Relying on donations is great, and sucks.

Relying on donations is great, and sucks.

In 2011 after I released the TROM documentary someone who was helping me proofread parts of it suggested that I should run a donation campaign to buy a new computer that I desperately needed in order to redo the documentary with a proofread script and voice overs instead of the text-to-speech I had used.

Seemed like a crazy idea to me to ask for so much money. But I did. And I raised over 1.000 Dollars. I was shocked. I was sleeping in a bunkbed in the same room with my sister. I woke her up to tell her. I was so happy.

I had a super shitty computer but then I managed to buy a fantastic one. I remade the TROM documentary and released in 2012.

Even before this, from 2007 to 2010 I had a blog in the romanian language that had a decent traffic. I asked for little support to help me pay for the hosting, but only got a 1 dollar donation one time, despite so many considering my blog very interesting and useful. I did some video series like today’s Daily Dose of Internet and such, that had thousands of views per episode, and was recommending movies, documentaries and more on my blog. So it was not simply a personal blog. Regardless no one helped me financially despite being broke as hell.

After I released the “remastered” version of the documentary I created the TVP Magazine. Monthly issues, digital, well made. I wrote for it, designed, all that. Did it 8 months for free then I had to go for a massive donation campaign to help me work for a full year. By that time I was so broke, yet I was doing a bunch of online projects that thousands enjoyed. I had to survive in this trade bullshit society.

The golden age of donations.

It was a period of time when websites like Indiegogo or Patreon started to emerge. Platforms where people were mainly asking for donations to support their projects. Looked genuine. Honest. Real. Not many were using them, I was one of the first to create an account with Patreon.

So we did an 18.000 Euros Indiegogo donation campaign for TVP Magazine:

To my shock we raised the amount. It was exciting.

It felt like a genuine help. We were doing THIS and to keep on doing THIS we needed THAT. There were no “perks”, no bullshit, no special clubs for those donating. That’s how donations should be. If you donate because you want a tshirt, or be mentioned on some page, or whatever other crap, then you are not genuine. You are not there to just support a project, you want a handjob too. A scratch on your back, a thank you so that you can feel a bit more special. It is about you, at least a bit. And that’s awful.

We got support for some 3 years but in that meantime websites like Indiegogo, Kickstarter or Patreon started to become more and more scammy and full of prostitutes. The notion of “donation” morphed into pay-me-and-you’ll-get-to-see-my-tits sort of thing. Plus the so many scams…so many “cool new tech” that will become reality, you just have to chip-in a bit and you’ll also get a piece of the pie when we bake that cake. Then these projects disappeared. And people were angry.

But what angered me was the complete and utter rape of the action of donating. How can you call it a “donation” when you get something out of that? If I give you some money and then you’ll give me something, but you’ll only give me that something if I give you that amount of money, then that’s a TRADE my friends. THAT is NOT a DONATION. So Patreon transformed into a marketplace where people were buying access to special clubs, merch, and all sort of “perks”. Pretending to “support” the “creators”. In fact they were buying shit from merchants.

SciShow, who joined later on than we did with our projects on Patreon, relies on subscriptions rather than support:

For 500$ a month you can have sex with one of their staff members.

Look at this:

Are you telling me that these are “creators” that others “support”? Fuck off, these are merchants like everyone else, and they sell shit. And people pay to access that shit. The same ol’ trade game.

These are some of the most popular merchants on Patreon.

Hell yeah, even Mastodon sells shit:

Access to their select club and ads on their joinmastodon website for your “company”.

This is a very very sad world.

Of course it does not work for me to rely on donations when I do not engage into these marketing tactics. If it weren’t for 3-4 close friends who helped the project/me over the years, I don’t know what I would have done. To give you an example I am trying to raise 250 Euros to pay for the backups for some 30 websites: like our Friendica instance, Nextcloud, Peertube, Matrix, SearX, Cryptpad,,, and so much more. Currently only 35€ was donated.

At least hundreds of people are using these websites/services, if not several thousands. If only 100 of them would donate 3€ a year we could over the backup costs. But they don’t and they won’t.

In general a small fraction of people donate to the projects that they use. A few years ago when I looked into this, it was like 0,1% of those subscribed to some youtube channels who also donated to these “creators”. Even when these “creators” (merchants) sell shit, the support is relatively small. But probably there are more such people supporting you if you also give them shit in return. After all, humans are used to this “I give you but you also give me” mentality. So now that TROM provides nothing but the TROM project, probably it is not as exciting to “support” as the other projects are.

Fuck me The Moneyless Society who are blabbing about how this monetary system is the cancer, has this on their front page:

The link leads to here:

The irony is astonishing.
Their Patreon is equally as bad:

You see I wanted to walk that talk. If I say this bullshit trade-based society is awful, then I won’t play by its rules when it comes to TROM. Never sold anything, never inserted ads, collected data, provided special access to those who provided financial support for the project. That’s the real way of doing this sort of work. I prefer that over selling shit. I’d rather see the TROM project dying than transforming into yet another trading practice, marketing nonsense, influencer-on-patreon whore.

TROM is not a popular project, maybe in part because of our content that’s at times lenghty and upsetting for some. Maybe in part because we don’t play by the marketing rules. I had the dignity to move from facebook, twitter and youtube, to the fediverse entirely, despite “losing followers”. I had the courage to write/publish some 40 books and never sold any. I had the guts to provide 20+ services over and treat everyone as equal. To me that’s priceless, and I am so thankful to a handful of humans who still see that value in what I do, and follow the work, and some support it financially in order to keep this boat afloat.

Humans nowadays trade nonstop. For games, in games purchases, netflix, entertianment, crypto-investments, buying special access from the people they follow, and generally being consumed non-stop. Even if TROM gets more popular, it may not be exciting for these consumers since TROM gives you nothing but TROM. And they may want a hanjob or some other stuff like that.

TROM is not a whore and never will be. It will stay honest, decent, humble, and non bullshitter. We are walking the talk until we cannot.

If I do not raise the money for the backups I will pay for them myself. If I cannot sustain some of the project I will discontinue them. As simple as that. To rely on donations, the real ones, is the only way to stay unbiased in this trade-based society. But it sucks that donations have transformed into purchases.


I need to remind you that all of these whores and charlatans that I’ve been talking about, are like that because of the trade based society we live in. We are forced to be like that. At the end of the day I am NOT accusing any of them. Just pointing them out, as they are victims, nothing more.

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