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For Love or Money?

I’m a couple thousand words into (what is currently) Chapter 3, and so far this chapter is all about … drum-roll, please … money!

The chapter begins with me talking about the first email I ever received from a member of the U2 team. And since that email was about money, I segue from the email into a more extensive discussion about the commercialization of fan sites. (BTW, if you want to see that email, I shared it already with my Twitter subscribers.)

In the early 2000s, I was twice invited to take formal steps to monetize @U2.

One offer would’ve involved selling the site to a company that was creating an international network of top-notch music fan sites. The offer included stock options, a monthly wage to keep running the site, free hosting, and other perks — presumably including a lump sum purchase payment.

The second offer promised to put ads on the site and give me a healthy share of the ad revenue, along with free hosting and other perks.

I turned down both offers to monetize the site, which kept @U2 independent…and broke. 😬😁

In my previous post here on, I mentioned how great it would be to access old versions of @U2. Here’s why:

At some point in the 2000s, we ran a survey on @U2 and asked about money. Our readers overwhelmingly told us they’d prefer to make donations to support the site rather than put up with ads on every page. So we added a Paypal button on the home page and crossed our fingers that readers would use it.

The reason I wish I could access old versions of the site is to figure out when that happened. I’d like to be more specific in the book than “at some point in the 2000s,” like I said above. And I’m sure there’ll be many, many more things on the @U2 timeline that would be easier to write about if I could see when they happened.

So today’s “Phone a Fan” request is twofold:

  1. If you have any old screenshots of @U2 with a Paypal button on the home page, I’d love to see them.
  2. If you remember that reader survey and know (or have a guess) when we did it, I’d love to hear from you.

As always, thanks for your support and help as I work on this book!

Published inPhone a Fan

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