In Istanbul, but the question is: to Paypal or not to Paypal?

     Back in Istanbul again on my way to Europe. Sometimes I think if you took the mosques and the call to prayer out of the city it isn’t much different than visiting Rome or Barcelona, but I never tire of Istanbul, one of the most unique and interesting cities I have ever visited—and I have visited a lot of cities, trust me on this.
     I stay in a hostel called Second Home, paying 30 Turkish lira ($19) to be in a depressing nine-bed basement dorm with abundant street noise. From my research the cheapest bed I found in Istanbul was 23 lira ($14) in a 30-bed dorm. That’s three-zero, THIRTY beds, meaning 29 other frustrated, snoring travelers and you.
     Istanbul is so busy and popular you could rent a warehouse and charge $10 a bed with free wifi and make a bundle. Another free business idea from The Dromomaniac!
     On the left is a girl for whom I made a balloon animal. I do this for kids and sometimes they don’t cry.

     It's true. The Grand Bazaar sellers make their money in season and study languages in winter.

     A reader of my blog (still sounds funny to say that) wrote and asked if I had Paypal so she could send me some money. She suggested I put a Paypal icon on the page so others can donate, too. I suppose anyone considering sleeping in a thirty bed dorm must be pretty destitute, and if my writing brings some happiness to someone’s life (sounds really funny to say that) or keeps someone from jumping off a bridge, well that’s worth a few bucks, right?
     Not to look a gift horse in the mouth, so to speak, but I have seen that on other websites and it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I thought of soliciting if I went to Japan to help with the tsunami relief effort, but for my own benefit, it simply doesn’t feel right accepting money. Maybe I should get over it and tell myself that my free, non-ebook website saves travelers a ton of money if they can ever get through it all.
     Does anyone have an opinion or experience with this, as a donor or recipient?

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In Istanbul, but the question is: to Paypal or not to Paypal? — 15 Comments

  1. Why do you need money when you own your own convenience store?
    Just kidding. Can’t hurt to put the link up there. Think of it as contributing to the blogs continuation. I doubt you’ll make enough to be put in an ethical quandary, but hopefully you’ll get enough to reward you for your efforts. I enjoy the blog, I’ll contribute.

  2. That’s a tough one man. I had the same dilemma when I started running out of money in Africa (slightly different, no one offered to fund me, but I was volunteering for a couple projects and considered requesting donations from friends and family to continue). In the end I decided not to, mainly because I wanted to feel completely free to use “my” funds however “I” want to without feeling responsible to use them a certain way… your situation is a little different though, especially if you can start considering this website and travel advice as your job. God knows you’ve saved me money and headache more than a few times, as is the case for lots of others also, and that is worth something.
    I think the “tastefulness” of monetization all depends on how you present it. A “Donate” button on the homepage would definitely put me off. I’d suggest a completely separate tab labeled “Keep the Dromomaniac going!” or something like that (which people will find if they’re looking for it, and not see otherwise) with a short explanation of who you might encourage to contribute and why. You’ve put a lot of time and experience into this, and if people feel grateful in a financial way then there’s no reason they shouldn’t have the opportunity to express their gratitude, and no reason why you shouldn’t benefit from your work and generous advice. Just don’t let it seem that you’re digging for it or that money is the reason you’ve made the website, otherwise people (especially first time visitors) could be turned off.

  3. Thanks for the comments. A tab? Placed where exactly? I will think about it.
    So you say no 800 x 600 pixel flashing intro Paypal graphic with lots of noises and pop-up windows? Let me make a note of that.

  4. I see it as you have already begun to consider it therefore something has intrigued you about this proposition.

    Look, ive looked through this website enough and seen the quality work you have put into it to help other travelers. Further, ive seen the tax records you posted and it looks like a few bucks thrown at you here and there wont hurt.

    I say fuck it and throw down that paypal symbol on the front page and let those office dwellers who are living vicariously through you have a little semblance at the end of the day and a feeling of doing something worthwhile.

    Lastly, where is all the couchsurfing at in Istanbul?

  5. Easiest question first: I know a friend who is staying with a cool married CS couple on Prince’s Island, only a 3.50 lira (2 hour slow) boat from Kabatas.
    Thanks for the supportive words. Should I stop at Paypal? I can use a new backpack, some shoes, a pair of pants. Maybe I should hit up readers for all kinds of things like jobs, accommodation, massages…

  6. First, since I found your site I’ve always been amazed by the amount of content and time you put into your site without receiving any monetary gain from it. Having looked at other similar type of sites this clearly isn’t the norm while overall I’ve personally found your information much more useful. So thanks for this and if we are ever near and you are need of a amateurism massage (from someone of the same sex and much closer to your age and physique then the typical backpacker) let me know…

    As far as the question to me it seems like a personal decision based on your objectives and the purpose you have for maintaining your website. What is interesting to me is that while a paypal donate would probably be less intrusive then the addition of overrunning ads the first might create a larger stigma due to public perception of charity versus latter receiving easier acceptance as a transformation of the information you provide into a business. Sadly I also wouldn’t be surprised if stigma wouldn’t also identifiable between the two in the amounts of money generated.

  7. If you go the Paypal route will you not begin the erosion of this blog? Do I want to read about your quandry that you face when determining how much creme fresh is too much to apply to your salmon brioche while on your first class flight from Paris to Monte Carlo? I’m having a hard time answering these questions……I don’t watch “Real Housewives” I despise it. But, I’m in the minority….I can’t pull my wife away from it! So maybe you should! It certainly could make for a different, but not necessarily better, story line. I see the question as: Would you become Charles Bukowski, and those that read this site, via PayPal, become Tully Sorenson? Would you become trapped in a cage with golden bars?

  8. Kent

    See! My idea was a good one! Really no one thought it was offensive or a bad idea for you to solicit donations! Now stop preventing your grateful peeps from “showing the love” with a buck or two here and there! I myself feel it’s the least I could do to thank you for the effort you make to document your travels and tribulations – and for satisfying my wanderlust just the teeniest little bit when I get to live vicariously through you!!!



  9. Anyone who doesn’t want the best for you should not be reading your blog…

  10. And maybe the offended people don’t want to write!

    I forgive you for having written this after traveling through Ethiopia, Somaliland, Kenya, and India during the hottest months. Messes with the mind, eh?

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