I had thought I blogged about this when it first came out, but it appears I didn't. Anyone who follows comics on the internet has by now probably heard of Penny Arcade's Kickstarter campaign, "Penny Arcade sells out," in which they're trying to raise $1 million so that they can take down advertising on their site, entirely. The campaign's basic goal was $250 thousand, and they made that very quickly. For that, the leaderboard ad on the home page will be removed. I checked back today, and it's currently at $364,461, which is enough to unlock the first stretch goal at $325 thousand, a 6 page comic strip. I don't know why that one's in there, but it's nice that they put a bunch of other cool stuff around all the goals for ad removal.
I checked back today honestly expecting for them to be at or close to the $1 million goal. I figured if anyone was going to raise that much on Kickstarter in the first week or so, it would be Penny Arcade. They're not even close yet, but there are still 22 days to go.
Lacking money, I won't be contributing, but I do think this is a good idea. For a long time now, the model for financing online content has been "We can't think of anything better than ads," and I'm happy to see people who have the power to overcome that issue reaching out to try and change things.
If this works, I can honestly imagine an artistic future in which the culture of art is that people voluntarily contribute to the art they love. Eventually we might even be able to finance the kind of blockbusters that Hollywood pumps out -- though I expect we'd only get the Nolan style films, and lose out on the Transformers franchise. But I'm not complaining.