Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Bit of our Philosophy

I'll post this here to answer a few questions I've received over the past week and to expound upon a few additional topics.

Casefile Clues (both the newsletter and the website) does not include or accept any advertising. There are no image ads, no clickable graphics where I get a commission and no affiliate links on the website. Not one. There are several reasons.
  • Less hassle for me. I do good to get the text, citations, images, and other items put in the newsletter and formatted as it is. Ads would be an additional hassle eating away at my deadline and the revenue wouldn't be worth the frustration.
  • No worries about what advertisers think.
  • Sometimes managing affiliate links is a major pain the rear. I don't need the additional stress. And the amount of traffic necessary to generate significant revenus is quite a bit higher than gets.
  • Less clutter for readers.
  • When I mention a site or a product, it is because I use that product and I felt it did a good job and served the purpose. I don't mention materials that I do not personally use or would not recommend (I've never done that in my lectures either which doesn't always make me popular).
  • I want to focus on good writing that helps readers with their research. I don't want to spend time designing a site/newsletter to maximize ad revenue.
  • I find writing, research, editing, and even the citations a pleasant challenge. Dealing with ads is not a pleasant challenge (Ok, citations are the least pleasant thing to deal with.....I'll be honest).

Because there is no advertising, we do have to charge something. I felt that $15 was a very reasonable price, although I understand that there are some that cannot afford it. However, maintaining the website does cost money and obtaining new items for article content and illustration can't always be done without expense either. And if you watch, there are occasional 10% discounts on subscriptions. And we do have a page where someone can give you a gift subscription to Casefile Clues for the Holidays or any other occasional actually. Casefile Clues is still one of the most affordable newsletters out there.

Because of our low subscription price our marketing budget is virtually $0 as well. Consequently our marketing efforts are low-cost. I appreciate those who have helped to spread the word about Casefile Clues to other genealogists. It does make a difference and has helped. Anyone seeing an opportunity or an idea for helping to get the word out about Casefile Clues is encouraged to send me an email at Having no advertising budget also helps to keep our subscription cost down.

Thanks for all the support, encouragement, and suggestions I have received for Casefile Clues since I began self-distribution in July. I specifically would like to thank Sue Hawes for proofreading me since around issue 4 (my memory isn't quite clear on when she started). That has been a big help and I really appreciate it.

We've made some changes since our first few issues:

  • issues are now sent as PDF files which makes the preservation of formatting much easier
  • citations are now included in every issue
  • illustrations are included in every issue
  • general formatting changes, hopefully for the better
  • working on consistency of design and layout

I'm hoping to include more of the "why" in future articles. Not because I think everyone will agree with me, but because I think it helps to see what someone's thought process is--if for no other reason than to say "I don't agree with that."

Don't forget if you have questions or concerns, I can be emailed at And if you'd like to subscribe to Casefile Clues, you can do so on our site. If you would rather pay with a check/money order, email me for that information.

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