2020 By The Numbers: An A+ Members Exclusive

Hello and welcome to your annual report chock-full of numbers and images that represent those numbers! Since 2016 we’ve been providing this information to our beloved A+ members. We did it in 2017 and then I did it in 2018 then I did it in 2019 and then I did it in 2020. Now, it’s 2021, a year that will probably be pretty bad, but we’ll get through it together!

We’d like to politely request that you do not share any of these graphics outside of A+ and instead enjoy them only here on this page right now with us as a family! Okay? Great perfect!


Most Popular Content of 2020

Infographic about the most popular posts of 2020. LIST #1: MOST POPULAR POSTS IN 2020 WRITTEN BEFORE 2020 1. 95 Queer and Lesbian TV Shows to Stream on Netflix, by Riese (2015 - 2020) 2. Shibari 101: Single- and Double-Column Ties, by Cee (2018) 3. Your Completely Queer Guide To Horoscope Hookups, by Kate (2013) 4. 25 Streaming Movies With Hot Lesbian Sex Scenes, by Riese (2018) 5. 240 Weed Edible Recipes Because F*ck It, Let's Get High, by Carmen Rios (2015) 6. Bondage 101: How To Tie Someone Up, by Carolyn (2013) 7. What Does It Mean to Be a Bottom or Submissive in Lesbian Sex?, by Riese (2018) 8. The 100 Most Lesbianish First Names, Ranked by Lesbianism, by Riese (2017) 9. Shibari 101: Let's Talk About Japanese Rope Bondage, by Cee (2018) 10. Shibari 101: Basic Chest Harness, by Cee (2018) LIST #2: MOST POPULAR NEW POSTS OF 2020  1. The 200 Best Lesbian, Queer & Bisexual Movies of All Time, by Drew (re-written in 2020) 2. The Soft Butch That Couldn't (Or: I Got COVID-19 in March and Never Got Better), by Heather  3. Truck Slut Mag is Making Trucks Gay and Reclaiming Rural Queer Culture, by Lauren Parker 4. 74 Bail Funds You Can Absolutely Support Right Now, by Carmen Phillips 5. LGBTQ+ Movies To Stream on Netflix, by Riese (re-written in 2020) 6. 20 Lesbian Movies on Hulu That You Can Watch Right Now For Fun If You Want, by Riese 7. The 100 Best Lesbian, Bisexual and Queer Sci-Fi and Fantasy Shows of All Time, by Valerie 8. How to Never Call the Cops Again: A Guide with a Few Alternatives to Calling Police, by Malic 9. Which Happiest Season Character Are You? Quiz, by Riese 10. 62 Hulu Streaming TV Shows With Lesbian and Bisexual Women Characters, by Riese LIST #3: MOST COMMENTS 1. Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board: Join the AS Editors for a Virtual Slumber Party!, by the Editors 2. Autostraddle's 11th Birthday Advice-a-Thon, by the team 3. 95 Queer TV Shows To Stream On Netflix, by Riese 4. Friday Open Threads Are Back, Come On In, by Vanessa 5. Can You Make Stuffing Into an Edible? Join Us TODAY for an A+ Holigay Cooking AMA! by the Team 6. What Are You Doing, by Laneia 7. Ask The Plant Doctor: You Have Questions About Your Houseplants, by Cee 8. The Soft Butch That Couldn't (Or: I Got COVID-19 in March and Never Got Better), by Heather 9. Ask Us Anything: What to Watch While Social Distancing, From Noted Queer Experts, by The TV Team 10. The L Word Generation Q Episode 108: Lapse in Judgment, by Riese LIST #4: TOP OUTLICKS 1. The Autostraddle Merch Store 2. Crash Pad Series 3. Surveymonkey 4. Autostraddle dot biz 5. Marijuana Oil recipe on Cannabis Kitchen dot com 6. Marijuana Bacon recipe on Eat Cannabis dot com  7. The Most Satisfying Sex Positions for Lesbians on Refinery 29 8. The Duke of Burgandy on Netflix 9. Cannabutter Infused Cinnamon Rolls recipe on Culinary Cannabis Dot Com 10. Weed Butter recipe on Vice 11. Autostraddle Instagram 12. This Checks Out Newsletter Sign-Up page 13. Rainbow Wave Start the Wave Website 14. Concussion on Netflix 15. Esinem-Rope Dot Com 16. Attachment Style Test  17. First Look: Kristen Stewart in The Happiest Season in People Magazine 18. Wildfang Coveralls 19. 7 Kinds of Horny in Refinery29 20. Blue is the Warmest Color on Netflix  LIST #5: TOP REFERRERS 1. Google 2. Facebook 3. Twitter 4. Instagram 5. DuckDuckGo 6. Bing 7. Pinterest 8. Yahoo   LIST #6: MOST READ SEX AND RELATIONSHIPS POSTS 1. What We Wish We’d Known Before Having Gay Sex for the First Time, by the team 2. What’s Your Queer Sex Personality?, by Malic 3. Sex Scenes I Used to Click My Mouse to in My Dorm Room, by Shelli 4. Valentine’s Day Date Ideas I’ve Had Since My Wife Left Me Six Months Ago, by Laneia 5. Fatimah Asghar’s Got Game: Watch Her New Short On Anxiety At A Queer Sex Party, by Kamala 6. You Need Help: Can I Tell My Poly Roommate Not to See Her Partners Because of Coronavirus?, by Vanessa 7. I Tried New Trans Dating App Fiori and All I Got Was This Personal Essay, by Drew 8. Lesbian Meme Culture Normalized My Abusive Relationship, by Mary Ann 9. Stay Home and Squirt: A Preparedness Guide, by Malic 10. How to Write a Really Hot Sext in 5 Easy Steps, by Vanessa LIST #7: TOP SEARCH TERMS IN 2020 THAT LED READERS TO AUTOSTRADDLE 1. autostraddle 2. lesbian names 3. lesbian bottom 4. autostraddle horoscope 5. gay girl names 6. autostradle 7. lesbian girl names 8. bisexual bob 9. kristen stewart 10. how to fuck a friend


Who Wrote What

For the second year in a row I have been thoroughly out-performed by Heather Hogan, which I believe remains the face of things to come. Speaking of the faces of things to come, however, this list brought me a parcel of joy and here’s why!

I started making these lists in 2016, so our first time was 2015, and this year’s our first since 2016 where the top 4 was not white as snow! 53% of 2020’s most prolific authors are QPOC, compared to 37% in the prior two years and between 25% – 30% in the years prior to that year.

Most Prolific Authors of 2020: 1. Heather - 170, 2. Riese - 127, 3. Carmen - 122, 4. Natalie - 97, 5. Carolyn - 88, 6. Rachel - 80, 7. Drew - 75, 8. Valerie - 67, 9. Himani - 64, 10. Kayla - 54, 11. Christina - 53, 11. Shelli - 53, 12. Queer Girl - 50, 13. Kamala - 49, 14. Ari - 43


Money Money Money

Income & Expenses

Believe it or not 2020 was not our best year financially. We were truly on a roll in 2019 and full of hope for the future — we were building great relationships with advertising partners and poised to have a stellar 2020. Then you know, everything that happened; happened. Thank the lord that despite it all, y’all came through for TWO big-ass fundraisers.

I have also been called upon to ensure that we’re clear what this graph represents vs. the graph you may have seen on our “Join A+” page. Here I’m counting all the money that landed in our bank account in 2020 because that’s what I’ve always done with the annual report. This is what we report to the IRS, this is what our Profit and Loss reports indicate, etc.

The Join A+ page has a lower % attributed to advertising, and that’s because that graph represents only income we earned in 2020, which means it’s only including ads purchased from us in 2020, which is a better representation of where we currently stand when it comes to ad income than the number below, which is for ad money we were paid in 2020. 70% of the advertising revenue we got in 2020 was from ad campaigns we ran in 2019.

By the way we are very good at advertising and if you are an advertiser you should advertise with us!

2020 INCOME AND EXPENSES GRAPH // CHART OF INCOME: Covid-19 Small Business Grants (9%) - A loan is not considered revenue or income, but because this was a major part of our survival this year it felt important to include here! We were greatly assisted this year by a PPP loan! that covered payroll for 2 months! We also got a very small ($2.5k) grant from a Facebook COVID relief program (listen I just applied for everything) // Donations (25%) - We had two successful fundraising campaigns in 2020. Your support got us through a very rough year! // Advertising (12%) - This number is actually even bleaker than it looks — 70% of the advertising revenue we generated this year was just getting paid for campaigns we ran in 2019, and no such checks are on the horizon this year. We're hopeful that we'll get some good packages this year as our fave TV shows return!  // Affiliates (2%) - We have had less shopping posts than usual and Amazon has been cutting commissions over time, but we've also been linking less to Amazon this year in response to reader feedback, thus leading to our sharpest decline yet in Amazon affiliate income. We made $5k from Amazon this year, compared to $20k in 2019. // Merch (6%) // A+ Members (46%) - In 2019, we asked you to help us hire a part-time A+ Director and in 2020, we asked you to help us make her full time. Your support has paid off! We have 1.7k more members now than we did on last year's annual report. //// CHART OF EXPENSES: Freelancers and Independent Contractors (25%) - We have a lot of freelance writers on our core team and outside of it, as well as other contractors like our subject editors, accountant and web developers. (And guess what? THEY'RE ALL GAY!) We also offer paid sick leave and established a COVID Relief Fund in 2020 for writers who needed it! // Online Payment and Processing Fees (3%) // Other (7%) - Reference materials (e.g., Hulu, WaPo, NY Times, LA Times, books, movies), Server + storage, Online services (e.g., Slack, Chartbeat, Airtable, Mailchimp, Soundcloud, Vimeo, Dropbox, Piktochart, Jotform), Office Supplies, Travel Expenses (Honestly, we saved a lot of $$ this year via all of us not going anywhere or doing anything!!!) // Merch and Supplies for Store and A+ (5%) - This is money we spend on printing and shipping things for the store and A+! The company who handles our merch shipping takes their commission straight from our revenue before giving us a check, so that expense doesn't really show up when doing these calculations since it never becomes income, either.  // Full-Time Employee Wages, Benefits and Payroll Taxes (60%) - This number accounts for 8 full-time employees and covers wages, payroll taxes, medical, dental and vision insurance for employees and their dependents and everybody's 401(k). All employees work way too many hours but also have unlimited medical leave and vacation.


Merchandise

This year’s merchandise HIT was our Queer Word Magnets!

Autostraddle Merch: Most Popular Shirts of 2020 (1. Bette Porter, 2. Lesberado, 3. Black Gal Pal, 4. Lavender Menace), 5. Grey Scissoring. // Most Popular Not-Shirt Merch of 2020: 1. Word Magnets, 2. She/Her pronoun pin, 3. They/them pronoun pin, 4. Read a F*cking Book Pin, 5. Who's All Gay Here Hat // Most Popular New Merch of 2020: 1. Word Magnets, 2. YDY Shirt re-issue, 3. Blue Scissoring Sweatshirt, 4. Who All's Gay here Sticker, 5. Let's GO Lesbian T-Shirt


You People

Let’s do a nice long slow clap for our A+ Director Nicole!! Look at these incredible growth numbers! From 2018 to 2019, we got 36% more Cobalts, 25% more Bronzers, less than one percent more Silvers and 14% more Golds. As you can see below, our growth this year was way better than that! Nicole’s leadership has enabled us to maintain a consistent content schedule — a schedule we’re also only able to meet because of our incredible staff and team contributing to roundtables, The Insider, advice boxes and more. Kamala and Sarah debuted the very popular S L I C K erotica series in 2020 and we’re stoked to have some of our writers filling in K’s shoes on that project for the next few months.

A perhaps little-known fact is that the person who was stocking, hand-addressing, packing and shipping out your A+ perks since 2016 has been me (Riese) UNTIL THIS YEAR. Now it’s Nicole, bless us everyone especially Nicole.

Autostraddle Plus Infographic // Current Population of A+ Members: Cobalt (2,684), Bronze (1,057), Silver (1064), Gold (479). // Who Gave A+ Members the Most Advice in 2020? 1. Malic - 113 questions, 2. Vanessa - 53 questions, 4. Kayla - 49 questions, 5. Carolyn - 40 questions, 6. Abeni - 33 Questions. // Most Clicked-on A+ Posts of 2020: 1. S L I C K: Come Inside, by Riese, 2. S L I C K: A Date To Remember, by Anna Sansom, 3. Autostraddle's Birthday Advice-a-Thon, 4. A+ Roundtable: Sex That Taught Us What We Really Liked, 5. A+ Roundtable: Our Deepest Darkest Relationship Fears, 6. Into the A+ Advice Box #12, 7. Happy Holigays: Celebrate with 25+ Exclusive Discounts to Places You Love, 8. Into the Advice Box #10, 9. Slip into S L I C K A+ Erotica Series, 10. You Oughta Know: The Letters to Our Exes We'll Never Send

Riese is the 39-year-old Co-Founder and CEO of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and then headed West. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 2865 articles for us.

26 Comments

  1. Thanks for the write up! It’s crazy how little money AS actually runs on and how ~5.5k people are responsible for ~50% of the website’s budget. I wonder how AS would change if it had 5-10x the current number of subscribers. Ah well, thanks again!

    • IT WOULD BE SO AMAZING, wouldn’t it??? We’d raise rates for writers and illustrators and contactors a lot, also raise what we are paying our tech team so they can give us more hours, we’d hire someone to be focused on the advertising + affiliate side of things bc honestly with the exception of hiring nicole, whenever we’ve had extra money we put it back into editorial instead of the business side, and that has left me + sarah with “advertising’ as one of 25 elements of our job descriptions, which is not ideal! I think we also need someone to make us a tiktok for us. anyhow those are some of the one billion things we would do if we had twice as many members!

  2. When i got a new credit card 2 years ago i had decided that i would upgrade my silver memebership to a gold one.
    I don’t remember how I went about it, but the reslut was that I ended up with both a gold and a silver membership, and i have kept it like that since then. Because i really wanna support this site :)

  3. I’m sure these graphics are great but they don’t seem to have alt text on them and that’s a bit sad. Not sure if it would be extremely tedious to add some but it would be nice if these charts were accessible for all your A+ members!

    • I would guess this is to avoid copy-pasting confidential information, as Riese understandably requested “that you do not share any of these graphics outside of A+ and instead enjoy them only here on this page”.
      I see that this may interfere with screenreaders… maybe a general description of each graphic could be of help (maybe “Graphic on [headline 1-3]”)?

      • Hi, I know you mean well but Riese’s concerns re confidentiality shouldn’t be a barrier to making their content accessible. After all, a sighted A+ member could just as easily screenshot and share despite Riese’s request not to.

        However, they seem to have alt text on most of the graphics now, which makes me very happy!

  4. I love this infographic party every year! It feels like I am in a board meeting, but only the interesting parts; like it’s a romantic comedy and I need to salvage the fall festival before we get shut down by a brusque executive from out of town who I keep getting into sexy arguments with.

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