I’m a little late on this post, but better late than never, right? I realized that it’s been a little over a year since we announced the launch of Living In Tin. The first official post went live on September 16th, 2014 and you can read it by following this link.
Living In Tin was launched after our failed attempt at a Kickstarter Fundraiser to help fund the creation of a book and E-Book on the National Monuments of the Southwest for RV’ers. To this day, there’s still no comprehensive book out there on the National Monuments of the Southwest for RV’ers. There is of course Living In Tin, which is still growing each month.
The Evolution of Living In Tin
Initially Living in Tin was going to cover the National Monuments of the Southwest. Our goal was to visit 2 monuments per month. Unfortunately, with the reality of work, we couldn’t always get to multiple National Monuments each month. So over the course of the first few months the goals changed a little. We’re still working on the whole list of monuments in Utah, Arizona, Colorado, & New Mexico, but it’s taking a little longer.
Fortunately we always have other topics to cover. Photography on the road, editing, other great locations for RV’ers. We honestly have plenty of topics to share. And unlike this blog, the articles at Living in Tin are longer, and we add more detail. This is still just a blog after all. 🙂
In total, there are 50 articles on Living in Tin. That’s well beyond the goal of what we wanted when we started. My original plan for the online “e-zine” was 2 articles per month. Instead we’ve added complimentary articles, information from previous exploration, tutorials, and more. And while we’re continuing to update Living in Tin, you’ve probably noticed we haven’t been pushing subscriptions hard.
Recently in National News I read that Apple will be offering Ad blocking in their upcoming Safari Browser. For mobile users and traditional computer users as well, this could really impact how many people monetize their websites today. There are many websites which rely exclusively on ads for revenue to the site. I’d tried it years ago with little success. $50 a year back from Google wasn’t even enough to cover the cost of my server yearly, let alone generate any real revenue for The Airstream Chronicles. For other bloggers though, ads on their websites mean big bucks, and for some, their full time income. Ad blocking may be a game changer.
The reason behind my creation of a subscription site was simple. I wanted to generate some revenue to fund the continuing coverage of the National Monuments of the Southwest. The Kickstarter didn’t do it, so I thought subscriptions would work. There was another reason to try the subscription model beyond being a money grubbing capitalist…..
My time has value.
For years I shared trip reports, tech reviews, Photoshop Tutorials, and more. While I enjoy blogging and sharing information, there is a limit to how much you can offer for free. For instance, the Lightroom Tutorial that I shared on Living in Tin has a retail value of $79.00 (more than the cost of a subscription to the site now). Posting it publicly with no compensation would be crazy, as that tutorial series took a long time to create. But now it’s available to subscribers along with several other cool tutorials on Milky Way Photography.
In the case of Living in Tin, the experiment in a subscription model over the course of this year hasn’t been highly successful. Subscriptions started off strong with select Kickstarter backers, but tapered off quickly. In total, the site has generated less than $750 in revenue for the year. Basically that equates to about 2 weeks visiting National Monuments. Not enough to go see them all, write them up, and share them with readers. That’s why we’re on the slow boat when it comes to completing the National Monuments. So we’ve got to prioritize work and finding new clients, as our own income is what really funds all of our trip reports, tutorials, etc.
Still, I think in the long run, subscription sites still may catch on. We’ll have to see how the changing landscape of the net plays out with the move for ad blocking taking hold. In the meantime, Living In Tin will still be a place for full length articles, tutorials, video tutorials, and beautiful photography. To my subscribers, thanks for giving the site a try. We’ll continue updating, and hopefully we’ll get more of the National Monuments of the Southwest over the course of the next year!