Joining forces with Chris

Hi Erik,

If we are speaking of sustainability, why not to be transparent and show people the costs and the amount of donation needed? It would be nice to have options for the donations like for the website, the documentary, Chris, etc.

I surely hate random advertising. Another way to turn off people is to force them to subscribe in order to see the content. I am sure that people who find the content useful will be glad to participate in costs, but it seems fair for them to know where their money goes. Also, it would be an exercise of cooperation for the good of the community. You never know when you need such model…

As for the content, it would be good to have some sort of crash course on different economic models, or an open source economic model for a future that is not larger but brighter. For instance, I have this crazy idea that computers and Internet could help us build a new kind of economy without money. Can anyone imagine how many problems will be solved in the world only by giving up on money? It seems that it is a too radical idea for anyone to take it seriously.

BTW, thank you for helping Chris. I hope you will do the right thing for him and us.

Let me say straight out that I don’t see anything wrong with advertising, or generating revenue from the site. I do however feel concerned that a venture capitalist no matter how well intentioned now appears to be directing operations. Particularly when the opening line of your post is ‘Dear Chris Martenson fans’.

I come to this site for valuable information in troubling times, not because any cult of personaility (although I do admire Chris Martenson immensely). This information deserves to be freely available to as large an audience as possible and so I reject absolutely any suggestion that any part of the Crash Course be subscription based.

Please try to strike an approriate balance between exponentially increasing the readership of the site and generating maximum revenue, in my eyes there’s a danger that those two objectives could be incompatible.

By the way, all this appears to be taking place at the worst possible time, when we should be focused on the content of the site - not the delivery, and surely it would have been normal for the man himself to introduce you Erik rather than you doing it yourself?





I’ve used CreateSpace as a way to make a DVD available and highly recommend it.

You give them the content and the artwork. They put it in their online store. You send people to the store (which you can customize to look like your website.) Your visitors place orders with them. They burn and ship as needed. You set the price. You get sent a check. You take on none of the order processing or fulfillment bother. You also don’t take on the up-front expense of burning a bunch of DVDs and then waiting for the money to trickle back in.

I think this would be a quick and easy way to go without overcomplicating things and would help keep the focus on spreading the message.

Hello Erik,

Further to Xanb’s comments, welcome on board. For the ‘naysayers’, and admittedly as a newish member to the group, I personally doubt that Chris would entertain the idea of having someone help who didn’t share the same vision - if it turns out NOT to be the case then obviously the interest in the site (NOT Chris’s opinions) will change.

I can understand the paradox of advertising and the idea or notion of being influenced by such advertisers. Surely the test will be continuing to show independence of thought even if this disagrees with certain advertisers’ standpoints - a measure of respect on both sides perhaps if Chris continues to illustrate independent thought and advertisers respect this by continuing to advertise?

I certaily agree with Xanb about random advertising, 'forced' subscription and the content model - I loath random or 'viral' advertising!



I totally agree with jrf29. Chris should be sharing info on how and what and why but not endorsing or getting kickbacks from any particular company. It completely alters the perception of him into just another guy selling something like James Turk. His message may be great, but the fact that he’s selling something completely turned me off.

When I’m learning about something new, it’s important that the source not have a financial agenda or the whole message becomes suspect. I think one of the subconscious reasons so many of us have been open to learning from Chris is precisely because he does not seek to profit from what he’s teaching us. We can trust the info more, knowing it’s not a sales job in disguise. Profit and teaching is a difficult combination.

Charge for detailed guides if you must, but please please do not go down the slippery slope of endorsements and partners and all of that. It will completely distort your credibility and this message is too important.

I just bought an audio from LATOC (Life After the Oil Crash.) They have a third party vendor (local to Chris actually) who manages all the purchasing/distribution stuff. Income from info like this is an ok model from an ethics/credibility perspective. Perhaps you could talk to them about whether it’s working from a financial perspective.

I like the idea someone posted of giving your existing base some time to rise to the occasion first. Do the membership drive first. Then let’s reassess where things stand and whether that’s adequate before you put a lot of time/energy thought into how to monetize the hell out of everything.


Welcome to the community and thanks for helping! Chris’ work is extremely necessary in our world and I am grateful to you for keeping the work going.

Please, let me beg you… Don’t force people to register to watch the videos. I personally would have never seen them if I was forced to give my email in order to do so.

Also, I’ve forwarded the videos to friends/colleges who have watched them and been impressed. Again, I know they wouldn’t have watched the videos if they were forced to give their email.

Obviously, I have registered as I’m writing this message. But I did so after watching several of the videos and after being convinced that not only was Chris’ message essential, but after also gaining a sense of trust in the way he honestly presented himself.

Again, this message is too important to risk by forcing people to register in order to view the videos.

On another note, I wish I could afford the full registeration for the "Chris Martenson Report", but I can’t. I would, however, pay a smaller registration yearly fee (around $5/month, or $60/year) to help out and receive additional content. I think the additional content page for paid subscribers could contain the gold/silver links, as those of us who would be willing to pay already trust Chris’ integrity.



I’m an "insider" of the Glenn Beck program and I just emailed him about Chris. Maybe you should try and contact Glenn as he has been talking about our financial mess for over a year and shares much the same views as Chris.


First of all, I think I speak for almost everyone here when I say we are and will
be grateful to Chris for all that he has done for us. I am proud to be a subscriber and
supporter of his efforts (to help us).

With regard to the current financial situation that Chris is facing, I have a suggestion: Why not operate fundraising the way Wikipedia does? Create a target that factors in the expenses of the site (accrued and current) and a good salary for Chris and display a fundraising tube or ruler that tracks how much has been given and how much more is needed.That should be coupled with a button to donate like any political donation website.

I might prefer that to advertising on the website - which I’m not sure will generate much revenue unless Chris’ site attracts a mass audience (which I hope it does one day but I don’t know is the case today). There is no reason Chris should lose any money for doing this and I
would be happy for him if he did well for devoting himself to this
educational effort.

What do others think?


Thanks for your candor. I must admit to being rather surprised by your comment, but I always prefer people who say what they mean and allow me to know where I really stand.

I’m not sure what you believe my motive might be. For the record, the reason I’m helping Chris is that I believe in what he’s doing for the country by promoting this message. I’m not being paid a penny for my time, and I’m not profiting in any way from the advertising we’ll be putting up on the site. I’m confused to even understand what you think my angle might be, but I suppose a little skepticism is always a healthy thing…



Hi Futuo,

Thanks for the info about Prof. Nassos. Here’s a little more info re: the college curriculum issue:

So far, there are already 8 college and university professors who have approached Chris on their own, asking for permission to either use the course materials or just assign the Crash Course as "required viewing" for their classes. For the most part, Chris has welcomed these requests and invited credible educators to use his material.

We really need to take this trend and put a standard set of terms and conditions around it, then promote it actively to academia. We’ll be looking for help from loyal readers to help get the word out to the academic community, but we’re not quite ready for that yet.



Erik, I was a little turned off by your introduction and the instant idea of money and advertising. I’m sure every subscriber knows the value of this content and will tell you Chris should not have to pay a single dime out of his pocket while he should absolutely generate income in a “natural” way without undermining the integrity of the message.

Advertising can scare away initial skeptics before they even get to the crash course. I was a little skeptical even after taking the course, but I hung around for a few weeks reading every link on Chris’ site. After I got to “know” Chris and his message, you could tell his intentions were clearly altruistic so I became a paid subscriber. EVERYDAY I look forward to visiting the site to get a behind the scene glimpse on what is really unfolding.

As I scan down the recent articles and the amount of hits, I do not understand why basic subscription revenues are not covering the costs and then some.

My Recommendations:

Keep the crash course and at least one daily commentary free of charge with no sign-up obligation. Paid subscriptions are needed for access to reports, how to act articles, and any additional daily commentaries. Absolutely keep all internet advertising off of the site and instead put a donation link as another subscriber suggested.

I think it’s imperative that Chris focus his energy and time on what is going on right now and not have to deal with this administrative overhead. Erik, thanks for helping and taking the initiative to free Chris to do what he does best. Please keep your intentions selfless so the integrity of the site is maintained. Please let us know when the PayPal donation link is active.

And lastly, Chris, thanks for an excellent website. The content is invaluable and I frequently send links to your articles to friends, family, and co-workers in hopes they can prepare for what is coming.

How about starting up a company that directs equity towards organic farms? Let’s actually do something that is tangible. The information provided thus far should be enough to convince a reasonable person that changes must be made. Rather than expanding on the information, Chris and those of us who are concerned by the data should make meaningful changes rather than build a website. Let’s build a more sustainable world. Get out the tools and really build.
Maybe a way out of the credit crisis is to start an equity revolution. Those who have an interest can identify organic farms that have debt and would like to exchange their debt for equity. The equity would be secured by a lien on the assets. Those who deposit money in the equity account would not earn interest but rather have access to the products at the lesser of cost or market.
We already have far too many online venues to express our opinions. We need a way to get out and make a difference.

Personally I will be less inclined to come here if there are ads popping up and scrolling all over the place. I see Chris as mainly a teacher, and, I think through his teaching is the best way to pay for the site. For instance, Chris is presenting a weekend conference in Feb 2009. But, let's face it, how many of use are going to go to Rowe MA in February (sorry Chris). Why not do a parallel "webinar" presentation of the conference online? Erik, I raised this with Chris via email sometime ago. He thought it was a good idea, but he is probably too busy to act on it. One of the webinar hosting companies I suggested to Chris (I have no affiliation) advertises that: "one flat fee lets you present unlimited Webinars with up to 1,000 attendees each." It looks like that flat fee is $99 for one month. I would be very surprised if you couldn't find 1000 people willing to sign up for the conference via webinar for the same price charged to those attending in person. Chris is going to present the course anyways—so for not much extra work and money, this would be an easy way to multiple income. Plus, those who can't travel to the conference benefit as well.

Please expand a little more on that idea Matt. Is sounds promising



P.S. - Erik, you need to get a saleable product. I don’t see that at the moment, the crash course IS FANTASTIC, sell it and it will be on every torrent site in a week. Get a product and then ask us for money.

And as an ‘IT guy’ you know hosting is peanuts these days, so stop with the ‘hosting costs’ you are giving the site a bad name.


Thanks for making several excellent comments. Some brief reactions:

Advertising: We’re going to have to experiment with it to see what works. The advertising people all tell me the "trick" is to embed the ads in the middle of the content. I find that offensive, and would rather go with the approach you suggest - puttingthe ads in a well-marked corner and disclaim any affiliation. But I’m told that cuts the effective ad revenue in half when you do that.

Another idea would be to set it up so the ads go away when you log in as a paid subscriber. That would make it better for the paid subscribers, and frankly it would make it easier for me to justify really loading up the "free version" of the site with lots of ads. I don’t feel so bad about littering up the site with "lots of adversitisng" if there is a path that allows users who have chosen to support the site through subscription to be immune to any adverse effect of advertising.

In short, we’re going to have to see how it goes, and we’ll continue to welcome feedback from you.

Better access to chapters: I think our best way to solve that problem will be to offer a DVD version of the Crash Course for purchase. It’s "on the list", I promise!

Non-American content: Good point. Actually, close to 40% of the web site traffic is from outside the USA. That makes sense - a lot of the core messages of the CC are really independent of nationality. We have finite resources on this planet regardless of where you call home, for instance. I’ll talk to Chris about your suggestions. I can tell you right now that he would personally love to be publishing broader articles about the impact of American economics on the rest of the global economy. But I’m sure you can understand that there’s only one of him, and a lot of demand. For now, we need to stay focused on getting the Crash Course completed and ramp up our promotion efforts around it. It’ll be a while before we can look at completely new projects.

Forums: We’re definitely keeping the forums. Chris and I agree that it’s essential to have a place for people to discuss this material. However, I have asked Chris to stop reading and personally responding to the forum posts. Chris would love to continue reading and responding to every forum thread, but if he did so we’d never see Ch. 20. You can blame me for this if you like, but I’ve asked Chris to stop thinking of the forums as something he should be obliged to read and respond do. We need his time and attention focused in other areas. I hope everyone will understand this.



  1. Welcome, Erik. I’m glad Chris has someone to help him. Your motives sound perfectly simple to me. Sometimes people just volunteer to help something they think is good.
  2. I never understood why registration for a free site would be required and I usually just go away when they want my info. Your explanation, support of grant applications, makes good sense. If you do require registration, could you put a short explanation of that reason on the ‘register here’ screen?
  3. A mini-membership would be a great option.
  4. I agree with jrf 29 and affter’s caveats about advertising (‘perhaps’ and advertising in general’) and the appearance of financial interest. If ads, then neutral content ads, please.
  5. On the other hand, many thanks for Chris’s personal recommendations such as those for 3 gold dealers in his article about buying precious metals. (
  6. I second ike and joe2baba’s suggestions about community building opportunities.
  7. Although the color scheme is a bit hot-doggy, I don't come back and back to this site because it’s cute or flashy. Its simplicity is a virtue if 512k is a blazing fast connection.


You’re correct: Although the hosting cost did go up considerably with the recent upgrade, it’s still not the major expense item.

We use a technical consultant (who is excellent, by the way) to run the site, and although his hourly consulting fees are reasonable, they add up fast. When I’ve described the cost of running site, I’m referring to both the hosting fee and the technical consulting fees Chris has to pay to make this all happen. It really is significant.




As I said earlier in reply to another comment you posted, I’m here as a volunteer. My only financial connection with this project is as a donor, and I have no profit motive. As another reply to your comment points out, that was disclosed openly in my original letter.

I don’t take offense, and as I said elsewhere in this thread, I think a little healthy skepticism can be a good thing. But please, let’s get this over and done with and move on. If you have more questions about my intentions, feel free to fire away, but please do so respectfully.



like an excellent idea! There’s one absolutely perfect way to raise money without damaging the credibility of the message.

Ok folks, as I work through all the replies I must say I’m a bit shocked by some of your reactions.

In another comment, a reader demanded that I disclose my financial interest in the project, despite the fact that I had already clearly said in my letter that I’m here as a volunteer and have no financial interest or profit motive.

Now you seem adamant in wanting to "reject absolutely any suggestion that any part of the Crash Course be subscription based.", despite the fact that I’ve said clearly that we are committed to keeping the Crash Course free for everyone.

I must also respectfully disagree with your appraisal that "this appears to be taking place at the worst possible time, when we should be focused on the content of the site". You got the right issue, but came to the wrong conclusion. Now, more than ever, Chris needs to be able to focus all of his time on content. This is a very critical time for the economy to be certain. But as the site traffic was growing exponentially, this server upgrade became a necessity. Chris has been stretched a dozen different ways, and there’s only one of him. The pivotal event that caused me to sign up for this mission, for what it’s worth, was when Chris called me a few weeks ago saying he was reaching his personal stress limit with so many things breaking loose at once. I felt it was critical for someone to step up and help take some of the burden off Chris’ shoulders.

I didn’t get the memo on introduction ettiquette, so sorry if we didn’t do that to everyone’s satisfaction. Chris did read and approve of my into letter. He offered to post it or let me post it myself. I figured learning to do it myself was the best way to start taking burden off Chris’ shoulders.