** UPDATED 14/8 ** Blog Announcement **

I am sure that many will remember that over 6 months ago I announced that I would finish doing this blog at the end of last March, as I had accepted another commitment. (That supermarket is still not open yet, but it should be in a few weeks).

UPDATED MONDAY 14th AUGUST – CONTINUE READING BY CLICKING THE LINK BELOW, AND GO TO THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE

Unprompted by me, Alan (aka Flowerman) started a campaign to keep the blog going, by raising pledges, and although in the end they only amounted to about €10 a day I agreed to continue and hoped that more could be raised in the future, so I could do the blog instead of working at the supermarket, or at least do both things part time. In the end 15 pledges were received, but only 11 of those were actually paid (one is pending). And I would like to say that I am extremely grateful to those who pledged and paid. Only 3 new pledges have come along in the 5 months since then, so that side of things didn’t quite go as planned. Other initiatives to raise funding to make this blog a permanent facility also failed due to matters out of my hands. With 2 exceptions the pledges I received have all run their course, and I am pretty much back to square one at the end of this month.

Since March the new much improved blog, sponsored and hosted by Madeira Island Direct has come along, and I have gone from producing around 1,000 – 1,500 words a day, to around 2,500 currently (bit short the last few days, but you can blame the newspapers). The complexity of the new software and new features have also added a considerable amount of time to the daily workload, and the 3 to 4 hours I used to spend, has now turned into six or more hours a day, 7 days a week, more than a full time job. This month will see the 1,000th blog published. Also, previously the news was always reported the day after the newspapers, now it is nearly always published here the same day.

I have produced the blogs every single day for the last year, I missed one day when unexpectedly I had to go to hospital, but even then I backtracked on what I had missed. I now know that I cannot work in the supermarket and do this as well, even on a part time basis if something is to be published every day, with the amount of time and effort I currently put in.

So I am at a crossroads. I pack in the blog and move onto a new job, or I continue as I have been for over two years now. That decision is out of my hands.

I am not asking anyone for money, but I know that it will disappoint a lot of people if the blog stops. If anyone wants me to continue, please don’t donate any money at this stage, just drop me a line at [email protected] with a pledge. Please don’t pledge if you don’t intend to pay, thanks. Of course I would prefer the blog to continue, and I enjoy doing it, but the alternative does not worry me, so please don’t pledge thinking it is to help me out. Also if the 11 people who did pledge back in March (and paid) also want to continue their backing, please email me also please.

If you want to see this facility continue for another 6 months (and hopefully much longer), please email me with a pledge, and also say how and when you will pay (€/£ bank transfer or cheque, or by standing order, or less preferably by PayPal), as if 20% fail to honour their pledges as last time, then it is not likely to work out. I will work on 6 months initially, and then do a similar exercise in 6 months time.

Please also bear in mind that although I will try and produce something every day, sometimes I might miss out or do something smaller, depending on circumstances, so perhaps base any pledge on 6 days a week (and maybe allow for a few days off squeezed in somewhere for me too).

The other and better option is that someone else takes this blog over, or even better several people, but as I tried that approach earlier this year, I don’t think that is likely to happen, but who knows!

Any other suggestions welcome, and you can post them here in the ‘comments’ facility which will be open for at least the next 10 days.

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SATURDAY 5/8 – Thanks for all the input and suggestions, and pledges so far. I will wait until Tuesday until making a response so I can consider all the ideas up until then.

But a few points that might help with some of the questions.

1. I believe advertising is out of the question, but it is up to the sponsor, it is his website, and I am just the writer. I originally hoped advertising would make up the shortfall last March, but it didn’t work out.

2. In terms of fund raising, I would just be looking to replace the minimum wage I would get at the supermarket (€503 a month), nothing more. In fact as I would have no travelling expenses I would do it for less.

3. The sponsor would understandably not want the blog accessible to subscribers only, as of course he wants the maximum exposure for his investment. Also it would restrict the number of people finding the blog, and hence the number of potential future subscribers. There may be however the possibility of a ‘middle’ solution. For example, the front page headlines on free access, and then the other material for subscribers only (which is probably more valuable as it contains things which affect our daily lives, like changes in the law, financial info and deadlines, etc. and things we need to know).

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MONDAY 7/8 – Many thanks for the pledges so far, including the offer of free site hosting and journalistic skills. Thanks also to those have been very kind with their words, and taken the trouble to write in with opinions and suggestions, both by email and on the blog comments.

I have read every word and suggestion made, several times in fact, but I can’t reply to every point. But regarding information people have asked about, I can tell you more.

To date, I have received firm financial pledges of €945 (including two I had from earlier this year). That would get close to paying for the first two months (out of a period of six months) i.e. nearly a third of what would be needed to continue, but I will do a tot up again next weekend if any more pledges come in. There are others unspecified pledges mentioned in the blog comments, but as yet I don’t know what they would amount to. I think they are all sincere pledges, but obviously I wouldn’t know until later. As already mentioned last time there was a 20% default on payments.

Sheila asked about site visitor statistics. The survey suggested was also a good idea. Any takers? I have loads of information (not at a personal level obviously), and I know just about everything I need to know. I am happy to share visitor information, but I will have to check with the sponsor first if anyone wants to see it. Here are a few key elements for a month’s worth of analysis:
8,300 visits from 2,700 different visitors.
23,000 pages viewed (by clicking on a link to move to another page).
Average visit time 3 minutes 20 seconds.
40% of visitors come through search engines, 37% ‘direct’ (i.e. shortcut on desktop / favourites), and 23% from links on other websites.
Visitors came from 79 countries in the last month, with 46% from the UK, 33% Portugal / Madeira, 4% from the USA and between 1 and 2% each for Germany, Channel Islands, Canada, South Africa, Ireland and Holland.

A subscription service suggestion has been batted around a bit, and the site sponsor has indicated that this could be considered, on a split free / subscription site basis. The issue with subscriptions for me (being purely selfish I know) is that beyond the first month I have no security, and I just cannot make an important decision about not taking another job based on that. It would have to be one off pledges, paid up front, for the blog to continue for 6 months. If people didn’t feel comfortable with that, perhaps a treasurer could be found to collect the pledges, and feed me through some each month for 6 months. Standing orders might also work. Ideally it could do with somebody separately to manage the money side. As for the amount, the popular range seems to be from €5 to €10 a month. That creates another issue, because several people currently pay the lions share, with several paying in the last 6 months up to €1 a day. Would they continue, I don’t know? Would the subscription have to be a suggested minimum? MQTA

As for advertising, I have had a problem with this up until now, and so not having had any I have no experience of what the returns could be, because they would probably have to be commission based or pay-per-click (like Google ads). If advertisers can be found (and I already have three) then I wouldn’t be able to evaluate the financial contribution until they have been up and running for a good few months. Therefore I cannot factor this in to the decision initially, but I would be happy to do so later with more experience. My needs are simple, and a minimum wage is all I need. In the unlikely event that I earned more than that, it would be a surplus that I would be happy to leave in the pot, donate to charity, or whatever. I would have to talk to the sponsor about advertising anyway, as aside from writing the blog material, I don’t have much access to anything else regarding the blog format.

One topic no one has mentioned yet, that without reliable news, we go back to the days of the ‘rumour mill’, something which was pretty rife up to a couple of years ago, but for me I don’t hear so much these days. It usually starts ‘I read in today’s newspaper … ‘, or ‘I heard from so and so …’, and is usually the result of someone misunderstanding something they have read or heard in Portuguese. The airport at Calheta was one example I remember.

I didn’t know there was a version of the Diário available through a translation service as Emily said, I haven’t found it yet, but that might fill the gap if it’s any good. Can anyone recommend it? News problem solved?

MONDAY 14/8 – Thanks Sam and Sue for trying to give it a push. A week has gone by, and two more pledges take the total just past the € thousand mark, all of which, as far as I know, are unconditional pledges (i.e. not dependant on subscriptions for all). Summing up, there are responses from those who are happy to pledge based on what they can afford or think the blog is worth, or are just very generous, there are those who would pay a set amount on a subscription basis, those who want the blog to continue but can’t afford to pay, and those who think the blog should be free and wouldn’t pay anything on principle (and presumably won’t be that bothered if it finished).

It’s pretty clear now that a subscription basis wouldn’t work. Just judging from the number of replies and enquiries, it would be too much shared by too few people. It would also be unfair on those who have made large pledges, and without them the rest is an impossible struggle. Clearly the last two categories won’t work unless someone else takes it over, or it becomes a community / shared project.

Not much more I can say really. I am not going to ask people to pay. I don’t want to have to go through this every 6 months either, and the blog is only here today because of the action Alan took, the sponsor, and the 12 people who responded, 6 months ago. I wouldn’t have had the nerve to have done what Alan did then, and I still don’t now. That is just not me. If there isn’t enough support or people what can I or anyone else do?

PLEASE DON’T SEND ANY PLEDGES NOW IN CASE I HAVE TO REFUND THEM – THANK YOU

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PLEASE KEEP ALL COMMENTS ON THIS SUBJECT JUST ON THIS ONE POST, JUST SO IT IS EASIER FOR US ALL TO KEEP TRACK. I WILL ENSURE THIS POST STAYS AT THE TOP OF THE BLOG FRONT PAGE UNTIL WE ARE ALL DONE.

45 thoughts on “** UPDATED 14/8 ** Blog Announcement **”

  1. I would just like to say many thanks to Der for all his hard work over the past months with the blog. Unfortunately, I am not in a position to be able to pledge an amount on a regular basis, whcih is what I guess is the real issue with pledges in order to ensure that the blog continues in the unforseeable future. I have however in the past offered my services in translating the Diario stories if someone else is willing/able to post them on the blog.

    Aside from the above, I wonder if everyone is aware that the Diario does have a translation service and you can read the paper directly from their website in any language you choose. Given this, is there really the necessity to have a daily translation of the stories by any one individual? The comments on the blog do in the main appear to have little relevance to the news stories published and very often are banter back and forth or of individuals advising of festas etc – all of which are interesting and worth knowing and are also quite amusing! Perhaps the blog can revert to more of a forum format with people writing in with their own news from the island and the life there in general and this would then not put any pressure on any one individual to sit at their computer for 7 hours a day, 7 days a week?

    Reply
  2. Hello Der

    I am sorry to hear that the issue of the blog and whether it will continue is back on the cards again. You do a fantastic job.

    I am sure that all you regular readers agree, that this has been an excellant news service for us all, as well as, meeting point to make comments if you so desire.

    Without putting Emily’s suggestions down, I disagree that maybe more participation from others to help ease the load from you Der, is a solution, as always with this type of venture it really relies on ONE person to pull it all together, as it is impossible to rely on lots of people to each do their part – and as you have also discovered in the area of pledges.

    I will now bring up my suggestion again in that maybe this blog should become a paid for service, similar to buying a newspaper. As Emily suggests, you can already view the stories from the Diario site and use their translation service, but realistically, if this blog were to stop, how many people would actually bother? Not only that, the value of it collated all to here is that you eliminate the time and frustration of tracking down the interesting stories added to the frustration of their poor translations. You save us that time and inconvenience!

    We have all been very lucky to have you collate this information, add a bit of whit and charm here and there and make it an enjoyable place to come to everyday. Regardless of whether you live here or just have an interest in Madeira, this blog has been a very valuable asset and all the while it has been FREE.

    I think that the time may well now have come in that you do now know that you have an established reader ship, you have had pledges and help in the past to keep this going, but now I really feel that EVERYONE who wants to enjoy its continued existstance and who have already made this blog a part of their daily reading and a place where they can rely on up to date information can continue to do so but by making a financial contribution on a monthly basis to cover your costs and time involved in its continued production.

    By this I think that it would not be too outlandish to expect people to pay a membership fee of say €5 a month to access the news on the blog. If one month, someone can’t afford their contribution, then they miss out until they can. The online version of the Portugal News does this and that has woked for a long time, so why not with Madeira4u?

    If you are still uncomfortable with this idea, then maybe if everyone makes a suggestion toward a satisfactory solution, you can collate the ones you think are viable and then put it to the vote?

    I for one would be happy to join up as a member and have access if i pay my membership fee every month, and to behonest I look at the donate button everyday and keep tellimg myself to make a donation, but just haven’t done it, and probably others like me have as well, so that doesn’t work!

    At the end of the day you are that individual that sits at the computer for 7 hours 7 days a week, and no one would be pressuring you to do it if you had a reliable source of memberships coming in on a regular basis, renumerating you for the work that you are currently doing and to keep it going well into the future.

    I vote for paid membership…….any other suggestions out there?

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  3. I agree with Emily and Samantha probably has the answer.
    Well done to Der for all his hard work.
    If the concept could be sorted a “club” membership would be more than acceptable.
    However like all British pensioners being badly treated by a State whose national pension is worth a pittance, a private pension ruined by anybody it seemed who fancied some of my money and a desperately weakened Sterling, together with investments that have been ballsed up by *ankers, my disposible income has fallen below a level I planned and worked for, over 45 years of impossible hours.

    They are all b*st*rds!!!

    NOT the afore mentioned ladies, I hasten to add.

    I have expensive tastes.
    A fresh wife.
    Old cars.
    Food.
    And I want an apartment on the Island.
    And i pay alresdy existing membership dues to various motoring organisations.

    Therefore I would support a blog of modest ambitions, exchanging useful gossip and local information at a cost not to exceed 1 Euro per week =52 euro pa.
    I am amazed at the hours Der has done.
    I would welcome a return to the odd hours a week by him, unless membership of the blog is such that he can make a profit and put in more hours as he so wishes.
    How one finances the blog until membership levels are profitable God knows!
    I no longer wish to have problems like that, I leave them behind me.
    If Der can find income in a job that suits him -fine- good luck to him!
    If the blog dies-shame, but Der has to live.

    Reply
  4. Agree with all the comments above – like Samantha I kept looking at the donate button and had a guilt complex, which I succumbed to yesterday before today’s blog – so at least Der has one new donor!! He does a good job and I think the membership idea by month is a good idea. It is true you can find things elsewhere but here you find almost everything you need on one blog.

    Also a split in jobs will not work, been there are done that, there will be delays, and I think Der does need time off he cannot sit hour after hour at the computer we all know the problems with that.

    So am open to all ideas, specifially those that are most helpful to Der. However, as Samantha said how long would it take to get a viable membership running?

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  5. Hi Der

    I’ve put down a few thoughts as they entered my head – I’m sure there is nothing new here – but it is the only way that I know to be of help

    This is a real difficult one – trying to balance what the producer (ie you) needs versus what the buyer (ie us) can/wants to afford.

    Firstly, how much money do you need? I’m sure that you didn’t start the blog as a source of revenue and that you could have had no idea as to how much work you would end up putting into it. A key question becomes “Is it viable for you to earn sufficient money from voluntary blog subscriptions?” I don’t have any market data but I would be very surprised if many such blogs existed. Have you considered selling your product by having a monthly subscription to be able to enter the blog? This will then leave it up the consumer as to whether they are getting value for money.

    Secondly, how much effort is it reasonable to put in – 365 days per year is scarily excessive regardless of how much you are earning. It may be that your only option is to drastically reduce your workload and to strip the blog down. I don’t know how technically feasible this is and how much effort would still be needed but, as an example, have comments only with a Der weekly news summary. If we need daily news, then we have to read the on-line version of Diario with Google translator. Nowhere near as good and difficult to understand but no one can expect you to work 365 days per year. This could then free your time up for other pursuits and/or a job

    Thirdly, what can you expect people to donate? As an example, if individuals were willing to donate £10 per month (average UK charity donation) then you would need circa 30 pledges even to generate £10 per day – an insignificant amount given the time you put into the blog. My gut instinct is that if you need to generate more money then business (rather than personal) sponsorship is needed. I know this must be very difficult in today’s climate – but I am more than willing to act as a sounding board to explore best routes.

    I hope the above makes sense, Der, and that you can read it in the manner in which it was intended – having read it again, it may sound a bit patronising but I assure you this was never the intention.

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  6. my feelings are the same as Martin i’m afraid,my private has taken a hammering in the last 12-18 months ,and will continue to do so i think .
    State pension is still 11 months away

    i would if i could but in reality i’m afraid not

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  7. I would like to say thank you Der for all your hard work. I agree that this whole concept does need one person to pull it all together. I would be more than willing to pay a monthly membership fee , but like everyone else, it does depend on how much it would be.

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  8. Hi I to agree with everybody , and subscription looks the only way forward.

    Im happy to keep paying the amount i have started with Der to keep the blog going and on a 6monthly basis cause its to much hassle to remember to pay every month, i know its bad times for everyone, and i dont earn a fortune myself, but i would rather miss a coffee a day or every other day and keep the blog going as where else are we going to get all the news and information from, and the friendly banter between us all, a laugh a day from Martin’s comments has to be worth more than a chinesa… Plus the daily photos from people are great cause if you miss something in Madeira at least you have seen a few pics from the event.

    I think if People could pay 7.50 Euros a month its not to much to ask, its 25cents a day.

    Reply
  9. Like Tobi I’m happy to do another six months donation as before. I think the blog could be a bit shorter, more the length it was previously , so Der is not in front of the computer all day.I personally skim the politics and the football(but maybe the latter is a girl thing)

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  10. Don’t think a donation blog would work in the long term, what people say and what people do can be miles apart. One or two planks will not save a sinking ship but will only keep it afloat for a while then your back to square one. You need something with substance such as long term funding.

    But it sounds like you enjoy putting together this blog sight, so have you thought of contacting small companies in the Uk to advertise on your blog. Companies such as those who deal with storage, removals, insurance, Broker’s,Small supply companies, even those who want to sell something can pay you to advertise their good’s.

    This can work It worked for a sight in the west country and as far as I know it is still going.

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  11. Like the idea of advertising, used this myself when running a Music Festival in South of France. It takes a bit of a slog in the beginning but if we all agree to contact say two per person it would be a beginning. Charging them 50 EUR a month would be small to firms like Finesco or Goodies for example, and even with six you would hit 300 EUR a month. Then you could ask a couple of local restaurants for example in different parts of the Island I am off to UK today to visit Mum, back in one week, am sure the topic will still be going by the time I get back and I would certainly be willing to help finding some advertisers.

    Reply
  12. Hello Der,

    I couldn’t get onto Comments to send this and I just wanted to make a suggestion about the Blog.

    As was the case a few months ago, we readers of your Blog have no idea what sort of money is needed to keep the service (and it is a service) going. Some people suggest a monthly subscription fee of various sums, starting at five Euros but there is nothing concrete to indicate the minimum amount needed to keep the Blog afloat.

    May I just explain my own position, which may not be so very different from that of other pensioners, who want to see the Blog continue? When I stopped doing paid-for work as a journalist a few years ago (I am 72) I joined the journalists’ network of the CSV (Community Service Volunteers) in U.K. Since then I have done publicity writing and press releases for organisations such as Oxfam and a Community Theatre in Devon, run by volunteers. While in Madeira, I do similar work for SPAD, as you know. Therefore, I do not contribute money to charities or projects but I do offer my services free, as a writer, to whatever I consider to be a worthwhile cause. Your Blog falls into that category. So, if you want promotional copy of any kind then, as long as it is in English, I will be happy to provide it. I believe that Jon may have shown you a “dummy” which I mocked up for Casa Parsons as part of my suggestion that your sponsors be given “advertising puffs” on the Blog. It is vital that sponsors are given something of benefit to them in return for their money, don’t you agree?

    Another suggestion. Why don’t you take a survey on the Blog of people who read it regularly – every day, once a week, once a month? Where are they – in Madeira, in Britain, elsewhere in Europe? How much, if anything, would they be willing to contribute? If they cannot offer money, have they any skills (such as advertising space- selling, translation work) which they would be willing to put at your disposal?

    Hope this helps a bit. You’ve done a terrific job with the Blog, Der and it’s for sure that Derek and I would not be the only ones to regret its passing. Let’s hope that it can be saved for all our sakes.

    Sheila

    Reply
  13. Hi there,

    I am already registered and read your column every day here in Qatar. I am more than happy to make a donation but not sure how to effect this. I have an account in Funchal but it is not very active. If you give us the recipient bank details will make a donation (Millennium Bank???).

    Please, please keep up the good work.

    Regards,

    Robert

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  14. I agree with Sheila sponsors would want to see what they would be getting for their money, What type of person reads your blog. Do people look at it for information about the Island before purchasing a property, a holiday or to make new friends. if you were to collate this information you could target companies such as estate agents, small hotels the list could go on. I know of a couple director’s who may be interested in advertising space, but the first question they would ask who reads the blog and for what purpose and would they get a return for their money.

    These are only suggestion’s I run my own company I source where I advertise so I hit the right market group, so I know I will not waste my advertising budget.

    Hope these suggestion’s are of some use to you, they may even produce other good idea’s from other blog reader’s.

    Reply
  15. This ‘blog’ is not a charity, actually its not really a ‘blog’ but a ‘news desk’? Really, I think the questions should now be asked as it seems that with only 17 comments so far, is that really the amount of people that value this website and Der’s hard work? I know that people read and do not get involved in discussions but now this is the time to express how you feel and if as a regular reader and one that values this ‘blog’ but never participates in the comments section, this is where I am asking you as a reader to give your opinion otherwise, we could lose this site and all the good information in it, if others don’t speak up!

    I personally think that Susan’s response was a little harsh as we are not being asked to donate to a charity, but to pay towards a service that we all use and enjoy, and if you like, ’employing’ Der to do it. Call it timeshare or ’employshare’ if you like…I think that this concept is brill. Cos who else is going to step up to the table and say ‘I’ll do it!’ for absolutely nada?

    Reply
  16. I’m not suggesting that any one involved here is an Estate Agent = i.e. In it for profit – but perhaps we could all support something for no profit that has a meaning and relevance to our day to day lives here. Charity? Nope, just a partial return to the real values in the world.

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  17. Just looking back over the comments and considering what I pay for daily and week-end newspapers, here in England, I think 25cents a day for the enjoyment I get from the blog a very small price to pay. Whilst I admit that I don’t read all the political stuff I do gain a lot of relevent information about things going on in Madeira and I love the chit chat in the comments.

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  18. I think most have lost the plot, this blog wanted money, Der needed to be paid to do it as most people who sit at a desk all day do. But what I have gleamed from the comments, there are some guy’s who are not in a financial position to make a commitment, I was not being harsh but suggesting other ways of producing an income, for Der and the blog. there are other blogs which are free that is a fact all blogs are free to view and make comments on.

    If blogs asked their blogger’s to start contributing it would be doubtful if they would last for long.
    Re – what Pam wrote I don’t buy any new’s paper’s saving myself quite a bit of money, I have the internet for me to catch up on new’s plus the T.V so what is cheap for some can be an expense for other’s and if you are on a set income then you look at way’s to do things or participate in thing’s that will not cost. I hope I don’t upset anyone as this is not my intention but just being realistic.I expect I will be asked not to make any further comment’s as I am not willing to make a contribution but I believe blog’s should be free and stay free to view.

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    • I think you have lost the plot Susan. I haven’t asked anyone for money. Rather than just waiting to the end of September and finishing without saying anything, I offered an alternative, nothing more. Anyone can take it or leave it, but you putting such a negative slant on the matter was undoubtably aimed at getting people to take the same attitude as you, otherwise you wouldn’t have bothered to post (as usual).

      Try thinking about it as a service, the blog bit is just how it is presented, nothing more. At the end of the day it’s not much different from any other website.

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  19. I think most blogs are something small that someone does in their spare time for their entertainment, or perhaps to publicise their business. I think this blog has grown into something a bit different to that as Sam said.I have a property in Madeira but run a business and live in the UK. I have a working grasp of portuguese and when on the island get the Diario and work my way through it with the help of a dictionary. In England I work long hours and would not have the time or energy to wade through the newspaper’s site or a translation of it. Therefore I value Der’s summary. If others also value the blog and are happy to subscribe that is their choice . Maybe the suggestion of a split between a free to view part and a subscribers only part is a possibility. Starting a comment with “I think most have lost the plot” is probably not the best way of not upsetting anyone.

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  20. As the major sponsors of the blog it might be worth us contributing to this useful discussion by clarifying our position.

    Firstly, prior to starting Madeira Island Direct, the founders were aware of the huge value of the blog – this why we supported Der six months ago when he was first looking for financial assistance to keep the blog running.

    Secondly Der clearly works too many hours – we were unaware until recently of the amount of time that was being spent preparing the blog literally every day. We certainly have never demanded the level of commitment that Der has displayed and would have no objection to the frequency of updates and the quantity of material being significantly reduced – in fact we should all insist on this for the sake of his sanity!

    Thirdly, we would not object to advertising on the blog. Not unreasonably we would prefer that this did not feature services that competed with our own, but there are other market sectors in Madeira. However the biggest problem in this economic climate will be finding the advertisers.

    Finally, we agree with Sam – the future could lie in paid-for content. Media organisations everywhere are wrestling with this issue. It is quite conceivable to move to a model with a free “headline” element plus a more “in-depth” version available by subscription only. Der is quite correct in pointing out that this would have the effect of reducing web traffic, and therefore impacting on Madeira Island Direct’s potential exposure, but if this is necessary for the survival of the blog then it is an option that must be considered. It could well be that the increased revenue generated in this manner could overtake our sponsorship in due course.

    To add to the controversy Susan, from a marketing point of view we do monitor the visitor stats closely and remain convinced that the blog continues to return value for money – together with a feeling that we are supporting something that most of us would miss should Der decide that the supermarket was more attractive.

    We have been fortunate enough to be able to support the blog throughout this difficult period – it would be good to see more doing the same.

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  21. Noud, (owning a house on Madeira, living in Holland)
    I do not understand that people value the Blog part of this site more than the news part of it. I read the news, that is the most important part for me. Der translates it for me and i like that. The blog part is an extra but not the most important thing for me.
    I read the electronic version of a major newspaper in Holland and i pay 100 euro´s a year for that. In that way I can always and most important anywhere read my paper.
    The work and time Der puts in this newspaper is what I call a real job.
    So Der deserves and needs money. he needs in fact 6000 euro a year after Tax. So if the cost of this online newspaper is divided in parts of 50 euro, there have to be 120 readers who are willing to pay that. I do not know if there are that many readers. If not an aditional income is generated this site is doomed.

    First thing I will do is making a link with our own blog. I will also ask my friends who have a blog concerning madeira to do the same.
    Second thing is a donation. I prefer to do so via Paypal. So mail me the details.

    Reply
  22. Der,
    If you could keep us updated on how much has been pledged, and any shortfalls, then people might be more likely to donate. Possibly people might think they are the only ones donating.

    Reply
  23. I think that blogs should stay ‘free’ as are numerous blogs on the internet, also there are many times when there are no comments placed, so given that newspapers, including the Diario English version, can be read is there a real point in contributing to something which should be free for those who want to comment.

    Reply
  24. I wanted to look at the DNoticias in English and cannot find a link (?) to do it. How does one access that?

    Or are people just talking about the google translator?

    Thanks
    Ellen

    Reply
  25. Yes Ellen , its just the Google Translator, it has nothing to do with the Diario, and if you try reading some of it, its hard work, and i would rather help Der with a little money to do it for me , so im always up to date with whats going on in Madeira.

    Reply
  26. Ah gee Tobi, here I thought the whole debate was about whether we could read about your dog (who is adorable I am sure….) 🙂

    Seriously, though, I think people are confusing the blog part with the newspaper part. I agree that I would not be prepared to pay for the blog part – pleasant as it is – as that is people sharing.

    However, the newspaper part I would be happy to pay for – and I don’t think it is actually a blog except for getting past copyright technicalities. I vote for the “free headlines / cost for in depth coverage” option. I can do without the sport (sorry sport fans) – which I suspect Der would want to include anyway. I don’t read the political stuff except for dates of elections, who won and where/when I can vote. Possibly some time could be saved by doing a synopsis rather than a literal translation in other areas.

    Anyone counting on Google for translation is bound to be disappointed. Google translated “sem” (without) as “com” (with) for me the other day. Made a huge diff to my message, of course.

    Sam, I don’t know how it is that you are paying for The Portugal News, as I read it all the time and have never paid them anything. Perhaps you and any others paying for it can divert that to Der instead????

    Perhaps Der, you could let us know if you go to “headlines free/content paid” how many people you would need at how much subscription cost? I would suspect the subscription rooster would grow over time. I’d prefer a 3 month or 6 month cost as monthly is just too tiresome.

    Reply
  27. Would the sp nsor of the blog Madeira Islands Direct, now it is making a fortune from the holiday rental trade, pay Der full rate of several hundred euros pm to keep its advertising and PR going?
    With the expansion into property sales and possibly vehicles it will be soooooooo affordable.

    Reply
  28. I gather football and politics are the less popular subjects on the blog, at least that’s what a little of the feedback says, but whether it is representative of eveybody I don’t know?

    So a bit of history, for those who weren’t blog readers going back to early last year, or cannot remember. I was accused of being ‘selective’ of picking on our beloved president by someone who called himself Carlos, an accusation which did have an element of truth, more by default rather than by intention, as the other political stories were mostly irrelevant to most readers (because they involved minority parties with no power or even influence on the running of Madeira), or were tecnically complex and therefore fairly meaningless or uninteresting to someone who wasn’t familiar with a particular topic, unless they were a native Madeiran, and then why would they be reading the blog for news?

    At that time I was picking out stories that I thought would interest people most, and I was making the decision as to what was selected and what wasn’t. But after the above mentioned complaint, and not many people jumping to my defence, I decided to cover all front page stories, so it was more about what the Diário or wider media considered to be the top stories, and less about my choice.

    I had/have no desire to cover sport normally, certainly not on a daily basis, and even less enthusiasm to cover the ‘5 senses’, the entertainment section, but again that is frequently on the front page. They are usually things that come and go in a day, and for sure have no future value in the blog archieves.

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  29. I’m not against sport as such, but it –football– that is has become–in my mind- all intrusive.
    My daily paper devotes almost a third of its coverage to football.
    The TV moves key programmes with lifelong following to any other time they fancy, when a match they like is on. The supporters seem to enjoy murdering one another rather than follow the game.
    The football authorities seem to skip over the huge nasty side of football, ‘cos it will cost money?
    I love the mix of info on the blog that Der presently provides and I can easily skip the football, especially if it is grouped.
    Politics on the Island I am beginning to comprehend thanks to the blog.
    The village and agricultural Festas get great coverage by the blog and these are largely ignored by the tourist boards and hoteliers to their shame.
    Der’s blog has opened many people’s eyes into the ‘guts’ of the Island.
    For this I thank Der.
    Why the tourist authorities don’t employ Der as an ambassador for tourism to Madeira and run the Tourist Office I am at a loss to understand!

    Reply
  30. I can’t beleive that this discussion has been so quiet over the last few days. Maybe Der, you should take the job in the supermarket and then after a month of having this blog dissapear you are in a better postion to negotiate its return as for sure, that’s when you will grab every one’s attention who truly valued what you do and will miss it dreadfully after its gone! Even now, 2 years after the effect, I get emails from people who want my paper back – only they are not willing to pay for it, otherwise I would – you are in a different situation to mine and have far more to offer than I ever did! Why don’t you take a weeks holiday, before you make any desicions and then really see how many people miss this?

    Reply
  31. Well back safe and sound and as I suspected not a lot of progress has been made – a lot of waffle and no action. Go for the advertising and see who comes up with positive adds – or tell them how much you need per person per month to make it a viable job, or as Samantha said – stop – and then see who really misses you.

    On another note no email yet of the lessons??

    Reply
  32. I don’t think the “see what you are missing” approach is a good way to build good-will or a client list.

    For myself, and I gather others, I am waiting to see what the needed cost of a subscription will be and will then decide to “buy it” or not.

    I don’t believe the whole donation and ‘lets help out Der’ line of thinking works. Much as I appreciate what Der has done for all of us, I do not want to treat Der as a charity and in the long run you either have to continually have donation drives or fold anyway.

    Perhaps all the “Der supporters” could be most helpful by selling subscriptions to those who do not know about the blog yet,

    If Der wants to build a business, I’m all for it and am a very definite potential customer. If he needs to call it “donations” to get around technical difficulties, I will happy to “donate” the necessary amount.

    Seems to me that all has been said by one person or another and the lack of further comments reflects that. I think it is now up to Der to make some choices and decide whether he wants to try and build this as a business or work in the supermarket.

    I hope for the former. If so, we need information on what the cost will be, what that will provide for how long, how/where to “sign up” and how/when payment should be made.

    Then Der can start having an idea of how his subscription sales are going, how much work he can afford to put in and generally where things are at.

    Reply
  33. Madeira News Blog (‘the blog’) is brilliant. You and your partners must charge subscriptions for it. I have contributed to your site and other sites including Sam’s such content articles, events news and photos. I have been writing for different publishers for many years. Some pay and some say “well if we cite your name and e-mail address.. you may get some new clients after they’ve read your legal summaries..”

    Traffic to your site is substantial and then there is the issue if it has not been mentioned already about how many readers forward the content to others and may contribute nothing?

    So suppliers of this blog STOP DILLYING AND DALLYING..I propose to encourage subscriptions to come in fast announce an initial discount for those that subscribe before a deadline (1 months time) and make the fee for signing-up for the longest period for example 12 months cheaper to give the suppliers security/a cushion.

    Also, perhaps contributors that write great articles regularly in a section or contribute in an equally significant way could be rewarded by the suppliers of ‘the blog’ with a lower advertising rate, lower subscription whether or not they are promoting/branding a business service.

    I have not had time to read all the 30-odd comments as like you Der I work in Madeira too! But, I know what I am writing here makes common sense.

    When you start charging I believe the whole blog product will get stronger and there will be more respect for it and more interest from all parties including businesses

    Reply
  34. no problem with it Ellen, but as it’s only short here it is :

    MONDAY 14/8 – Thanks Sam and Sue for trying to give it a push. A week has gone by, and two more pledges take the total just past the € thousand mark, all of which, as far as I know, are unconditional pledges (i.e. not dependant on subscriptions for all). Summing up, there are responses from those who are happy to pledge based on what they can afford or think the blog is worth, or are just very generous, there are those who would pay a set amount on a subscription basis, those who want the blog to continue but can’t afford to pay, and those who think the blog should be free and wouldn’t pay anything on principle (and presumably won’t be that bothered if it finished).

    It’s pretty clear now that a subscription basis wouldn’t work. Just judging from the number of replies and enquiries, it would be too much shared by too few people. It would also be unfair on those who have made large pledges, and without them the rest is an impossible struggle. Clearly the last two categories won’t work unless someone else takes it over, or it becomes a community / shared project.

    Not much more I can say really. I am not going to ask people to pay. I don’t want to have to go through this every 6 months either, and the blog is only here today because of the action Alan took, the sponsor, and the 12 people who responded, 6 months ago. I wouldn’t have had the nerve to have done what Alan did then, and I still don’t now. That is just not me. If there isn’t enough support or people what can I or anyone else do?

    Reply
  35. I wondered Der, what the present situation is.

    Is this blog to close in it’s present form?

    If so what will be the effect?

    Just a swopping of messages? or complete closure?

    Reply
  36. Nothing much happened since the last update Martin, not even another comment until yours today.

    But no it won’t disappear, but there won’t be anyone to write the news as I will move onto other things. I will become a contributor instead of the main writer. I can only hope that a few more contributors will join the ‘team’.

    I don’t mind doing the odd news story or two, which I will do some days, but if no one else chips in it’s going to be a bit of an empty shell. Will still also do the daily photo if people want it (and send them in of course).

    Perhaps see how it goes for a week or two. Shame, but the people have spoken, and clearly the issue of parting with money, either won’t or can’t, is an obstacle too high for many. Having said that I did receive some very generous offers, which cheered me up a lot after some of the early negative responses.

    Thanks to everyone who has already contributed (in whatever form) in the past and to those of you who made offers for the future.

    Reply
  37. Well done Der for the work you have done.
    I have enjoyed reading the details you provide on Madeira which I would not obtained otherwise.
    I hope your new career is renumerative.
    I will enjoy the blog in whatever format it remains.
    I hope to meet with you on my next visit to the island when I hope to come to Ribera Brava for a formal beer drinking ceremony and buy you a metric pint or two!!

    Perhaps if all goes well at Christmas!??!

    Subject to Sterling being worth more than fourpence halfpenny.

    Reply
  38. Thanks Martin, at least this way the options are kept open for a bit longer, and if enough people can’t sleep at night without a news fix, I will still be here and able to reassess the situation.

    If your visit depends on the value of Sterling, perhaps you had better wait before you book your overnight hotel in Rib Bra, or maybe you have a chauffeur?

    Reply

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