Over the summer we at Timemaps have been working hard on a new development. It’s the reason why all through August, September and October little new content has been going up on the site, and no new blog posts. It is a really important step for us.
We are developing a subscription service in which users will be able to access premium content. It is designed specially for teachers, and will contain resources they will be able to present to or share with their students. Initially it is being built around the needs of teachers of the AP world history course, but we will then be versioning it for middle school world history teachers as well.
Up to now the website has been completely free, and will continue to be so. We will also continue to add free content. However, our traffic is now at a level (about 260,000 visits per month during term time, and growing strongly) that the website is not cheap to run. We have been earning money from the advertisements we carry, but while this is growing strongly it’s not enough to cover all our costs. If we were to make the ads more remunerative we’d have to start making them more obtrusive, which we really don’t want to do. In an ideal world we’d actually rather not carry any advertising at all, and if the premium service goes OK we’ll not continue to do so.
So, we’re building a premium area of the site. We hope that it will come on stream by the end of this year (we had originally aimed for September, but we’ve encountered some major technical issues).
There will be a fee for accessing the service, but judging by the sorts of fees that are out there for educational content, we think that teachers will not find this a barrier to joining. More important will be what the service offers teachers, and it will be up to us to provide great content, to make sure that they will be willing to pay!
I’ll keep you posted on progress.