Taking a Step Towards Sustainability in 2020

We’ve been thinking long and hard here at The Metropole and the Urban History Association about how to sustain the blog in a way that honors and rewards all of the hard work that our editors and contributors currently do as volunteers. In 2019, we had over 50,000 visitors to the site (an increase of almost 20,000 since 2018). Over 200 readers currently follow the blog via WordPress and email, and our Twitter account now has 2,300 followers. We have built a loyal readership and we are very proud to have put out the high-quality content desired by urban enthusiasts. With the recent acquisition of CityLab by Bloomberg Media (and reports that its already small staff might be halved), The Metropole may be an even more necessary site for critical information about urban life, past and present.

But as we keep growing, we also want to be fair to those who labor for us. We have made the decision to monetize The Metropole and begin using affiliate links on the website. As our affiliate partner, we have chosen Better World Books. Better World Books is a certified B Corp that sells books to fund literacy programs around the world. We encourage you to check out their history, impact, and values.

From here on out you can support the blog by purchasing books via the links embedded on our website—we will be trying to link every book mentioned in a blog post to its purchase page on Better World Books—or by following the link in our right sidebar. We will always include a disclaimer on any post that contains affiliate links, and this info is also on our Blog Policies and Submission Guidelines page.

Until we know how much support we will receive and how much income the affiliate program will generate, it is difficult to know how we can best use the money to pay writers and editors. Our goal is to offer small honorariums to editors and contributors who meet certain qualifications—and to make it transparent to readers, editors, and contributors how decisions are made about who receives payment (and how to qualify). In the coming months we will establish and publish our new policy. We ask for your patience and understanding as we explore and experiment with the process. Please feel free to reach out if you have suggestions or ideas about how we can best accomplish these goals.

In the interim—and perhaps beyond—we will begin including ko-fi links in each post for any editors and contributors who have a ko-fi creator page. Ko-fi is a way to support creators by buying them a cup of coffee (not literally, it’s a cash transaction). We ask readers, if they particularly enjoyed a post or found it helpful, to follow the ko-fi links and support our contributors and editors. You can find more information, and instructions, on our Blog Policies and Submission Guidelines page.

We are excited and proud to be taking this step. Thank you to everyone who has read, recommended, and shouted out The Metropole—because of it, we can begin the process of recognizing and rewarding the labor of everyone who makes the endeavor possible.

This post contains affiliate links. If you end up making a purchase, we may earn a commission on the sale. Thank you for supporting the hard work of writers and editors.

Featured Image: “They signal “Send books” Good books left at the public library will be sent “over there” and to our men in camp everywhere,” The H.C. Miner Litho. Co., 1917. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

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