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Recently the ugly head of funding this invaluable site has reared once again, with the same discussion and debate surrounding how best to fund the ongoing operation and overhead that a site like this requires. With the arrival of yet another fresh and well intentioned "team" who intend to help, and put a few shekels in their pocket along the way, I simply cannot watch the same train hurtling towards the cliff once again.
Iranian.com to Jahanshah Javid has become, the Spruce Goose to Howard Hughes. If it ever could fly, it would be awesome. And the amount of time JJ has been away on mysterious soul searchings, obsessively photo journaling his way through Budapest, Venice, Paris, and Mexico, rivals Hughes' final proclivity to buxom actresses and motels and hair and finger nail growth.
In absence of the typical Dickens benevolent benefactor, the "Great Expectations" we have had of our many billionaires, that have been promoted, honored, worshiped, and given a free ride to infamy (and Space!) on this site, apparently still haven't gotten the hint. Either that or the Prada, Gucci, and Ferrari catalogs are simply too irresistible this month. Or they are simply that dumb (and lucky) to not know what they need to do.
Having been a writer, supporter, and devoted worshiper of this esteemed (esteamed?) site for over 15 years now, I think I have seen every cockamamie funding idea you can think of, float by this "Taj Mahal", bobbing up and down like aimless turds on their way out to sea, selling us down the (Ganges) river.
Donations by the many “Ardalan” family members with real jobs, PBS style fund raising campaigns, pass the hat weekend barbecues by the stylish pot smoking Palo Alto set, clever sloganed T-shirt shops, and yes, many well-wishing Technologists armed with CPK and an equally eager (and surprisingly naive) venture capital investor in tow. Or Two! All of these have been tried, to no avail. At least twice!
The reason? Well, that should be obvious. If you are trying to fund a site populated by the most cynical, suspicious, angry, vocal, and skeptical element of a society (and God bless every single one of you!), why in God's name, would you ever expect them to click on a Moslem Dating ad, or worse, one accidentally placed by the US Army!
You see, Moslem Dating is an oxymoron. You see even if I was a Moslem, I couldn't actually click on the face of the women in the ads because that's like touching them, and my religion would prohibit that. Even virtually. Never mind the last place you would come to find Moslems, is on Iranian.com. I mean have you even read any of the overwhelmingly anti-Islamic content on this site?
To us fans of this site, when we see the worlds, "Be ALL you can be!", the word ALL means TRAITOR. When you say, "Army Strong", we hear "Army WRONG".
We know how banner ads (don't) work, we are here to engage in debate and discussion. Not buy stuff. We get our gadgets from our cousin in Dubai, or Costco. Because the prices are better, and while you are there, you can pick up Anar's the size of your kids' head. And everyone knows you don't need to actually buy tickets to Iranian concerts, because if you wait long enough, you can get into pretty much any Iranian concert for free. Including Googoosh!
So get it through your heads advertisers, we aren't going to waste our passion, anger, ideas, and commentary-time on your ads.
BEST FIREFOX PLUGIN EVER: If you don't want to become angered by ads you see on this site, do what I do. Install Ad Block Plus on your Firefox browser. And you're welcome.
The only link we will ever actually click on is YouTube. Mostly for the latest issue of Parazit, or videos of cats. And the day YouTube pays for watching videos, that day JJ will almost be as rich as people claim he is now.
Now, nothing against the latest batch of saviors to arrive on the scene, "Saeed" is a great kind benevolent guy and obviously knows a lot about online dating. But some of the ideas being discussed about making the site more social networkey, or adding this or that feature to emulate Facebook, are simply wrong for what we need, but Hey! If Saeed’s buying, then I’m certainly trying! Go for it.
But here’s my why.
First off, Facebook and social networking sites aren’t covering their costs either, so making this site more like them isn’t all that compelling. And certainly regardless of what PAAIA or NIAC is telling congress, there aren’t 500 million of us.
But the biggest reason, is that potential monetization is simply not what this site is about.
This site is one big giant at once beautiful and ugly ongoing poem. Dedicated to our sad and unfulfilled existence. Not much of a business plan to project cash flow from is it? But a hugely priceless return on our collective investment.
OK, so by now you're thinking, "OK Bruce, big words, cynical sure, funny... eh? sort of, but you've merely stated the obvious. Do you have a better idea?"
And to you, mes miserables, I would say, "Maybe".
Maybe, "Freedom of Speech" isn't actually "Free". Maybe, all of us who have been served and saved by this site, need to give something besides our heart, soul, and blessedly obscene commentary, back to it.
Maybe this is our Sputnik moment.
Maybe we should be asking not what Iranian.com can do for you, but what you can do for Iranian.com?
Maybe, like Obama, we need to raise taxes.
According to the best estimates, or at least the numbers being claimed to get yet more useless funding, 300,000 unique (talented and quite good looking!) visitors like you, visit Iranian.com every month.
And the best estimate for what it takes to run a site like this, is in the neighborhood of $50,000-$150,000 a year. This includes JJ’s salary. No really, I just checked with Kayvan!
If only half of us could pay, that’s less than $1.00 per year, less than $0.05 per month!
If only 10% of us could pay, that’s less than $5.00 per year, still a mere $0.50 per month.
If just one of us with a really low Google employee number could pay, that’s $150,000 a year or less than $12,000 a month. (Can you blame me for trying?)
So a $1.00 a year from 150,000 of us, or $5.00 per year from 30,000 of us, or $150,000.00 from one of us, to fund the site that has enabled more Iranians to express themselves freely, than any other publication in our entire 2500 years! A site that has published more free speech than all the Iranian publications in history, combined!
Including the Cyrus Scroll!
$1.00 or $5.00 a year seems fair to me. Even in tomans. (Actually, this is far less than I usually give!)
Now, I’ll admit that some of this, especially "the numbers", might not actually be exactly true. But so what? Who cares? This site deserves to be supported solely by us, the random ugly collective. We who are not corrupted by greed and profit, or by a single entity private or political, trying to control us. The random ugly dirty collective average of all of us, that’s what will keep this site free, and more importantly, ad free.
Join me this NoRooz season and through the month of April, let’s all donate $5.00 to keep Iranian.com and our Freedom of Speech, ad and investor free!
Since this is also a site for skeptics, conspiracy theorists, and outright paranoid schizophrenics, of course we will need independent verification of the tally, so someone come forward and offer to count de money already.
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