It's impossible to launch an ad-free online magazine supported only by subscriptions. At least, that's what they told us. They told us to build iPad apps, to print paper copies, to solicit advertisers. But we didn't want to. Years ago, we had a dream of building a website that felt like a magazine to read. That you could read on your phone, or a tablet, or a laptop anywhere with an internet connection. We knew we didn't want ads — we knew we wanted to say horrific things, things like "fuck your stupid advertisements"; we wanted masks, we wanted to make decisions, not marketing compromises.
Major online magazines funded by ads don't break even until they get 100s of thousands of unique visitors — they'll publish whatever it takes to get you to click, and they'll keep you clicking through slideshow after slideshow, quiz after quiz just to get you to load more ads. We don't need 100s of thousands of people to load our pages over and over, we just need a small community of supporters to contribute as little as $3 a month, so we can pay our authors and artists, and spend all of our time improving the look and function of Mask Magazine.
If you think this is a worthwhile experiment, consider doing us a favor. Here are some of the ways you can help us make up for the fact that there aren't any ads on this site:
We were able to build a robust web app, responsive website, and assemble an editorial team in six months for less than most magazines spend on office supplies and coffee in a year. Your subscription will go a long way, and will give you access to all of our feature articles including back issues. Monthly rates are sliding-scale, and start at $2 a month. Less than it would cost to mail you a copy, if we printed it.
78% of our regular visitors first visited our site because of a Facebook post. A portion of those people decided to subscribe and participate in publishing content. We understand that it can be annoying when websites constantly bug you to like them on Facebook. We try to do as little of that as possible, but honestly if getting a subscription isn't a good fit for you right now, liking us on Facebook and sharing our posts with your friends is just as helpful as subscribing.
11% of our regular visitors saw a link in a tweet and visited for the first time. If you use Twitter, please consider following us. If you see something you like, retweet it. You can bet we're up all night trying to put together content that speaks to you — if we've managed to succeed, let us know.
If you like Mask Magazine, chances are your friends will, too. Let people know you've been reading, and what you think. We've set up this super short URL — maskmag.com — to make it easy to remember and pass on.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. It's hard to even remember last year, when we were daydreaming about this project, laying our absurd plans out on a desk made from a door we bought at a wholesale outlet for $3, pinning 3×5 note cards to a wall. We are so enormously grateful for the support we've been shown from around the world as we toss those index cards into the bin one by one, scribble out new, equally absurd dreams, and tack them to our office wall.
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