Thomas L. Knapp

Tom Knapp is the publisher of Rational Review.


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Situation Report
by Thomas L. Knapp

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned in the email edition of Rational Review News Digest that its continued publication was not a matter of certainty, and that I'd be conferencing with my fellow editors on or about January 15th to decide whether or not the project was sustainable. Over the course of the last two days, we've discussed that question, and now it's time to come back to our readership with the answer.

The envelope, please ...

Four weeks into the publication of RRND, we have an email subscribership of nearly 1,300. That may not seem like a lot, but it's a pretty good foundation on which to build. Freedom News Daily, the list which we helped Free-Market.Net produce, took five years to build to a circulation of a little more than 8,000. We expect to accomplish that in less than a year.

Since last August, the 'zine portion of Rational Review has thrived as well, ascending in the Alexa ratings from 345,354 to, as of a few minutes ago, 150,124 -- and that's a three month average. For the 16th of January, Rational Review was the 44,351st most popular site on the Internet (according to Alexa -- an imperfect system, but still of some value). We're on track to serve 12,000 unique readers this month -- twice as many as in December.

We're not Yahoo! ... but we're going places.

And we intend to continue.

A friend of mine suggested that I pull an "Oral Roberts" -- tell you that if I don't get a pile of money, Ayn Rand will call me home. I'm not going to go that far, but I am going to once again solicit your financial support.

From January 1-December 22, 2002, I made Rational Review go on total revenues of about $200. That's because it consisted of five editors writing one article per month as their way of contributing to the freedom movement's ongoing discussion.

On December 23rd, things changed. The introduction of Rational Review News Daily meant that three editors committed to putting in 10-20 hours a week, and that I committed "as much time as necessary." In practice, Rational Review is now my full time job. I'm spending 25-30 hours a week on RRND and another 10-20 on the 'zine. I think it's beginning to show, and as things develop it will show even more.

But we can't do it on $200 a year. We can't even do it on the generous donations -- about $800 -- which came in during our first three weeks. We have to find a way to raise $50-60K a year. That will allow me to earn a very minimal living -- less than $20K per annum. It will allow the other three RRND editors to make a decent "side" income. It will allow me to expand the opportunities of the editors to make pocket money from their 'zine contributions.

It will also allow us to make improvements that you'll see with your own eyes. We plan to migrate the site to a faster server with more storage capacity, more included bandwidth and more tools that will let us provide you with better and more comprehensive content. We plan to migrate RRND's email edition to its own majordomo. We're pursuing a partnership with a firm that specializes in discussion forums so that Rational Review can become a center of libertarian dialog, discussion and debate. We're considering issue-centered online symposiums that will focus the attention of the freedom movement on getting things done.

Are you in? We are -- for the long haul.

There are a number of ways you can support Rational Review and RRND.

We accept small, one-time donations via PayPal, E-Gold and Amazon Honor System. See the links on the news page if you care to drop a dollar in the hat.

We're offering premiums -- books by L. Neil Smith and Vin Suprynowicz -- for donations in the $100-$200 dollar range. Click here if you'd like to support us and pick up some great reading material!

Finally, for those on a limited budget who want to offer continuous support, we're offering donor "subscriptions." Via PayPal, we can automatically receive your monthly donation of $5, $10 or $20. Subscribers will also be entitled to occasional premiums as we can provide them (subscribe at any level now and receive a free copy of my e-booklet, Writing the Libertarian Op-Ed). Click here for information on becoming a basic subscriber, supporting subscriber or patron. You can cancel at any time using a convenient button on the same page.

If you'd prefer to support an individual editor's work, there are individual donation and bookstore links here.

Finally, if you have a good or service to advertise, we can offer a very targeted audience -- libertarian readers -- at very affordable rates. Our advertising page is in chaos at the moment, as we are undergoing some format changes, so it's probably best to contact me if you'd like to advertise on the site or the list.

Over the last year, Rational Review has established a track record as a valuable part of the libertarian movement. Over the past four weeks, Rational Review News Daily has stepped in to fill a gap left by the demise of Freedom News Daily. Now it's time to get serious.

Will you help?

Yours in liberty
Thomas L. Knapp
Rational Review