Ad-Free Subscription Option of WOLF STREET? I Need Feedback. And the San Francisco WOLF STREET Meetup Photos Are Here

On February 18, I wrote Why WOLF STREET is Still Free and Not Behind a Paywall Though You Have to Put Up with Ads and I Make (Maybe) Less Money. Readers posted a record 315 comments, expressed a huge amount of heart-warming support, and made many excellent suggestions.

I have implemented some of the suggestions, including making the donation button more visible (it was nearly impossible to find on mobile) and adding the “Email to a friend” button under the title.

There was one suggestion that many people have made and supported but that isn’t all that easy to implement: Creating an optional ad-free version of WOLF STREET. Readers would be able to access it by paying some annual subscription fee. This ad-free version would have the same articles and charts but without the silly, intrusive, distracting ads.

The ad-free subscription option.

There are some problems with this idea of an ad-free subscription option, including the issue of duplicate content that search engines frown upon. Most of those problems can be worked around. But there is one big issue that we have not been able to find a good solution to: There can only be one comment section, and it must always be available to everyone.

So here is the idea that my developer and I have come up with, and I need to hear from readers who would like to use the ad-free subscription option to see if this even works for you:

All content would remain free on the ad-supported site, and everyone would still be able to use it as now.

An ad-free option would be delivered via email on a subscription basis.

The ad-free version would be emailed once a day and would contain all articles and charts I published since the last email went out.

But it wouldn’t have comments... The emailed version would not contain any comments and would not allow the recipient to comment.

A button to click at the bottom of the article would take the subscriber from the ad-free version in the inbox to the WOLF STREET website, but directly to the top of the comment section. This would bypass the article and some of the ads, but there would still be ads in the comments section.

In other words: To read the comments or post a comment, subscribers would have to leave the serene ad-free environment they paid for so dearly and return to the hurly-burly world of ad-supported content, though they would skip the article itself and some of the ads and head straight to the top of the comment section, where they might still encounter some ads.

To get an idea how this would work, click on this sample button, which will take you to the top of the comments of the February 18 article:

There are other functionalities that are only available on the ad-supported site and will not be available in the emailed ad-free version. This includes all prior articles and searching the site for prior articles.

Also, any links in the emailed article will take you to either the external websites or to articles on the ad-supported version of WOLF STREET, and you’ll have to do hand-to-hand combat with ads once you get there.

Also, if you’re using a free email service, such as Yahoo, that serves its own ads, you will continue to get those ads, but they just won’t be my ads.

How much moolah are we talking about?

I’m currently thinking $60 for a 12-month subscription, payable in one payment.

I need your feedback on this compromise

This is for people who hate ads. But it’s not perfect. The content is the same for both the public and the ad-free version. But it’s a compromise because there can only be one comments section, and it must remain public.

Also this is probably not for readers who use an ad-supported email service because they will get ads anyway, just not WOLF STREET ads.

Readers interested in the ad-free version of WOLF STREET, please let me know in the comment section below if this compromise would work for you. Even if you have never posted a comment before, and would never post a comment as a matter of principle, please make an exception: just fill in any name and an email address, and let me know what you think about this ad-free version.

Photos from the San Francisco WOLF STREET Meetup

I had a blast at the WOLF STREET meetup in San Francisco on April 30, at the maker-space SHARED. Thank you, everyone, for coming. And thank you for all the help I got from numerous people who helped me set this up and who brought so much beer and wine.

It was great to exit the realm of the Internet for a moment and meet the awesome people who read our articles and write comments, or who skip our articles entirely and just read the comments.

Bernadette, who helped with many things, including making the wonderful guest book and getting everyone to sign it, also took the photos – the only problem being that now we don’t have a photo of Bernadette! I forgot all about that in the heat of the battle. I would have loved to have a photo of her in the collection of photos of the event. Lesson learned….

The sign on the front door, by Kitten Lopez:

Kitten Lopez making beautiful name tags on the spot as people come in:

Signing the guest book and posting a paper-and-pen comment:

The name tags:


The tall guy in the photo below is Steve who instantly became famous in the comment section when he announced that he would ride his motorcycle over to the meetup — from the East Coast!

It took him four days. He said he followed my advice (posted as a reply to his comment) and took the southern route, which added a lot of miles, but it beats getting caught up in a snowstorm while trying to cross the Rockies, including the Sierra Nevada, in late April. We’re so glad Steve made it!

I was delighted to meet Nicole, the only or first paraplegic dentist in the US, and she has been practicing for 20 years (forgive me if I remember this incorrectly), along with her parents Christa and Gary.


Moi, jaws working full speed.

OK, maybe what I said didn’t come out right…

Our great artist and iconic commenter…

From left to right: Fred Heidler, Aaron, and Alex Olaru – three of the volunteers, bringing large amounts of beer and wine, along with ice and coolers! Fred and Alex also helped me sort through possible venues.

“I’m a little concerned. Is Wolf ever going to grow up?”

“Hmm, excellent question….”


Enjoy reading WOLF STREET and want to support it? You can donate. I appreciate it immensely. Click on the beer and iced-tea mug to find out how:

Would you like to be notified via email when WOLF STREET publishes a new article? Sign up here.

  132 comments for “Ad-Free Subscription Option of WOLF STREET? I Need Feedback. And the San Francisco WOLF STREET Meetup Photos Are Here

  1. AV8R says:

    5 Bucks a month is ridiculously cheap. But I’ll just keep reading the ad site and send you 50 Bucks at Christmas.

    • curiouscat says:

      AV8R – Those were exactly my thoughts.

      Plus, these comments are some of the best and most well written on the internet so I’d always go to free version. Regulars are informative and insightful. I especially like Petunia, altho I don’t always agree with her.

      Alternate idea: about once a quarter, or twice a year, make a blatent pitch for contributions, like NPR. The beer mug is nice but my experience working in advertising tells me you occasionally need something a little more intrusive.

      Wolf, I love your work.

  2. alex in san jose AKA digital Detroit says:

    Rather send $5 a month to the ACLU

    • New Jersey Guy says:

      Today’s ACLU is nothing compared to the 1970’s version…send your money to Wolf

      • alex in san jose AKA digital Detroit says:

        No. ACLU is doing really, really good work.

        I am Teh Whitemans’s worse nightmare: a turncoat.

  3. Dano says:

    Very fair price but the ads on the side do not bother me at all as they are stationary and not distracting…

    • alex in san jose AKA digital Detroit says:

      Same here. I try to click on them; I want to buy Japanese clothing called samue when the weather cools, so I get ads for that and click on them.

      Neema probleema.

  4. GWorld says:

    Wolf, take a look how this other website that has a paid and free section deals with comments from premium and non-premium members. Scroll to the bottom to see how they handle comments:

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Thanks, GWorld, but it seems they’re doing exactly what I refuse to do: split the comment in two, one section for “Premium Comments” and one for for the rest.

  5. R F PATTON says:

    I have an ad blocker. I am an 80 something widower on a limited income. My big purchase is groceries. I am not a prospective customer for any contemporary products. I do not read many of your articles as they are irrelevant. If I had to pay for your site, my fingers would rush to the discontinue button. This response is not a opinion of your work but what is relevant to me. You asked for a response, so here it is.

  6. Short of having ads that just know when to display, this sounds like a great solution. Or maybe you can make us all mine Bitcoin for you while we read ?

  7. Javert Chip says:


    Sorry I missed the 2019 soiree (got 2 root canals instead); assume there will be a 2020 and and I’m planning on being there (only have so many teeth).

    Feedback re subscription & ads:

    o Wolf Street is a quality site & I intend to give financial support; I donated $100 this year & will do the same in future years (as of now, there is only 1 other website I pay/donate for)

    o I would rather chew my arm off than wade thru ads so I use AdBlocker

    o Quality articles are the prime attraction, but close behind is the high-quality comment section – I DO NOT WANT TO LOSE TIMELY & INTERACTIVE ACCESS TO COMMENTS


    • Wolf Richter says:

      Thank you — and thank you to all readers who have donated. I totally understand why readers use ad blockers, and I immensely appreciate it when readers who use ad blockers help keep the “free content” business model alive by donating.

  8. GrassRanger says:

    Thanks for the opportunity to comment. I will not subscribe but I will probably continue to donate a few bills by mail occasionally.

  9. Francois L. says:

    I was not able to share this moment in time, but know that your applauding readers cheer the moment.

  10. David says:

    Hey Wolf, did you see this? Some group put together a list of 515 “unreliable” websites they are seeking to get banned. You are number 507 on the list. Web censorship is going to a growing problem.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Thanks. I removed the link because I don’t want to promote garbage sites such as those that concoct these blacklists with which they’re trying to get media attention.

      • Wolf Richter says:

        Ha, I just read that this organization was forced to pull its blacklist after the ensuing backlash and was forced to apologize for having published this piece of garbage.

        • Howard Fritz says:

          Why would anyone try to pull this marvelous site from the internet?

        • Panamabob says:

          After following you since the “Pit” days and reading over a thousand articles I see no reason your site should have been included in the 515 list.
          A couple possibilities come to mind:
          1-Due to your occasional article published on Zero Hedge you maybe a victim of guilt by association.
          2-Someone sees you as a threat from you shining a light on their shenanigans and has the influence or money to place you on the 515,…PT Musk perhaps.
          Wolf, keep shining!

        • yngso says:

          Yes, but censorship has begun to creep in. FB and Twitsphere execs have been summoned to DC and had to sit there and grovel. However Google refused to go, and they’re still in business, so I guess 1984 isn’t imminent.

        • ArcticChickens says:

          Well Howard, going against the mainstream narrative about the state of the economy is in some ways verboten these days. At least that’s how it seems to me.

        • RagnarD says:

          Moneyed interests such as:
          Elon Musk, Tesla backers.
          Uber backers,
          International realtors,
          Major Banks,
          Bitcoin pumpers,
          GMs accounting department,
          etc etc

  11. Igor says:

    Hey Wolf!
    You are using WordPress, so I don’t really see the problem here.
    1. You can use plugin like Paid Memberships Pro.
    2. Show ads/content/comments to all the users
    3. Show only content/comments to logged in users (paid members has login and password)

    • Josh says:

      I was also thinking of something along those lines. You could also do the poor man’s version and send out a link with a query string parameter like to the people that pay and have them bookmark that. Of course you would have to trust that people won’t leak that but there is already a free site, people can already use ad blockers and the readers of this site don’t seem like the people who would leak this out. Wolf, I really think your developer can come up with a simpler solution for you.

    • yngso says:

      Then why not use the WordPress comments section, which is excellent? It sends us notifications about new comments and replies.

    • Olivier says:

      That is what I was go8ing to suggest, too. It is very easy to filter out ads if you make subscribers (and only them) log in. What exactly is your (or your developer’s) problem with that, Wolf?

  12. Xypher2000 says:

    my 2 cents, have an overview of the topic and keeps it free with ads and commentary of the free users to talk amongst themselves.have a paid subscription service that mis the in depth version of the topic and where the users can comment and get interaction from you.

  13. RW says:

    I am fine with the way it is now with a few ads, I enjoy reading the comments.

  14. Sir Gaga says:

    I’ve subscribed to tons of stuff over the years, but I have to say that Wolf Street has found a niche and has become an extremely unique and valuable site. Unlike the hodgepodge of business and non-business stories found in the WSJ and Bloomberg, WS is the only one that consistently gives an overview, analysis, and summary of the big economic issues, especially real estate. So, for some quick ideas:

    1. Give people a monthly subscription option, since many drive-bys will be too uncertain to pay for a year.
    2. Set the price at $10 per month, or $96 if paid for the year. ($96 is $8/mo., or $2 per week. Which is less than a cup of coffee!) If any business minded person even considers whether a cup of coffee is more valuable than a week of WS, we’ve got problems.
    3. Keep the ads in, but make them about 50% smaller.
    4. Be very selective on accepting ads, and make sure they relate to business, real estate, etc. And are well designed. Good, relevant ads can be a benefit to readers. So you may need to farm out ad sales.
    5. Like Bloomberg’s site, give all readers the headline and a few paragraphs. And the “read more” option is available only to subscribers.
    6. Like Bloomberg, let non-subscribers read about 3 articles per month free. It’s the “puppy dog” technique to get subscribers.
    7. Keep the comments as is and readable by everyone, but only allow comments to be made by subscribers (like the NYT and WaPo.)
    8. Go to an online freelancer site to get a programmer to design all this. They’re cheap, as they work by the job.

    • Ronnie Bell says:

      $60 bucks for one read x by 6 other web sites. Never going to happen.
      Six top quality sites of non fake news rolled in to $60 bucks subscription would get the punters in.
      Only so much,” slowmow train wreck, USA,” for the average human unit to endure.
      Couple of thousand subscribers and all six make a quid.
      10% of something beats 100% of nothing.

  15. Frank says:

    I run an ad blocker all the time. You ,however you are one of a handful of sites that I whitelist. I would probably not sign up for a subscription, but will happily donate money to keep you going.

  16. Howard Fritz says:

    The price is very inexpensive, on an aside would the paid content be sent as a pdf or an article within the email itself?

    • Wolf Richter says:

      The idea is to send it in the email itself. So once you open the email, you can read the article. This requires that your email is set up to allow images or else the charts won’t appear. But this is easy to do in most email systems and is usually the default setup.

      • Joe says:

        This is silly. Follow the advice above and use a plugin to allow members to log into this site to hide the ads. Same site, same articles, same comments, same unified experience… except that the members don’t see ads.

        Allow everyone to sign up for weekly email digests, wherein you provide links to the new articles of the week and remind people to come back to the site. Eventually you’ll have thousands of readers’ email addresses, which along with IP addresses would allow you to start organizing local meetings around the world.

  17. chloe says:

    how did i miss the san francisco meet-up? do you have to pay $60 to be invited?

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Not sure how you missed it. We would have loved to meet you. It was free, and beer and wine were free too, and more than plentiful, and I posted three articles about it ahead of time, including a final reminder two days before.

      For future use, you can sign up for the free email reminders I send out when we publish something new. It contains the title, subtitle and link to the article. It’s not fancy but it works. You’ll never miss another thing. You can sign up for it at the bottom of this article (under the photos but before the comments).

  18. Bill says:

    The Ad Free would be more of a hassle than the current system with ads.
    A reminder to donate would bring money from me.
    The articles plus the comments is the attraction of WolfStreet.

  19. flashlight joe says:

    Unlike some other sites, I have never found your advertisements to be intrusive, annoying, or in bad taste.

  20. Bobber says:

    In my opinion, the comments are as valuable as the article content. I would prefer to pay a subscription fee (in the ballpark mentioned) with access to comments, or continue with free access and ads.

    I think a site can be set up so that any ad blockers have to be turned off to access the site. I’ve seen this quite a bit lately. Maybe this would generate more ad revenue for the site without having to change much.

    • bungee says:

      I like this idea. I don’t mind the ads at all.
      I’d pay for a subscription but i fear the comment section wouldn’t be as interesting (trolls are an unfortunate necessity IMO).
      That being said, at the meetup Wolf revealed to us what he has to go through regarding the comment section and it is bad. So I totally understand doing whatever needs to be done.

  21. Bobber says:

    As a fellow rider, I have to salute Steve. Riding 3,000 or so from the Eastern US to San Francisco is quite a trek. That’s about 600-800 miles per day in the saddle. I don’t think I’ve ever done more than 500 in a day without crying.

    • Steve says:

      Thank you for your compliment. I’m on my way back to PA as of this writing.

      • kitten lopez says:

        i think of you without WORDS, just awe, Steve. no lie. James was too tired to ask you what you rode and said he’d be disappointed if it was a Harley (he thinks their engineering is old). i said i didn’t ask because if you said something like XT S-1 B400 or something like James does, i’d be blank.

        you’re amazing and i’m so glad to have met you and glad that adventurer men like you even STILL EXIST.


  22. Willy2 says:

    – I would have come to the meeting as well. The biggest obstacle was the distance between my hometown and San Francisco.

    – I completely missed that one thread.
    – I don’t mind having (more and/or better paid for) advertisements on WOLFSTREET without a subscription at all. I read WOLFSTREET on my laptop only and it is capable of handling those advertisments very well.
    – But I could imagine that mobile devices simply lack the room for those advertisements (on both sides of the article and comments). The text itself would be squeezed into such a small space that reading the text becomes too difficult.

  23. steppenwolf says:

    FYI: there is this new thing called Brave Rewards by the web-browser Brave: opt-in ads, that users get credit for that they can donate to content creators of their choosing. Might worth a look.

  24. InTheSticks says:

    Folks that are of rational mind and respectful follow your site. Once a month, or every other month, do a serious donation drive to keep your site viable by offering various “Wolfstreet” products as a bonus for their donations. $50.00 donation gets you a Wolfstreet hat, $100 bucks and you’ll throw in a t-shirt (with a pocket!) You may be surprised at the amount of people who would be more than appreciative of wearing your advertising in return for their donation. Hmmmm, just wondering what I would get for donating $500?!

    • WT Frogg says:

      @ InTheSticks : Just curious …..would a Wolfstreet ” Onesie” work for ya ??

      ;) ;) ;) Lol


  25. Anon says:

    Hi Wolf,

    Love your work. Not all the articles are of direct interest to me, but I will generally read through each article and comments.

    Kudos on your discipline with the comments – it’s always helpful to post reminders / warnings / dismissals so that the rest of us are clear on expectations.

    Your site, your rules!

    I don’t mind the current setup – I track you via RSS and the ad arrangement doesn’t bother me.

    Suggestion: someone else has already mentioned it, but develop up the goody bag for paying subscribers – eg monthly Q&A, sweet merch, etc etc.

    Annual fundraisers are also quite effective.

    I’m a reader and financial supporter of Naked Capitalism, which follows the latter model, and it seems to work well.

    I think you need to periodically remind people that are getting quality product for free – so hows about putting your hand in the pocket!

    Keep up the good work.

  26. A. Ferreira says:


    Have you considered registering with Brave?

    I admit I don’t know if it imposes any restrictions on how you deal with current advertisers.

    But, if it’s not intrusive, for readers it is a great browser with privacy features and the advertising model is revolutionary. I hope it can tilt the balance against the current advertising infestation on the web.

    N.B. I’m not affiliated with Brave just like the approach.

  27. BearDawg says:

    WOLF….I will do the free site, just because it is easier all the way around. I read some comments about random donations, but maybe being slightly more intrusive (pushy) about it. I think that’s fine because your content is stellar. I tend to give (pay) for stuff around the holidays and will probably do that for Wolf Street this year. Keep up the obsessively focused work. It is intoxicating.

  28. Jos Oskam says:

    Bonjour Wolf,

    Having worked in IT for almost 30 years, I must say that the idea of an “ad free option” as you describe it, does not appeal to me. It sounds too complex, too hard to understand for casual Internet users, and too much work to keep up reliably. It seriously violates my sacred KISS principle so I would advise against this.

    I have seen popular websites lose their contributors in a hurry when they introduced important changes that people did not like. For example, migrating to more complicated forum software, drastically changing layouts, implementing forced logons and the like can really alienate an existing user base in all kinds of ways. I feel that your site is too valuable and the user community too sympathetic to risk that.

    There’s another thing, though. It seems to me that the whole war between ads and ad blockers is changing shape as we speak. In the past, pesky ads did tend to take over your screen, blinking and coloring everywhere and not seldom hanging or crashing your browser in the process. They made some sites virtually unusable, were extremely irritating and intrusive, so adblockers were a welcome- and almost indispensable defense to them.

    However, a new type of ad presentation now becomes more widespread, in which ads appear in dedicated on-page frame-like dedicated areas next to- and in between texts. These are much harder or almost impossible to reliably defeat with an adblocker. On the other hand, since they take up limited space and are part of the webpage layout, they are less intrusive and less likely to muck up your browser. The well-known ZeroHedge site offers a nice example of this.

    I would strongly advise you against implementing draconian changes to your site’s structure in a hurry. Rather, I would carefully observe the recent developments in advertisement presentation on web pages, and maybe start experimenting a bit with that. I do not rule out that adblockers as a phenomenon will become both less necessary and less prevalent in the near future.

    Should you go that way, people can for the moment keep their adblockers on to protect against the “classic” intrusions, and they will just see the less-intrusive ads in their dedicated presentation spaces. You get advertising revenue, people are less bothered, everybody wins.

    Of course this will not benefit people who are absolutely, religiously, fanatically opposed to any ad whatsoever, but that is a bit extreme, and the large majority of readers and contributors to Wolf Street so not seem to be of the extremist variety :-)

    Just my 2c.

  29. Ook says:

    Perhaps it’s too late to suggest this, but I’m quite impressed with the system on You get your login and whether or not you see ads depends on how many karma points you have. I’m thinking anyone who contributes a certain amount of $ can get enough karma points to remove the ads for a year. This contains the added benefit of your being able to give people karma points for whatever reason.

  30. LP says:

    Hey Wolf,
    There might be a relative simple solution to the add-free version, but it is not perfect:

    Adds are being run through scripts. You can have then one and the same main page, same comments page and two different accesses to it, one through a version that is calling the adds and another one that is calling less scripts.

    One version could be as simple as described by user Josh above: May 4, 2019 at 11:37 pm.

    Another version to implement this could be to use cookies. The link you send by email to the adds free subscription installs some cookies that make the script running adds skip and not deploy adds.
    Once the cookie installed the adds do not run, does not matter how the site is called. You can then change the cookies for new subscriptions.

    Problems with this version:
    – if the browser does not allow cookies it does not work – you might need to have some support for people who paid add free and cannot access it add free -> increased support
    – there is other software that blocks scripts, so people will still be able to see the adds free version without paying the bill
    – people can forward the email and get add free to all their friends
    – you might need some programming help for the script. the script should be made as simple as possible to avoid additional complexity
    – still added complexity – you need to check both versions to be sure the page displays properly for the adds free version as the adds version
    – if people delete cookies they get the adds version unless they access the site through the link from the email
    – maybe other problems too…

    – one site, one comments section

  31. Weninger Bernhard says:

    Want you propose as a solution for add-free vs. no adds I think is a perfect solution. We LOVE your insights. I have no idea how you stay on top of so many issues with so much excellent analytic insight.
    One suggestion: look into the massive mis-selling of CLOs. They makes up 60% of Leveraged Loan buyers, a market itself already a gigantic bubble. Even the Financial Stability Board has stated in its last meeting press reslease thwtvthehbwill Start looking at CLO risks are not being adequately priced. But the more important thing is that the mispricing is a fact but the misselling by CLO Managers, CLO Mangers of Portfolios of tranches and the investment banks that causes it is the really egregious scandal. I can provide you with plenty of hard facts for that. It is this misselling that enabled the Leveraged Loan Market to become a bubble and in turn finance the Private Equity Bubble. Please do not publish this comment.

  32. Iamafan says:

    Don’t worry, Ad Blocker and most add-ons not working in Firefox since yesterday. Certificate issue they claim.

  33. TooSoonOld says:

    I’m no expert in the matter, but my understanding is that adblockers do not block ads hosted directly on the website (as opposed to third-party ads). So another alternative for you to consider is selling ads that you self-host. Downside is that it would entail effort on your part to sell the ads. Minimizing the target for malware is one of the primary reasons for blocking ads (in addition to privacy issues).

  34. Paulo says:

    I use adblocker and have donated just once this year with the commitment to donate 2X per year for a total of $100/year, going forward. This is an excellent site and I would miss it. I would especially miss the commentor’s opinions and insights. I am also sorry I missed this years meet-up, but have been too busy to leave N Van isle this spring.

    2 cents on format change. I really like reading Chris Martenson articles, but bristle at the 2 part article format; a teaser to start, then subscription requirement to finish. CHS also does this occasionally. To me, it is extortion of ideas and disrupts what is so powerful about the internet. Great thinkers have to make a living like everyone else, (I get it), but I just wish they had day jobs and followed their passion/shared their passion because it is the right thing to do. Oh well.

    What I appreciate the most about WS, (apart from the fine articles and content to get discussion going), is the civility. There is either commentor behaviour editing going on behind the scenes, or the nature of Mr Richter is such that the format is partially self-editing attracting polite readers. Thanks to all for this opportunity.

    regards Paul S

  35. Running bull says:


    This is my first time commenting on this site. I really enjoy your articles. I have been reading for about 6 years. Old engineer used to be my boss and told me about the site. We would discuss the articles instead of doing real work. He is now retired we meet for lunch sometimes and still discuss the articles. I still have around 20 years left to work. I would not pay the 60 bucks for the add free version. I have add supported email anyway and I am good at ignoring adds. I love reading the comments. Wish I could have come to the get to gather but it was too far away for me. This site creates a online community. My brother also now reads daily as well. You cover news the main stream media won’t cover or are not smart enough to cover.

    A lady has a Facebook site for my city and she does the best at local city news. She is retired and better at covering local news than the main stream sites. The main stream media professionalism is lacking and citizen journalist is better than ever. I think the media thinks local news is below them. Local news such as new business opening.

    Love wolf street. Are wolf street club shirts available? It’s free advertising and I could by my one and a gift for my brother. This could also generate beer money for you. Just a thought.

  36. Randy says:

    Wolf, I just sent you some beer money. I read everything on IOS so I also don’t find the adds annoying I just scroll past them.

    I would prefer a monthly recurring payment option for an ad free version though.

  37. John says:

    Wolf, I thing that 60 is reasonable. In addition, I would make your podcast only available on the paid portal. I enjoy this very much and it would be a nice up sell feature. Thank for what you do.

  38. sierra7 says:

    RE ads and more versions of your site:
    I’m very happy with the site you now have which is free and is more informative than most sites I visit on a daily basis. The ads are not very “intrusive”. The commenters are far more “rational” even when mildly engaging in “dissent”.
    Sorry I missed the SF get together; old age is mostly the reason.
    Very appreciative of the photos….kind of puts the “face” to the imagination!
    You do a good job, Mr. Richter…and I love our “comebacks” to those who do go “sideways” at times to your comments; you put all in proper place with diplomacy, respect and firmness which is mostly lacking in too many internet sites that allow comments.
    I’ve learned lots from you and the commenters.
    As I’ve posted before I was born in SF (1930), lived in the “outer Mission” until ultimately leaving in the mid 1950’s and now reside in the Sierra foothills.
    Thanks for your site, Mr. Richter.

  39. Eferg says:

    Several thoughts about a subscription site:

    #1 – I am really turned off by all on-line ads – not just those on WS. This concerns me about privacy and being the “product” of various “free” sites.

    #2 – For WS, I manage ads acceptably well by moving most off the right side of the screen, especially in the comments section.

    #3 – I would not subscribe. The comments are as important to me as what Wolf writes. Therefore, the marginal benefit would be small.

    #4 – The money is not the issue. In fact, I have already set up in Quicken quarterly donations that will be slightly more than the noted subscription price.

    #5 – From my view point there is an interesting contrast between WS and Zero Hedge. I regularly check the headlines on ZH because there are interesting topics not easily found other places. However, I seldom read further partly because intrusive ad formating makes it hard to separate the story from the commercial. I have quit reading the ZH comments because their vitriol leaves me lamenting what has happened to civility, intelligence and character in our society.

    Wolf, please keep up the good work.

    • Marianne Curtis says:

      Agreed, Wolf’s comment section is a real draw and I would not want to give that up. I also do not read Zero Hedge comment section due to the incivility, often juvenile and frankly offensive tone.

  40. JFP says:


    The easiest thing is to simply not serve ads to subscribers, and then throw in either a couple of yearly events or an exclusive once a month email. This is pretty easy technology to implement. If you need some help, I (or I’m sure plenty of other of your SF readers) can help with it.

  41. Sherwood says:

    I don’t mind the ads either but I never want to see the ugly mug of ken Fisher ever staring me in the face again. I sent away for a “free” brochure once. They almost never stopped calling. Very aggressive!

  42. Brian says:

    I would be happy to subscribe to a premium version if it becomes available, yet I am happy with the status quo. I would concur with prior poster who suggested retaining the current free with ads version while adding a premium ‘subscriber only’ version offering unique content (live, video or IM meet ups, articles, trading insights and discussion board, etc.) and feature enhancement (historical article and comment + any premium only content searchability) to drive up subscriber uptake rate. I concur there is great value in the comment section insights as well as those imbued in your articles, so it likely behooves you to retain full comment section access across all versions. I hadn’t noticed your tip jar previously, but will start contributing to support your work. Hope that helps!

  43. Mark B says:

    Seems like a reasonable compromise for an ad free version. The limitations aren’t onerous. I’d vote yes.

    Business Insider has some interesting ways to generate alternative revenue beyond subscriptions like Business Insider Picks…. where they write about a product or service they use and like and get paid if you click on the link.

    I have no problem with you recommending a book (for example) that you like and have you get paid for recommending it. It’s all above board and if someone doesn’t like that model, than don’t read those articles.

    Just a thought.

  44. Beacon for progressive solidarity says:

    Trawled the above 66 comments. Glad Y’All had a good time meeting up.

    To answer Wolf’s question, why fix it if its not broken? No change please.

    Unlike most websites, this one is calm. I have some black text in the middle of the screen and white space on the left and right. Pure Bliss.
    The choice of text formatting is also easy on the eye.
    This attracts older people or those on the autistic spectrum with wisdom and independent thinking, it invites them back for another bit of peace, calm and intellectual challenge.

    The rest of the internet is chaotic fast moving in your face noisy irritating. ( I use an ad blocker which works better on some sites)

    When you have a group of people that naturally gravitate towards each other because their perception is stretched and enjoys being stretched further, where the focus is purely on the cerebral game, it is this which must be celebrated, recognised and protected.

    Fewer free spaces are around these days to discuss such large ideas without the conscious intent of programming for a particular outcome.

    It feels organic, and comments clearly represent a wide variety of background, experience and wealth bracket.

    I’d leave it as it is.
    p.s. sorry you have to read rubbish comments, what you choose to leave in is part of the enjoyment for the readers, each comment has a point.

  45. MF says:

    Ads, when they properly support content, are great.

    But after reading this article, I see this is impossible. We don’t get to have a a reasonable number of non-blinking ads that are actually relevant to people who are thinking about the future of our culture, and ways to we can steer ourselves to shared prosperity instead of win/lose dystopia. I know it’s a big ask these days. But it’s the type of conversation I used to have with publications when placing ads for clients. “Our market is *x*. It has *x* psychographic. In what ways can you help us reach it?”

    These days, it’s algorithmic wild west. I don’t hate ads; I hate what they do to the webpage experience. Screens take forever to load, the page jumps around when scrolling, and they force themselves into the “natural” places your eyes want to land. Half the time you lose the writer’s train of thought, then you have to scroll up again and repeat the torture. In the meantime, the laptop begins heating up and runs the fans at high speed until you relent and close the whole *%#! browser and start all over again.

    But … email isn’t much better. I now must use the search feature for messages people send me after they text me to say “I sent you an email.” Google and Microsoft try hard to pull what you want to see to the top, but subscriptions rarely make it.

    I was expecting we’d have a sign-in like Forbes or Wall Street Journal. But I’m also hearing that’s probably overly complex.

    We’re heading back into a subscription-based content era. Readers will have to choose what they consume and pay — at least nominally — for it. The ideal scenario is one where subscribers aren’t excluded based on ability to pay, and the rest is supported by publisher-curated ads. That, of course, means having an ad sales department, which is not an option for sole proprietor content providers.

    Generally, I refuse email subscriptions; but will make an exception for your site because I understand your dilemma. But I’m not indicative of your larger market, most people follow the herd without exception. Boomers love email. Millennials hate it. Gen X is ambivalent. If your market is 55+, email is a great solution. If you’d like to reach under 35, email will cause most of your market to self-screen out. Gen X is a roll of the dice probably 50/50.

  46. yngso says:

    My only problem with the site is the incomplete interactivity in the comments section, which I’ve mentioned before.
    Greatnesses like David Stocman, Harry Dent and Jim Rickards are stuck at the horribly commercial Agora. I’d love to see all the best of y’all together on a freemium site.
    BTW, could you share more from SF for all of us unfortunates?

  47. Willem says:


    I think I’ve commented once before.WS is a must read for me.I subscribe to a couple of newsletters.It’s the analysis I pay for not the share tips.WS is in the same vein and I’d like a subscription option so I could support your work and keep it free for others.

    This may sound odd,but I struggle to donate due to the lack of a pricing structure.How much to give etc???? This site is very valuable to me but I’m too tight to put a price on it.I’d happily get put down for $10 a month.This site is way more use to me than the Financial times./Telegraph/Times (UK).

    Many thanks for all your efforts

  48. buda atum says:

    You sure are no capitalist Wolf! Why would one want to pay not to be able to read comments just to get rid of adverts that are hardly intrusive? Surely you know the comments add plenty to your posts?

    Here’s 30GBP I can hardly afford. You are worth much more, so beer mug please to remind me I owe you the other half. And make the donate button more obvious please! I’m having to go looking for it!

    • Wolf Richter says:

      buda atum,

      Thank you! The donate button is the beer mug at the bottom of every article. So if you’re on a mobile device and looking for a “Donate” button specifically, you will have trouble finding it. But I like the beer mug. It’s cute.

  49. tom says:

    Ads are fine.
    New ( less than a year ) in searching for economic reporting & market
    conditions. Older business owner making time to study/learn the market.

    Economic less so… self employed and surrounded by the same….we feel the shifts early on in the economy at the local level. Small trucking guys will fill me in on the regional level.

    I like your site for the national picture. I’m old, sometimes I refuse to take off the blinders ( local level ) to accept the national picture.
    You have a great site. Fee or donation…I will send some beer money your way.

  50. Shal says:

    I don’t know how many readers you have but I guess you know… Some wont come back if they have to pay simply because they cannot afford to pay (me). I am new to your site and the adds don’t bother me. Information offered on your site is valuable and obviously you would like to have some money for the great work you do however if I have to choose between paying and reading the site with adds, I rather read the site with adds.

  51. Arbuthnot says:

    1. we live in a world of intrusive marketing; I have adapted. NBD.
    2. As long as the ads don’t obscure the subject matter, I’m ok with them.
    3. I am pleased that advertisers pay for reading material that I find useful.
    4. you have an excellent product; heed this wisdom of the ages:


  52. LouisDeLaSmart says:

    Wolf, make a free, basic, premium, premium deluxe and premium deluxe ultra platinum version of your site. The only difference would be that the respective user is paying 0, 10, 25, 50 and 100 dollars per year. They would have the same content and the same right to comment.
    Jokes aside, if you can keep doing what you are doing and how you are doing, please do.
    Question> Do you get more money if I click on the ads? I would not mind going to a few sites if it increases your revenue…Sounds like cheating doesn’t it?

    • Wolf Richter says:


      As far as my site is concerned, ads fall mostly into two categories:

      1. I get paid for some types of ads per impression — if they’re displayed (CPM). But there are complications, such as eCPM, which means that the ads have to be in front of you and actually be visible to you for a certain amount of time. This eliminates some ads running somewhere on the page where you cannot see them.

      2. I get paid for other types of ads only if you click on them (CPC). The algos that run these programs are pretty good at detecting “click fraud.” So don’t do that. However, if you see stuff that you’re interested in, by all means, check it out. That’s what ads are for.

      • Willy2 says:

        – I think that the advertisers should pay for displaying the message and paying (some) more when someone clicks on the ads.

  53. Amit says:

    As an alternative to subscriptions, I would love to pay for a video class or session that offers to teach the methods of analysis that Wolf uses to write his articles. There are a lot of sources of publicly available data that I was not aware of until I started reading Wolf Street, and to be able to learn to analyze and infer conclusions on my own would be truly something I would pay for.

  54. HR01 says:

    This reader uses an adblocker but is one of the few that gets white-listed. The ads aren’t intrusive and hope they help pay the bills.

    Wolf (and colleagues), keep up the good work.

  55. Squirrel says:

    I agree with so many others here – if it ain’t broke don’t fix it! That being said, there are some indications that the ad supported paradigm has it’s issues and, more importantly, that the internet as we know/knew it is being co-opted by the unholy alliance of global corporations, deep state government and what has come to be called MSM (main street media). When I hear that you site was listed on that list of 515 dangerous (or some similar wordage) websites, I feel a chill in my bones! Wolf, your site is of immense value to me and the others that have commented here. But I would not want to take access away from those that can’t afford to pay. As mentioned by several, Brave Browser is a great tool for both a means to contribute to content creators. Also the idea of having premium merchandise like t-shirts and ball caps with WOLF STREET emblazoned on them is worthwhile as is a PBS-fundraising campaign twice a year. Anyway, keep it simple and a much like it is now for as long as is practical and give those of us with the ability and desire to support you an easy way to do so. And don’t be shy – ask and you shall receive :).

  56. Squirrel says:

    Sorry, meant PBS like fundraising campaign…

  57. ZeroBrain says:

    1) A subscriber-model should offer a tangible benefit – either increased content, or the ability to edit comments – something. Your subscriber proposal is equivalent to (adblocker + recurring donation). That is *already available* for those who don’t like ads and are willing to donate.

    Let’s consider all the user cases:
    –those who value the content enough to pay, but choose not to – they can continue with adblockers under your proposal and consume free content – you can only make them convert to subscribers by putting some content behind a paywall
    –those who do not value the content enough to pay – they never will
    –those who feel they are contributing by whitelisting, but don’t currently donate – they already demonstrate a preference for ads and unwillingness to subscribe/donate
    –those who already donate – no change unless they’re too tech illiterate to use an adblocker and then they would see a benefit

    2) I like the merch idea – not so much as a source of revenue, but for the advertising / to grow readership.

  58. Guitto says:

    I am ok with paying a regular fee and rely on the regular web site for the comments. Thanks for the great work done here.

  59. medialAxis says:

    Yes, the subscription model doesn’t really work for web sites like this, which are being updated continuously. Various ideas to avoid foisting ads on visitors are being tried right now. One basic idea is for users to be able to opt out of seeing ads by making micro payments of some sort. Maybe payment could be related to how far down a page you scroll, as apposed to how long you spend on the site itself. Could also have reverse payments, for well informed/useful or witty comments. Even cross payments (tips) from one visitor to another? To make all this (and other ideas I cannot even conceive of) work we need a form of money that can, essentially, be streamed. You know, so as you could stream back payment to a provider of video on a second by second basis as you view. It’d have to be lightning fast of course. I wonder if any one’s working on something like that?

  60. cp says:

    Wolf, your site is awesome! I have learned so much from you (and from the comments!)

    You are very considerate to examine options for an ad-free version of your sight. I would say, “First world problems.”
    (mostly likely with an eye roll)
    Ads are annoying, but if that’s the worse thing you have to deal with in a day, consider yourself very blessed.

  61. Dudu says:

    Blog / Articles without comments is like a Garden without flowers.

  62. Todd Kulp says:

    OK, here’s my take:

    1. The ads really don’t bother me at all. I have actually clicked on some! It does not interfere at all with the reading as the ads are on the side. I can look at them, or not!

    2. I love this site because it is very original, informative, well written…and lacks the abhorrent comments of sites like Zero Hedge.

    3. What I don’t like about your site…too few articles! More high quality articles and I would be willing to subscribe.

    4. I am making a donation now!

  63. kitten lopez says:


    you all who weren’t at this event missed all the LOVE and people are trying to pretend this is only a “money site” again, so i’ve gotta point to the real leaky love notes posted by The People without cooling off and waiting for this post:

    i preface my own more proper love note here with that because i’ve been crying in a good way all morning because i am in mad love with my married man couple who voted trump and they are about to leave for Czechoslovakia for 3 mos and they are my new muses and i feel like i wanted to play “kick the can” in the old original Twilight Zone episode, and instead of me playing magical kick the can all alone…. they came WITH me. and even though i had a failure of a fitting on Basul last Friday after weeeeeks of what i thought was slap down PERFECTION and AWESOMENESS leaking and spraying from every pore in my being, i was smacked back down to the reality of cloth and physics meeting fantasy stories.

    (that is why we are truly here on Wolfstreet. at least i am. physical reality meeting fantasy and it can be a doozy coming back from THAT alone…much less what do you DO NOW???)

    point is i was sad already pre-missing Corky and Basul and when you pull the zip tie of emotions and loss and falling in LOVE, i just HAD to write you all and share the gushy reality that WAS the first ever Wolf Fest.

    by the way, too bad you didn’t get to see a photo of Miss Bernadette. she’s mad hot and i love her cleavage style eyes AND she’s smart and has oodles of heart.

    i had to go to a room full of men to find kindred women. i’m still waiting for my Susan K to get back to me but how i am even makes platonic friends freeze. it’s so okay. i’m just doing ME because i’ve got nothing left to…”play.”

    anyhow, i also wanted to apologize to ALEX from DIGITAL DETROIT, because while i thought you were extraordinarily childish petulant and prejudiced to the point that i was embarrassed you called yourself an Artist, i better UNDERSTAND your fears as a man in this culture: James, a former engineer who’d been aged out of the industry mid-forties, had just come from a retail job on his feet renting bikes to foreign tourists for 12 hours and he wanted to leave because he was so EXHAUSTED and only showed to escort ME home on my bicycle (he worries about me city riding esp at night), JAMES SAID EVERYONE ELSE THERE ALSO CAME FROM WORK AND HE DID NOT EXPECT THEM TO UNDERSTAND WORKING RETAIL WITH PEOPLE ALL DAY.

    so i get where you’re coming from, too. and i’m sorry. because it didn’t FEEL like a gathering of “regular mediocre people” who ask you what you do. i was BARELY asked that. i cannot even answer that unless someone’s willing to talk about the end of america and how do we bring production back close to home? i’m long out of elevator pitches. if you can’t talk to me five hours if we HAD five hours, get out my face. some get twitchy in 30 seconds and i can escape while they read texts from somewhere else.

    so ALEX i hope you show up next time. next time maybe we can take over a park because i wish i’d had time to talk to Steve and others. we need more TIME. free TIME. relaxed TIME.

    but for this first beer date, i am in adoration with EVERYONE no lie. Just Jon i love that you came in from Lodi and STEVE! oh, STEVE! you cast quite a spell that is STILL reverberating. that left me SPEECHLESS that anyone is still alive in america who will just up and go on an adventure. it’s a lost…

    hell… i’ve got no WORDS that will get me in trouble and i don’t need to court any right now. not important.

    what IS important is that this gathering was actually HEALING and a reminder that yeah… people are just PEOPLE… sweethearts. i saw the vulnerable open god in each person.


    so as a female artist and any list of other adjectives used to describe ME, i HATE being called anything other than ME so forgive me– i am not terming you the Paraplegic Dentist. but it IS a huge factor that’d make me trip over myself to be taken care of by you.

    also..the crap that you had to climb over to become you in this world? you could spit on me and i’d rub it into my skin so some of your qualities might “take” in me.

    James has to go to the dentist and he hates our neighbor’s dentist and won’t go even though we can go at cost. he wants to be treated with respect and no b.s.

    plus Nicole was NICE. i’d go to her. i was into one of the Jang’s downtown til an old white guy after me got in and out while i had to wait 2 hours for a cleaning. it was a little TOO obvious where i ranked even for oblivious me.

    so yeah…i’d LOVE someone in my mouth who knows what it is to be consistently vulnerable and at the mercy of strangers in the medical field.

    again… i wish we all had had more time to just HANG and TALK.
    2 hours?…barely enough for a handshake.

    thanks you all for making me like humanity again. that’s no small feat after all these years of the internet and just …look around.

    i am going back to only seeing Pretty Things. la la la ….

    thank you for being so damn PRETTY you all.
    even future friends on here.


    have a good day.


    p.s. Wolf thanks for not posting a full frontal of my face. i try not to come off like a total freak with avoiding cameras but i DO. and i realize i must deal with the consequences of merely leaving my apartment and being ME. but thanks ..whether that was intentional or accidental…there are no ACCIDENTS lately. (smile)

    so thanks for the exposed privacy. i dig how you can work with the contradictions i am. thanks. your new pal.


    • Wolf Richter says:

      Kitten Lopez,

      The absence of a full facial wasn’t an accident. I was pretty careful, knowing that you’re in alias :-]

      When people pose for the camera, it’s good sign that they’re OK with photos showing up online. But you didn’t.

      Also all images here are low resolution screenshots of high-resolution photos. These low-resolution screenshots are hard to sort through for facial recognition tech at this point. And none of the images (screenshots) are tagged in any way. It’s tricky to provide a modicum of privacy when you post photos online, but I tried.

      • kitten lopez says:

        oh man… i’m crying. James got home from gym and see’s me reading your comment and says now: “OH GOD NO CRYING!”

        i feel so PROTECTED in a deep way. thanks, homes. that’s a big deal. Wow… i told James day of the event, “odd, but usually i regret having to go anywhere when i said i would, but i am LOOKING FORWARD and feel totally safe and okay and like this is kin…”

        true, true. thanks, Papi Daddy. man. that’s cool….

        at your service, my dear man.


  64. In the truck says:

    Ads are ok. I’m blind to them. Nothing personal, but at my age, as a matter of policy, I “sign up” for things for much less than I used to. I try to simplifiy and avoid automatic debits. At the same time, I’ll donate or pay for value and appreciation, when I feel like it.
    As others have posted, “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.”

  65. kitten lopez says:


    so i go and check my email after posting this above AND SUSAN K JUST WROTE ME NOW BEFORE THIS EVEN POSTED!

    i feel like a kid who just moved to a new school and met one of the truly cool kids. not the fake ones. the FUN ones you can get in trouble with…heh heh heh…

    i made a new friend for real!

    just had to share. see? and i wasn’t even “the freak” at this Wolf Fest. i was just a PERSON. i love that.

    yay! Susan K! if you all met her you’d wanna go start a new world with her, too. she’s hella FUNNY and cool. smart goes with “funny.”

    NORM knows that. his puns have layers of pun. you’ve gotta do algebra to get the 3-D depth of his NARmageddon puns.


  66. Kasadour says:

    What a handsome bunch! You all are my peeps! I wish I would have come. Count that among some of the regrets in my life. I should have made that road trip!

    Pictures are fantastic! Especially you, Wolf! Teeeeeheeee- I flirts, I knows. All in good fun.

    Glad you all had a great time.

  67. Kasadour says:

    Wolf, how much would you like me to contribute to this site, in dollar terms? – to borrow some Gartman phraseology, if I may.

    The ads don’t bother me a bit- unless they go haywire, but in the six years I’ve read and participated, including the testosterone pit years, the ads have only gone haywire once.

    I’m considering a commitment of, say, $10 a month?

    I only prefer it stay on the open and free side of an access point simply because I often share links to these amazing articles via text and social media (not necessarily an “email button”, and not only because I’ve never seen one) hoping to introduce a few minds that i respect, to the fascinating world of honest and unbiased finance news, and how it could impact daily middle class life in ways not previously understood.

    Of course, it’s your call, and I’ll continue to enjoy this blog by reading and participating regularly, whatever you may decide.


    • Wolf Richter says:


      The beauty of donations is that the amount is not up to me, but up to the reader. However, if you follow through with your suggestion and contribute $10 a month, that would be awesome.

      The only reason why I may offer an ad-free version as a subscription-based option is as a service to readers who hate ads. I get contacted by furious readers because they saw some kind of ad on my site that upset them, and they expect me to somehow control what they see. I have next to no control over what ads are being served to readers around the world… in Japan, the ads are in Japanese, and I can’t even read them.

      But I can offer readers an ad-free alternative for a fee. I personally would prefer to keep it as it is. It’s easier for me. But if I can come up with a service that is not too troublesome for me and is being valued by enough readers and doesn’t impact the site overall, I might give it a shot.

      • Kasadour says:

        Yep, I know how it works. Ive been on the internet since the days of the bulletin board- that is why I’d never complain about ads- Ive witnessed the online profit-center evolution. It’s also understandable that bloggers submit to support the work we readers appreciate so much.

        I have not read through all the comments on this article- so admittedly I don’t understand how an optional paywall would work (I’m not asking, so pls don’t spend time explaining to me) to the extent that payers or members, as it were, would receive more content than non-members. I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.

        Lastly, I’m aware there exist effective ad-blocking software- one I’ve seen recommended from time to time is Brave Browser, but I’ve never used it myself. I’m not sure that is something you’d recommended to us Wolf Street howlers.

  68. Bruce says:

    Why all this talk of ad free options? For an ad free website, think of your assets, your location, and then GO BIG:


    From the heart of San Francisco, or at least whatever Tony Bennett left us, we are proud to announce the upcoming WolfStreet IPO. Been burned by the Lyft IPO? The SNAP IPO? Have no fear, Wolf is here.

    Our product will be Wolfcoin. Utilizing hand crafted coins by Kitten Lopez, our blockchain driven product will not require any expensive computer or electricity purchases by the public. Instead, they will be part of a limited collection, personally delivered to you by Steve’s Cycles, our cross country courier service. Each beautiful coin will have a profile of Wolf on the front, atop a shining Unicorn in true Tech fashion. On the back will be a tribute to a Financial History Event, whether it’s Tulips, Sock Puppets, or Emperors With No Clothes. No two coins will be alike, ensuring long term value. Better yet, every coin will be in your possession, so no need to worry about crypto fraud and bankrupt exchanges.

    So forget about any Financial Bubbles. The only bubbles you’ll see is from the complimentary boutique beer from the FAA (Fred Aaron Alex) that is enclosed with each Wolfcoin delivery. So click on the cute little beer icon on this site, and send your money in. Each coin buyer will reserve a chance to spend even more money when we go public with our quadrillion valuation (yes, unicorns and decacorns are so passe…….)

  69. Tomaso says:

    Wolf, you risk losing lots of comments if you route your best users to email. The more comments you read, the more comments you make. If people can see your articles by email, most won’t take the time to come to web and read and make comments. Long term, you risk losing all the virality around comments.

  70. Krista Peterson says:

    Lurker with a first time comment. I love your site and will seek out the content and comments regardless of format. One revenue stream that I didn’t see any mention of was whether you would sell your mailing list. So many times in the past I have signed up for emailed content only to get a flood of mailings from other sources vaguely related to the topic.
    Thank you for your work.

  71. Willem says:


    On thinking about my previous comment,I had a look at paypal and there’s a function(I rarely use Paypal) to make a monthly payment,so I’ve put a monthly $10 donation to help keep it free for everyone.I think it’s great what you do and way better than reading most of the MSM these days and I really like the way you value your readership.

    Thanks again


  72. Brad Rogers says:

    Wolf, If you had an ad-free version I would subscribe and also donate beer money. I would also continue to review your “free” site just to read the comments. I love it that you interact with your patrons and you have events like the “Meetup”. While you say “this might be your last gig” I chuckle, because I don’t believe it. I think you enjoy this too much :-)

    I currently subscribe to 3 other similar advisory services (Stockman, Rickards, Northman) and my monthly outlay is around $200 and change. So, there it is (as Northy would say).

    Therefore, I can definitely manage to pay to keep your advice and very thoroughly thought out contributions as part of my daily reads.

    I hope to visit the Bay area in the next couple years. I am an experienced sailor but currently without a sailboat. Maybe we can get out on the water. I will bring my fowlies in case of exciting weather.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Brad Rogers,

      Thanks for the feedback on the ad-free option. And thanks for the beer money!

      By “last gig” I meant that I have no intention of ever doing anything else… that I will continue doing this “until my brain freezes over,” as I said, because, as you correctly surmised, I’m having a blast. And I love interacting with our community here.

  73. Andrei says:


    “In other words: To read the comments or post a comment, subscribers would have to … return to … ad-supported content”

    In my opinion, this is not a good idea. Even though I don’t care much about the ads on this site overall, and sometimes even click on them, but it is in the comments where the ads annoy me. Because the comments keep jumping around when the page keeps loading.

    Moreover, it is because of the comments I can enjoy every post even longer, so I sometimes delay reading until there are enough comments so that I could read all in one go – because it is really difficult to spot where the new 5 comments are (out of 100 existing…)

    I was suggesting it before, and I am suggesting it again. Make the access free with a free subscription. The site could show several teaser posts (maybe 5 latest), but the rest would require a free subscription. After a subscriber is logged in, there might be an option to deliver the same content behing a paywall. for a

    Please don’t postpone collecting an email list. You can definitely make use of it later, one way or the other. You can e.g. use MailChimp for free (until 12K subs, I think) or some other autoresponder

    One viable alternative to ads could be quality solo emails, that I am sure you can sell to some serious advertisers.

  74. Andrei says:


    My apologies, but I didn’t understand …

    You wrote the 2/18 article with me in mind??

    who sorted out and what??

    I’ve read this paragraph maybe 10 times but I am still confused :(

    • Wolf Richter says:

      OK, I now checked. My memory failed me. It was not you :-]

      Back in February, a commenter suggested that I put WOLF STREET behind a paywall, and gave all the reasons for doing so. This was not the first time someone suggested this. I get this quite a bit. But it was a well-reasoned comment, and it created kind of a stir among other commenters, and so I decided to sort it out in my own mind and then discuss the whole situation in an article (Feb 18).

      I thought this commnenter was you. But it was someone else. Sorry for bogging down your morning.

      • Andrei says:

        it was late evening (I am in Seattle) – but never mind :)

        My suggestion has always been FREE but mandatory subscriptions. All the rest on top of that.

        For the record: my bet – it will eventually happen, and every new reader will be asked to join the pack or get free den access :)

        P.S. Check out how the EWI does it, I think it makes sense.

  75. Scott says:

    Ads are fine with me. Great to see you all at the first Wolf Fest!

  76. Nicholas says:

    Long time lurker, first comment.
    I used to see your comments on the Housing Bubble Blog
    and could tell you were a straight shooter.
    Your blog is great, the ads don’t bother me so keep on keeping on!

  77. John Oelze says:

    Hey Wolf,

    I’m not sure it’s exactly what you need but I’ve built an email service provider (ESP) that, ironically has a comment section attached to it allowing others to read them if published by the Member. Perhaps you’d like to demo the system and see if it’s a good fit.

    It would be my way of saying thanks and donating to your writings.

    Let me know if you’re interested.

    Kind Regards,

  78. William says:

    1. Some ads can be useful info. If they do not modify the computer’s working or implant malicious software to steal info, it is alright to have them.
    2. Can you modify how and where ads appear on screen to make them less obtrusive and more acceptable?
    3. The history of internet has shown very clearly that keeping something free of charge on the web will make it more successful than otherwise.

Comments are closed.