Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Would you pay for a FAQ?

A few weeks ago one of my friends locally sent me a note suggesting an idea...I should try and make some money off of my Moving to Iqaluit FAQ. That instead of putting it up on the blog for free, which I've done for years, I should instead put it up as an Amazon single. I could charge 99 cents for it and keep about 70 per cent of the money.

I confess, I never really thought about making money off the FAQ. I always considered it more of a public service. When we were first looking at moving up to Iqaluit in 2005, the online resources to help you with such a move were practically non-existent. A smattering of blogs, a bit of information on the truly awful (at the time) Government of Nunavut website and that was it. There was a lot of guesswork involved in figuring out what you needed to bring and what you were in for if you choose to move here.

I remember us taking an action packer with plants because we were convinced we would not be able to find or buy house plants in Iqaluit. That theory went out the window pretty much on my first trip to Arctic Ventures. There wasn't a great selection, they were over-priced and half dead, but hey....plants.

It's changed since then. There are a lot more blogs outlining people's experiences in Nunavut. The Government of Nunavut has gotten a little better at providing information to new arrivals. There's even a slap together website outlining information about moving here.

So I wasn't sure if the FAQ is really as needed anymore. However, the last update in October has more than 600 page views. It's by far the most read post on this blog. I've had strangers tell me how much that post helped them. Hell, I was in a class last year and when it was revealed that I was the guy who wrote that blog with the FAQ, nearly all the non-Inuit in the class knew that post. One local reporter told me he uses that post as a test for newbies eager to move to Nunavut for "an adventure". I believe the cull rate of people after reading it is about 80 per cent.

Which was never my intention, by the way. I never meant to scare the crap out of people or tell them not to come here. It was always intended to be an honest assessment of the pros and cons of moving here. I like to think I've managed to do that.

So I'm tempted by the idea of an Amazon Kindle. I'm under no illusion of making any kind of significant money off of it. If 25 per cent of the 600 people who read that post spent 99 cents on it (a deeply generous estimate, I suspect), and then I made my 70 cents off of that sale, I would make about $100. If you've read that post, you'll understand exactly how far $100 will get you in Nunavut. But hey, better than nothing, right? I try to limit my writing where I don't get paid to the confines of this blog these days.

But I am curious. My readership is a fraction of what it was back at its peak in 2009. But for those of you still kicking around here waiting for me to say something interesting, would you go and pay 99 cents for an Amazon single on information about moving to Iqaluit? It's only a buck, but people can get weird about spending money online. There still exists an air of entitlement when it comes to writing and information. That it should be free.

If I get enough feedback to make it interesting, I'll look at doing a single. I'll pull the information off the website and put a link to Amazon. And then I guess we'll see what happens next.

Last Five
1. Behind blue eyes - The Who
2. Hey Jude - The Beatles
3. Damned if she do - The Kills
4. Don't fail me now (live) - Ryan Adams*
5. Been a son - Nirvana


John, Perth AU said...

Wow, you're bright, but you're not very smart. Good thing you got Cathy to look after you. Ask yourself if you want to become a copyright policeman, because what you're doing is giving people a monetary incentive to copy your work. Wait until your novel is finished, then become a real author.

Morena said...

I don't like the idea. AS you say there is so much more information now then there was years ago. Why pay for your list when they can get free information from other blogs and the other places you mentioned? I'm guessing those references aren't near as thorough but I don't know if people would bother paying the dollar.

JH said...

I would happily send you a dollar if you did not post to amazon and posted more frequently here.

Nancy said...

Nope! I wouldn't pay for it. The info is out there, and I wouldn't pay for it anyway, but I'm pretty frugal. It's not the neighbourly way of the north to charge for that stuff, either.

Michelle Z said...

Please don't make us pay - I just found your blog for the first time today (have a job interview for Iqaluit) and the excitement (even before I know that I have the job) has lead me to look for housing already. I LOVED your FAQ and was so thankful that someone so comprehensively post it. I will gladly promote your blog to promote readership but I think that the point is in my mind, you do good work by providing a service that helps people and that help should be satisfaction enough. You are truly helping people out. I promise.

Chris Brobin said...

Short Answer: No.
Slightly longer answer: Have you considered monetizing your site? Ad placements and that sort of thing?
Long answer: My MD wife who grew up in Toronto(US Citizen) found my native Minneapolis too cold ( actually it was just cloudy and dreary all winter) so we moved and live in Colorado. Chances are zero she'd want to move to Iqaluit.
Big fan. Great Blog.

John, Perth AU said...

How about an annotated Google Street View instead?

John, Perth AU said...

If you ever go back to Sri Lanka, here's something that will help you sleep easy.

John Mutford said...

Yeah, I'd agree with the others on the "no" side. Not so much a sense of entitlement as you called it, but I'd quickly move on to see if I could find the info somewhere else for free. If I can, why shouldn't I?

Tara Muise said...

Hmmm...anyone planning on moving north better get used to buying things online! $0.99 is nothing in the grand scheme of things. I like the idea of monetizing the post though!