I swear

Seattle is pretty much the only place I’m allowed to travel anymore. Someday, I might actually be able to, you know, see the city, rather than the inside of hotel conference rooms and publisher offices. But whatever could I be doing in Seattle this weekend? Hmmm, I wonder.

Here’s an even better question to contemplate: the costs of running this site are starting to hurt a bit. I think it was the forum software license that did it. So — how can I turn this site into a money-making venture? Eh, skip that. I just want it to break even. “Adsense” is not the correct answer. I know there’s been some interest in random merchandise, buttons or shirts or whatever, but what would people actually want? Or would it be better to just do straight-up art commissions? I dunno. You people tell me.

51 thoughts on “I swear

  1. Get a Project Wonderful account. With the hits you probably get, you could probably make some money for the limited amount of ad space you’d have to devout.

    Plus, I think you can moderate who advertises, I think.

    – Eddie

  2. Can you make an Xbox 360 laptop or a portable PS2 like that Ben Heck guy? The money you’d make off one of those would probably keep the site going for a good long while.

  3. As far as merchandise goes, buttons and t-shirts are relatively easy to make and can make you a bundle if you come up with something clever/interesting to slap on ’em.

  4. What kind of merch are we talking? I’d buy a Toasyfrog lighter and I don’t even smoke.

    Also, I think that the forums are worth it. There is talk on the comments, but it doesn’t really compare to Talking Time. Ultimately not my decision though.

  5. The funny thing about Project Wonderful is that, because it runs on a bidding system, the less ads you have on your page, the more money you make, because you drive up demand for your ads without under-supplying.

    On the other hand, Seattle seems to be where all the exciting things are going on, and certainly I’d prefer them to send you to game developers trying to do something exotic than someone who is offended that not everyone is trying to chase the 18-25 male demographic and put a war sequence somewhere in their title.

    (I’ve just noticed how many games are doing big-ass war sequences these days, including both Mistwalker titles. Where do you go from there? Other than coming up with a more elaborate story than ‘these guys want to kill us’, I mean.)

  6. No ads, period. I am not putting ads on this site. Also, there’s not much point in me killing the forums, since I’ve already paid for them.

  7. Actually, selling T-shirts is beginning to become lucrative. Your best case scenario may just be breaking even, but there are some wild success stories out there. Of course, sardonic hipster shirts probably wouldn’t be your forte, but stylish clothing still has a purpose.

    Of course, most of the one man t-shirt operations are usually just an off shoot of something else (ie webcomics), so, ironically, your job may interfer with your ability to make money.

  8. Art commissions?! I know I would pay a princely sum for a drawing of Tron Bonne delivering a sound spanking to my WoW avatar while fondly remembered cartoon characters from my youth watch.

  9. Aw, give Project Wonderful a try. I think Ryan needs more ad spots from dudes who aren’t webcomics.

  10. I’d buy a shirt if it were funny/cool enough. or a plushie, but that’s probably a lot more work, so… eh.

  11. I’d buy a coffee mug. Seriously, just Toastyfrog on there giving a thumbs up and a “yosh!” would sell me on one, maybe two.

  12. I’m taking the “advising on Seattle” route. If you have a car and like breakfast. Take I-5 north from downtown to 45th street, take a left and drive through Wallingford (a very cool neighborhood) to Stoneway ave. (about 10 blocks). The Bluestar Cafe is there and it kicks ass. Also, Pike Place Market is cool if you haven’t been there.

  13. Considering that you’re probably sick of writing about games, adding more work by asking you to bring the ‘zine back sounds like a bad idea.

    I’d go with art commissions, or funky things to wear.

  14. can we ask, how much would you actually get from merchandising?

    If we pay 18 bucks for a toasty frog T, do you get 10 bucks? or like.. 1.50?

  15. I don’t want to sound like a spoilsport or anything but… why didn’t you just get one of the hundreds of high quality and FREE forums like mybb or phpbb?

  16. I think art would be awesome. Maybe you could make a few things and then sell prints. A mug would be nice as well. T-Shirt would probably be last on my list since I just seem to accumulate those things.

    Though honestly, I’ll probably buy whatever you end up selling since the amount of entertainment I’ve gotten through this site is certainly worth $20 or whatever.

  17. I’ve been reading your site for some time now, and I would gladly exchange cash money for toasty merch. I too vote for a coffee mug, over-sized if possible. A lighter might be snazzy as well, put Rorschach Toasty on it and I’ll buy every last one.

  18. webrunner – Well, he was running a free bulletin board when it managed to get itself deleted, so he wanted something a little more robust and fool-proof, one presumes.

    As for moichandising, I’d totally buy a toasty hat. Art commisions would be tempting too, though I really already have too much art not up on my walls.

  19. Late to the party, but I’d totally wear a shirt bearing anything from this place on it.

    Also, a hat. The cheaper and uglier-looking, the better.

  20. PAX is downtown this year, so you’ll be able to hang in the real Seattle. That is, if you’re coming this year.

  21. EGM staffer erotic fiction is the way to go. Its the wave of the future-catch it!

  22. I’m going to be a dick…

    Hey locit, “Seriously, just Toastyfrog on there giving a thumbs up and a “yosh!” would sell me on one, maybe two.”

    …seriously. why ask for the Japanese when you can’t spell it? This is a somewhat real question of mine. Where is the appeal?

  23. For the purposes of English speakers (who don’t need to care about whatever arbitrary rules Japan has decided on for standard text input in roman characters), transliteration really just needs to serve phonetically; spelling of words that aren’t part of the language is rather fundamentally non-standard. And when words do become part of English, they don’t tend to follow the transliteration “rules” anyway. So as long as “yosh” sounds approximately like the intended Japanese word when pronounced, it should be fine.

  24. A few things:

    First, a site like this should not be costing you much. This is a fairly popular blog, but it’s not Engadget. You may want to look around for a host that will offer you more bandwidth, etc, for a lower cost.

    Second, it sounds like there are plenty of people out there who would buy GameSpite merchandise. I would bet you even have fans who would design it for you (a contest would be fun!). If you want to avoid ads, just start a shop at a site like cafepress or spreadshirt. It’s free (they charge a commission) and may make more money than you expect…

  25. I’ll take some refrigerator magnets. You could do a few drawings of the frog, and a bunch of speech bubbles with his greatest quotes.

    (I think I just double double posted posted)

  26. I would buy some merch. T shirt or magnets or something. Something to help you out and be a souvenir of my time here.

  27. Jimmy–do you know Japanese? These aren’t arbitrary rules. Japanese is pretty clear on which “letters” make which sounds, and thusly, how they are romanized.

  28. Tomm: English, however, is not clear at all on what letters make which sounds, with loads of redundancy and special cases. Any effort to write a non-English word in English based on its sound will be somewhat arbitrary because of this.

    When words do become part of English, they may end up with multiple spellings all corresponding to the same word and pronunciation, eg, jujitsu is jujutsu is jiujitsu is jiujutsu.

    As to Japanese systems for using roman characters, I guess there are about 4 or 5 of them. Since English is usage defined and common speakers of English use, really, none of these systems, they’re not relevant to English writing.

  29. Let me toss my hat into the ring and say that I’d love to have a t-shirt (or possibly other merch) featuring Toasty Frog. I just adore that amphibian.

  30. If I had money, I’d be down for either a NGJ pin, or the thumbs-up 8.5 shirt.

    Actually, would you take a cashier’s check? I could hit the plasma center this week– I’m usually more willing to spend small amounts onm merch if I know it’s going to help a friend.

  31. I’d buy a retronauts t-shirt and a toastyfrog mug for a 25.00 dollar combo, maybe you can get together with the guys from penny-arcade and make something that’s spiffy yet comfortable. As long as it looks nice I’d buy it, seriously.

  32. We’ve all pretty much agreed on the t-shirt business, but let’s not kid ourselves: practically no one’s going to buy a t-shirt over the internet because so many websites offer practically the same thing: “Buy a t-shirt, keep the website running” It’s likely that anyone buying a t-shirt through that method would also donate some money anyway. Now I know you’ve thought of it in your dreams, and before you throw your Mac iMouse at your Mac iMonitor, just hear me out, man. Hot Topic. CALM DOWN MAN! It’s possible. Hot Topic doesn’t sell what’s cool, they tell you what’s cool. And that’s cool with me. You hit the lucrative 16-25 female market that buy a t-shirt because it’s “cute” and you’ve got it made in the shade, man. I’m a hippie.

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