Over the summer we at Timemaps have been working hard on a new development. It’s the reason why all through August no 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.
The main website – the Timemap of World History – will continue to be completely free, and we will also continue to add free content. However, our traffic is now at a level (about 200,000 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 income is growing strongly it’s not enough to cover all the costs. If the ads were to become more remunerative we’d have to make 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. There will be a fee for accessing the service, but judging by the sorts of fees that are being asked for educational services, we think that teachers will find our subscriptiuon very reasonable. More important will be what the service offers teachers, and it will be up to us to make sure that they will be willing to pay – and indeed renew when the time comes! I’ll talk about what the content will be in my next post.
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 technical issues). I’ll keep you posted on progress.