(Beth Clifton collage)
What making our first million means
ANIMALS 24-7, in the wee hours of the morning on Sunday, March 26, 2017, reached our one millionth reader, three weeks short of the third anniversary of our online debut on April 12, 2014.
We have no idea who our millionth reader was, or where, or what article attracted him or her, from what nation or even continent. But we do know that by the time we made our first readership check of the day, around dawn, more readers had already checked in than we averaged per day in our first year. We now reach more than 2,000 readers per day, hoping to reach our next million in much less time.
Many other online media, including some specializing in animal issues, have reached one million faster. One of our most prominent quasi-rivals launched, at about the same time we did, with $11.6 million pledged in start-up investment.
We don’t do click-bait
We began ANIMALS 24-7 with next to nothing –– no pledges from anyone, nothing in the bank, just an idea, more than 40 years of experience on animal-related news beats, and the determination to succeed, against all odds, to report the news about animals and humane work that other media tend to ignore, or bury, because it isn’t cheap click-bait or doesn’t suit a sponsor’s agenda.
We didn’t buy “likes,” or “clicks.” We haven’t promoted ridiculous online stunts to attract attention. We have attracted our first million one click at a time, by reporting reliably, accurately, fairly, sometimes with a sense of humor, often directed at ourselves.
We learned recently that the average ANIMALS 24-7 reader spends close to six times as long at our site than the average online news consumer spends at a site, a considerable compliment to the attention spans of our readers.
What that means is that you come to ANIMALS 24-7 to find out what is really going on, in depth, not just to be part of the buzz, and stay to become informed about the animals and issues you really care about.
Thanks are due to thousands of individuals and organizations who have helped us to reach our first one million readers, including the many hundreds who share links to ANIMALS 24-7 articles via social media, our scintillating guest columnists, and those who have posted nearly 3,500 informative comments.
As founder, I must especially appreciate my wife Beth, who arrived very early, when all seemed darkest and most desperate, bringing to ANIMALS 24-7 her social media skills, experience as former mounted police officer, animal control officer, and vet tech, willingness to work all day and all night as needed, and above all else her radiant smile and warmth of presence.
The VITA Charitable Remainder Trust, in particular, helped our small staff to remain on the job full-time for two of our first three years.
And more thanks
The North Shore Animal League America, Direct Mail Systems Inc., and the Humane Farming Association have remained stalwart advertisers, even as others backed out under aggressive organized advocacy pressure. PETA just recently came aboard as an advertiser on a trial basis, we hope to a warm and enthusiastic welcome.
Hundreds of individual donors and some small private foundations have helped us, and indeed are the ANIMALS 24-7 lifeblood.
We should probably also thank our many detractors and adversaries, including the one who sent us an anonymous death threat, also in the wee hours of this morning, shortly after we reached our one millionth reader. As FBI founder J. Edgar Hoover put it, “One is honored by one’s friends, distinguished by one’s enemies. We have become very distinguished.”
Such threats remind us of the importance of what we are doing, and how desperately some people out there want to shut us up, to hide from the news, to live within their own “alternate realities,” prospering from animal and human exploitation.
No pennies from heaven
If one million readers translated into one million pennies per month, our future would be secure. Unfortunately, it has so far translated into less than a third of that, leaving us still struggling constantly (and doing odd jobs when we can find them) to make ends meet.
(Instead of whitewashing truth, which would be much more lucrative, we white-paint ceilings, and then stay up all night to report the news.)
We continue to urgently need your support!
With warmest thanks to all,