Watergate.info is a document archive created in 1995 and commonly in the news, slated for closure in May 2019. It reached the top 60k websites in the Alexa rank for USA in May 2019.
My name is Malcolm Farnsworth. I am best known for the websites AustralianPolitics.com, WhitlamDismissal.com and Watergate.info. They began as educational websites in 1995, arising out of my teaching, but soon developed into archives of information and documents, with many audio and video files.
Between them, the sites contain over 5000 pages of material. As I always say, they are eclectic, representing things I'm interested in. They are incomplete. Additions to the sites depend on my enthusiasm and availability of time.
Fortunately, the sites have always had a healthy level of traffic, especially during this century. They have produced income from Google Adsense since 2003 and Copyright Agency royalties since 2007. These have all but dried up in recent times. I have witnessed up close several phases of internet usage. It's not settled yet.
The sites are now endangered. They require more resources and security than can be found in cheap, shared hosting. I lease a Virtual Private Server (VPS) with significant bandwidth and processing power. Audio files are streamed from Amazon S3. Amazon storage charges are very cheap but I carry the cost of the bandwidth when files are played.
I am very reluctant to discuss my personal circumstances. Privacy matters to me. But I've lived a life, mainly as a teacher, where I've always been able to pay my way. That has now changed. Unemployment has drained my resources. Homelessness has destroyed my lifestyle. The smallest of bills present a major difficulty. I first entered the workforce in 1979. Forty years later, the experience means little but my age is a major negative, even though I've never felt more on top of my game.
Absent change, the websites must be closed in the next month. At the urging of a number of people online, I have opted for a Patreon solution as a last attempt to keep them open. Frankly, I'm sceptical.
Ideally, I would like to keep the sites open, as an online base. The websites allow me to provide regular posts on Australian politics, political history and processes, as well as general commentary on contemporary events. It's telling that this is the first federal election in many years for which I haven't been updating AustralianPolitics.com.
The Watergate site has been neglected in recent years but the Trump presidency ensures that there is ongoing interest in all things impeachment. There is much that could be done in this area.
In the past, I have had the opportunity to write for The Drum. I currently write a weekly piece for Meanjin. It is the only paid work I have. Frankly, the situation is completely unsustainable. Sentimentality can play no part in the decisions that have to be made soon.
At this early stage, I'm not sure what works best on here. I've set up a number of tiers, starting with $1.00/month. If there is any significant interest, I'm prepared to commit to subscribers-only material. I'm also looking at putting sections of the websites behind a Patreon pay-wall.
Your help would be appreciated. I can be contacted via Twitter.