Who am I? How is the site funded?
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Who am I, why am I doing this?
I am Anup Shah, the editor of this web site. My roots lie in India, via my grandparents—my parents grew up in East Africa. Born in 1974, I grew up in England for 23 years and then got the opportunity to work in the USA for almost four years. In June 2001, I moved back to England.
Living and working in the US was an amazing experience for me. However, I quickly became concerned at what appeared to be rather poor quality mainstream media. International coverage appeared incredibly lacking and when available, very narrow. And so, in mid-1998 this web site (initially just something to do in order to learn about developing web sites!) started.
The mainstream media is one of the most important aspects of a functioning and participatory democracy. It helps us form our views of the world around us, influence our opinion and let us learn about all manner of things we may otherwise never come across. It is incredibly beneficial, but in today’s world it also has real problems. Just as good quality and diverse mainstream media enhances democracy, poor quality and narrow mainstream media can negatively impact democracy.
The next page in this section (link is available below) goes into why I am doing this web site in more depth.
Where does the site’s funding come from?
I maintain this site in my spare time, on my own. This site was started over 10 years ago, mid-1998. I never intended this to be a money generator.
For 10 years I ran the site free of ads and sponsorship. Any costs incurred for web site hosting, subscriptions to services, cost of computer equipment and software were all borne by me, out of my own pocket. I had even been offered donations by a few readers, which was very kind, but I had refused.
However, as of January 2007, I started accepting donations1. A year later, February 2008, I decided that the books mentioned for a long time on my reading list2 page was okay to convert into links to Amazon.com using their affiliate system, whereby a small referral fee is given for any books purchased via those links. It didn’t alter that page in any way and it is potentially useful for readers.
As of October 2008, I have decided to go one step further and start experimenting with advertising on the site.
Putting ads on the site was a big decision for me, given I had resisted for 10 years, and I had spent quite a few weeks thinking about this.
I never expected donations and book referrals to generate much income. It generally helps cover web hosting costs and one or two additional things, which is what I was hoping.
However, if ad revenue is significant this could open up a lot of opportunities for the site. For example it may allow me to afford more complex services and subscriptions that might help me provide better content on the site.
Or, if nothing else, perhaps I can afford more time. I am struggling to find enough spare time to work on the site, and I don’t want to keep working until 2, 3 even 4am at night with my full time work the following morning. I am not as energetic as I was a few years back!
I have decided, for now, not to put ads in very intrusive parts of the site such as in the middle of the page. Instead, I am initially seeing how it goes with ads on most articles I have written myself, and out on the side. Hopefully it doesn’t distract too much.
Has the site indirectly generated additional income for me?
Not at the moment.
Due to the interest in the web site, I have occasionally been asked to write some articles for other publications, and even taken part in some radio interviews. When occasionally offered compensation for articles, I have thus far decided to donate it to a local charity in the country where the article was published, though of course depending on circumstances that may change.
What are my qualifications?
My background is a degree in computer science—not exactly a degree in global issues! The point is that you don’t need to have qualifications to be concerned and want to do something, although you do need the time to sift through a lot of information to understand what is happening!
My aim here is to raise awareness and provide links to more information for people wanting to look deeper into these issues. Most of the links on a given page are to external web sites that provide more detail to the points I raise. There are some 7,000 external links to news articles, research papers and so on, from charity and non-government organizations like Oxfam, Amnesty International, etc. to multinational bodies like the United Nations. Furthermore, as I read more and more books, I am sourcing those as well.
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