Today, we are officially launching a crowdfunding campaign to help us expand what we can offer you on ThemeParkInsider.com. I know that you've seen plenty of crowdfunding campaigns around the Internet, and that this is not something we have done before. All of our previous expansions — daily blogging, hosting upgrades, paying our front-page writers, publishing our books, going around the nation and world to cover parks — I've paid for out of my own pocket.
But I think that there is demand out there for original, insightful, and truly helpful coverage beyond what we or any other site on the Internet is now providing. And I think the quickest way to get that coverage out there is to ask for help.
Now, I never have believed in asking people to pay for something without providing something better in return, and I am not about to start now. So we are offering some nifty perks to individuals who choose to support our expansion effort. We are running our crowdfunding campaign through Patreon, and for those who contribute at the $5/month level and above, we have created a new class of membership on the website called "Insider."
Insiders get an "Insider" tag underneath their profile picture on all posts on the website. In addition, they get access to a special Insider's page that lists our readers' real-time top 10 rankings in more than a dozen categories, from top roller coasters to top restaurants. And... they also get to read the website ad-free. (Legitimately, and without freeloading!)
Readers who contribute at higher monthly levels get additional perks, including new Theme Park Insider buttons and autographed copies of our Theme Park Insider books. If we get enough supporters, I will put together some special events for our Insiders and other supporters, as well.
All of the money raised through this crowdfunding campaign will go to pay front-page writers so that I can increase our budget for smart, fresh viewpoints to feature on our "Blog Flume" pages. As a professional journalist, I believe that people who take the time and make the effort to write well-informed, thoughtful posts ought to be compensated for their time and effort. And I believe that paying writers helps us to ensure that the posts we read on Theme Park Insider remain thoughtful and well-informed. The more we raise through this campaign, the more we can expand and improve our coverage for everyone.
While I invite of all our readers to help support our site through this Patreon campaign, I would like to make a special appeal to professionals and businesses in the travel and themed entertainment industries. We are trying to offer something that will build informed demand for the industry, creating customers who will get even more enjoyment from their visits. If what we do here at Theme Park Insider is something that you would like to support, please either join our crowdfunding campaign, or contact me directly about sponsorship opportunities. (My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.) We are looking for a handful of companies that would be willing to support the site with a $500 monthly sponsorship in return for reaching our nearly 400,000 unique readers a month.
Finally, if you are not able to make a monthly pledge through Patreon, we would welcome any one-time donation you would be willing to give through our PayPal account.
I would like to thank everyone for being part of the Theme Park Insider community, especially our front-page writers and those who have contributed quietly to the site in the past. I love this community and want to help ensure that it continues to grow and provide the insight and support we all want from it. Thank you in advance for your continued support.
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