Something’s Wrong. But What?

Last Sunday evening we went live with a crowdfunding campaign on So far, we’ve raised zero dollars.

Naturally, it’s humbling to realize one’s appeal is a big fat flop. I was pretty disappointed on Monday and Tuesday, but by yesterday I’d resolved to let it be a lesson to me, and to not give up.

Fundraising is never easy, and AdPulp has no history of raising money from readers. So, let me ask…

If you have any ideas on how we might we adapt the campaign to make it more meaningful to you and other AdPulp readers/supporters, please leave a comment here or send me an email at

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. Steffan postaer says:

    I hate when that happens…
    Seriously, try selling books…the paper ones…
    Humbling as well.
    But I love you guys and that’s all that matters!

  2. We have our first contribution! Many thanks to the generous Cecilia Doan.!/CCdoan/status/71364296134762497

  3. Highjive221 says:

    Well, methinks the challenge is that virtually no other ad
    blog is charging for viewership. Would even the top ad blogs succeed in asking
    people to pay? Doubt it. It’s not like The Wall Street Journal – or even The
    New York Times – where people were originally paying for the publication (in
    its newspaper form, that is). The truth is, people are going the opposite
    direction. Haven’t paid to read Adweek or Ad Age in years, and even stopped
    subscriptions that were well over a decade old. If you haven’t done so already,
    you should consider charging agencies to post their lame work. The typical
    agency ego might bite. Also, Danny should charge authors for reviewing their
    books. Start viewing AdPulp as a media source of sorts. If you’re going to
    charge, maybe do it on a pay-per-view basis for exclusive content. For example,
    go interview someone really prominent and/or unique and make the interview
    pay-per-view. Other blogs have offered services like job postings or portfolio
    listings. Not sure if those things have been successful. Maybe sponsor events
    or parties. Ad people are always interested in parties. Or create an awards
    show. In the end, blogs were born as hobbies. Sorry, but most folks don’t wanna
    pay to let others pursue their hobbies.

    • Thanks for the thoughtful comment, High Jive. We’re looking seriously at charging for premium content. But I understand your point about the expectation readers bring to not just this site, but all sites. They want content to be free. Yet, people do pay for content they feel they need it to do their job. Do we provide that kind of value? I guess it depends on what your job is and how you go about doing it. To me there’s value in what we do, since most people in advertising are too busy to hunt down the best articles and the latest work on their own, they need a digest and that’s what this is.

  4. hey David  – I would be happy to give you some pointers on your IndieGoGo campaign…you can contact me directly at erica (at)

  5. I think the problem is that a lot of your posts, while technically original content, could be seen as reporting and linking. And if you’re going to start charging for the reporting and linking, then readers might be willing to find other ad blogs that do similar.

    While your content might be better, it’s abnormal to pay to read a blog: an updated public journal, free to read and sponsored by web ads.

    I’ve heard of bloggers who take away the content, and present it as a full pay model. You will lose the majority of your readers, at least at first. But you will be financially compensated by those who do follow. Right now, there is no worry in my mind that your content will disappear, whether I donate or not.

    I guess you should also think about how many readers you want. Right now you reach more people than you would for a pay model blog. And your blog acts as personal advertising for your freelance writing career.

    I appreciate what you’ve done with your blog. And I am a fan. I just haven’t felt the need to contribute, yet.

    • Thanks for your support and additional insight, Matt.

      Right now, there is no worry in my mind that your content will disappear, whether I donate or not.

      Therein lies the core problem with voluntary contributions. After all this time and all this free content, reader’s expectations are deeply ingrained. And it’s going to take something dramatic to get real attention focused on this fundraising campaign–something like putting the site on hiatus until we reach a decent number of supporters (and dollar amount). While I’m not inclined to take those steps, I’m also not motivated to continue with the way things are. To find that motivation again, we will need to enact a paid model that works.

      I appreciate your suggestion that this site is really an ad for my writing career, but let me assure you it is not. You’d be shocked to know how few people connect the dots here. I always thought they would, but it’s another false promise born of “The Brand Called You.” I’ve thought a lot about why it’s so hard for people who might otherwise hire me to connect the dots. This is what I’ve come up with: people see what you show them. If you want to land freelance work, then you show them a portfolio site. Anything else just muddies the waters. So in a strange way this site is actually hurting my ad career, not helping.