Christopher Poole, 4chan’s founder:
I don’t believe in large websites supporting themselves through ongoing donations (a la Wikipedia), both ideologically and practically. I hate the thought of asking users to donate money and receive nothing of value other than “the site doesn’t die.”
Poole has shifted to the ad-supported + membership model now for 4chan. I urge you to read the entire post if you are interested in how to support websites at all — because it offers a good look at just how hard it is no matter how popular your site is. I know a lot of people get tired of hearing me harp on why ads are bad on websites, but I think most people are missing the larger point.
Which is that ads are not, by themselves, bad — but in aggregate they are not helping the web as much as people think they may be. The future of the web isn’t with ads plastered everywhere just as the future of cell phones wasn’t a service with ads interjecting into conversations. Likewise the future of the web isn’t with every site requiring you to pay them to read it.
There’s got to be a balance somewhere between free and paid — I’m not sure where it is — but I know that I don’t want to be on the free side of things. Somewhere, somehow, someone has to pay for the content on every webpage — be it the creator, reader, or other party — and I only know two things about that:
- I don’t want to be the one paying to give away my content;
- and I don’t like advertising.
That’s all I really know, everything else is a big experiment waiting to see what happens.