What The F*ck Does It Cost To Run This?
The cost of running What The Fuck Just Happened Today isn't free. It's my full-time job and I'm determined to keep this ad-free and sustainable.
Here's a rough estimate of the monthly costs:
Hosting: The site is hosted on Amazon S3 because it's highly scalable, reliable, fast, and generally an inexpensive data storage infrastructure option. I also use CloudFlare to manage my DNS, SSL certificate, and handle caching. Monthly Cost: ~$50
Podcast and Hosting: I use AWS S3 to host the daily podcast and cache the files with AWS CloudFront. I also pay Joe for producing and recording the daily podcast. Although he loves doing it, I strongly feel that people deserve to be compensated for their work. I provide him with a monthly stipend. All-in, it costs me about $1,200 to run the pod. Monthly Cost: ~$1200
S3 Stat: Spending all this money hosting a podcast doesn't mean much if you can't measure it. Using S3 Stat let's me easily understand who is playing what pod on what device. Monthly Cost: $10
Live Chat: I like to engage with the WTF family, so I've installed Chat.io, a livechat widget on the site. Monthly Cost: $10
Site Search: This giant repository of news isn't very valuable if you can't find what you're looking for. I've implemented Algolia, the best instant search option out there. Monthly Cost: $59
Email Service: Oh boy, here's one of the most expensive parts of running the site. I use MailChimp because the ease of use, templating, reporting, and pre-built forms are the best in the business. While there are cheaper options out there, the time-savings is worth it.
MailChimp charges based on the number of subscribers you have AND the number of monthly emails sent. WTFJHT sends more than 2.5M emails/month.
The costs of sending email will continue to go up as WTFJHT grows. MailChimp is an awesome company and they've provided us with a 15% discount. Monthly Cost: At least $800; usually more.
WTF Member Forum: The WTF Member Forum is a community that exists 24/7/365 to discuss the news, coordinate actions, share perspectives, and connect with likeminded people. It's a Discourse community hub, which is amazing, free, and open sourced. It needs to be hosted somewhere, however. The provider of choice is Digital Ocean. Monthly Cost: ~$20
NewsWhip Spike: I recently started using Spike by NewsWhip to help me more quickly source the daily news. Their tool is incredible, but very expensive. They belive in the WTF mission and cut me a deal for access. Monthly Cost: $100
Python Anywhere: I wrote a Python script to help me source the top political news from across the web. I host it on Python Anywhere so I can access it on the go. Monthly Cost: $15
News Subscriptions: Quality journalism ain't free. I have subscriptions to the New York Times, Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal. Monthly Cost: ~$50
Freelancers: Being your own boss is great, but nothing gets done if I take a day off. I hire freelance writers from time to time to help with the WTFJHT when I'm unable to. Monthly Cost: ~$1000
Labor: Here's my conservative daily breakdown in time spent:
- 3-5 hours researching and collecting stories
- 2-4 hours writing and curating the daily post
- 2-3 hours producing the newsletter, setting up the post, cutting images, publishing, troubleshooting, fixing typos
- 1-3 hours community management and distributing to Twitter and Facebook
- 1-4 hours site maintenance, help desk/support, etc
And, since I'm both the writer/editor and web developer running this, let's pretend my salary is the average between the two professions in Seattle, via Glassdoor: News Editor: $63,718. Senior Web Developer: $98,464. Monthly Cost: ($63,718 + $98,464) / 2 = $81,091/year. $6,757
TOTAL MONTHLY COST:
$3,314 (hosting, email, tools, etc.) + $6,757 (labor) = $10,071.
As you can see, nobody is getting rich here. I'm just trying to keep WTF Just Happened Today sustainable and that's why your support is so important. Become a member today.