This week I received email from someone who objected to my review of the Texas Bigfoot Research Conservancy because the organization accepts money from people wanting to be included in their research expeditions. Certainly, everything about this organization spells money… the website appears to be professionally designed, there’s a membership application on the site, and photos of expensive equipment give one the impression that there’s got to be some kind of funding going on.
Membership is clearly explained on the site and requires a $60 annual fee: TBRC Membership. There’s also an annual TBRC conference. I believe the $15 general admission charge is very reasonable, and the public is welcome to attend so that price is not just for members. The person who wrote to me said that a friend paid several hundred dollars to participate in a TBRC weekend expedition. There’s no mention of this kind of fee on the site, so far as I can detect. Such a fee rivals BFRO’s expedition costs.
So this brings up a topic that I believe a lot of people have problems accepting – that people want to make money with their Bigfoot research hobby! Moreover, equipment costs money! I can totally identify with both issues. My partner and I are both unemployed at this point and we don’t have the high-tech equipment to use like the big organizations do (TBRC, BFRO, etc.) …so money, getting donations, and finding solutions in order to be able to do Bigfoot research – these have been topics of conversation around here! Until recently we didn’t even have a 4 wheel drive vehicle to take into the forest. I just purchased a 1995 4wd Ford Aerostar van for Bigfoot research activities, and I still can’t take it into the forest because it needs better tires first. I’m hoping to get them before the end of the year, but there’s other equipment we’d like to have: a good video camera and trail cams, for example. I would love to be able to make YouTube videos of our activities in the forest. So money, yes… it is an issue. I’m very close to putting a donation link on my Friends of Sasquatch site. I had one on this site many months back but never got any donations. Also the AdSense I have on this site doesn’t even cover the cost of my server, so I can’t really say I’m making money here at all.
I can also see why many people who do Bigfoot research as a hobby are offended by organizations that charge for participation. The organization may justify this as a needed revenue building opportunity so that expensive equipment can be purchased, gasoline paid for, and organizational expenses paid. On the other hand, some of this money could be siphoned off for other uses. Do any of these organization czars get paid? Does Matt Moneymaker actually make money with Bigfoot explorations?
My informant stated that he has been doing Bigfoot research for quite a few years, paying his own way, with a group that does not accept donations or collect fees. There are probably hundreds of similar Bigfoot researchers who do this because they love squatching, not because they’re looking for donations for their research organizations. I picture them as hard working people (mostly men) who buy their own research equipment and go on expeditions with their friends in their spare time.
At the other end of the spectrum are people like “he whose name will not appear in my blog” whose Bigfooting business plan has been put online by an ex-cohort.
There are lots of ways that Bigfoot researchers and investigators try to earn money, and here are some that I know of:
1. Creating a website then asking for donations
2. Putting advertising on the website
3. Charging for expeditions
4. Creating a NPO then charging membership fees
5. Getting large donations from rich businessmen needing a tax write-off
6. Writing a book about Bigfoot
7. Creating Bigfoot themed products and selling them
8. Gathering Bigfoot evidence, then selling it
Am I missing anything on this list?
So which of these are acceptable and which aren’t? When should a hobby turn into a business?
Is it ethical to charge a fee for expedition participation when anyone can just go out into the woods and start squatching on their own?
I’d like to get comments on this from anyone having strong feelings one way or the other about money issues in Bigfoot research. I told the person who emailed me, “I have never paid to be in any Bigfoot research organization or to go on any expeditions. It seems senseless especially since there are many miles of forest for anyone to explore, and being in a large group is likely to repel a Bigfoot, not attract one.” That’s just my opinion; I’m sure there are others able and willing to pay hundreds for a little field training.
12 Replies to “Bigfooting for Cash: Capitalizing on Bigfoot”
I direct, produce, film, edit, upload and “market” the video blog for the Bigfoot Discovery Museum in Felton, CA. We just posted our 107th episode. I am a museum member that pays dues and I do the video blog for free as a service to the Museum. All proceeds from the videos (i.e. advertising) goes to the museum. However, we have yet to make any proceeds. People think that the Museum is raking in the cash, but as you can see the reality is far from that, as Mike explains in this blog post: http://hairybiped.blogspot.com/2009/04/curse-of-bigfoot.html
I do believe there is “real money” in the Bigfoot phenomena, as shows like Monster Quest prove, but for the average researcher, it is almost impossible to “make a living” at.
I think it would only benefit the Bigfoot community if folks started making money off of Bigfoot. For this reason, I don’t think any of your listed ways to make money off of Bigfoot should be discounted. I know many folks will possibly frown on #3 (charging for expeditions), however, if charging for expeditions did turn out to be profitable, and became popular, this would bring money into the Bigfoot community, and I don’t think that would be a bad thing.
Speaking of making money, if you do want to check out our video blog, please use this link below, as we have an advertising revenue with blip.tv, and maybe we will finally get enough views to have blip.tv cut us an check. :-) http://bigfootmuseum.blip.tv/
Thanks for an insightful posting, Greg, and for the links… which I’m following up on as I write. I think any money directed at the Bigfoot Discovery Project is well-spent. I wasn’t aware there is a membership fee there, but I would like to contribute that way. From my perspective, being ensconced in this small town in the Klamath River Valley, not going anywhere, I just don’t get out enough to experience these things. But I’ve read a lot of Mike’s site and know the Discovery Project is doing good work in compiling Bigfoot information and memorabilia. I’ve seen some of your videos… and will check out the rest. I see there are more than 100 videos now, and I’ve missed a lot. Thanks for the heads-up and the perspective on Bigfoot income potentials. As for my POV, I honestly could use some income around now. I’ve been unemployed since last September.
Referring back to the comment I left, I hope it’s not being blown out of preportion. I used the fishing reference as to say I love to fish but there isn’t any need to pay any dues when you can go fish any lake for free. $60.00 is a fair price to join any club if you love doing it and you can tell by what all the TBRC does that it all goes toward research. It’s funny Craig brought up Grand Prairie because that is where I was born and raised, matter of fact graduated SGP High School. Craig used Vought bas club to make a point and yes it may be only $18.00 to join and then another $40.00 for their one day Big Bass. The problem is, if they fish 20 tournaments a year then that $40.00 turns into $800.00. I am not saying that’s how it is with TBRC because Craig clearly stated TBRC doesn’t charge anything to join them on any expaditions. My only point was that why pay any type of dues if you can do it for free. I do have a question for Craig if you don’t mind. You made the comment you don’t charge the general public and you don’t take the general public. So what advantages is there to paying the membership dues, besides the annual dues are there any other charges and what are the chances of getting to go on a weekend search. I am pretty much asking and I am sure you get this a lot, what’s the advantages of joining?
I also really enjoyed Denny’s comments about doing it in small groups and without a lot of fancy equipment.
Denny, thanks for your comment. I agree with what you said at the end and feel that the motivation of the researcher is what’s going to open doors, or close them, so far as Sasquatch is concerned. Trust is a huge issue. The Sasquatch has had its world inundated with humans, to the point where it is cornered in small patches of forested land. Does anyone think they should like us when we’re the ones taking territory away from them? If they can talk to each other, and I know there’s sighting reports of them doing so, then surely they’ve told their children about our species and how we’re to be stayed away from and why. So getting one to trust you is key to establishing a relationship. And that’s where it is at for me. A one time sighting would be cool but an ongoing relationship is what I’m seeking, for purposes of communication, to get feedback on what their needs are and learn about their culture.
To all you big foot researchers out there. I for one don’t charge a cent . I for one don’t carry around thousands of dollars in hight tech equipment with me .Its not needed.I use a digital camera and a sony super 8 digital camera.I may not have any pictures to speak of other than tracks in the snow and mud.When I go into the woods I either go alone or with one or two people four at the most. I don’t think I see any pictures from anyone using their high tech stuff. Most of the pictures have been shot with regular cameras and regular cam corders.I’ve had 5 bigfoot sightings . All with other people there at my side to see them.I’m sorry that at the time non of us were out there looking for big foot.So no-one had a camera. We were out looking for a place to go for hunting. Now I carry a camera every time I go into the woods.These sightings were before I got into bigfoot research.There’s a trick to all this. Knowing where to go is only half of it. The other is so simple that I’ll let you guess it.Here’s a clue only take a couple of people with you when you go.Please pay attention to this one .YOUR NOT HUNT A DUMB ANIMAL. THE REASON BEING IS THIS NO-ONE HAS CAUGHT ONE YET AND HE’S REALLY NOT AN ANIMAL THAT YOUR LOOKING FOR.ITS PART HUMAN THAT YOUR LOOKING FOR AND MUCH SMARTER THAN MOST PEOPLE OUT THERE LOOKING FOR HIM OR HER.As soon as your able to understand that then you’ll be able to see him.He’s able to out think you . That is why he’s always one step ahead of. He’s able to read your mind.Please do over think on that one. Its the truth. I’ll never tell you how I know this .Most of you are going about it the wrong way. When it trust you than you’ll get to see it. You might have more success looking for him in an area that has a vortex in it . I know this post will recieve a lot of negative response to it.But remember one thing I have seen him up close even if I don’t have a picture of him I still got pictures of his tracks. Good bye for now and happy hunting to all who look for him or her.
Hmmmmm… Mr. Jones, you couldn’t bring yourself to pay dues to do something you love?
Taking your example of fishing, I looked up a bass fishing club that is closest to where I live, the Vought Bass Club based in Grand Prairie, TX.
Their annual dues to be a member of their club are $18.
And the entry fee for their “Big Bass Bonanza” Open Black Bass Tournament is $40 for a one day event.
$60/yr. is not much to pay for the opportunity to have a group to work with and good equipment to use. If I lived in Texas I’d pay it. The dues provided by the many members will help with purchase of equipment I couldn’t touch with only $60.
On the other hand, having a few squatching partners to go places with outside of organizational activities seems like a good idea too.
I live in Texas and I am very interested in doing research on Bigfoot. I have been on the TBRC website and looked around but just couldn’t bring myself to paying dues to do something I love. Although I do appreciate all their hard work. I also love to fish but wouldn’t pay any dues to fish tournaments either. Unfortuantally my family and friends think I am certifiable because I choose to believe. (even though I have never seen a Bigfoot first hand). So I would just like to find a couple people here in the Dallas area (couple meaning two) that also believe and share the passion and is interested in doing some freelance investigating. I agree with the fact that most people that have an encounter didn’t have night vision glasses or other fancy equipment and/or was in large groups. If there is anybody out there that lives in the Dallas area and is interested in doing some freelance research they can email me at timjo76063 at yahoo.com . We can meet, get to know each other and share information before going on any research together to make sure we are on the same page.
Thanks for the clarification, Craig. We are considering creating a NPO for our Friends of Sasquatch site, so I appreciate that it is working out well for TBRC. Please give your webdesigner my compliments.
I want to add that $60 per year is a reasonable membership fee, in my opinion. I pay a lot more than that to be a member of the New 49’ers Gold Prospecting Club here in Happy Camp.
It was a pleasure to meet you in Willow Creek and then again a few days later in Happy Camp.
I don’t know who it was that objected to your review of our website and organization, but I can assure you that their information was wrong and they more than likely had an agenda by trying to discredit us.
We do not take the general public on any of our “expeditions”. As such, I can assure you that we have never accepted “several hundred dollars to participate in a TBRC weekend expedition.”
We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. We depend on member dues, donations and the proceeds of our annual conference to fund the organization.
As a 501(c)(3), all of the money we take in has to by law be used to fund our research. Website fees, toll-free phone service, P. O. Box and research equipment. No one in the organization is paid a fee or a salary, or even have our gasoline expenses covered.
As a legitimate non-profit organization, any donations made to us are tax deductible.
Our professionalally designed website? It was donated to us by a web design company. Nothing sinister there.
Sincerely, Craig Woolheater – Chairman
Texas Bigfoot Research Conservancy
This is a great subject. We too have received emails claiming that we are making large sums of money doing this research. I’m not sure where people get this information but I’m here to tell you that if $15.00/month from our radio show pays for research equipment, we must be buying some pretty cheap equipment. Now, we don’t charge for expeditions or membership, and I’m sure some of the larger groups do, but it is very disappointing to get emails from folks who really don’t know everything that goes on in certain groups. People make ASSUMPTIONS that they know what is going on and its a real shame. Unfortunately, I think alot of people make these claims simply to be hurtful. There are alot of hurtful claims in this field. However, I have alot of respect and admiration for the writer of this blog. You do a great job and give an honest review of every site you visit. Keep up the great work!
Thanks Billy… I truly appreciate your kind words. We’re all pretty much on our own for buying equipment. I’d like to find a better way to gear up but it looks like ‘one thing at a time’ is the way I’ll have to do it. In the meantime there’s miles of forest to explore. Most people who have sightings aren’t carrying night vision cameras. ;)