Support This Site
If you've benefited in some way from Ian's Shoelace Site and have come here to show your appreciation with some financial support – then I'm really touched. Thank you!
Donate via PayPal
This is the most direct form of support – like leaving a tip in a restaurant or throwing a coin in the hat of a street performer or busker. Even modest “gold coin” donations of $1 or $2 (which are customary in Australia) are appreciated.
Please click on one of the flags below to donate in your preferred currency:
You will be taken to PayPal's secure website, where you can choose a donation amount and make your payment using your credit card or via your PayPal account (if you have one).
Why Support Ian?
I've devoted two decades of mostly altruistic labors to the niche topic of shoelaces. I spend probably 60 hours a week continuously improving this website, answering visitors' questions, solving their shoelace problems – even granting permission for my material to be re-used by other educators.
All of this effort earns me less than 1/5 of the Australian National Minimum Wage.
I'm thinking of calling this my “Million Dollar Website” – not because it's worth a million dollars but because it has cost me a million dollars compared to what I would have earned at a regular job (based on an average Australian annual wage of $50,000 × 20+ years).
Any support that you can give will be gratefully accepted and warmly appreciated.
Other Ways to Support Ian
With my website gaining popularity and hosting costs rapidly increasing, I made the decision to put ads on my website for the first time. Google provided a simple solution: Add one or more placeholders on my web pages (which could be as minimal and unobtrusive as desired), then Google would fill them with ads chosen to match each page's content.
This worked well for probably a decade or more!
Over time, the ads became increasingly problematic. Firstly, the ever more complex (and often non-standards-compliant) ad code was causing my web pages to load ever more slowly. Secondly, many visitors were installing ad blockers to combat the ads' intrusive nature, while others were rejecting Google's cookies due to privacy concerns – both of which resulted in zero ad income.
Most recently, Google has begun requesting that I implement a “Consent Management Platform” – just to allow Google's ads to continue to be shown to visitors from certain countries (eg. Europe).
I'm now looking at abandoning the Google ads altogether and pursuing an alternative source of income.
Status: SEEKING ALTERNATIVE
Following the implementation of Google ads, I was approached by an individual sponsor to place a single paid banner on the website. I've since had many such direct sponsors, some of whom lasted only a few months while others have continued their sponsorship for more than a decade.
These direct sponsorships remain the cornerstone of my current website income.
Amazon Affiliate Links
Back in the days when Amazon was still primarily an online bookstore, I created a page of shoelace books that were available, and through which my website would be paid a small commission for the referral. Later in 2006 I began adding a curated range of shoelaces and other accessories.
The result was pretty cool – my visitors had actual products that they could buy, yet the whole transaction, shipping and logistics was handled by Amazon.
Over time, these became increasingly problematic (and thus decreasingly useful) to visitors. For example, there was little point in having direct links to specific products – only to arrive at a page on Amazon and then have to jump through many more hoops before simply being able to “Buy”.
The final straw was my bank (in Australia) no longer accepting Amazon cheques (in U.S. Dollars). I guess I can understand our banks ceasing support for an outdated payment method – but I'm dumbfounded that a massive global company like Amazon can't (or won't?) make direct payments to Australian bank accounts! (Neither Google nor PayPal seem to find this too hard.)
And so this modest income (about $1.20 per day in recent years) came to an end.
Status: ENDED Aug-2023
Ian's Shoelace Book
When I began work on a book of my own, I mentioned my proposed “Ian's Shoelace Book” on my website. This led to a publishing deal with Sterling Publishing, the publishing arm of Barnes & Noble (B&N) in the U.S., who re-titled it “Laces – 100s of Ways to Pimp Your Kicks”.
In Aug-2007 – after more than a year of production – the book was finally launched worldwide. It proved an immediate success, with mostly five-star ratings on Amazon.
Sadly, when it eventually sold out completely, B&N opted not to print a second edition. My royalties (about $1 per book) came to an end in Apr-2011. I was still earning affiliate commissions for selling pre-loved copies on Amazon – but as mentioned above, that modest income likewise came to an end.
Status: ENDED Aug-2023
Ian's Laces iOS App
I was approached by a developer in the newly emerging iPhone and iPod Touch market, who proposed porting my shoelace material into an “app” for iOS. In Aug-2009 – after three months of solid collaboration – the resulting iOS app “Ian's Laces” was finally released.
This latest venture was also an almost immediate success. Within three months the app was featured on the front page of the App Store and became the #1 ranked reference app!
Development continued through various new iOS devices until 2015, when the developer decided that the modest sales no longer justified the additional effort. Although the app is still available today, it's now lagging far behind the current website, thus sales (and hence income) have dwindled to almost zero.
Status: BARELY ONGOING
Ian's Shoe Lacing Cards
When I added the 52nd shoe lacing method to my website, it reminded me of the 52 playing cards in a standard deck. That gave birth to the idea for “Ian's Shoe Lacing Cards” – a physical deck of cards, each containing a diagram, photo and simple description of one lacing method.
I spent the next year and a half producing artwork, contacting playing card manufacturers, distributors and retailers – even printing a small run of prototype decks.
In Oct-2016 a Kickstarter campaign was launched to fund the first production run and make the cards a reality. Sadly, there were not enough backers and the campaign fell just short of its funding goal.
And so, after incurring plenty of expenses and zero income for all my work, this dream came to an end.
Status: ABORTED Oct-2016
Ian's Laces Android App
Having purchased a new Google Pixel handset, I decided to revisit the idea of releasing an Android app – which I'd been toying with on and off for the past decade. To do this myself required getting to grips with a whole new programming environment, followed by a ton of work to generate all of the required code, data and images.
In May-2019 – after ten months of solo app development – the resulting Android app “Ian's Laces” was finally released. At last there was an up-to-date app containing all of my current shoe lacing and tying tutorials! This was followed shortly thereafter by a “Lite” version (free, with Ads) and an “HD” version (for larger, high-definition devices).
Things were going reasonably well for almost four years – until Google summarily suspended my apps!
The reason given was that the three versions (Lite, Full and HD) breached their “Repetitive Content” policy (ie. they weren't sufficiently “unique”). So much for me trying to give the best possible experience to the widest possible range of users!
And so this modest income (about $1.30 per day in recent years) came to an end.
Status: SUSPENDED Jun-2023
All in all, my efforts to “monetize” my website make a sad and sorry tale. Re-reading the whole saga myself, I've come to a couple of conclusions:
- How increasingly complex things have become;
- How unsuccessful I am at marketing.
While I may have the right skills to produce and present educational material, I have to concede that – like most teachers – my efforts are destined to remain undervalued.