Scott, DJW and myself founded LGM on May 31, 2004 at the end of what I now think of as the Early Days of the blogosphere. The site rapidly found a small but non-trivial audience, and became a small part of the bigger blogospheric conversation that developed around the 2004 election and its aftermath. That small audience grew over time, making it psychologically possible to continue contributing to the site even at a time when there were no noticeable financial or professional reasons to do so. Over time the complexity of the site grew, as did the list of contributors. It’s hard to even imagine a time at which Erik and Paul were not LGM writers, but it is nevertheless so; Paul has been with us for almost 13 years, and tomorrow will be Erik’s 10th anniversary as a contributor. Over the years Simon, Dave, the other Dave, Shakes, Vacuum, Melissa, Dan, Charli, Chris, Christa, Elizabeth, Abigail, Steve, Bean, Katie, and the dearly missed SEK have also helped made this site what it is today.
Lawyers, Guns and Money remains an independent site, which means that we have a wide array of bills. We pay the good folks at Sunant for our servers and for the technical service that the site periodically requires; we pay for a few different news subscriptions in order to give the contributors grist for their writing; we pay Disqus to maintain the comment section; we pay the accountants at Fister, Williams and Oberlander to make the numbers dance during tax season; we pay Zapier to make our social media function with a minimum of fuss and muss; we pay to maintain Acephalous; we pay Blubrry for podcast hosting; we donate to Wikipedia in honor of its generous provision of photos for the site, and there are always a variety of other things that come up from time to time. And of course, these expenses have gone up over the years as the site has grown larger and more time-consuming to manage.
Our approach to revenue has been guided by the following idea. We want to make enough money to pay the bills associated with maintaining the site, while having enough left over to share between the contributors. There has never been enough to fairly contribute the writers for the time that they spend here, and there has never been enough to make up for the time we spend working on the bones of the site, but that’s the business. But we have not tried to maximize revenue through ads that would break the site; no pop-ups, no complaints about ad-blockers, nothing that excessively slows the site down or otherwise disrupts the experience. When Google threw a pop-up at us last month because of a box I clicked a decade ago, it led to a month of nonsense negotiating between our technical people and different ad servers in order to restore complete functionality.
Long story short, ads and donations are both part of what makes this site function, and all of us here deeply appreciate any contribution you can make. The situation varies from month to month, but ads *mostly* take care of the foundational expenses, meaning that donations will mostly be shared between the contributors to the site. Nobody is getting rich, but it’s nice to see folks getting a share of what they deserve for the work that they do. There are several ways to contribute; a one time donation through Paypal or through Venmo (@lefarkins), a continuing donation through Patreon, or a purchase through our Merch store on Spreadshirt.
Speaking for myself, apart from my kids and my teaching I feel like LGM is the most important contribution that I have been able to make. It has always been an honor to be on the masthead with the fine writers of this site, just as it has been an honor to have my own work read by the finest comment section in the Old Blogosphere. You have my deepest thanks for continuing to make this site prosper.