future. A heart-felt thanks to you all.
Some of you donated very generously and I must admit I was touched by that.  I was also touched by emails from a number of our readers who said they would try to donate in the future when they could afford it. This included a pensioner who said he would donate 50 cents from his next five pension payments. This deeply generous gesture was so heart-warming that it brought a tear to my eyes. It made me feel both proud and humbled by the support offered by you all, whatever the amount you donated.
But problems remain. Although Gizmo's Freeware is now financially viable in the short term we need a better financial plan for the longer term than we have at the moment. I really don't want to have to ask our loyal readers to donate again so we need to look for a better financial solution.
I have some ideas here but next week I'm going to ask you guys for suggestions. Your collective brain power and experience is huge and I'm sure there are some good ideas out there. But more of that next week.
Once again, a thanks from the Gizmo's Freeware team to all of you who have supported us. It is truly appreciated.

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I followed Jerry Pournelle's site, and he operated on the Public Radio Model. His site was open and free. But, twice a year, for one week each time, he would add a few words at the beginning or end of each day's posts, asking people to consider donating. (He called it the Public Radio Model, because when his local NPR station started their pledge drive it would remind him that it was time for his own.) His was a fairly soft sell, but he would remind people that the donations justified the time he put into the site, and allowed him to remain free from the influence of advertisers. Words to that effect were his pledge drive text.

I found that to be a very reasonable compromise. He didn't bug people for money, constantly. And, his pledge drives reminded me to donate once a year.

Alternatively, I'd subscribe here via Patreon.

Drake Christensen

I share the enthusiasm and respect already expressed by others for this Gizmo site and for the objective and reliable advice it offers. So I was happy to send a donation (a modest one, as I'm a pensioner!).

As MidnightCowboy notes in his post about GHacks, the problem of sustaining independent sites is widespread. Covert funding and advertising undermines trust - especially if such funding is not transparent.

I wonder if it is worth examining the approach taken by another online-advice site. Ironically the site, MoneySaving Expert (which was founded and run in the UK) was conceived to offer impartial financial advice!

Their service involves providing reviews and links to other products and services (much like Gizmo's does - only their links were to banks, insurance companies, building societies etc, rather than software providers). They were concerned that their credibility would be compromised by advertising.

The arrangement they made was to be upfront and transparent about "sponsored links". Their reviews and analysis included links to the products concerned. The arrangement was evidently that MSE obtained a click-through payment when anyone clicked on the link. But such links were always marked by an asterisk and an explanatory note. And IIRC there was always an option to navigate to the provider's site or product without using the sponsored link.

This isn't perfect. It relies on the editorial integrity of the site-owners to maintain an objective approach, and to avoid selecting or giving prominence only to products/sites which offer to sponsor links. But it is perhaps one possible way to keep sites such as Gizmo's alive.

I agree about Patreon. Many, many youtube folks have moved due to questionable policy adjustments. I, like the mentioned pensioner, am on a fixed income so regular commitment could sometimes be difficult. (how's that for bad grammar)

I was delighted to contribute again and will continue to do so but I think you're right - you shouldn't have to go around asking for donations.

I love visiting Gizmo's Freeware but more importantly I TRUST your site to be objective and honest about the stuff you review. This, I think, is your unique selling point.

I wonder if there is a place for a Gizmo sub-site that reviewed commercial software *and services* on the same honest basis but funding itself from a membership fee rather than supplier kick-backs.

As an IT professional I know how difficult and time-consuming it is to evaluate different products (desktop software, online services, VPNs etc) when the need arises. This is made even more difficult by the sites funded by companies that just *happen* to rate theie products most highly in a group test. I'd be happy to pay for access to reliable reviews.

Not an answer to your problem but offered as food for thought!


How about an annual membership fee?

How about using Patreon?

It has already been suggested by others to encourage people to whitelist Gizmo's site on their adblock etc. extensions. But perhaps this will not be enough. Still, if it is a help, one of Gizmo's excellent editors might put up a guide to do this in the most popular adblockers. Just an idea...

If browsers could maybe have extensions to do like Brave browser is doing with assigning some BAT (cryptocurrency) to registered websites and giving a bunch to start with free to surfers, at least we could give a few of those by simply visiting TS.

Unfortunately our own situation is mirrored throughout the web. This statement on another long established site (Ghacks) pretty much sums up the collective position. MC - Site Manager.

"Advertising revenue is falling fast across the Internet, and independently-run sites like Ghacks are hit hardest by it. The advertising model in its current form is coming to an end, and we have to find other ways to continue operating this site."