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Ace Linguist Revenue Policies

Ace Linguist is and always will be free to access. I view the purpose of Ace Linguist as being an educational website, and that purpose is best served by being free and available to the public. You may have noticed that Ace Linguist has a Patreon, a Ko-Fi, and some ads. I believe all readers should understand what the purpose of this revenue stream is, and how they are differentiated.

Most of the articles I write on Ace Linguist do not cost me anything to write. I often use citations from popular websites, or try to find research that is publicly available. This is partly on purpose, as I want other people to have access to the sources I'm using and not have them locked behind a paywall. Revenue goes to primarily two things - research and hosting costs.

First, research: some posts simply need citations that must be paid for. I have purchased books before for the purpose of writing a post. Here is a sample of books that I bought while I was writing about how the Founding Fathers really sounded like. Most of these ended up being cited, but some were just used for general research, and others seemed promising but ultimately did not provide the leads I was looking for. As you can see, these books are costly - I spent $80 on research for the Founding Fathers post. The Founding Fathers post is exemplary of the type of content I would like to continue making - taking together information that was previously only available to academics and putting it all together in one place for anyone to see, and to have all the sources be available to them to cite or check.

  • Accents of English Vol.1 - $15.00
  • English Pronunciation of the Eighteenth Century - $30.00
  • Speaking American - $28.00
  • American English - $7.00

A stretch goal is to have access to JPASS, which is $19.50 a month, so that I can bring you research that is more recent and cutting-edge.

What about hosting? My commitment to making content using examples from the real world means I have to host that content myself. I pay $11 monthly for Dropbox. I also pay for a domain name so that nobody has to look at an ugly '' URL. Without Dropbox for business, there would be too much traffic to the audio content and regular Dropbox would disable the links - this happened with the first article I shared publicly, Dialect Dissection: Taylor Swift.

A stretch goal would be to be able to pay for Heroku so that I could host some Ace Linguist-related apps that I have been working on. These are still quite a ways from completion, but once done, it would be much easier to administrate the apps from one account rather than spreading them across several free accounts.

In the unlikely scenario that I get enough revenue to cover all these costs and more, I will communicate with you, the readers, to determine a good use for that money. Perhaps a future article could be written with the help of an expert on a particular subfield. Or I could pay to make some of the more repetitive work easier. There are a number of ideas I have, and I want you all to be informed about what my goals are.

Why ads?

The goal of Ace Linguist is not to "sell out" or otherwise rake in a profit. One of the things I really like about this site is that because there is not a deadline on how long an article takes, I can continue to research a topic until I feel that I have a satisfactory understanding of what is happening and how to explain it. I would not have been able to produce articles like the Founding Fathers or Indie (Girl) Voice without the benefit of this extended research period.

I have explored other monetization options. Merchandise seems extremely unlikely to sell, and requires a certain amount of logistics knowledge that I am not prepared to take on at this point in the site's journey. The most successful Patreons are either podcasts or YouTube channels, and they produce content on a predictable basis (daily/weekly/monthly) in addition to extra content for Patrons.

As mentioned above, I do not think producing content on a predictable basis would be good for the quality of the site's content, so I cannot offer that.

I am interested in expanding to video, since the format is in some ways more natural than the text-based one I use. My experience with video creation and editing, however, tells me that making video is rewarding but highly time-consuming, and I am not ready to go in that direction yet (nor do I want to de-prioritize the text format at all).

Finally, making content available only to patrons makes me a little uncomfortable because it conflicts with the site's goal of making content accessible to all. An alternative would be to have a delayed-release for non-patrons, so patrons can get exclusive content for, let's say, a year before it becomes available to non-patrons. I don't know to what extent this would be popular with potential patrons. I currently post articles to Patreon before the general public gets to see them.

I am wary of ads for multiple reasons - they interfere with the site's design, they can be unpleasant to experience, and in some cases they can even be vectors for bad actors. That being said, they are my best option for monetization that I have seen so far, since none of the donation-based options have been popular. I am not opposed to honest, simple, non-intrusive advertising, and I will try to follow those principles. If you encounter an ad that sets off your anti-virus or which has extremely objectionable content, please report the ad to Google and then inform me of it.

Thank you for your time. I know that talking about money with regards to projects like these always feels a little sleazy. The truth is that the sorts of things I would like to do with Ace Linguist (access to JPASS, additional hosting, expert consulting, paying interns) are currently out of my scope. These monetization options make those things a little more possible. As always, I will keep you informed of any changes that come to the site.

- Karen

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