Penny Arcade have launched a Kickstarter campaign to rid themselves of all reliance on advertisers. Their aim is to crowdsource enough cash to replace revenue earned selling page space. "We had assumed it wasn't possible to do it that way anymore - to operate a site at this scale without advertising dollars - but it occurred to us that we'd never actually asked," they say.
"People often want to know how they can support the site in a way that doesn't involve t-shirts or looking at advertising, and I think we may have a way. What I'm saying is that we want to sell out, and we would love to sell out to you."
This is their plan. They've thrown down an open hat in the form of this Kickstarter pledge page . Anyone can throw in a dollar or more. If they hit $525,000 ads will disappear from the home page. If they hit $999.999, the whole site will run without ads. There are incremental targets that will unlock as-yet-unrevealed rewards along the way.
In a blog post on PA , Mike "Gabe" Krahulik frames the kickstarter drive as a return to the years that PA ran on audience donations after falling foul of "a shady internet aggregator"
"Back then we considered it begging but today it's called crowd funding. I don't want you to get the idea that Penny Arcade is any kind of trouble. Honestly if this Kickstarter doesn't work nothing here will change. The reality is that we can continue working for advertisers but if we can, we'd rather work for you."
Here's a video outlining the scheme, which is worth watching for the moment that Jerry "Tycho" Holkins choke slams Yoshi. Below that, there's a roadmap detailing the milestones that they're hoping to hit over the course of the next 36 days. $21,774 have already been donated.