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Sunday, November 25, 2007

The *Twinkle* Fund

This morning I got a warning from the company that hosts the podcast I recorded in Japan last year, A Year In Japan.

"Our bandwidth monitoring systems have detected that you have currently used
100% of your available monthly bandwidth.

The good news is your podcast is very popular!

Please be aware, however, that if you reach your bandwidth limit before the end of the
month you may find that subscribers to your podcast are unable to download
or access your content until next month.

We recommend that you consider upgrading your Jellycast service to the next
service plan level in order to prevent this from happening."
Looking at the iTunes Podcast library, I note that it's just inside the top 30 (number 28) when it comes to Japan-related podcasts, despite the fact that I've not released a new episode for a few months.

So, what to do? With my current plan, it's hosted for free, and I can't afford the £10-per-month fee for the upgrade to the next package. One thought I had was advertising.

Advertising was something I pretty much avoided on the TGW network until last year, afraid that it would degrade the site. However, with rising bandwidth costs, and a whole load of domain names to renew every year or two, I realised that I was starting to lose quite a bit of money through TGW.

That was when I started using Google AdWords. These covered all my bandwidth & domain costs ...but I felt that their intrusiveness couldn't be justified by the relatively low returns.

Amazon has been yielding slightly better results, and I prefer supporting the publishing industry than some of those companies that appear on Google.

By clicking on my Amazon links, 5% of the profit that usually goes to Amazon comes to TGW, money that is being channeled into the fund to bring *Twinkle* to the UK this Christmas, a fund that in two weeks has raised £565 (only a tiny proportion of which is from Amazon).

(So, this Christmas, if you do shop at Amazon.co.uk or .co.jp please consider using these links - it won't affect your shopping experience at all - the site appears as normal.

UK shoppers:
www.tamegoeswild.com/amazon

Japan shoppers
www.amazon.co.jp

If you're considering becoming an eBayer (eBay being the place where you can get stuff dirt cheap, like the webcam I got last week for £1.99!), 25% of eBay charges will be redirected to the *Twinkle* Fund:
Register on eBay.co.uk!


And of course, we have the wonderful folks at Audible too, who have really helped me change the way I look at life:


2 for 1 audiobook downloads at audible.co.uk


Whilst this kind of advertising does bring in a small, steady income that just covers the costs of running the site, it's not enough to cover further expansion as well or fund campaigns such as Bring *Twinkle* to the UK.

For that, I need proper advertising partners, of which I am fortunate to have a few.

Earlier this month I went to the pub with my friends, and a decision was made to raise £1000 for a fund to bring *Twinkle* to the UK, as mentioned above.

Within 24 hours of that, and as a direct result of that decision, I had sold £360 of advertising on TGW!

This really demonstrated to me that advertising does pay, and does not necessarily have to be intrusive. Thus, my thinking about A Year in Japan - could I use advertising to pay those bandwidth costs?

The reminder that my Podcast is being well received also encourages me to start it again - After all, I have my big sexy mic and headphones here beside me. Time is a factor though, ...so I think I'll have to wait till I can release a New Year Special just after *Twinkle* goes home.

I'll definitely start doing it again next year when back in Japan, I imagine that my job (should I be fortunate enough to get it) will provide me with a few more insights into Japanese culture.

Anyway, must be off to the library, have a tonne of homework to do.

:-)

p.s. I signed up for a free Trial of Amazon's rental-DVD-by-post service on Friday - it's fantastic! I had my first 2 DVDs through my letter box within 24 hours. When I send them back, they send the next ones on my list. Freepost envelopes provided. If anyone's interested in a free trial let me know and I'll send you an invite, and should you choose to carry on using the service a £5 donation will be made by Amazon to the *Twinkle* fund!

(Also, by being a member, you get 5% off all DVD purchases on Amazon.)

Last night I watched the first in the Series of the BBC's 'Planet Earth'. WOW! If you haven't seen these, you must! Last night's episode, all about caves and the life within them, saw me gasping, smiling widely and feeling so incredibly fortunate to live on such a beautiful planet. Highly recommended!

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