Kickstarter

Upcoming – The Chance to Kickstart the Next Incarnation of The Daily Grail

The Daily Grail has been a go-to resource for anybody interested in topics at the fringes of science and history for more than 15 years (that’s an eternity in internet years). But it’s tired. The interface is getting old and clunky, it doesn’t have all the features a truly great modern site should and doesn’t look so great on mobile devices, and the editors have been busting their humps for years serving the community without too much reward. And so, I’ve decided that right now, it’s time to go hard, or go home.

I want to upgrade The Daily Grail – make it look better, have more content – that is, more top quality content – and streamline it into an even better place for readers to visit. I want more long-form essays on the fascinating topics we discuss. And dagnabbit, I’d even like a podcast. But to do all these things requires a significant investment of both time, and money.

The Daily Grail has always been independent, and I think that’s the only way a site like this can operate – accepting investment from corporate entities and the like is likely to lead to the site’s vision being compromised. TDG has always been ‘by the people, for the people’, and I think that’s the natural way forward. But to go to the next level, the site will require something back from the people.

After going over many scenarios, my suggestion is this: that the site, as is, remains free with all the features it currently has. But that readers are given the chance to become members of the site, and those who do so will experience benefits for their financial support: regular long-form feature articles, also made available as eBook downloads for mobile devices; ad-free reading; monthly prize-draws of collectable swag; discounts off our books; customisable site options etc. Membership would likely be just a few dollars per month, which I think would be a bargain for what is gained in return (compare it to, say, the monthly subscription cost to a newspaper or magazine).

I think it’s an exciting idea. I hope you do too, but maybe you think it’s a horrible idea. So, to judge whether people buy into it, I’ll soon be running a Kickstarter campaign asking for your support to raise some initial capital to help realise the dream. If you’re a keen reader of The Daily Grail and want to see even more quality content, and experience a better interface, then I hope you’ll offer your support. In the meantime, feel free to add your thoughts in the comments.

Stay tuned, and keep a few dollars spare!

Editor
  1. Look at Indiegogo too
    Indiegogo has an option to run a campaign where you get the money (less fees) even if you don’t hit your funding goal. Bombino (a Touraeg guitarist) used Indiegogo to fund a new studio in Agadez. He didn’t hit his goal, but got close enough to build a somewhat less well-equipped studio.

    My guess is that getting at least half your goal would still provide some much needed funding. On Kickstarter, you would get nothing. With Indiegogo, you would get 91% of what you raised.

    Just a thought. I know Kickstarter is the best known platform, but Indiegogo is up there and might be a better fit.

    Good luck. Whatever you do, I’ll be a supporter.

    1. All or nothing
      [quote=smmoulder]My guess is that getting at least half your goal would still provide some much needed funding. On Kickstarter, you would get nothing. With Indiegogo, you would get 91% of what you raised.[/quote]

      Thanks for the comments, really appreciate the input. I have already used IndieGogo, to help fund the writing of my book ‘Stop Worrying! There Probably is an Afterlife’, because that model fitted perfectly – I was writing the book no matter what, and appreciated any support I could get. It turned out that we made the funding goal anyhow, just, but the book was always going to be written at some point regardless.

      This new incarnation of The Daily Grail though, I think, will require a certain threshold if it’s going to go ahead. It can’t just make a few thousand dollars, not enough even to fund the redevelopment of the web design, because then I won’t be able to fulfill what I’m promising to those who support the site. So in this case, I think, Kickstarter is probably the best bet – not just because of the ‘all or nothing’ aspect, but because of that platform’s popularity.

      So the aim is to work out how much it’s going to cost to make the next incarnation of The Daily Grail, and set that as the threshold that we need to meet. If we don’t get there, then maybe there’s not enough support for the site to make it viable into the future. If we do get there, and beyond, we can have stretch goals where extra levels of funding bring new features to the site (or make future subscription price to the site lower).

  2. I’m in.
    I do love the site and have been popping in a few times a week for years but it could use a bit of a makeover. Count me in, just point me in the right direction 😉

    1. Yay!
      [quote=bassius]I do love the site and have been popping in a few times a week for years but it could use a bit of a makeover. Count me in, just point me in the right direction ;)[/quote]

      Appreciate the voice of support, thanks for taking time to add a comment! 😀

  3. Death or Glory!
    I first found the site in 1999 or 2000 and have checked it most days since then, with the occassional donation when the collection plate has been passed around. I already pay for a couple of sites I use, and would definitely subscribe to TDG and hopefully be able to put something into a kickstarter.

    Michael

    1. Cheers!
      [quote=supernaturalist]I first found the site in 1999 or 2000 and have checked it most days since then, with the occassional donation when the collection plate has been passed around. I already pay for a couple of sites I use, and would definitely subscribe to TDG and hopefully be able to put something into a kickstarter.

      Michael[/quote]

      Cheers Michael! Appreciate your ongoing support of the site.

      Also, saw your username wasn’t on the ‘trusted user’ list for some reason, so have added it – this will help avoid annoying anti-spam measures when posting in future.

  4. Hope internet users have changed
    About 10 years ago I wrote at a site called GuitarNoise which was pretty big for the day. Although mainly a guitar site, we expanded into songwriting, reviews, interviews, etc. We were at a similar level to the Daily Grail. It was difficult for us to continue without funding. Kickstarter didn’t exist at the time, so that wasn’t an option. From the experience of other websites, charging for membership would likeley have brought a 90% + drop in readership.

    We tried various options, with readers telling us how much they liked us and would support us. The basic fact is when people come to a fee website to get something, they won’t start paying for it (in most cases). They will either turn to another free website (of lesser quality) or pay for a website that’s always charged a fee (the thinking being that a site that always charged always had better quality articles, although that’s far from the truth). The basic reality is that people want a free internet and they want everything on it to be free (that’s why they illegally download music, films, books, photos, etc.) Until that whole mentality changes, it will continue to be very hard to produce high-quality content without corporate support.

    From the team we were, only one remains active today and the site stats have gone down incredibly since those days. So I think your reasoning makes a whole lot of sense. If readers really want to keep TDG significant, they should pay upfront and support it. You can’t keep putting in this level of contributions for free, that simply won’t work. I understand and appreciate the amount of work involved in a site like this, unfortunately, there are the realities of the net and of its less-than-loyal users.

    I wish you all the best. For my part, I will support a kickstarter option (I did buy the book, so that should say something). And I sincerely hope the readers of this site will give a damn.

    1. Thanks AJ
      Thanks, you pretty much covered the whole scenario that I battle with constantly – how to provide a quality service when there is no real income. Partial ways of doing it so far have been (a) putting advertising banners on the site and (b) producing separate products (ie. books) that do earn income, but the result of that is a site that gets more cluttered with non-content, and a lack of time to work on the site because you’re always working on books to try and keep the site running.

      The ‘free internet’ thing is certainly a hurdle to overcome, but in the end there’s no quantifiable difference between paying for an ebook or paying for a subscription to a website that reproduces that exact same content (and offers more advantages besides). It’s more a mindset that needs to be overcome.

      1. I agree
        It is a mindset that needs to be changed. It’s the same reason people aren’t paying for music or films or photos or… Best of luck, I sincerely hope the site will conntinue operating. Personally, I’ll do what I can; it’s all I can do.

  5. Little Original Content
    If TDG had mostly original fringe content from sources that it was difficult to get content from and/or allowed interaction with the researchers involved, it would be something I’d pay for.

    As it is currently TDG is mostly a news feed, aggregating often mainstream science from *free* mainstream sources. Sure there’s interesting stuff, and once in a while *very* interesting stuff, but I don’t see much of “you can only get it here.” Which is okay when it’s a free resource, but not something I’d be likely to pay for.

    1. Content
      [quote=pov]If TDG had mostly original fringe content from sources that it was difficult to get content from and/or allowed interaction with the researchers involved, it would be something I’d pay for.

      As it is currently TDG is mostly a news feed, aggregating often mainstream science from *free* mainstream sources. Sure there’s interesting stuff, and once in a while *very* interesting stuff, but I don’t see much of “you can only get it here.” Which is okay when it’s a free resource, but not something I’d be likely to pay for.[/quote]

      Well that’s kind of the point…to get quality content/original content takes either (a) a fair few work hours in researching and writing or (b) money, to pay for someone to do it. Still much to be decided, but I have also contemplated perhaps having as a membership reward the ability to take part in interactive ‘forums’ with well-known names. I need to do more research though on the logistics of setting that sort of thing up, costs involved, researchers who are interested in participating.

      So all good points.

  6. How EXCITING!
    WooHooo! A Podcast!!! This site is, and has been, my first stop in the morning. It is where I drink my coffee and greet the day. The new and improved Grail will provide an even more fabulous start to my days! Imagine that!!! I am sooooo IN!

    1. Thank Kathy
      [quote=Kathy]WooHooo! A Podcast!!! This site is, and has been, my first stop in the morning. It is where I drink my coffee and greet the day. The new and improved Grail will provide an even more fabulous start to my days! Imagine that!!! I am sooooo IN![/quote]

      And you are one of our favourites Kathy! 😀

  7. Sorry Greg…
    Although I like popping up every other day or so and supported TDG by buying all the Dark Lore editions AND your book, I’m overstretched on the Fortean monetary support thingy nowadays.

    Nobody can support every single fortean websites/blogs one comes across. I thought that’s the whole thing about the net, I support some that I visit most often, some others visit them and support other websites like TDG that I visit. I donated to over 50 Fortean websites over the years and tried to purchase what I felt like worthy from them to give them a hand (the small guys, like TDG’s Dark Lore), have monthly membership in a bunch of Fortean podcasts, but the yearly discretionary budget is gone in my case.

    I wish you all the best with TDG 3.0, Mate, and hope you don’t take it the wrong way. Can’t contribute without choking someone else.

    Cheers

    1. Understood
      [quote=Sagittarius]Although I like popping up every other day or so and supported TDG by buying all the Dark Lore editions AND your book, I’m overstretched on the Fortean monetary support thingy nowadays.

      Nobody can support every single fortean websites/blogs one comes across. I thought that’s the whole thing about the net, I support some that I visit most often, some others visit them and support other websites like TDG that I visit. I donated to over 50 Fortean websites over the years and tried to purchase what I felt like worthy from them to give them a hand (the small guys, like TDG’s Dark Lore), have monthly membership in a bunch of Fortean podcasts, but the yearly discretionary budget is gone in my case.

      I wish you all the best with TDG 3.0, Mate, and hope you don’t take it the wrong way. Can’t contribute without choking someone else.

      Cheers[/quote]

      Understood, and definitely haven’t taken it the wrong way. As mentioned in the original post, the plan would be to continue offering the same service for free, just with a membership option for those who see value in it.

      Appreciate your support in the past! (though please don’t just buy our books to support us, only if you enjoy them and get something out of them)

  8. Will not support you due to your pushing the pro-vaccine agenda
    Greg,

    I have been following this site for many years–so long that I don’t recall the beginning.

    I have contributed funds in the past to support the site.

    You should know that your recent support for the pro-vaccine agenda has alienated me in a huge way. I’m actually quite surprised that researchers in the alternative areas have not looked into this issue and come to a different conclusion.

    I’m not going to debate this issue here, but I want to point out that this website has posted some pro-vaccine articles (along with supportive allusions from this website), and (unless I have missed it), it has not posted even one update or representation for anti-vaccine articles.

    This is your site, and you can take whatever positions that you want. But, I want to respectfully, and firmly, let you know that I will NOT contribute any funds to this site when it takes this position and actively pushes it.

    I’m sure that your readers are split on this issue, reflecting the overall society. I would advise you to take a neutral stance in terms of the website, or else you will alienate people on both sides of this issue.

    Until the website gets a clearer mission, and resolves these kinds of issues, I would suggest that you not consider asking for donations. You certainly will not get anything from me.

      1. Response regarding the Daily Grail pro-vaccine position
        Actually, I did see that post in the News Briefs, and it is one of the examples to which I am referring.

        This comes across to me as an example of the Daily Grail pro-vaccine slant. It comes across to me as a chance to show that Jenny McCarthy is not anti-vaccination, and that she should be criticized even further for any anti-vaccine ideas that she has ever expressed. There is no intent on being balanced in this post. Both of those articles are pro-vaccine. This is a pro-vaccine piece that is emphasized by adding another pro-vaccine piece.

        Perhaps there are some Daily Grail posts regarding this issue that are truly anti-vaccine, but I have not seen any. Again, I have not read every single post, and admit that I may have missed some. But, I have certainly noticed posts such as this one that you have mentioned, and they have all been pro-vaccine.

        So, I must respectfully disagree with your response.

        1. Pro-vaccine piece

          Both of those articles are pro-vaccine.

          One of those was written by McCarthy herself! If you feel that’s pro-vaccine, then clearly she was the WRONG spokesperson for that movement, since she never managed to make her point of view known.

          And the reason I chose to include that link, was because despite my personal opinion on how she’s conducted herself in the public arena with regards to this issue, I very much agree with her when she says we should never dismiss the ‘gray zones’ instead of the current trend to polarize every public argument to black & white. That I can respect, and IMHO it goes along with what I think is TDG’s policies to choose the excluded middle side.

    1. Vive la difference!
      [quote=Luke Skywalker]You should know that your recent support for the pro-vaccine agenda has alienated me in a huge way[/quote]

      Excellent. If there’s one thing I strive to do, it’s challenge people’s beliefs, and hopefully offend them or alienate them in some manner. Hopefully there isn’t a reader on this site who agrees with everything we post each day.

      [quote]Until the website gets a clearer mission, and resolves these kinds of issues, I would suggest that you not consider asking for donations. You certainly will not get anything from me.[/quote]

      Your stance is noted. But that’s the whole point of the Kickstarter. If people dislike the site and/or it’s direction, it won’t be supported and I’ll know it’s time to close the doors and go do something that helps feed my kids. If there is support, then those who back the Kickstarter get a reward, I get to make a seriously awesome site, and you still get to read the ‘free’ version, same as always (or not, if you have come to dislike the site to that point). Everybody wins.

  9. Better is the Enemy of Good Enough
    Hi Greg,

    There’s nothing wrong with the current TDG. You’ve got a solid viewership and are making a valuable contribution to the world. No need to adopt an “all or nothing” mentality. I certainly understand your frustration. I found it impossible to do research and also maintain a public web forum. Now that I’m retired and have the time for both, I still can’t “do it all.”

    Take a sabbatical if you need to recharge. Or take a low-risk fund raising approach. Also, why not accept corporate sponsorship if you want to take a big next step. Fringe topics are becoming more mainstream and of greater corporate interest. The timing is right to surf that wave, but go with a proven business model.

    -Charles

    1. All or nothing
      [quote=Charles Pope]There’s nothing wrong with the current TDG. You’ve got a solid viewership and are making a valuable contribution to the world. No need to adopt an “all or nothing” mentality. I certainly understand your frustration. I found it impossible to do research and also maintain a public web forum. Now that I’m retired and have the time for both, I still can’t “do it all.”[/quote]

      Hi Charles,

      It’s more than possible that if the Kickstarter didn’t achieve it’s goals then the site would continue on. But I’d have to pull-back a long way on my financial and commitment to the site, or perhaps even remove myself altogether, because what I’m contributing now is not sustainable with a family of 3 children to support.

      If it comes to that, nothing to mourn, it’s been a hell of a ride. Otherwise, if get funded, the ride just gets more fun.

  10. love it!
    I think I’ve been reading this site since it started and I for one would be happy to be a NEW MEMBER for the NEW site! I always thought it would be nice to have a DAILY GRAIL YOUTUBE CHANNEL as well, if you that that idea.

    1. Aye, video FTW!
      [quote=ice9melting]I think I’ve been reading this site since it started and I for one would be happy to be a NEW MEMBER for the NEW site! I always thought it would be nice to have a DAILY GRAIL YOUTUBE CHANNEL as well, if you that that idea.[/quote]

      Your username sure does go back to the very beginning, and boy are you hard to keep quiet! 😉

      Have added your username to the trusted username list, so if you comment again in another 10 years time you won’t have to deal with annoying anti-spam measures…

      A video channel would be awesome. Being in Australia has made things tough…I’ve often thought if I lived in the UK or the States, I could have some fun visiting researchers and conferences and doing some good sit-down interviews. Maybe if the Kickstarter is funded I can employ someone to do this for me?

  11. This and that
    Look, you will see many comments on this page saying “Yes time for an upgrade” or “No I don’t like change” or apparently “I don’t like what you said therefore you can suck it,” but as a designer, I always encourage owners of websites to upgrade every few years if possible. The New Age is here and it has an iPhone. You make a very good point that this site is hard to navigate with mobile devices. The company I work for is actually in the process of upgrading there tired old (going on 3 years) looking website to a new one. Ours took almost a full year and a half to set up though, with all of our features and a new app. Maybe you should consider making a TDG app using the celtic knot (is that what it is?) logo at the top. That would be sweet.

    Any who, I now work 2 jobs to make ends meet, but I will still continue to donate to TDG when the funds come in. I hope TDG continues for many many more years, despite the haters and whiners (and occasional trolls), I quite enjoy this journey. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a conference to attend over Ouija board, and apparently Aristotle is going to be there so it’s going to be a long night of bitching and moaning 😉

    1. Vaccinating Against Obsolescence
      Yes, everyone should have the inalienable right to a free extreme web makeover every three years.

      But, is the world really not free until TDG is available to everyone on-the-go? I survived on only cell phone Internet for six months. It’s possible but not very comfortable, even on my HTC with retractable full QWERTY keyboard.

      Where does one best invest their time, money and emotional capital? Beats me! I’m feeling more than a little stupid for investing so much of my life on alternative studies. It was never my dream to exist on the fringe. But when you find yourself there, don’t you still hope that you are on to something big and that eventually the rest of the world will catch on? In other words, isn’t the goal to eventually transition from fringe to mainstream? Ok, I concede that some like it on the fringe, but enough is enough for me.

      Good luck with your decision Greg.

    2. Appt comment
      [quote=LastLoup]Maybe you should consider making a TDG app using the celtic knot (is that what it is?) logo at the top. That would be sweet. [/quote]

      I have considered that previously, but in the end the issues come down to (a) which platform(s) do you support, and which do you ignore, and (b) how much ongoing maintenance is an app going to be, to sort bugs, deal with OS upgrades and so on?

      My thinking lately is more along the lines of building a responsive website design that scales to whatever size it’s being viewed on. I think that serves everyone better, and with developments in HTML5, JS and so on I think the web is becoming more an ‘app’ every year anyhow.

      Thanks for your support Lastloup, and always enjoy seeing your comments to the news briefs!

      1. app
        We thought that too at my company. It ended up supporting the latest iPhone and iOS version (at the time 4G) so yours would probably support 5 and up. In our case we didn’t get a choice as the company who designed it for us automatically had it uploaded for the most recent phones available. For the most part it doesn’t affect too many people because many of us upgrade our phones every 2 years or so.

        Any way, yes focus now on your website now so that in time if you do get an app you will already have a smashing site to go with it.

  12. great fan
    I am a great fan of TDG and I hope it will continue on its journey into the unknown. But certain things will have to be addressed, in particular the lay-out and the design, which can be a real turn-off for newcomers. I think the podcast is a great idea, and I would have no problem paying for it.

    Johan Groenendijk, Holland

  13. Count me in mate
    cant wait to see what you come up with hey. and more than happy to support my Daily Addiction.
    Great read on the Hancock tour, really nice to see he still recognised you too 🙂
    Fingerprints was where lots of things came together for me and also led me to find TDG back in 99-00 or so… and even led to finding a copy of Hamlets Mill in a place called Lyon,Missouri …synchronicity plus!
    Love ya work Greg

  14. podcast?
    Did he just say podcast? Thats an easy way to get money out of me! The minute you join the likes of Coast to Coast and Mysterious Universe will be the daybi happily pull my wallet out.

  15. Kickstarter
    I just discovered TDG about a year ago, but love it intensely. I would definitely pay for a membership version and contribute to a kickstarted campaign. I mostly explore the news aggregation, but I definitely feel I discover things there I would not find, or would not easily find, most other places.

    To me, among much else, this is a site of depth. It is hard to find real, sustained depth that is also discerning, has an edge, a sense of humor, and is open-minded. I feel TDG is all of that and more.

    Sites I (happily) pay for are Mysterious Universe and Integral Life, and I think TDG is in that range of quality in content.

    There are several sites that I really want to love, I’m interested in what they explore, etc, but honestly very often the production values are so bad I just can’t take it, and I eventually I stop going there. Or their advertising is so overbearing I don’t think the ratio of ads endured / content enjoyed bears continuing, etc. So I just hope that you do expand into a podcast, but that it sounds good. I SO appreciate that Mysterious Universe pays attention to production quality *and* content quality. Not everything has to sound that good (it’s a lot of work) but at least caring enough to not have really distracting production values is a big help.

    Money-wise, it’s tough, when you are site focused on depth. Because depth, by nature, is usually not also widely ‘popular’. In my experience (I’m an artist) it’s a constant struggle between financial viability and integrity of the vision.

    TDG is one of finest places on the net for really interesting and unique perspectives on perennial and modern subjects in spirituality. With funding I think it could become even better.

    It’s so sad to me that this almost has to be justified somehow. Like, it needs to be explained to people that this amazing content has value that should be supported with funding. I’m not saying you’re presenting it that way, it’s just weird to me that this is even a conversation that needs to take place.

    This site, to me, is what it’s all about. It’s engaged in the most meaningful and enigmatic facets of human enterprise. Why should it receive anything less than our full, exuberant support in every way? We vote with money, basically, these days. I vote for this site, and others like it. I vote for depth.

    I’m in. And I hope you get rich from it, and that sites of this quality multiply, and the economy re-orients toward the value of depth and human development.

  16. supporting the grail
    I’ve been following TDG for well over a decade now and it is my daily news fix. i just want to add my support for this and will certainly be happy to make a contribution when and if a kickstarter emerges.

    cheers Paolo

  17. why, just a couple days ago i
    why, just a couple days ago i was scouring the site looking for the link for to send you money.

    i’m a self employed artist (small art/curiosity shop in montreal) but i visit here and i like the folks writing and i hope to one day write a bit also.

    i figure, heck, let me send these folks a few bucks (not much – relax;)

    well, i couldn’t find that donation feature but now i see this so the cosmos is unfolding as it should.

    say when (and where) and you’ll get a bit of my cash.

    keep up the good work.

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