How does the SDMB pay for itself...

How does the SDMB make money? Is the Chicago Reader running a charity? There are no banner ads (thank God), no subscription charges, no income…yet it costs money to keep the electrons flowing. What gives?

Well, read that little thing on the bottom of the page. Chicago reader owns the right:



The Chicago Reader does not make money from this message board. They do it out of the goodness of their hearts.


Yes, newsmen have hearts.

Does this imply that they are going to sell a book featuring our postings (without notice or compensation)?

Buy a recently published Straight Dope book and you will see that Cecil includes many postings from this very board.

Hey, wait a minute I own the books, therefore… $

A… right… answer? Wow, I’m good :).

Thanks for bringing that up though, I’d wondered but never bothered to look around. In the books does Cecil credit them to anyone?

Don’t forget, this site also has an e-commerce page where the books, t-shirts, coffee mugs etc. are sold. Voila - revenue stream.

Wow! That’s cool!

I don’t have a recent book so I maybe you can fill me in. Does Cecil include the secret crush threads? Or how about post count parties? And what’s his opinion about Montfort and Anniz hooking up?

Cheese, Cnote, you wanna know what’s in the books? Well, BUY THEM, for heaven’s sake, and help us out financially by another fifty cents or so.

For sure, Ed Zotti, who edits Cecil’s book, included several bits from the then Message Board into the last two books. However, that’s probably not more than six or seven pages worth in total, scattered throughout. The READER gets next to nothing for that, the mugs, t-shirts, etc combined. This discussion has been held several times, and the bottom line is still that the READER does it because they think it is the right thing to do, not to make a buck. At some point, the ongoing expense may overwhelm the sense of “rightness”, of course.

Beyond Dex’ comments, I think the Reader mostly keeps it around so that they can brag that they have a net presence with a lower burn rate than last year’s Time Person of the Year Jeff Bezos.

But perhaps someone in About This Message Board will have something to add.

I would think that a active fan base would make the column more attractive/valuable to the newspapers that carry it.
Newspapers usually do an annual survey on what features are pulling their weight.

The Reader says that the Straight Dope fights Ignorance. By financing this message board, they’ve PROVED IT, dammit!

He told me himself that he approves.


At which point I think you would find a lot of Dopers willing to contribute to the running expenses, if given the opportunity. But maybe I shouldn’t say that too loud.