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Yeah, It’s Probably Time For A Tip Jar March 27, 2013

The site crashed four times on Monday. Thanks to all of you sharing that post all over the internet, the little weakling servers I’ve set up for this site couldn’t handle it.  (But seriously, thanks to all of you for sharing that post all over the internet.)

All in all, more than 13,000 unique IP addresses accessed the site on Monday (and countless more probably tried to but found an error message).  I really don’t know if that’s good or just average for a little independent blog like mine – I mean, there are D-list celebs who have 90,000 people read their Tumblr – but for me, a nearly-full Assembly Hall wanting to read what I have to say is quite humbling.

And expensive. I’ve maintained this site for more than four years now, and I’ve financed the entire thing on my own.  Hosting and servers.  Trips to bowl games in San Francisco.  Hotel rooms in Rantoul.  People told me at the time to put a donate button on the blog to help defray the costs, but that just felt wrong to me.  I’m writing for passion, not money.  I’d be at the bowl game anyway.  Getting a press pass meant I didn’t have to purchase a ticket, so I’m actually SAVING money!

But as this thing has grown, and as more and more of you follow me and email me and comment on posts and send links to your friends, the finance side has become a little harder to manage.  Take Friday, for example.  I want to cover the Illini scrimmage at Gately Stadium in Chicago, but I live in the St. Louis area.  I have a half day off work, but travel to Chicago (and an overnight stay) aren’t cheap.

Which, in my brain, brings me to a blog crossroads.  Keep improving this site and my coverage, or, for the first time, limit what I can do because of money.  Believe me when I say I wrestled with this.  I just added the “Tip Jar” page and it made my stomach turn.  I hate the idea of asking for money.

But I also hate the idea of not being able to expand what I’m doing here – maybe even stunting the ultimate goal of doing this full time – because I was too proud to beg.  So a Tip Jar it is.

At the top of the page you’ll find a Tip Jar link.  That takes you to the Tip Jar page where there’s a PayPal link.  It’s really simple.  If you believe in what I’ve been doing for the past four years, now is the time where you can help out.  My plan is to expand my coverage in the years ahead.  I even have a little project in the works to expand this site substantially.  But I’ve probably reached the limit of what I can finance on my own.

So to the dozens who have emailed me over the years upset that there’s no way to contribute or no ads to click on to support me (seriously, dozens – it made people angry for some reason), I surrender. The Tip Jar Cometh.  I lay down my enjoyment of beat writers looking at me in the press box with “you do this and don’t make a single dime?” expressions and humbly ask for your help.

I have big dreams for the next 30 years.  They include a basketball national title and a Rose Bowl win.  And with your help, I’d like to be there to cover it.

Here’s the donate button. Thanks for reading. And to those who choose to help out, a serious, heartfelt thank you in advance.

FairfieldIllini March 27th, 2013

I will gladly shell out a few bucks for continued access to the best Illini coverage on the internet. Keep up the good work!

TC80 March 27th, 2013

Glad to help Robert. Thank you for all of your passion and hard work!

wizardofoz March 27th, 2013

I just wrote the monthly church newsletter last night (I’m the Rev) for our church up here in Wisconsin and I referenced your blog and stated that I thought you were the finest sports writer ever. I’ve said before that it would be a big loss for me should you ever not post on the Illini since you capture the passions, hopes, and dreams of Illini Nation so perfectly. Life is tough enough without some measure of re-creation and you, Robert, give it to us. I will gladly support your work financially and hope that you continue to gift us all with your unbelievable talent and raw passion for things Illini. Thank you for the opportunity to help you as much as you have helped us.

uilaw71 March 27th, 2013

This 50 year Illini is in. Whoa – 50, seriously? Yep, acceptance arived if memory serves in December of 1963.

KJKobs March 27th, 2013

I’m on board as well. I figured the money I’ve saved cancelling my Scout membership can be better used to support this site and all the hours you put in.

Besides, everyone knows the material in this site runs circles arounds the other board – and its not even close.

Thanks for all your hard work Robert.

illiniaces97 March 27th, 2013

Glad to add a few sheckels for the cause. Robert, you ARE the voice for the true Illini fan. Thanks for the first four years and here’s to many more!

Matt March 27th, 2013

Happy to contribute, Robert. I’ll remind myself to drop a contribution every month or two. Money well spent.

wdallen March 27th, 2013

Glad to help Robert. This has become my favorite blog to read, and I definitely appreciate the long hours you put into this and your passion for the Illini!

thegoah March 27th, 2013

Mommy MOMMY! My teacher says that every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings!

…For auld Lang syne, my dear. For auld lang syne…

loyalillini March 27th, 2013

You bet – I am on here reading all the time. Thanks for your commitment, and stay independent – don’t be bought by the big guys.

agiganti March 27th, 2013

if I had to pay for every time I quoted your articles….you wouldn’t have to ask for donations.

nathan12 March 27th, 2013

Great website. Would you care to continue to share what you have gotten like you did on twitter?

PittsburghNellie March 28th, 2013

I don’t know how to say this, partly because I just got back from drinking pale ales and IPA’s all night with my good friend, but Robert… You’re a good writer and a good guy. It shows through your writing.
One day we’ll meet up and talk. I think I might be a bigger Illinois football fan than you. I go to Alabama and i’m an Illinois football fan without having any family members that went to UI.
I went to the Alabama-Ga Southern (2011) game to take my mind off Illinois -Wisconsin because I couldn’t root for Illinois to lose, but I couldn’t root for anymore Zook. That’s the only Alabama game I’ve been to as a student because I’ve watched every Illinois game. Even the ASU game after working til 2 am, I watched it on the DVR. What a crappy night that was
I’ll donate in the morning when i’m in better shape
God Bless- Praise be Allah-You’re my boy, Blue

illiniphil March 28th, 2013

No one does it better. Keep it coming.

illiniranger March 28th, 2013

donation sent

ILLINI323 March 28th, 2013

Robert been following this site for four years never posted until today . Do not be ashamed to ask for help for the work you are doing. Many people including myself will be more than happy to help out . Just keep up the great work . GO ILLINI

goorblue March 29th, 2013

I never post but always read. Thank you Robert. Support you need, support you will receive.