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Our Event-Centric Advertising Base Has (Understandably) Disappeared During The Coronavirus Pandemic. If You Can Help Us In This Time, It’d Go A Long Way.

In 2012, we launched this website after reading the writing on the wall, and deciding that the changing times we live in merited a new approach to coverage of the Dallas cultural landscape.

For a full eight years now, our prediction’s been proven right: Our informed, thought-provoking and (hopefully) entertaining approach to covering all that the young Dallasite wants to learn about their city has earned us a substantial audience — one that, until right now, has proven large enough to let us keep doing our work entirely through the support of our advertisers.

Throughout that time, we’ve covered literally thousands of events around the city, shed light on literally thousands of talented area artists, highlighted literally hundreds of truly amazing Dallas business ventures, penned profiles on countless additional inspiring locals and helped you plan your life with our recurring Dallas-area event previews

Our coverage has always reflected a deep care for this city we call home. We’ve grown up right alongside the rest of Dallas. When this city thrives, we feel pride. When our city hurts, so do we.

It has always been an honor for us to play a role in our community’s most watershed moments, availing ourselves as a depot for trusted and responsibly compiled information during the trying times, as a cheerleader during our town’s greatest successes and for providing necessary perspective (and sometimes levity) as needed.

Together, we’ve experienced so many historic moments in these last eight years in Dallas: The community unrest following the horrific Downtown Dallas shooting of 2017, as well as the tragic deaths of Jordan Edwards and Botham Jean; the retirement of sports hero Dirk Nowitkzi and the subsequent rise of Luka Doncic; the burning of Big Tex; the arrival of Uber’s new Deep Ellum headquarters; the tornadoes that tore through our city just this past fall; the Leaning Tower of Dallas mania from just a few weeks ago; and countless other moments, including the coronavirus pandemic we’re currently enduring.

These and other efforts have been reflected all throughout the almost 12,000 articles we’ve produced since our launch – a figure that averages out to more than 28 pieces of new, Dallas-focused content produced each week.

Through it all, we’ve never once asked anything of our readers in exchange for these efforts.

But, once again, it’s time for us to read that writing on the wall. The coronavirus pandemic has thrown our community – all communities across the globe, really – into an uncertain position.

Much as I wish this weren’t the case, we at Central Track are also feeling the effects. As a startup media company, our margins have always been thin. For a variety of reasons, things have been especially tight over the course of the last few months, and our advertising base has shrunk even as our site traffic and market reach have expanded. Even so, we have soldiered on, nimbly adjusting our efforts while becoming increasingly reliant on a small, if also generous, base of mostly event-based advertisers who’ve floated us.

In the wake of the coronavirus’ arrival in the States, though, those advertisers have essentially disappeared. Look around the site right now, and (aside from any ads you might see that are promoting our own in-house efforts) you’ll see only two ads supporting us — one for an event in April that isn’t likely to take place and another for a concert that won’t take place until October. All other advertisements on our site have been pulled at the request of those who purchased them.

I want to be clear: We do not blame these advertisers for cancelling their events — we very much think that’s the right call — nor do we think there’s any reason for them to place ads with us that promote things that are no longer happening. But during a time in which we feel most compelled to share pertinent information with our audience – and a time in which our increased traffic figures reflect a clear desire on the part of our readers for us to take on this work – we are currently operating without the necessary capital to continue our operations for much longer beyond the immediate future.

Like so many others in the community that we cover at the moment, we’re not sure what the future holds for us. We are a very, very small company — there are only two of us who work on the site full-time at any given moment. Much as it pained us to do so, we have already been forced to freeze all contributions from our freelancers, who are themselves also facing a difficult time right now. And so our hand is being forced here: We do not take any pride in doing this, but for the first time ever, we are asking our most loyal readers and dedicated fans for a little support, if they can afford to offer it.

We are currently seeking assistance in three ways:

  1. You can become a patron of our just-launched Patreon account! Honestly, launching a Patreon is something that we at Central Track have been considering for some time and slowly working toward anyway. But, given current coronavirus-related circumstances, we’ve simply decided to put these wheels in motion now. To be clear: Our coverage is not moving behind a paywall. We’re just offering a few perks to those who are willing and able to pay for them at the moment — and hopefully into perpetuity. A base-level contribution here starts at just $5 a month, and even that support alone will go a long way toward making sure our staff and freelancers are taken care of. Plus, we think some of the perks we’re offering are pretty cool! Please take a second to check them out.
  2. You can get one hell of a deal on an advertising buy for your business! Our readership is spiking during these times, which makes sense for a few reasons — namely that they trust us to provide them with up-to-date and accurate information, but also because they don’t have much to do these days with all the events around town cancelled, and all their favorite hot spots forced to close for the time being. This is a great time to introduce your brand to our readers, or to better familiarize them with your offerings. We’re even sweetening the deal to make it more worth your while to buy an ad with us at this point: Until this pandemic is under control, we’re offering any new advertiser with Central Track a free two months of ads for every six-month, paid-up-front commitment. This is truly a win-win, we think: You get a great deal on spreading the word about your business, and we get to keep our efforts humming along and put audiences in front of your messaging. Head to our advertising page for more information about this offer.
  3. You can just donate directly to us via PayPal or Zelle if you feel so inclined! If possible, we would prefer you select one of the above two options of supporting us so that you can get a return on your investment. But, at the same time, we also realize that beggars can’t be choosers. If you feel so compelled to donate to our cause without getting anything in return beyond the warm-and-fuzzies, we won’t turn you away. Feel free to send any donations you’d like to bruce [at] centraltrack [dot] com.

We also want to say this: We know that many in our community are struggling at the moment. If you cannot afford to toss us a bone right now, we don’t blame you. If you would prefer to put your funds toward the many other entities in our community that are currently hurting, we applaud you for your generosity there.

We have been overwhelmed by people in the community asking us to spread the word on various efforts that will help the affected in the entertainment, service and hospitality industries. We want to, plan to and will help out in those efforts as best we can.

But our ability to help is also contingent on our own survival.

As such, we wanted to be up front about the situation we currently find ourselves in, and to open up some channels for some support to those who are in a position to provide it.

Please understand that, no matter what, our biggest goal is simply to be able to keep on doing what we do — covering the Dallas-related stories that are most pertinent to our readers — for as long as we can.

We understand well that this is our role in this community. And, until circumstances dictate that this is no longer a possibility, we intend on continuing to fulfill it.

Thank you for reading.

Thank you for your support.

We will get through this together as best we can.

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