Thank you for writing.
I agree with you completely. This system should be free for everyone. I truly wish that it could have remained that way.
Most folks have no idea that this is a one man operation, one which has no outside funding, no federal or other funding. I’ve funded it out of my own pocket, to the tune of many tens of thousands of dollars, over the last 18 months. It is also more than a full time job, but it’s a job without a paycheck, and a job that has many expenses. It is my belief that it should be federally funded and free to everyone, but the only offer of funding that came from feds also came with unacceptable strings attached – had I accepted their funding they would have limited my ability to disseminate information. I couldn’t make myself believe that it was in the best interest of the country so I turned them down, even though their offer was everything I could want, including my own analysts and my own operations center. I tried to compromise with them but they didn’t bother to respond.
Your suggestions are fine, except that we tried them already. We do have some advertising which produces minimal income, but not enough to even cover hosting fees. What most people fail to take into account is the major difficulty in getting any major corporation to advertise on a website they feel is ‘not politically correct’. We did try accepting donations on the website in the month of March as a test, while we received over 1 million visitors that month only a grand total of 8 people managed to donate. Those 8 people have had their money returned and have been offered free lifetime subscriptions.
Without any funding, my only options were to shut it all down, sell it, or move to a subscription model. In April I surveyed our audience and 81% of those that chose to respond told me to give the subscription model a try, so that is what is happening. If it doesn’t work and it fails, then it all gets shut down anyways, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to give it a try. This is my last ditch effort to keep it alive. It’s not about getting rich, it is about keeping the site alive.
The free version of the map will still give you some information– the incident type and location. Also the amber-alerts, the school incidents, the illegal alien activity, the hazmat situations map – those maps will continue to remain free, funded by the subscription fees from the terrorism/suspicious activity map.
I hope you understand now.